Democratic socialism exists and needs to exist, because contemporary capitalist societies are corrupt in fundamental ways: by the unjustifiable and unaccountable economic control by a small minority; by the consequent concentration of immense power in a few hands; by the disempowerment of the majority and the social exclusion of a significant sector of society; and by gross inequalities, exploitation and injustice.
Democratic socialism also stands in opposition to the centralised State and the command economy, which can too easily become a centralised despotism, oppressing the very people it is supposed to serve.
Democratic socialism is opposed to the needless destruction of scarce resources and the greed and irresponsibility that have pushed us towards an alarming environmental crisis. It sets its face against the global economic disorder, deepening world poverty, huge levels of indebtedness in the `third world’, wanton resource depletion, environmental degradation and unsustainable development. For this reason the democratic socialist project is international.
Independent Labour Publications, as with the Labour Party and all democratic socialists, is committed to the defence and extension of the democratic principles that work against gross economic and social divisions and concentrations of power. It embraces democracy which logically challenges economic elites, class rule and unaccountable bureaucracies; undermines the very notion of undemocratic control of vast capital assets; encourages community enterprise, socially owned co-operative projects and underwrites the demand for civil liberties, freedom of information and the extension of democratic practice in all walks of life.
The ILP recognises that there is a core conflict of interest within contemporary society; a conflict between those who seek to maintain an essentially undemocratic society in which ownership or control of the commanding heights of the economy are in the hands of a powerful minority and, conversely, those who seek a democratic political economy and society, in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many and not the few; where people have a stake in society and have a say in determining their economic fate, where there is freedom of access to information and the effective democratic right to control, to challenge and change priorities and to challenge and change the decision makers and their decisions.
Democratic socialists see democracy as being linked to justice and equity and greater equality and the most broadly accepted ideas of ‘fair play’. Such democracy confirms the principle of equal treatment, implies a pluralistic politics and a multi party system and underlies the demand that every institution in society, including the economic, should be accountable to the populace as a whole.
Democratic socialists also emphasise society and the reality of the interdependence of us all. They stress the idea of the community and the common good; the idea of using the power of all of us to advance the interest of each and all of us. This idea implies not only greater democracy, equality, justice, economic freedom and opportunity, but also responsibility.