Friday, August 30, 2019

The real future of the Earth

Socialism is a call for sharing and caring, and is a product of love for people and desire for beauty. Socialism does not seek to rape the planet and does not worship profits at the expense of people and nature. It has its basis in social democracy and the nature-based, materialist outlook which grew out of a deep reverence for and understanding of the real, natural, ever-changing, material world.

Socialist philosophy places mind-feelings-ideas in their physical and historical context as effects, not as basic causes. Yes, ideas and feelings can change the world, but people must still have bodies before their minds and emotions can function. Matter itself can neither be created nor destroyed, but all matter–in nature, society and the human mind–changes constantly through tension and contradiction. All things are interdependent and in a continual process of coming into being, changing and passing away. The capitalist system itself was born, matured and will die, because of its inherently contradictory nature–social production (by large groups of workers assembled in one plant)on the one hand, and private, capitalist ownership and appropriation of profit on the other. The application of the materialist dialectic to history is called historical materialism–a revolutionary science of society. It is the sociology of institutional changes caused by the interplay and conflict between the developing productive forces and the kind of world created by this technology.

Historical materialism teaches that all social life is evolutionary and revolutionary, and that human beings can learn to understand nature, production and social relations, and change them in a rational manner. The kind of economy we live in determines the nature and level of our laws, government, culture, ideas, feelings and ethics. The competitive, class warfare system of capitalist production produces a destructive, anti-human science and culture. Socialism is infused with equality, fraternity and liberty.

Historical materialism promotes the synthesis of ecological balance, social harmony, personal freedom and material comfort that is mankind's birthright. A loaf of bread, the work of the farmer, the activity of a baker or the equipment for baking are not just material objects or processes. They are nodes in the network of social connections: the customer’s relationship with the baker, the farmer who produced the wheat, the engineering worker who made the machinery, and so on. All these lives are bound together. To be human is to be both social and at the same time a particular individual, a person. You have a unique place in the world: you speak a particular language in your own inimitable manner, you like food or music of a particular sort, and so on. None of the things which make you exactly who you are exists except through the entire history of humankind. We can be conscious of our own humanity only because, and to the extent that, we act humanly, and that means creating ourselves. We are not some kind of machine, nor are we passive victims of evolutionary history, governed by ‘instincts’ which can never be understood or controlled. What distinguishes humanity from the rest of nature is the conscious, active relationship we have with everything else, with each other and with ourselves. No human individual is an isolated entity. Each human is – potentially – a ‘social individual’, and a ‘universal individual’. The human individual is free, self-created, but only in his or her true, social being. 

Capitalism has produced many things, good and bad, in the course of its evolution. But the most vital and valuable of all the social forces it has created is the working class. The capitalist class brought into existence a vast army of wage workers and set it into motion for its own purposes, to make and operate the machinery, factories, and all the other production and transportation facilities from which employers profits emanate. The exploitation and abuses, inherent and inescapable in the capitalist organisation of economic life, provoke the workers time and time again to organise themselves and undertake militant action to defend their elementary interests. The struggle between these conflicting social classes is today the dominant and driving force of world and history. The class conflict is the motivating force of history. It is the working-class that, if mobilised, can change the direction of political activism.

Socialism is the anathema of the ruling class. It has become the powerful tool of the exploited and oppressed in the struggle to overthrow capitalism. The real battle line lies between capitalists (of all colours) and the workers (of all colours). The only alternative to socialist revolution is a bleak defeatism, to passively accept the inevitability of eco-catastrophe is not revolution. And nothing can be more impossible than the goal of nationalist self-survival on a ruined planet. This is the politics of despair, pie-in-the-sky. But scarcity and privation need not be the future. There is a better way for suffering humanity – to go forward together to establish the democratic common ownership of the means of producing life’s necessities. Many environmentalists are not yet ready for this and blame the conventional scapegoats of overpopulation for problems, blinded by all-too-commonplace prejudices and mistaken analysis. The Socialist Party does not retreat into a bunker mentality of isolationism but will strive to flourish along with a liberated humanity as a whole.

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