Saturday, March 24, 2018

When we talk, we talk about socialism

In a post-capitalist society, who should control production? How should decisions about working life be made? Who should decide what is produced, where it is produced and how it is distributed. In the Communist ManifestoMarx and Engels wrote that the task of creating socialism must be accomplished by the working class themselves. 

Does “workers’ control” employee self-management suggests that the labour force at each factory should seize it, do with it whatever they want, including selling the product and dividing the proceeds amongst themselves? Did it mean that each group of workers would decide not only how to organise production but also what products to manufacture and sell in the market? Does it mean leaving decision-making regarding the organization of production to each group of workers?

Karl Marx’ critique of capitalist “anarchy of production” was a central part of their analysis. Goods were produced, not due to social need, but because they are commodities which could be sold in the capitalist market. For Marx, economic justice required a plan for production to meet peoples' needs. Marx believed that a series of worker-owned enterprises would leave the market intact and force the workers to compete with each other and exploit themselves.
Marx assumed that those who would plan production would be society itself. Workers in each enterprise should understand that the enterprise does not belong to them, sectional ownership, but owned in common by all, for all. Acquiring more property with larger mortgages, buying pricier cars and choosing to send your children to private school could mean that, despite having a greater salary, you still don't have much left over at the end of the day.
Progress under capitalism means prosperity for the few, poverty for the many. In spite of all the reforms, the gulf between worker and employer widens. It widens with the very rise in the workers’ efficiency. Not only are the workers robbed of the wealth produced, but they are robbed of good health through the conditions of their life and labour. There is no remedy under private or State ownership. The progress of the working people will begin with the establishment of common ownership.
Engaging with our fellow-workers is the starting point for socialist change. If there is no engagement there is no discussion and without discussion there is no movement. Talking with others is one of the core practices in the Socialist Party. We hold a vision that people have the capacity to understand and change the world.  To produce change people must be organized to work together to achieve political power. Today, the most basic task ahead is to create a mass socialist movement and the question always facing members of the Socialist Party is how to build this movement of people. It seems simple enough: movements grow when they attract people who are currently not involved or disagree. But that first means convincing people we do not agree with. Even if millions have a rough agreement with our general socialist values, why are there so few committed to our goal? Even if people agree in theory, we disagree with their passivity and apathy.  Socialists should be wary of exclusivity accusing people that they have been duped and turned into fools. Our words are important.  Workers, listen! Realise your own strength and power. There is no reason why your slavery should last a day longer. But remember that the emancipation of the working class must necessarily be the work of the working class itself. The capitalist class welcomes the introduction of any reform that does not interfere with profit.

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