Monday, October 31, 2016

For humanity's sake, the future is socialism

Socialism is the only alternative system of society that can meet the essential needs of the people and humanity as a whole, provide the basis for ending all forms of exploitation and oppression. Billions lack adequate nutrition, sanitation, healthcare and education. The world faces a catastrophic environmental crisis. Wars continue to devastate the lives of millions. The Socialist Party hold capitalism responsible, for taking the planet and its peoples towards the edge of the abyss. Capitalism denotes the type of society in which the few who own industry and commerce shape the economic, social, cultural and political developments and uses its power to extract surplus value from the working class. The capitalists, who own the means of production (industrial and commercial plant and machinery, land, energy and raw materials, etc.), pay workers a wage in return for their labour power. But human beings have the capacity to produce more value through their labour than the value of the wage they need to buy life’s essential commodities. This ‘surplus’ value accrues to the employer when the products of that labour are sold as commodities at normal market prices. It is the source of capitalist profit, which funds share dividends, loan interest, commercial rent, expanded investment, etc. The extraction of surplus value is the essence of capitalist exploitation. In their drive to maximise market share and profit, capitalist employers fight to raise productivity and hold down wages. The same drive also takes place in the public sector in order to minimise taxation of private sector profits and wages. Here is the primary economic basis for the class struggle: between the monopoly capitalists and their state striving to maximise profit on the one side, and the whole working class striving to maximise wages and improve living standards on the other.

Capitalists invest where they can get the biggest profits. In its quest for maximum profit, capitalism threatens humanity. Our planet must be rescued before it deteriorates beyond repair. The productive technology which exists could, if planned and rationally utilised, lift everyone out of hunger, poverty, sickness and ignorance. It could meet human needs and ensure sufficient food, nutrition, healthcare and education for all rather than maximising capitalist profit. For as long as capitalist ownership of the economy exists, whether or not it is the ‘free market’ or state-operated, it will produce crises, destruction, inequality and waste on an enormous scale. Capitalism’s drive to maximise profit leads it to turn every area of human need – food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, leisure, even sex – into a market for the production and sale of commodities for profit. However, when sufficient profit cannot be realised, even the products and services to meet society’s most vital needs will not be produced. Capitalist competition invariably means unnecessary whole economic sectors are created that perform little or no useful function in society, except to promote the interests of and, ultimately, to transfer income to it from the working class - advertising, property and management consultancy. Pointless and wasteful competition and duplication would be eliminated with socialism. The development and deployment of society’s productive forces would be planned in order to meet people’s real needs and aspirations. Jobs, houses and vital useful goods and services would be created as the primary purpose of planning and production, not as the incidental consequence of maximising profits for shareholders. Social ownership of economic property puts an end to the exploitation of the working class, whereby surplus labour is performed for the benefit of the capitalist class.

The aim of the Socialist Party is to replace capitalism with socialism. The liberation of the working class can only be achieved by the action of the working class and the people themselves. The emancipation of the people cannot be bestowed from outside or above - it has to be fought for and won by the overwhelming majority of the population. Socialism will have to be built with the maximum participation of people at every level. Workers must have real powers in workplace decision making. It will be essential that new forms of popular participation and direct democracy arise in the workplace, localities, and regions.

With the end of private ownership and the exchange economy, wages and money lose their usefulness, as more of life’s essentials become free. Of course, the production, distribution and deployment of society’s economic output will have to be planned to ensure that needs are met and the environment and eco-system are safeguarded. Without exploitative capitalists and landowners, the division of society into antagonistic social classes will cease to have any material basis. In place of class conflict and social discrimination, social cooperation and equality will predominate. As the amount of human labour required to produce society’s needs decreases, every citizen will have the time and facilities to develop her or his skills and talents to the full. The basis for many social problems and tensions will be removed, while resources of every kind are devoted to solving or alleviating individual problems and incapacities. The Socialist Party does not accept that such a society is impossible to achieve or that there is a ‘human nature’ too negative to allow the development of socialism. People’s thoughts and behaviour have been shaped by their existence in class-divided societies. Even so, human beings have always displayed an enormous capacity for compassion, cooperation, courage, and commitment to the creation of fairer and more just human societies. There is no reason why people should not comprehend that we share this Earth in common, that we are interdependent, that the individual good of the vast majority requires the collective good and that cooperation and unity are better than conflict and division. It is capitalism that seeks to make a virtue of greed, egoism, exploitation and inequality while claiming that these are the ruling characteristics of ‘human nature’. It is capitalism that creates so much misery, destroys so many lives and now threatens the very future of human existence on this planet. In a socialist society, the social relations between people will be collective care and concern for every individual and for the full, all-round development of the human personality. For the sake of humanity, the future is socialism.


Capitalist democracy is government in the interests of a parasitic minority class OVER you.

The recent referendum was a battle between members of the parasite capitalist class. The sad thing is that so many workers were led to back this maverick section of the capitalist class in the belief that they were protesting against the ‘elite’, while in fact they were being duped into pulling the chestnuts out of the fire for a part of it.

The notion that it is YOUR country is YOUR nightmare which helps produce cannon fodder for the capitalist parasite class, whenever it suits them to go to war over trade routes, raw materials, spheres of geo-political interest. You are only of consequence to the real owners of this country, while they can extract surplus value from your employment or use you to further their interests in a bloody conflict with your fellow workers of other lands and none. They will promise you ,"Homes built for heroes" or welfare, "From the cradle to the grave" in order for your continual slavish attention to their bidding, but withdraw any reforms when they feel the purpose of this, to buy off potential social discontent, has been served

After the EU referendum, the Electoral Commission released figures on the funds received by the two sides. They showed that the Leave side spent about £17.6 million and the Remain only £14.3 million. These were not contributions from grass-roots supporters but, on both sides, from individual capitalists. Since staying in the EU, and especially the single market, was in the overall interest of the majority section of the British capitalist class, how come that capitalists gave more to Leave than Remain? In fact, who were the capitalists who funded the Leave campaign, and why?

Among the dozen largest Leave donors were: Peter Hargreaves (£3.2m), Arron Banks (£1.95m plus a loan of £3m), Jeremy Hoskins (£980,000), Lord Edmiston (£600,000), Crispin Odey (£533,000), Jonathan Wood (£500,000), Patrick Barbour (£500,000), Stuart Wheeler (£400,000), and Peter Cruddas (£350,000).

What all these have in common (apart from most of them appearing in the Sunday Times Rich List) is that they are involved in hedge funds and other such financial activities.

It might seem strange since the City stands to lose from Brexit, that those who funded the Leave campaign should be financiers (other financiers funded the Remain campaign). But there are financiers and financiers. The City establishment tends to see some hedge fund managers as cowboys engaging in practices it doesn’t regard as entirely above board and which it is prepared to see regulated. It is precisely such regulation that the Brexit financiers wanted to avoid.

One of the Brexit supporters, the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, let the cat out of the bag when, in an article in the Daily Mail (12 April), he painted a picture of what a Brexit Britain would look like in 2020:
“London, too, is booming. Eurocrats never had much sympathy for financial services. As their regulations took effect in Frankfurt, Paris and Milan – a financial transactions tax, a ban on short selling, restrictions on clearing, a bonus cap, windfall levies, micro-regulation of funds – waves of young financiers brought their talents to the City instead.”

That was their main aim, then, their manifesto for the referendum: allow all these practices which enhance their profits to continue. To achieve this, they in effect hired politicians, not just lightweights such as Hannan but also national figures like Boris Johnson and Farage, with a remit to go out and get a vote to Leave by any means. They didn’t really care about the NHS or immigration but left it up to the politicians to deliver. Which, against expectations, they did.

The rest of the capitalist class are furious with them but are going to have to adapt to the result. Most of them will want a deal with the EU that allows them continued free access to the vast tariff-free single market with common standards and its coming extension to services, even if this involves accepting some free movement of labour and a payment to Brussels. Some of the Brexit funders might well be prepared to go along with this as long as there is no regulation of their activities.

The sad thing is that so many workers were led to back this maverick section of the capitalist class in the belief that they were protesting against the ‘elite’, while in fact they were being duped into pulling the chestnuts out of the fire for a part of it. Workers of the world have more in common with each other than with their home-grown, local, regional or global capitalist class. Real equality comes from common ownership, production for use and equal access to the social product rather than a parasite class gleaning profits from a wage-enslaved one.

Technology has been used to tighten the screw on us instead of freeing us. We can have the world to run by ourselves, using the technology to produce a superabundance of necessities along with a self-regulating system of stock controls, access based on need, rather than priced demand, allied to production for use and not for sale, without elites, political or otherwise.

All wealth comes from the workers.
Workers have no country but a world to win.
It is not and never was OUR country.

A plague on all nationalisms.

Wee Matt

Onward, fellow humans

Something is happening in our world that you are not going to read about in the newspapers or see in on TV. We all know there is a crisis that threatens our planet and our existence. Economic insecurity is everyone’s nightmare. It sucks the life out of us all. Inequality and mass poverty are integral design features of capitalism. Divide-and-conquer is a very effective strategy to enslave people’s minds into habits that guide them toward system preservation. Nevertheless, the thought of people co-owning everything is growing. Millions of us are waking up to the reality that the political and economic system is thoroughly rigged. Control of the political state combined with the ownership of the means of production and distribution gives the capitalist class mastery over the workers. Being poor and powerless means we are reliant on people who don’t give a damn about us. We need to change it. This means we need a political revolution. Not barricades and petrol bombs but a revolution of consciousness. The primary purpose of the socialist political party is to challenge the political apparatus of the capitalist class and its domination of state power while promoting worker class-consciousness. A revolution is when we no longer accept or wish to perpetuate the status quo. The Socialist Party, although still comparatively minute, we are confident will strengthen, grow and ultimately prove decisive. Our aim is a simple one: to avoid the mistakes of the past and build a movement based upon democracy.

Too often socialism is described in the context of austerity and of self-sacrifice. We see socialism as something much different, of a whole lot of possibilities – imaginative and creative. Socialism as enhancing one’s pleasure and enjoyment and rewards in life. Our case for socialism is that there is a phenomenal human potential which is being squandered every single day this wretched system persists. We are talking about an enormous human potential that is being at the moment wasted.  

 Co-operative commonwealth is another name for socialism. With the aid of socialists all over the world, we will replace competitive capitalism by the human co-operation of Socialism. Socialism does not presuppose any radical change in individual character at all, or that it has anything necessarily to do with what is known as selfishness or unselfishness in the present condition of society. It is said that in socialism all property is abolished. That is a lie. All property is not abolished. The form of property abolished is that in the hands of industrialists, but personal property for use is not abolished because the aim of socialism is to increase the personal property available to the highest possible point. We desire to see the maximum amount of personal property in existence so that people will be able to enjoy the highest standard of living. Socialism means, not equality in personal requirements and personal life, but the abolition of classes. Socialism starts out with the assumption that people’s tastes and requirements are not, and cannot be, equal in quality or in quantity “from each according to ability, to each according to need

The revolution that is coming will place the working women and men full command over its vast resources. To-day’s production and distribution is at the mercy of the banks and the corporations, whose aim is to make profits. It is no good talking about the need for decentralisation and building up cooperatives unless we are willing to get at the very root of the evil. The Socialist Party asserts that the basic cause of social and economic problems are to be found in our present system of society that we call capitalism, that is, a system in which the financial institutions and most of the means of production are in the hands of a relatively small number of people, a system in which production is carried on primarily for profit and in which when profit ceases production ceases, whether or not the people require what is being produced. It is a system under which production is carried on at the will of individual capitalist groups and not in accordance with the needs of its people. The Socialist Party asserts that many social problems we suffer shall never be solved so long as capitalism endures. We accept that some temporary reforms and limited improvements can be won from time to time within the present system through the organised political and industrial action, but we contend that no final solution can be won unless we change the whole social system from top to bottom, unless we change from the private capitalist system for profit to the social co-operative system of production for use; in other words production and distribution must not be left dependent the blind forces of capitalism.

Socialism cannot be imposed upon the people by a minority. It is a movement in the interests of the vast majority and will come into existence only when a majority of the people want it and are organised sufficiently to obtain and maintain it.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The ghost of Highgate cemetery

We know full well the class that is not conscious enough to struggle for its interests is not fit for emancipation. The economic forces at work in society are bringing about conditions that impel the mass of the people to think and to realise that capitalism is bankrupt and unable to function any longer to ensure peace and to guarantee a civilised existence, not to mention survival, for humanity. 

The Socialist Party offers rational answers and a workable solution for the problems besetting our fellow workers. Socialist education is certainly essential and absolutely necessary, but it embraces more than the direct teaching of socialist principles to the individual. This process of awakening to the facts of economic and political life is seemingly imperceptible, but it is cumulative and eventually crystallizes to the point of impelling action.

The Socialist Party stands as the rallying point, and as the guide, pointing the way to ensure the success of the revolution which terminates capitalism and establishes socialism. Our task is to agitate unceasingly and to educate as many of our fellow-workers as possible. The strength of the Socialist Party’s case does not depend solely on the membership of the Socialist Party. Its strength lies primarily in the fact that it is the logical resolution of the class struggle. Its goal, strategy, and tactics are intended for the working class as a whole, not for a revolutionary party alone. One does not become a socialist because socialism comes with an iron-clad guarantee of success. One becomes a socialist because socialism is necessary to attain freedom, security, and well-being for our class; it is necessary if society is to progress rather than revert to barbarism; and, for many members of our class, if not for all humanity, it is necessary for survival. The better organised and better disciplined the working class, the better the chances will be of completing the revolution quickly and with a minimum of disruption -- and the less opportunity any recalcitrant element of the ruling class will have to commit violent or other culpable acts or engage in a “slave-owners rebellion” as Marx puts it.

For decades, belittling, deriding and vilifying by journalistic lick-spittles, ignorant politicians, pompous intellectuals, renegade "Marxists," and a host of others of Karl Marx has been an international "sport." Why do his defamers have this compulsion time and time again to prove him wrong? Why not simply ignore and forget him, if Marx was the failure and fool that they paint him as. His distractors attack him because of fear. Marx's popularity is not due to his alleged personal faults and supposed character flaws. He challenged and exposed the basic cause of the social evils -- the poverty, the misery, the conflicts -- that afflict the class-divided capitalist system. For the ruling-class they recognise the threat of truth. For the working-class they acknowledge a bearer of truth. Marx established conclusively that the capitalist class subsisted and survived by practicing and perpetuating an evil for the exclusive benefit and protection of a privileged class at the expense primarily of the wage workers Hence, the frenzied and repeated efforts to disparage Marx, imputing all sorts of petty and personal motives to him in their hopeless and ever frustrated efforts to 'prove' Marx wrong, to pick flaws in his words and to misrepresent his principles. But all the efforts to demean his work have failed. The spectre from Highgate cemetery continues to haunt the employing owning class. Each day, the soundness of his basic premises, the correctness of his conclusions and the validity of his principles are demonstrated. Under such circumstances, capitalism’s apologists cannot ignore Marx or Marxism and so they constantly train their academic and literary guns against Marxist ideas. But to no avail. Events refute his critics and reconfirm his merits.  Marx and Marxism stand fully vindicated today, having withstood every attack.

Marxian socialism constitutes the hope of the world. The only hope. The important thing to bear in mind is that, powerful as it is, the capitalist propaganda machine is not invincible. The class struggle continues, and the capitalist system continues to generate growing social problems, regardless of whether or not the capitalist media and other institutions choose to acknowledge them. Sooner or later, material conditions will push masses of workers to seek out alternatives to the present social system. That development, combined with the steadfast, energetic educational efforts of socialists, will ultimately permit the truth to prevail.

Why socialism works

In a socialist society, as in capitalist society, there would be both material and  ideological incentives for workers to be productive. However, the character of both kinds of incentives would change -- for the better. It should be understood that by "socialist society," we are not referring to the class-ruled bureaucratic state-capitalist system of the former Soviet Union nor to any system with nationalised state-run industries. We are referring to a genuine socialist society based on social ownership and workers' collective, democratic control of the means of production. We underscore that because of the widespread view that socialism "doesn't work in practice" since "there's no incentive to produce" stems from the wrongful association of socialism with the Soviet centralised command economy. From our perspective, it is no surprise at all that workers' incentive to be productive was been crippled under the oppressive and exploitative system of one-party dictatorship.

In the capitalist society, the material incentives to be productive are mostly of a negative character: the worker is driven mainly by an underlying fear of being fired and falling into poverty and starvation. The motive is survival. The workers' only material reward is a living wage, with the bulk of workers' product, and the gains of improved productivity, going to the benefit of the capitalist owners.

True, workers are also motivated by the promise of getting promoted and "getting ahead," but that is more of an ideological than an actual material incentive. The great mass of workers do not "get ahead" no matter how hard they work, and the few who are promoted to managerial positions are but slightly better rewarded wage slaves, in charge of directing and pushing the other wage slaves. The people who really "get ahead" are the capitalists, most of whom were already "ahead" at birth, and whose enormous material rewards come not from productive labor but from owning capital and exploiting those who do perform productive labor.

Moreover, it is a fact of economic life under capitalism that more productive workers are, the more easily market demand can be surpassed and the more quickly some workers will have worked themselves out of a job.

Considering the poor material rewards workers receive under capitalism, the amazing thing is that they are as industrious as they are. But there is another, instinctive and moral incentive involved that capitalism did not create: the desire to be a productive member of society, to contribute something to the social good. Coupled with that is the natural desire to be creative - a desire that is trampled upon under capitalism, which demands tedious, repetitive, strictly channeled and intensive laboir from most workers.

In a socialist society, the natural and creative incentives to be productive would not only be preserved; they would be strengthened along with vastly improved material incentives and working conditions.

When every member of society is a co-owner of the means of production; when every able-bodied member of society is a worker, and the workers collectively administer the means of production and control the distribution of their collective product; when the workers no longer have the vast majority of the value of their product stolen from them by a class of idle owners but enjoy the full fruit of their labor - then the material incentive to be industrious will be far greater than it is today.

So too will be the incentive to improve productivity through better machines and methods. In a socialist society, when productivity is improved, no one loses the opportunity to work. Rather, each improvement in productivity lessens the amount of socially necessary labor time needed to acquire goods and services; the result is hours kicked out of the workweek, not workers being kicked out of jobs.

In a socialist society, with the workers in democratic control of the production process itself, ample labor and resources could be devoted to make workplaces safe and pleasant. With the emphasis placed on improving the machinery and methods of production, the pace of production itself could be regulated at a constructive, but not oppressive or unsafe, level.

Jobs could be rotated or redefined to make them less repetitive or tedious. Of course, with exploitation eliminated, and, consequently, workers able to live well on something on the order of a 15-hour workweek, tedium would be less of a problem. Moreover, with education and job training freely accessible to all, people would be able to experience different occupations far more readily than is the case today.

When all these things are considered, it is evident that the natural and moral desire to contribute to society would be enhanced, for in contributing to society, the worker under socialism benefits himself or herself at the same time. Under capitalism, the worker is constantly tempted to think, "Why work hard? I get paid the same lousy wage anyway." With socialism, the worker realizes, "If I work conscientiously, society benefits and I benefit." Furthermore, the opportunities for applying oneself creatively, both on the job and in one's expanded leisure time, would be greatly increased.

With the capitalist no longer controlling the distribution of workers' product, and with the flourishing of a cooperative spirit emanating from cooperative production, workers would take unhindered pride and pleasure in their ability to fulfill the needs of others. As Marx put it:
 "In your joy or in your use of my product, I would have the direct joy from my good conscience of having, by my work, satisfied a human need ... and consequently, of having procured to the need of another human being his corresponding object."

Isn't socialism against human nature?

Much of what is believed to be "human nature" is actually the product of the material conditions and social environment under which people are raised. We live in a social system and culture that teaches us that the way to survive, and "get ahead" materially, is to compete for positions of power, gain dominance over others, and, ultimately, become an owner of productive property and exploit others. Not surprisingly, many people come too greedy and competitively crave power and wealth above all else.

But such behavior is not a fixture of human nature. People clearly have the capability of being cooperative as well as competitive, supportive and helpful as well as antagonistic, egalitarian as well as selfish. All of these qualities are part of "human nature." We can and do choose to employ one quality or the other, depending on how our material circumstances and interests affect us, and how we perceive our own self-interest. It is also part of our human nature to think, to evaluate our circumstances and change our behavior when we conclude that doing so is in our self-interest.

Accordingly, socialism is not contrary to human nature. For the vast majority of the people who belong to the working class today, it does no good to be greedy, competitive or power-hungry; capitalism rewards them with hardship. Sooner or later, a majority of workers can and will come to the realisation that their own self-interest demands the creation of a new social system based on social ownership of the industries and cooperative production for the common good. Once a socialist society is established, the material and other rewards of that system will continue to reinforce cooperative behaviour and nullify selfishness, greed and the desire for power over others.

The idea that there would be no incentive for workers to be productive in a socialist society is a myth. In a genuine socialist society, workers would have strong incentives to work conscientiously and improve the means and methods of production. The social incentive to be a productive and responsible member of society would be reinforced by the knowledge that one's efforts would truly be benefiting all society, and not merely an idle class of social parasites.

The material incentives to be productive, and to improve productivity, would be strengthened as well. With capitalist exploitation abolished, workers would receive the full social value of their labor. The rewards of their own labor, and of improvements in efficiency, would accrue to them, and not to a separate class of owners. Thus, they would have "the possibility" of becoming well off materially -- a far greater possibility than they have today -- from their own labor. And the more efficiently they produce, the more they could enjoy, with a shorter and shorter workweek.

Workers would have strong incentives to be productive in a socialist society because they would be working for themselves and the social interest, simultaneously. With no ruling class in existence, the workers' interest and the social interest would be one and the same.

A proposed social change would be too idealistic or utopian if it depended on people following an ideal that was contrary to their material interest. But that is not the case with socialism. Socialism is grounded in material realities. It is grounded in the reality that it is now objectively and physically possible for society to meet the basic human needs and wants of all the people -- and more. It is grounded in the reality that capitalism stands as an obstacle to society realising this potential to meet the needs and wants of all. It is grounded in the reality that society's sole useful producers -- the working class, which includes all who do productive work, mental or physical -- are increasingly being denied their material needs and wants under the present system. Thus the modern working class has both a motive and the potential power to replace the present system with socialism. All that's missing is for workers to recognise their true interests as a class, understand the socialist goal, and begin organising as a class to establish it.

Thus, socialism is realistic. The workers already collectively occupy the industries every day and operate them from top to bottom. The only thing they don't do is own them, control them, and control their product. Properly organised, they can rectify that, and build an economic system that will truly serve the social interest. And given the serious and growing problems that the capitalist system has created, socialism is not only realistic, it is essential to human survival and social progress. To build socialism, workers must organise on both the political and economic fields.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Workers, Bosses and Exploitation

Socialists maintain that the capitalists' profits are a theft from the working class because the working class produces all social wealth. Capitalists say they take risks when they invest their money in a business -- and therefore are entitled to profits as a reward for their risk-taking. Yes, some capitalists do take some "risks", a few venture capitalists, for example, in the sense that they may, in making a certain investment decision, risk losing their ownership of productive property and their position as a capitalist. That is, they "risk" having to join the other 95 percent of us in the working class, and having to work for a living. Actually, however, the concentration of wealth under capitalism is such that most top, established capitalists, with their massive and diverse stock and bond holdings, rarely face even that sort of "risk." Most of that "risk" is borne by the small-scale or petty capitalists operating in the margins of the economy, and by those workers who try to make it as capitalists by starting up a small business. That such "risk" exists on an incidental basis cannot justify the ongoing process of theft through which capitalists accumulate the capital they risk and continue to accumulate more capital after it is risked. Nor is the fact of exploitation altered by the occasional worker who risks his or her life savings in a (usually failing) bid to become a capitalist.

To say that the "risk" justifies the profit-making operation of that system is circular logic, for neither the system or the risk are necessary. In a socialist society, new products could be developed, tested, introduced, and if a certain threshold of interest in the product was shown, produced on a mass scale -- all without risk to anyone. Not only are the capitalists' "risks" unnecessary; so too are the far greater risks that the capitalist system imposes on the working class. For every day that they continue to accept living and working under this system, workers risk losing their jobs and livelihoods, their ability to feed, clothe and shelter themselves and their families, their health and even their lives. The fact that the likes of a Donald Trump may "risk" losing part or even all of their fortunes gambling on a particular business venture is no defense of the system that subjects the working class to these far graver risks.

Defenders of capitalism say it's the capitalists' entrepreneurial abilities and skills which organise the means of production in such a way as to make the most efficient use of labour and create the most wealth. Capitalists do have an interest in squeezing the greatest possible productivity out of each worker. But capitalists themselves no longer have much to do with the organization of production. More importantly, the overall social impact of productivity increases under capitalism doesn't exactly make an argument in favor of preserving the system.

Historically, capitalist "entrepreneurs" did play a vital role in bringing together the forces of modern industrial production. But the successful capitalists were those who were most "efficient" at accumulating capital, which means that they were most efficient, not merely in making the most productive use of labour, but in reaping surplus value through the ruthless exploitation of wage labour. Frequently, they were also among the most efficient at scheming against, swindling and otherwise robbing each other, the most successful of them in this country earning the epithet, "the robber barons."

Today there is very little "entrepreneurship" remaining in the capitalist system. New businesses are regularly being started up, but most either die within a few years or are swallowed up by long-established firms. New ways and means of stepping up the rate of exploitation, including, but not limited to, increases in productivity, are, of course, still being implemented by capitalist firms, but this is done by the capitalists' hired executives and management. Established capitalists may "dabble" in such activity; most don't. In any event, they don't have to.

It is important to recognize that the major capitalists who own and control the overwhelming majority of the means of production and distribution today did not become major capitalists by working hard, scrimping and saving. Most of today's top capitalists inherited their class status; historically, many top capitalists acquired their initial block of capital through inheritance or by crooked or illicit means. But however a particular capitalist gained entrance to that class, the fact is that no one can accumulate the large quantity of capital required to become a top capitalist through any means other than the exploitation of the working class. Small business firms exist in a viciously competitive climate. Eighty percent of all new businesses fail within 10 years! Thus, for most small business owners, even if they did get their start by "scrimping and saving," it is capitalism, not socialism, that will take their businesses away.

During their struggle to keep their businesses alive, the petty capitalists, besides putting in long hours themselves, are forced to be among the most ruthless exploiters of wage labor-often exploiting members of their own family. Those that do survive for any length of time do so only by extracting surplus value and accumulating capital through such exploitation. Thus, even if the business was started largely from what the petty capitalist saved when he or she was a worker, it increasingly comes to consist of wealth that was stolen from the working class.

Frequently, the petty capitalists are at the mercy of larger capitalists, and are not really "independent" owners. Many are but adjuncts to larger firms that own or control the "chains" of retail outlets, restaurants, real estate offices, etc. And petty capitalists generally are, at best, left with but a small share of the surplus-value contained in the commodities they sell, after they pay their suppliers, bank and other creditors, landlords and the political state. Thus, even the supposed great "merit" of small business and "free enterprise"- that it permits people to "be their own boss"- is largely a fiction even for the small minority able to start up a business. The only realistic way that workers today can truly become "their own boss," in terms of determining the policies that govern a workplace or industry, is by organizing as a class to establish a socialist society, in which all the people will own, and collectively and democratically control, all the means of production and distribution.

Socialism necessarily means abolishing the private ownership of all means of social production and distribution. However, this will not mean ruin and destitution for small business owners. On the contrary, they will become workers in a society in which all workers would be entitled to work, and to receive the full social value of what they produce. Thus, for most, if not all, of the former petty capitalists, socialism will mean greater affluence and a major increase in leisure time. And for everyone, socialist society means full economic security and the numerous advantages of life in a peaceful, harmonious and healthy social and physical environment.

All told, petty capitalists will be far better off under socialism than under capitalism. Due to the nature of their class position and outlook, only a very few petty capitalists can be expected to recognize this and act accordingly. But then, the socialist movement is fundamentally a working-class movement, more concerned with persuading and organising the vast majority of the people who belong to the exploited class of useful producers than winning over the minority that does the exploiting. When the working class unites politically and industrially to overthrow its exploiters and establish social ownership and democratic workers' control of the means of production, it is only taking back what it, and past generations of workers, created.

Today's top capitalists – many of whom inherited their class status, further indicating that they had little to do with the organising of production -- typically live off the surplus value from a diversified array of stocks, bonds, banking and other investments. They are far removed from the process of production. For example, a capitalist may have a few thousand shares of stock in an airline in the morning, sell it and use the proceeds to buy up shares of stock in a pharmaceutical firm in the afternoon, and sell that stock two days later to buy up shares in an electronics company. It is obvious that such a capitalist will have little or nothing to do with organizing the means of production in any of those firms. For that matter, many capitalists don't even have to involve themselves in such buying and selling. They have businesses such as hedge-funds to "manage their investments" for them too!

One could argue that the capitalists collectively are still ultimately responsible for the efficient organisation of production. But their profits are not the "rewards" of efficient organisation of production. The most efficiently organised production facility in the world wouldn't yield a penny of profit if its owners (or their hired management) did not hold the price of labor power (wages) down below the price of labour's product, i.e., if they did not exploit the workers.

Moreover, to whatever small degree some capitalists may still be "credited" for efficient organization of production within individual firms, the system of capitalist production is marked by anarchy, not efficiency. Separate firms competing for the same markets, with wasteful duplication of effort; the inevitable "crises of overproduction" that arise from that competition and the exploitation of wage labor; the waste of having 20 percent or more of the nations' productive capacity and 10 percent or more of the nation's potential workforce involuntarily idled at the same time; the colossal waste of potentially useful labor being channeled into advertising, real estate, "business services," militarism, regulatory agencies and other institutions that are "necessary" only to capitalism - these conditions are hardly indicative of the most efficient organization of production.

Finally, to whatever small extent capitalists may be responsible for the "efficient use of labor" within a firm, such efficiency, under the capitalist system, does more social harm than good. Productivity improvements under capitalism are used, not to lessen the necessary hours of labor for all, but to eliminate the jobs of many, and frequently entail stepping up the workloads or the pace of work for the workers remaining. All told, capitalists do have an interest in seeing production organized such that it will "create the most wealth"- for themselves. But for the vast majority of the people, who belong to the working class, this is hardly an argument in favor of capitalism.

A class of parasites is not needed for production to be organized in an efficient manner. Production will operate far more efficiently, in the social interest, when the workers themselves are in full control of production and distribution, and there no longer exists another class to "make...use of labor," for its own selfish ends.

It is sometimes argued that capitalists have an incentive to make the working class richer, not poorer? The more money the working class has, the more it will be able to spend on new goods and services, thus fueling the continued growth of capitalism.

Since profits are derived from surplus value, which can be extracted at an increased rate only by reducing the workers' share of their product, capitalists have every incentive to drive wages lower, not higher. The fact that capitalists as a class also must rely on workers to consume a certain portion of the total product in order to keep the economy growing doesn't change the incentive of each individual capitalist firm to push its own wage costs down. Indeed, this contradiction is at the heart of the system's cyclical "crises of overproduction" which periodically rock the capitalist economy. Some capitalists may well be aware of the contradiction, but they cannot resolve it. No individual capitalist firm is going to raise the wages of its own workers in order to contribute to raising the purchasing power of workers as a whole. The profit motive and the force of competition prevent such action. The firm that attempted to do so would have less surplus value than its competitors, would have less to invest in improved means of production, and sooner or later would be underpriced and ruined by the competitors that kept wages lower.

At least one capitalist think-tank, the Brookings Institution, recognised the essence of this contradiction in a book entitled, Income and Economic Progress. There it was argued that it was pointless to rely on a 'Voluntary increase of money wages as an adequate means of increasing the purchasing power of the masses," since "there is immediate gain for the individual business enterprise which can reduce wages below the existing market rate. To pay more than the market rate for wages," the book continued, "appears not only needless but also unstabilising in its effects upon business generally. Moreover, the very essence of competition is to pay what has to be paid and not more. Why should one ignore market considerations when he hires labour any more than when he buys raw materials?"

The idea that the capitalist system as a whole would, hypothetically, be more robust if wages were raised is not enough to cause capitalists to act contrary to their own immediate material interests. And this idea has nothing to do with the limited and qualified improvements in living standards that some workers have gained in this century-improvements that are now being reversed.

The American Election

Trump and Clinton would have you believe that there is one America, with everyone in the same boat and everyone pulling toward the same goal. This is a conscious deception. As socialists, we recognize that the 99% and the 1% -- those who produce all of the nation's wealth, versus those who, through various schemes, collect, control and oversee the disposition of that great mountain of wealth -- have opposing and conflicting interests. The interests of Wall Street, the giant insurance companies, and corporate conglomerates are different from those of working people. Socialists argue that our current economic system is fundamentally undemocratic because those who produce all of the wealth have no say in how it is put to use, and those who control most of the wealth had nothing to do with creating it.

Trump and Clinton say they care about the "middle class." This is a term used is to blur economic distinctions in our society. In their view, everyone is "middle class," except those at rock bottom (our so-called underclass) and the few at the very top (the 1%, or the top 10 percent of US households possess 76 percent of the total wealth.) Actually, the overwhelming majority belong to the working class. Those in the working class produce the goods and services that, taken together, are the sole source of wealth produced each year. However, by law and tradition, the wealth produced by working people does not belong to them and is not controlled by them. Rather, the wealth produced by so many is deemed to belong to a small class of capitalists. Because stealing from the poor to give to the rich is not a popular policy, the capitalists launder their wealth. This is accomplished by classifying the riches that the capitalists steal from working people as profit. When Clinton, Trump and other mainstream politicians pay homage to the "middle class", it's their way of muddying the water, trying to hide the fact that our country is made up of producers and exploiters -- workers and capitalists. You will never hear Democratic or Republican Party politicians say that their first priority is the working class. Socialists side squarely and proudly with the working class.

Under capitalism, full employment is impossible. Why? Because if everyone had a job, the balance of power between workers and employers would be significantly altered. Workers could demand higher pay and the boss would have no choice but to agree. Workers could go out on strike, and there would be no one to use as strikebreakers.

In a rational system, if there was anything society required, if there was any public need not being fulfilled, people would be put to work fulfilling it. And if putting everybody to work full time would result in too much being produced -- if full employment at 40 hour per week would produce more than what society needs -- then the sensible thing to do would be to reduce the work week dividing the necessary work among everyone. If you put human needs before profits, it's easy to have jobs for all. But if your first loyalty is to profits, as is the case for Democrats and Republicans, then these simple, rational solutions can't be considered. Democrats and Republicans are for creating jobs only if it's profitable to do so. That's why their proposals always involve giving money to corporations and the rich.

Trump and Clinton point to the current recession to explain why unemployment is so high. But what they don't tell you is that regular, recurring crises, such as the one we are currently suffering through, are themselves a direct result of putting profits before human needs. The way our economy is organised, there's an economic crisis every five or 10 years. No Democratic or Republican proposal has ever changed that.

Trump and Clinton will try to tell you that these economic recessions just kind of happen, like thunderstorms. But that's not true either. These crises occur when the economy produces more than can be sold at a profit. It's then that businesses cut back, close down, lay off workers, and wait until profit potential improves. No consideration whatsoever is given to whether there are unmet needs; whether people are hungry, or homeless, or jobless, or poor.

Trump doesn't believe that climate change is a serious threat. Clinton’s party are criminally incompetent environmental stewards. Within capitalism, there is room for reform, short of dismantling the entire economic framework. Every wage increase, union victory, advance in civil rights or civil liberties illustrates this. But some issues, like climate change, are different. Addressing climate change is not a matter of dealing with one power plant or one factory or even a single industry; it's a globalized, systemic problem. With enough pressure, you can get the powers that be to clean up a particular river, ban a particular toxic chemical or right a particular injustice, but there's no way to end systemic pollution, poisoning of the environment or generalized injustice without ending the incentives that encourage those behaviors. Under capitalism, those behaviors are profitable, and profit is deemed to be the highest measure of success. Socialists are for taking critical industries and resources out of private hands. Revolution, not resignation, is our only hope. Capitalists blinded by profit, cannot embrace the environment. Marx wrote that:
 "Even a whole society, a nation, or even all societies together, are not the OWNERS of the globe. They are only its POSSESSORS, its users, and they have to hand it down to the coming generations in an improved condition, like the good fathers of families."

 Only an enlightened working class can liberate the means of production, build socialism and ensure the survival of life on earth.

Living as we do in a class society, where the class you are a part of is determined by your place in the economy -- whether you need to work for a living and produce value, or whether you're able to get rich living off the value produced by others -- we can see that the scourges of racism, sexism, xenophobia, poverty, environmental destruction and endless war only benefit one class. Where wealth is so unequally distributed, where political power is concentrated in the hands of a few, where the government and the media are sold to the highest bidder, society is like a pencil, balanced on its point. It's a very unnatural, unstable arrangement. In a true, open democracy, the inequality and minority rule we have today would not be tolerated. The only way a minority can enrich itself at the expense of the majority is by keeping the majority divided and disoriented, and by using force, where necessary, to keep the majority in line. This is the role played by racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination in society today. Their goal is to keep us fighting amongst ourselves rather than uniting against our common foe.

Socialists intend to do about this? We will continue to do what we've been doing: organizing and working to win a majority to the understanding that to solve the critical problems that we face, the capitalist system must be replaced by one that puts human needs before profits; urging the labor movement to break with the two parties of Wall Street and form a party of its own that can extend the fight for workers' rights beyond the shop floor and into the political arena

Abridged and adapted from here 

Nothing will stop an idea which time has come.

All wealth comes from the workers, not from the useless parasite class who derive their wealth from the exploitation of us. 90-99% of the world’s population are wage slaves.  It's only when workers across the world discard all notions that countries and national identities are a central part of the political landscape that real changes can be made to all our lives.

 Socialism has never existed to fail. Many opponents of  socialism are simply restating capitalist propaganda about post-feudal attempts to kick start capitalism. In Russia the absence of a large enough capitalist class meant the state stepped into the breach. Effectively those examples of Leninism were state capitalist developments. Social evolution suggests that no mode of production is cast in stone and the dynamics of change also affects capitalism as a social system.

 Studies of social systems with distinct social relationships related and corresponding to their specific mode of production have identified, for instance, primitive communism, chattel slavery, feudalism, and capitalism. All of these societies changed from one into another due to the contradictions inherent in that society and also due to technological advancement which each society found itself incapable of adapting to. Capitalism reached this point over a century ago. It’s time to move on to socialism.

 Socialism is a post-capitalist society. The idea will seem strange alien at first. Just as capitalism must have seemed strange in feudal times. But nothing will stop an idea which time has come.

 The task of creating the socialist, post-capitalist, production for use, free access, commonly owned world is that of the working class itself. The nation-state also would cease to exist in a democratic socialist world, effectively we would become our own government, with delegatory democracy, locally regionally and globally, over things and resources rather than as presently, representative class government over people.

For sure, there are sincere but misguided Leninists, and many Trotskyists, taking their cue from Lenin, who think that workers need to be led into socialism, as it turns out, they lead them into state-capitalism. Socialism in one country is impossible. It is a global society. It requires a revolutionary transformation in that the immense majority become aware that the present mode of production and distribution is obsolete.

 Chavez was not a socialist but a social reformer of capitalism. During his presidency, he kept open the doors on the flow of Western capital into Venezuela, while introducing a familiar programme of nationalisation and social reform. He did not cease to preside over an exploitative capitalist economy, nor did he cut off economic relationships with the West.

  The degree to which the Venezuelan workers are exploited will continue to depend on fluctuations in the economy, on their own capacity and will to resist the inevitable downward pressure on their incomes, and on government policy. The fact of their exploitation, though, is inevitable. So is their relative poverty, their limited freedom of choice, and the lack of control they have over their lives.

 None of this will change until they and working people everywhere, have ceased to put their faith in governments and charismatic politicians whatever claims and promises they make.

Capitalism's other essential twin concomitant with war is poverty. With ownership and control in the hands of the few, whether individuals, corporations or state, a parasitic class, in direct competition with each other, (leading to wars) allied with production for sale on the market to enrich the minority, with a useful productive waged slave (rationed in access) class, the majority, producing all of the wealth, but, of social necessity, kept in conditions of poverty, relative or absolute.

 It is not a case of intentional 'evil', although undoubtedly there are some evil bastards, but a consequence of competition within and without, the social classes. There are many decent individual capitalists, would wish to reform the system but this cannot occur. Wage slavery is essential for the production of surplus value for the capitalist.

 Capitalism cannot be reformed of wage slavery. If profits were to be eroded by redistribution of them to the worker, the capitalist would be out-competed and go to the wall. Even cooperatives find themselves in this double bind.

Wee Matt

Friday, October 28, 2016

Against Terror

In a sane society, with a socialist economy, workers could enjoy all the wealth they produce, because they wouldn't have to support themselves and the capitalist class, too. It would take only a fraction of the time now spent to obtain the material goods a family needs to thrive because the necessary work would be spread out over the whole population. There would be plenty of time for everyone -- men, women, young and old -- to exercise their talents, fulfill their potentials and grow to be all they could be. And children would be able to enjoy plenty of quality time with all of their family and friends. It follows from the fact that we live in a totally integrated world- -no part independent and all parts interdependent upon one another. Interdependence follows from the present productive organisation of society. The cooperation needed on the assembly line, between all points of production, distribution, and consumption, compels society to act harmoniously if it is to act successfully.

The Socialist Party unqualifiedly condemns terrorist bombings and shootings and as the depraved acts of depraved minds. It deplores the wanton massacre of innocent men, women and children, and denounces any individual or group who perpetrated such despicable acts for whatever perverted motive prompted they say they commit them. There is and can be no justification for barbarous crime.

At the same time, the Socialist Party condemns the reckless and inflammatory capitalist news media, which, in its usual sensationalist style, jumps from one conclusion to another about who the perpetrators of terrorism might be, and then seek to excuse itself by attributing errors to the population at large rather than to itself.

At the same time, the Socialist Party condemns the politicians who appear bent on using the acts of deranged individuals to undermine the civil liberties and human rights of people. It is dangerous, imbecilic and naive to believe that society can be defended against terror by repressive legislation. Legislation against terrorism can no more root out the social causes of such violent crimes than a law against water could abolish thirst or a law against hunger could abolish starvation. Whatever the immediate motivations behind terror acts, the root cause of all such insane antisocial acts is deeply embedded in the fabric of capitalist society itself. Capitalism incites barbarism. Terrorists have no answers for today's social problems. They see or feel the effects of something they have no understanding of, and they take refuge in religious fantasy and/or conspiracy theories and other mystifications. A solution to the manifold ills of a social system is to be found in a social act. That act can be performed only by a social class. And the sole class capable today of revolution to a better society is the working class.

Today, capitalism is a worn out, regressive social system. It operates for the benefit of a tiny, owning class upon the labor and at the expense of a large laboring class. The social situation is one that demands revolution because all alterations and reforms for the better operation of capitalism continuously fail to benefit the majority of society. The cooperation that production demands is the material condition that prods the working class to take, hold and operate industry in its own behalf. In this way alone can society become a cooperative commonwealth free from the conditions now giving rise to expanding terrorism, and to all the other social evils capitalism breeds and which fester in the modern world. Capitalism is a politically, as well as an economically, repressive system. This is no idle assertion. Capitalism may pretend otherwise, but it, too, relies on terror, or the threat of it, to uphold order. There is also capitalism's use of terror to scare people and push them to the right. The whole scare campaign has a racist element.

Karl Marx asked: "Is there not a necessity for deeply reflecting upon an alteration of the system that breeds these crimes, instead of glorifying the hangman who executes a lot of criminals to make room only for the supply of new ones?"

Socialists maintain that the solution to terrorism and viciousness of capitalist counter-terrorism is the abolition of capitalism itself. Effective action for the creation of the cooperative commonwealth of socialism must be taken.

Reorganise the economy on socialist principles

The Socialist Party understands full well that the class struggle is a vital part of life today. The Socialist Party seek to abolish the class struggle by calling attention to it, by exposing its meaning, by pointing to its consequences and by organising the workers, as a class, for the construction of the class-free society of socialism. The Socialist Party understands full well that the class struggle is a vital part of life today. The effects of capitalism reach into every corner of our lives.
 Some reform-minded men and women active in the labour movement understand the fact of the class struggle, but who nonetheless rejected the revolutionary conclusions of engaging in that struggle. These are facts, and it takes nothing away from their reputations as courageous men to recognise that, in the end, they accepted capitalism and rejected the genuine socialist movement.

Many capitalists try to pretend it doesn't exist. Because capitalist interests are in conflict with the interests of humanity the class struggle is denied. The capitalist class has an interest in raising future generations of wage slaves who are schooled to obey authority without question, not to think independently, to support capitalism and hate socialism. Outright lies must be used to defend capitalism. Our children are being cheated and robbed. They are being deprived even of childhood itself. We know that our children are being harmed by an economic system that runs on profits exploited from workers. We know that the degree of harm is growing as exploitation is increased to make up for shrinking profit margins. And we can predict that this harm will continue as long as we live under capitalism. Why are things this way? It is because of the very nature of capitalism. Capitalists control the entire economy, and capitalists care about nothing except what is profitable to them. They care about the well-being of their workers only if this well-being leads to production and profits. They care about the nurture of working-class children only as new workers to replace a spent generation in the years ahead. Capitalists may cherish their own children, they aren't fond of working-class children. They see a worker's family as a drain on a worker's time and energy, resources that the employer wants an opportunity to consume. There is an ongoing tug of war between our children and our bosses. All too often our children lose the contest. Capitalists apparently care very little whether the workers reproduce themselves. As automation and productivity rise, the number of workers needed to produce a certain amount of goods diminishes, and the number of available replacement workers increases. Thus, individual workers become disposable because it is so easy to replace them. It is not necessary to keep an employee who is less than satisfactory in any way because another worker can be employed instead. And it certainly is not necessary to support a worker who is spending time and energy on a family, because that worker is easy to replace with a worker who will spend this time and energy on the job.

It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that the interests of the family are directly opposite the interests of the capitalists. If we as workers controlled production and distribution of goods, the wealth we created with our labor could be used to meet all of our needs. We could allocate our resources to the areas we considered most important. We could surround our children with the love and attention of entire families, without fear of want. But we can't do that as long as we are burdened with capitalism.

The whole system is quite insane. It is not meeting the basic needs of people. In a sane society, things would be different. Production schedules would be determined by needs, not by profits. Workers would no longer have to support these parasites that make up the capitalist class, and so plenty of material goods would be available for all workers and their families as well. The necessary work would be shared by everybody, spread among a large number of workers. The workload would be lighter and the workweek would be shorter. All workers would have time to spend and enjoy with their families. Sane and sensible social relations and economic conditions do not exist under capitalism, and they never will. That day will not come until the working class wakes up to these facts and organises its political and economic power to take over control of production and reorganise the economy on socialist principles. The first step is for those who already understand this to act on their knowledge by coming forward to help spread the socialist message and to join the Socialist Party.

The working-class can no longer afford to waste time looking to politicians for answers. Governments cannot solve a problem that is inherent in the economic system. The economic causes of our problems are clear. The failure of government to solve them is a matter of record and is being demonstrated once again. The fact that -- because of the "expense" involved -- it presently balks at the barest measures to even ease the economic burdens of workers further indicts the capitalist system. The failing family and the poverty, unemployment and hopelessness that engender it cannot be prevented under capitalism. Capitalism is the family's destroyer. Workers must look to themselves for a solution, for the solution lies in making a basic change to a new social system: a change that only an organized working class can make -- a change to a socialist system. Socialism alone -- with democratic, social control of industry in place of the dictatorial control of a parasitical capitalist minority, with production for human wants and needs in place of production for the profit of a few -- can provide economic security and material abundance for all. Socialism alone can give leisure time back to workers and their families so that they may nurture each other and spur the advancement of humankind. It alone can establish the social and economic conditions for a new era of relations between the sexes, liberated from the pressures and constraints of archaic capitalism. It is now time that workers begin taking matters into their own hands and begin building a movement for socialism -- to save our families, our children and society's future.

Defend the right to strike!

The majority of the people, too, face an oppressive system even more powerful. They confront the domination of a small capitalist class of the wealth, and which thrives on the labour of the working majority. Under the domination of this small ruling class, political freedoms are being eroded; the power of monopolies and government bureaucracy grows; militarisation, economic exploitation and inevitable and rapidly approaching environmental suicide. If democracy means control of society by the majority of the people, then democracy does not exist. The tyranny of the aristocracy which ruled through the king has been replaced by the tyranny of a capitalist class which rules through its political servants. Every revolution means getting rid of the old order and building the new. To accomplish this will require the most organized and conscious revolutionary movement in history.

 It means organising all working people into the One Big Party and the On Big Union, a movement that takes the shape of working class itself. The Socialist movement speaks to the needs and problems of the people in a way no other political party can. It ties all the many and varied problems confronting workers today, from economic crises to racism, from eroding democratic rights to environmental destruction, back to their common origins in the system of capitalism. It bears the basic reason why people increasingly dissatisfied with the oppression and deteriorating quality of life have not been able to gain the freedom and security they've sought for decades. The obvious reality is that the great majority of people have no control over their lives and no way to ensure even the basic necessities of life for themselves and their families. In every sphere of society, they confront the rule of an economic elite whose ideas and interests predominate.

The Socialist Party cuts through superficial excuses for this inequality and gets to its root. It shows that tinkering with the system as it is, or waiting for "better times," or relying on politicians, are ways that the class that owns and controls keeps the majority from challenging its domination. Anything short of a revolutionary change is a formula for leaving control of society right where it is, in the status quo ruling-class hands, no matter how that control may be modified. Capitalist political power will be used, as it is today, to exploit workers on the job, to rape the environment for profit, and to amass mountains of wealth for the few. It will keep pitting worker against worker, race against race, and sex against sex, fighting over scraps while the capitalist class reaps the harvest. The owning class will continue to use its monopoly on the means of life to shape the entire course of nations. If control of the State remains where it is now, governments will remain an instrument for advancing the interests of a ruling minority against the rest. It will continue to serve business interests at home and abroad. The repression and deceit which have become daily practice will grow more drastic and dangerous. The system will head toward ever-worsening crises and more conflicts.

To change this course the political and economic power of society must be transferred from the ruling class to the working majority. In essence, this is what socialism is all about. Socialism does not mean control by the state, or domination by one party, or the regulation and legislation of capitalist rule with  more reforms and palliatives. It means the transfer of power over all social institutions and operations to the people themselves and their communities.

Have you ever had to go on strike? Most of us have and for pretty familiar reasons. Sometimes it's the only way we can win a decent wage, especially when the cost of living is rising fast. Sometimes it's the only way to fight back against working conditions that are going from bad to worse. Other times it's necessary to defend a co-worker who's been treated unfairly... and to stop the practice before it happens to someone else. There are plenty of problems workers face that can force us out on strike. And while none of us want to risk our jobs or incomes, a strike is often the only weapon we have to fight for our rights.

The one weapon workers have -- the right to strike -- is constantly under attack. Public opinion is immediately whipped up against the strikers. The courts pass injunctions and the police harass pickets. The press writes indignant editorials and loud demands are raised for tougher anti-strike laws. The whole campaign to curb the right to strike is a step toward disarming workers in their struggle for economic survival. The overwhelming majority of people have only their labour power to sell and they survive by selling it to the employing class. If they give up the elementary right to withhold that labor or bargain for a better price or better conditions, they become little more than slaves. No one "enjoys" strikes, least of all workers and their families who lose their incomes while bosses live off past profits. Strikes, at best, are defensive actions. To really get to the heart of our economic problems, we have to change the whole economic system that repeatedly forces us to fight for a decent living.

Such revolutionary changes can only come through the direct activity of the people themselves. They must break with the illusion that they have to endure capitalism forever, or are powerless to change society. Through their conscious political and economic organisation, they can not only overturn class-ruled society but, in the same process, build a better one in its place. Politically workers must draw together in a party that stands for their own collective interests. For too long workers have relied on capitalist politicians to speak for them. They must build their own political organisation, to challenge the domination of the capitalist class and help all workers realise how socialism serves their needs, and how it can be won. But a political party by itself is not enough. Socialism means more than a change in ideas, or a different set of political figures in government. It means that the masses of working people must build the new forms of socialist organisation and administration. Building a movement for this kind of economy requires a long struggle. It also requires the defence of the few rights we have now -- like the right to strike. If we lose those rights, the fight for a democratic socialist economy will be even harder to win.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Karl (and) William's ) Quotes

As Socialists, we state firmly, in a Socialist Society money will not exist because the very conditions for its existence will have been abolished.
Marx, with a little help from 'The Bard', had something to say about it.
Shakespeare attributes to money two qualities:
1) "It is the visible deity, the transformation of all human and natural qualities into their opposite, the universal confusion and inversion of things; it brings incompatibilities into fraternity."
2) " It is the universal whore, the universal pander between men and nations."
"The power to confuse and invert all human and natural qualities, to bring about fraternization of incompatibles, the divine power of money, resides in its essence as the alienated species - life of men. It is the alienated power of humanity."
"What I as a man am unable to do, what therefore all my individual faculties are unable to do, is made possible for me by means of money therefore turns each of these faculties into something which in itself it is not, into its opposite."
 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts – 1844
Just think of the anti-social behaviour of many caused by the need for money and then think, what a terrific burden would be lifted from people, individually and collectively if it wasn't needed - a society based on "From each according to his ability to each according to his need."
John Ayers

What is Socialism? What are the facts? What are the distortions?

Societies are not eternal but are mortal. Like the people who compose them, they are born, mature, decline, and eventually die. The history of capitalist society shows it is no exception. It too has gone from birth through maturity to decline and is now approaching its final days of life. Capitalism is in its death-throes because of a serious malady. It is no longer a progressive system from which humanity can benefit. Immense social wants are being left unsatisfied. Capitalism is plainly damned for its inefficiencies. More and more nails are being hammered into its coffin. And capitalism has brought forth its gravediggers. The very workers whom the system employs to carry on production. Unable to secure comfortable lives within capitalist society, they will be compelled to recognise that their well-being and aspirations require the construction of a new form of society. Once people have reached a revolutionary frame of mind, they will quickly discover a number of important truths: They will learn that they are endowed with the power of the vote.

The productivity of an average American worker has reached an all-time high. You should be rolling in clover, should you not? Actually, you've never had it so bad, isn’t that right? Low wages, declining work-benefits, climbing unemployment.

Socialism is the common ownership by all the people of the factories, mills, mines, means of transport, land and all other instruments of production. Socialism means production to satisfy human needs, not as under capitalism, for sale and profit. Socialism means direct control and management of the industries and social services by the workers through a democratic administration based on both geographic nd economic organisation. All authority will rest with the people. All persons elected to be a delegate for any post, from the lowest to the highest will be directly accountable and recallable at any time that a majority of those who elected them decide it is necessary. Such a system would make possible the fullest democracy and freedom. It would be a society based on the most primary freedom - economic freedom and independence. Socialism means an end to economic insecurity and exploitation. It means workers cease to be commodities bought and sold on the labour market and forced to work as appendages to the machinery owned by someone else. It means a chance to develop all individual capacities and potentials within a free community of free individuals. It means a class-free society.

What socialism is not is government or state-ownership. It does not mean "nationalisation," state capitalism of any kind. It does not mean a state bureaucracy as formerly in the U.S.S.R., with the working class oppressed by a new bureaucratic class. It does not mean a one-party or one-leader system without democratic rights.  It means a complete end to all capitalist social relations.

To win the struggle for socialist freedom requires enormous efforts of organisational and educational work. It requires building a political party of socialism to contest the power of the capitalist class on the political field, and to educate the majority of workers about the need for socialism. It requires building industrial union organisations to unite all workers in a class-conscious One Big Union, and to prepare them to take, hold, and operate the tools of production. In socialism, production and distribution will be socially controlled. There will, accordingly, be no further need for the tricky means of exchange and money, required by the capitalist system of private control over production and distribution.

Whether or not socialism will be achieved depends on you. Don't look so surprised. You're a very important individual. You have a political and economic power that, intelligently used, can make short work of peacefully abolishing capitalism and establishing a socially-owned economy administered by the working citizens for the benefit of all. Is the information you will receive worth the little effort involved? Well, isn't the possibility of winning a real and secure prosperity for your family and your fellowmen worth even a lot of effort on your part?