Saturday, May 30, 2015

Keir Hardie Debunked

Letter to the Editors from the August 1908 issue of the Socialist Standard

Sir, I have stood by Hardie through the years. I have held him to be a man apart from the motley group of members and fakers of capitalism, to whom he has given political existence, and that he calls his Labour Party. I at one time allowed him to nominate me for membership of the National Branch, deciding that if his party was good enough for Hardie it should be good enough for me, and that if Hardie could do something with such elements I might. So I allowed myself to become a member of the Independent Labour Party, and have remained one up to within a week. I have hit out against the policy and tactics of the Party whenever I have occupied its platform, but I retained my membership simply because of my reverence for Hardie. Again and again I have contended with S.D.F. men: "Hardie is something bigger than these reform fellows. He means more than reform. He is a revolutionist—a kind of eagle among carrion crows." But since last week I admit myself beaten. I have been sold. Most of the workers are sold many times. You knock down their idol and they instantly get another. I have not been sold many times, but I admit I have been once—in Hardie.

Edward VII by the grace of the god Capital, and, in obedience to its will, that he might secure for it some sort of a basis to contract a further loan with Russia, was deputed to go and kow-tow with the bloody Czar.

Hardie had an opportunity to bring home to the House of Commons the horrors of Russia, and to fix them upon the Czar, backed by his "black hundred."

And Hardie got up his case well. Oh, yes, the facts were all right and the rhetoric also. Not for one moment do I think that I could have marshalled the facts as well, or have painted the pictures as vividly. He gave them the thousands that have rotted in Russian prisons during the last two years; he gave them the thousands that have been butchered by the emissaries of the "black hundred." And he brought the whole of the atrocities hone to the Czar telling the "House" how the Czar had thanked the "black hundred" for murdering wholesale the people of Russia, under the cry that they were Jews, and adorning himself and his child with the badge of their order as a token of his appreciation of their services to Russia. Then Hardie was called upon by the Deputy-Speaker to withdraw.

Well, with such a case, with such an array of facts, themselves completely pointing the charge, one would have thought that the mere human instrument, called upon to belie himself and deny them would have refused with quiet scorn, and have surrendered himself to any consequences.

But Hardie did not do this. He lost touch with the murdered in Russia, and the thousands groaning in its prisons. He commenced melodramatic word-play with the politician, Emmett. He ducked and edged and quibbled, and allowed horrible facts to be smothered in a play of words between himself and the Deputy-Speaker. And then when the latter insisted that the charge be withdrawn, Hardie withdrew the charge so far as it referred to the Czar and his Government.

Like Dan 'Connell, like Fergus O'Connor, like John Burns and a host of others—spouters, orators, fine rhetoricians, but not fighters, not revolutionists—so Hardie, when an opportunity arrived demanding that he should translate his speech into a bit of action, failed.

So Hardie has gone with the rest of them. The Socialist Movement has learnt that it must never trust him to use any great opportunity. Some of the papers had it that after "Artful Dodger" Asquith decided that he had bottled Hardie, he turned his face to his followers with a sardonic smile which said, "How's that for diplomacy?"

But had Asquith's man meant business, he might have retrieved his position even here, and the Whig lawyer might have had another unpleasant illustration of the fact that he who laughs last laughs best.

Had Hardie meant business, he might have proceeded with his speech, after the passage-at-arms with the Deputy-Speaker, he might have filled the ears of the "House" with the horrors of Russia; he might have piled fact upon fact proving what he had said, and then concluded: "the Russian Government is an autocracy, the Czar is a despot, and with these facts before me I say that the monstrous activities that I have laid before the "House" are the direct expression of the will of the Czar and his infamous Councillors, that he alone is responsible, being autocrat and despot, and I refuse to withdraw the charge." Then "Artful Dodger" Asquith would have smiled quite another smile.

But Hardie didn't mean business—and why? Was it his Parliamentary screw; or fear of not getting a seat in another Parliament, or fear of disrupting further that strange motley he calls the Labour Party, or what? It matters not. Once more some little political mote got into the popular leader's eye and blurred his vision as to the great matter for which he was pleading.

Then there was Grayson. He tells the people he wanted to say something. Why didn't he say it? Some of the papers say he was upon his feet before Henderson. Some of them say that the Deputy-Speaker called Grayson. Anyway, the pair got the floor pretty much together. Why did not Grayson proceed without it in the least recognising the existence of the man who had a compact with the Liberals to shut up the debate at a given time, or of it became in any way dangerous? Grayson may tell the mob outside, who have never been into the House of Commons, that he was prevented, but this will not go down with any man who has been into the Commons, and who knows that it requires a combination of circumstances rather more forceful than the ones of this debate to prevent a man in dead earnest from having his say in a hole like the House of Commons.

Anyhow, the debate upon the King's visit to Russia has been fruitful of much good to the English workers. It has smashed some more idols for some of us. It has shown us that the Labour Party is not independent at all, that it does make alliances with the Liberal Party to shut up debates when they become over verile. All this is education.

If the English Government would only try Russian methods on our spouters ever so little it would still further educate. But British capitalists are too wise for this. You mustn't frighten the popular idols of the people. Prospects of prison, disability, or banishment would turn most of these swans to geese. This would let people see too much. Disillusionment would set in fast. Therefore our Edward by the grace of Grab, going to one of Russia may say: "Behold I show thee a more excellent way to rule thy people. Do not murder and torture and crush in that old-fashioned way. Bamboozle thy people instead. Let them spout and have offices, and generally play the game, and soon you will find them so docile that, should any of their strong words annoy, you shall but threaten them with the least of these other things, so find them eager to withdraw.  Tut, tut, man, the father who has a child well broken in doesn't require to be always using the stick. He only requires now and then to show it, and this is more than sufficient."

But they do tell me that in Russia the people have gone beyond this spouting and office-holding and political game-playing, and refuse to have it at any price. They say that they have sighted the slavery underneath it all, and prefer prison banishment and death to it. And if this is so I don't know what Edward can say to Nicholas that will matter much. It seems to me that the same game played by both, with a people of this sort, must be nearly up. There are men and women in Russia of another sort than our Graysons and Hardies.
Yours, etc.,
John Tamlyn 


From the September 1930 issue of the Socialist Standard

"The only time in my life that I have allied myself with the enemies of the workers has been since I came to the House of Commons, and that is by the order of the Labour Government. Almost every time I go into the Division Lobby I join such tried and trusted friends of the Labour Party as Lloyd George, his daughter, Sir Herbert Samuel, etc. They are keeping the Labour Party in office on condition that the workers and the Labour Party programme are deserted."
Thus writes the Labour M.P. for Shettleston ("Forward," August 2nd). He was, however, the official Labour candidate, and stood for the official Labour Party Programme. He was attacked during the election by another Labourite, Mr. C. Diamond, who has been on three occasions official Labour candidate, and who stated that he has supported the Labour Party because it is not committed to Socialism.

The Party that the Member for Shettleston—McGovern—stands for, is not out for the working class. Read his own words: -
"There is no danger of chasing away the Liberal votes, as they have all joined us at Westminster. The Labour Cabinet coddle them too much to drive them away, and are more concerned about them than about the working class."
He became the official Labour Candidate—because it's the best way to get elected. "Getting in" —that's the game, even if it means going into the Lobby to vote against the programme he ran on.

The little conflict between the "wings" has now been settled at a joint meeting of the Labour Party and I.L.P., and the following terms were agreed upon: -
(1) That the I.L.P. accepts the Labour Party Annual Conference as the supreme authority of the organised political movement of the workers.
(2) That the I.L.P. wishes to remain in affiliation with the Labour Party. (Forward, Aug. 2.)
So, now Lloyd George, the I.L.P., and the Labour Party may continue their united front—in the same Lobby.

We Dare to Dream

What would socialism be like?

In 1912, Daniel De Leon declared that “We of the socialist movement hold that we are the real promoters of individualism, or individuality…We charge modern society, that is, capitalism, with crushing out individuality”.

We live in a world of poverty, war, and environmental devastation. A world where living standards for working people plummet while an elite few enjoy lives of unbelievable wealth and power. Something different—an alternative to capitalism—is desperately needed. But what should replace it? The Socialist Party considering our name, not surprisingly, proposes socialism, a society built from the bottom up through the struggles of ordinary people against exploitation, oppression, and injustice—one in which production is for peoples’ needs and profit. Socialism is the only possible alternative to capitalism, the source of gross inequalities and environmental disasters around the world. A society based on the principles of equality, democracy, and freedom. Is socialism an impossible, discredited dream? We say no but rather it is the only realistic path for human survival. The dream of human freedom is as old as class society itself. So long as one section of society has been held down and exploited by another, some men and women have dreamt, spoken and written about the possibility of a new kind of life. People do not conceive of themselves as having the capacity and power to overthrow their rulers and to build a new society out of their own efforts. The Socialist Party says you do, and must, emancipate yourselves.

When the Socialist Party talk about abolishing private property, we're not talking about personal property and possessions, like your house or your television. What we mean are the means of production: factories, hospitals, schools, etc.--i.e., the kinds of property most of us don't own, even though we may spend most of our lives working on that property and making the few people who own it very wealthy. Socialism will be about having more of everything, not less.

We’ll have much more free time. Right away, the working hours could be decreased dramatically--first off, just by leveling out all the people who are unemployed, with those working overtime or multiple jobs. Also, we could get rid of whole industries that are completely useless in any real sense. Advertising is a big waste. How many people will be truly sorry to never see another convincing us that Coke is better than Pepsi, again? Without the need to sell as much as possible to maximize profits, who gets produced and how it's made will also change. There will be no incentive to intentionally build products that wear out and break quickly or come up with 30 different brands of toothpaste that do essentially the same thing. These are just a few examples.

Professor of sociology at Boston College, Juliet Schor, has concluded that it would be possible to have a four-hour workday with no decline in the standard of living in a society that made sure every person had a job and that gave free reign to technological innovation. Economist J.W. Smith forecast: "We could eliminate much industrial pollution and conserve our precious, dwindling resources by eliminating the 50 percent of industry that is producing nothing useful for society." Smith examined the U.S. economy sector by sector and concluded, "We could all work 2.3 days per week with no drop in our living standard." This means is that in a socialist society, we would have time to focus on the things that really matter. We'd also have the time and energy to actively participate in making decisions about how society is run. The communications technology and corporate media that is now used primarily to sell things and perpetuate the ruling ideas of capitalism could instead facilitate the most widespread and varied debate. “Work” as we would understand it is all but nonexistent (along with ownership of work-places.) Nothing and nobody in socialism is exploited. It is essentially an automated civilisation in its manufacturing processes, with human labour restricted to something indistinguishable from play, or a hobby. Human beings and technology happily co-exist.

There's the perennial objection: If we lived in a socialist society, who would do the dirty work. First of all, under socialism, nobody would be forced to work a shit job their whole lives, which is what happens under capitalism. A lot of the most unpleasant tasks could be automated if making money wasn't the highest priority dictating how technology is used. We have the technical capability to send spaceships to Mars and land on asteroids, surely we can invent a machines to eliminate much of the unpleasant tasks in society. Unlike under capitalism, where advances of technology often end up hurting workers, with socialism, these advances could make everyone's lives easier. And whatever work couldn't be automated would be shared out in a rotation, instead of being shoved onto the most desperate and vulnerable in society.
The second part of the answer to the objection to socialism goes to the question of motivation. There's a pervasive idea in our society that the only thing that motivates people to work is money, and that without a huge monetary reward, nobody would opt to be, say, a doctor--everyone would want the "easier" job of porter. But that's ridiculous on so many levels. First of all, we should all be thankful that not all doctors are in it just for the money. There is something we talk about…a vocational calling

And why do the 3-D jobs, dirty, dangerous and demeaning, get so much less respect. After all, they are vital for the smooth running of cities and industries. Public sanitation is one of the biggest public health innovations of all time. Arguably, garbage men save more lives every day than doctors--by stopping all sorts of people from ever getting sick in the first place. Yet like all work under capitalism, this particular job is valued not by its contribution to society.

In socialism everyone will become both a producer and a planner of production. Everyone will have the time, the energy and the education to participate in the collective shaping of the environment--work which will require the fusion of artistic, scientific, technical and social knowledge, and that will be a collective, creative process. It would provide the spare time for all human beings to develop their creative potential. We would be free to learn the skills of economic and social management – presently the property of an elite few. In these conditions, work will become--in Marx's words--"not only a means of life, but life's prime want." It will cease to be a wearisome necessity and become a positive pleasure--a means of individual and collective human expression. In a way, socialism is nothing new. From the time of the Roman slave revolts, people have struggled for the dream of a society based on the values of equality, freedom, generosity and solidarity. We could readily meet everyone’s needs for food, housing, health, education, culture and recreation if the modern technologies, scientific knowledge, and organisational know-how were brought under the control of all people. Indeed, human labour is now so productive that we could achieve these goals at the same time as repairing the devastated natural environment.

Murray Bookchin held a vision of “liberatory technology.” He imagines its applications especially in the industrial sector:
“All but hidden from society, the machines would work for man. Free communities would stand at the end of a cybernated assembly line with baskets to cart the goods home. Industry, like the autonomic nervous system, would work on its own, subject to the repairs that our own bodies require in occasional bouts of illness. The fracture separating man from machine would not be healed. It would simply be ignored” He writes:
 “It is easy to foresee a time, by no means remote, when a rationally organized economy could automatically manufacture small "packaged" factories without human labor; parts could be produced with so little effort that most maintenance tasks would be reduced to the simple act of removing a defective unit from a machine and replacing it by another—a job no more difficult than pulling out and putting in a tray. Machines would make and repair most of the machines required to maintain such a highly industrialized economy. Such a technology, oriented entirely toward human needs and freed from all consideration of profit and loss, would eliminate the pain of want and toil—the penalty, inflicted in the form of denial, suffering and inhumanity, exacted by a society based on scarcity and labor”

Noam Chomsky holds a similar view:
 “I think that the industrialization and the advance of technology raise possibilities for self-management over a broad scale that simply didn't exist in an earlier period.…A good deal could be automated. Much of the necessary work that is required to keep a decent level of social life going can be consigned to machines -- at least, in principle – which means that humans can be free to undertake the kind of creative work which may not have been possible, objectively, in the early stages of the industrial revolution”

Having liberated humanity from need, technology would allow to help improve the relationship between human beings and nature. It is difficult to predict the effects that research and innovations in “artificial intelligence” could have but they will considerable. The capabilities of the “artificial intelligences” have eliminated any reason to entrust the management of collective affairs to an administration, even a delegated one..

We can also speculate that apart from direct democracy of general and work-place assemblies wider decision-making will be consist of referenda on issues whenever they are raised; generally, anyone may propose a ballot on any issue at any time; all citizens who may reasonably claim to be affected by the outcome of a poll may cast a vote. Opinions are expressed and positions outlined mostly via the internet and it is there that an individual may exercise their votes monitored  on a rota basis by a type of liaison person rather than someone with executive powers. Everyone’s opinion can be collected and be publicly voiced. This another form of public forum, where each person can put forth his or her arguments. And when discussions and procedures progress they can be followed thanks to feedback, which are also responsible for acting the resolutions that were voted on. If anarchy can be defined as “order without power” then indeed socialism is not far from it.

Socialism is about the future, it’s about freeing ourselves from the confines of the present with all of its oppressions, exploitations and “common sense” rationalizations of both. It is good to dream. We must dream socialist dreams. It’s the dreams of the future that give us the strength to fight like hell in the present. Some might call these dreams utopian but what’s the use of politics if it’s not for an ideal. Socialists look forward to the day when our descendants are befuddled by concepts like money, prices and private property being explained to them in history class.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Socialism - The future of Humanity.

 The term scientific socialism was used to differentiate it from utopian notions of socialism which were rich in imagination but had little roots in social action or the history of social progress. Scientific socialism did not provide any technological blueprint for building socialism, it only provided broad general guidelines for organising a socialist revolution. And these broad guidelines have been proved to be essentially correct even in considerably different circumstances. Socialism as an alternative to the current global order is commonly ignored in advanced Western societies and attacked as ‘outdated’ or even ‘useless’. The idea of working people taking democratic control of all aspects affecting their lives is not a new notion. It lies at the very heart of socialist thought and practice. Workplace democracy is something that our capitalist masters can never deliver because the key to their profits is absolute control over “their” workers. General assemblies in every neighbourhood might be hard to imagine but we are able to have a direct say through councils organised at community levels. Direct participation allows people to determine how resources are allocated in their communities. Socialism is a stateless, classless, communal society not only aims to transform how we produce the things we need and how we organise our economic relations but also change how we interact socially. Only through socialism can we end exploitative and divisive capitalist production and build the system which produces a harmonious, peaceful society where everyone produces according to their ability and everyone receives what they need.

With the rise of machines and robotics, advances in technology there are plenty of reasons to believe that we have reached a post scarcity economy. We produce a surplus. Of course, we still have people in the world that are starving but we actually have the capacity to feed them, to feed everyone, even now, even if we don’t have the will. It’s not a matter of scarcity; it’s a matter of the organisation of labour. It is time to think beyond capitalism and contemplate a new model. It’s time to leave capitalism behind.

In socialism can everyone have anything? Anything at all? The answer will be almost certainly no. Resources are still accounted for and allocated in some manner. But socialism will be massively productive and efficient, allowing for the effective decoupling of labour and wages for all of economic activity. People have no financial need to work, as their benefits are more than enough to provide a comfortable life, and there is, clearly, universal health care and education. Yes, some people might even decide not to work. So what? We think most still will. However, if they so choose they can also get a job. No enforced unemployment. Many people seek work for personal enrichment or for the desire to promote social welfare. Socialism will provide job satisfaction. Of course, a challenge is how will society get someone to do the menial jobs that cannot be done by automation. These tasks can be rotated and of course no-one is condemned to a career of performing dirty and dangerous jobs and rather than be seen as demeaning there is no reason why they cannot be ennobled. 

The amount of benefits available to all citizens is in excess of the needs of the citizens. Therefore, money is irrelevant to the lives of the citizenry. Because the welfare benefit of socialism is so large, and social pressure is so strong against conspicuous consumption, the average person never pays any attention to the amounts allocated to them, because it’s perpetually more than they need. But if they go crazy and try and acquire, say, 10 houses or 100 cars, the community simply says “no.” Behind the scenes there is a massive internal accounting and calculation going on — the ‘economics’ still happen but aren’t based on a monetary value , and people don’t acquire things based upon an exchange value. Socialism re-defines economics. Cities, housing, transportation, production of goods — all will be restructured. Money goes the way of the dinosaur and the banks turned into community centres.

Planning in socialism needs to be multi- leveled, with a limited sphere of responsibility assigned to a central administration, while individual localities and municipalities maintain relative autonomy for planning similarly specific and limited areas of responsibility. Such a decentralised form of planning should leave room for a different type of planning. Beyond a vertical political or state system (multi-leveled, with democratic controls) there is lateral or horizontal planning through the initiatives of the enterprises themselves.

Socialism is not the introduction of planning into an unplanned market society through state -ownership and control over production. It is the transfer of control of production to the direct producers and consumers themselves. Socialism is the abolition of market relations altogether and the elimination first of all of the labour market. As the labour power of workers is no longer treated as a commodity, socialism would be a step forward in the control of economic life by the producers themselves. A system of freely associating workers operating according to a common plan will be the result primarily of the development of lateral ties between all the various enterprises themselves.

Human beings will no longer behave as competitive predators upon nature, but become mutual guardians of it. One thing is clear: In socialism, the ownership of ideas will be exposed as a sham and a delusion. It follows that the elaborate fiction of intellectual property will simply be abolished. Owning ideas is impossible; the regimes of copyright, patent, and trademark have been enshrined in law and in popular consciousness to the detriment of creativity and the sharing of the infinite bounty of the human imagination. Since artists will no longer need to fear being ripped off and lose remuneration for their effort, the dubious protections copyright provides will serve no purpose. At a stroke such impediments to freedom would be done away with, and the problems and promise they have so long obscured will become immediately apparent. A socialist world is possible. It is necessary. It is the future of humankind.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

All change for socialism

Humanity now faces changes in our planet's climate that could not only make socialism a mere dream, but make the Earth itself uninhabitable. There is not a more defining struggle in this century than that. We are approaching tipping points which if reached will give climate change a momentum that human actions will have little or no control over. Global warming will be irreversible.

The basic economic structure of contemporary societies, with no exceptions, is capitalist. Capitalism marks the whole of our society and our way of life globally, regionally and nationally. But what is capitalism? Societies are capitalist, inasmuch as capital production, accumulation and profit dominate economy and society. Socialism is a society in which production, services and their distribution are dominated by the goal of producing the best possible conditions of the unfolding of the individuality of all, so that they may be used by the individuals both for their own well-being as well as for the solidary development of the productive forces of the community. Marx and Engels formulated it this way: “an association where the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”. In socialist society production is not for profit but for use. The objective of a socialist society is the promotion of a free, universal development of its individuals mediated by the solidary development of all.

It is evident that some people are gravitating toward criticising society, shifting the idea of radical change. Socialism, it is correctly said, must be the product of an engaged, united, and politically sophisticated majority. It doesn't follow that such a majority will simply emerge out of everyday struggles. Economic crisis alone, however, is not the sole cause of revolutionary change. The soil is prepared via the cumulative impact of many different crises - economic, political, social, and moral - taking place over time, during which people's understanding gains in sophistication (going beyond "them and us" and "the system sucks"), unity broadens and deepens, and organizational capacities and infrastructures grow by leaps and bounds. The idea of economic breakdown followed by "the revolution" should be retired. It should be replaced by an understanding of a more protracted and complicated political/historical process. The struggle for democracy, economic and political, is at the core of the struggle for socialism. It's not a diversion or a secondary.

Society can no longer feed itself. Not here and there alone, but everywhere where capitalism rules, from all quarters comes the same tale. Famine-stricken where food is plenty; ill clad where clothing lacks not; homeless among empty houses; shivering by mountains of fuel; tramping where transport rust. There is no promise of alleviation, but rather portents of worse to come. When the societies of old could no longer feed themselves they perished. And capitalist society is about to perish. A revolution is at hand. Another leap in the process of evolution.

Social reform is not socialism. Capitalism can be reformed. It can be reformed in many ways. But it cannot be reformed in such a manner as to effect an essential improvement in the working class conditions of life. The efficient operation of capitalist industry requires requires a working class always at the beck and call of the master class. Only by keeping the workers bordering on necessity at all times can this condition be assured. The whiplash of poverty is far more effective than any coercive force could be in keeping them tied to the machine and subservient to their masters.  Those who would administer the affairs of capitalism are limited in their endeavors by the requirements of capitalism, and even though they would bend every energy to lighten the burdens of the workers, the system itself inevitably reduces the results to disheartening proportions.

Socialism has not yet been established in any country. It exists today only as an independent working class movement striving against the opposition of capitalist and labour parties alike, its energies directed without deviation towards a single goal. There are no short cuts to socialism. It can be reached only through the conscious political organisation of the working class. But with that organisation accomplished, no obstacle can stand in the road. Socialism may be had for the taking. Take it. An examination of society has taught us that nothing less than socialism can suffice. The workers cannot depend upon others to do the job for them. It is a job that requires conscious and deliberate effort on their part. It is a job which they must do themselves. Socialism will not solve all the problems of human society. But it will solve all the basic economic difficulties that are a constant source of torment to so many of its members. The solution of a single one of these difficulties would warrant its introduction. The solution of them all renders it imperative.

Socialism solves the problem of distribution. Its introduction will mean the conversion of all the means of production and distribution from private or class property into the common property of all the members of society. Goods will no longer be produced for sale; they will be produced for use. The guiding principle behind the operations of industry will be the requirements of mankind, not the prospects of profit. Production under socialism will be pre-determined, and distribution effected with neither advertising nor sales staff, thus reducing wasted materials to the minimum and making possible the transfer of great numbers of workers to desired occupations.

The ending of exchange relationships will bring at the same time the ending of an exchange medium. There being neither sale nor profit associated with the production and distribution of goods, neither will there be money in any of its forms. Currency, credit and banking, whether private or “socialised”, will pass out of existence.

The advent of common property means the abolition of private or class property, which in turn means the abolition of class society together with the class struggle. The antagonistic classes of today will become merged in a people with common interests, and the former capitalists will have the opportunity of becoming useful members of society. This will not only remove the greatest of the burdens resting today on the backs of the workers, it will also further augment the available labor supply, by the inclusion of the capitalists and their former personal attendants, thus contributing to the general reduction in labour time needed to produce society’s requirements.

The workers today are fighting not only against the man-made laws of capitalism, but also against all the laws of economics. So long as their labour power remains a commodity they cannot essentially better their condition. So long as they allow the capitalists’ claim to the resources of the earth and the machinery of production, slaves they must remain, and as slaves they must expect to be treated. Their only hope lies in their emancipation from slavery – and they alone can achieve that emancipation. The outcome of the struggle between the capitalist class and the working class will be the Social Revolution. By political force the working class must wrest from the capitalist class the reins of government and must use the powers of the State to legislate in its own interests. By that stroke classes will be overthrown and labor power cease to be a commodity; production will be for use and not for profit; government of persons will die out and be replaced by an administration of things. The workers, controlling the means of production, will also control the resultant wealth and they will then be able to individually enjoy what they collectively produce.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Now That You Know, What Will You Do?

Without a proclaimed socialist vision, radical change becomes too many different things for too many different individuals and groups. The Socialist Party raises the banner of revolution and demands the unconditional surrender of the capitalist class. Having outlived its social usefulness, capitalism must give way to a new social order. We, therefore, call upon the workers to organise to form a class conscious body and to place themselves squarely upon the ground of working-class interests, joining in the work of human emancipation so that we may put an end to the most onerous threat to human existence, the barbaric class conflict. The land and all the means of production, transportation, communication and distribution must be placed in the collective hands of the producers, replacing the present state of unplanned production, industrial rivalry and international wars and social disorder and instead build  a commonwealth in which all workers shall have the free exercise and full benefit of their faculties, multiplied by all the benefits of modern civilisation under a democratically controlled economy that is commonly owned by all. Few can deny that the world today is in a constant state of chaos. That is reflected in the widespread upheaval and conflict not only in the developed industrial nations but also in developing nations throughout the world. Yet the beneficiaries and defenders of this economic dictatorship never tire of declaring it the “best of all possible systems.”

The capitalist system does not and cannot work in the interests of the majority. It is a social system in which society is divided into two classes—a capitalist class and a working class. The capitalist class consists of a tiny minority—the wealthy few who own and control the instruments of production and distribution. The working class consists of the vast majority who own no productive property and must, therefore, seek to work for the class that owns and controls the means of life in order to survive. The relationship between the two classes forms the basis for an economic tyranny under which the workers as a class are robbed of the major portion of the social wealth that they produce. After decades of reform efforts, capitalism presents an obscene social picture. Thanks to capitalism’s exploitation of workers poverty continues to grow. Millions who need and want jobs are unemployed, including many of whose jobs have been outsourced. Others are underemployed, working only part-time or temporary jobs though they need and want full-time work. Millions aren’t earning enough to maintain a decent standard of living for themselves and their families despite the fact that they are working. Racism and xenophobia is pervasive. The health care system, despite heated debate for years, is deteriorating. The educational system continues to crumble. Even the foregoing fails to give a full picture of the wide-ranging plague of social and economic problems modern-day capitalism is imposing on society. Many suffer from alcohol and drug problems. Homelessness is on the increase. The wasteful energy demands of a bloated capitalist society have added to the environmental destruction enveloping the world. These long-standing problems and the failure of seemingly unending reform efforts to solve or even alleviate them to any meaningful degree have imposed decades of misery and suffering on millions of workers and their families.

Against this insane capitalist system the Socialist Party raises its voice in emphatic protest and unqualified condemnation. It declares that if our society is to be rid of the host of economic, political and social ills that for so long have plagued it, the outmoded capitalist system of private/state ownership of the socially operated means of life and production for the profit of a few must be replaced by a new social order. That new social order must be organised on the same basis of social ownership and democratic management of all the instruments of social production, all means of distribution and all of the social services. It must be one in which production is carried on to satisfy human needs and wants. In short, it must be genuine socialism. This is precisely the mission of the Socialist Party. The Socialist Party calls upon all who realise the critical nature of our times, and who are increasingly aware that a basic change in our society is needed, to join us to put an end to the existing class conflict and all its malevolent results.

Capitalism is increasingly incompatible with freedom and democracy. The oligarchy’s need for a new level of repression and restriction of democratic rights can no longer be doubted. To save capitalism, the ruling class must destroy freedom and democracy. Capitalism today may pretend otherwise, but it relies on terror, or the threat of it, to uphold the economic order. To enforce “order” as it sees it, the ruling class hires mercenaries to do its dirty work of enfocing “law and order” and they call it the police. For decades, governments and the courts have steadily put more power and discretion in the hands of the police forces. There can be no mistaking the danger implicit in this many-sided attack on democratic rights and civil liberties. To save freedom and democracy, the capitalist system, the system of economic despotism, must be destroyed. Socialist economic democracy alone can fully guarantee lasting freedom and democracy. Any movement aspiring to bring about substantive social change must be prepared to deal with a state quite willing and capable of turning its arsenal against its own citizens. That means a movement who understand the need for education first, then political and industrial organisation to enforce the will of the majority.

The issue now, literally, is survival. Among the most serious problems facing society today is that of pollution and environmental destruction. The harm and damage already done to all of us and to our environment by capitalism is beyond calculation. If it is not abolished and replaced with a viable socialist cooperative commonwealth by the politically and industrially organised working class, it will destroy itself. And there is the distinct possibility that it may destroy humanity and the world in the process. That can happen, but it need not happen. And it won’t happen if all who realise the need for a socialist reconstruction of society join with us to organise politically and industrially to accomplish the revolutionary change to socialism and thus guarantee the future safety and well-being of the humanity. To capitalism falls the task of justifying its technological horrors on the basis of picking the lesser evil. To socialism falls the task of turning technology from the horror it currently is to the benefactor of an emancipated working class. As the manifold social problems of capitalism increasingly threaten the lives and well-being of workers, it becomes more and more imperative that they recognise the need to organize politically and economically to take control of the economy, abolish class-divided capitalism and administer production through their own democratic bodies. There is no time to delay. Capitalism requires profit and economic growth to survive. Capitalists want their profits now. The future has little meaning in a profit-driven society. Environmental reforms are not the answer. Capitalism has eroded even those feeble efforts of the past. International agreements are not the answer. If the future is not to be plagued with the floods, droughts and other catastrophes predicted related to global warming, the political and economic system of capitalism must end.

The Socialist Party urges workers to organise to abolish capitalism and institute socialist production for use. Workers must realise their political power and integrate into one movement with the goal of building a new society with completely different motives for production—human needs and wants instead of profit— to organise their own political party to challenge the political power of the capitalists, express their mandate for change at the ballot box and dismantle the state altogether. The new society must aim for is a society where not a wealthy few would own the industries and services but the people themselves would control them democratically through their own organisations and make the decisions.

Every politician who has run for office has promised to do something to alleviate or eliminate all these social evils. On the contrary, hasn't it grown worse? Despite the promises these problems have defied solution. It is up to the working class, the majority of people who actually produce society’s goods and services and daily operate its industries, to end all these crises. Workers, whatever their race or ethnic origin, are being subjected to more discomfort, more crowding, more inconvenience, more exploitation, greater insecurity and physical danger than ever before. Reform after reform has been enacted in efforts to alleviate them. But conditions have gone right on getting worse and worse. All of which demonstrates that even with the best of intentions no politician or set of politicians could prevent conditions for workers from worsening. The basic cause of our problems is the capitalist system under which we live. Capitalism today is an outmoded decadent social system. It has been so for a long time.

By establishing a new society we can prevent worsening crises and ultimate catastrophe toward which our present society is taking us. What we are saying is that we can and must establish a socialist society. Let us again explain briefly what socialism is and the kind of life we can have under it. First, in a socialist society there will be no private ownership of the land and the industries. When we say this, we are not talking about your personal belongings. We are talking about the factories, the mills, the mines, the railroads—in short, the socially operated instruments used in the production and distribution of the necessities of life. We say that these must belong to society as a whole. Secondly, in socialist society there will be no wage system in which the workers receive in wages only a fraction of the value of the goods they produce. Instead, under socialism we shall receive the full social value of our labour. We shall produce for use rather than for sale with a view to profit for private capitalists. We shall produce the things we want and need rather than the things for which a market exists in which the goods produced are sold for the profit of private owners. When private and state ownership have been eliminated, there will be no way for social parasites, capitalistic or bureaucratic, to exist. In the nature of things, it will be impossible for any individual or group to acquire economic power and use it to exploit or suppress another human being. There will be no material basis on which a bureaucracy could establish and perpetuate itself. No one will be able to hand out offices or appoint lackeys. In short, we, the people, shall be in complete control of the source of all power.

We have all the material requirements for producing an abundance. It is common knowledge that we have developed the most productive machine in the world. Once this machine is socially owned, controlled and administered, there will not be, there cannot be, conflicting material interests. We shall all be useful producers, each contributing his or her fair share to the total product. In return, each of us will receive directly and indirectly all that we produce. We say “indirectly” because we shall get part of our product back through social services—public health, education, recreation, etc. In socialist society there can be no poverty or involuntary unemployment. The more producers, the better for all. Technological improvements will be a further blessing. The greater the number of workers, the better the tools, the more modern the methods, the greater and more varied will be the wealth we can produce, and the shorter the hours each of us will have to work. So great is our capacity to produce abundance that we can easily insure that our youth will be educated, the aged provided for, and the sick given the finest care possible. All this will be done without depriving anyone of a fair and more than adequate share. It will not be charity but the rightful share of every human being in the affluent socialist society. In the socialist climate of abundance and cooperation, we shall achieve the highest standards of mental health and physical well-being. We shall enjoy great material well-being individually and collectively, but it will not be at anyone else’s expense. 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.

How can we get such a society? The answer is easy. It is within the power of the workers to establish such a society as soon as they recognise the need for it and organise to establish it. The program of the Socialist Party points the way. The struggle for freedom requires building a political party to contest the power of the capitalist class on the political field, and to educate the majority of workers about the need for socialism.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fact of the Day - education and class

A quarter of all medical students in Scotland attended private schools - despite the fact the independent sector educates just four per cent of all pupils in the country.

The figures have increased pressure on the country's universities to improve access to medicine amid claims the system is unfairly weighted against students educated in state-schools. 

The Cooperative Commonwealth of Labour

Capitalist production takes place only if profits can be made. And if that requires firing workers, cutting their wages or off-shoring their jobs to countries where wages are substantially lower, so be it. It isn’t about individual capitalist villainy by unscrupulous corporate executives; it’s about the capitalist system. Labour reform laws rarely are what they appear to be and rarely result in the positive gains they ostensibly are meant to establish. Exceptions that appear to prove the rule may not be the exceptions they seem to be when closely examined. Close inspection will often reveal that the labour legislation established is what the ruling class considers to be in its political or material interests at the time. Times change, however, and when the changes affect capitalist needs, labor reform “victories” of the past can be undermined, circumvented or simply scrapped.

The Socialist Party holds that capitalism is not worth reforming and that, in any case, it cannot be reformed in any meaningful way so as really to improve the workers’ condition, or protect them from capitalism’s recurring depressions and wars, or from displacement by automation. The many social evils and economic contradictions that capitalism engenders are for the most part insoluble and endless. No matter what reform efforts are made to mitigate the impact of those evils and contradictions, they continue to plague society in varying degrees. Some of those problems may at times and on the surface even appear to have been mitigated only to have them flare up again. No social problem can be eliminated unless its cause is uprooted. As long as workers are deluded by the hope of “improved conditions” under capitalism they will turn to whatever party they think can deliver the goods—such as the Labour Party in the UK or the Democrats in the US. They are in the reform business precisely to preserve capitalism. Politicians don't decide who will work and who will not. They do not decide what to produce or when to produce it. In a capitalist economy those decisions are made by those who own the things needed produce and distribute the goods and services that everyone needs. They are made by the capitalist class.

What the capitalist state appears to give in the way of reform is more often a sleight of hand calculated to play on the sentiments of workers and deflect their attention from the absolute need to abolish capitalism and establish socialism. These are important lessons for workers, who must learn to reject all reforms and reformers if they are ever to affect their own emancipation from the worsening conditions of life under capitalism. Only by building their own movement with the goal of abolishing capitalism and its system of production for private profit—and working to successfully replace that system with a socialist one based on production for human needs—can they hope to build the society of abundance and leisure they deserve and need to live as human beings should.

We are fed massive doses of optimism to the effect that this is a temporary "recession"—a kind of economic tea-break between booms. But optimism doesn't provide food, clothing or shelter. Capitalists and their politicians have no more control over economic crises than they have over earthquakes or hurricanes. The "recessions" and "depressions" that bring unemployment are caused by the capitalist system itself. Government reforms can't solve the problem, and history proves it. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, capitalism adopted the most elaborate social reform program in history called the "New Deal," but it failed to end unemployment. It took a world war to do that. The lesson is clear. Unemployment and depressions are inherent in the capitalist system. Consequently, the interests of the overwhelming majority dictate that capitalism be replaced by a new social system capable of guaranteeing security for all—socialism.

The first step toward solving any serious problem is a clear understanding of its cause. The Socialist Party holds, therefore, that it is the duty of a bona fide party of socialism always to hold the issue of the abolition of wage slavery up before the workers clip and clear, and to expose reforms as delusions. The Socialist Party reasserts that the international class struggle is a fact, that the working and ruling classes of the world have nothing in common, and that every attempt to prevent the working classes of the world from uniting in their own interests requires the unqualified condemnation of all those who profess to speak in the interests of labour, regardless of their assertions and pretenses to the contrary.

Socialists advocate a cooperative commonwealth of labour, free of exploitation and oppression. Socialism is no pipe dream. It does not seek to end exploitation and oppression by appealing to the oppressor class to be more benevolent, but by organising to overthrow that class. It does not base its vision on idealistic premises, but on concrete facts. It boldly proclaims that capitalist/state ownership of the industries and exploitation of the working class is the root of workers’ misery; that the means to provide material abundance for all, at a fraction of the work time presently required, objectively exists but cannot be realised due to this capitalist/state ownership. For the workers of the world the choice is clear: The course advocated by the Socialist Party offers the potential to end human suffering. We must replace production for sale and profit with a system of production for use. We must replace economic dictatorship with economic democracy. We can achieve socialism peacefully and outlaw capitalist ownership by a democratic decision at the polls. But before we can do that we must reject the political parties of capitalism and support the party of the working class—the Socialist Party.

Monday, May 25, 2015

We want a socialist future

Socialism is the future. Socialism is a wonderful goal and necessary vision, the promise of a life irresistible in its harmony, workability, naturalness, passion and compassion. We envisage a social order based on the common ownership of the means of production, the elimination of private profit in the means of production, the abolition of the wage system, the abolition of the division of society into classes. Socialism far from being an intolerable bureaucratic tyranny and individual regimentation, will be the means of greater individual liberty and shared abundance. Anything that has any kind of value is made, mined, grown, produced, and processed by working people. So why shouldn't working people collectively own that wealth? Socialism, simply, is non-capitalist living. Wealth is created to satisfy human needs, not inhuman greeds. The present economic arrangement is insatiable in its avarice, unrelenting in its viciousness, rife with contradictions, and veering crazily out of control. The rule of the almighty dollar or yen or mark must and will be overthrown and supplanted by the rule of reason and justice. Capitalism’s manifest inability to meet human needs and protect the ecological integrity of the planet makes socialism more urgent than ever. To get to that future, however, we have to deal with the present. We can transform our world by shedding not only the patterns of capitalist society but its mindset as well. With greater equality, co-operation and social justice, our planet can sustain our species and all the others that inhabit it. We can achieve a world where people have enough and where each of us can find the self-fulfilment and happiness central to the needs of every human being.

Socialism is a message of hope. It is addressed to the working class. It will save the working class, or rather, show the working class how to save itself. The world does not need to be cursed by long hours of hard labour, by low wages, by starvation, by worry and anxiety, and by disease. Millions now know that these conditions may be completely changed. When enough of the workers understand socialism, believe in it, and are firmly resolved to have it, the time will be ripe for the change. The working class is today enslaved chiefly because it does not understand the conditions of its life and labour. A few rich people own the lands and machines. The many labour and have nothing. This every worker knows. But why is this so? How long has it been thus? How long is it likely to continue? And most important of all, what are the workers going to do in order to help themselves? When we ask these questions, we find that very few workers can give a clear and satisfactory answer. Only when they can answer these questions will the first great step toward a better condition have been taken. The theory of surplus value is the beginning of all socialist knowledge. It shows the capitalist in his true light, that of an idler and parasite. It proves to the workers that capitalists should no longer be permitted to take any of their product. Without this knowledge the worker will never fight along correct lines. With this knowledge he will never stop fighting until socialism, which will give to the working class the whole of its product, shall be fully realized.

No worker should wish to become a capitalist. The small business-person cannot thrive as a capitalist without lying and cheating; without paying low wages and sweating his workers through long hours; without lying awake nights planning how to help himself by injuring others. Getting something for nothing is what capitalism is all about. That is what capitalists do best. Indeed, that is all they do. Capitalists do not earn, or create, or build anything. They live by profiting from the work done by others. They live off the labor of the working class. The names these two classes bear tell the story. Workers work and capitalists capitalize on the work that workers do. Capitalism exists and can only exist as a system of exploitation. Capitalists are the exploiters and workers are the exploited. Capitalism is an immoral system. It condemns millions to lives of poverty and despair just to enhance the worthless lives of a few. It is not the welfare single mum or the jobless dad on benefits who bleed society. It is the capitalist vampire that is sucking the working class dry. Working people are being victimised and demonised. Basic needs like housing remain unmet while industrial capacity and millions of working people remain idle. Commodities that could satisfy these needs sit in storage in warehouses, inaccessible to the working people who need but can’t buy them. Billions are being spent on arms while schools, transport systems and other social services are being curtailed or eliminated for “lack of funds.” Reduced to their essentials, the system’s answers are that workers have been asking for, and getting, too much, especially from government. Workers have demanded too much improvement in the quality of the environment, too much job safety, too much retirement protection, too much health care, too much racial equality, too much housing, too much pay, etc. Discarding the empty promises advanced in the past that capitalism could provide “more,” governments are now promising workers less in every respect. Gone are the days of expansive government spending in the areas of social services and job creation.

Less pay for workers, less spending for job safety, less investment for pollution control mean more profits for the capitalist owners of industry. Less spending for education and social services generally means more funding for the protecting of capitalist investments around the world. Like every ruling-class “explanation” advanced in the past for the economic problems faced by workers, the current ones diverts attention from the underlying causes. Those causes are profit-motivated production and private ownership of the economy. Moreover, current policies are fostering increased competition among workers for the limited number of jobs and social services capitalism has to offer. In this way, the ability of workers to mount a unified defense against enforced austerity is crippled. Even when a capitalist economy is relatively healthy, the needs of workers are never met. This is so because the capitalist economy does not operate to meet workers’ needs. It operates for capitalist profit. That profit is generated through the exploitation of working people—that is, by paying workers’ wages that amount to only a fraction of the wealth they collectively produce. The resulting limited purchasing power of workers accounts in large measure for the economic stagnation and unemployment that periodically plague capitalism. Austerity will neither correct this situation nor alleviate the suffering it is causing. In fact, to the extent that the administration’s policies are implemented, the problems working people face will only be aggravated. These policies seek only to increase profits for the capitalist minority through tax breaks for business and the wealthy, cuts in public services and schemes to increase productivity—that is, to increase the exploitation of workers. In short, the aim of Cameron’s policies is to shift the burden of the prevailing economic crisis onto the shoulders of the working class.

The worker cannot rise as a worker without joining in unity with other workers and helping all. This mutual dependence of worker upon worker, taught them by their everyday experiences in the shop, is the best and finest thing in modern life. It leads to solidarity. It develops the mind of the worker. It raises him or her out of a state of individual selfishness and meanness and points to the goal of civilisation - Socialism. Everybody now realizes that it is ridiculous for sane people to work all day and every day. "The less work the better," is the motto which the workers must set themselves.  Let the newest technology and the best machines and most scientific methods be everywhere used. Let the intelligence of the workers be liberated.  If all this were to be done, it is readily seen that a small portion of the day, or a few days per month, or a few months steady work per year, will yield wealth in abundance. It would be foolish for us to say how much a worker should work, because we do not know how much wealth lie will desire for themselves and their family. It is not for us to determine that. But it is most reasonable to suppose that with socialism an individual working a few hours a day for a few months in the year will produce food, clothing and shelter in abundance for all. Those who will not work will not be permitted to starve. They will undoubtedly be tenderly cared for and nursed back to well-being for at present, even, all healthy people wish to work, yet none desire life-long slavery to the profit of others

Government ownership can never lead to socialism. It is not a step toward socialism. It has nothing socialistic about it, because all political government is administration from the top.  Socialism is industrial democracy. Socialism will need no armed forces, police and prisons. There will be no enslaved poor to be kept down. The Socialist Party is not a political party in the same sense as other parties. The success of socialism would abolish practically every office existing under the present form of government. The mission of the Socialist Party is:
First, it must be the bearer of sound knowledge, using its great and growing organisation to teach socialism.
Second, to lay hold of all the powers of political government and prevent them from being used against the industrial organisation of the workers.

When the working class is strong enough at the ballot box, it will make an end of capitalism. That period in which it will be engaged in the work of seizing all the powers of industrial and political government, will be the period of the social revolution. Of course we cannot tell when this will come. Neither can we tell whether the period of revolution will be long or short. The most important question is, how long will it take to educate and organise the working class? This will depend much on what the capitalists will do. The revolution might be hastened by a panic. It might be retarded by a foreign war or by capitalist reforms. But it is bound to come. That the socialists can clearly see. The Socialist Party is the political party of the working class. This is so because the Socialist Party is the sole protagonist of the principles that the working class must adopt if it is ever to achieve its complete emancipation from wage slavery and, at the same time, save society from catastrophe. The Socialist Party is the only organisation demanding the abolition of capitalism and advocating the socialist reconstruction of society. It has been doing so for over 100 years. It is, in short, the organisation through which the workers can establish their majority right to reorganise society. In a socialist economy based on collective ownership of industry, the workers’ condition would be the reverse of what it is today. Production would be for social use instead of for private profit. Through representatives elected by workers where they work, they would democratically administer the industries and make all economic decisions. Resources would be allocated and production would be carried out on the basis of social needs and wants. A socialist economy would thereby free society of the limitations now imposed by capitalism. Such a society will not, of course, come into existence by itself. If the working-class majority is to become master of the nation’s economic forces, rather than its victims, workers must organise to wrest control from the capitalist class and to lay the foundation for a socialist society. Specifically, working people must break with the political parties of the capitalist class and organise politically around their common class interests.

One in three in fuel poverty

More than one in three Scottish households are suffering from fuel poverty, a new survey shows. A household is defined as in fuel poverty if more than 10 per cent of the household income is spent on energy. If a household spends more than 20 per cent of its income on energy it is then classed as being in extreme fuel poverty.

Energy, prices in Scotland have risen four times faster than household incomes since 2003, plunging an increasing number of people into difficult situations.

Big Energy Switch campaign director Michael Stewart said the survey was a reminder of the “real crisis” which is taking place across the country. He said: 
“This survey highlights the huge level of financial strain spiralling energy prices are placing on household budgets in Scotland. The fact that one in three households are now in fuel poverty means much more needs to be done to help families meet the ever-rising cost of energy bills. Sometimes it takes cold hard statistics like these to remind us that community concern about rising energy prices is not just the usual billing gripes, this is real crisis for many hard working families that simply cannot make ends meet with energy prices this high.”

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fight for your World, Not your Country

We hear it said from many sides that the nations of the world have interests that are not in harmony with each other, and that each nation has to look to those things that it enjoys to safeguard against the aggression of other countries. This attitude is taken by a vast number of people who make these assertions which the facts of reality entirely dispute. This "Nationalism" which has been injected into the brains of the masses springs from a very reliable source, i.e., its origin in the condition of property in a given country.

To get at the ideas that flow through the institutions that exist and reflect definite interests, we must see who it is that owns property in different nations. By property we mean those things that the nation is dependent upon to make its livelihood.

Mines, forests, mills, mines, railways, waterways, are indispensable to the life of modern society. Around these means to sustain human life, we have a set of relations that correspond to the mode of production and distribution. That is a process that calls for collective effort on behalf of the members that take part in the operation.

Today it is not every person that does this work for there are a number that live at the expense of those who do the work. Those that own the means to produce the necessities of life are in a position to demand the great majority in society to rally to the call of the master if they desire to live. This system is the most profitable one that ever was, from the standpoint of the masters with the great amount of wealth that falls to their lot. With this wealth there is the necessary upkeep to maintain the many institutions for the purpose of educating the workers to accept the teachings of the master class. At the schools while an infant, the child is taught the blessings and liberties that are his through being born in a particular country; also that the child is of a superior standing than the child of another country, thus breeding national hatred in the public schools. Then comes the churches to mold the child in its acceptance of the servile conditions of this system.  The press with its powerful editorials, bold headlines of the atrocities upon some of its citizens, gotten up on most occasions by the paid servants of those that rule. The desire for "Nationalism" is created by those that are benefited by it. And this nationalism is begotten of the conflicting interests of the masters of the different nations that are competitors for the markets of the world in which they hope to get rid of the wealth extracted from the wage slaves…

To speak of "Nationalism" just means to talk of the interests of the rulers of that nation. And to accept the teachings of that "Nationalism" is to segregate the workers of the world and make out of them enemies ready and willing to fly at each other’s throats when the exploiters want them. The boundary lines of the various countries do not cover the cloak of exploitation and furthermore, are of no concern from the viewpoint of a slave. …
Seeing that the workers have masters and little caring who that master may be behooves every slave to make inquiries into the condition that is his. We are the producers of the world's wealth, yet we get simply a slave's portion, whenever we may be slaving.  The slaves of England, Germany, Austria, France, Russia, USA and other countries under the yoke of capitalism, live under the same general conditions of wage slavery. This is not altered by the fact that slaves fight the slaves of other nations. We as workers of the world that are exploited by the capitalist class have a cause that is a common one. Our cause is that of the proletariat, the dispossessed workers of every nation, that are being crushed by the load of this damnable system. We are international in kind, and our enemy is the class that live from the produce of our toil. That and that alone is responsible for the plight of workers of the various nations of capitalism.

Our efforts must be bent to the cause of our enslavement, capitalism; and in that case it precludes the workers from taking action in national wars, that does of necessity undermine the international character of the proletariat. Should the workers bend their efforts to the elimination of this system, the bonds of our common cause binds us closer together. The international aspects of our movement will be well looked after, provided we are not stamped by the ideas of the jingoes, nationalists and others of their ilk…

The only movement that has outlined the position of the workers in this war is the Socialist movement, based upon the class struggle, for it is the direct antithesis of "Nationalism" being international in its make-up. …Every nation to maintain its system of slavery had to have its guards to defend itself against the aggression of the other slave masters.

 The facts of everyday life show that the workers did not have anything to do with the calling of the war, neither were they anxious to impose the edifying conditions upon any other peoples. The real trouble was that the masters’ interests were endangered through competition with each other, and they called upon the slaves to fight it out. And that the manufacturers of armaments wax fat at the large profits derived from the sale of the engines of destruction, explains their attitude on war very ably.

It is left to the Socialists (worthy of the name) to explain the facts of wars and the reason for them. For it must be clearly understood that as long as we permit a system of robbery to be, war will be an effect of it. Realizing that must be the case, the cause of Socialism wages its unrelenting propaganda against the system that breeds them.

  "Nationalism" it denounces as anti-socialist, and those propagating such ideas antagonistic to the clear-cut Socialist movement. Let us get away from the teachings of our masters, national hatred, superiority to other nations, etc., and spread the ideas of our position as a slave class. If that is done there is no danger of the workers rushing at the throats of other workers when called upon to do so. This strife taking place in Europe will eliminate a lot of "national socialists" which have been a hindrance to the furtherance of International Class Solidarity, an essential condition for the building up of the International Socialist Movement, whose mission is to dissolve the system of capitalism.

"Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains and a world to gain," is as true today as when it was given to the proletariat in the last century by Marx and Engels, the pioneers of the Socialist movement. If the evils of today have got to be done away with, let that be our slogan.

‘Nationalism and Internationalism’ 
Western Clarion (journal of the Socialist Party of Canada

June, 1917