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May 2001 • Vol 1, No. 1 •


The Socialist Workers Organization (SWO) raises the banner of international revolutionary socialism!

We are a new organization formed to advance the program of Marxism in the United States. Our founding members have a long history as partisans of the American Trotskyist movement. Most were long-time members of the Socialist Workers Party and organizers and participants in the founding convention of Socialist Action in October 1983. All of the founders of the Socialist Workers Organization were members of Socialist Action, comprising half the organization until February, 2001.

New Organization—Revolutionary Continuity

The Socialist Workers Organization is dedicated to the basic program that Karl Marx and Frederick Engels set down in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, which begins with this fundamental historical analysis:

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”

Those prophetic words ring with the force of truth in a 21st century world faced with the destruction of the planet's ecological balance of nature on one side and the growing threat of nuclear annihilation of the human species on the other.

Even pro-capitalist intellectuals have noted that the Communist Manifesto was an amazingly prescient prediction of the course of capitalist development. But the Manifesto sketched out the dynamic that has led to today's globalized world in more ways than one:

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. . . . Modern bourgeois society . . . [which] has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.

Capitalist Crisis on the Horizon

Socialist Viewpoint magazine, will reflect the political program of the Socialist Workers Organization. It makes its debut at a time when the globalized capitalist economy appears to have come to the end of an unprecedented 60-year expansion without experiencing a serious economic crisis in major industrialized strongholds.

Whether this developing crisis breaks out of control this year or the next, it will be with a force rivaling, if not overshadowing, the Great Depression triggered by the stock-market collapse of 1929.

If history is any guide, a global economic crisis will ultimately result in more unemployment and poverty than already plagues the great majority of this planet's inhabitants. In the developing world and some of the former major economies, like the former Soviet Union, we can expect more hunger, more pandemics like AIDS, and a continuing collapse of the planet's ecosystem. This crisis will also afflict the working class of the United States and other imperialist powers, as did the Great Depression.

While the capitalist social system means poverty, disease and war for hundreds of millions of the world's population, it is during those times of cataclysmic crisis, when the system breaks down in its powerful centers, that the socialist alternative can become real and ultimately necessary to the masses of the world's working people.

Our program can be summarized thus: the working class, which produces all wealth, should rule society. That is the only means through which humankind can hope to end war, poverty and oppression of every kind.


Our struggle is international in scope. The capitalist system has produced its own kind of international oppression—imperialism—and in order to fight against it, workers have no choice but to organize internationally. The working class has no nationality. The human solidarity necessary to establish a just society on a socialist, collective basis can only be established on an international basis by a united world working class.

Socialists condemn the intervention anywhere in the world by the military forces of the U.S. and other nations.

Socialists support the right of oppressed nations to self-determination, free of imperialist intervention everywhere, including Colombia and other countries in Latin America, Central America, Africa, Iraq, Kosova, and all other Balkan nations.

Socialists support the right of Cuba's revolutionary socialist government and its people to be free of any U.S. boycotts, blockades and military aggression. Cuba's defense of socialism provides a beacon of hope for all people fighting against capitalist social, economic and political injustice and struggling for racial, national and sexual equality.

For a workers' government and workers' democracy

The working class is the majority class. Its basic strategy, and that of its natural allies among the world's exploited and oppressed, is diametrically counterposed to the capitalist strategy of divide and conquer. International working-class solidarity is essential for uniting the world's exploited and oppressed in the struggle to advance its common interests.

The capitalist class divides the workers, consciously using national oppression, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and discrimination based on every difference among human beings. In opposition to this, the socialist program consciously seeks to unite workers and their allies across all of these divisions.

The socialist program is a program of workers' self-reliance and self-activation. The working class needs its own political party just as much as it needs its own unions. Just as the boss cannot be relied on to dispense fairness and goodwill in the workplace, neither can the bosses' political parties be expected to defend or advance workers' interests in the government.

The working class needs leadership that understands that workers and bosses have no common interests and that workers need to organize and struggle for their rights, wages, and benefits independently of the bosses and their political parties. The labor bureaucracy acts as an arm of the employers, seeking crumbs from the boss's table and agreeing to defend the boss's profits at all costs. Instead, labor needs a self-sacrificing leadership to fight for working people's interests.

The U.S. government is a capitalist government

The government of the United States is a capitalist government, and all its actions—its taxation policies, its war and foreign policies, its foreign-aid programs, even its social-welfare programs—are all policies on behalf of the capitalist class, not the people. Reforms that have been achieved have never been the result of the capitalist politicians' and parties' good will. All have been the result of independent struggles by the working class and its allies. Such reforms included ending (some) child labor, the right of Black people and women to vote, civil rights, the right to form unions, and the right to free, public education.

Workers Should Own and Control Industry

Workers should own, control and manage all the basic industry of the country. These assets—energy-generating systems, mines, mills, factories, healthcare services, transportation, giant agribusiness farms, construction companies, etc.,.—should be taken from private ownership and profit-making and put to public use under the ownership and control of the working class. Then production could serve human needs instead of private profits.

We need a workers' government

The socialist program advocates that the workers control the government of the country. The first priority of a workers' government is to disarm the current military establishment, especially its nuclear arsenal, whose sole purpose is to protect capitalists’ property, and establish workers' ownership and control of all public property.

In a socialist planned economy the vast wealth and resources of the United States would immediately be put toward the social welfare of the world's working people. The resources now hoarded by the capitalist class could, if liberated, feed, clothe and shelter all the world's people.

The resources now put toward the military-industrial complex and the prison-industrial complex can be turned into vast public works for the advancement of science in the interest of human health (such as mobilizing science to cure cancer, heart disease, and AIDS), and saving the environment from the ravages wrought by the capitalist system for profit.

The prerequisite for the protection of a healthy environment is a social revolution to end capitalist production and institute socialist production—a planned economy to serve human needs.

The Obscenity of Poverty in the Midst of Plenty

There is no logical reason for homelessness, hunger, illiteracy or poverty in the United States, or, in fact, anywhere in the world today. But there is another kind of logic at work in the creation of the gross inequalities in capitalist society: the logic of the capitalist system of production for profit.

Humankind has already developed the ability, technology, and the know-how to solve all the problems of homelessness, poverty, and hunger!

The only thing that prevents these solutions from being enacted is the system of production for profit instead of human need. The capitalist system threatens human advancement. It threatens the survival of the human species. It threatens the survival of the planet earth as a hospitable environment for the human species, as well as millions of animal and plant species.

Once the capitalist system is abolished by the united actions of the working people of the world, once human society is organized around the principle of meeting human needs through human solidarity, there will be a granite-hard basis for the true flowering of humankind. Then, real human history, free of its fetters, can begin. That is our goal.

A revolutionary socialist political party is indispensable

But how to get to this goal? We believe that the historical record supports the view that in order to achieve a socialist revolution, a carefully thought-out political party is necessary. After all, the concept of socialist revolution is based on the organization of the majority, the working class, to take the reins of society into its own hands.

That huge task requires the most conscious plan of action and politically conscious body of workers to carry it out. Only an organized political party that has absorbed the lessons of the historical experiences of the working class and its allies among the oppressed peoples of the world—and applied these historical lessons in its day-to-day activity—can hope to guide the process of a socialist revolution.

Such a party cannot be built on the spot; it must be built ahead of time through a process of gathering and testing dedicated workers who understand the necessity of dedicating their lives to this cause. Such a party must promote the socialist program in the realm of ideas and in the class struggle. It must both educate and act.

A revolutionary party must know how to act in a unified fashion against the capitalist class, and at the same time be thoroughly democratic in arriving at its positions on all questions. Democratic centralism is the organizational principle of the Socialist Workers Organization. This means unity in action and complete democracy within the organization.

In capitalist society, the ruling class has the advantage of great wealth and control of all the main institutions in society, including the media with its ability to manufacture and manipulate public opinion. The workers have in their favor only the fact that they are the overwhelming majority of the population. That majority status becomes meaningful only insofar as it can be organized. It must be organized in great numbers, in mass actions, and at the point of production.

The Socialist Workers Organization was formed when Socialist Action, the group from which we originated, ceased its commitment to function democratically. Democracy is not an idealistic concept, but a necessity for a revolutionary movement.

Workers are a diverse and heterogeneous class on diifferent levels of consciousness. Their unity must be consciously cultivated and developed by the political party whose goal it is to put the working class in power.

The only way such unity can be developed is by the dialectical process of the democratic resolution of differences within the party, and complete unity in action in the struggle.

Unity in action is the only way that the working class can defeat the capitalist class. But unity in action must be tempered in the forge of ideological debate and struggle. Democracy is the means for resolving such and achieving a genuine socialist society.




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