Sunday, March 03, 2019

Slaves to the System

Socialism is revolutionary in that sense, that it is a totally new principle, fraternity and solidarity principle! It is revolutionary, since it demolishes the old foundation and builds on it a new one. But if revolutionary means what is commonly understand by the word, something which has to do with street riots, insurrection and looting, then socialism is far from revolutionary. The Socialist Party seeks to abolish the system, which is the root and source of evil, but this will not happen by killing some individual capitalists or bombing a few corporate HQs. Capitalism is based on wage slavery. The capitalists hire wage workers to produce wealth, give them part of that wealth in the form of wages and keep the rest. We do not sell our labour to the capitalists; we sell our labour power.

To illustrate what a wage slave is, suppose you owned a nice automobile and someone should say to you, "I want to use your car until it is all worn out. I will give it petrol and lubricator oil enough to keep it running until it can’t run anymore." Surely you would not agree to that. You wouldn’t allow anybody to use your car until it was all worn out just for petrol and oil.

But if you are a wage worker that is what you are doing with your body. The capitalists use you until you are all worn out and all they aim to give you is what the chattel slaves got, what the serfs got, what a horse gets, a bare living, and you are not even sure of that. How about your children? You parents spend many happy hours teaching your children how to walk and how to talk. Long years are spent upon their education. When they get to be wonderful young men and women with their eyes brightly shining like the headlights on a new car, and with their veins and arteries like the wiring on a new car, and their hearts beating without a murmur, like the smooth running of new engines, then the capitalists say to the proud parents, "We want to use your children to produce wealth for us and for our children. Just as we have used you to produce wealth for us, so our children want to use your children to produce wealth for them when we are gone."

The parents ask, "What are our children to get for the use of their bodies during the precious years of their lives?" Answer, "Petrol and oil". A mere living wage. The endless chain that starts and ends with work. Work to get money, to buy food, to get strength to work. Every increase in the productivity of labour, every invention, every victory of science and triumph of genius in the line of industrial progress, only goes to increase the wealth of a parasite class while the workers are only supposed to get what slave classes always got, a bare living and often not even that. This is wage slavery, the foundation of capitalism. But capitalism is only a passing stage in the economic development of mankind

The Socialist Party objects to the existing form of society, now known to everyone as capitalist society. Why? Because a few people own the world and the factories and machinery of wealth production. These are the propertied class, including landlords, industrialists and financiers. Most other people have to sell their brains or muscles, in short, their labour-power, to this class for a return in money called wages. This class is the wage-earning class, or the wage-slave class. Wages are not based on the money value of the goods produced or services rendered by the slave-class, but reflect the cost of living. Robbery of the workers is the root of all the world’s troubles. Wage slavery is unable to give us security in our means of life. Production under capitalism is anti-social. It is anti-social because it operates against the interests of the producing class, the great majority. Capitalism is synonymous with violence and chaos. We, the workers, are many, though divided because of ignorance. They, the capitalists, are, few, but strong organisationally, ruthless in policy, grimly determined to increase in power and to perpetuate their dictatorship over the hopeless existence of a robbed class. The thoughtless might conclude that there is no ray of hope for the workers. Indeed, this despairing attitude is preventing many from acting for working class progress. We have reached an era where action may not much longer be delayed if we are to escape the heavy consequence unprecedented in the annals of mankind – global warming.

Society is not a fixed entity. It is an organism, not only capable of change but constantly changing. Everything in the universe, from atoms to solar systems, is continually moving, changing, transforming, developing; likewise, the history of the human race is nothing but a ceaseless change, a continuous development. In the course of its history classes are formed; these classes continually struggle for supremacy and, after prolonged struggle, one class succeeds another in the dominating position. The struggle continues until class divisions themselves are dissolved and a new, class-free society results. But although these struggles and changes are ceaseless, the apparent velocity of these motions greatly varies at different periods. There are times when whole series of important changes take, place so rapidly as to take one’s breath away, to be followed by long periods of apparent stagnation, when social evolution seems not only to be standing still but even to be going backward. Of course, this is only an illusion, for, as a matter of fact, historical forces are continually at work, only their manifestations are of a more spectacular nature at one time than at another.

The necessity of class education is imposed upon the working class by the facts of industry. That striving toward life—the will to live—which is inherent in every living cell of life, makes it necessary to educate the workers in matters that are deleterious to their health, detrimental to their lives and restrictive of their chances of survival. The capitalist system or any system in which one class lives at the expense of and by the deliberate exploitation of another, is opposed to the chances of survival of the workers. Their lives are lived at a hazard by the imposition of adverse working and living conditions. Their meagre share in the social division of the wealth produced by their labour is insufficient to sustain life. To neglect instruction in such vital facts is to mis-educate. And to fail to attribute the facts cited to their cause—a class system in society—is to lie by suppression of the truth. That is why education in class consciousness is necessary. Class systems are not eternal. They are an incident in the history of the human family. Class division is at war with the biological forces that make for humanity’s survival. That is why every class system in society has ultimately been overthrown by revolution. The necessity that gave rise to classes in society has passed. The socio-economic structure capacity to produce wealth has increased to a point where it is more than ample to provide sustenance for all. The final class-free society in which the workers will be the only class, embracing the entire human family, with ownership and control of the means of life in the hands of the collectivity. This is the final solution of social problems—industrial democracy.

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