Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Changing ideas to change the world

People cannot obtain security from poverty, misery and war, by trying to reform the capitalist economic system. We have to abolish it. We cannot abolish it except by making a revolution. People may be said to have always fought for the simple things, for the right to exist, for a better life but the time comes when in order to exist, in order to avoid more suffering and complete ruin, people have to carry on their fight against the economic system which served to maintain inequality and to overthrow capitalism. The capitalist system, though the development of productive forces makes plenty possible, cannot function effectively any more. It presses the standard of living of working people ever lower.

The Socialist Party is rich in history, tradition and experience. But a political party for the working class needs more, however. We do have credentials. We are not just a case of another workers party. The Socialist Party does not deal primarily with immediate issues of wages, hours and conditions of work. It deals with the problem of the socio-economic-political system as a whole, why it must be changed and how it can be abolished. Our organisation was founded in order to inspire the working class to the overthrow of capitalism and build a society in which natural resources and the machinery of production will be used for the benefit of the workers and not for the profit of a few. The capitalist system acts, as a brake upon production so that, as the phrase goes, you have want in the midst of plenty.

When we speak of the Socialist Party as “revolutionary” we mean that its aim is revolutionary that we do not believe that the working people can never be delivered from poverty, unemployment, degradation, war, by any reform of the capitalist system under which we live. That system must be abolished, wage slavery must be done away with altogether. The workers must collectively own and control the machinery of production. As for curing the ills of the workers by reforming capitalism, we have just been living through decades of the welfare state and you all know only too well where that has got us. We have been running on the tread-mill going nowhere and the capitalist class have been receiving all the benefits. There is always some politician who promises the to fix things but nothing changes.

Under capitalism the general trend is toward greater misery for the workers. Capitalists make their profits by paying the worker in wages a smaller value than he creates by laboring. The capitalist thus gets what Marx calls surplus value. It is the only way profit can be created. Under modern conditions expensive plants and equipment are increased, but the work is done with fewer workers. Thus they must be exploited ever more fiercely in order that surplus value – profit – may be squeezed out of their labour, the only possible source of profit.

The Socialist Party seeks world where everybody can have a comfortable home, abundant food, a decent, opportunity for travel and amusement. Plenty for all and security for all can be had. It is not Utopia. But first our fellow-workers must be convinced that capitalism cannot be reformed, and that it must be abolished. The Labour Party policy means ruin for the workers and their movement. The idea of running a capitalist and a “socialist, a profit and non-profit, system side by side is crazy. It is like trying to ride on two horses going in opposite directions. The capitalist system remains under all these schemes. The “gradualism” of the Labour Party brought certain results such as the NHS and council housing. Now capitalism maintains itself only by taking away or cutting such benefits. It has meant one retreat after another for the workers. Why? Because capitalism must drive the standard of living lower all the time. We cannot use the government, whose very purpose is to maintain capitalism, in order to overthrow capitalism and the State.

A socialist party cannot be nationalist in character. Nor can it be confined to a single country. It must be part of an worldwide association of socialist parties in which the  the workers throughout the world may be united against capitalism so that we can begin to build a new society on new foundations. All the material conditions for an global economy of abundance is here. Fired up with the vision of what can be done with modern productive forces, working people must march forward now to the class war and battle to make that vision real throughout the world. We strive to make every spark of the class struggle into a general conflagration.

It is true that our  fellow-workers desire unity. They, indeed,  must achieve unity in order to win their freedom. But a socialist party cannot lapse into muddle-headedness merely for the sake of that unity. Rather must we fight with all the resources at our command for our conception of socialism. In the real world we must oppose those who mislead the working class in order to fight capitalism effectively.

Nobody outside an insane asylum believes that Corbyn or Sanders is going to put an end to the capitalist system and usher in the cooperative commonwealth. For sure a little excitement has been stirred up about higher taxes on big incomes, about more government control of business, about a big spending budgets but as the red revolutionaries it simply does not register.

Capitalism is more destructive than all the earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, cloudbursts, tidal waves and volcanic eruptions. Capitalism kills and cripples millions in its wars, in class strife and civil war, in hunger, in industrial accidents and disease, in malnutrition, in poverty and crime. It destroys the wealth of society and wastes the labour potential of millions of idle hands. Capitalism pits worker against worker in bidding for a job. It pits capitalist against capitalist in competition for profits. It pits workers against capitalist in class struggle. It pits nation against nation in  war. It pits producer against consumer, landlord against tenant, farmer against city dweller, white against black.

Capitalism is wrong. Its basic idea is unsound. Its foundation is illogical. It is founded on a CONTRADICTION. This contradiction is the system in which the man who owns the tools of production does not work them; and — The man who works them does not own them. This is, the basic contradiction of capitalism. Only a rich man could set up a factory. Land owners, bankers, merchants had the capital. They became the capitalists. Each machine now turned out as much as several workmen formerly did with hand tools. The owner of the machine could pay the worker to run it and still keep a good margin pf profit. The profit bought more machines. More workers were employed. More profit. More machines. On one hand, a handful of men who owned the tools of production. On the other hand, the mass of workers who could only make a living by working for the capitalists. What happened now? The product no longer belonged to the producer – the worker at the machine. It belonged to the capitalist owner of the machine. He sold it for the best price the market would pay. And he gave the worker the smallest wage he would work for.

The less the wage for the worker, the bigger the profit for the capitalist. The bigger the wage for the worker, the less the profit for the capitalist. The capitalist was interested in longer hours, speed-up, and low wages? The worker was interested in shorter hours, easier work, and high wages. Capitalism created a class of owners pitted against a class of workers – at war with each other – engaged in a CLASS STRUGGLE with each other. The capitalist owner of industry has only one reason to run his factory – profit. Under capitalism, the needs of the people for various goods are not the PRIMARY purpose of production. The capitalist will just as soon make bombs as Bibles. All he asks is: “Which will pay more?”

The fact that the millions of people depend upon industry for food, clothing, housing, furniture, transportation, communications and amusement is of interest to the capitalist only as the “market” in which he can realise a profit. He is the dictator over his plant. He can run it or shut it down to please himself. If there is profit in production he hires men, works overtime, night shifts. If profit falls off, he throws his workers into the street to shift for themselves. He operates without plan, without social purpose. His only god is the Almighty Dollar – his Holy Script is the magic word, “Dividends.” They manipulate the means of production to serve their selfish profit interests. They have converted the means for potential plenty into a monstrous exploitative mechanism creating scarcity, terrible depressions, starvation wages, poverty, wars.

The only ones truly capable of organising and operating industry for full and efficient production and for the needs of the people are the organised workers themselves.

Standing in the way of the needs of the peoples, blocking the road to plenty, are the plutocratic parasites who hypocritically prate, about “more and better things for the people,” but who actually provide less and less for the working people and more and more for the idle rich.

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