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Who Speaks For Socialism ?
"What is the difference between the Socialist Labor Party and the Socialist party?"
"What is the difference between the Socialist Labor Party and the Socialist Workers party?"
"Aren't the aims of the Socialist Labor Party the same as those of the Communist party?"
These and similar questions occur again and again, particularly during a political campaign. They arise because of the confusion engendered in the minds of a great many people by the claims and pretensions of the several candidates for national and state offices, each of whom contends that he is the representative of "Socialism." For this reason, it is important that, once again, we restate in definite terms what the Socialist Labor Party is and what it stands for, at the same time pointing out the anti-Socialist character of such political parties as the "Socialist" and "Socialist Workers" parties.
WHAT SOCIALISM IS
But first it might be well briefly to define Socialism. To begin with, the following basic facts must be recognized and understood. First, under Socialism there will be no private ownership in the necessaries of life, i.e., the industries and the system of communication and distribution, as well as the social services. Second, there will be no political State, no political parties, no politicians, and, accordingly, there will be no State ownership or bureaucratic control of these necessaries of life. Third, there will be no wage system, hence, no exploitation.
In place of private ownership, we shall have social ownership of the necessaries of life. We shall control and administer these through an industrial form of government. And in place of the wage system, we shall all receive the full social value of our labor, of which, under capitalism, wages are but a small fraction. In short, Socialism is a social system under which all the instruments of production, distribution, education, health, etc., are owned, controlled and administered by the people, for the people, through industrial representatives who will be directly and at all times responsible to the people. That is Socialism, and nothing short of it is Socialism. As the great American Socialist pathfinder, Daniel DeLeon, put it:
"Civilized society [Socialist society] will know no such ridiculous thing as geographic constituencies. It will only know industrial constituencies. The parliament of civilization in America will consist, not of congressmen from geographic districts, but of representatives of trades throughout the land, and their legislative work will not be the complicated one which a society of conflicting interests, such as capitalism, requires; but the easy one which can be summed up in the statistics of the wealth needed, the wealth producible, and the work required -- and that any average set of workingmen's representatives are fully able to ascertain infinitely better than our modern rhetoricians in Congress." (From "Burning Question of Trades Unionism.")
With these few, but all-important, facts in mind, let us look at some of the political parties that call themselves "Socialist."
THE SO-CALLED SOCIALIST PARTY
First, the so-called Socialist party. This is an out-and-out reform group whose principles and program are indistinguishable from the Roosevelt "New Deal" policies. Indeed, its leading spokesmen alternately boast and complain that they supplied Roosevelt with planks that saved capitalism! Think of this for a minute. Here is a party pretending to be "Socialist" (which emphatically implies the abolition of capitalism) openly admitting that its program was used to save the system the program was supposedly designed to destroy. What better proof does one need of the anti-Socialist character of this gang of reform politicians ?
But let's go further. The "Socialist" party has for decades advocated a hodgepodge of national ownership, State ownership, municipal ownership, cooperatives, etc., all of which (apart from being a denial of Socialism) would make necessary the retention of the political State and give SP politicians positions of power as the ruling bureaucrats. In their effort to be "all things to all men," they also advocate "private ownership of small business and family farms." Furthermore, though they pay lip service to "social ownership" and "industrial democracy" and "production for use," in the very next breath they promise to increase wages for the workers, increase unemployment insurance and expand social security, etc. -- all of which implies a continuation of capitalism! Fortunately, for all practical intents and purposes, the "Socialist" party is now virtually extinct.
The answer to the question, "What is the difference between the Socialist Labor Party and the Socialist party?" can be summed up in the following statement: The "Socialist" party is a reform outfit seeking political power by making meaningless promises in the name of "Socialism," while the Socialist Labor Party is a revolutionary political party whose aim is, and always has been, the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of the Socialist Industrial Republic.
THE SO-CALLED SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY
Now let us take a look at the so-called Socialist Workers party. This group is equally fraudulent in its presumptuous use of the term "Socialist." For one thing, it is a Communist splinter group generally known as a Trotskyite cabal, which in no important respect differs from the Russian outfit. It subscribes to all the familiar Russian "Communist" tenets and many, if not most, of its tactics have been borrowed from the Russian Revolution.
The so-called Socialist Workers party did not come into existence primarily to advocate Socialism. Actually, it came into being when Trotsky was expelled by Stalin. The Trotskyites' primary aim was to spite Stalin and promote the Trotsky brand of "Communism." This, however, does not prevent them from opportunistically trading on Socialist sentiment whenever the opportunity presents itself. They speak and write in a jargon liberally sprinkled with Socialist terms and phrases. They condemn capitalism at times in almost hysterical terms, and then propose a series of reforms not unlike those of the "Socialist" party and the "Communist" party in their heydays. They, too, pay lip service to "social ownership," "industrial democracy," "production for use," and then in the next breath advocate higher minimum wages, expanded unemployment and old-age benefits, free maternity care, equal pay for women, and the like. Their "ace-in-the-hole" is "a Workers' and Farmers' Government (aping the Russian "workers' and peasants' councils"), which, in the very nature of things, would, if achieved, be identical to the Russian despotic State bureaucracy. These political hucksters have no moral right to the title "Socialist," but unfortunately there is no legal way to stop them from using it. The "Socialist Workers" party is an opportunistic reform outfit; the Socialist Labor Party is a revolutionary political party whose goal is Socialism.
AND THE SO-CALLED COMMUNIST PARTY
As to the "Communist" party, we need spend little time on it. It has become thoroughly discredited in the eyes of decent, thinking people. For decades it has been nothing more nor less than the pliant and Jesuitical tool of the Russian bureaucrats. Its course altered as the foreign policy of the Soviet Union altered. Time and again, it has shown itself capable of coldly and brazenly sacrificing the interests of the workers, and even of collaborating openly with and defending the capitalist exploiters, when its Moscow masters so decreed. During Stalin's reign, the very aims it loudly declaimed one day were reversed the next day, on Stalin's orders. Today, no one knows the aims of the "Communist" party -- least of all the "Communists" themselves. At no time did they represent the true interests of the American working class, nor did they ever have a program that would enable the workers to establish a Socialist society. And, accordingly, they were and are the exact opposite of the Socialist Labor Party.
THE SLP AGAINST THE FIELD!
The Socialist Labor Party, founded in 1890, is the only organizatipn in the United States that stands uncompromisingly for the abolition of capitalism. We SLP men and women deny that there is any possibility of real or lasting improvement for the vast majority, the working class, within the framework of the capitalist system. On the contrary, the Socialist Labor Party warns that the longer capitalism lasts, the worse becomes the condition of the workers as a class, and the more difficult will become the transition from capitalism to Socialism. And this despite the persistent efforts of the liberals and reformers, whether they pretend to be Socialists or not. The Socialist Labor Party has learned through the hard school of experience that reforms under highly developed capitalism lead away from Socialism and progress. As the distinguished American social scientist, Daniel De Leon, put it: "Every reform granted by capitalism is a concealed measure of reaction." Therefore, we contend that capitalism must be abolished.
But capitalism cannot be abolished and replaced by Socialism by a political party (despite the claims of such phony "Socialists" as the SP and SWP politicians). That is a job that only the workers as a class can do. And they can do so only through the program of the Socialist Labor Party. That program calls for the unification of the workers on the political field under the banner of the Socialist Labor Party to demand, via the ballot box, the unconditional surrender of capitalism; and the workers' organization on the economic field into a Socialist Industrial Union to back up the political victory by taking physical possession, in the name and interest of society, of the factories, mills, mines and all the other necessaries of life, "locking out" the capitalist class and continuing production and social services under the direction of a democratically elected Socialist Industrial Union Administration.
The Socialist Labor Party is dedicated to the task of bringing this program to the attention of the American working class and urging upon it its early adoption. We hold with De Leon that --
"The social revolution is not accomplishable unless the proletariat [the working class] becomes conscious of Its class interests, conscious of its historic mission, and is organized accordingly. To deny the fact, and yet expect Socialism, is vain Utopia; In conflict, moreover, with historic evolution. To ignore the fact, and yet practice political Socialism, is a dastardly deception practiced upon the proletariat.... Efforts will be vain ... unless the proletariat is organized economically in the battalions that will enable it to assume the reins of industrial government on the day of its political victory."
Every clear-thinking worker in America should support the Socialist Labor Party and its program for a Socialist reconstruction of society. Do not be deceived by those who, lacking a revolutionary program and principles, opportunistically trade on the word "Socialism." Study the science of Socialism, and support the Socialist Labor Party, the genuine party of Socialism in America.
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