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.