You can’t be a socialist
No matter how you try
Unless you think in terms of “we”
Instead in terms of “I”
There is plenty for all in this world of ours – plenty of everything that goes to make a healthy and happy life. The technological capacity to produce more and more wealth with a less and less expenditure of labour, is growing every day. Every improvement in machinery means that all mankind could gain greater wealth and greater leisure. Yet the workers alone do not benefit by this. What they produce escapes from their hands into the grasp of others; they are forced to compete against one another for a bare subsistence wage; the new technology they make and use if not employed at a profit are not put to use. All of us – could enjoy a standard of comfort and a wholesome, happy, leisurely, yet active life, such as has never been known on the planet. Yet we are told it is utopian and visionary to urge that the workers should turn the machinery which they make and operate, the land which they till, the goods they produce, to the advantage of the whole community. Socialism cannot be introduced piecemeal. All the experiences of socialists have proved this. The real job today is to spread the ideas of socialism, organize the workers in their own political party, and establish a workers’ government that will wipe out capitalism with its waste and be able to plan production and PLENTY FOR ALL.
In previous societies the master sought the slave, but now with capitalism the slave seeks the master. He or she stands in line, offering to work for less food than his or her fellow worker. Occasionally in once a great while he or she rebels – all for a chance to slave. Today the slave struggles for a chance to work, for employment. Before the slave would revolt to flee drudgery and toil; then soldiers were called to keep the slaves at work. Then, stringent laws providing for terrible punishments like crucifixion, hanging, quartering, mutilating and flogging were meted out to any slave or serf fleeing his work. Now police beat the protestors calling for the right to work, demanding jobs.
There are two sorts of unemployment, the unemployment of the blue-bloods, the parasites, those leeches who while unemployed waste millions in ostentatious luxury. Then there is the unemployment of the wage-slave – a terrible nightmare that haunts the mind of the worker. As he or she sees the jobless-line lengthen, however worn-out and sped-up he or she may be, there will be an extra burst of energy so that he or she may not be the next one told that his or her “services are no longer required”. Capitalism uses much more efficient method than the lash to make us work harder. That is hunger. We are told that we are free and the bosses are free. He is free to offer us terms of any kind – we are free to starve unless we accept these terms. As we work, we create profits, such huge profits that even in their wildest extravagances the bosses cannot spend them. So there proves to be no more market for that commodity we are hired to produce; no more profits can be gotten so the free boss lays off the free worker to freely starve in the midst of a land of full warehouses which the worker filled. Capitalism, greedily demanding more and more profits, puts faster machines into the shops which produce goods and profits at a faster and faster rate. More workers are thrown on the streets.
During periods of unemployment, there is an increase of prostitution, murders and theft. Our politicians rail at the morals of the people and point at the mounting crime wave, but of course do not dare to examine the economic cause or the capitalist system. During periods of unemployment, disease, death rate and suicides increase. Among workers these are always high, but during hard times they rise to terrible levels. Fed on adulterated foods, shoddy clothed, poorly housed, the workers become more vulnerable than ever to disease. During periods of unemployment the wages of those at work are slashed by the boss. The answer to any resistance is: “there are plenty outside who want your job.” These are but a few of the effects of unemployment upon the workers. Every worker must ask himself: What is to blame?
The skilled worker says it is the machine that reduces the need for the qualified trained artisan; older workers accuse the younger worker and vice versa; men and women vy for jobs; whites compete with the blacks: the native born resents the foreign immigrant; Tory voters say it is the Labour government and likewise Labour voters say the Tory government is at fault. None of these are true. The youth, the women, the black, the foreigner, whatever party is in office. While one group blames another, the bosses have a hearty laugh as they see us divided and thereby powerless, workers quarreling among themselves.
Only by overthrowing the system of capitalism will unemployment be done away with. The society of socialism alone can eliminate the terror of unemployment. Capitalism will be replaced plenty for all. Our task in the Socialist Party is not to traffic on the ignorance and backwardness of our fellow workers, not to attempt to win them unawares and by stealth, but on the contrary, to enlighten them and to show them the necessary steps to take along the road to socialism. We do not compete with the populist demagogy of fake “promises”. Far from granting more concessions, the ruling class are actually wiping out all the previous “sops” granted to the workers. Socialist says that progress consists not in smashing the corporations, these giants of industry – which cannot be done, anyway – but in making them the property of the whole people, those who produce all the wealth of the world. Owned by the toiling people, by the workers, the poor agricultural labourers, the dispossessed and all the poor, these giant industries could produce plenty for all. That is the road to socialism, to a world system, of peace, security and freedom.