A Socialist Labor Party Statement—

Politicians Promise and
Things Get Worse! ...WHY?

The problems that make living so difficult today—problems of poverty, crime, unemployment, air and water pollution, and many more—have been with us for a long time, a very long time. These problems are not peculiar to your state. They exist in varying degrees in every state in the nation.

Every politician who has run for office for the past 50 years or more has promised to do something to alleviate or eliminate these evils. Despite the promises these problems have defied solution. Recall the promises made 4, 8, 16 or 20 years ago and ask yourself—

Has the general quality of living in your state improved since then? Or has it worsened?

Are the streets safer? Is there less crime? Is the air we breathe less polluted? Are our jobs more secure? Has poverty diminished? Has racism been eliminated?

On the contrary, hasn't every one of these evils grown worse?

Surely, few, if any, will deny that workers, whatever their race or ethnic origin, are being subjected to more discomfort, more crowding, more inconvenience, more exploitation, greater insecurity and physical danger than ever before.

Who, or what, is responsible? The politicians blame each other.

But the truth is that these evils have been present and worsening for years and years. In fact, administration after administration, Democratic and Republican, has promised to do something about these social evils. Some even tried. Reform after reform has been enacted in efforts to alleviate them. But conditions have gone right on getting worse and worse. All of which demonstrates that even with the best of intentions no politician or set of politicians could prevent conditions for workers from worsening. WHY?

Politicians Ignore Causes

The reason is simply that the politicians persist in dealing with effects and ignoring the cause. The cause must be something that exists in every city and state. After all, the politicians who hold office in our local government do not administer the affairs of the other cities in the nation. Yet the other cities have the same problems we have.

The basic cause of our problems is the capitalist system under which we live. Capitalism today is an outmoded decadent social system. It has been so for a long time, and the history of the past 75 years fully justifies this conclusion. Consequently, the solution to our problems is not to be found in politicians, but in a whole new concept of society—a society for which the material basis exists right now.

Technological development clearly dictates the course that must be taken. Modern industry is thoroughly socialized in its organization and operation. It has outgrown private ownership of industry and production for sale and the profit of the owning few. We are now at a point where we can produce an abundance for everyone. By establishing a new society we can prevent worsening crises and ultimate catastrophe toward which our present society is taking us. What we are saying is that we can and must establish a socialist society. Let us explain briefly what socialism is and the kind of life we can have under it.

The Socialist Society

First, in a socialist society there will be no private ownership of the land and the industries. When we say this, we are not talking about your personal belongings. We are talking about the factories, the mills, the mines, the railroads—in short, the socially operated instruments used in the production and distribution of the necessities of life. We say that these must belong to society as a whole.

Secondly, in socialist society there will be no wage system in which 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 produced are sold for the profit of private owners.

Finally, instead of political government we shall establish a government in which representation will be based on industry. Each industry and service will be represented in the overall socialist administration through representatives elected to gradually ascending deliberative and planning bodies.

Organized into one all-embracing socialist industrial organization we, the useful producers, shall manage and direct all social production, and exercise all authority. In each plant we shall democratically elect a council or management board to supervise plant operations. In each shop unit we shall also elect our supervisors, and make all other decisions necessary for the most efficient operation of the shop and plant.

In each plant we, the workers, shall elect representatives to a local industrial council that will coordinate production in our industry or service at the local level, and we shall elect representatives to a national industrial council that will coordinate production in our industry or service nationally.

All-Industrial Congress

Finally, we shall elect our representatives to the All-Industrial Congress that will replace the present political Congress. The All-Industrial Congress will plan and coordinate all social production and all social services. All representatives and administrators will be elected directly by the rank and file, who will be exercising their vote in an area where they have the most knowledge. We call this industrial organization the Socialist Industrial Union government. It will be a complete democracy—an industrial democracy.

Socialist government will be concerned with practical considerations; considerations such as determining the quantities and kinds of useful things needed to insure an uninterrupted flow of the good things of life to satisfy our needs and desires. The people elected to serve at all levels of the Socialist Industrial Union government will require a knowledge and understanding of the processes of production and distribution. They will have to have the ability to coordinate and direct these processes. Coming from industry, they will have this knowledge, understanding and ability.

No doubt there will be times when mistakes will be made. But they can, and will, be rectified quickly, efficiently and democratically. Administrators and representatives who fall short of the mark may be recalled from office as easily as they were elected to office. Through their Socialist Industrial Union organization the rank and file of workers will control the government completely.

Elimination of Social Parasites

Another point. When private and state ownership have been eliminated, there will be no way for social parasites, capitalistic or bureaucratic, to exist. In the nature of things, it will be impossible for any individual or group to acquire economic power and use it to exploit or suppress another human being.

Nor will those elected to the socialist administrative bodies possess, or be able to acquire, economic power. There will be no material basis on which a bureaucracy could establish and perpetuate itself. No one will be able to hand out offices or appoint lackeys. All who will serve in government, in whatever capacity, will be elected by the rank and file and subject at all times to rank-and-file control. In short, we, the workers, shall be in complete control of the source of all power, the economic resources of the land.

Here in the United States we have all the material requirements for producing an abundance. It is common knowledge that we have developed the most productive machine in the world. Once this machine is socially owned, controlled and administered, there will not be, there cannot be, conflicting material interests. We shall all be useful producers, each contributing his or her fair share to the total product. In return, each of us will receive directly and indirectly all that we produce. We say “indirectly” because we shall get part of our product back through social services—public health, education, recreation, etc.

In socialist society there can be no poverty or involuntary unemployment. The more producers, the better for all. Technological improvements will be a further blessing. The greater the number of workers, the better the tools, the more modern the methods, the greater and more varied will be the wealth we can produce, and the shorter the hours each of us will have to work.

So great is our capacity to produce abundance that we can easily insure that our youth will be educated, the aged provided for, and the sick given the finest care possible. All this will be done without depriving anyone of a fair and more than adequate share. It will not be charity but the rightful share of every human being in the affluent socialist society.

In the socialist climate of abundance and cooperation, we shall achieve the highest standards of mental health and physical well-being. We shall enjoy great material well-being individually and collectively, but it will not be at anyone else’s expense. We shall be secure, healthy, happy human beings living in peace, harmony and freedom, in marked contrast to the capitalist jungle of strife, misery and insecurity in which we live today.

The Organized Working Class

How can we get such a society? The answer is easy. It is within the power of the workers 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.

First, to win the struggle for socialist freedom requires building a political party of socialism to contest the power of the capitalist class on the political field, and to educate the majority of workers about the need for socialism.

But, in addition, the working class must organize its might to back up its demand for the end of capitalism and the establishment of socialism. 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 demand for socialism. Organized into such a union, they would take, hold and operate the industries in their own interests. This Socialist Industrial Union would at the same time become the framework of the new democratic government, the Socialist Industrial Republic of Labor, the society of peace, plenty and universal freedom.

Study the Socialist Labor Party program and prepare yourself to assist in bringing about this urgently needed social change.


Socialist Labor Party of America, P.O. Box 218, Mountain View, CA 94042-0218 • www.slp.org • socialists@slp.org
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