The Promise of Socialism


The Promise Of Socialism

It is the aim of the Socialist Labor Party to create a society in which wars will be but evil memories, a society in which poverty will have disappeared, in which freedom will have been made secure, and in which democracy will have become the prevailing order of society for all. In the ideas expressed by the word Socialism, as advocated by Marxian Socialists, are embodied the hopes and dreams of the ages, a society of peace and abundance.

We of the Socialist Labor Party believe that through our program and our program alone can Socialism be attained peacefully. Before explaining why we believe this, let us first tell you a little about the society we visualize under Socialism.


First, in Socialist society there will be no private ownership of the land and the industries. When we say this, we are not talking about; your house, or your clothes, or your car, or any of your personal belongings. What we are talking about are the factories, the mills, the mines, the railroads - in short, the instruments used in the production and distribution of goods. We say that these means of production and distribution must belong to society as a whole.

Secondly, in our Socialist society, there will be no wage system where the workers receive in wages only a fraction of the value of the goods they produce. Instead, under Socialism, we shall receive the full social value of our labor. We shall produce for use, rather than for sale with a view to profit for private capitalists. We shall produce the things we want and need rather than the things for which a market exists in which the goods we produce are sold for the profit of the private owners.


And, finally, in our Socialist society we shall have a complete democracy - - an industrial democracy. We shall vote from where we work, rather than from where we live. We shall vote in our plants arid factories, in our schools and hospitals, in our mines and on our farms. We shall vote for and elect our shop foremen and management committees. We shall vote for and elect our representatives to our local industrial union councils. We shall vote for and elect our representatives to a national industrial union congress, whose duties it will be to plan how much is producible, how much is needed, and how best to produce it. This will be the democratic industrial government of our Socialist Commonwealth.

Contrast the society broadly outlined above with our society today. Today ownership and control of industry rest in the hands of a numerically small class (the capitalist class) who contribute nothing to production. The rest of us (the working class) own nothing but our ability to work, whether it be physical or mental, or both.

And we, the useful producers, who constitute the vast majority, produce everything. But we are permitted to work only so long as a market exists for the goods we produce. When there is no profitable market for our products, plants close down, and we starve. Because we receive in wages only a fraction of the value of the goods we produce, we can buy back only a fraction. This means that despite the waste in capitalist production and distribution, despite the wealth that the capitalist class squanders recklessly, despite the ever growing demands of the bureaucratic capitalist political State, much of the goods we produce still cannot be disposed of profitably by the capitalist class. The result is periodic industrial stagnation, when we are told that overproduction exists, and we must suffer want because we have produced too much.


But in this so-called overproduction, in this want in the midst of plenty, lies the seed of the grimmest horror of all - world war, inevitable global conflict. For in order to dispose of the so-called surplus, in order to find a temporary safety valve to relieve the economic pressures at home, our capitalist class and its government seek foreign markets and spheres of influence and sources of raw material. And in this search, and the resulting competition with other nations facing the same or similar problems lie the root cause of war.

In the foregoing we have sketched the basic moral problem involved -- the unnecessary evil of the system of capitalism, which has long since outlived its usefulness. We have shown that a parasitic class, which contributes nothing to human welfare, nevertheless exists in luxury based on the exploitation of another class that, producing everything worth while, yet exists in mortal fear of want and degrading misery, and now faces new horrors in a third world war. A world war that, despite all appearances to the contrary, will still be a battle for the control of markets, for imperialist purposes. And a world war that may make of the entire globe one vast Hiroshima.


In Socialist society, on the other hand, since we shall collectively own the factories and means of production, we shall have full and free access to the means of wealth production and distribution. Since we shall receive the full social value of our labor there will be no unwanted surplus. We shall collectively produce the things we want and need for full and happy lives. It will be to the benefit of all to find new inventions, new means of production, improved means of distribution. Society as a whole will have a vital interest in providing opportunity to each indivdual to find the work for which he is best suited and in which he will be happiest. There will be the fullest freedom and opportunity.

And, we repeat, there will be a complete and full democracy. Democracy that will truly be based on the broadest lines. Democracy in which the final and only power will be the great mass of our people, the useful producers, which in Socialist society will mean everybody. No more will society be split into two contending classes. Instead, we shall all be useful producers, collectively owning the means of production and distribution, collectively concerned with producing the most with the least expenditure of human labor, and collectively jealous of the rights of the individual to a full, free and untrammeled life of happiness and accomplishment.

How can we get such a society? The answer is easy. It is within the power of the working class to establish such a society as soon as they recognize the need for it and organize to establish it. The program of the Socialist Labor Party of America points the way. By supporting that program at the ballot box you will say that you demand the end of capitalism and the establishment of Socialism. This is the civilized way of revolution. This is the peaceful way to revolution made possible by American conditions and traditions. Our American Constitution is itself the product of social revolution.


But, in addition, the working class must organize its might to back up the mandate expressed at the ballot box, to insure that this political mandate is heeded by the outvoted capitalist class. This might lies in industry -- in the industries that the workers already run from top to bottom. Organized into one great Socialist Industrial Union, the workers would constitute an irresistible power to back up their overwhelming vote. Organized into such a union, they could take, hold and operate the industries in their own interests, rather than for the profit of a numerically small class whose continued ownership and despotic control of the means of life have become a great social crime. And this Socialist Industrial Union would at the same time become the foundation of the new democratic government, the Socialist Industrial Republic of Labor, the society of peace, plenty and universal freedom.