Saturday, December 22, 2018

What The Socialist Party Stands For

Most people believe that things would be better and life would be easier if only prices were reduced. This is a complete illusion, a failure to understand how capitalism works. To start with nobody actually wants all prices to be reduced: what they all want is that the prices of the things they buy should be reduced and the prices of the things they sell kept as they are or increased. This includes the workers, none of whom want to see a reduction of their wages —which also are prices, the prices at which they sell their mental and physical energies (their labour power) to the employers. 

The workers also want “full employment”. Here they come up against the cruel truth about capitalism. The employers have paid off hundreds of thousands of workers because at present selling prices and costs of production (including wages) they cannot make a profit. If they saw the prospect of a profit they would re-engage them to-morrow. From the employers’ point of view, the solution lies in raising their selling prices, or reducing costs, including wages, or cutting their total costs by getting the same amount of work out of fewer workers. All of this is subject to the overriding condition that the goods produced can be sold, and at the present time world markets are shrinking and competitors abroad are also trying to cut their costs.

Would any of the various forms of controls of prices and wages avoid depressions? The answer is that every possible variety has been tried and failed. It may be hard to accept but is nevertheless true that there are no ways to prevent capitalism from behaving in accordance with its own economic laws. 

Capitalism drives and presses us all to buy to the limits of our means, and offers devices by which those limits may be apparently stretched. But the pressure must never be yielded-to by an inch beyond the limits. The point of marketing, after all, is not that goods shall be distributed but that they are paid for. He who, lured and compelled by deferred terms or slashed deposits or simple needs, fails to meet his money commitment is as far as possible prevented for the future from buying on those terms again. Morally condemned as well, for violating the golden capitalist rule that everything has its price. Most people under capitalism exist in desperation, hair-breadths away from financial calamity. 

There is a socialist alternative to capitalism. The Socialist Party is not Utopian. We know that such a system is possible. Everything necessary is present save one thing: a desire on your part to have such a system.

The Socialist Party does not exist to campaign for petty reforms within the capitalist system. We are a tool by which the working class can use to gain control of the machinery of government. Once in control, the workers can use this machine to dispossess the capitalist class by declaring all the means of life the common property of all society. This will allow the workers to take over the industries and to keep production going in the ways they will have worked out beforehand.  As soon as the last capitalist has been dispossessed then classes will have ceased to exist. It will no longer make sense to speak of a working class and a capitalist class. Everybody, including the ex-capitalists, will have the same status as free producers. Not that things will immediately be startlingly different from what they were before. Production will have to be kept going. Although such jobs as checkout cashiers would disappear, engineers would remain engineers and, perhaps, railway workers, railway workers and so on.  The conversion of the means of life from the private property of an exploiting class to the common property of society will establish the framework within which can be solved once and for all the problems which the working class face today precisely because they are the working class. Even today we can see that the world is quite capable of producing enough for everybody if only production were arranged with this object in mind. Socialism will allow this to happen. Mankind will have control over the means of production to use them as society think fit. Under capitalism there can be no genuine planning as the market is the real king. Firms turn out goods and hope the market will absorb them. Socialist society will estimate what will be needed in advance and then produce it. Allowances for changes in taste and natural disasters can be made by producing more than is needed as a kind of guarantee. The abolition of private property and the conversion of the means of life into the common property of mankind will allow society to set about tackling questions of economic organisation in a scientific way. As soon as the capitalist system has been abolished money become redundant as soon as common ownership has been established.

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