Wednesday, December 05, 2018

To Live is to Thrive, Not just to Survive

Working class power is the essential condition for far-reaching social change by their own hands. To change the world and to create a better one is the aspiration of the Socialist Party, its hope is that tomorrow's world can be free of today's inequalities, hardships, and deprivations, a belief that people can, individually and collectively, influence the shape of the world to come. It is this outlook of society that guides the actions of the Socialist Party. Socialism is a movement for changing the world and setting up a free, equal, human and prosperous society. However, the Socialist Party is not a bunch of utopian reformers nor heroic saviours of humanity.  Socialism is a movement that reflects the vision, ideals, and protest of the working class.  Socialism emerges out of class struggle. This class struggle is the chief source of social change and transformation.  Our goal is one of abolishing classes and exploitation. The capitalist system is behind all the ills that burden humanity today. Poverty, deprivation, discrimination, inequality, political repression, ignorance, bigotry, unemployment, homelessness, economic and political insecurity, corruption and crime are all inevitable products of this system. No doubt apologists would tell us that these have not been invented by capitalism but existed before capitalism, that exploitation, repression, discrimination, women's oppression, ignorance and prejudice, religion and prostitution are more or less as old as human society itself. What is not told is the fact that, firstly, all these problems have found a new meaning in this society, corresponding to the needs of capitalism. These are being constantly reproduced as integral parts of the modern capitalist system. The source of poverty, starvation, unemployment, homelessness and economic insecurity is the economic system in place at the end of the 20th century. The dictatorships, wars, genocides and repressions that define the life of hundreds of millions of people today draw their rationale from the needs of the system that rules the world and a product of the present society's economic and social system and moral values. The capitalist system continually and relentlessly resists people's effort to eradicate and overcome these ills.  The capitalist system and the primacy of profit have exposed the environment to serious dangers and irreparable damages. Academics and intellectuals do not even claim to have an answer to these problems. This is the reality of capitalism today, boding a horrifying future for the entire people of the world.
Capitalism is based on the exploitation of direct producers — the appropriation of a part of the product of their labour by the ruling classes. Without living human labour power that sets instruments of labour to work and creates new products, the existence of human society, the very survival of human beings and satisfaction of their needs, is inconceivable. The more the working class works, the more power capital acquires. Exploitation in capitalist society takes place without yokes on the shoulders or chains around the ankles of the producers- through the medium of the market and "free and equal" exchange of commodities. The surplus value obtained from the exploitation of the working class is divided out among the various sections of the capitalist class essentially through the market mechanism. Profit, interest and rent are the major forms in which the different capitals share in the fruits of this class exploitation. The competition of capitals in the market determines the share of each capitalist section. This surplus also pays the whole cost of the capitalists' state machinery, army and administration, of its ideological and cultural institutions, and the upkeep of all those who, through these institutions, uphold the power of the capitalist class.
With the accumulation of capital, the mass of commodities which make up the wealth of bourgeois society grows, the inevitable result of the accumulation process is the continual and accelerating technological progress and rise in the mass and capacity of the means of production which the working class sets in motion in every new cycle of the production process. But compared to the growth in society's wealth and productive powers, the working class continually gets relatively poorer. Despite the gradual and limited increase, in absolute terms, in the workers' standard of living, the share of the working class from the social wealth declines rapidly, and the gap between the living conditions of the working class and the higher living standards that is already made possible by its own work widens. The richer the society becomes, the more impoverished a section the worker forms in it.
Technological progress and rise in labour productivity mean that living human labour power is increasingly replaced by machines and automatic systems. In a free and human society, this should mean more free time and leisure for all. But in the capitalist society, where labour power and means of production are merely so many commodities which capital employs to make profits, the substitution of humans by machines manifests itself as a permanent unemployment of a section of the working class which is now denied the possibility of making a living. The appearance of a reserve army of workers who do not even have the possibility of selling their labour power is an inevitable result of the process of accumulation of capital, and at the same time a condition of capitalist production. The existence of this reserve army of unemployed, supported essentially by the employed section of the working class itself, heightens the competition in the ranks of the working class and keeps wages at their lowest socially possible level. This reserve army also allows capital to more easily modify the size of its employed work force in proportion to the needs of the market. Massive unemployment is not a side-effect of the market, or a result of the bad policies of some government. It is an inherent part of the workings of capitalism and the process of accumulation of capital.
A majority seeking to replace capitalism by socialism only requires one thing of an electoral system under capitalism—that it should allow a majority opinion to reflect itself as a majority of seats in parliament. We are not interested in whether the system ensures a strong and stable government of capitalism nor in whether it ensures a fair representation of capitalist political parties. As the existing electoral system in Britain does allow a majority viewpoint to be translated into a majority of seats, we see no point in diverting our energies from our task of working towards the emergence of a socialist majority towards working for electoral reform within capitalism.

Must people go without the basic essentials of life at a time when productivity has increased to heights never known before? When mankind was the slave of nature, shortage and want could be explained in something like intelligent terms, but to-day, when his productive capacities are virtually unlimited, he must find some other answer. We live in a society which has the paradox of want in the midst of plenty. There is no difficulty about producing food for the present population of the world, or even twice that number, but the problem is, could politics and economics arrange that the food that was produced was dispersed in the countries that needed it? If European agricultural standards were to be practised on the available cultivable land, there would be enough food produced to give an excellent diet to probably seven times the world’s present.

What many NGOs fail to recognise is the fact that however capable man may be of producing wealth, it is ultimately the question of ownership which decides whether or not he will partake of that wealth. Food, like every other commodity in our modern world, is produced primarily for profit, and the fact that it eventually may satisfy hungry children around the world is incidental and of secondary importance.

When we in the Socialist Party see or read about the atrocities of war, we do not condemn the nation to which the perpetrators belong. Nor do we become enraged at the soldiers of that nation. War itself is the supreme crime from which all atrocities flow. War is the product of capitalism. The real criminals in each country are the ruling capitalists, a tiny minority of the population which sets nation against nation in a mad scramble for markets and profits. The soldiers in each camp are trained and commanded to kill. They are the instruments but not the real authors of war’s barbarism. The truth which the hired propagandists of capitalism try to hide is that workers are forced into war very much against their will. The enemy is by nature just as peaceable, just as kindly, just as fun-loving as any other people. Barbarism and brutality have spread over the entire earth, not because some are inhuman animals while others are civilised human beings, but because nations are pitted against one another in bloody combat by the rulers of the capitalist system. All peoples want peace. But unless the victims of war, the toiling people of every country, put an end to this system, there will be more terrible wars, ferocious, cruel, and devastating. By promoting race hatred, the capitalist rulers keep the working people of different lands divided and hostile to one another. In that way, the capitalists can continue to rule the world and plunge humanity into horrible wars for resources and market share. That is why it is necessary to expose the lies of race hatred, so that workers in every land may unite against capitalism and struggle together for a better socialist world.

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