Friday, August 05, 2016

We follow ideas, not men

The essential theories which Marx and Engels developed have been proved correct again and again. The Socialist Party adhere to the basic conceptions of Marxism because they have proved to be true. No better set of ideas has been shown to be superior and not through lack of trying to think of better ones. On the contrary, these attempts have been numerous but have failed to improve on the original. Unemployment and poverty neither radicalises the working class nor pushes it towards socialist solutions. The overwhelming majority of unemployed workers can be categorised as ‘resigned’ or ‘broken’. Without objectives and well-developed ideas of their own. The chronic un- and under-employed tend to support any social movement that offers assistance or make the best promises for a better future.  The left had little to offer besides education and enlightenment.

The kind of “socialism” under which everybody would receive the same pay, an equal quantity of meat, an equal quantity, of bread, would wear the same kind of clothes and would receive the same kind of goods and in equal quantities—such a kind of “socialism” is unknown to Marxism. Rather the principle is from each according to ability, to each according to self-defined needs. It is obvious that people’s needs vary and will vary in socialism. Socialism never denied that people differed in their tastes, and in the quantity and quality of their needs.

We have seen that the capitalists all over the world try to solve the crisis for themselves by throwing the burden of the crisis upon the workers through wage-cuts, reductions in welfare benefits, speed-ups in industry, lengthening or shortening of working hours, tax laws to benefit the wealthy and by intensifying their competition against foreign competitors through trade wars, etc. The major social contradiction of the capitalist system is the conflict in interest between the owning capitalist class and the producing working class. This gives rise to class struggle, the capitalists always seeking to more intensely exploit the workers, and the workers struggling to retain the products of their labour. The class struggle, as we have already seen, becomes ever sharper with the intensification of the general crisis of capitalism, and it eventually culminates in the socialist revolution. The capitalist class has always endeavoured to soften this contradiction. But the facts demonstrate that it is no more successful in accomplishing this than it is in its efforts to wipe out the other basic economic contradiction of capitalism, the conflict between the capitalist modes of production and distribution. In spite of all the efforts of the capitalists to quench the class struggle, by damping down or beating out the workers’ opposition, it flares up ever broader, more vigorously and more menacingly to capitalism. It has always been a policy of the capitalist class, especially in the imperialist countries, to split and weaken the working class.

The problems of the impoverished and deprived cannot be solved by charity and the benevolence of the privileged. There is no solution to the social problems of the working class other than their emancipation from the poverty and deprivation itself as a whole. Even if the charity organisations multiply a hundredfold and work non-stop day and night, they can still not sufficiently tackle the sufferings and miseries of humanity. There can be no salvation within the capitalist system. Charity is no solution to this calamity of hunger and homelessness. The charity of the rich and powerful is like that of a thieve who rob a home at night and before fleeing, leaves a few coins on the table for the house-holder to buy some crumbs in the morning and because of this kind gesture of the robbers, the victims should feel indebted and grateful. We who create and produce all the wealth are the ones being plundered by the capitalist class. Our knowledge, our skills and our grasp of science and modern technology, if all that is brought under the democratic control and management of those who toil, the whole humanity can be gifted with bountiful abundance. The liberation of mankind would eliminate want once and for all. Those billions now struggling for food, shelter, and clothing will start to explore new horizons. That is socialism. It is a simple solution. Charity is a demeaning symptom of capitalism's failure to adequately provide for everyone.

Capitalism is the motor now driving the world towards ecological collapse, threatening us all. Insatiable growth and consumption are destroying the planet and will doom humanity in the long run -- but without ceaselessly growing production and insatiably rising consumption, we would have economic collapse in the short run. The problem is that the critical decisions that affect the environment, decisions about what and how much to produce, about resource consumption, about pollution -- are not in society's hands and not even in the hands of the government. Those decisions are in private hands, mainly in the hands of large corporations. CEOs have no choice but to make systematically wrong decisions. Corporations aren't necessarily evil. They just can't help themselves. The unplanned, anarchic production for the market, single-minded pursuit of profit maximisation at the expense of all other considerations is running at full throttle filling the world's water and air with toxic and warming pollution, and propelling us towards extinction. The common good of society is ignored for the pursuit of individual economic self-interest.

Global wealth is created by the combined labour by hand and brain of hundreds of millions of people. The current economic and political system allow a tiny minority to own and control that wealth. That is why we have billionaires while most of us struggle to make ends meet and hundreds of millions live in abject poverty. This system allows a massively disproportionate share of wealth to be narrowly concentrated. The resources of the billionaire philanthropists are created by the social effort of the producers, and in a rational economic system, those resources would be available as of right for the good of society and not dependent on the whim of private individuals. Instead of relying on any billionaires to distribute the wealth created by the labour of millions of workers that wealth should be allocated democratically according to need. Moreover, by socialising the means of producing such wealth, massive extra resources could be generated to meet all the needs of humanity for food, shelter and a decent life.

Commonly the word “socialism” is used as a political trick. Reformers of capitalism often call themselves “socialists” or are frequently accused of being “socialists”. It is suggested that countries with large government welfare programmes are socialist or where industry is nationalised makes them socialist. State ownership is not socialism because  the workers are still not the masters of their labour conditions and they still are separated from the production process. The workers remain wage-earners; wage- slave. The capitalist relationship is not abolished. The Socialist Party will not deem its work done till capitalism is removed and replaced.

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