Sunday, June 16, 2024

Letter: Workers and Leaders (1976)

Letter to the Editors from the June 1976 issue of the Socialist Standard

I have two basic questions about Party members and one question about a statement in the 70th Anniversary issue of the Socialist Standard, which I read avidly.

Question 1: Are any Party members wage-workers? Question 2: If not, how do you pay for food, accommodation and the other basic needs of life under the capitalist system?

On page 90 of the 70th Anniversary issue is printed a picture with the statement “No Leaders — the Executive Committee in Session, 1956”. I wonder how you qualify what seems to be a double-standard statement?

I am a sympathizer with Socialism, common ownership, but I am not yet a member of the only Socialist party, the SPGB (my age is 17). But I hope to become a member and learn much more about Socialism in the near future.
Barry Phillips
London SW9

Nearly all the members of the SPGB are wageworkers. That is why we are Socialists. Socialism is the expression of the material interests of the working class, the nine-tenths who under capitalism have no choice but to sell their labour-power and be exploited. Having to “pay for food, accommodation and the other basic needs of life” is capitalism’s atrocious arrangement by which wage-workers perpetually go without; Socialism means free access by everyone to whatever is produced.

Leaders are people with followers. The Socialist Party has an Executive Committee and a General Secretary and members who do various other named jobs. They are elected by the membership, and none has a hope of exercising special influence or making our decisions for us; the constitution of the Party is framed to prevent that. The EC’s function is to put the wishes of the membership into effect and see to the Party’s routine business. That’s all.

Incidentally, Executive Committee meetings on Tuesday nights are, like all transactions of the Party without exception, completely open. If you want to know how it works you may walk in and see and listen.
Editorial Committee.

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