Monday, August 24, 2015

What do we mean by socialism

Capitalism is not part of an eternal “natural order” of things and nor is it a consequence of “human nature”. It is a fairly recent arrival in man’s history. The problems we face – unemployment, poverty, recession, are not some aberrant “illness” of capitalism, they are an essential part of how it works. All these evils are the direct result of the private ownership of wealth, and the consequent exploitation by a few of the mass of the population, the workers who produce all wealth – and whose reward is a pittance. This tiny minority of the population holds complete control of the economy and political power, and effectively controls all the machinery of the state, the armed forces, the police, judiciary and upper rank of the Civil Service. The economic and political power of the capitalist class has its counterpart in the domination and control of the production of ideas, through which it maintains the repressive machinery of the state.

The ruling class will attempt to defend its power by any means possible and so, if any fundamental change is to come about, the mass of exploited people must be prepared to use any means necessary but our first and primary weapon is the vote. Peaceful revolution cannot be achieved by a small group of plotters or terrorists. It can only come about when the mass of workers themselves decide to move.

There is an alternative to the system we live under. It is socialism and it can be achieved. What do we mean by socialism? Not the phony “socialism” of the Labour Party with its years of betrayal, and its attempts to organise the working class to make capitalism work, nor is it the “socialism” of the old USSR which used pseudo-socialist phrases but where in fact one huge capitalist monopoly, the state, exploited the Soviet workers and peasants on behalf of a small ruling elite of Party polit-bureau and State officials. We are fighting for a social democracy in which the producers of wealth, the working class, will collectively own the factories, the land, the hospitals, the schools, etc. and will run them themselves according to the will of the majority. The aim of the apologists for capitalism is to turn workers away from socialism. They are especially determined to discredit Marxism, claiming it is no longer relevant. This means that socialists must redouble their efforts against their arguments. They must show that socialism is a valid and necessary alternative and that Marxism is an effective guide for the working class. At times pseudo-Marxists show up and under a camouflage of revolutionary terminology they add grist to the mill of capitalism’s apologists.

With socialism there are no longer a market, commodities, values, prices, or wages. The community, through their representatives, guide their own destinies and organise themselves so that world-wide production may be purposefully controlled and managed. The allocation of material and workers to a particular industry is made, not according to the hectic fluctuations of the market but by an analysis of the needs of people and of the productivity of the workers. For the first time, society rises from the domain of necessity into the realm of freedom. There being no class struggles, there is now no need for a State, and the State withers away. The army and navy are not necessary. Police disappear. The basis for crime is gone, since labour is so productive that all the wants of life can easily be obtained. Such criminals as may remain are treated as sick persons to be given humane hospitalisation and rehabilitation until they become fit again to return to the community. Socialism lays the basis for a new type of family life, the ending of the misery and despotism that mark familial relationships. A complete emancipation of women and children occurs.

Neither Marx nor Engels ever dreamed that you could wipe out the capitalists in one country alone and establish a classless rule there while all around in the rest of the world there were slavery, colonialism, poverty, hunger, riots, revolutions, etc. The proletariat was conceived of as an international class. The appeal was to the workers of the entire world to unite. In the Communist Manifesto they wrote: “The working men have no country.” “United action, of the leading civilized countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.” “In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end.”

Many say to socialists “Why do you waste your time, you’ve been mixed up in the struggle for socialism for years, it hasn’t happened and if it does happen, it won’t be in your time”

The Socialist Party is confident that it will happen. If it’s not in the current members’ life-times, so what? We certainly do not regard our efforts as wasted. Precisely because we think it is inevitable that social evolution will continue and part of that inevitability is the struggle of mankind, so we believe that those who understand this have an obligation to humanity to participate in the struggle, to serve the people. To do otherwise, to desert the struggle, is shameful. It is not a question of what personal advantage an individual gets. What a shabby criterion! It is a question of serving the people to free them from exploitation, oppression, poverty, unemployment, war. What greater service could there be? And if it is for a generation to be, all the greater the obligation. We think the old society of the world is heavily pregnant with the new – socialism. We witness worldwide that the productive forces have developed tremendously with gigantic development in new technology, computers and automation, that presently enriches the few and impoverishes the many. The workers will rise in revolt.

1 comment:

Matthew Culbert said...

I take the prospects of war,poverty,the trashing of the planet and eco-systems, as a personal matter also.Purely for selfish reasons, I can perceive my self and class interests lie in in contributing to playing a small part in the removal the last great slavery,waged-slavery and the ending of elite class rule.