The democratic potential

Nevertheless, we in the ILP still want to stress the link between the status, condition and experience of people and the fortunes of democratic socialism; to underline the significance of the political-economic consciousness that can be encouraged amongst people who are economically disenfranchised or oppressed in other ways, and to emphasise the vital importance of attitudes and values that can become a force for social change.

The ILP’s aim is to help build a broadly based democratic alliance for socialism via the demand for the extension of democratic practice together with the politicisation of the people. In so doing we emphasise the economic as well as the non-economic and the drive for popular political economic control allied to a set of moral values. Political and economic strategy without morality is of no interest or use to a socialist movement while morality without democratic, economic demand and strategy is wholly inadequate.

However, the ILP also recognises that there is no solid stratum of potential political economic consciousness that can easily be mined by the democratic socialist movement. Our potential is everywhere and nowhere in particular. It ebbs and flows, consolidates and evaporates. And though we must aim to make the most of every opportunity and manifestation of opposition to undemocratic power, we acknowledge that in this socially diffuse society, veined as it is with the ideas and values of a conservative culture, we must start with the search for those individuals and groups in whom we find some coincidence of moral concern, some homogeneity of outlook, and with whom our ideas may have some resonance and some credibility.

The ILP takes the view that a durable political force for socialism must be fashioned from the democratic potential, to become an economic, moral and intellectual movement rooted in the demand for the expansion of democratic practice. And we expect to find the potential for that in the hopeful attitudes, positive values, humanistic concerns, restlessness, discontent, confusion, curiosity and intellectual inquisitiveness that is scattered all around us.

The task of a democratic socialist publishing house and pressure group, working in support of the Labour Party, must be to help draw together this potential; to help stimulate political debate, to encourage political clarity and the concern for theoretical understanding and coherence that will encourage the development of a movement. We must seek to help the Party win the moral and democratic high ground. We must help stimulate a desire for understanding, help people make sense of their experience and encourage democratic, humanitarian demands.