Friday, May 08, 2020

Socialism: Management of Society by Workers

We must repeat for the benefit of those who do not yet know it that socialism is quite different from the aim of other organisations. Socialists are not trying to carry out an improved Labour Party programme.

The elements of the problem are simple. Nine people out of ten live frugally and with little to hope for, on wages that never leave any worth-while margin beyond necessities. And the social system we live in does not even produce enough consumer goods to satisfy reasonable human needs; nor will it ever do so. At present the means of production and distribution—land, factories, transport systems, etc., are owned by the propertied minority and used by them to make profit out of the sale of the products. Goods are not produced solely for use but for profit, and national groups, coming into conflict through rivalries about markets and trade routes, and sources of raw material, are all forced into their costly and inhuman armament schemes. The Socialist Party’s aim is to get to the root cause of these evils of poverty and war by changing the basis of the social system so that things would be produced not for sale and profit but solely for the use of mankind. Only by this can war and poverty be abolished, and along with them class and national rivalries and hatreds.

"Fantasy!" say opponents of socialism, including supporters of the Labour Party. All great social advances of the past, including the abolition of chattel slavery and serfdom, have appeared to be fantastic until they came about.

For those people who like going in for marches, demonstrations, signing petitions and lobbying M.P.s. capitalism sees to it that they are kept busy, even if they achieve nothing. The fact is there is so much wrong, so many objectionable things taking place all the time, that the protesters are bound to miss quite a lot. 

Apart from this they suffer from two fatal faults, first the objects of their marching are only effects and do not touch the fundamental cause, secondly, the fundamental cause being the class ownership of the means of production, marching is not the way to remove it.

It must not be taken from the above that demonstrations can serve no purpose of importance to the working-class. As a means of rallying support for wage claims, drawing attention to grievances and mustering a certain amount of solidarity during strikes they are useful. But we are concerned here purely with demonstrations as a means of altering the course of capitalism or eradicating one at a time the problems which arise because of capitalism; even in the sphere of wages etc., the effect is short-lived for the conflict between exploiter and exploited goes on interminably and will do so until the exploited understand socialism.

 The answer is bluntly that, squirm as they may, while the world remains under the present system, the workers will continue to bear the brunt of it.

From our standpoint as socialists, taking the interests of the world working-class as our guide, there is no proposition which simply involves re-arranging capitalism that can make one arrangement "preferable" to another. Whatever the arrangement, the workers are going to continue being exploited for the profit of an idle class, insecurity will continue to be the lot of the useful, crises will continue to arise while commodity production, world markets and profits remain, and wars with all this bestiality will continue to arise. It therefore remains that the one object of any real use that the world's workers should devote their efforts to, is the establishment of socialism. This means they must understand that capitalism cannot be made to work in their interests by adjustments here and there. From this understanding they must build the political organisation to send delegates to Parliament for the task of making the means of production common-property so that society can then proceed from this basis of a classless world to organise production for use and eliminate all wasteful and harmful production, so that mankind in peace eternal be able to enjoy the fruits of their labours to the full.

Socialism is a pledge of fraternity and internationalism, an awakening to the social mission of the working class.

Let us face the blunt truth, most people do not at present see the need for socialism and prefer to campaign on issues such as climate change and against the innumerable social injustices. They are constantly advocating "solutions" to these problems. Our challenge as socialists is how we can be generalise such resistance into opposition to capitalism itself. How do we reach those people engaged in a struggle against our exploitative society and help them to understand the need to act in an organized class way and not as isolated groups with limited or one-issue objectives. How can the fragmented struggles of isolated groups of working people come together and cooperate in a co-ordinated struggle? How can a mass socialist consciousness be developed?

We believe that it is possible, not inevitable, that working people in struggle can draw conclusions which are fundamentally socialist in content. The resentment of working people today for the failures of capitalism to fulfil its promises provides a driving force towards a socialist future. Too many times the attempts of workers to organise a new society have mirrored the very system they were allegedly trying to overthrow. 

Socialism presupposes a high degree of social and political consciousness. It cannot arise out of a mere revolt or insurrection but must answer the immense problem of the reconstruction of modern society. No one individual, group, or party can be accomplish this on behalf of the working class or in its stead. It is because it is impossible for a minority to take on such tasks, since these tasks are on a scale that humanity and humanity alone is capable of dealing with.

The Socialist Party has no blueprints. Nor are we intending to be the ultimate and final word on the way we organise for revolutionary change. The methods of struggle decided by the working class will to a large extent on their situation and the circumstances they face which will shape the form of their organisation

The Socialist Party is not self-appointed "leadership". The future may show us the need to modify and alter our present conceptions. That is to be expected and is nothing to worry about. Capitalist society denies working people the right to manage their own lives and to decide their own destinies. 

The approach of the Socialist Party is to facilitate for our fellow-workers to determine and direct their own fate. We reject the idea that matters of great importance require decisions by a political party’s polit-bureau and Marxian theoreticians

The Socialist Party does hold certain principles but as correct as we hold our ideas to be, they are dependent on workers agreeing with them. We cannot impose our case for socialism upon an unwilling and unreceptive audience. Socialism is not and cannot be anything other than the management of production, the economy, and society by the workers.

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