Thursday, April 23, 2020

Overthrow capitalism and replace it with something nicer

There are essentially only ways for organising social production in the modern world. One of these is, capitalist. The champions of capitalist economy have the present on their side. The other, socialist, is still only a potential.

Planning is not equivalent to ‘perfect’ allocation of resources, nor ‘scientific’ allocation, nor even ‘more humane’ allocation. The premise and the promise of abundance is what the idea of socialism is founded upon. This concept plays a crucial role in the Socialist Party’s vision of socialism

Abundance removes conflict over resource allocation, since, by definition, there is enough for everyone, and so there are no mutually exclusive choices. There is then no reason for various individuals and groups to compete, to take possession for their own use of what is freely available to all. It is not necessary to regulate use through rationing by price. All private enterprise is out to produce as much as it can, to grab as much of the market as it can, for it is in sales that it realises its profits. So long as society is bound to commodity production, it is only through the market that its needs can be satisfied. Capitalist society necessarily presupposes exchange. Present-day society does not even concern itself with the needs of society. Profit is the motive of capitalist production. What passes for a planned capitalist economy is in reality only the economic dictatorship of the stronger against the weaker, where the poor become poorer and the rich richer. Capitalism has no socially beneficial way of resolving its basic contradictions because it may not overstep the profit interests of the capitalists.

Workers are able to manage production. Social control of industry is essential. Once common ownership and democratic control of industry are established it will be possible to proceed to the introduction of a planned economy. The transformation of work is the task of the socialist revolution by ending the exploitation and the pursuit of profits that make work the way it is at present. Under capitalism advances in technology are used to displace workers. We see the combination of millions of workers on overtime and millions on the dole. With socialist planning, the total work required will be shared equally and every technological advance will reduce the working hours that are needed. It will free working people to take an active part in the running and administration of society. Automation will be used to eliminate the most unpleasant and menial jobs.

Socialism stands for all that is best in life, for replacing fear by hope, narrowness and meanness by generosity and compassion, poverty by plenty, exploitation by co-operation and jingoism by comradeship. Socialism will be absolutely nothing like the former Soviet Union, or present day China and Cuba. Our alternative is not a police state. But nor would it be like the welfare states of Scandinavia. The central thing we want is freedom from fear. Losing your job may happen to you only a few times in your life, but the fear of it is with you every day. In another world we would make sure that those fears were gone, that everyone lives in security. It wouldn’t be a perfect world. There would still be some problems. Men and women would still have broken hearts. But it would be a far, far better world. No one can say that it is certain to come about. But we will win victories we cannot yet imagine. Socialism is rule by the working people. They will decide how socialism is to work. Because the working  people will control the great wealth they produce, they will be fundamentally able to determine their own futures. The end of exploitation of one person by another will be an unprecedented liberating and transforming force.  

Socialism is not some Utopian scheme. Capitalism has created the economic conditions for socialism. Socialism will not mean government control. The state serves the interests of the ruling capitalist class. Government involvement in the economy is state capitalism. When the government intervenes in the present economy, it does so to help, not harm, capitalism.

The means of production – the factories, mines, mills, offices, farms and  fields,  transportation system, communications, medical facilities, retailers, etc., will be transformed into common property. Private ownership of the  means of production will end. The economy will be geared not to the interest of profit, but to serving human needs. This will release the productive capacity of the economy from the limitations of profit maximisation. A great expansion of useful production and the wealth of society will become possible. Rational economic planning will replace the present anarchistic system. Coordination and planning of production will aim to benefit the people. Socialism’s main task will be to satisfy social needs. Socialism will open the way for great changes in society

Transforming the productive resources of society into common property will enable the working people to assume administration of the economy, managed democratically through workers’ councils and elected administrators to serve their own interests as well as society’s.

No comments: