Now if we compare socialism to the present system, capitalism, we find a society where food, clothes, accommodation and all other goods and services which people need are articles of commerce which are produced to be sold at a profit. If you cannot pay, you cannot have. It is a system of competition which divides people. It puts workers in rivalry with one another over jobs, housing and places in the queue for second-rate health treatment. But more importantly, it divides the world into the wealth producers who do not possess (the great majority) and the wealth owners who do not produce (the small minority). It is this monopoly of wealth by a small, privileged minority class which leads to people starving while food mountains rot; millions of pointless deaths in wars over the economic rivalries of the parasites; people dying of hypothermia while coal mines are closed because they are "unprofitable"; and to thousands of people being homeless while construction workers are made unemployed and brick "surpluses" collect dust.
Who is it that keeps every country in the world running? Who builds the roads and the houses, factories and offices? Who designs and builds and maintains the washing machines and cars and televisions? Who builds the aeroplanes and runs the international airports? Who produces the oil. extracts the coal, runs the hospitals, teaches in the schools and universities, prints the newspapers and makes the television programmes? It is the working class who run this system from top to bottom. Workers are not thick, they are misinformed. They are misinformed by the ideas of a social system which runs in the interest of a minority who live in luxury and comfort off the labour of the majority.
Religious teaching is based on the idea that people are inherently evil. Would it not make more sense to regard society's wrongdoers as victims of an environment where the majority are deprived of the necessities of a decent life? Theft, burglary and muggings are results of a society of artificial scarcity. In situations where there is no shortage or unreasonable limit to what we can consume, we behave in a rational way — without hoarding, or being greedy or feeling the need to steal. How many burglars do you hear of climbing over backgarden walls with gallons of stolen water?
Faced with the long-term brainwashing that most workers receive from an early age, educating people to think for themselves and to act in their own interests as a class is not an easy task. But is that any reason to stop? Consider the number of people spending so much energy and time trying to alleviate the suffering which capitalism produces as a matter of course, the people working for Shelter, Child Poverty Action Group, Oxfam, Live Aid, Greenpeace, Help the Aged, anti-racist organisations . . . Has the profit system really produced widespread content?
We live in a very insecure society and who can honestly say that they are exempt from the anxieties caused by this insecurity? The more people who accept an idea, the more possible it becomes and the faster it spreads. Make no mistake, in the socialist alternative locked doors, secret files or codes on computer files will be as impossible as money or markets. Socialism will be a society in which decisions will not be made by an owning minority or a state, nor will decisions be subject to the anarchic fluctuations of the market, which can favour nuclear power one week and oil the next, renewables another. Instead decisions on. for example, energy production, will be made by the whole of the community concerned. All that the environmental pressure groups are doing is supporting a variety of fragmented and futile reform measures. It is tempting to think that problems can be reformed away one by one, bit by bit; that the problems of pollution are just unfortunate accidents, sad aberrations in an otherwise perfect world. But experience shows that reforms rarely remove the problem.
The Socialist Party, the only Marxist party in Britain, since 1904. We seek to establish a free and democratic society and we are the first to point out that this will never be brought about by any of the tactics used by our class enemies, such as those listed above. We seek to establish a society of mutual co-operation, not a dictatorship—a society which will be class-free.