Sunday, February 16, 2020

What do we want out of life?

The Socialist Party is not satisfied with destroying the poisonous fruit but seeks to kill the deepest roots of capitalism. Its corrupt fruit betrays the foul and unclean nature and condemns it to death. The disease, poverty, insanity, and crime rampant in every land under the sway of capitalism rise up and cry out against it. To reach the workers that are still in the dark about the nature of capitalism and to open their eyes, that is the task of the Socialist Party and to this we must give ourselves. We believe that working people will not be free until we are able to determine our own destiny. If a person does not have knowledge of oneself and one’s position in society and the world, then he or she has little chance to relate to anything else.

Of the millions of people only a very small number can dream of acquiring or retaining fabulous wealth or having magnificent homes with a large retinue of servants, fleets of expensive limousines and a yacht or two. The vast majority of the population is made up of workers (and their families) in the factories and mines, railroads and offices; small farmers, tenant farmers, and farm labourers; professional people such as teachers, doctors, dentists, engineers, musicians. Among us there are many differences in standard of living, in taste, in outlook. But we have many things in common. In one way or another, all of us work for a living, most of us for an employer; and we are very much alike in what we want to get out of life. Except for the tiny minority which has great wealth at its command, the first thing that all the common people want is a decent standard of living. No man wants to live merely in order to work. A person works because he or she wants to live. Before  satisfying any other interest, a person wants decent food to eat, decent clothing to wear, and a decent home. Abundance is possible. This ambition is realisable for, every man, woman and child on the planet. With our tremendous industrial capacity, our modern machinery, our skilled and highly efficient labour force, our more than adequate resources and raw materials this modest dream could be realized for everybody – provided society were organised rationally. But there is no prosperity for the people. What is the reason for the failure the potential of this society, and its stark reality? Why is there such an agonizing gap between what is and what could be? The answer cannot be found in cynical condemnations of “human nature” or apologies about the “its just the way things are.” Instead it is capitalism, the social system under which we live, that is responsible for the contradiction. It is the system of exploitation which strangles our lives. Capitalism thrives on the private control of society’s wealth and production – production involving the interconnected efforts of millions of working people. The super-rich have one basic goal in life: to make more and more profits, and they accomplish this by dominating the economics, politics, and cultural life of the country. The capitalist class will throw workers out into the streets to starve, promote racism, and build a military arsenal that can destroy the world several times over – anything for profits. This is an irrational and unjust system. But life does not have to be this way.

How many of us enjoy a really decent standard of living? Very few. How many of us feel secure in the standard of living we do have? Even fewer. People want security. People want a decent standard of living. People want decent homes for our families, and safe, clean neighbourhood. People want peace throughout the world. People want, most of all, freedom. They want to know that their children too will enjoy a future and the good things of life. We know what we want. What we want is right and natural. What is wrong is that we do not have these things. Why shouldn’t there be the continuous production and the continuously rising prosperity that would completely guarantee economic security for all? We want a comfortable life but instead we are falling into debt at an appalling rate, just to “make ends meet.” Working families have little or no savings for an emergency, much less “luxuries” but just to keep their heads above water, at a time of peak employment, and peak profits for the owners. The first thing to do is to find out what it is that stands in the way of our desires, why it is that we haven’t gotten what we want up to now. Then we will decide what we must do.

We can improve our lives and society, and we can eliminate exploitation and capitalist injustice, by overturning the capitalist system. We can replace capitalism with a rational and humane system – socialism. Socialism is a social system where social wealth is genuinely controlled by society and for the benefit of society; where the common good, not profits, becomes the chief concern; where the everyday working people become the rightful masters of society. Such an economic and political transformation will be radical, but a radical solution is what it will take to bury the miseries of capitalism. The socialist revolution has become a historical necessity and possibility. There is no other choice today but for the working people to organise to struggle and win socialism. Socialism will replace capitalism, just as capitalism replaced feudalism. Socialism, by fundamentally changing the social system will will qualitatively improve the lives of the working and oppressed people.

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