Close elections - What would happen if the SLP won by only a little?

THE PEOPLE
MARCH 2001
VOL. 110 NO. 12
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LETTER BOX ANSWERS

J.R., BELLINGHAM, WASH. -- "Speaking of close elections....What would happen if the SLP and its Socialist Industrial Union program won by only a little? Wouldn't this open the door to a system such as existed in the old U.S.S.R.?"

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The issue would not depend on the ballot, or the counting of votes. The issue would depend on the extent to which the working class is united and prepared to assume control of the economy, i.e., on the extent to which it was organized to enforce its will. If the working class is not prepared to assume control of the economy no amount of votes will bring it a step nearer to socialism, or prepare it to defend its decision. If it is sufficiently united into the SIUs needed to enforce its decision, no amount of ballot box shenanigans could turn it back from completing its mission.

It is inconceivable that socialism would win at the ballot box by a number so small that the outcome would be in doubt. Indeed, even if the formality of vote counting was dispensed with completely at such a juncture, the social atmosphere would be charged with the electricity of impending change. It could not be concealed.

In any event, it is highly unlikely that it will ever come down to a vote, at least not one conducted by the government of the ruling class. Long before then the writing would be on the wall for all to see. Either the working class will be formed up to occupy the industries and to take charge of any elections it decides are needed, or it will not be prepared, in which case workers are unlikely to vote for something they have shown that they do not want by their failure to organize themselves in preparation for it.

If the working class was not prepared to act when capitalism entered a crisis from which it could not extricate itself, we don't believe the danger then would be the emergence of a Soviet-style system. A more likely danger is a fascist-style lock on the political state to enforce "order" where disorder and chaos, brought on by the crisis, would then prevail.