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A Socialist Labor Party Statement
A Campaign For Socialism
The text of a leaflet distributed in 1976
by the Socialist Labor Party of America
What is socialism and how can it be established in the United States?
While Americans will be swamped in this bicentennial election year with an endless stream of empty debate "on the issues," the national candidates of the Socialist Labor Party will be putting this question before as many workers as possible. Even more importantly, they'll be answering it.
Basic Causes, Basic Solutions
The program of socialism on which they'll run speaks to the needs and problems of the American people in a way no other political platform can. It ties all the many and varied problems confronting workers today, from economic crises to racism, from eroding democratic rights to environmental suicide, back to their common origins in the system of capitalism.
It bares the basic reason why a people increasingly dissatisfied with the oppression and deteriorating quality of life in the U.S. have not been able to gain the freedom and security they've sought for decades. In a nation that prides itself on its democratic traditions, the obvious reality is that the great majority of people have no control over their lives and no way to insure even the basic necessities of life for themselves and their families. In every sphere of society, they confront the rule of a small class whose ideas and interests predominate.
The socialist program cuts through superficial excuses for this unequal status quo and gets to its roots. It shows that tinkering with the system as it is, or waiting for "better times," or relying on politicians, are only ways in which the class that owns and controls the U.S. keeps the majority from challenging its domination.
The platform of the SLP is neither a bundle of promises nor a package of slogans. It's a plan for mobilizing the working people of the nation into organizations that will enable them to resist and overturn the rule of the capitalist class, and to build a better society, more democratic, more open and more free than any that has ever existed.
Necessity of Social Change
Anything short of such a revolutionary change is a formula for leaving control of society right where it is, in ruling-class hands. And no matter how that control may be "modified," if the ruling power of society is left where it is now, this nation is headed for disaster.
The tremendous productive potential of the economy will continue to be used for private gain and corporate profit. It will be used, as it is today, to exploit workers on the job, to rape the environment for profit, and to amass mountains of wealth for the few. It will keep pitting worker against worker, race against race, and sex against sex, fighting over scraps while the capitalist class reaps the harvest of society's labor. A small ruling class will continue to use its monopoly on the means of life to shape the entire course of the nation.
If control of society remains where it is now, the government will remain an instrument for advancing the ends of a ruling minority against the rest. It will continue to serve capitalist interests at home and imperialist interests abroad. The repression and lies which have become regular orders of government business will grow more drastic and dangerous. The system will head toward ever-worsening crises, more conflicts and the inevitable threat of another world war.
To change this course the political and economic power of society must be transferred from the small ruling class to the working majority. In essence, this is what socialism is all about.
Socialism does not mean control by the state, or domination by a party, or the regulation of capitalist rule, or more reforms and bureaucracy. It means the transfer of power over all social institutions and operations to the rank-and-file workers themselves.
A Revolutionary Program
How can this be done?
Such a revolutionary change can only come through the direct activity of the workers themselves. They must break with the illusion that they have to endure capitalism forever, or are powerless to change society. Through their conscious political and economic organization, they can not only overturn class-ruled society, but, in the same process, build a better one in its place.
Politically workers must draw together in a party that stands for their own collective interests. For too long workers have relied on capitalist politicians to speak for them. They must build their own political organization, to challenge the domination of the capitalist class and help all workers realize how socialism serves their needs, and how it can be won.
But a political party by itself is not enough. Socialism means more than a change in ideas, or a different set of political figures in government. It means that the masses of working people must build the new forms of socialist government.
These new socialist organizations of workers on the job are needed to mobilize labor's strength against capitalism on a militant, classconscious basis. They must unite all workers, skilled and unskilled, employed and unemployed. Workers in all jobs and industries must be united into a socialist labor movement to back up the workers' political organization, and ultimately take control of the economy in the name of society.
These same socialist unions would then form the building blocks of the new socialist government. Organized along the same lines as the economy itself, socialist industrial government would be geared to administering production for social needs and wants. The economy would be run on democratic socialist principles for use instead of profit.
In socialist society, there would be no political bureaucracy and no small class controlling the economy. All government representatives would be elected directly by rank-and-file workers on the job. They would receive no special privileges or power over those they represent, and would be subject to recall whenever a majority of those who elected them deemed it necessary.
On such a foundation a society could be built where all power in every social institution would rest with the rank and file. Outmoded, repressive political government would be superceded by a socialist industrial society, and for the first time the majority would have direct democratic control over their own affairs.
This is the revolutionary alternative the SLP campaign will be
putting before the workers of the country. Find out more about it
and join us in the effort.
Socialist Labor Party
for Vice President
SLP Campaign 1976:
Edward A. Swiatek, chairman,
Genevieve Gunderson, treasurer.
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