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The Capitalist Contradiction

The victory of socialism means the political supremacy of the working class and the abolition of every form of exploitation. To fight for socialism is consciously to struggle for the overthrow of capitalism and the institutions of the State designed and created to maintain the economic and political dominance of the few who own capital over the many who have only their own labour power. From where we are, the capitalist system seem stable and solid; but with a bird’s-eye view, we can see the widening cracks within its structure. Change, change and change – that is the main lesson of Marxism. This world is not fixed and stable; boundaries, laws, lifetime habits, opinions, rights, governments, methods – everything tends to approach a fluid state. The capitalists like to pretend that capitalism is eternal. The fact is, however, that for the greater part of human history mankind lived in tribal society under a system of primitive communism, a system without classes, in which acceptance of the authority of the elders did not require a special coercive force but was freely given, and questions of paramount importance were decided by the tribal assembly. In those times there was no state. With the appearance of classes comes the division of society into rulers and ruled. Because of antagonistic class interests a special apparatus of coercion grows up, apparently standing outside of and above society, but utilised by the ruling class to maintain its privileges, economic and political. This apparatus, the state, consists of special bodies of armed men, prisons, courts, etc. It is used by the ruling class against other classes that might endanger its position. Thus the essence of the state consists precisely in this, that it is an instrument for the oppression of one class by another.

When men and women sought employment and were willing to work, capitalism declared that it could not open the factories and start the wheels of industry moving. There was use for goods, but capitalism is not production for use. All the scientists, all the statesmen, all the industrialists, the bankers, all the politicians and economists of capitalism, were unable to make capitalism operate to serve the needs of the people. There were consumers at hand, but not profits. Therefore there were millions of unemployed, but no production for them.

Yet for war, capitalism functions splendidly. Every factory works, some of them around the clock. New factories are set up. Money flows like water. There are consumers aplenty and undreamed-of profits. Capitalism found an almost inexhaustible market for its wares. It now works like a clock, ticking of blood and ruin with every second. We have a social system that stands self-condemned. Its usefulness of the past is now long outlived. If it is allowed to continue, the world will only plunge deeper into slavery, suffering, degradation, exhaustion and death. Capitalism is a cold ruthless devourer of human life. Always and everywhere, the inexorable drive for profit and accumulation, expansion and profit, occurs at the expense of the worker.

The tempo of thought and action becomes immeasurably accelerated in mental attitudes and psychologies – that is, a profound shake-up of human nature. One of the lessons of history is that it is so hard for us, even for socialists, to realise the tremendous impact of each of these forces, and the terrific potential which is being built up in the world working people. The struggle for socialism is the struggle for socialist consciousness.

This system of capitalism is driving humanity into the ground. If you like that idea and vision of a new economy, democratically structured to answer to people’s needs instead of the profit imperative welcome to the movement for socialism.


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