Socialist Federation of Australasia, 15 February 1908


The Socialisation of the Means of Production, Distribution and Exchange

Statement of Principles

The present form of society rests on ownership of the land and the machinery (tools) of production.

The owners of most of the land and the machinery of production constitute what are economically known as the Capitalist Class. Hence the use of the term—'The Capitalist Form of Society'.

This form of ownership divides society in all countries into two distinct and opposing classes—the Capitalist Class and the Working Class.

The Working Class produce all the wealth that sustains society, while they are held in complete economic and industrial subjection to the Capitalist Class, who live on the wealth produced by the Working Class.

The statistics of all countries show that a the Working Class receive a continuously decreasing share of the wealth they produce, the present proportion being about one-third of the total. Thus, although the workers constitute approximately 85 per cent. of the population, 15 per cent., who do not useful work, confiscate the remaining two-thirds. This inevitably causes an irreconcilable conflict between the interests of the Capitalist Class and the Working Class.

The interest of the Capital Class is to secure an ever-increasing proportion of the wealth produced by the Working Class. The interest of the Working Class is to get the full value of the product of their labor. Hence there is a struggle, which is called the CLASS STRUGGLE, between these two classes.

To win economic freedom, the non-owning Working Class must organise on the line of the Industrial Workers of the World, and they must force the struggle into the political field, and use their political power the ballot, in conjunction with their industrial organisation, to abolish Capitalist Class ownership, set up the Socialist Republic, and thus revolutionise, in the interest of the Working Class, the entire structure of industrial society.

Political power is only useful to the workers for the purpose of overthrowing Capitalism, Parliaments being essentially capitalist machines designed to enable that class to perpetuate class domination.

The workers of Australia must, without delay, take up their position along with the organised class-conscious workers of all other countries. There is no escape from the baneful effects of Capitalism short of its complete overthrow, and this can only be achieved by the class-conscious industrial and political strength of the Working Class.

The Socialist Federation of Australasia therefore, CALLS UPON ALL WORKERS TO FORTHWITH IDENTIFY THEMSELVES WITH THE EXISTING SOCIALIST ORGANISATIONS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE STATES, and to work unceasingly for the complete overthrow of the Capitalist system, and for the emancipation of their class from wage slavery.

As published in The International Socialist Review, 15 February 1908; see James Normington Rawling Collection, ANU Archives of Business and Labour, Item N57/615. Reprinted in David Lovell, Marxism and Australian Socialism before the Bolshevik Revolution, pp.251-252