Thursday, May 07, 2020

Education Brings Enlightenment

During this pandemic crisis we have seen how fragile and vulnerable our world is, We really need to do something radical and fundemental. We need to make the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity to build a fairer and a sustainable future.

The task of socialists is to win over fellow-workers to the cause of socialist revolution. Socialism will change our way of life. Socialism will be possible only when the workers, those who meet the needs of society, decide that they are determined to lay the living conditions of mankind on a new foundation. The whole future of humanity rests on the emergence of working people as the creative force in society. Socialism meets the desire for freedom innate in every human being. Socialists are not worshippers of violence. Above all do they try to guard against the sporadic, meaningless and inevitably self-defeating insurrections that suffering are likely to prompt. We are aiming at a better, a more human world. The history of mankind can be described as the history of the efforts of communities to free themselves from the constraints always imposed by the necessity of meeting their daily survival needs and reproducing the species. All societies throughout the world are now interdependent. The socialisation of humanity has reached unprecedented levels. 

Most workers accept capitalism, believe it can’t be changed, and view socialists who want to change it as idealists. Why do workers so often accept reactionary ideas, and how can this change? In feudal society there was a rigid division between lords and serfs. This was therefore generally accepted as natural and inevitable; to use the language of the time, something ‘ordained by God’. Capitalist society is founded on the profit motive – and therefore this is thought of as ‘natural’. In fact such ideas do more than simply reflect society; they justify it. They justify the current class divisions. As socialists put it: ‘the ruling ideas of any age will be the ideas of the ruling class’. If we look at capitalism today we can easily see how this can be so. The ruling class controls the channels for the formation and propagation of ideas: the education system, the press, the television stations and all other means of mass communication, and its ideas are dominant in all these. But the power of ruling-class ideas does not arise simply from a ‘conspiracy’ of rich media moguls, publishers and university professors, ministers and civil servants and so on.

Capitalist ideas seem to make sense because they reflect the world as we experience it. Businesses are run for profit and society is divided into classes – so to believe these things are ‘natural’ and ‘true’ seems simple common sense. If workers do not believe the emancipation of the working class is the act of the working class, then they will look for salvation from above, or, worse still, come to the conclusion that no emancipation is possible at all. If workers lack a socialist analysis of the economic crisis they will accept one or other of the various bourgeois explanations on offer: ‘it’s an act of god’, ‘it’s all the fault of lazy workers’ or ‘powerful trade unions’. At best it’s due to ‘government mismanagement’ and the solution is to elect a better government.

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