Friday, April 21, 2017

We must not give up our revolutionary optimism

Something is clearly wrong with the world. There is no real sense of community because we are not a community but a class-divided society. We live in a world dominated by capitalism. A tiny minority—the international capitalist class—between them own and control all the major productive resources of society, the land, mines, factories, machinery, transport, media, communications, and the goods and services which these resources are capable of turning out. The task of actually producing this social wealth, however, is carried on by those on the other side of the class divide: the world working class, the vast majority who, because we are excluded from any significant ownership of the productive forces, must work for the capitalists for a wage in order to live. What people get depends on how much money they have. The rich get the best that money can buy while the rest of us have to put up with what we can afford out of our pay packet. The wages system is a form of rationing which limits our access to the wealth we collectively as a class has produced. In the long run, our wages are eaten up in the struggle to make ends meet, which means we have to continually find or stay in employment—or stretch our meagre dole cheques—to try and support ourselves and our families. Is it not time that the workers of the world use their brain boxes and the ballot boxes.

Problems abound.  The air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink have all been contaminated or poisoned in one way or another by industry and agribusiness.  Single-issue organisations are engaged in a never-ending battle to try to limit the damage done in one particular field by the profit system. Attempting to deal piecemeal with one of the symptoms while leaving the cause intact—which is what organisations like Stop the War Coalition, Greenpeace, Shelter, Help the Aged, War on Want and the others are engaged in—can never solve the particular problem they have targetted. At best, it can only alleviate it a little, for some of the victims. At worst, it delays the solution by encouraging the illusion that the problem could be solved within the present system. The humanitarian concern of those many NGOs shows that we are not the heartless beings that the “human nature” myth portrays us as. In fact, most of us hate to see our fellow humans suffer. Vast amounts of money are collected by charities. This may convey the illusion that something is being done. In reality, it is a drop in an ocean of unstoppable despair. Capitalism without pitiful poverty is not on the agenda.

The technical means already exist to provide every man, woman, and child on this planet with proper food, clothing, shelter, health-care and education. What stands in the way is the profit system. So let's get rid of it and achieve a world without hunger, poverty, pollution, war, oppression or exploitation—a world of co-operation, peace, and plenty. With modern productive methods, such as automation and information technology, the world now has the potential to provide more than adequately for the material needs of the whole global population and to ensure a satisfying and creative life for us all.  Yet what do we continually see? Vast social inequality and discontent; grinding poverty alongside conspicuous plenty; thousands of our fellow-workers dying daily of starvation with millions more undernourished or in refugee camps; slums and dereliction in the inner cities; the chronic wastage and misuse of resources; the never-ending human cost of the ravages of war; the devastation of communities; the turning of workers into highly efficient killing machines; the ignorance and bigotry of racial hatred and nationalism.

We are asked to donate money. In the Horn of Africa, the famine has become greater than it was in the disastrous mid-80's. 20 million might starve to death, half of them children. So, could we send some money? Money is not the solution. Starving people cannot eat money. Money is a feature of the property system that causes poverty. In Africa, they are starving because money exists. Crops must be produced to be sold for cash. The African farmers are part of the world capitalist system which tosses them crumbs with one hand and sends in the debt collectors to recover the loans from banks with the other. The civil war in South Sudan which makes worse the effects of the famine is about which group of capitalists will control which territory. Poverty and hunger are not natural phenomena. It is the result of a society where a small minority own and control the resources of the Earth and the vast majority must pay to have access to what is not ours. For millions who cannot pay anything at all the consequence is abject destitution and mass deaths. They are killed by the profit system.

The Socialist Party puts forward the revolutionary proposition that everything in and on the Earth should become the common property of the whole world's population, without distinction of race, sex or ability; that society should be run by and in everyone’s interest; and that the production of useful wealth should be directly determined by our common social needs and freely available to all without any market mechanism. It means a society where classes no longer exist because we would all have equal access to and control over the means for satisfying our needs. It means the end of national frontiers and governments, the end of wars and social conflict, and the start of a truly global society of harmony and co-operation with all our rich human diversity. The Socialist Party presents a simple choice: retain capitalism and starvation will remain or build socialism and not a single person need ever starve again.  The Socialist Party continues its work, with our principles as clear as ever. With the wars, the mass hunger, the environmental destruction and the urban decay of the profit system as our backing track, we are still singing the same tune as we always have – End Capitalism Now.

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