From the June 1976 issue of the Socialist Standard
"But somebody will have to lead," say our opponents when told there will be no leaders in Socialism. What in fact they usually mean is that there will have to be administrators. Of course there will have to be administrators—who will obviously be people with a flair for organizing, and their job will be to help a Socialist world to run smoothly, ensuring that production and free distribution of the good things of life take place to the benefit of all. But they will not have power to dictate to, "manage", or give promises to the rest of the population as leaders do at present. They will be the agents—not the masters—of the people.
How can this be guaranteed? Simply through the knowledge and understanding of the majority of the world's inhabitants.
Under the present capitalist system different groups of owners and their hirelings with vested interests, select from their numbers their representatives (whom they consider will appear through the media the most sincere, altruistic and to have the interests of those they intend to exploit at heart) to go before the electorate. The latter returns some of them to power as leaders from where they perpetuate the capitalist system in a way which most effectively serves the financial interest of the group or groups they represent.
But they can only get away with this for as long as the working class—who make up the vast majority of the voters—do not understand what their game is and the social system which could replace it.
Even if such leaders wanted to introduce a socialist system after being elected—they couldn't; they haven't the mandate and the electorate would think they had gone mad if they tried to.
In Socialism there will be not leaders but delegates—the difference being that delegates carry out the instructions of—not give orders to—the people who voted for them. The moment a delegate fails to voice the wishes of a knowledgeable electorate but starts talking about something else—he's out!
And so, despite the frustrated cravings of those wanting the "quick way" to Socialism by the "right leaders", there is still no safeguard except the working class knowledge and understanding which makes them superfluous.
At present—nearly everyone prays for "good" leaders, but there is no such animal. Leaders just do what they are put there for by those business interests which nominated them.
There are no leaders in the Socialist Party of Great Britain and its companion parties in various parts of the world—there couldn't be and doesn't need to be, because all the members understand what they want and how to go about getting it. Any member could therefore serve as a delegate. And what we want is clearly published (see "Object and Principles") on every copy of our party literature.
R. B. Gill