Wednesday, July 08, 2015

We Need Socialism

“I’m not against capitalism; I just think it should be regulated and controlled more” is an opinion shared by many. Capitalism, no matter how much legislation is passed to rein it in, is intolerable; it must be dismantled. Here’s why:

The hallmark of capitalism is that the means of production are privately owned by some individuals, while others do not have this ownership. In other words, some own the means of production others are using. So it’s a system in which the ones using the means of production must sell their labor to these owners in order to have a relatively decent life.  The owners can then make a profit from other people’s work by just owning. This happens when the value of the worker’s pay is less than the value that was added thru his/her work in the paid hours. That creates a profit for the owner of the means of production who did not create the value, but still gets paid in the form of profit. This profit is hence capital for future investments and more profits. So, the capitalist is making money simply by just owning, not adding or creating value. Since a capitalist economy is based on the need for growth and profits for the investors and owners, this method of exploitation – profiting on other people’s hard work – is of course used by more or less all of them. This exploitation is in other words just a logical result caused by the capitalist system. Economists who support capitalism may well proclaim how rational and efficient it is, but in fact it is a fundamentally irrational system, perhaps the most irrational in the whole of history. This is the situation: technical progress is greater than ever, but people are working harder and harder and longer and longer. We are not enemies of technology, but we are against the capitalist application of technology which means we see the productivity of labour rise, but that is not done for the benefit of society, nor in order to shorten labour time and the proportion of our life we spend at work. On the contrary, that is getting longer and more intensified.

The financial elite have the overwhelming power in society. They control all the resources and possess the influence and power in the economy, yet we’ve never voted for them. Wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of a non-elected minority who make huge decisions that affect the entire society and our lives. This is undemocratic. Capitalism is a global system, and people should co-operate and organise society in common.

Cooperation, solidarity and altruism are essential and fundamental elements of our nature, but these things are being suppressed to a large extent in capitalism. In) today’s societies things like greed and consumption are being encouraged. In fact, capitalism requires corporations to only think about the "bottom line". If they don’t, they’re out of business, and corporations that do think profits and greed replace them. A society like this will of course produce a lot of greedy individuals. Capitalism encourages greed and tries to manipulate us into mindless consumption. Corporations spend huge amounts of money on advertising almost everywhere we look, whether it’s TV, radio, internet or newspapers. This propagandistic capitalist system is a highly unnatural phenomenon; it’s been a part of human history for an extremely small amount of time, yet it affects us, many of us in a huge way. Capitalism demoralises humans. The profit-hungry billionaires love “private property.” They love that while the majority of humanity has to sell their labour, renting out their ability to work to someone else in order to survive, they, the superrich, get to “own” the banks, factories, natural resources, and other “commanding heights” of the economy. They are happy that they can live off the work done by those who aren’t lucky enough to be among their small ruling segment of humanity. The billionaires and their governments want people to support and fight in their wars. They also want people to happily accept their massive cutbacks and layoffs. If the people are to do this, the last thing they need to hear is the truth. The ruling class own the media to push its interpretation of the world.

A system that’s undemocratic, tyrannical and exploitative shouldn’t just be fixed or regulated, it should be dismantled. Capitalism must be abolished and replaced by a libertarian socialist society in which the communities and the economic institutions are run democratically by the participants; a society where the people participate in the decision-making and are in control of their own work, life and destiny; a system of cooperative communities that benefit everyone and focus on people’s needs instead of short term profits. It can only come when the majority of people want it. Creating a socialist society is perfectly do-able. We’ve seen examples of socialism working very well all over the place throughout history.

The Socialist Party is anti-capitalist and our aim is to show that all the problems facing people today, such as poverty and unemployment are consequences of the socio-economic system and not of the success of failure of this or that economic policy of particular governments. We live in an age of extraordinary progress. We have more computer power in our smartphone than in the Apollo space programme and we can reach billions of people instantly via the internet. Remember "The Jetsons" cartoon series? It portrayed technologies in the sixties that seemed magical at the time such as videophones, talking alarm clocks, flat screen TVs, a kind of internet connection and even robots to clean your house. All are reality today. Thanks to the decoding of the human genome we are at the verge of medical breakthroughs that can even further extend our life expectancy and we only just begun exploring the human brain to find answers to Alzheimer's and dementia. Science can provide us a new, green, industrial revolution where we no longer burn fossil fuels for our transportation or use oil derivatives for materials. We can develop new green and clean forms of energy and materials with the help of scientists.  

 But think about inequality, or climate change or the fact that still around 800 million people go to bed hungry every day. In order to solve the threat of climate change, hunger and other challenges, we don’t only need scientists and their tireless efforts to help our society to further advance but we require a majority of people who are committed to pushing the boundaries even further in a political social revolution. Because science alone cannot change the world. Only people can. 

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