Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/600/8333
Want to change the world? Join the Socialist Party!
No one today can doubt that capitalism is a system in crisis. The capitalist propaganda of the previous decades lies in tatters.
Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary
For years the representatives of capitalism have claimed victory for their system, declaring that the 'free market' is the only way of running the world and that it can bring us all peace, democracy and prosperity.
This has been shown to be the lie that it always was. The profound crisis that global capitalism entered in 2008 is resulting in increased hardship for the majority, in Britain and internationally. Globally the International Labour Organisation estimates that up to 200 million people have been pushed below the poverty line.
In Britain millions have been thrown out of work. Many more face underemployment or wage cuts - with half of the workforce in Britain having suffered one or both since the recession began. Even when the economy starts to grow again it is predicted to be 'joyless and jobless growth'.
Capitalism is flawed
Yet even before this 'great recession' British capitalism did not fulfil its promises. On the contrary, it created increased war and instability. At the same time our democratic rights - including the right to protest - have been increasingly undermined, while the MPs' expenses scandal has lain bare the corruption and lack of accountability that passes for democracy in capitalist Britain.
Above all, the one-sided nature of economic growth meant unimaginable wealth for a few while the majority struggle to get by. The richest 1,000 people have seen their wealth quadruple under New Labour. Britain is among the most unequal countries in the world; second in the advanced capitalist world's inequality index, beaten only by the US.
The current crisis is not just caused by the greed of the City financiers or even the domination of finance capitalism. The deeper root cause is the very nature of capitalism itself - a blind, inherently crisis-ridden system based on production for profit and not for social need.
For capitalism's political representatives there is only one way they can claw their way out of the current crisis - by making the working class pay. We are expected to pay the price in terms of job losses, pay cuts, and the decimation of public services.
Britain's banking system has been bailed out to the tune of £1.2 trillion, equivalent to one week of global GDP. In what could be the biggest con-trick in history the blame for the resulting increased deficit has been laid at the feet of the public sector. The three big parties are united in demanding that it is public services, and public sector workers, who will have to suffer cuts to pay for the economic crisis and the bailout.
The Socialist Party does not accept this 'logic of the market'. A determined, militant struggle by the trade unions and working class against the onslaught of big business needs to be prepared for. If we fight back, as the postal workers are currently doing, it is possible to win.
This has been shown this year when, for the first time in a generation, significant numbers of industrial workers have been forced to take action to defend their pay and conditions. In a whole number of cases - such as at Lindsey, Linamar and Visteon - they have won important victories.
However, no victory under capitalism is permanent. The endless drive for profit means that the capitalists cannot accept permanent or lasting reforms that significantly improve the living conditions of the working class.
It is only on the basis of democratic socialism that it will be possible to harness the array of science and technique created by capitalism, to build a society that meets the needs of all. Today increasing numbers of working-class people are drawing socialist conclusions, particularly once they enter struggle.
In every one of the significant strikes this year, key leaders have become involved in socialist politics as a result of their experiences. Another indication of the potential support for socialist ideas was the election of Joe Higgins as one of three MEPs for Dublin, receiving more than 50,000 first preference votes. Joe, and the Socialist Party in Ireland, have a long history of leading workers' struggles, and unlike politicians of the main capitalist parties, Joe takes only a worker's wage.
Join the Socialist Party
In the coming period it will be possible to begin to build mass support for socialist ideas as millions begin to look for an alternative to the nightmare of capitalism.
We appeal to you to join the Socialist Party. The struggle for socialism needs your talents and abilities. Our struggle does not stop at the shores of Britain. Capitalism is an international system.
Multinational companies exploit the entire world in pursuit of profit. The struggle for socialism is an international struggle.
That is why the Socialist Party is affiliated to the Committee for a Workers' International, which is currently organised in 40 countries, and which fights for socialism worldwide.
Without the Socialist Party's involvement in the Visteon dispute our victory might not have been achieved.
I had only been the trade union convenor for two months and had not even completed my first term as a union rep when we were thrown out on 31 March 2009.
My stewards, bar one, were even less experienced. Everyone knows that Visteon Belfast workers remained in their plant and Basildon and Enfield returned the next morning to storm both plants at the same time.
Less well known is that Socialist Party members were standing shoulder to shoulder with us.
We won a huge financial victory for the sacked Visteon workers but it wasn't easy, there were some very hard times, and some very hard decisions had to be made. I had to learn standing on my feet and by my side stood the Socialist Party, always encouraging, always advising and always available, it was as if our battle was their battle.
I cannot give enough praise to the socialists and, on behalf of my members, would like to take this opportunity to thank them for everything they did.
Frank Jepson Ex-Visteon convenor, Basildon
The Socialist Party campaigns with local communities against cuts in services.
We don't just oppose cuts, but also put forward a socialist alternative to the dead-end policies that the establishment parties offer.
By joining our party you can help shape that alternative.
We need people who have had enough and want to build a party that puts people before profit.
Ian Page, Lewisham Socialist Party councillor
Before I joined the Socialist Party I campaigned around plenty of single issues from the environment to the war in Iraq, the BNP and civil liberties.
Through the Socialist Party I realised that there are threads which join all of these issues, and more, and that socialism offers a solution.
Why fight to change one issue at a time when through socialism and the Socialist Party we can be brought together to change everything?
Ben Norman, Portsmouth
Socialist Party membership brings with it a unique training and education, unobtainable anywhere else.
This training and education equips the member with perspectives and method for the most fruitful intervention into the daily struggles of working-class people.
Len Hockey, Whipps Cross Hospital
The Socialist Party takes issues affecting women seriously.
We bring our experience of organising and activism to many campaigns, like the recent victory against a proposed strip club in Lewisham, and battles in local government where wages are under attack in the name of 'equal pay'.
Part of being a socialist is to understand how and why capitalism exploits women - as unpaid carers, low paid workers, through a multi-billion pound advertising industry telling us how we should look.
The other part is joining the fight to change this.
Eleanor Donne, Socialist Women
How can we fight the injustice around us? I was troubled by this question when I lived in Sri Lanka, where I saw thousands of ordinary poor and working people's lives destroyed for no reason.
In India I saw tens of thousands forced to live in inhuman conditions and starved.
I was sickened to find that millions suffer, unable to feed themselves in Africa, a continent full of enormous resources.
This led me to Marxist ideas, which not only explain social inequality, but also outline the best way to fight back.
When I come across the Socialist Party I couldn't believe that I had found a fighting organisation which is so determined to bring about change.
Senan, Tamil Solidarity
In The Socialist 4 November 2009:
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party statement
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis