Harry Baldwin

Socialism: One World, One People

says Harry Baldwin, Socialist Party of Gt Britain candidate for Hampstead
Parliamentary General Election, Thursday March 31st 1966

Source: Socialist Party, Thursday March 31st 1966.
Transcription: Socialist Party of Great Britain.
HTML Markup: D. Whitehead
Copyleft: Creative Commons (Attribute & No Derivatives) 2007 conference "Be it resolved that all material created and published by the Party shall be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs copyright licence".

Fellow Working Men and Women,

The message of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, which I am representing in this General Election, is fundamentally the same as in every other election in the past. While capitalism lasts Socialists have only one task; to explain, and struggle for, Socialism.


The Socialist Party of Great Britain was founded in 1904. Our object is the establishment of Socialism; a world-wide social system in which the means of wealth production and distribution (factories, mines, the land, railways, steamships, etc.) will be owned by the entire population of the world.

We are associated with our Companion Socialist parties in the U.S.A., Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. We have no connection whatever with any other political party or organisation.

We oppose every organisation which stands foi capitalism, which includes the Labour, Conservative, Liberal, Communist, Independent Labour parties and many others. We oppose the wars which capitalism persistently throws up. We oppose political campaigns which appeal for votes on programmes of reforms (better housing, higher wages, etc.), which in fact do little or nothing to alleviate working class problems. We oppose Nationalisation, which is just another way of organising capitalism.

We support Socialism. Nothing less will do.

We work for Socialism. We spread among the working class the knowledge without which Socialism cannot be established. Our leader does not exist. Leaders are for the politically ignorant. The worker who has Socialist knowledge aoes not need a leader to interpret political affairs for him and to tell him what to do. There are, therefore, no leaders in the Socialist Party of Great Britain and we do not set out to become leaders of the working class.

We recruit Socialists and nobody else. We examine all applicants for membership to ensure that they understand what is entailed by being a Socialist.

We appeal to the working class to examine the case for Socialism and to vote for our candidate only if they understand, and want, Socialism.

We recognise that the road to Socialism lies through Parliament. At the moment, the number of Socialists is small and our resources are therefore limited; unfortunately, we can afford to run only a few candidates. But as the conscious desire for Socialism spreads among the working class we shall contest more and more constituencies, giving more and more workers the chance to vote for a world of abundance, peace and freedom.


We live today in a social system which is called capitalism. The basis of this system is the ownership by a section of the population of the means of producing and distributing wealth—of factories, mines, ships, and so on. It follows from this that all the wealth which we produce today is turned out with the intention of realising a profit for the owning class. It is from this basis that the problems of modern society spring.

The class which does not own the means of wealth production—the working class—are condemned to a life of degradation and dependence upon their wages. This poverty expresses itself in inferior housing, clothes, education, and the like. In the end, it expresses itself in the pathetic destitution of the old age pensioner—a fate which no elderly capitalist ever faces. Implicit in capitalism is the class struggle between capitalist and worker.

The basis of capitalism throws up the continual battle over wages and working conditions with attendant industrial disputes. It gives rise, with its international economic rivalries, to the wars which have disfigured man’s recent history.

Every other party in this election stands for capitalism, whatever they may call themselves. And whatever their protestations, they stand for a world of poverty, hunger, unrest and war. They stand for a world in which no human being is secure.


Socialism will be a social system based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth, by and in the interest of the whole community. This definition was composed by the Socialist Party of Great Britain when it was formed in 1904. We have never altered it; not because we are stubborn and blind to changing conditions but because the word Socialism means the same today as it did in 1904—and as it will mean when Socialism becomes a reality.

Common ownership of the means of wealth pro-; duction and distribution means that the things, which are needed to make and distribute wealth will be1 owned by the whole human race. At present these things are the land, factories, mines, railways, steamships, etc. But common ownership tines not mean that everybody in the world will own an equal share of every factory, mine, railway train and the rest.

What common ownership does mean, is that there is one way in which all human beings will be equal. Everybody will have an equal right to take however! much wealth they need and to consume it as they require. Because the means of production will be commonly owned the things which are produced will go into a common pool from which all human! beings will be able to satisfy their needs.

Now if there is unrestricted access to wealth for, everybody it must follow that nobody, in a sense ora an individual or a class, owns wealth. This means; that wealth will not be exchanged mulei Socialism;! it will not be bartered nor will it be bought and sold! As a rough parallel we can consider the air we breathe. Everybody has free access to the air and we can all take in as much of it as we need to live. In other words, nobody owns the air; nobody tries to exchange air for anything else, nobody tries to sell or buy it. Similarly there will be no buying and selling under Socialism; no need for the complicated and widespread organisations which deal in commerce and banking in capitalist society. Socialism will have no merchant houses, no banks, no stock exchanges, no tax inspectors, or any of the paraphernalia of capitalism.

In a Socialist society wealth will be produced solely to satisfy peoples’ needs and not I'm sale as it is today. Because of this there will be no deliberate variations in quality of wealth. Socialism will have only one quality. Whatever is produced will be the best that human beings are capable of. Houses, for example, will be designed and built with the only motive of housing human beings in the best possible style. The materials of which they are made, their facilities and location will all conform to this. They will be the best homes that society knows how to build.

Nobody will be employed by another person- nobody will sell his labour power or work for wages. Everybody, in fact, will work for the whole of society, Work will be a cooperative effort, freely given because men will realise that wealth can only be produced by working unless wealth is produced society will die. Yet it will not only be a reluctance to commit social suicide that will keep us working under Socialism. Men will be free, free from the fetters of wage slavery, free from the fears of unemployment, free from economic servitude and insecurity. Nobody will he found doing a job which he hates but tolerates because it pays him well. Healthy young men will not grow pigeon chested over fusty ledgers. Nobody will waste his time learning how to kill scientifically. We will be free to do useful work, making things which will add to society’s welfare, things which will make human life belter and happier

There will be no war; the cause of war will no longer exist. This means that there will be no armed forces with their dreadfully destructive weapons It. means that the people who are in the armed forces, together with the rest of the enormous social effort which is channelled into them, will he able to serve useful, humane purposes instead of destroying and terrorising.

When production is only for human use we shall see a great development of society's productivity. First of all, an enormous number of jobs which are vital to capitalism will become redundant. Socialism will have no use for such jobs because its wealth will not be produced for sale. There will probably be statisticians to collect information about society’s productive resources and to relate this to our needs. A lot of people will work at transporting wealth all over the world. These are useful occupations, just as all work will be .

Capitalism has veined the worId with frontiers and has fostered patriotism and race hatred none of which has any scientific basis. Frontiers are purely artificial and are often altered at international conferences. Many workers are proud of their nationality although in logic they cannot take pride in something over which they have no control. Socialism will have none of this. No frontiers, no racial barriers or prejudices. The world will be one with only human beings working together for their mutual benefit.

Socialism will end the wasteful insecure world we know today. It will remove poverty and replace it with plenty. It will abolish war and bring us a world of peace. It will end fear and hatred and give us security and brotherhood.

Now what about the other political parties?


A few months ago, Mr Harold Wilson told us that nineteen-sixty-six was going to be “Make or Break” year.

This was nothing more than another way of making a promise which we have heard many times before; that if we all work harder, cut out restrictive practices, increase our productivity, go easy on wage claims, a Golden Future of prosperity will be ours.

Although this is a very old promise, it has never been fulfilled. However hard the working class work, they never get rid of their problems, they never get any nearer the Golden Future.

The reason for this is simple. Working class problems are caused by the capitalist social system and until that is abolished the problems will remain.

Mr. Wilson's government were not, however, concerned with solving! the problems of the working class. They devoted a lot of effort to battling with their difficulties over the balance of payments, the international standing of sterling and so on. These are all matters which concern only the British capitalist class.

The difficulties which faced the Wilson government were not peculiar to this country. Take wages. In France, Germany, Sweden, Australia, the United States—to name only a few—unions are at loggerheads with governments and employers over wage claims.

Similarly, employers in these countries are trying to increase the productivity—in other words the intensity of exploitation—of their workers and to make their products more competitive on the world’s markets.

They, too, have been telling their workers that this is a time of “make or break”.

What about the problems of those workers? They are not confined to any one country. All over the world millions of workers suffer bad housing, inadequate medical attention, poor food. They live sub-standard lives, catch diseases they could avoid, die before they need.

All their lives, in every land, workers face the strains of poverty—of struggling to live within the restrictions of their wage packet, of having always to leave a mass of needs and desires unfulfilled.

As much as poverty, war is a condition of our lives under capitalism. In between the massive World Wars, minor conflicts are raging, perhaps setting the scene for a greater clash. At present it is Vietnam. Not so long ago it was Kashmir, Algeria, Suez, Korea.

There seems to be no end to it—nor can there be, as long as capitalism lasts. For behind the military conflicts the economic rivalries of capitalism, which are the basic cause of modern war, are as acute as ever. The world is still divided into spheres of influence and “protection”, there are still great power blocs confronting each other, the nations of the world still hold mighty arsenals of frightening power.

Capitalism, in short, creates a mass of problems for its people. It restricts, represses, degrades and destroys them. For many people, life under capitalism is made tolerable only by their faith in the politicians’ promises of a Golden Future.

Yet however much the politicians assure us that they have the solution to our problems, they never succeed in solving them. The future, as long as the workers are content to trust their leaders, and to keep capitalism in being, is grim.

The expansion of Socialist knowledge and action is the only hope for a sane world, a world which is safe and abundant and free.


Why do the various political parties keep breaking their election promises? The Labour Party and the Conservative Party accuse each other of incompetence and trickery and the Liberal Party blames them both. But these are all superficial explanations. I he real reason is more basic: the Government is not the free agent when it comes to tackling social problems that the manifestos, slogans and promises of these parties suggest.

All these parties aim to take power within the framework of capitalism and through legislation to solve the many social problems of the day. The function of a government is to manage the day-lo- day affairs of capitalism so that it is the needs of capitalism rather than election promises or abstract moral principles that determine how it acts. By its very nature capitalism cannot be made to work to the benefit of the immense majority of its people, those who work for a wage or salary. Any party, whatever its intentions, which takes on the task of running the governmental affairs of capitalism is sooner or later forced to act to the detriment of the working class. Time and time again this has been confirmed. The Labour government has been no exception as its record on wages and salaries, war and immigration shows.

When the Labour government took office its first problem was to deal with the financial mess that British capitalism had got itself into. This took priority. “We shall have to defer some of the desirable social reforms we had hoped to do in the immediate future,’ said Callaghan last July. The government did all it could to keep down wages and salaries so that more profits would be available for re-investment. In fact in this it has had little success. The economic forces of capitalism have made a mockery of the Prices and Incomes policy and the first year of the so-called National Plan.

In Aden and Malaysia the Labour government is involved in wars to protect the oil, tin, and rubber supplies of the owning class of Britain. In Vietnam it has given its support to the American government’s policy of killing and destruction there. Again, as any government in capitalism must, it has had a ‘defence” policy based on the latest weapons of destruction, including nuclear weapons. It has even appointed an arms super-salesman.

The Labour Party has always talked of standing for human brotherhood. Yet the present government has pursued a thinly-disguised policy of colour discrimination. In August last year immigration controls were tightened and vague talk of “illegal immigrants” by the then Home Secretary has no doubt helped to fan racial prejudice.

Once again the Labour Party has failed to tame capitalism. Indeed over the years the opposite has happened: Capitalism has tamed the Labour Party. It is now openly and obviously little different, in words as well as actions, from the Conservative and Liberal parties which don’t claim to be against capitalism.

Governments of all parties fail not through incompetence or insincerity or sabotage. They fail because they cannot do what they claim. They are elected by cruelly exploiting people’s hopes of a better world and then find they can’t deliver the goods.

Now we come to the important point—what about you, the voter?


Capitalism is essentially a system of inequality; it can be nothing else, and all the claptrap of its Lab/' Lib/Cons politicians cannot alter that unpleasant fact. The Board of Inland Revenue has recently issued its annual report for the financial year 1963- 64, showing that over ten million people earned £500 or less, before tax, while at the other end of the scale, 110 enjoyed a pre-tax income of £100,000 or more. An interpretation of the Board’s report by “The Economist” for February 26 says that “two thirds of British people in 1964 had no' wealth worth recording at all, while eighty per cent, of all personal wealth, including property, was owned by some five million individuals, nine per cent, of the population.

It is this division of wealth—this glaring inequality —which is a constant feature of capitalism. It is moreover a fundamental fact of capitalist life and colours the whole of your existence, so that by comparison the promises of the Heaths and Wilsons amount to so much trivia. Not that Wilson or Heath will tell you that, of course. All their attention will be directed to securing your vote for the continuation of a world where your life and that of many others, will be devoted to keeping the nine per cent, minority in the ease and comfort of their eighty per cent, stake.

If you think that’s a bit far-fetched, take a look at some of the issues which will be tossed back and forth this time. Have the politicians made yet another promise to solve the housing problem? Yes, we thought they had—the same promise they make in all elections. But just who is it who will be queueing for council “dwellings” or worried about mortgage rates? For whom, in fact, is housing a problem? Certainly not the nine per cent.

The question of education has threatened to become a major issue and “grammar versus comprehensive” has been debated angrily by worried working class parents. Understandably enough, but whatever emerges from the melting pot, real education for your children will not be part of it. There will be a training of some sort or other for the jobs which will be going in the capitalist world of the 1970’s, and that in general is what the kids will get—except for the lucky few whose parents belong to the nine per-cent, and can afford something very much better.

And do the nine per cent, have to worry about higih prices, lagging wages and pensions? Of course not, but you do, and it’s because you don’t look further into the background of these problems that politicians can keep you stocked with promises, and that’s about all. Your vote can be used to do something really positive about all this, but only when it is backed with determination which stems from knowledge of the world in which you live.


Apart from the Socialist Party, all other parties will be seeking support for a political leader. The fact that the Socialist Party emphatically rejects the cult of leadership is another basic difference between ourselves and all other parties. To us, political leadership symbolises immaturity; it is inherently corrupt. By supporting political leadership in this election, the working class will relinquish yet again the power they can have to act in their own interests.

Over the years, politics has given us a procession of various leaders and a great deal of attention has been given to their various personal qualities, but the electorate has a fickle appetite for the men it consumes. The magic Macwonder image can easily glive way to something outworn and flabby. It is convenient under Capitalism to associate individual personalities with various phases of its administration. It is convenient to be able to associate failure with a man instead of a system. It is convenient to be able to swap the man but keep the system, to create the illusion of fresh opportunities by introducing a new personality. Political leaders come and go, but the institutions they administer remain. We do not attack one leader as against another. We argue that no man, or for that matter no team of men, can administer Capitalism in the interests of the whole community.

The political leaders in this election claim that they can work on behalf of the majority. By now the cheap electoral promises that crumble in the hard test of actual policies and subsequent experience is more than familiar. As ever, this process will repeat itself in this election. Regardless of the endless auctioneering that lakes place between parties seeking to form a government, the stark facts of Capitalist society must assert themselves. We live in class divided society that operates in the interests of a privileged minority. Regardless of intentions, Capitalism can only be run in their interests. There can be no choice. The defence of interests, that are hostile to the working population must go with the job of government.

The administration of a society that is based on privileged interests requires the cult of political leadership. Workers who accept economic exploitation will abdicate their political interests by supporting a leader. Socialists have a knowledge of Capitalism that enables them to know where their interests lie. For us leadership is an irrelevance. We combine in a democratic way with the object of realising our mutual interests through the establishment of Socialism. Action for fundamental social change is beyond individuals This must be the act of a majority who assert democratic control over their social affairs through knowledge and understanding. For us leadership and the confused support that it rests upon walks a political path fraught with disaster.

In this election, the Socialist Party of Great Britain does not seek your blind support on the basis of empty promises which are easy to mouth and cheap to print but, which, having no prospect of success, are in reality deceptive We do not offer you a leader with an allegedly magic touch. We do not ask for your vote unless you understand our case.

There is no easy way out. We ask you to put in socialist perspective the realities of everyday life.

We seek to spread knowledge of Socialism and secure your understanding. When we have that we shall ask you for more than your vote; we shall ask for your comradely help in establishing Socialism.

I urge you seriously to consider our case, for the issues before you at this Election are vital. Upon your knowledge, and your action, depends the hope for the future.