Saturday, September 25, 2021

Invention and Innovation


When a social system such as capitalism has outlived its usefulness, efforts to improve it are a waste of energy and only postpone the desirable features of the improvements sought after.

 Marx said:

"Although the Liberals have not carried out their principles in any land as yet completely, still the attempts which have been made are sufficient to prove the uselessness of their efforts. They endeavoured to free labour, but only succeeded in subjecting it more completely under the yoke of capital; they aimed at setting at liberty all labour powers, and only riveted the chains of misery which held them bound; they wanted to release the bondman from the clod, and deprived him of the soil on which he stood by buying up the land; they yearned for a happy condition of society, and only created superfluity on one hand and dire want on the other; they desired to secure for merit its own honourable reward, and only made it the slave of wealth; they wanted to abolish all monopolies, and placed in their stead the monster monopoly, capital; they wanted to do away with all wars between nation and nation, and kindled the flames of civil war; they tried to get rid of the state, and yet have multiplied its burdens; they wanted to make education the common property of all, and made it the privilege of the rich; they aimed at the greatest moral improvement of society, and have only left it in a state of rotten immorality; they wanted, to say all in a word, unbounded liberty, and have produced the meanest servitude; they wanted the reverse of all which they actually obtained, and have thus given a proof that liberalism in all its ramifications is nothing but a perfect utopia."

The "sacredness of property" is one of the most favourite mystifications of the capitalist class. Socialism, say they, violates this sacredness; "the safety of property is the cornerstone of civilisation," etc., etc.  Capitalism violates The property of the working class, the product of its labour, does not remain in its hands to enjoy; it is stolen from it by the capitalist class. Thus at the very root of capitalist production there is violation of the sacredness of property: the wealth the capitalist class lives on, and thus the existence of the capitalist class itself, is a flat denial of the property's sacredness. This wrong is upheld by the whole property-holding class.  The capitalist class care little how the working class is robbed as they are the beneficiaries of the theft.

We are living in a time when the comforts of life, and all the material wealth needed to bring happiness to every human being, can be produced in abundance. There is no need whatever for one human being to go hungry, homeless or naked. Mankind's inventive genius has developed the tool to that point, and guided the natural forces to that degree, that abundance is possible to all. But between that abundance and its enjoyment an obstacle is interposed. That obstacle is the modern social system, capitalism, and its defenders and beneficiaries are the capitalist class. Thwarted from accessing this  abundance of wealth which the capitalist class forbids them to touch, workers young and old, male and female, black and white, instead of fighting the capitalist, with wealth and freedom as the prize at stake, fall to fighting each other; and the stakes in that conflict are: death to the loser; poverty, misery and wage-slavery to the winner. This has for a result the survival of the slave. A more brutal and demoralising spectacle cannot be conceived.

The capitalist class misrepresents socialism as a scheme of society, whose adoption would destroy individuality! "Socialism," it declares, "would degrade us all to one dead level regardless of individual aptitude or merit. Capitalism, on the other hand, exalts the individual, promotes his rights and duties, and all else that appertains to him and his happiness. Down with socialism! Up with capitalism!"

Capitalism is a fraud within a fraud. Proclaiming itself individualistic, it organises collectively in order to promote the aims of a few. Socialism, on the other hand, is genuineness itself. Believing that industry is collective in organisation and operation, it proclaims itself in favour of collective ownership and control. With freedom from the economic pressure due to the capitalist control of industry, such as socialism alone can provide (since it is in accord with evolution), individuality will achieve proportions hitherto unattained.

Whenever the position of a defender of capitalism against the attacks of socialism becomes desperate, he drags forth the inventor. "What are you going to do with the inventor, the man whose genius has created the great machines which make wealth and civilisation possible? Are you going to despoil him - to rob him?" To this the socialist generally retorts by showing that it is capitalism that robs the inventor.

 Times a-changing, so much so that it may be said that the individual inventor had become as much of a myth as the individual captain of industry - who, it is alleged, directs the work of thousands of wage slaves. Today industry is so ramified, so colossal, that it is an impossibility for one man to direct it. Corps of trained subordinates, executive, engineering, and other boards meet in frequent consultation to devise ways and means for the safe conduct of the consolidated industries over which they preside.

And so it is with the inventor. Invention has become social in scope and methods. With the various branches of industry so closely related, the mechanical changes in one branch of production must be considered in their relation to other branches. The result is that today the inventor is no longer an isolated being, developing himself and his ideas in some dismal garret.

The inventor is today the product of a scientific school or a great establishment, which, while specialising in his abilities, has given him a well-rounded education. The inventor is today a part of a corps of technical experts, men rarely heard of outside their own spheres, who, with the finest mechanical equipments and extensive chemical laboratories at their command, work in cooperative unison for the production of new and interrelated inventions,a nd the improvement of old ones.

The inventor today is one of a multitude of workers who are asked to drop suggestions for improvement into boxes placed about the factories in which they work; suggestions that have, in the aggregate, produced new types of machines and so transformed the original inventions as to make them entirely new creations; suggestions that have immensely enriched the capitalists to whom they were given, while the reward of the workers making them was a few paltry prizes, which are far from being commensurate in value which the things they are supposed to represent.

The poor lone inventor whom socialism would rob is a myth, and, like all myths, is adorned with the poetry of bygone ages. Like modern industry, modern invention is social. And, since the social characteristic of industry demands the social ownership of the means of production and distribution forming its basis, so does the social nature of invention demand the social ownership of its creations.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Unite for Socialism


Mankind is literally in a race with catastrophe. The climate crisis and the terrible threat of environmental destruction are the warnings history is giving us to build a new society.  Join us in the great cause of human liberation-and to save civilisation from disaster.

 Socialism is a form of society in which the land and the technology of production are owned collectively. In short the industries, being administered through the socialist associations of these producers, who today are wage workers. This precludes the existence of political government. The Socialist Party wants to focus the working class's attention on where political power is situated in order to remove the economic power of the employers to exploit and pursue commodity production for profit. In a socialist society, we shall be able to enjoy the material well-being our productive capability makes possible. We shall be secure, healthy, happy human beings living in peace, harmony and freedom, in marked contrast to the capitalist jungle of strife, misery and insecurity in which we live today.

The task confronting workers is to organise their political forces into a Party of their class, and to consolidate their economic power into One Big Union -not to demand higher wages, but to demand the abolition of the wage system and affect an orderly socialist reconstruction of society.

It is a historic fact that the unions were born out of a hard, bitter, often violent, struggle between capital and labour. The focal point of this struggle was the division of labour's products into wages and profits. As long as the capitalists could deal with workers individually, the workers were pretty helpless. It was to end this woeful helplessness that the workers combined into unions.

Exploitation did not cease and the struggle over the division of labour's product continued unabated. The unions only enabled the workers to resist partially these encroachments of capital. The capitalist owners of the means of social production, acting under the compulsion of the profit motive and of competitive necessity, strove constantly to keep wages as low as possible and to get even more production out of the workers. The workers, on the other hand, driven both by sheer necessity and by normal ambition to rise above a state of chronic want, resisted and sought to force wages up. But it was like dividing an apple into two parts. If one part was larger the other had to be smaller -- and this was the case whether the capitalist "apple" was big, as in boom times, or small, as in periods of depression. The class struggle, therefore, has been inherent in and inseparable from the capital-wage labour relationship.

Despite the indisputable conflict of interests between labour and capital, trade unions have accepted capitalism as a permanent system. Instead of concentrating on building a classless society, they limit their aspirations to a vague "fair day's wage for a fair day's work." The rest has followed logically. Under capitalism, labour -- or labour power -- is a commodity, a mere "means" of production that the capitalist buys in the labour market just as he buys raw materials in the raw materials market. Now, note this: Acceptance by present-day unions of the capitalist system as a finality means also acceptance of the principle that labour is doomed eternally to this commodity status. Corruption has followed inevitably. Most union leaders started out as sincere and honest men, but the harsh realities of capitalism quickly disillusioned them. The more hopeless the plight of the rank and file appeared, the more the union leaders turned to feather their own nests. Careerists and opportunists rose to the top, exploiting the workers' instinct for solidarity to promote their own bureaucratic interests.

In the new society, production and distribution will be socially controlled. There will, accordingly, be no further need for the tricky means of exchange, inflatable money, required by the capitalist system of private control over production and distribution. A basically simple and entirely feasible method of free access will deliver to every person the full social equivalent in goods and services of the work he or she has performed. And there won't be any danger of chiselling or shortchanging because social control of the economy will be democratically exercised by the workers themselves. We must organise politically to contest the politicians committed to continuing capitalism, to educate for the need for socialist change and to openly and painstakingly gather our forces in as peaceful a manner as possible.

No faction of the capitalist parties will represent workers' interests. For too long workers have relied on capitalist politicians to be their spokesmen. A political party that expresses our collective class interests,  aimed at a socialist goal- that is a weapon that we have only begun to be built. The job of educating and organising is immense. But any postponement of the task is a postponement of the only solution we have -- a reconstruction of capitalist society along socialist lines. There are no other ways out and no one but the workers to do the job.

The working-class answer must be to scrap the whole capitalist system. Not sometime in the future, but now. We must build a movement that will give the workers control of the economy. Production for profit must be replaced with production to meet people's needs. The capitalists should no longer control the things that we need in order to live. Workers must rely on their own strength. No one else will save them. For too long, workers have trusted politicians who are working for the capitalists' interests? Maybe you've heard many negative things about socialism. If you have, it's because the capitalists don't want people to know that there is a better and fairer way for society to be organised. They don't want socialism because socialism would mean that they would have to give back all the wealth they've made off the backs of working people. So they spread a lot of lies and confusion about socialism. If you want to know what socialism is really about, get in touch with the Socialist Party. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Petty Powerful Capitalist Powers.

On August 10, China sentenced Canadian businessman Michael Spavor to 11 years in a Chinese prison for spying. He will also have to pay a fine and be deported from China, though they did not say when that would be. 

Spavor and another Canadian Michael Kovrig were arrested days apart in 2018, shortly after Canadian authorities arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, at the request of the U.S. where she is wanted on fraud charges. 

The general feeling is that it is a case of mess with us and we'll mess with you which, if that is the case, shows how petty powerful capitalist powers can be - another area the working class have no stake in.

S.P.C. Members.

Socialism and Economic Freedom


The Socialist Party asserts using the language of the American constitution the inalienable right of mankind to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Socialist Party raises the banner of revolt and demands the unconditional surrender of the capitalist class. No reform measures will suffice. Having outlived its social usefulness, capitalism must give way to a new social system. We will put an end to the existing barbarous class society by placing the land and all the means of production, transportation and distribution into the hands of the useful producers as a collective body, and creating the Socialist Cooperative Commonwealth.

Ruling classes have always exploited ruled or subject classes. In the ancient world, chattel slaves were exploited openly by being made to produce more than was needed to feed, clothe and house them. In the feudal era, serfs were forced to turn over part of their product to their feudal master or to toil for him so many days each year. But under capitalism, exploitation is cloaked by the wage system. The capitalist buys the worker's labour-power for a price (wage), and it appears as if a fair bargain had been struck. Actually, the working class produces all social wealth and performs all necessary social services. The wages it receives in return represent but a small fraction of the social wealth it alone produces. The capitalist class, by virtue of its ownership of the tools, appropriates the balance (by far the larger portion) of the social wealth. Thus, the wage system disguises the true nature and extent of capitalist exploitation, which has been well described as the "greatest robbery in history." Under capitalism, production is carried on for sale and profit. As in capitalist society, the great mass of workers receives A BARE LIVING WAGE. A minority of specially trained workers share some of the privileges that dribble down to them as prizes and bonuses

The State is a government based on territory and having special coercive powers (police, army, prisons, etc.) that are beyond democratic control. Historically, the State has always been an engine of ruling classes for holding down the ruled. The ancient State was the State of the slave owners, the feudal State was the State of the feudal lords, and the modern State is the executive committee of the capitalist class.

"Democracy" is not a synonym for "capitalism." In even the most "democratic" of capitalist countries, there is economic despotism. The capitalist is an absolute master. He can replace workers with technology. He can close down until business gets better and force his workers into unemployment. Or he can move his plant to another city or a different country and leave his employees abandoned. The truth is that capitalism is not only an economic despotism -- it is also a foe to political democracy. Wherever worker unrest arises, and the capitalist rule is threatened, the capitalists are quick to jettison political democracy and establish authoritarian rule.

Socialism is the direct opposite of capitalism.  It means completely new administrative institutions through which to direct democratically the social production of our modern age in the interests of all society. Socialism does not now exist, and it never has existed anywhere in the world.

In socialism, the land, factories, mines, and all the other means of social production, distribution and services will be owned, controlled and administered, not by private persons, and not by a State, but shared in common by all the people. There will be no economic classes in the socialist society. With the elimination of private (and State) ownership, the division of society into exSocialism means abolition of the wage system. Instead of wages, the useful producers under Socialism will get back directly and indirectly (indirectly through social services-public health, education, recreation, etc.) all that they produce. Private (and State) property and profit having been eliminated entirely, there will be no way for social parasites, capitalistic or bureaucratic, to exist. In short, it will no longer be possible for any individual or group to secure the economic power that would make possible the exploitation of another human being and exploited classes will end. Everyone will have the same basic material interests.  We shall collectively produce the things we need and want. New techniques and inventions, and the elimination of anarchy and waste in production, will greatly increase the wealth available. And such technological improvements will not result in unwanted surpluses and unemployment -- they will enable us to reduce drastically the hours of work. Socialism will, therefore, give us the leisure time to develop our faculties and live healthy, happy, useful lives. 

In the class-divided world of today the primary consideration is: Does it pay? In world socialism of tomorrow, the chief question will be: Is it needed, desirable and socially beneficial? In short, Socialism means the production of things to satisfy human needs and wants and not, as under capitalism, for sale and profit.

Socialism will be a society wherein we will make the fields yield an abundance without arduous toil; wherein the factories, mines, transport and communication networks, etc., will be the safest, the most modern, the most efficient, the most sustainable possible, and productive beyond our wildest dreams without laborious work; wherein our educational institutions will have the finest facilities and be devoted to developing complete human beings; wherein our medical and social services will concentrate on creating and maintaining the finest health and recreational facilities conceivable; wherein, in short, toil and drudgery, poverty and social misery will be banished forever.

 It will be a democracy solidly based on that PRIMARY freedom which is the foundation of all freedoms -- ECONOMIC FREEDOM.


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Understanding Change


Many people have become convinced that the present system, capitalism - with its basis in competition and expansion doesn’t actually work for everybody that it is as good as it gets because of our 'human nature'. We're told that 'co-operation' is for dreamers, idealists and while it sounds nice, at best it's a utopian fantasy. Yet we intuitively understand that our present path is leading to disaster and that change must happenThe idea that we can actually progress and better our lives is an increasingly difficult argument to make. Too many have grown deeply cynical and disillusioned with politics. While we accept that conditions have much improved, from technology to human rights, we are still convinced that when it comes to real social or economic progress, positive change is impossible.

 In fact, research now supports the fact that our 'human nature' is not 'fixed' or simplistic by any means, and we are as 'hard-wired' to cooperate for our survival as to be competitive. There is the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would do unto yourself'  as we 'see ourself in others'. Rather than the conviction that greed and aggression are what makes us tick", we need to be aware that these are behaviours that have been overstated as 'natural' to survival because they supported an 'engine', a class system. Our very survival as a species is now being threatened by too much insistence on individualism and thoughtless disregard for the future.  We have an economic system that is causing tremendous pain, lost hope and lost futures and it is posing a threat to civilisationWe need to create a more constructive and sustainable path. We have very real options, real and achievable. We can make peaceful, profound, positive changes. We still possess the vote.

What is becoming clear is the need to change to an economy based on human wants and needs rather than profit and competition. The only way is to end the tyranny and power of the very few, over the lives of us all. Rather than a system based on division and so much inequity, socialism would become focused on solving social problems, offering the best health, providing education and child-care, creating more leisure time for recreational pursuits, for the community. We -the majority- would make profit, exploitation and wages, private ownership of production, distribution, banking and credit, obsolete. Our system would be based on people, not profit. 

Capitalism is the fundamental cause of our social ills, and that the institutions it rests on must be replaced. We don't want the jobs most of us have now. Bank tellers, bookkeepers and cashiers - all those who handle money: Because we want a world without money: Free access to the necessaries of life. We don't want cops, lawyers and judges and prison guards either. Nor all the rest uphold and enforce the exploitation and poverty of working people. We do want to be useful productive members of society. But first, we must be free. And that means a revolution to Socialism.  It means the end to poverty, war, famine and tyranny: And the beginning of the true brotherhood of man. Can we make a peaceful revolution? We think so. The only real issue is the private ownership of the means of production and distribution. In one word, that issue is capitalism. Our opponents will ignore this basic issue because they hate the idea of a socialist revolution. Instead, they will focus on such diversionary issues as jobs, welfare, taxes, crime and spending. Despite the fact that their legislative programme of reform is causing only more suffering, they persist in opposing the coming socialist revolution.

The despotic system of capitalist economics is the direct opposite of our democratic system of politics, can plainly be traced to the existence of a privileged class. Through the perversion of democracy to the ends of plutocracy, labour is robbed of the wealth which it alone produces, is denied the means of self-employment, and, by compulsory idleness in wage-slavery, is even deprived of the necessaries of life. Human power and natural forces are thus wasted, that the plutocracy may rule. Ignorance and misery with all their concomitant evils are perpetuated, that the people may be kept in bondage. Science and invention are diverted from their humane purpose to the enslavement of men, women and children.

Against such a system the Socialist Party once more reiterates its fundamental declaration that private property in the natural sources of production and in the instruments of labour is the obvious cause of all economic servitude and political dependence. We call upon the people to organise with a view to the substitution of the cooperative commonwealth for the present state of unplanned production and social disorder, a commonwealth in which every person shall have the free exercise and full benefit of his or her faculties.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Socialism the sane alternative to capitalism


The Socialist Party has never made a  secret of the fact that we believe that whatever divisions exist between the various sections of the working class will have to be overcome in the struggle for socialism, whether they be ethnic, racial, sexual, sectarian, or anything else. We all need to understand our own class interests and recognise how they differ from the interests of the ruling class. Everywhere, the capitalists invest enormous efforts and resources in convincing us that we have more in common with them, on the basis of factors like race religion and nationality than with our fellow workers. We believe that the only real solution is the organisation of the class as a whole, fighting for its unified interests internationally.

As members of the working class, we produce all of the wealth and we get in return -- a wage. It is just enough to maintain us and enable us to breed replacements, who, in their turn, will surrender their fate and destiny for a wage. So long as capitalism lasts, there is no escape for us from the desperate need to sell ourselves. Our capacity to labour is all we have to sell, and we must sell it to the capitalists. That's how the capitalists make a profit -- by exploiting the working class. That is, the working class produces all the wealth, from which the capitalist ruling class takes the largest portion, in this process of exploitation, and, in return, gives its slaves a wage. 


The fact that some workers have an iPhone, a car, and perhaps have paid off their mortgage to own their home does not alter the fact that they are exploited. Indeed, the debts usually connected with such ownership fasten the chains of wage slavery even more securely. Every aspect of capitalist society is misery -- wars for profit and plunder, race hatred dividing the working class, the slums we live in, the ruination of our environment, expensive, poor or nonexistent medical care, inadequate education, the second-class status of women, drug abuse, riots, crime -- in short, every one of those brutal, callous, cruel, and desperate things which go on every hour, every minute, in a capitalist society, grows out of exploitation.

If we want to stop the degradation, we must end exploitation. If we want to free ourselves from wage slavery, we must abolish the profit system. If we want to live decent lives of freedom and fulfilment, we must build a socialist economic democracy. The foundation on which the capitalist system of profit and poverty is built is exploitation, and its utter, final, irrevocable abolition must be our goal. We must never be sidetracked, never be drawn aside by other, seeming more attractive goals. We must never waste ourselves on reforming symptoms. The goal, the abolition of the system of wage slavery, is ALL. Then we can reap the full abundance of our social product, realizing humanity's great dream: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

We want to live in a DEMOCRACY in which we, the people, have real control of all matters that affect our lives.

To accomplish that revolution, we must organise politically and we must use every forum open to us, from the soap box to the ballot box, to spread the idea of revolution. Since the means of operation of the ruling class, its private control over what in effect must be common property will be abolished, our socialist commonwealth will be a class-free society with no elite "Vanguard Party" leading us by the nose into a bureaucratic "Worker's State" so its cadres can climb on our backs like any ruling class, we must be conscious of what we are doing and where we're going, conscious to a degree never before seen in a revolution. Given the consciousness of wage slavery, given the knowledge of how to end it, our second task, organisation, will inevitably follow.


Ours is a POLITICAL PARTY with a clear platform advocating fundamental change and an alternative vision, based on grass-roots decision-making where we live and where we work. We can PEACEFULLY VOTE INTO OFFICE OUR CANDIDATES transform our economy and institutions into a true democracy - 'Of, For and By The People'- dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and well-being of all and ESTABLISH A NEW SOCIETY, replacing profit and market competition with cooperation and direct democratic ownership of all the natural resources, industries, distributions, allocations and social services.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Can You resist? The Pressure to Conform.

In its issue of Aug 7, the Toronto Star revealed that Canada's largest airport, Toronto's Pearson, is a surveillance hot-spot. 

Reporters found that faces of millions of travellers were captured using facial recognition technology (FTR).

 If a face matched with a person in a database of 5,000 deportees, the technology would inform Canada's Border Agency officers and direct them to question the individual. 

Many a reasonable person would approve on the premise that they don't want really bad dudes coming into the country, not realizing the day may come when the capitalist class consider the same person a bad dude or dudette. 

Never has there been a time where the pressure to conform has been so great and for the powers-that-be to have control they need through information on all of us.

S.P.C. Members.

The Blessings of Capitalism?

The federal government is planning to spend $321 million on native-Canadian communities and will appoint a ''special-interlocutor'' to propose law and policy changes to better respond to the findings of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites. 

This comes at a time when Prime Minister Trudeau has called an election in which his government's record on Indigenous matters will be an issue. National Chief Rose Archibald, though welcoming the news said, ''Residential schools were institutions of assimilation and genocide and the Canadian government along with the churches, committed crimes against humanity at those facilities.”

 History shows that the genocide of native people was committed everywhere Europeans brought them the blessings of capitalism.

S.P.C. Members.

Understand the World to change it.

 In order to make the everyday decisions as well as the long-range planning decisions for the economy as a whole, we must have a decision-making system in place. There will need to be town meetings and community assemblies, community. At work, there will be elected management committees and workers’ councils, to coordinate the economy as a whole. It is essential to ensure that a new economic system operates as it's supposed to - to direct human resources to meet human needs, with the least waste and damage to the environment as possible.

Politicians have no useful talents for industrial management, only a socially destructive knack for bamboozling working-class citizens, to help enrich a handful of corporate owners. They are easily done without, as are the capitalists they work for. We can do away with the old system of professional leaders.

The workers' movement must organise politically. Until the majority agrees to change society along these lines, a change cannot take place. A socialist party with a straightforward revolutionary programme will rally the people behind it. Its vote will indicate the level of support reached for their platform, and encourage others to support it. And once it has won a majority of the electorate, the vote will be the legal mandate to transfer ownership of the industries to the people. At that critical point, the socialist party will be in possession of the State and will be in the most strategic position to prevent the political powers - the police and military - from being used against the new government. Political action is thus essential to minimise violence and bloodshed. With the new government secure, and in control of the nation, the old State powers can be dismantled, and, with them, their potential for future mischief.

Most people today discount the possibility of capitalism ever being dethroned. Capitalism, they say, is here to stay. After all, hasn't capitalism already vanquished socialism? The claim of efficiency for capitalism is pure nonsense. Capitalism has given us traffic jams and grid-lock rather than efficient mass-transit systems; a high percentage of potential industrial output standing idle; the incredible waste of planned obsolescence and duplicated effort; dependence on fossil fuels instead of renewable resources; the destruction of our nation's soil and aquifers; depletion of wildlife and fish stocks; the burning of the rainforests; the massive production and use of weapons which destroy wealth rather than create it. The list could be extended almost indefinitely. If some believe capitalism is the best we can do, they should take another look. If they understood capitalism better, they just might learn to hate it more. Many people think that the word capital is just another word for "money" or "wealth." For instance, a person might say something like, "I don't have enough capital to buy a new car. But capital is not just money. In fact, capital doesn't need to be money at all. Capital is wealth that its holder uses to get more wealth. If a company takes a certain amount of its money, its assets, and buys a piece of machinery, has its capital gone down? No. The new machinery has replaced the money as part of its capital. But the machinery is no more capital all by itself than money is. Your car is machinery, but it's not capital. The thing that makes the machinery a company buys into capital is its relation to labour, the workers who operate the machinery. When the workers go to work, they use the machinery to make things. When those things are sold, they are sold for a certain value, all of which has been created by the workers. But the workers don't get all the value their labour adds to the things they make. If they did, there would be no monetary value for the owner of the capital, no profit. It's this social relationship of owners and workers, the relationship that says the workers have to fork over part of the value they produce to the owners as the condition for being allowed to work, that makes wealth into capital.

Capitalism is not a type of government. There are capitalist dictatorships, governed by military strongmen, as well as capitalist republics, governed by elected representativesý of the people. The thing that makes them both capitalist is not the particular form of political machinery each has. What makes them capitalist is the economic relationship between the people who work and the people who own the workplaces. Under capitalism, those are two different groups. With socialism, they are one and the same. Under capitalism, those who do all the work are only allowed access to the workplaces and the chance to earn a living on condition that they fork over most of the value they add during the production process to the people who own the workplace. Thus, a person who adds $30 each hour to the product or service he or she works on may only be paid $10 for each hour she works. The rest goes to capital: the owner of the workplace, his banker, insurance company, marketing consultant, etc. To maintain this cosy state of affairs the capitalist class uses its great wealth to control the electoral process and screens out any political candidates who might interfere too much with the very undemocratic running of the nation's workplaces. Whatever the political government does, it is forbidden to really interfere in the economic relationship between workers and owners, or to do anything, however sorely needed by the vast majority of the population, against the basic interests of the owning capitalists.

 Socialism, on the other hand, the workers collectively are also the owners of the economy. All the goods and services created by the people who work belong to the working people who have a democratic say in the running of those workplaces, which is a major advance for democracy. In fact, democracy is the defining characteristic of true socialism. Socialism cannot be given to the workers by a political or intellectual elite, however sincere it may be. Socialist self-management can only be built by the informed and united action of the workers themselves.