We cannot predict the future. It is not easy to foretell what will bring about a fundamental change in the world situation. But, one thing is sure, we do have good reason to be pessimistic. For every mainstream film that is angry and trying to communicate hope and vision, like Hunger Games or Elysium, there are a hundred that reaffirm that there is no alternative.
A danger exists that we will soon find ourselves living on a planet unable to sustain peoples’ continued existence on it. It has long been the perspective of socialists that the capitalist drive for profit and the narrow framework of the nation-state system are the two greatest barriers to the ability of humans to live efficiently and harmoniously with their natural environment. We argue it is not over-population, a shortage of resources or economic growth in and of itself that has placed humanity’s existence in jeopardy. It is therefore of the greatest importance that workers in defense of our natural resources from capitalist exploitation and plunder take up the fight for socialism. Capitalism creates the conditions and forces for the socialist movement: the necessary technical basis, science and the working class itself. That is its major contribution to social progress. It also provokes the working class into action and is the involuntary promoter of the class struggle. The Socialist Party, nevertheless does not accept a fatalist faith that capitalist contradictions will “automatically” create revolutionary consciousness. Capitalism creates the working class and depends upon it, as a parasite depends upon its host. Yet it cannot satisfy the demands or solve the problems of the working force it exploits and oppresses. Even in good times workers display their discontent and protest against insecurity by strikes and similar demonstrations. One of the paramount functions of a socialist party is to educate the working class to its conditions of emancipation. “to impart to the now oppressed proletarian class a full knowledge of the conditions and of the meaning of the momentous act it is called upon to accomplish, this is the task of the theoretic expression of the proletarian movement, scientific socialism.” (Engels: Socialism, Utopian and Scientific). The Socialist Party teaches that the revolution against capitalism and the socialist reconstruction of the old world can be accomplished only through conscious, collective action by the workers themselves. A political moovement capable of handling such a colossal task cannot arise spontaneously or haphazardly; it has to be continuously, consistently and consciously built. It is impossible to stumble blindly into a successful revolution. It will have to be organised and directed by people that have at their command all the theory, knowledge, resources, and lessons accumulated by the world working class. Its know-how and organisation in politics and action must surpass that of our class enemies.
A socialism worthy of its name means a substantial and sustained rise in the living standards of the people up to levels beyond those attained by capitalism. It means the establishment of free and democratic control by the workers themselves. Anti-capitalist revolution has to be viewed and understood in its entirety, not in bits and pieces. Despite its occasional glacier-like motion, its defeats or retreats in this or that area, the revolutionary process unfolds step by step, sometimes leap by leap, according to its own independent rhythm. This world revolution of the working people holds everything in its grip and, directly or indirectly, decisively affects the destinies of every one on this planet. Much confusion and perplexity has been provoked among socialists by the fact that the progress of the anti-capitalist forces has been so erratic and uneven. This may run counter to our personal desires but it conforms to historical precedent. History does not provide any examples of a smooth and harmonious replacement of one universal social structure by another. Quite the contrary. A zigzag path of world revolution will emerge. Nationalism and patriotism turned out to be stronger than internationalism. Yet, here and there, scattered through the world, are stalwart socialists and working-class militants who possess the knowledge and hold conviction enough not to place confidence in the invincibility of capitalism or to undervalue the potential of the working-class. The labour movement draws its inexhaustible strength from the indispensable part it plays as the principal force of production, the creator of all wealth and profit. It enhances that strength by its growing industrial organization, by its political formations, by its cohesiveness and solidarity in struggle, by its developing awareness of itself as a decisive social power. The most significant fact about the ups and downs of the workers’movement has not been its defeats but its ability to learn from these attacks, to recuperate from their effects, move forward and gain new ground.
What is socialism/communism? look around at the many useful institutions established by many or by the whole people in common. The RNLI, for instance, to save and shelter shipwrecked persons. In ordinary life everybody cares for oneself, but people also unite for a common, social purpose. Experience teaches that in doing so they do admirably well; every one of them who will reflect a little must confess that his own welfare is greatly advanced by such institutions of common usefulness. What would people be without public roads etc.; that is, such as are built and instituted at the cost of the community for common use? We could mention here a thousand other things to demonstrate these institutions are examples of socialism/communism, the principle of the common interests of society. In everyday life everybody looks out for his own interest, even at the cost of his fellow-men; here egoism is dominant. What does the usurer care for the victims of his avarice? What do the speculating swindlers care for the fate of the shareholders after their hard-earned savings are gone? A businessman who should show any consideration for the welfare of his fellow-man in his transactions would be become a laughing-stock. Egoism rules supreme. Everybody thinks of his own welfare, and does not care whether by doing so he destroys the welfare of others. In spite of this prevalence of self-interest, the common interest of mankind is gaining ground. More and more people unite to form more and more associations, the activity of the community is extending its influence over more and more objects.
The late capitalist experience is one of alienation, from ourselves, our work, those around us. Forced to live in competition with our fellow workers we feel vulnerable, insecure, precarious, unfulfilled by our roles of producer/consumer. There has been a change. Capitalism demands the workers body but is uninterested in their mind or ‘soul’, or their thoughts or relationships. 21st century work demands all of the worker leaving her or him without a meaningful life outside of work. There is no chance to find meaning in community, in our unions or social clubs for the modern worker is drained of all energies and goes home to watch TV, and get ready for tomorrow. No wonder mental health problems continue to rise. Many people know intuitively that they are living in an alienating wasteland decorated with technological toys and trinkets but have never heard that something else is possible. We need to be organising and communicating, encouraging each other to explore the possibility of living life based on community, co-operation, egalitarianism, so that even if we don’t see the end of capitalism we will have an alternative model for our own lives.