Skip to main content

FORWARD TO SOCIALISM!


Today, another Friday Strike for Climate takes place as the younger generation try to focus political attention upon the looming environmentalist crises. Many in the environmentalist and social justice movements hold anti-system politics, but do not consciously seek to overthrow capitalism itself. They fail to understand the nature of the system they oppose nor comprehend the political strategies necessary to end it. There even appears a reluctance about using the term capitalism and seeks to see the problem not as the system that runs our lives, but merely the policies pursued by those in government. These movements can be better understood not as being anti-capitalism but anti-corporations in outlook. As long as profit for the few is the basis of the economic system, capitalism will continue to flounder from one crisis to another, piling on more misery for the people. The Socialist Party declares that socialism is the only alternative to capitalism, they mean, firstly, that socialism is the next higher stage in society’s evolution; and, secondly, that it provides the only progressive solution of capitalism’s contradictions. Capitalism is not an eternal system which has existed from the beginning and will prevail to the end. On the contrary, it is only one system in an historical series (primitive communism – slave owning society – feudalism – capitalism), each of which evolved out of its predecessor, and each of which constituted a higher social stage than its predecessor inasmuch as each carried the development of society’s productive forces, and therewith also production which is the material basis of life and civilisation, forward to a higher level. In this series, capitalism was the last and highest: in a comparatively brief historical period it developed society’s productive forces and production itself to a pitch unprecedented in human history. Like all preceding social systems, however, capitalism too must die.

The very production relations which enabled capitalism to develop the productive forces of society to the highest level in human history are today strangling those productive forces, and therewith society itself. Production relations, i.e. the relations of men to each other in the productive process, find their social expression in property relations, e. the relation of men to things, and the characteristic feature of capitalist property relations is private ownership of the means of production. This relation of men to things reflects itself socially in the emergence, or rather existence, of two opposed classes at the two poles of capitalist society: the capitalist owners of property, i.e. the capitalist class on the one hand, and the propertyless owners of labour power, i.e. the working class on the other. The capitalist property relation described above has this important consequence, viz, that the actual producer, i.e. the worker, cannot have access to the means of production, i.e. cannot produce, except through the capitalist. That is to say, the worker has to hire himself out, i.e. sell his labour power, to the capitalist. And the capitalist buys this labour power of the worker only if he (the capitalist) can make a profit out of the transaction. No profits; no employment.

How can this profit be made by the capitalist? Only in one way. Only by compelling the worker to produce, in the course of the production process, more values than those he receives in the form of wages. The worker is compelled to produce surplus value for the capitalist; which is only another way of saying that he is compelled to do a certain proportion of unpaid labour for the capitalist. The capitalist relation is thus an exploitative relation. Which is why the Socialist Party repeatedly points out that if you preserve private profits, you are bound to preserve exploitation. What enables the capitalist to exploit the worker is precisely private ownership of the means of production. Which, is why we point out that the only way to abolish capitalist exploitation is to abolish private property which is but the capitalist means to private profit. No profits; no production: that is the capitalist law. For, the whole purpose of the capitalist production process is – private profit, which is but another name for the self-expansion of capital. The capitalist throws into the productive process a certain quantity of capital as a means to expanding it. That is the whole point in the process – for the capitalist. If at the end of the process the capital thus thrown in has not expanded, i.e. increased in quantity, the whole process is, from his point of view, useless. Which is why we say that capitalist production is but a means to capitalist profit. Production, which is essential to society, is only incidental to the process; profit is its motive, and profit its purpose.

The basic contradiction of the capitalist system is that between the associated labour process and the individual appropriation of the product. The socialisation of the means of production, a progressive solution inasmuch as it would preserve the associated labour process while freeing the productive forces from the fetter of private profit. Marxists say socialism is the only progressive alternative to capitalism, the only solution of the contradictions of capitalism which can carry mankind to a higher stage of social organisation. For, this solution alone preserves the technical gains of capitalism and enables them to be used as a basis for further development of the productive forces in the service of mankind. Socialism is thus the road forward from capitalism, the next higher stage of progressive social evolution. The economic basis for socialism has been created under capitalism. The world has been ripening under capitalism itself for socialism.

The final agent of social change is mankind. For, on the manner in which humanity acts on social forces depends the pace and outcome of their development. When Marx spoke of the “inevitability” of socialism, he meant, on the one hand, that, given correct human action it could come into being, and, on the other, that he anticipated that this human action would be taken. He did not mean that socialism was bound to come, mechanically of itself, independent of human action. On the contrary, he expressly stated that the destruction of capitalism could lead to socialism – or barbarism. That the latter could come out the world has proof of already of capitalism’s probable disintegration if the climate emergency is not mended. Should the socialist solution fail to be applied, capitalism is doomed to accelerated disintegration. One thing is impossible – the stabilisation of global warming through capitalism.

Marx did not say or imply that if you somehow destroy capitalism socialism must dawn. That is a fatalist and mechanistic conception with which Marxism has nothing in common. What Marx did teach and demonstrate was that if you destroy capitalism in a certain way, that is, by a certain form of social action, the road to socialism would be opened. If socialism is to be the outcome of capitalism’s downfall, it is necessary that mankind take conscious action in that direction. The basic classes of capitalist society are the capitalist class and the working class. Between them there is already a struggle going on; the struggle by the capitalist class to maintain its system of exploitation, and the struggle by the working class to overthrow it. Marx taught and demonstrated that the road to socialism lay through the carrying forward to its logical conclusion of this struggle by the working class against the capitalist class. Why did he teach this? Not out of “selfishness” or “hate” but by reason of necessity. Marx showed that the successful carrying forward of the struggle of the working class to free itself from capitalist exploitation would open the road to socialism by demonstrating that the working class could not emancipate itself without also emancipating all society. In order to emancipate itself, the working class would have to expropriate the capitalists and socialise their property. But the process of socialising the means of production and distribution is also the process of bringing in the worldwide, class-free democratic society. The process of the working class emancipating itself from capitalism is therefore also the process of emancipating all mankind from exploitation. The carrying forward of the class struggle to success means the overthrow of the capitalist state power and the expropriation of the capitalist class. You cannot keep the capitalist state power and expropriate the capitalist class. You cannot, because the capitalist state power is precisely the instrument for the defence of capitalist property. Marx saw and demonstrated that socialism is the only progressive alternative to capitalism and that the bringing of the socialist society into being demands the carrying forward of the revolutionary class struggle to its logical conclusion, i.e. the overthrow of the capitalist class and its state. Abandon the end, and you abandon the means. Abandon socialism and you abandon all hope for civilisation's survival.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What do we mean by no leaders

"Where are the leaders and what are their demands?" will be the question puzzled professional politicians and media pundits will be asking when the Revolution comes. They will find it inconceivable that a socialist movement could survive without an elite at the top. This view will be shared by some at the bottom. Lenin and his Bolshevik cohorts argued that we couldn't expect the masses to become effective revolutionaries spontaneously, all on their own. To achieve liberation they needed the guidance of a "vanguard party" comprised of an expert political leadership with a clear programme. The Trotskyist/Leninist Left may remix the song over and over again all they want but the tune remains the same: leaders and the cadres of the vanguard can find the answer; the mass movements of the people cannot liberate themselves. The case for leadership is simple. Most working-class people are too busy to have opinions or engage in political action. There’s a need for some…

Lenin and the Myth of 1917

A myth pervades that 1917 was a 'socialist' revolution rather it was the continuation of the capitalist one. What justification is there, then, for terming the upheaval in Russia a Socialist Revolution? None whatever beyond the fact that the leaders in the November movement claim to be Marxian Socialists. M. Litvinoff practically admits this when he says:In seizing the reigns of power the Bolsheviks were obviously playing a game with high stake. Petrograd had shown itself entirely on their side. To what extent would the masses of the proletariat and the peasant army in the rest of the country support them?”This is a clear confession that the Bolsheviks themselves did not know the views of the mass when they took control. At a subsequent congress of the soviets the Bolsheviks had 390 out of a total of 676. It is worthy of note that none of the capitalist papers gave any description of the method of electing either the Soviets or the delegates to the Congress. And still more cu…

She-Town

In 1900 Dundee was associated with one product: jute. Jute was the cheapest of fibres, but it was tough. As such it was the ideal packing material. Jute bagging and jute sacks were used to carry cotton from the American South, grain from the Great Plains and Argentina, coffee from the East Indies and Brazil, wool from Australia, sugar from the Caribbean and nitrates from Chile. Dundee was ‘Juteopolis’ – synonymous with its main industry. This association of place and product was not unusual. We still link Clydebank with ships, Sheffield with steel, Stoke-on-Trent with pottery. Throughout the late nineteenth century, over half of Dundee's workforce worked in the textile sector, which, from the 1860s on, was dominated by jute. Migrant workers arrived in Dundee in thousands. By the end of the 19th century, the city had quadrupled in size. Many of the immigrants were from Ireland, poor and Catholic. Many Catholic Irish immigrants faced discrimination and bigotry in Presbyterian Scot…