The case for socialism (2013 version)
The case for socialism (2013 version)
The case for socialism
Why you should join
When the Sunday Times first published its annual Rich List in 1989, the combined wealth of the 200 richest people in Britain was £38 billion (£80 billion in today's money).
In 2013 it had increased to £318.2 billion. Prolonged economic crisis has meant growing impoverishment for the majority but it has not halted the enrichment of a few at the top of British society.
On the contrary, from 2012-13 the number of billionaires in the UK increased yet again - from 77 to 88.
Bankers' bonuses were up 64% in 2013 to a new record, a direct result of chancellor George Osborne cutting the top rate of income tax to 45% two months earlier.
A tiny elite is being showered with gold while the rest of us are trampled down into the dirt. The living standards of the majority are being squeezed hard.
The Resolution Foundation shows the median wage has fallen by £3,200 since 2009, to £21,700. Young people are, on average, 20% worse off than they would have been before the recession.
A quarter of a million more children live in poverty today than when the Tories were last in power in the 1990s.
Benefit cuts and the bedroom tax have left the poorest in society in desperate poverty.
Hopes that the economic crisis was an aberration and life would soon return to 'normal' have faded as austerity has become the new normal.
A massive 65% of people now say that they expect their children to have a much harder life than they have had.
A profound anger is developing at the meagre future that British capitalism is offering. At the moment, however, that anger has no viable outlet.
When the trade unions have called national demonstrations against austerity they have had huge turnouts.
In 2012, when a number of trade union leaders raised the need for a general strike against austerity, opinion polls showed that more than 80% of people would support such action.
The trade union leaders have, however, so far failed to call a 24-hour general strike - or any large-scale co-ordinated strike action.
In the absence of a clear call to action by a mass force it is no wonder that millions of people feel enraged, but can see no way to effectively fight back.
Others are fighting back on important single issues like opposition to the bedroom tax or the closure of local hospitals.
The current relative calm on the surface of British society cannot last. In country after country we have seen mass revolts against austerity - from Greece, Spain and Portugal to Turkey and Brazil.
Even in previously quiet Sweden riots have shaken the inner cities. The question in Britain is not whether the seeming calm will be broken, but whether it will be broken in an organised powerful movement - capable of defeating the government - or if it will be broken by riots or other desperate and incoherent outbursts of anger.
The Socialist Party is doing all that is within our power to try and ensure that the coming struggle in Britain is united, powerful, based on the working class and capable of defeating austerity.
We play a leading role in many campaigns, from the struggle for a general strike, to the campaign against the bedroom tax, to the battle to save the NHS. We are also working to popularise the socialist alternative to austerity.
The last five years have demonstrated beyond doubt to millions that capitalism means crisis and misery.
This short pamphlet outlines what the Socialist Party stands for, and how we think it can be achieved. If you agree - join us!
The Socialist Party's demands include:
- No to ALL cuts in jobs, pay, public services and benefits. Defend our pensions.
- No to privatisation and the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Renationalise all privatised utilities and services, with compensation paid only on the basis of proven need.
- Fully fund all services and run them under accountable, democratic committees that include elected representatives of service workers and users.
- Free, publicly run, good quality education, available to all at any age. Abolish university tuition fees now and introduce a living grant. No to academies and 'free schools'!
- A socialist NHS to provide for everyone's health needs - free at the point of use and under democratic control. Kick out private contractors!
- Keep council housing publicly owned. For a massive building programme of publicly owned housing, on an environmentally sustainable basis, to provide good quality homes with low rents. work & income
- Trade union struggle to increase the minimum wage to £8 an hour without exemptions as an immediate step towards £10 an hour. For an annual increase in the minimum wage linked to average earnings.
- All workers, including part-timers, temps, casual and migrant workers, to have trade union rates of pay, employment protection, and sickness and holiday rights from day one of employment.
- An immediate 50% increase in the state retirement pension, as a step towards a living pension.
- Reject 'Workfare'. For the right to decent benefits, education, training, or a job, without compulsion.
- Scrap the anti-trade union laws! For fighting trade unions, democratically controlled by their members.
- Full-time union officials to be regularly elected and receive no more than a worker's wage. Support the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN).
- A maximum 35-hour week with no loss of pay.
- Major research and investment into replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and into ending the problems of early obsolescence and unrecycled waste.
- Public ownership of the energy generating industries. No to nuclear power. No to the Trident nuclear missile system.
- A democratically planned, low fare, publicly owned transport system, as part of an overall plan against environmental pollution.
- Oppose discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, disability, sexuality, age, and all other forms of prejudice.
- Repeal all laws that trample over civil liberties. For the right to protest!
- End police harassment and surveillance.
- Defend abortion rights. For a woman's right to choose when and whether to have children.
- For the right to asylum. No to racist immigration laws.
New workers' party
- For a new mass workers' party drawing together workers, young people and activists from workplace, community, environmental and anti-war campaigns, to provide a fighting, political alternative to the pro-big business parties.
- Trade unions to disaffiliate from the Labour Party now and aid the building of a new workers' party! Support the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) as an important step towards this.
Socialism and internationalism
- No to imperialist wars and occupations. Withdraw the troops immediately from Afghanistan!
- Tax the super-rich! For a socialist government to take into public ownership the top 150 companies and banks that dominate the British economy, and run them under democratic working class control and management. Compensation to be paid only on the basis of proven need.
- A democratic socialist plan of production based on the interests of the overwhelming majority of people, implemented in a way that safeguards the environment
- No to the bosses' neo-liberal European Union! For a socialist Europe and a socialist world!