Organizing for Socialism


This is the text of a leaflet published in 1989
by the De Leonist Society of Canada


(Reprinted from The De Leonist Society Bulletin.)

-- January 1989 --

"The program of revolution is revolution." (De Leon)


The October 8, 1988 issue of The People, organ of the Socialist Labor Party, displays yet again the inebriate, fatally flawed reasoning that swamped the bona fide revolutionary SLP a decade ago. At issue is the question of organizing for Socialism.

Rightly The People warns:

"Capitalism is careening toward eventual collapse.... Socialists are in a race against time, trying to build a viable socialist movement before the decay of capitalism brings about irreparable global destruction and/or totalitarianism." (See "Join the Fight.")

And rightly The People instructs:

"Given the economic laws of capitalism. . .declines in the opportunities and living standards of workers will continue. In addition to the future depressions looming ahead, it is a fact of capitalism that competition and the profit motive regularly compel capitalists to seek improvements in productivity for the express purpose of reducing 'labor costs.1 This is another factor that fuels unemployment." (See "Workers Have No Future Under Capitalism.")

Now then, proclaiming that Capitalism is "careening toward eventual collapse," that "declines in the opportunities and living standards of workers will continue," and that "future depressions [are] looming ahead" -- proclaiming these compelling reasons why the working class should forthwith repudiate Capitalism and unite for SOCIALIST RECONSTRUCTION, does The People follow through by calling upon workers to act accordingly? No, it does not. Worse, it backtracks from Socialism by advocating organization for "immediate demands":

"Workers would elect representatives to a plant or office council, to a national council [etc.]....During the struggle against capitalism, these various councils would be responsible for coordinating working-class strategy and tactics, both in the day-to-day struggle to increase wages[!], improve conditions[!] and shorten hours[!J and in the long-term struggle to abolish the wages system itself." (See "Socialist Industrial Unions Key to a Real Future.")

What goes on here?

If true that "the economic laws of capitalism" fuel unemployment and declining living standards (not to mention "the future depressions looming ahead") -- that is, if indeed "workers have no future under capitalism" -- by what reasoning does The People conclude they could beat both capitalist laws and the capitalist class so as to "increase" wages and "improve" conditions?

On the other hand, if Socialists are indeed "in a race against time...before the decay of capitalism brings about irreparable global destruction and/or totalitarianism," why this talk of a "long-term" struggle "to abolish the wages system itself"? Why not a short-term struggle? Why not immediate repudiation of the wages system? Why not immediate organization for Socialism?

It is a case of EITHER -- OR! ONE THING OR THE OTHER! Workers who organize for "a fair day's wage" do not organize for Socialism - Socialism is farthest from their minds. The former is a conservative move, the latter revolutionary. The two aims do not blend; they are incompatible.

Organization for amelioration made sense when Capitalism was young. It is nonsense when Capitalism is collapsing and taking society down with it. The one thing that makes sense now is revolutionary organization - organization for Socialism! De Leonists do not blur the issue; they tell it like it is.