Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Capitalism is capitalism is capitalism

Capitalism is capitalism all the world over, with its gulf between the exploiter and the exploited. Riches at one end of the scale presupposes poverty at the other no matter whether in China or the West. When the worker is fooled as to where his or her real interests are, and, as a consequence is induced to work like a maniac, it is the capitalist who, growing wealthier, congratulates the worker. This task of misleading the worker is made easier when the workers can be induced to believe that they are a partner in the enterprise and that their interests are no longer opposed to those of the exploiter. When productivity increases, the workers may themselves gain a greater amount of goods without any radical change in their state relative to that of the master class. 

It is time working people took their fate into their own hands. They will find that they can do so much better than those whom they call leaders, but who, in reality, are lackeys of the capitalist class.

Nowadays every government, every political organisation proclaims itself for peace, against war, We are told that our rulers strive ceaselessly for peace, but the aggressive rulers of some other country threaten us. In certain circumstances war is a necessary evil—we are struggling for freedom, human dignity—in fact, we make war for peace. The ruling classes of every country and their governments are themselves the people who make peace, human dignity, real democracy and so on, possible. 

Maybe governments misunderstand each other’s desires? But they possess information services, often secret, much more reliable and detailed than those at the disposal of the general public. Often it is convenient for them to pretend ignorance or lack of understanding.

The aim of war is the protection and advancement of the economic interests of the capitalist classes of every country, each in competition against the others—for example, to protect or gain markets, sources of raw materials, trade routes. Those who control these powers must aim to protect and extend their own spheres of influence. Each power either is or would like to be an imperialist power, but the ambitions and interests of one state often must conflict with those of another. Political discord occurs, and when one government judges that “national interests,” that is, capitalist interests, are intolerably threatened, war explodes. We are against every war, against both sides of every war. Wars are struggles between capitalist interests; no army fights for the interests of any working class. Only in a truly socialist world-wide society will war disappear, because while the capitalist world social order lasts, the roots of war remain. So the only way to lasting peace is through a new world system—without classes, nations.

National struggles, especially when they are waged by the very weak against the very strong, are always seen in a romantic light. They are the material for songs and romantic novels and the new masters that emerge from such struggles are not adverse to the fictions and heroics which later purport to be history—"history” which becomes an important ingredient in the fog of ignorance essential in the exploitation of the “nation’s” working class.

Our purpose here is not to deny the bravery and self-sacrificing of those who contributed these qualities in the so-called fight for freedom. Such qualities were not the preserve of one side in the struggle—they are to be found in the unfortunate combatants of any war; often, sadly, they are to be found in inverse ratio to the amount of reasoned political thought on the part of their contributors. Our object is to show that whatever the ideas, or lack of ideas was the maintenance of the same old failed system of capitalism out of which all working class problems arise.

One of the reasons some workers support nationalisation is that they falsely identify the capitalist state with the interests of the community as a whole. Their nationalisation is still stronger than class consciousness. The break-up of existing nationalised industries, would not be an advance, and might cause some dislocation and redundancy which justify the workers involved opposing such measures without their deceiving themselves as to the real nature of the organisation and ownership of the nationalised industries.

Failure of nationalisation (whether partial as in this country, or almost total as in Russia) to prevent competition, insecurity, destitution and other ills affecting workers has made some of its one-time advocates disillusioned and apathetic whilst others have searched for explanations and new formulas to apply. Emerging from this has been a renewed and extended interest in ‘Workers’ Control' and ‘Workers’ Self-Management'. This is against the grain of both national Bolshevik and Social-Democrat organisation and politics but it is still not a solution, it too will fail to deliver the expected results.

It is essential for socialists to show how these developments point to the practicability and need for Socialism. It would be irresponsible, however, to advocate either nationalisation or workers’ control in the name of “developing consciousness through struggle” as so many self-proclaimed revolutionaries do. To associate with the particular reforms demanded is to be associated with their failure. Since measures such as ‘nationalisation’ and ‘workers’ control,” although originally in the working class, are generally only enacted to the extent and in such a way that they benefit the capitalists, by supporting these measures socialists would be helping to delude our fellow workers into thinking that real gains had been made. When the coal mines were nationalised, the miners believed that a great victory had been won, the capitalist politicians thought otherwise. It took a lot of redundancies, wage reductions and strikes to convince the miners of the true position.

Democratic control over industry and society as a whole can only be achieved by the abolition of the capital-wage-labour relationship, by making all the world’s resources the common property of mankind. Anything short of this is at best a palliative, at worst a total failure even proving detrimental to workers’ interests. 

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