Friday, June 26, 2020

A Working Peoples Manifesto

Owing to the cosmopolitan nature of capitalism, the economic and social status of the workers is fundamentally the same the world over. They have the same problems to face in every country, like interests to satisfy, and a common foe to fight.

The internationalism of the World Socialist Movement is in direct antagonism to that national sentiment which is fostered by the ruling class under the name of "patriotism." Despite world finance, the growth of global trade, and the fact that the capitalist class is solid worldwide when faced with the opposition of the workers, the politics of the capitalist class have always been predominantly "national" in character. This has been so because, during the evolution of the capitalists, their class power became consolidated into numerous national governments which could not expand in power territorially for the purpose of enabling the acquisition of further economic advantages and resources without sooner or later coming into conflict. With the rise of imperialism this "national antagonism" became exceedingly acute and, as we have seen, "patriotism" received a still greater moral significance by reason of its being the prime mental agent in the satisfaction of the imperialist needs of the capitalist class.

The capitalists of every land want the greatest possible output, the most economical production, and the most trade. They know that the world market is limited, that within a certain period, say one year, the world's population can only absorb a limited amount of wealth, and that goods or wealth produced beyond this amount will be left on the owners' hands. The same applies to those goods whose owners, for some reason, fail to place them on the market at the prices ruling there. Hence the need for the most economical production, in other words, for the maximum of labour-power in exchange for a minimum wage. "Consistent with health" is capitalist irony, because the workers' health is never studied except for the purpose of increasing their productive power.

 The workers of each country must submit to 'the most economical production" in order to assure to their masters "the most trade." Thus they enter into a new form of warfare against the workers of other countries in the interests of their masters. And when the capitalists of one nation succeed in obtaining the most trade, and their workers demand higher wages, because the masters can afford to pay them, these same masters reward them with the sack, and entice the workers of other lands to fill their jobs. Where, then, do the workers of the world come in, whether they win for their masters markets or wars?

The capitalist group of every nation will point to their own prosperity as evidence that employment is good, when they deem it necessary to gloss over the unemployed army—that instrument of coercion against their workers. They boast that there is no sentiment in business, and an unemployed army is necessary to their business. In the past they have—except in a few rare instances, chiefly occupational—always been blessed with a solid margin; the future is full of promise for them, and we can rely on them to make the most of their opportunities in order to coerce the workers into the economic war.

But, like everything parasitic, the capitalist is insatiable. The concerns in which his capital is invested must either beat their competitors in the race for cheaper production or go under. And concerns do go under almost daily, their share of the market being taken up by their competitors, while the workers they have employed swell the unemployed army until they can be profitably employed by other capitalists.

But the class-conscious worker sees that "nationalism" is a snare in the path towards emancipation. Not only does it serve to cloud the class issue within the nation, but it also hinders the workers of the world from recognising and acting up to their unity of interest. To the Socialist Party, therefore, national pride, like racial aloofness, is a contemptible and pernicious prejudice which it is highly immoral for any class conscious worker to uphold or give way to.

What significance has the “homeland” for the wage-slave whose only guarantee of livelihood rests on the ability to sell his or her labour-power? None! Save that it receives from political superstitions inculcated and carefully nurtured by agents of the dominant class. "Workers of all lands unite!" will inevitably be the watchword of the latter-day revolutionary. With the emancipation of the workers achieved through economic socialisation human society will enter upon a new phase of its existence. With the forces of production democratically used by and for society, economic exploitation will become impossible and class distinctions a thing of the past. Free from drudgery and emancipated from the miseries or even possibility of material poverty, having access to every avenue of knowledge and art, the men and women of the future will also witness the reconciliation between egoism and altruism, because through economic democracy the merging of the interests of the individual in that of the whole community will have been for the first time rendered completely possible. Thus the "brotherhood of man," often dreamt about but never achieved, will become a living reality. Grounded upon the world-wide inter-dependence of economic processes, such a ''world'' society will leave as little room for national and racial antagonisms as for those of class.

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