Arthur MacManus

Fourteen Points

Publisher: Thomas Bell, Election Agent. 44, Northgate, Halifax.
Printer: Printed by The National Labour Press, Ltd. 30, Blackfriars Street, Manchester
Transcription: Adam Buick
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2006). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

General Election, 1918.
Vote for Socialism
by Voting for

To the Men and Women of the Working Class:

THE hour is rapidly arriving when every man and woman of our class will have to make a great decision. We shall have to choose whether capitalism with all its attendant miseries and horrors is to remain enthroned here in Britain, or whether we intend to be free indeed. We shall have to choose whether we really believe in the application of the right of self-determination for all nations, or whether, for generations yet to come, we prefer to remain the tools of Imperialism, and the slaves of profit.

It is because of these tremendous issues before us that the Socialist Labour Party comes forward with its candidates for this General Election.

We come to explain to our fellow workers the nature of the struggle in. which they are participating. To tell them of the principles for which we work and fight. To reveal what we are confident is the way out for our class from the horrid nightmare of the competitive struggle which sets nation against nation, class against class, and individual against individual.

The struggle between individual capitalists to realise profits sets employer against employer. The conflict between national groups of financiers sets nation against nation, and produces war. But despite their individual and national conflicts the whole capitalist class stands united in their common desire to exploit Labour. Hence under capitalism the freedom of the working class consists in the freedom to starve or accept such conditions as are imposed upon them by the employing class. But the freedom of the master class consists in their untrammelled freedom to buy Labour to create profit. Thus the workers are not free. Neither owning nor controlling the means of life, they are wage slaves of their employers, and are but mere commodities.

In opposition to all other parties—Coalition, Liberal, and Labour—we affirm that so long as one section of the community own and control the means of production, and the rest of the community are compelled to work for that section in order to obtain the means of life, there can be no peace between them.

Conquering the rest of the community, the propertied class created the State machine. Hence arose the dual character of the Class War, manifested industrially through the Employers’ Federations, and reflected politically in the Parliamentary Institution. To meet this, even in self-defence, the workers have been compelled to wage a dual conflict without any particular object in view. Now, however, the best Defence is Offensive, and as a consequence they must build up their industrial organisation to obtain control over the means of production, on the one hand, and destroy the State institution of the master class on the other. The first aim demands the creation of Workers’ Industrial Councils, the latter aim demands the attack upon the political institutions through the ballot box. The first gives the workers the power to take and hold the means of production; the second affords a glorious opportunity to achieve a peaceful social revolution. The latter is the destructive work stamping out the old; the former is the constructive work ushering in the new.

The tragedy of the War is now to be followed by the greater tragedy of peace. The ostensible plea for the War as a struggle for the freedom of small nations now becomes clear as a War of Imperialism. The War for the so-called democratisation of Germany has now turned into a War for the crushing of the rising working class of Europe.

With the partial cessation of production for war comes the dislocation of industry, and the workers once again are to be the principal sufferers. Within a few weeks hundreds of thousands of men and women will be wandering the streets without the means of livelihood. Men who have fought for the country they do not own, hampered by wounds and disease, will be amongst them. The manner in which the situation is to be met betrays the incapacity of the governing classes to run Society in the interests of the community. Doles for the unemployed equivalent to less than 10s. and 12s. per week pre-war standards are to be given.

This method is on a par with the manner in which they have always dealt with the discharged disabled men and the dependants of those who have fought their fight in the Army and Navy. The methods of the Poor Law system and the Charity institutions are stamped upon every measure the governing classes introduce, want none of their workhouse legislation. We want none of their slobbering, sentimental, promises. We want none of their miserable charity doles. But what we do want, and what we are prepared to work and fight for, we will state in clear uncompromising language

Our 14 Points are:

(1) In home affairs we affirm that all land, railways, mines, factories, means of transportation, and all other instruments of Social Service shall become the communal property of the people.
(2) Social classes thus being abolished, no person shall have the power to employ another person for private profit.
(3) The defence of the National Socialist Republics may be necessary to prevent any Imperialist Capitalist State attempting to crush the Freedom won by the workers in any land, consequently the Army and Navy shall be democratically controlled.
(4) To achieve this the government of the country must be changed by the transfer of all governing power from the Parliamentary legislative institution to the Federal Congress of People’s Administrative Councils, composed of delegates from, the Toiling Masses.
(5) The People’s Administrative Councils shall be organised in accordance with the Industrial and Social functions in Local Areas, and linked together in a Federal Congress.
(6) The working day shall be so adjusted as to engage the labour of all who are physically fit and available for social service.
(7) None shall be allowed to participate in the government of the country who, being able, refuse to do work of social service.
(8) The community shall be responsible for the provision of a sound general and technical education for all.
(9) The community shall be responsible for the care of all widows and orphans. Their standard of comfort and opportunity shall be maintained at the same level as the rest of the community.
(10) All provision for disabled, or partially disabled citizens, shall be accorded to them as a social right.
(11) The discharged disabled soldiers’ and sailors’ department in the local and national administrative councils shall in conjunction with their own medical advisers control all matters relating to degrees of disablement, fitness for social service, and treatment required.
(12) The maintenance of all civil liberties, such as the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and all other liberties necessary for the full social development of humanity shall be ensured.
(13) All State endowment of religious institutions shall be abolished. Thus will be established freedom and equality of all phases of human thought.
(14) And, finally, the Workers’ Industrial Republic stands for the complete self-determination of nations and the Federation of the Socialist Republics of the world.

These points are not based upon passing and ephemeral conditions, but upon principles which penetrate to the very foundations of Society. Principles that are permanent and imperishable, applicable to all lands as well as our own. These are—the right of self-determination of nations, the common ownership of the means of life, government of the people by the people for the people. Such are the principles of the S.L.P. Vote for their candidate, work to apply their principles, and you vote and work for the building of the world anew. For the sweeping away of ignorance, for the full physical and mental development of men and women free from class exploitation, and the degradations of poverty. Refuse, and by your neglect you stand for misery, exploitation, greed and war. The hour is great. The eyes of the world are upon you. The choice is yours.

For the Socialist Labour Party,