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Taking Socialism Seriously

We need to hold to a vision of the future we want to see and work to make it a reality. It’s been a tough for those of us in the Socialist Party trying to overthrow capitalism but that doesn’t mean we should give up—in fact that would be among the worst things we could do. What stands in the way of socialism are attitudes of despair and despondency. And the business of the Socialist Party politics is, among other things, to change those attitudes. The Socialist Party holds the socialist future in our hearts and minds so that it can give us the perseverance to keep up the struggle. We resist capitalism not because we are guaranteed success but because it is right. Our compass should have socialism as its destination. We need to keep this end in mind so not to lose our way. An important part of our task today is to recover socialist theory from distortions.

Socialism aims at giving meaning to the life and work of people, enabling their freedom and their creativity to flourish. Socialism is not state ownership or government planning or even a rise in living standards. Socialist society implies the organisation by people themselves of every aspect of their social life, seeking to build the world without oppression and exploitation.  The purpose of socialist revolution is instead to provide today’s society with a form of organisation that corresponds to the material possibilities open to us. Today's world has all the objective material capacities to put an end to capitalist exploitation and all the forms of oppression that it perpetuates. This is the basic and primary reason for working for socialism.

The Socialist Party is often asked to lay out in detail our idea of what socialism will be like. A detailed blueprint is possible only where we have, in advance, comprehensive knowledge of all relevant facts. We do not possess such comprehensive information about the future which is not laid out according to a prearranged pattern, but is itself modified by our actions.  The most we can do or need to do, therefore, is to offer a general rough sketch. We learn about the details filling in the gaps provided by the rough sketch as we go along. If we are reasonably sure of the main outlines, we go ahead and find out what happens, adjusting ourselves flexibly to experience.

 Yet there are many elements to the socialist ideal— “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”; the disappearance of the State; the breaking down of the barrier between intellectual and physical labor; “society of the free and equal” In order for the society to be just and equitable, it must embody socialist principles. We need to make a fundamental change in society. SOCIALISM MEANS EXPANDING DEMOCRACY NOT ONLY IN THE POLITICAL SENSE BUT IN AN ECONOMIC SENSE. The socialist idea of a free and equal cooperative commonwealth is a practical one under an economy of abundance. A world without money, and without any kind of substitute for a monetary exchange, would not be a world of chaos, as some might suppose as the alarmists would have us believe. A world without money be like? I think it would be a world without poverty and hunger and unemployment; without economic misery and without fear for the future. It would be a world where men and women could choose their particular vocation and might work at the thing for which is best suited. It would be a world where everyone might be well and comfortable, fed and housed.

The Socialist Party counter the illusion that there can be world peace, explaining that there could be no lasting solution on the basis of capitalism. The form of the conflict could be changed, there could be interludes brought about by war weariness and exhaustion, above all the development of the class struggle could cut across nationalism and sectarianism for a period of time. But, so long as capitalism remained, the underlying problem and with it the basis for ongoing conflict would remain also.


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