Chattel slavery was abolished because wage slavery was more suitable for the growing capitalist economy. The subjugation of men and women has always been inseparably connected to class society, is maintained by class society, and cannot be resolved until classes are abolished. All national strife will be abolished only when inequality and capitalism are abolished.
The reformers are having a hey-day devising the means by which the world can be saved and the security working people is assured. The air is so full of schemes to give the workers a few more crumbs. The social consciousness of many people is being stirred. Men and women are asking themselves some questions like: What am I going to get out of all this misery? Do we have to have one war after the other? Isn’t there some way we can end all this inequality? Such questions are very dangerous for the capitalist system. Capitalism, with its system of production for profit and system of international rivalry for domination of foreign territories and trade, which produces one war after another keeps millions subjugated and exploited, by its wage system. Capitalism does not know how to abolish its many social problems BUT WE SOCIALISTS DO. If this system cannot give peace and plenty to its people, SOCIALISM CAN. A liberal reformer is someone who doesn’t like what capitalism does, but likes capitalism. They try to solve the problems created by the system by supporting the system.
Abolish the private ownership of the land and factories which will transfer the means of production from private ownership to common ownership. Socialism by makes all of – society the joint heirs and owners of the tools of production, will restore to the workers that private property of which capitalism deprives them. The aim of your striving must be the triumph of socialism. Socialism means production for use and not for profit. Socialism means internationalism. It means that one working class is not pitted against the others in wars, It means that one working man is not pitted against the other in the fight for a job. It means that one working class is not cutting the throat of the other by producing at lower wages than the other. The criteria for production under socialism would be – how much is needed? Some people will argue that it can’t work, it’s a utopia. We can only answer that capitalism has demonstrated that IT can’t work. A society organised on the basis of production for use would have more of a chance of working than our present economic system. none of the politicians and economists have been able to devise any kind of plan to solve the basic ills of capitalism. They all seek to do the impossible: make capitalism work. Untold misery, poverty and unemployment are the living facts that prove that capitalism doesn’t work – not for the working class, anyway. Socialism has not “broken down wherever it has been tried,” because it has never been tried.
Everything you use, everything you eat or wear, your car, your house — you didn’t make any of these things. We don’t produce these things as individuals. We produce socially. We have a division of work in the world. People in one part of the world make things which people in another part of the world use. But, even though we produce socially, through co-operation, we don’t own the means of production socially. And this affects all the basic decisions made in this society about what we produce. These decisions are not made on the basis of what people need, but on the basis of what makes a profit.
There are people going hungry all over the world. And yet, because of the profit system, governments pay some farmers not to farm. Farmers don’t make their decisions by saying: “We need a lot of corn so I’m going to plant a lot of corn.” They never say that. They say: “How much money am I going to make if I plant corn?” Did you know that if decisions were not made on this basis we would have the potential to feed the whole world many times over? The economic potential is there.
Take the question of housing. If you took just the money that’s spent on wars and armaments we could build beautiful free homes for every family. We could wipe out every slum. The potential exists, not only in the factories and materials for building, but in the potential to build new machines and factories. Yet, they are not going to solve the housing question because it’s not as profitable to build houses as it is war-planes.
Did you know that because of the way the system is structured a large percentage of the people do not do any productive work at all? You have the unemployed who are not hired because it’s not profitable to hire them. Then you have the people in the army, not to mention the police and private security, and others who consume a great deal but don’t produce anything. Then you have things like the cashiers on the check-out. They don’t do anything really useful or necessary. In addition, you have a mammoth, organised effort to create waste. For instance, if you designed a car that would last 50 years, they wouldn’t manufacture it. Because that would destroy the purpose of making cars, which is to produce profits.
Say you are a capitalist, and you’re about to build a factory. Do you say: “I’ll build it where it’s nice, where there are trees and fresh air, and where the workers will have nice homes and will be able to go mountain climbing or hunting or swimming?” No, that’s not the way you think. You say: “Well, where’s my market, where are my raw materials coming in, how can I make the most profit?” And this means you might build the factory where you will pump even more pollution into the air, another example of a problem which stems directly from this system.
All the institutions under capitalism are ideological institutions in the sense that all of them maintain and demand support for the system. So it should be no surprise to you that the higher you go in a corporate career, the higher you go in the university structure, the higher in rank you get in the army, the people get more and more conservative. They get more and more consciously pro-capitalist system; they are more and more for whatever crimes the system has to commit. They simply wouldn’t be there if they weren’t.
Socialists have been accused for many years of wanting to overthrow the capitalist class by force and violence. When they accuse us of this, what they are really trying to do is to imply that we want to abolish capitalism with a minority, that we want to force the will of the minority on the majority. The opposite is the truth. We believe we can win a majority of the people to support a change in the system. Many people have a stereotyped picture of what a revolution is like. What they do is they confuse revolution with insurrection. We have a working-class army, for example, that has a great deal of actual and potential power. Because workers run everything ask yourself, why is this power never realised politically? The reason is simple. The majority of people are under illusions and the capitalists can rule only through maintaining illusions. Many believe that the ruling class has unlimited power. If the ruling class announced that they were cancelling all elections, cancelling freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and so on and if there is any resistance they’ll throw us all into detention camps, how long do you think they would stay in power? They couldn’t do it. Their power is already limited by a certain consciousness that exists in the minds of the people. Their power is limited by the fact that people believe in free speech, in free assembly and in democracy. For sure, they will suppress opposition to them insofar as they can get away with it. And they will use brutal means if it suits their needs. But they will try to keep the repression in the bounds without arousing the resistance of the people, without destroying the illusions. Because, if the people begins to wake up, that’s a greater danger. The hope the ruling class has is if it can isolate the socialists completely from the rest of the people. That is why the number-one task of all socialists who really want to change the system is to reach out to the people. Capitalism does it for us. The system creates the situation in which people awaken. People grow dissatisfied, to the point of rebellion. They want to be free. And they realise this is possible. All of a sudden, you have an increase in consciousness, an awareness about the problems of society, created by the capitalists. And this awareness can become much more intensified. Now you can have radical uprisings of all sorts, but that will never result in a change of the system, unless it’s organised, because, people when they first become radicalised, don’t fully understand the general problems. They don’t understand how to change society. Very few individuals come to this consciousness completely on their own. What you have is an overwhelming mass of people who have objectively no interest in this system. They have to be won over, and our whole strategy, everything we do, has got to be directed at winning them. A socialist party, the collective expression of a whole class is required. That’s what Marxism is all about. That’s what revolutionary politics is all about.
Women and men of the whole world let us clasp hands across the frontiers to bar the road to war, oppression and poverty. Let us end the wars now being waged.