Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Socialism - A Bold Idea

The anxiety is genuine and the insecurity is growing, but we in the Socialist Party wholeheartedly reject attempts by those in power to blame immigrants. In situations of growing desperation, many want an outlet for their anger and blame someone or some group of people. Politicians stoke this racism and fear to keep the poor at each other’s throats. Politicians are constantly presenting us with an enemy to focus on, offering messages inciting us to blame immigrants for all our troubles, whether it’s lack of jobs or the problems with health care or education or housing. It’s all rubbish. It is our system of capitalism to blame. It’s very clear that apologists for capitalism have one plan for dealing with the problems it creates: scaring the hell out of people.

The mantra of “immigrants are taking our jobs” comes from people with little knowledge of the job market. The jobs held by immigrants are often either the low-skilled jobs that locals refuse take, or they are professional high- jobs in our science labs, hospitals, and engineering firms that similarly benefit us all. As always, the ruling class will foster divide-and-conquer by racism and national chauvinism. Capitalist society is based on exploitation in which one class, through its ownership of the means of production, is able to live as a parasite class, not producing, but living off the labour of—that is, exploiting—the other class. In capitalist society, too, the fact of exploitation is clearly understood, at least by every worker. We knows that while we and our fellow-workers do all the work, it is the small class of capitalists who enjoy the lion’s share of all that we produces. The nature of the exploitation, that is to say how we are exploited, is not however so obvious, because, unlike the slave or the serf, the wage worker is not legally forced to work for our masters. Yet in fact, like the serf, we work part of the time for ourselves and part for our employer. Like the slave, what we produce is not ours but the employer’s, who owns the means of production.

The trade unions sprang up during the early stage of capitalism as an organisation aimed at improving the economic conditions of the workers within the framework of the existing capitalist system. At first, they considered it as their task to fight only the individual capitalists in defence of the immediate professional workers' interests, without affecting the foundations of capitalist exploitation and without going beyond the pale of the capitalist industrial social organisation. The abolition of competition among workers of a given trade, the restricted access of new workers to it and the resorting in extreme cases to strikes - those were the usual methods used by the old trade unions in order to obtain higher wages, shorter working hours and better working conditions. Despite the fairly innocuous character of the first trade unions the employers and their state opposed them vehemently and tried by violence, repression and legalised bans to destroy them, sensing instinctively that they might develop into dangerous class organisations for the abolition of the capitalist system. The violence, repressions and bans against the trade unions, however, far from failed to produce the result expected. It compelled the ruling class to get reconcile themselves to the existence of trade unions, while attempting to tame them and to turn them into compliant organisations which would regulate relations between workers and capitalists. Adopting this industrial policy towards the workers, the capitalists strove to make them believe that an improvement of their condition could be achieved not through strikes, not through a struggle against capitalist exploitation, but solely through an increase of capital, through an expansion of production, through constantly growing capitalist profits. The capitalists have at their disposal various means of counteracting the efforts of the trade unions, aimed at improving labour conditions, as well as at divesting them of the fruits of their struggle. The trade face limits and chances of success where its results remain insufficient and precarious. They do not create for the working class in capitalist society the possibility of living well, nor do they even substantially decrease the material and social misery in which it lives. The trade unions, however, are not in a position to impose sufficient and lasting improvement. Within the framework of the capitalist system this is excluded. For its attainment, the first condition to break and go beyond this framework.

Despite the billionaire bombast, socialism remains a viable force for change in the world. At present, only small numbers of workers see through the lies presented by the political parties and understand the need for a revolutionary solution. Our goal in the Socialist Party is the creation of a world party of socialist revolution. We oppose any kind of support to capitalist parties no matter how “progressive” they like to style themselves. Elections focus attention on political questions, and we in the Socialist Party seek to participate ourselves. A revolutionary campaign would not promote illusions in reforming the system but would instead expose pro-capitalist policies. We urge working-class people to learn more, to discuss with us the case for socialism, and to join the fight to end capitalism and exploitation through social revolution.

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