George Walford: The (Anarcho-) Socialist Party of Great Britain (22)

WHAT IS CAPITALISM?
IC maintains that on the big issues the (A-)SPGB denies its own statements, thereby destroying its own case without its opponents needing to do anything. An issue which the party regards as one of the biggest is the basis of capitalism. Principle No.2 of their Declaration of Principles tells us that capitalism

is based upon the ownership of the means of living (i.e. land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class …

An article in the Socialist Standard for November 1985 confirms this:

There is no argument about capitalism being founded on private ownership

But in that same article we are told that in Soviet Russia

state ownership of the means of wealth production preponderates over private ownership — The capitalist laws of value obtain and it is these, and not the form of ownership or control, that are of consequence to the working class

The party says two things:

a. Ownership by the capitalist class is fundamental; this is what capitalism is based on.

b. Ownership by the capitalist class is not a necessary basis for capitalism.

Is IC justified in saying this party denies its own statements?

UNFAIR? Readers may feel they are hearing only one side of this argument, but that is hardly our fault. IC holds out a standing invitation: We undertake to publish any statement, of up to 1,000 words, approved by the Socialist Party or any of its branches as putting their case.

from Ideological Commentary 22, January 1986.