Monday, June 10, 2019

We opt for socialism.

What distinguishes the Socialist Party from all other organisations is that it constantly pose the socialist alternative to capitalism. It points out that far more than trade union activity or political reforms are needed to achieve a decent world; one without money or a wages system where the means of production will be owned by society and can therefore be used to satisfy people’s needs instead of being cramped by the dictates of the market. The Socialist Party argues that what is needed is not merely to “Kick out the Tories” but to get rid of capitalism. This will not be achieved by any amount adventurism or ultra-revolutionary leadership. What is needed for such a social revolution is a majority of working men and women understanding what socialism entails and determined to establish such a system. This understanding grows out of the collective experience of workers under capitalism — a process which socialists attempt to encourage by their propaganda activities. So even while socialists are engaged in the struggle over wages and working conditions, they never cease putting forward the case for socialism as an immediate demand. Far from standing aside from the day-to-day struggles of the working class, socialists are involved in these efforts —and complement them with a socialist perspective.

We live in a society in which almost everything we need is owned by someone else. It is their property. We must buy it from them.

From infancy we are taught: theirs; ours; yours; mine. Possession. "Don't touch, it doesn't belong to you." We learn early about ownership, and when we obey its rules we have been "civilised". A peasant who watches her child die of starvation while armed guards protect grain mountains is a very civilised person. A homeless father whose family must live in squalor is civilised when he banishes from his mind the thought of breaking into one of thousands of empty properties. Civilisation is not an historical achievement, but an assault on the dignity of those who do not own.

Vast areas of land in Britain are owned by this Duke or that Lord. You are not even allowed to walk on it. for if you do you are a trespasser and trespassing is as illegal as owning is legal. "Private Property — Keep Out." And how did they get it? Thievery, generally speaking. Expropriation. Plunder. It is a long and violent history, the story of how the capitalists came to own. Suffice to say that they did not get it by the sweat of their labour. The history of property society is the history of robbery of the majority by the minority. That is a generalisation but it will do for now. So, they obtained it by thievery; but how do they keep hold of it? By law. They passed laws saving "This is ours". The law of property.

Racism cannot be separated from all the other delusions and misconceptions which are current; it cannot, in other words, be separated from the capitalist social system and all the strange, pernicious ideas which divide the working class and help to keep the system in existence. The first need, for those who want to fight racism, is to speak out loud and clear among the confusion. Capitalism does little to unite human beings; at most times it works actively to divide them—as it is working now, for example, to divide the people of Russian and China. This often means that capitalism actually fosters nationalism and racism; during the last war British workers were encouraged to believe that the only good German was a dead one and it is only a short step from there to being told, if the interests of a ruling class demand it, that the only good Black is a dead one. At the same time capitalism is working a particularly pernicious trick upon the working class. As a system of privilege, it must promote the idea that acquisitiveness is a high virtue, but at the same time it cannot provide security. Thus there are millions of workers in this country, reading of the glorious exploits of their masters in the press and trying to hold at bay the ravages which industrial capitalism is wreaking on their mortgaged homes, who are desperately dependent on their jobs, their masters. Workers who are struggling to buy a home on a mortgage often resent the existence of council houses near them, and think of council tenants as dirty and unprincipled spongers. This sort of neurotic resentment is all too easily transferred to immigrants, especially when they have a different cultural background and when they are easily distinguished by the colour of their skin.

The Socialist Party strives after the creation of a new kind of society—Socialism—in which such problems as famine, poverty, war, and inequality could not conceivably arise. The Socialist Party seeks the removal of class society where the minority capitalist class exploits the majority working class and which has brought about the conflicts and problems we have listed. The other parties, however, do not seek to remove the cause of these problems, which is capitalism, and therefore cannot succeed in removing them. We want to remove capitalism—the cause of wars, poverty, nationalism, and exploitation, and of the frustrations which provoke much aggressive behaviour. The lie of innate depravity is a weapon in the hands of the capitalist class: it prevents criticism of capitalism, since there is supposed to be no possible alternative. Of course, innate goodness is just as much a myth as innate wickedness. Why must we buy what we need? Why can we not take what we need from the common store, having contributed to wealth production according to our abilities? "If there was free access to everything people would take too much". The greedy people. But would they? In a society where there is no buying, but free access, why should you eat more than enough? We know why millions of workers eat less than enough under the buying and selling system: because they cannot afford to buy food. Would people in a society of free access drive more than one car at a time or wear more than one shirt or cover themselves with so much gold that they would be unable to walk?If there was a society of free access next week, would you take more than you need? If so, why? Because taking freely would be a novelty — but not for long, and then you could get down to just taking enough. Are you really naturally greedy? Or is it not the case that you are intelligent and self-confident enough to know that in a society based on satisfying people's needs there would be no reason to behave like a kid in a sweet shop when the governor's out the back? You are capable of acting as a co-operative human being. And if you are, others are. And if others are, then we could live without buying and selling.

Socialists are workers who want the world back. We want common ownership and democratic control of the world by all of its people. We want to let the minority know that they have had possession of property for too long. It is time for common property. Or. as a logical consequence, no property. A propertyless society: common ownership — no ownership.

And where there is no ownership, no property, there will be no exchange or money. There will be free access for all people to all goods and services. That is socialism.

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