According to the media magnates, the “old fashioned radical” ideas of the socialist movement are “out-dated” and “obsolete” because we now live in a “Welfare State”, even if it is an ever weakening one. But the Socialist Party point out that in the process of capital accumulation by the capitalists, wealth is constantly accumulated at one end and poverty is accumulated at the other. “This,” Marx said, “is an absolute and general law of capitalist accumulation.” (Capital, Vol. 1) In capitalist society part of the workers’ labour that is plundered by the capitalists as surplus value, the source of all profit under capitalism. A parent’s feeling that their children won’t live as well as they have – under capitalism – is true. They won’t. That part of the capitalist dream is gone for now. And the ability of even the children of the “middle-class” suburbs, and of the country as a whole, to reach or surpass the income levels and status of their parents through a college education is rapidly being closed off by mounting fees and student debt. No longer is there guaranteed the road to the highly illusory “upward mobility.”
Wherever there is capitalism, there is unemployment. The official unemployment rates actually show only the tip of the iceberg about the true picture of joblessness under capitalism. Today there is a whole stratum of jobless who are permanently unemployed and who will never hold a productive job under capitalism. It is another example of how the Great Recession today is fundamentally deeper and more extensive than the Great Depression. The trend in this crisis is for more and more workers and poor to be forced into the ranks of the permanently unemployed. For black and other minority youth (and increasingly for white youth as well) this means that they may never know what a steady job and steady income mean as they hop from one lousy McDonald’s job to another. For older workers in dying declining industries many will also be forced onto welfare. Though the capitalist system has created increasing permanently unemployed and the deepening stagnation is driving more and more workers into its ranks, the employing class are ruthlessly cutting off the funds that keep them alive. Capitalism tears at and destroys the social fabric in which we live. The impact of the economic crisis on the family is profound, gnawing at people’s standard of living and taking a relentless toll and the family is under attack by the capitalist system as never before in our history. Unable to direct their anger at the real source of their desperation and destitution, the capitalists, many people inevitably lash out at anybody available, including their nearest and dearest. People go berserk, grab guns and say “I hate this world” as they randomly kill strangers. Demagogues are whipping up Christian and Islamic fundamentalism, pitting people against people, feeding on the desperation and fears of people.
For all the suffering borne by people, we have not seen any mass resistance of significance. A strange situation indeed – accelerating destitution and deprivation on the one hand and relative docility on the other. This is the deepest capitalist economic crisis ever and the number of strikes is actually almost the lowest in decades. Disoriented, the vast majority of workers are still dazed by the full brunt of the capitalist crisis. People have not taken to the streets in droves (with a few notable exceptions), but they are in fact awakening to political life by the millions and tens of millions. Unlike any time in the last thirty years, the vast majority are open to political ideas, listening intently to all shades of political opinion. In every pub and club, in every living room, a great debate on every question is raging and discussions on politics are no longer taboo topic at the dining table. That the people will at some time soon vote with their feet is certain. They are trying to decide now what they are going to “vote” for. Soon there will be action but for a revolution to be any good, you have to be FOR something. We should be, without hesitation or embarrassment, Utopia, and demand the impossible.
We analyse the sources of surplus value, class exploitation and its termination in a socialist society of abundance for all with production for use not profit. We fret over the cruelty and the absurdity of unemployment, of want and suffering in the midst of plenty. We probe the economic and political roots of war and question how to eradicate them. We wish to establish an economic order internationally where the antagonism between classes vanishes and the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end. We seek the human future of associated labour in which the free development of each is a condition for the free development of all. People want clarity and want to study. We want to teach. But above all, we ourselves also learn.
|FOR WORLD SOCIALISM|