Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Manifesto to the Working Class



The most significant feature of the political development of this last ten years is the growing dis-satisfaction of the working-class with the existing political parties. The defection of the workers from the capitalist parties has for long been the theme of orthodox politicians. Very few of their speeches at the present time fail to conclude with a querulous expostulation with the workers for their desertion of those whom they had previously trusted, or a tearful entreaty to return to the fold. The causes of this phenomenon are pretty well known. The ruthless attacks made upon the workers striving by means of strike or boycott to obtain slightly better conditions of life, as evidenced by the actions of capitalist Home Secretaries at Featherstone, Broxburn, Motherwell, Hull and Grimsby; the suppression of Trade Union organisation by the legal decision in connection with the Taff Vale Railway dispute, and the case of Quinn versus Leatham - these and other occurrences for which all parties at present represented in the British House of Commons are equally responsible have induced in the workers the belief that their interests as a class are menaced by their present legislators, and that the welfare of their masters alone meets with consideration. The need for a party representing the working class and defending its interests is generally felt and expressed. Class feeling in short is becoming increasingly manifest. But what is not clearly recognised is the necessity for such a party having a clear, definite and practical basis, and an intelligent conception of its position, method and goal. There is considerable danger that honest aspirations of the workers and their sincere endeavours to better their lot by political activity may be frustrated and led into a blind alley by the efforts of crafty and unscrupulous politicians and self-styled Labour Leaders. Therefore in calling upon you to give us your support in forming the party of the workers we lay before you our methods and aim, together with the attitude with which we intend to adopt towards the existing political parties, ”Labour” or otherwise.

The SOCIALIST LABOUR PARTY differs from all parties at present in existence in that it appeals to the working class and the working class alone for support. Whether it be in the city or the nation, in Town Council or in Parliament, it is the one section of the population that has any right to consideration. They alone produce the wealth of society, and it is our aim that they alone should possess it. Our attack upon the present constitution of society is both its political and economic aspects is due to the fact that the class that dominates the state, to whose interest and advantages all our social institutions are directed, is the useless, obsolete and parasitical capitalist class. The power to rob and exploit, which is vested in this class, rests upon their political supremacy. It is thus they are enabled to bring all the powers of the state, police and military, to bear upon those workers who strive to decrease their aster’s spoils by increasing their miserable wages. It follows then that all efforts of the workers to better their conditions must be centred in the task of overthrowing the supremacy of the master class in the state, and of using the power so gained to seize the means of life to be used by the workers and their dependents, in short, to obliterate the capitalist class as a social and political entity.

By this we do not mean what is variously called “State Socialism”, “Public Ownership”, or “Municipalism” - that is the ownership of certain public utilities by a community in which capitalism is still dominant. A worker is as much exploited by a capitalist state or corporation as by a private capitalist employer - as post-office or municipal employees an testify. We insist upon the political overthrow of capitalism as an absolutely necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the working class, and the establishing of the Socialist Republic. Otherwise an industry controlled by a capitalist state differs only from one controlled by an individual capitalist in the superior powers of the former to rob and oppress those under its thraldom.

This is precisely the point that has been hitherto ignored by organisations appealing to the working class. At the present time there are certain bodies of this nature named respectively, the Independent Labour Party, the Labour Representation Committee, the Social Democratic Federation, and the Fabian Society - parties differing only in name and in phraseology, but almost identical in principles and tactics. All these organisations are dominated either by middle-class men or working men influenced by middle-class habits and thoughts.

As contrasted with all such compromisers and confusionists who would lead the working class to destruction, we desire to lay before you the principles of polical action on which our party will proceed. We intend wherever possible to contest on behalf of the working class, and against all other political parties, very election, municipal or national. We do not cater for the support of those workers who do not recognise our goal, nor agree with us as to the means whereby it is to be attained. These means, we repeat, are the conquest of political power by the working class and in the interests of the working class, manifesting itself through an avowedly Socialist organisation.

This explains alike our policy and our name, Socialist Labour Party. Socialist, because through socialism alone can the workers be emancipated; Labour, because by the labouring classes alone can Socialism be attained; Party, because we are not merely an educational or propagandist body, but stand for the political expression of our class interests for the formation of the Socialist Republic.



No link to the piece?
No need for a link it's not up anyplace else yet. A neprimerimye blog scoop!
Any plans to have a SLPGB page on the MIA?

A couple of comrades have already helped set up a SPGB page
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