Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Road Map to Socialism

The aim of the Socialist Party is to establish socialism and abolish the right of one person to rob another of the fruits of his or her labour. This is what makes the Socialist Party different from all others. Nowhere in the world has socialism been established. Socialism. in the old days was often called the society of the free and equal where democracy was defined as the rule of the people. In the old days, the socialist activists and the IWW used to give a shorthand definition of socialism as "industrial democracy," the extension of democracy to industry, the democratic control of industry by the workers them. selves, with private ownership eliminated. That socialist demand for real democracy was taken for granted in the time of Debs. These simple definitions still ring true. You never hear things like that said today.

When some people say it would be a fine idea for all of us to get together in the struggle for socialism and democracy, it is appropriate to ask: "Just what do you mean by socialism, and what do you mean by democracy? Do you mean what Marx and Engels said? Or do you mean what Lenin and Stalin did?" They are not the same thing as can be easily proved and it is necessary to choose between one set of definitions and the other. Our task, as socialists living and fighting in this day and hour, is simply to restate what socialism meant to the founders of our movement, and to bring their formulations up to date and apply them to present conditions. This restatement of basic aims and principles cannot wait; it is, in fact, the burning necessity of the hour. There is no room for misunderstanding among us as to what such a restatement of our position means and requires. It requires correcting all the perversions and distortions of the real meaning of socialism and a return to the original formulations and definitions. Nothing short of this will do and no formulation can improve on the classic statement of the Communist Manifesto, which said: "All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority”, later reiterated that "the emancipation of the working class is the task of the workers themselves," a way of saying that the socialist reorganization of society requires a workers revolution and that such a revolution is unthinkable without the active participation of the majority of the working class, who are the majority of the population. Nothing could be more democratic than that. No party has a right to call itself socialist, unless it stands four-square for the workers.

Marx and Engels never taught that the nationalisation of the forces of production signified the establishment of socialism. That's not stated by Marx and Engels anywhere. All Marxists define socialism as a class-free society - with abundance, freedom and equality for all; a society in which there would be no state, not even a democratic workers' state. Capitalism under any kind of government, whether bourgeois democracy, or fascism or a police-state - under any kind of government, capitalism remains a system of minority rule, where the principal beneficiaries are the small minority of exploiting capitalists. The formal right of free speech and free press is outweighed rather heavily by the inconvenient circumstance that the small capitalist minority happens to enjoy a complete ownership and control of all the main media.

Socialism cannot be anything but global. All attempts to make Socialism national have failed, because the economy is global and there cannot be a socio-economic solution of the problems within the narrow borders of a country. For most members of the Left socialism has been a chimera and reforming existing society by spreading its benefits around was their solution, no matter how militant the rhetoric or the means used to achieve the end. The Socialist Party has always attempted to project a more radical ambitious political and economic platform on these movements but it has never stuck because it was alien to them. They were solely concerned with eliminating the “glass ceiling” that deprives their constituency of the rewards due them under the rules that apply to others in this society. Socialists cannot expect a movement with such concerns to worry much about what a socialist society would look like, nor expect people who are trying to remove the glass ceiling to help you demolish the building. Their demands tend to split movements along lines of gender or race identity. They do not automatically lead to a progressive, class-based, inclusive movement but lead to the further fragmentation.
Socialism is not made, but it is grows out of the needs and struggles of organised labour. We can’t force consciousness upon our fellow-workers, we allow it to develop and to ripen. Let's start with understanding what it means to be truly Marxist. We cannot make a cult, as it has been done for Mao or Stalin. Being a Marxist today does not mean agreeing with everything that Marx wrote or said, but to know how to critique or exceed him.

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