Thursday, June 25, 2020

Capitalism - Too Much and Never Enough 

The Socialist Party is often accused of being dogmatic, and to this charge we invariably reply that the truth cannot be dogmatic.

The human community is completely interconnected and interdependent. No-one can self-isolate. Without solidarity, especially with those most vulnerable among us, we all lose. We are paying the price for turning a blind eye to obvious injustices in the world. The problem is that how we produce and distribute wealth is not sustainable. Building a socialist society is essential to saving the planet from climate breakdown and ecological destruction. The fabric of society and the well-being of people hinge on our ability to create the cooperative commonwealth.

Economics to-day is all about accumulation. Production for the sake of further production. Everything is subordinated to this great end. New technology and machinery are invented, new methods devised and introduced so that wealth may be produced in still greater abundance. Brains, muscles and lives  are all thrown into the melting-pot in the feverish rush to produce and accumulate. All discoveries of the laws of nature become levers to increase wealth production. Instead of lightening the load of the worker, machinery has intensified the burden. The rich grow richer and the poor poorer. The greater the wealth the greater and more widespread the poverty. The poor are the wealth-producers— the working class. The rich are the wealth owners and idlers—the capitalist class. The workers are poor because the capitalists own the wealth produced.

The system advocated by the Socialist Party is production for the sake of consumption; production organised to satisfy the requirements of all the members of society. Instead of aiming at "an immense accumulation of commodities," the Socialist Party aims at an immense accumulation of comfort and happiness distributed over the whole of society.

In the existing state of things there is social production but individual appropriation. The Socialist Party would abolish this contradiction and substitute social appropriation of the social products. So long as the vast capacities of modern production are under the control of one class, and are used for the aggrandisement of that class alone, we will have the strange spectacle of poverty in the midst of plenty—a society of wealthy idlers and poverty-stricken workers.

Capitalism has shown us that wealth can be produced in abundance with a comparatively small expenditure of time and energy on the part of each of us. It has, therefore, performed its historic mission and signed its death warrant. It remains for us to profit by the lesson it has taught.  Capitalism cannot control the forces it has brought into being, therefore it must perish, and a new society will arise like a phoenix out of its ashes.

We must, therefore, organise for the overthrow of capitalism and the introduction of socialism if we would abolish poverty for ever. That means the capture of the political machinery which sustains the capitalists in their privileged position. The real interest of the working class is the possession of that knowledge in sociology, economics, and politics that will enable them to apply the revolutionary principle and establish society on a basis of production for use. All such knowledge points to this as the conclusion of the class struggle. But this involves the elimination from society of the class that lives by exploitation. Karl Marx and his twin discoveries, the ''Materialistic Conception of History" and the “Theory of Surplus Value gave to the working class the basis of a critical analysis of the capitalist system. He laid bare and exposed to the full as a ruthless system of intensive slavery and exploitation. His remedy was to establish society on a basis of common ownership and democratic control.

Not understanding, or not daring to show, where and how the robbery of the working class takes place—i.e., in the mines, mills, factories, workshops and the like by the expropriation of the product of their toil—politicians  uses the question of the taxes as a stunt to gain their political ambitions.  Their concern is all for the taxpayer—the capitalist—and their only thought for the workers is that they should be kept exploited to full capacity. What the politicians never tell the workers is that the wealth of society—produced by them alone as far as the human factor is concerned— is appropriated by the capitalist class, and that the wages the workers receive are the price of their labour-power, determined by its cost of production. Competition for jobs prevents wages rising above the cost of living, and all the wealth the workers produce above their total wages is stolen from them by the master class. They never proclaim this robbery of the working class, nor the vital need for socialism as the only way to stop the robbery.

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