Thursday, January 17, 2019

Welcome to the Revolution

Everywhere people are the same in that they seek happiness, desire prosperity and love liberty. Everywhere the rich are the same, i.e., they profit from the common misery to enrich themselves and desire make the people suffer. Capitalism has failed us. We’re overworked, underemployed and powerless. The aim of the Socialist Party is to replace world capitalist economy by a world socialism for it alone can abolish the contradictions of the capitalist system which threaten to destroy humanity. A socialist society will end the class division of society and cease the anarchy in production. It will abolish all forms of exploitation and oppression of man by man. Society will no longer consist of antagonistic classes in conflict with each other, but will present a world cooperative commonwealth. For the first time in its history mankind will take its fate into its own hands. Instead of destroying innumerable human lives and incalculable wealth in struggles between classes and nations, mankind will devote all its energy to the development and strengthening of its own evolution. The future of our human civilisation hangs in the balance.

After abolishing private ownership of the means of production and converting these means into social property, the world socialism will replace the elemental forces of the world market, competitive and blind processes of social production, by consciously organised and planned production for the purpose of satisfying rapidly growing social needs. With the abolition of competition and anarchy in production, devastating crises and still more devastating wars will disappear. Instead of colossal waste of productive forces and spasmodic development of society-there will be a planned utilisation of all material resources and a painless economic development on the basis of unrestricted, smooth and rapid development of productive forces.

The abolition of private property and the disappearance of classes will do away with the exploitation of man by man. Work will cease to be toiling for the benefit of a class enemy: instead of being merely a means of livelihood it will become a necessity of life: want and economic inequality, the misery of enslaved classes, and a wretched standard of life generally will disappear; the hierarchy created in the division of labour system will be abolished together with the antagonism between mental and manual labour; and the last vestige of the social inequality of the sexes will be removed. At the same time, the organs of class domination, and the State in the first place, will disappear also. The State, being the embodiment of class domination, will die out in so far as classes die out, and with it all measures of coercion will expire.

Private ownership in the means of production, the selfish lust for profits, the artificial retention of the masses in a state of ignorance, poverty-which retards technical progress in capitalist society, and unproductive expenditures will have no place in a socialist society. The development of the productive forces of world socialism will make it possible to raise the well-being of the whole of humanity and to reduce to a minimum the time devoted to material production and, consequently, will enable culture to flourish as never before in history. This new culture of a humanity that is united for the first time in history, and has abolished all State boundaries, will, unlike capitalist culture, be based upon clear and transparent human relationships. Hence, it will bury forever all mysticism, religion, prejudice and superstition and will give a powerful impetus to the development of all-conquering, scientific knowledge. The most important lesson from the history of capitalism is this: It has sown the seeds of its own destruction.  Capitalism is not eternal but historical. It too shall pass — but only if we make it so. The socialist case is, and always has been, that socialism can come about only through democratic action by a working-class majority, throughout the world. The socialist revolution will be a majority, democratic act—the first social revolution in human history in the interests of the majority.

When it comes down to it there is no real choice between reform and revolution. These are not two alternative ways of reaching the same goal. Certainly people can try to reform capitalism to make it work in the interest of all, but they can never succeed. All their efforts are wasted. The only way forward is social revolution, in the sense of rapidly abolishing present-day society by a political act and establishing a new and different society in its place. Capitalism is an economic system which operates according to economic laws which cannot be changed by human action, and which human beings have to accept and submit to in the same way as they do to natural forces like the weather and the tides. As long as capitalism remains its economic laws will continue to function roughly like the tides. If people decided to end this system, then these forces would cease to operate.

We are talking about people being in charge of the production of the wealth they must have to survive. This is what socialism is about: subjecting production to conscious human control so that it can be directed to the single purpose of turning out goods and services to satisfy human needs. Why should this not be possible? After all, production for use — production to satisfy human needs — is the logical purpose of producing wealth. Production to satisfy human needs is possible, but it requires a fundamental social change to make it a reality. Basically, all that is in and on the earth must become the common property of everyone. In other words, there must no longer be any territorial rights or any private property rights over any part of the globe. The farms, factories, mines and all other places where wealth is produced will not belong to anybody. This means that a section only of society would no longer stand between the rest of society and the means of production. Social classes would cease to exist and all men and women would stand in equal relationship to the means of production as free and equal members of a class-free community.

In a socialist society democratic control will extend to all aspects of social life, including — and in fact in particular — decisions about the production of wealth. This is what production is about: bringing the production and distribution of wealth under conscious human control which, in a class-free community of free and equal men and women, can only be democratic control. Otherwise society would no longer be class-free: access to. and control over, the means of production would then remain in the hands of the minority. This is why democracy and socialism are inseparable. There is no choice about the matter. An undemocratic socialism is a contradiction in terms. Socialism is democratic or it is not socialism. If the means of production are commonly owned and democratically controlled, there is only one end for which they can and will be used: to produce wealth to satisfy the needs, individual and collective, of the class-free community.

When we say production for use we mean production solely for use. In socialism wealth no longer will be produced for sale; buying and selling and all that goes with it, money, prices, wages, profits, banks, and so on — will have no place; they will, in fact, have no sense in socialism. Since the means of production will be commonly owned, it follows that what is produced will also be commonly owned — that is, by the classless community of free men and women who will have produced it. In these circumstances the question of selling what has been produced just would not — could not — arise. For how can what is commonly owned be sold to those who commonly own it?

Since the turn of the century, we have left the Age of Scarcity and entered the Age of Abundance — potential abundance. that is. To the extent that scarcity survives today, as of course it very much does, this is an artificial scarcity maintained by the economic laws of capitalism, and particularly its basic principle of "No Profit, No Production".  The artificial barrier to the production of abundance (that is, the profit motive) will be removed and we shall be able to produce an abundance of the basic things — food, clothing, shelter — which people need to enjoy life. Material wants and poverty can be banished forever. Technologically speaking, there is no reason why any man, woman or child in any part of the world should starve or go without proper shelter. Socialism will allow this technological possibility to be realised, which will no doubt have to be one of the first priorities of socialism when it is established. Let people come and take what they need. Wealth could be produced in such abundance today that there is no need to ration access to it. People will simply take what they need from the stores as and when they need it. Ensuring that these stores are always stocked with what people need will be no problem given the technological possibility of producing in abundance. This will essentially be a question of stock control.

We either have common ownership or some sort of class ownership, private or state. We either have production for use or production for sale. The only way forward is social revolution — not in the sense of insurrections and street-fighting, but of a rapid change in the basis of society. This is what the Socialist Party is working for. But it is not us who are going to establish socialism. We could not do it. No minority can. How could a minority impose upon others a society based on voluntary co-operation and democratic decision-making? This is why all the efforts of the Socialist Party is directed towards helping to spread the idea that there is an alternative to capitalism with its waste and wars, its insecurity and anxiety. Our role is to inform people about this and get people to want to change society and to organise to do this.

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