Friday, September 30, 2016

Socialism — Our Hope for the World

Despair, worry, and anxiety about the future are taking a toll on millions. An economic recession and the accompanying deterioration of the working and living conditions for people fosters the potential renewal of the combat readiness of the workers in the class war and represents a favourable terrain for the birth of a political class consciousness. But the absence of a strong solid socialist movement creates a vacuum and facilitates the diversion of workers into the cul-de-sac of reformist palliatives. Even worse, it can permit a rise in nationalistic racism and xenophobia.  In this way workers militancy and the potential of increased class consciousness is dissipated and political policies misrepresent the real interests of the workers. Communicating with fellow-workers is clearly a priority for socialists. Class unity cannot be realised by any chance fashion. It must be carried out through a long process of debate and discussion. It is essential to determine political objectives and an orientation, and no less essential to develop correct tactics and strategies. We require to build bridges to connect us with our fellow-workers. Linking with our fellow-workers is a necessity. The struggles they are primarily involved in are economic struggles or struggles of social resistance. Our role as a political party is to instill the consciousness that their struggles are only part of the class struggle, which has to be political. A socialist party’s participation is to clarify and provide an ideological explanation of work-place and community struggles. It is a job of agitation and propaganda.

The Socialist Party has nothing to retract, nothing to apologise for, in connection with our stand over the many years of our existence. Our opposition to capitalism and war has been as consistent and emphatic. We are not a party of mere patchwork reform, nor a party of sham revolutionary phrases, but a party of social democracy, with our roots firmly in the working class movement, and conducting a campaign of education and organisation in the economic and political struggle. Socialism is not inevitable. What has been termed its “inevitability” consists in this - that only through socialism can human progress continue. But there is not and cannot be any absolute deterministic inevitability in human affairs since man makes his own history and chooses what to do. What is determined is not his choice, but the conditions under which it is made, and the consequences when it is made. The meaning of “scientific” socialism is not that it tells us that socialism will come regardless, but that it explains to us where we stand, what course lies open to us, what is the road to life.

The Socialist Party is as yet an insignificant factor in the political and social life of our fellow-workers. Its importance lies in the future. We are criticised for our supposed sectarianism and dogmatic principled stand but over the decades we have witnessed the merging and unification of political parties and seen the futility of such ventures. We are fully convinced of the correctness and soundness of the Socialist Party principles and tactics, and therefore most emphatically disapprove of and condemn any attempt to lead our Party into fusion and confusion with so-called “socialist” reformist parties, thereby disrupting the Socialist Party. Better to have rival numerically small organisations, each homogeneous and harmonious within itself, than to have one big party torn apart by dissensions and squabbles, an impotent monument built upon foundations of clay. Let the comrades on all sides do the next best thing and freely without rancour organise and work in its own way, and make such contribution to the socialist movement as they can. Yet unfortunate that the energies of the workers’ movement should be dissipated in acrimonious and fruitless controversies over events of a hundred years ago that have long been dissected and disowned by all.

Millions of working people in every corner of the world know that they can solve the fundamental problems of their class only by making a revolution. History shows the story of how they have struggled to rid themselves of the social ills of capitalist society.  Socialism would not be an idea on the workers’ agenda today without the international socialist movement of the past 150 years, and the titanic class battles against capitalist exploitation. We are socialists out of conviction because we see capitalism as damaging to the vast majority of the world’s people and harmful to our environment. Capitalism is a destructive system that hurts, divides and exploits the vast majority of our people for the sake of profits and power for the few. This system we live under, by its very nature, grinds working people, sets one group against another and acts violently against people when they resist. We see in socialism the seeds and the method of achieving a more just, more cooperative and more peaceful society. Socialists offer an alternative which can meet basic needs of people and which is based on cooperation and general, productive and fulfilling employment. Socialism offers a future free from the fears of poverty, sexism, racism, dog-eat-dog competition, joblessness, and the loneliness of old age. As our movement grows, we will be nearer to creating a society that allows each person to create and produce according to her or his ability and to obtain what she or he needs.

The Socialist Party advocates and works only for socialism – that is, common ownership and collective control of the means of production (factories, fields, utilities, etc.). We want a system based on cooperation, where the people build together for the common good.

Millions for doing nothing

An Aberdeen farmer tops the league of those receiving European Union subsidies through the Scottish Government under the controversial Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Frank Smart raked-in nearly £3m in EU hand-outs last year - making him the biggest recipient of farm subsidies in the UK. He inherited his 400-acre family farm at Torphins, near Banchory on Royal Deeside, pocketed grants totalling £2,963,732.77 last year. He is benefiting from European– so-called naked acres – to trigger payments on them, without producing crops or keeping livestock. The only condition they have to meet is that the land they use is kept in good agricultural and environmental condition.

With entitlements to fields on farms from his Easter Tolmauds (CORR) business base on Deeside to Harris in the Western Isles Smart has harvested almost £12 million in just four years. 

Scott Walker, the chief executive of NFU Scotland, told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: "There's one or two individuals that use the system and found loopholes in the system to maximise their returns, but as I say, it's a million miles away from the situation that most farmers and crofters find themselves in."

Resistance, unity and mass consciousness

It is always advisable to take a look around at the socialist movement, to take stock and to consider where we have arrived at and where we are going. What does the Socialist Party exist for? Nothing less than for social revolution, which is the complete transformation of human society from top to bottom. No little task. It is the biggest objective that anybody has ever tried. And what are the means at our disposal to do this work? None other than fellow-workers just like us. So it is not surprising that to forge a mass proletarian political party, with members fully conscious of their present class subjection and aware of their future potential our efforts have not been particularly successful. It is in the direction of building up a class-conscious working-class socialist party that we have still to bend our efforts with renewed energy. Agitate, Educate, Organise. The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working-class themselves, they cannot be emancipated against their will. There is no other way. And thus far, they have not willed it to happen. Let us enquire into these reasons so many avowed, earnest and active socialists are outside our party and if possible remedy it. Let us bring together all genuine comrades into a united Socialist Party for the realisation of the emancipation of humanity.

The goal of the labour movement, the conquest of political power, can be accomplished only by the working class organized as a political party. The more the great body of workers take part in the war on capitalism, the more will class conflicts become social cataclysms and great political events. Our struggle for political supremacy is not merely between political parties but a life and death struggle between two hostile economic classes, the one, the capitalist, and the other, the working class. In this struggle the Socialist Party tries to represent working-men and women and children. The Socialist party is the party of the working class, the party of emancipation, and it is made up of men and women who scorn to compromise with their oppressors; who want no votes and no support under any false pretense whatsoever. The Socialist party is not, and does not pretend to be a capitalist party. It does not ask, nor does it expect the votes of the capitalist class or their apologists. The call of the Socialist Party is to the exploited class. The Socialist Party stands squarely upon its Declaration of Principles and relies upon the education of the working class. Ignorance alone stands in the way of socialist success. Ignorance is essential to industrial slavery. The ignorant worker who supports the parties of the employers forges his or her own fetters and is the unconscious author of his or her own misery. They are voting into power the class enemies of labour and are morally responsible for the crimes thus perpetrated upon their fellow-workers and sooner or later they will have to suffer the consequences of their acts. We can and must be made to see and think and act with fellow workers in supporting the party of our class and this work of education is the purpose of the socialist movement.

All working-men and women owe it to themselves, their class and their children to take an active and intelligent interest in political affairs. The ballot expresses the people’s will. The ballot means that workers have a voice to be heard and to be heeded. Centuries of struggle and sacrifice were required to wrest this weapon of freedom from tyranny and place it in the hands of workers as the shield for defence and a sword of attack. The abuse, its misuse, not the use of it, is responsible for its weakness. The Socialist party is a revolutionary working class party, whose mission it is to conquer capitalism on the political battle-field, take control of the State machine and take possession of the means of wealth production, abolish wage-slavery and emancipate all workers and all humanity. The Socialist Party understands the magnitude of its task and has the patience of preliminary and temporary set-backs and defeat but trusts in ultimate victory. The working class will be liberated by the working class. Society must be reconstructed by the working class. The fruits of their labour will be enjoyed by the working class. Poverty and war will cease when the working class defeats the ruling class. These are the principles and objects of the Socialist Party and we proclaim them to our fellow-workers. We know our cause is just and that it must prevail. With hope and courage and with a dauntless spirit the working class will march from capitalism to socialism, from slavery to freedom, from barbarism to civilisation.

The purpose of the Socialist Party is to gather together workers whose real interests lie in abolishing the private ownership of the means of production and vote ourselves into power so to use that power of government to capture back those means of wealth production which the capitalists have stolen from us. We will then get all that abundance which modern technology entitles us to. Real socialism is the only alternative to capitalism. Conditions are now ripe for socialism, i.e. production for use and where all mankind cooperate in the common social interests. In a sane world fit for human beings the social forces breeding wars, hunger and disease disappear. Socialism is possible, necessary and practical today the moment the great majority become conscious of their interests. The task of the Socialist Party is to act as a catalyst, the triggering agent that transforms fellow-workers ideas from prevailing capitalist ones to revolutionary ones.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

No man is good enough to be another's master

A socialist society is the aim of the Socialist Party’s struggle for the emancipation of the working people of all lands. The goal of the Socialist Party is to replace the world capitalist economy by world socialism which is mankind’s only way out, for it alone can abolish the contradictions of the capitalist system which threaten to degrade and destroy the humanity. Socialism will abolish the class division of society, and it will also abolish all forms of exploitation and oppression of man by man. Society will no longer consist of antagonistic classes in conflict with each other, but will present a united commonwealth of labour. For the first time in its history mankind will take its fate into its own hands. Instead of destroying innumerable human lives and incalculable wealth in struggles between classes and nations, mankind will devote all its energy to the struggle against the forces of nature, to the development and strengthening of its own collective might.

A world system of socialism will replace the elemental forces of the world market, competitive and blind processes of social production, by consciously organised and planned production for the purpose of satisfying rapidly growing social needs. With the abolition of competition and anarchy in production, devastating crises and still more devastating wars will disappear. Instead of the colossal waste of productive forces and spasmodic development of society there will be a planned utilisation of all material resources and a painless economic development on the basis of unrestricted, smooth and rapid development of productive forces. The abolition of private property and the disappearance of classes will do away with the exploitation of man by man. Work will cease to be toiling for the benefit of a class enemy: instead of being merely a means of livelihood it will become a necessity of life: want and economic inequality, the misery of enslaved classes, and a wretched standard of life generally will disappear; the hierarchy created in the division of labour system will be abolished together with the antagonism between mental and manual labour; and the last vestige of the social inequality of the sexes will be removed. Culture will become the acquirement of all. At the same time, the organs of class domination, and the State in the first place will disappear also. The State, being the embodiment of class domination, will die out in so far as classes die out, and with it all measures of coercion will expire.

 In a socialist society, no social restrictions will be imposed upon the growth of the forces of production. Private ownership of the means of production, the selfish lust for profits, the artificial retention of the masses in a state of ignorance, poverty-which retards technical progress in capitalist society, and unproductive expenditures will have no place in socialism. The most expedient utilisation of the forces of nature and of the natural conditions of production in the various parts of the world, the removal of the antagonism between town and country, that under capitalism results from the low technical level of agriculture and its systematic lagging behind industry; the closest possible co-operation between science and technique, the utmost encouragement of research work and the practical application of its results on the widest possible social scale; planned organisation of scientific work; the application of the most perfect methods of statistical accounting and, planned regulation of economy; the rapid growth of social needs, which is the most powerful internal driving force of the whole system all these will secure the maximum productivity of social labour, which in turn will release human energy for the powerful development of science and art.

Socialism will bury, once and for all, mysticism, religion, prejudice and superstition. As with the state, with religion. It will not be "abolished". God will not be "dethroned", religion will not be "torn out of the hearts of people"; nor will any other of the foolish accusations against socialist materialism materialise.

The development of the productive forces of world socialism will make it possible to raise the well-being of the whole of humanity and to reduce to a minimum the time devoted to material production and, consequently, will enable culture to flourish as never before in history. This new culture of a humanity that is united for the first time in history, and has abolished all State boundaries, will, unlike capitalist culture, be based upon clear and transparent human relationships.

Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?

Capitalism is completely incapable of solving the problems of the world peoples. A capitalist system is inevitably marked by sharp social contrasts, gross inequality of opportunity. Capitalism attacks all the essential rights and liberties that have been won over many years of struggle by the working people. The wealth is produced by those who work by hand and brain, far in excess of the wages they are paid. The surplus goes to the capitalist owners or shareholders as profit. The capitalist class owns and controls the means of production, distribution and communication. The working class owns none of these, and therefore workers must sell their labour power to the capitalist for wages in order to live. The worker creates a product of value, part of which is returned to him as wage, and the rest of which is taken from him by the capitalists as profit. Thus is created the basic antagonistic contradiction between worker and capitalist, since the interest of one is, and has to be, directly opposed to the interest of the other. This most fundamental of contradictions will not end until capitalism with its private ownership and/or control of the means of production is itself ended and replaced with socialism. This is capitalist exploitation, the basis of all forms of rent and interest.

People are divorced from the process of decision-making or control in the affairs of their daily lives, livelihoods and communities. Political power must be taken out of the hands of the capitalist class and put into the hands of the people. Two courses are open. Either the present system prevails and will continue. Or steps must be taken to progress towards socialism. The economic basis of socialism is the common ownership of all the means of production and distribution. Socialism will enable the community as a whole to benefit from all increases in productivity, all advances in science and application of technological discoveries. That is why socialism has been the aim, the aim of establishing the rule of the working people in place of rule by the owners of property. Socialism is not an “improved”, “more just” version of the system of wage labour, but a wholly new mode of production. The fight for socialism is to consciously struggle for the overthrow of capitalism and the institutions of state designed and created to maintain the economic and political dominance of the few who own capital over the many who have only their own labour power. The only way to abolish the capitalist exploitation of labour is to deny the state power to the exploiting ruling class. In socialism, all means of production will be common property. There will be no classes and no class struggle. There will be no distinction between mental and manual work. Socialism will be a life of material and cultural abundance. There will be no wars, no armies, and no need for weapons of war, which will become historical curiosities.

The prospects look dire for the existing system – and for the seven billion people who live under it. Attempts to reform the system have repeatedly proved unsuccessful. We are facing a future of barbarism, if not the final destruction of the whole of humanity because of the failure of capitalism to provide even minimally satisfactory lives for the majority of the world’s population. If there is no alternative to this system, then there is no hope for mankind. But the Socialist Party says there is an alternative. People have the power to take control of the ways of creating wealth and to subordinate them to our choices and our decisions. We do not have to leave production to the blind caprice of the market and the madness of rival owners of wealth in their race to keep ahead of each other. The new technologies that are available today, far from making our lives worse, have the potential to making our lives a lot better and easier. Automation could provide us with more leisure, with more time for creativity and more chance to deliberate on where the world is going. Computers provide us with unparalleled information about the resources available to satisfy our needs and how to deploy them effectively. But this alternative cannot arise from accepting the insane logic of the market, of commercial competition. The alternative can only come from fighting against the capitalist system. We want a humane rational society and the replacement of capitalism by a new economic mechanism based on human cooperation.

With socialism, cooperation replaces competitive chaos. With socialism, the welfare of the whole and of each individual within it replaces the welfare of a privileged select class. The elimination of the profit-seeking motive makes room for the higher motive of service. The rational organisation of production and distribution of wealth welcomes science and technology as an ally and transfers the emphasis from scarcity to abundance. Seek the permanent improvement of your condition by the establishment of the cooperative industrial system, in which crises, with their frightful train of woe and misery, will be impossible. Learn from the experience of the past. Whosoever desires the object must also adopt the means necessary for its attainment. Socialists hate capitalism with our heads and with our hearts because we see in it a redundant social system holding back wonderful developments in new technology that the present state of our knowledge could turn to the well-being of the people. We see in it a social system that carries within itself slumps and wars, poverty amidst plenty. We want to end it as soon as possible. We aim at replacing the present capitalist system by socialism, where there will be common ownership of the means of production and distribution, where wealth will be in the hands of those who produce it, where the exploitation of man by man will be ended, where production will be used not for private profit, where a new relationship of fraternity will develop between people based on equality and where individual men and women will find totally new possibilities to develop their talents and skills.

The important difference between a member of the capitalist class and a worker is that the former is able to identify his own best interests. The capitalist joins with his wealthy colleagues in shaping laws to protect his business. For sure, workers are forever pointing the finger at who to blame for his or her predicament – invariably a fellow worker - but rarely do they joining with fellow workers in the ranks of a union so that they can deal as equals with their employers. They prefer to believe the slogans of the demagogues who single out the scapegoats.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Misleading Mis-leaders

As to the necessity for working-class progress, its organisation has to exist. Of that, there can be no question. The point to be decided is: how shall the workers organise? Some advocate armed insurrection; and some industrial unionism or revolutionary syndicalism. But most support the ballot and palliative reforms sought through parliamentary action.  If our fellow-workers allow themselves to be misled and tricked into following those roads they will fail to free themselves from wage-slavery or even to better their condition, but will be put further into the power of our masters, and much valuable time and energy will be lost and discouragement and despair will be the result. Far better no organisation at all than a fake form which divides the workers against themselves and misleads between their interests and those of the ruling class. Capitalism gives to the worker the right to choose his or her master but insists that the fact of the master/slave relationship shall remain unquestioned.

Trade unions are organised by workers so they can successfully fight their industrial battles and advance their economic interests in their every-day struggles with capitalists. Trade unionism is an action of the workers which does not go beyond the limits of capitalism. Its aim is not to replace capitalism by another form of production, but to secure good living conditions within capitalism. Certainly, trade union activity is class struggle. There is a class antagonism in capitalism capitalists and workers have opposing interests. Not only in the question of the conservation of capitalism, but also within capitalism itself, with regard to the division of the total product. The capitalists attempt to increase their profits, the surplus value, as much as possible, by cutting down wages and increasing the hours or the intensity of labour. On the other hand, the workers attempt to increase their wages and to shorten their hours of work. Thus the antagonism becomes the object of a contest, the real class struggle. It is the task, the function of the trade unions to carry on this fight.

Capitalism is world-wide. It pays little attention to national boundary lines. The modern wage worker has neither property nor country. Ties of birth and sentiment which connect him or her with any particular country are slight and unimportant. It makes little difference what country he or she exists in, but they must have a job. Capital seeks the most profitable investment. If an American capitalist can invest more profitably in a Chinese business than an American he invests in China though he knows full well his money will finance the rival manufacturers to send American workers to the unemployment line. Capitalists often try to cover up their crimes with a cloak of patriotism, but the only patriotism they know is that of the dollar. The trade unions must not confine themselves to geographical divisions or national boundary lines but must follow the world-embracing lines of industry. The workers of all countries co-operate to carry on industry regardless of national boundary lines, and they must organise in the same way to control industry. To promote the unity of thought and action among the world’s workers, international cooperation and collaboration must be the order of the day.

A socialist party is organised to overthrow capitalism. All intelligent workers realise the capitalist system fails to supply the needs of the vast majority of the human race, and that it must be overthrown before the workers can have freedom.  When the workers are educated to the real nature of the profit system they lose all respect for the masters and their property. They see the capitalists in their true colours as thieves and parasites, and their "sacred" property rights as plunder and pillage. They see the State and the media as tools of the exploiters and they look on these institutions with contempt. They begin to understand the identity of interests of all wage workers. Organised politically, the workers are in a position to strike at the very heart of capitalism. At the polling booth, we are many and they are few.

In the socialist society, the means of production will be free to provide for the needs of the people. The capitalist profit-makers will have passed into history. Working people will be in control of industry and society. They will make poverty amid plenty impossible. The taking-over of the means of production of wealth, the factories, land, owned by a tiny handful, would banish the spectre of war, unemployment and poverty. It would mean a high standard of living for all.

Many struggles – but one war

The progress of mankind requires the cooperation of men and women. The inevitable outcome will be that the people must take possession collectively of the means of production and distribution. And this is called socialism. In order for the society working people will create to be just and egalitarian, it must embody socialist ideology. The fundamental change we envisage does not preserve capitalism. Our compass for where we are headed should have socialism set as its destination.

Capitalism inevitably produces exploitation and poverty, war, oppression, the poisoning of the environment, and a waste of human and natural resources, none of which can be consistently eliminated without the socialist transformation of society. It is an economic law, proven by the history of production under slavery and feudalism, that when an industrial system becomes a hamper upon the productive potentialities of the ever-improving science and technology, it has outlived its day and is ready to give way to a new economic system. Capitalism, instead of using the existing productive forces to supply the necessities and wants of society, is limiting our productive powers. We find that capitalism does not dare use to their fullest extent the productive forces of our present age. Its very existence depends upon retardation of these forces.

Under capitalism, the production of wealth is carried on for profit. The desire for profits is the motive force which drives the capitalist class to use its capital in the production of wealth. In order to secure profits,the workers must be exploited. Part of the product of their labour must be turned over to the capitalist class in the shape of interest and dividends. Capitalism restricts the production of wealth by keeping millions of workers in unemployment.  If these workers were allowed to use their brains and muscle in the production of wealth we could materially add to the amount produced. But this constraint on production by denying employment is necessary to the continuance of capitalism. The army of unemployed is a weapon in the hands of the master class with which the workers are kept in submission. If there were no unemployed, no strike would be lost. The workers could dictate their own terms to the capitalist and their terms would be that they receive for their labour the equivalent of what they produce. The reserve army of unemployed, however, gives the capitalist power to enforce his terms and continue the exploitation of the workers. The capitalists must, therefore, keep part of the workers in unemployment and deny society the benefit of their productive power.

Capitalism is preventing the complete socialisation of the production of wealth. We can today produce more than we could ever have imagined and produce it with less expenditure of labour-power than we could have ever fathomed. Only through common ownership can society secure for all its members the benefit of the improved method of economic organisation. Once we establish common  ownership of our industries we will throw off the checks of our productive powers and will be able to produce more than enough not only to supply every human being food, clothing, and homes to live in but the opportunity for education and culture which can make life worth living. But mere economic development in itself cannot bring the cooperative commonwealth.

The Socialist Party is primarily concerned with analyzing the capitalist system, pointing out its defects and advocating the replacing of the capitalist system by the common ownership and democratic administration of the means of production and distribution. Socialism is not necessarily advanced in response to or because of economic recessions. These crises may point out the fact that something is wrong, but the suggestion of the remedy and the cure for these ills is quite a different problem.

Capital does not hinge on individual will. The main role of capital is not the degree of personal benefit in consumption and enjoyment at the expense of others. Yes, the capitalist can have that. He can use his money any way he wants—he can spend it all, eat it up, drink it up, or even burn it. But that bundle of money ceases to be capital. The basis for capital is the return of the money to circulation, for reinvestment based on exploitation. Used for one’s own consumption or enjoyment, it is just individual wealth; it is not capital. Capitalists not only do not direct the capital but in fact are themselves directed by and enslaved by capital. Capital spontaneously flows wherever the most profit can be made. There is no society-wide overall planning under capitalism, nor can a capitalist economy as a whole be a planned economy. The interests of the capitalists are individual interests. Under the system of private ownership of the means of production, the capitalists all fight for their own immediate interests, the interests of a particular company or sector. By their very nature, that is their sole consideration. Thus they come into antagonistic conflict with other capitalists, other sectors, and other industries. Under capitalism, there is nothing to prevent anyone with capital from producing identical products as long as the goods can be sold. Conflicts and waste inherently exist because products are duplicated. And there is even a contradiction in artificially creating demand and falsely advertising simply to sell these hyped products. So it is clear the private ownership precludes planning. This is true within each sector as well as for any sector’s relation to other sectors. Capitalists don’t sit down together and plan (except to monopolise pricing and markets, which further destroys the basis for capitalism), and there’s no interest for them to do so. For example, the car manufacturers and transportation industry in general, and the big oil companies and the energy industry as a whole, are obviously interdependent. It would seem in the best interest of the auto and other transportation manufacturers to plan with the big oil and energy companies to keep prices down so that sales of vehicles would increase. But that is not the case. Their lack of cooperation clearly undermines the car industry. Even if a finance capitalist owns both General Motors and Exxon, for example, and has overlapping interests, he still cannot plan and coordinate policies with other capitalists. Why? Because as long as many different oil corporations exist, there is competition among them. As long as there are different domestic and foreign auto manufacturers, some producing more fuel-efficient cars than others, the manufacturers are constantly driven to compete with each other. This adds to the independent momentum which prevents them from coordinating different sectors. For example, if Exxon were to raise the price of gas, but Texaco wanted to lower the price to help the American auto industry, it could not do so. Texaco would not get enough windfall profits to attract investors, or to invest in new oil fields and explorations. Without the profits, they cannot compete. In the long haul, they would be swallowed up by their competitors in the energy field. Texaco capitalists would not be able to diversify as much as their competitors in order to survive in the coming period. Nor could they increase their productivity and lessen their vulnerability by swallowing up smaller companies in the economic crisis. Nor would they be able to concentrate efforts to monopolize other sectors, having reaped windfall profits in one sector (such as gasoline), and force their competitors out of other sectors (such as diesel, plastics, and other petro-products). Even if two companies in two interdependent sectors want to cooperate, they cannot, because of the competition within the sector. This is just one example of why there cannot be a planned economy as a whole under capitalism.

Anti-fracking comes to Scotland

A tanker carrying 27,500 cubic meters of ethane from U.S. shale fields had reached Grangemouth, the site of the petrochemicals plant owned by multinational corporation Ineos who plan to eventually transport more than 800,000 tons of ethane, using eight specially built ships, across the Atlantic every year. Anti-fracking activists in Scotland and in Pennsylvania—where the fracked gas originated—oppose the delivery.

"Americans are being sacrificed by having this production near their homes, schools and farms," read a statement from Citizens for Clean Water a group based in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.  "I have witnessed first-hand how the fracking industry has brought permanent damage across the Pennsylvania region, polluted our air, land, and water and is destroying our livelihoods," Ron Gulla, a former resident of Hickory, Pennsylvania, who leased his own land for fracking in 2002, explained. "Those living near drilling, infrastructure, or waste sites have suffered water contamination, spills, wastewater dumping, and gas leaks, as well as multiple health impacts”

"It is completely unacceptable to attempt to prop up the Grangemouth plant on the back of environmental destruction across the Atlantic," said Mary Church, head of campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland. "Only today we have heard from the U.K. Climate Change Committee that global warming is already impacting Scotland, and that we should expect to see an increase in extreme weather events like last year's floods. To pursue a future for the Ineos plant based on the consumption of ever more fossil fuels is utterly irresponsible in the context of what we know about the devastating impacts of climate change…Fracking should not happen here in Scotland," said Church, "and our country should not profit from it happening anywhere else."

Mark Lichty, executive producer of the cautionary documentary Groundswell Rising, declared in a statement:

“The arrival of the Ineos Dragon ships in the U.K. is not an event to celebrated, but rather to be mourned. The event means the message and commitments made in Paris, go virtually unheeded. Fracked gas with its methane and carbon dioxide emissions fuels the climate crises. The earth speaks resoundingly of its climate-induced pain through unprecedented heat waves, floods, forest fires, etc.  The infrastructure to process the gas is a black hole sucking money into it that could be spent on a bright, job-producing, alternative future. Voices are beginning to be heard that we must have a WWII style mobilization effort to rise to the climate crises. Then as now this is an enemy we can combat. Let the U.K. and U.S. stand together. United we stand, divided we fall. “

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Working-class: Grave-Diggers of Capitalism

Socialism is not just the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution. It means genuine equality, real freedom, and a radical transformation in all human relations. It is mankind's understanding of the environment. A socialist society can therefore only be built from below, a democratisation of all institutions down to their very roots. Socialists are alert, however, in pointing out the great distinction between "public" ownership and in reiterating the socialist demand for common ownership of all the means of production and distribution as the only cure for the evils of the competitive system. The truth is that state ownership (nationalisation) of the means of production and distribution is a political system dictating everything from the top. Without democracy, without complete political and administrative control by the producers, the centralisation of all economic power, all the means of production and distribution, in the hands of the state combined with the expansion of the means of production, signify not the development of socialism but the establishment of the tyranny of state-capitalist exploitation.

It is not only freedom for labour socialists seek but just as importantly it is also freedom from labour  that socialists seek. With scientific advances, the arrival of new technology the wastes of the present system can be eliminated and two or three hours work a day would suffice to supply all the comforts and luxuries of life. This would secure for people the leisure necessary to enable them to develop their talents and skills.  There can be no liberty in economic dependence. The person who is in want or in the fear of want is not free. No person is free if he or must look to the pleasure or profit of another for a living.  Without independence, there can be no freedom. Freedom will become the heritage of all as soon as socialism is realized because it will guarantee to all security, independence, and prosperity. True liberty and freedom can only be attained in the cooperative commonwealth.

Capitalism cannot be overthrown, nor can a socialist society be brought into being, without the self-organised activity of the vast majority of the working class. But this in itself is not a sufficient condition for the establishment of socialism. If the class struggle escalated to a situation in which workers began to take the organisation of society into their own hands, it would seem reasonable to imagine that this would also be accompanied by a corresponding awareness, at the level of political consciousness, of the momentous implications of their actions. But while this may seem likely, it is far from inevitable.  It is conceivable that workers could spontaneously take over the means of production at a time of political, social or economic crisis, only to establish a form of self-managed capitalism. The cooperative commonwealth is interpreted by the likes of Richard Wolff as a model for his “Workers Self-Directed Enterprises" or Gar Alperovitz and his pet project the “Pluralist Commonwealth”. But the goal is one of a non-market socialist society as the only working-class alternative to the existing worldwide capitalist system. The aim a socialist party must be to develop the consciousness of fellow-workers, even at the cost of being momentarily in opposition to them. Only thus will a socialist party win the trust of the masses, and accomplish the education of the widest numbers.

Socialism is coming but whether it be soon or late depends on us. Since the capitalists own the things that the workers must use in order to earn a living, the capitalists have the whip-hand and that they compel workers to sell their labour power for much less than the value of what they produce. In fact. workers usually receive in the wages paid them only just enough to buy the necessities for a poor sort of living for themselves and to provided for the raising of children so that the line of workers might not be exhausted. The workers produce the amount of wealth they receive in wages in four hours of five, depending upon the technical development of industry, but they are compelled to keep on working up to eight, ten, or twelve hours and during the hours they work over and above the time required to produce their wages they produce “surplus value” for the boss. It is natural for workers attempted to improve their standard of living by an effort to secure more of the wealth they produced and that the capitalists will always resist this effort of the workers in order to keep as much as possible of the product of industry for themselves as profits, and that, consequently, there was a class struggle between the workers and capitalists. All governments are instruments of class rule; they are controlled by the class which owned the machinery of production and that the power of government was used to uphold the system of exploitation and to suppress the efforts of the workers to win their freedom. The way to freedom for the workers is to transfer industry from private control and ownership by the capitalists to the common ownership and democratic management by the people. To accomplish this the workers must gain control of the state — the government — and change it from an instrument of capitalist oppression to a means of establishing the common ownership of industry and management by the workers. The state would subsequently lose its class character and become merely an organization for the administration of industry; that in place of being an instrument of class rule it would become a huge cooperative organization of all the workers for the common purpose of supplying themselves with food, clothing, homes to live in, education, and recreation.

Power to the People

 The Socialist Party recognises the class struggle that exists between the capitalist class and the working class, and the necessity of the working class organising itself into a political party for the purpose of obtaining the common ownership and democratic administration of the means of production and distribution. The Socialist Party is hostile to all political organisations that support and perpetuate the present capitalist profit system and is opposed to any form of horse-trading or a united front with any such organisations. The Socialist Party declares its aim to be the organisation of the working class into a mass political party, with the object of conquering the machinery of the State and using its powers to dispossess the capitalist class and transform the present system of private ownership of the means of production and distribution into one of common ownership by the entire people. Private ownership of the means of production and distribution is responsible for the ever-increasing uncertainty of livelihood and the poverty and misery of the workers, and it divides society into two hostile classes — the capitalists and wage workers.  The possession of the means of livelihood gives to the capitalists the control of the government, the press, the pulpit, and to schools, and enables them to keep working people in a state of intellectual, physical, and social inferiority, political subservience, and virtual slavery. The economic interests of the capitalist class dominate our entire social system; the lives of the working class are recklessly sacrificed for profit, wars are fomented between nations, indiscriminate slaughter is encouraged, and the destruction of whole races is sanctioned in order that the capitalists may extend their commercial dominion abroad and enhance their supremacy at home.

But the same economic causes which developed capitalism are leading to socialism, which will abolish both the capitalist class and the class of wage workers. And the active force in bringing about this new and higher order of society is the working class. The workers can most effectively act as a class in their struggle against the collective powers of capitalism by constituting themselves into a political party, distinct from and opposed to all parties formed by the propertied classes. While we declare that the development of economic conditions tends to the overthrow of the capitalist system, we also recognise that the time and manner of the transition of socialism also depends upon the stage of the intellectual development reached by our fellow workers.

The trades union movement and independent political action within a socialist party are the emancipating factors of the wage working class. The trade union movement is the natural result of capitalist production and represents the economic side of the working class movement. We consider it the duty of socialists to join the unions and assist in building up and unifying labour organisations. We recognise that trade unions are by historical necessity organised on neutral grounds, as far as political affiliation is concerned. We call the attention of the trade unionists to the fact that the class struggle so nobly waged by the trade union forces today, while it may result in lessening the exploitation of workers, can never abolish that exploitation. The exploitation of the working class will only come to an end when society takes possession of all the means of production for the benefit of all the people. It is the obligation of every trade unionist to realise the necessity of independent political action on socialist lines, to join the Socialist Party and assist in building a strong political movement of the wage-working class whose ultimate object must be the abolition of wage slavery and the establishment of a cooperative commonwealth, based on the common ownership of all the means of production and distribution. Here is a system of industrial democracy, a true democracy, where the rule of men over men gives way to the administration of things. It will be a system of common ownership and all the good things of life will be produced in plentiful supply and distributed to whoever needs them, as much as he needs them, just as now a person may borrow books from the public library. We are now poor and enslaved not because of lack of reforms made by politicians, but because the employing class own and control the means of production, without access to which we cannot live. So long as others control the means whereby we live so long shall we be slaves. Only by taking common ownership of the means of distribution can people be free.

Monday, September 26, 2016

We arra people

Who are the people? The people are the working class, the toiling property-less, the robbed, the oppressed, the dispossessed, the impoverished, the vast majority of the world. There are many signs of the awakening of the workers' movement. The Socialist Party endeavours to prepare the way for the Cooperative Commonwealth by teaching the hopelessness of reformism and by teaching the real meaning of social revolution.

The Socialist Party is  existence for the purpose of securing political power so as our fellow workers can take possession of industry and for the first time make this Earth fit for men and good women to live in. The Socialist Party looks into the future with absolute confidence and we see the dawning of the cooperative commonwealth and the vision of a world without a master, a world without a slave. The present system of social production and private ownership is rapidly converting society into two antagonistic classes — i.e., the capitalist class and the propertyless class. Independent political action and the trade union movement are the chief emancipating factors of the working class, the one representing its political, the other its economic wing, and both must cooperate to abolish the capitalist system.  Therefore the Socialist Party declares its object to be:
The organisation of the working class into a political party to conquer the public powers now controlled by capitalists so as to implement the abolition of wage slavery through the establishment of a worldwide system of cooperative industry, based upon the common ownership of the means of production and distribution, to be administered by society in the common interest of all its members, and the complete emancipation of the socially useful classes from the domination of capitalism.

What is the meaning of capitalism? Capitalism is an economic term to the economic system of our civilisation, by which a few men acquire the privilege of living off the work of others, who produce a surplus value above that which they receive for their own sustenance. Capitalism refers to the system where a capitalist profits from the labour of others. If he sits in his office for long hours pouring over work-sheets and productivity levels does not alter the fact that he has an income apart from his labour sufficient to sustain him for life without labour, and therefore he is economically independent. The working class under capitalism live in the futile and forlorn hope of bringing in an income, sufficiently rewarding to achieve economic independence as the capitalist class.

Capitalism thus is a divided society of two antagonistic forces, because it is based upon two sets of conflicting economic interests. They each desire economic independence. One of these forces believes that it is justly entitled to the economic independence which it has, but which it manifestly did not create; the other force believes that it is being unjustly deprived of that which it creates and which it never possesses.  Private ownership of the means of production and distribution is the seed of capitalism, of which wage slavery is the most revolting feature. This seed has now brought forth a bitter fruit in the class struggle. The Socialist Party declares itself the champions of the working class by its intention to bring the abolition of wage slavery by the establishment of a system of  common ownership of the means of production and distribution. To those leftist reformists who plead for a redistribution of wealth and the introduction of some universal citizens income, we ask what are you more interested in the possession of the property of the world which creates wealth? or the possession of the money, which is a creation of capitalist laws and which is principally used to exchange property between capitalists? The chief function of money is as a medium for the exchange of property. In socialism, private ownership and barter being at an end, money would lose the functions which it possessed under capitalism and would be abolished. Socialists have no patience nor any regard for legislation which may oblige the capitalist class to disgorge part of their spoils while leaving them in control of the capitalist system, by  which they can recover and once again absorb the property of the people. Rather than palliatives the Socialist Party, although it may stand alone encourages our fellow-workers towards their  historic mission — the abolition of wage slavery and establishment of the cooperative commonwealth.

Tonight's Great Debate!

Now it's official the U.S. election will be between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Those with a chauvinistic streak may well ask themselves, "Do I vote for a woman, or a real estate mogul who makes an ass of himself in public and is more bigoted than I am?"
Though Clinton comes across as a caring person, nevertheless she will be beholden to the Wall Street tycoons.
As Sandra Sarandon said, "They haven't contributed millions of dollars to her campaign for nothing."
The most anyone can say at this time is if Clinton is elected things will be less chaotic than if Trump is. In other words, Clinton will be the lesser of two evils. This indeed may well be the case, however, as socialists, we are opposed to choosing between politicians who are pledged to administrate the affairs of the capitalist system. Why?
Because no form of capitalism is worth voting for.
Neither Clinton or Trump have any intention of making fundamental changes to society to benefit workers, nor could they without a mandate to do so from the American working class. Both seek to maintain a society that causes war, pollution, racism, societal breakdown, unemployment, and poverty. Clinton may do a bit better than Trump, but as socialists, we don't care about a bit better, but a whole lot better, which won't happen until a fundamental change is made in society. A change that will eliminate the above social evils – a change called Socialism.
 John Ayers.

Song of the Low - Ernest Jones (video animation)

Socialism cannot be postponed.

The private ownership of the means of production and distribution of wealth has caused society to split into two distinct classes with conflicting interests, the small possessing class of capitalists or exploiters of the labour force of others and the ever-increasing large dispossessed class of wage-workers, who are deprived of their due share of their product. Capitalism is responsible for the insecurity of subsistence, the poverty, misery, and degradation of the ever-growing majority of people. The same economic forces which have produced and now intensify the capitalist system will compel the adoption of Socialism, the common ownership of the means of production for the collective good and welfare of all people, or it will result in the destruction of civilisation. The Cooperative Commonwealth is our goal. In order to be understood, this idea must be carefully scrutinised. If you wish to oppose it, study it. No man or woman has a right to be a socialist or to criticise it without understanding the subject.

The Socialist Party declares its object to be the establishment of a system of cooperative production and distribution, to be administered democratically in the interest of the whole people, and the complete emancipation of society from the domination of capitalism. The capture and control of political power by the Socialist Party will be tantamount to the abolition of capitalism and all class rule. The capitalist system of production, under the rule of which we live, is the production of commodities for profit instead of for use for the private gain of those who own and control the means of production and distribution. Out of this system of production and sale for profit spring the entire problem of misery, want, war and poverty that, as a deadly menace, now confronts civilisation.

Socialism is an interpretation of the past, a diagnosis of the present, and a forecast of the future. Socialism is the science of human association reduced to a practical proposal, based upon profound study. It recognises that social life in society as well as in the natural world is constantly passing through a process of evolution. The Socialist Party declares that labour is the sole creator of value and that the labourer is collectively entitled to the full social value of the things he or she produces. The Socialist Party teaches that the only way to attain the just distribution of wealth to those who produce it is by the common ownership, control, and operation of the means of production and distribution, such as lands, mines, factories, transport, communications a, etc., etc. It asserts that this production should be for use and not for sale or profit, thus doing away with all private, sectional or state ownership of the means of subsistence.  Socialism would protect and not abolish the personal ownership of possessions as distinguished from capital. Thus homes and all personal belongings not used to produce more wealth would be individually and not collectively owned.

Socialism, based upon the planned organisation of production for use by means of the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production, is the abolition of all classes. Without production, society cannot survive. The first step in a future socialist society will be directed toward assuring continuous production so as to satisfy the needs of the people. The social property of the capitalists will be confiscated without compensation. The whole system of capitalism is based on confiscation. The original accumulation of capital, as will be recalled, was accomplished for the most part by an elaborate system of confiscating (expropriating) the wealth and resources of small producers, independent peasants and farmers. Day-in and day-out capitalism exists only because it confiscates the surplus-value produced by the worker over and above the wages he or she receives for their labour. Capitalism has developed confiscation to a forcibly-maintained, scientific process of exploitation. If we understand the fact that the value of all the products of society has been produced by labour, it would be perfectly proper for labour to appropriate the appropriators without further ado. As stated earlier, we are concerned not with personal possessions but with the capitalist private property, that is, privately-owned means of production and distribution, that is, with capital, or wealth used for the creation of more wealth by exploiting the labour of others. We do not have in mind such things as the family house, automobiles and other items of purely personal nature. If anything, the aim of socialism is to make such things available in larger quantities to millions who have never enjoyed them. The basic problem of society is related to such property as is represented by the means of production and distribution. It is these that must be turned into communal property.

Nor will daily life be centrally organised and planned. The purpose of planning is to assure the harmonious expansion of industry and the systematic raising of the standard of living. The raw materials, machinery and labour power worldwide will be brought together into an integrated whole. The waste of capitalist competition and the stagnation of capitalism would be overcome. Production would not be organised on the basis of the blind push and pull of the capitalist market but in accordance with the needs of the people. Production for profit would give way to production for use, as already said. Democracy in socialism will continually be expanded, not merely because it is a desirable ideal, but because it is indispensable to the planning of production for use. Capitalism’s motive of production was, is, and always will be profit. It is not the needs of the people that dictate its production. So if production was carried on for use, to satisfy the needs of the people, the question immediately arises: Who is to determine what is useful and what would satisfy these needs? Will that be decided exclusively by a small board of government technocrats? No matter how high-minded and wise they might be, they could not plan production for the needs of the people. Production for use, by its very nature, demands constant consultation of the people, continual control and direction by the people. The democratically-adopted decision of the people would have to guide the course of production and distribution. Democratic control of the means of production and distribution would have to be exercised by the people to see to it that their decision is being carried out. Otherwise, we would have a benevolent regimentation of the people for their own good. A government which declares itself to be “for” the people, but is not a government “of” and ”by” the people. Instead of being regulated by the blind market, as under capitalism, production would be regulated by the autocratic, uncontrolled will of a bureaucracy. Economic distortions, social conflict, exploitation and oppression would inevitably result. Production for use, aimed at satisfying the needs of society and of freeing all the people from class rule, would be impossible. Democratic control, the continual extension of democracy, is, therefore, an indispensable necessity. Socialism is not a utopian ideal, a blueprint for society that exists in the minds of some people. It is a social necessity; it is a practical necessity.

People cannot rid themselves of their sufferings without abolishing the domination that the machine has over them. They can do this only if they gain control of the machine itself. In doing so, they must destroy capitalism and proceed with the complete reorganisation of society. Only the working class can emancipate all humanity from exploitation, class distinctions, class privileges, class conflict, to establish social equality for all. No other class is capable of doing this historic task. The working class is thus the bearer of socialism. Mankind will no longer be the slave of the machine. The machine would be the servant of humanity. Every increase in productivity would bring with it two things: an increase in the things required for the need, comfort and even luxury of all; and an increase in everyone’s leisure time, to devote to the free cultural and intellectual development of humankind. People will not live primarily to work; we will work primarily to live.

Even today, with all the restrictions that capitalism places upon production, there are experts who declare that industry, properly organised, can produce the necessities of life for all in a working day of four hours or less. Organised on a socialist basis, even this figure could be cut down. As the necessities and comforts of life become increasingly abundant, and the differences between physical and mental labour, between town and country, are eliminated – the need for tolerating even the last vestiges of inequality will disappear as a matter of course. This may seem impossible to a mind thoroughly poisoned with capitalist prejudices. But why should it be impossible? If everyone knew that there is an ample supply of bread today, and there will be just as large a supply tomorrow and the next day, there would be nobody trying to hoard an extra loaf in order to make sure of eating the next day. If society could assure everyone of as ample and constant a supply of bread as there is of air, why would anyone need or want a greater right to buy bread than his neighbour? Bread is used here only as the simplest illustration. But the same applies to all other foods, to clothing, to shelter, to means of transportation and so forth.

A planned, rationally organised society, efficiently using even our present technology with better still to come, could easily assure abundance to all. In return, society could confidently expect every citizen to contribute his or her best voluntarily. In the midst of abundance for all and of the high cultural development that will accompany it, there is no reason to believe that coercion will be needed to make people work. What need is there for compulsion? And robbery and burglary? What will there be to steal in the midst of abundance? The state, itself, will prove to be not indispensable and will die out for lack of any social need or function. The transition from class society to socialism will be completed. There will be the simple administration of things, but no longer the rule of man over man.

Such is the choice the Socialist Party presents to our fellow workers. Freedom for all. Abundance for all. A society without governments. Impossible? We say, think again.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Today for revolution, not tomorrow

The question always before us is what next? “What is Socialism, what is Communism, what is Anarchy?” ask those weary of the cruelty and waste of capitalism and desirous of an alternative. For an answer, they receive only denunciations of existing things and a silence upon a hopeful vision of the new life which political activists are promoting, so many turn away, discouraged. Manifestos and platforms are published and treated as holy writ, yet in their contents, there is little to what the aims really are.  Little is defined so that they may be understood by others. Men and women call themselves socialists, communists, anarchists, and what have you, thinking they thus explain their views to others. Yet quiz them and you will discover how few of them have any clear conception of what they mean by their labels.  Advocates for free-market capitalism, for instance, call themselves libertarians, though capitalism could not be maintained a day without the power and coercion of the State, which protect private property and prevent those who have not enough to satisfy their needs from commandeering from those who have something to spare. Capitalism necessitates law and its forces to protect the property-holder from being dispossessed.

People today face a future of low wages, intensified exploitation and domination of our lives. To secure any sort of decent life, we need to organise. We need to educate ourselves about how this whole system works, and what our interests are as workers. We seek to clarify the real economic interest of workers and expose this system that they used to enslave us. There is an alternative to capitalism and it is called socialism. A socialist revolution has to mean control of production by the producers. A socialist revolution has to mean production for the use of those who need it. A socialist revolution has to mean a society free of classes where the antagonisms and divisions between classes, races, and genders are eliminated so that people can develop cooperative relations, relations which are now possible today as never before because there need no longer be any problem of scarcity of material goods and services. All the problems of scarcity which up to now have required the exploitation of workers have now been made outmoded by the technological advances of production. The working class are still the means to replace capitalism with a free and socialist society. The road to revolution may be long and hard. If it was easy they would not call it struggle. We believe that if the confidence and ability of our fellow-workers. The socialist society must be built by the working class itself through its own institutions

Socialism is a theory of life and social organisation. The goal of socialism is not political, but social. Its purpose is not to reform capitalism and the State. It is to create a life in which property is held in common; in which the community produces, by conscious aim, sufficient to supply the needs of all its members; in which there is no trading, money, wages, or any direct reward for services rendered. The Socialist Party aims at the abolition of Parliamentary rule; but we emphasise the interdependence of the members of the community; we emphasise the need that the common storehouse and the common service shall provide an insurance against want for every individual. We aim at the common storehouse, not the individual hoard. We desire that the common storehouse shall bulge with plenty, and whilst the common storehouse is full we insist that none shall want. We aim for relationships based on reciprocity; we desire that all should serve the community. We believe that a public opinion can be treated which will produce a general willingness to serve the community. The exception to that general willingness will become, we believe, altogether a rarity; we would not have the occasional oddity who will not join the general effort disciplined by law; the disapprobation, even the pity of his fellows will ensure his rarity. Let us produce in abundance; let us secure plenty for all; let us find pleasure in producing; these thoughts must pervade the community. In the future socialist society all will share the productive work of the community and all will take a part in organising that work.

Japan and socialism (Book Review 1988)

Book Review from the November 1988 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Kilt and the Kimono by Ian S. Williamson

How deceptive appearances can be! This book, with its banal title and dust jacket, looks extremely unpromising yet is packed with valuable information about Japan as well as containing more socialist arguments than any book published for years.

Ian Williamson is a Scot who has lived and taught in Japan. He is an ex-member and longtime supporter of the Socialist Party and what he has set out to do in this book is to explain Japanese society, with its unique culture and customs, through its history and to dispel the myths and prejudices which most people in the west have about Japan.

Ever since the end of the second world war many western writers and commentators, particularly American, have been trying to explain the complexities of Japanese society by using western standards as their guide They have assumed that the lifestyle, morality, values and even physical appearance of people in the west are the correct ones and criticise the Japanese for not measuring up. Williamson rejects this idealistic approach and easily demolishes the claims made by the "experts" that the Japanese are especially militaristic, conformist and subservient by pointing to the existence at one time or another of all of these traits in the west.

Nevertheless many Japanese attitudes do differ greatly from those held in the west. According to Williamson there is a much greater emphasis placed on the importance of group activity and decision making as opposed to western individualism; there is little or no interest in the concept of life after death or any metaphysical thought, and there is not the clear-cut distinction which most western people make between work and leisure or art and nature, but Williamson shows how all these differences and more can be understood through looking at Japan's history Why, for instance, is politeness such a feature of Japanese life?

“In old Japan people were required to sit, sleep, eat, dress and greet each other in a certain manner according to their social position In fact what they ate and how they dressed was severely laid down by law. Anyone who violated the law or rules of etiquette in the days of the Samurai was severely dealt with. To touch a superior, or even to sit in any other than the prescribed way in his presence resulted in a painful reminder that proper behaviour must be observed.”

So observing the correct form of behaviour has become an ingrained characteristic of the Japanese which has persisted to this day.

History also explains why Japanese workers apparently show such loyalty to their employers. Because aspects of feudal relations have persisted into modem capitalism in Japan a paternalistic, hierarchical system is still strongly entrenched. This means that besides the guarantee of a job for life for many workers, seniority is very important for promotion prospects. Workers who have invested a number of years in a company know they would have to start at the bottom again if they were to leave and get a job elsewhere, so they tend to stay put and make a virtue out of necessity by being loyal to "their" company.

No opportunity is missed by the author to put across socialist ideas. Our views on class, leadership, war, crime, human nature, nationalism, etc. are featured throughout the book. So besides giving workers here the opportunity to learn about Japan. Ian Williamson has, more importantly, provided Japanese workers with an excellent introduction to socialism. They just might be able to read elsewhere as sound a condemnation of capitalism as the one he provides but where else will they see this description of socialism?

“A classless system, where goods are produced for use. not for sale, and because there will be no buying or selling so there will be no need for money, banks, insurance companies, salesmen, ticket collectors, cash-register operators, stock brokers and all the rest of the cumbersome junk and paraphernalia which involves people in soul destroying, non-productive, non-creative activity so necessary in capitalist society.”

And to round things off the Socialist Party and its companion parties are mentioned as the advocates of such a system of society!

Vic Vanni

The World Needs Socialism

It should be no surprise that a growing number of people have begun to question capitalism. Many now know only economic instability and environmental degradation. Each new day brings additional burdens to the already bleak prospects for the future. For young Americans they are more likely to live in poverty or low wages than their parents, they are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed even though they are most educated than the previous generation. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the wealthiest 10% of families owned 76% of all family wealth in 2013. Those in the bottom 50%, by contrast, owned just 1%. Where did all this "wealth" come from? What are the legal and social roots of this "ownership"?

There is no real solution to the problem of poverty until we abolish the capitalist system. This goal — the abolition of capitalism —is shared by all the members of the World Socialist Movement (WSM). Poverty, war, and racism are not separate problems but caused by the same economic social system – capitalism. The task of the WSM is hopefully transforming the presently small socialist movement into a mass movement for real change. The appetite for social change is widespread. There is a hunger for an alternative to capitalism. Our job as world socialists is now to educate, agitate and organise, to make the struggle for socialism the immediate demand, to make the revolution a political reality. Capitalism cannot be saved. Our system doesn't require a rebooting.  What our system requires is to be replaced completely. It's up to us to create a new system which works fairly for all of us. It's time to move forward and introduce the next economic system. Socialism really is the only permanent solution to the world's problems. When production is driven by profit, then we get shoddiness in the product and misery in the producers. People need to do is rise up, revolt, and take the people's stolen back from the elite ruling class.

A world socialist society is the only solution for the contradictions in present global society. Only a socialist society can utilize rationally the natural resources and productive machinery of the earth in the interests of the peoples of the earth. Only world socialism will remove the causes of wars that under capitalism now seriously threaten to send mankind into barbarism or complete destruction. Many persons are now starting to understand that it is more than incompetence, stupidity or corruption of politicians but that the system itself cannot work properly any longer whoever is in charge. People are beginning to realise that the present system of society must itself be done away with and a new system substituted, not just a change of personnel nor palliatives, but a fundamental change in the whole structure of society.

The World Socialist Movement claims to know the nature of the revolutionary change that alone can save our society from continuing and increasing degradation. We call upon fellow-workers no longer willing to suffer exploitation and injustice, who have chosen not merely to complain or even protest but to change things to join us. The WSM proposes to capture the state machine, not to assume office but to do away entirely with the state and instead establish a future co-operative society. Studying the past is only meaningful for the WSM inasmuch as it enables it to better orient their work in the present to act in the interest of the workers, to use this understanding to achieve the better society to which mankind aspires. The WSM believes that advances in science, technology, and civic life have already created the material conditions necessary to set up a free society without classes, exploitation, and oppression, i.e. a world socialist community. 

The worker in capitalist society is a slave (a “wage-slave”) in the sense that while he or she can govern the disposition of his or her labour power, but in the end must sell it to some member of the capitalist class, in which case the wage and working conditions are in the end determined by the law of value. Engels said that the modern proletarian is “the slave of no particular person but of the whole property-owning class”

Saturday, September 24, 2016

End the Power of the Boss Class

We live in a world dominated by capitalism, a system which allows a small minority to oppress and exploit the great majority of humanity. We live in a world rife with misery. It is capitalism that brings about great inequalities, starts murderous wars, steals the resources of lesser countries and causes the destruction of our environment. Hunger, poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and repression are still the fate of the majority of the people of the world.  Either we get rid of this system or it will destroy mankind. The only way forward is a class-free and state-free society on a world scale where people live in harmony with one another and with nature. The working class must depose the capitalist ruling class and establish socialism, a system of real, popular democracy that sets about the reconstruction of society.  These are crucial times for working-people at a time in which it is necessary to make a sober assessment of the present situation and perspectives.

It is through such a free association when labour in all its aspects becomes controlled by the workers themselves that production will rest not upon decisions of the planners, but of the freely determined wishes of the producers themselves. Socialism will have no need of the irrational remnants of a past age of exchange, such as prices and money. Humanity has reached a turning point in its history. The dreams of the past have become real possibilities for a future that can already be foreseen because the material conditions necessary for achieving them have arisen. Only a socialist revolution can put an end to the capitalist relations of exploitation that are now the fundamental obstacle to further progress for mankind to a society of abundance, of justice and of freedom. Socialist revolution is the only way that the working people can ensure the abolition of all exploitation. The working class cannot free itself without freeing all of humanity at the same time because the ultimate goal of its struggle is not to replace the power of one class with that of another but rather to abolish all classes. This is the only way to put an end to all the social divisions and inequalities that have characterized class societies thus far. The expropriation of the capitalists and the socialization of the means of production will lead directly to the abolition of a society divided into classes with opposing interests. The abolition of classes will, in turn, lead to the withering away and elimination of the State

The fundamental interests of the working class are the same throughout the world. The socialist revolution in one part of the globe is inseparable from the world revolution elsewhere. People say that we socialists are utopian because we hold to the view that we could run our lives in a much more harmonious way. We are called utopian because we dare to suggest that a new society is the only solution to the mess we're in. Socialism stopped being utopian once the level of technology brought the potential to produce an abundance of goods to meet everyone's needs. There's certainly nothing utopian about suggesting that we could organise a better world now. In a socialist society, we shall work because it is useful to do so. People will contribute according to their abilities. In return, they will take freely from the common store of wealth in accordance with their self-determined needs. Women and men will have free and equal access to the wealth of society. Free access to all wealth will be the right of all people in a socialist society, regardless of whether they perform visibly caring work or less obviously important work or if, as a result of age or illness, they are unable to work at all. In a wage-free society, the sole rewards for work will be the satisfaction of utilising your mental and physical faculties and the appreciation of others. By describing how socialism would operate we simply point out how our potential could be realised if we used current knowledge in a different but more appropriate way. It isn’t utopian.

The Socialist Party stands in hostility to the boss class. We are out to end their power. There is nothing utopian about that.