Monday, July 20, 2020

Is Capitalism the Way to Live?

Socialism will mark a new departure in world history. A new civilisation will dawn. Socialism knows no barriers of sex or race: each individual of both sexes, of every race, and every ethnic group, receives equal care and equal chance of development. Culture will realise its immense possibilities when the latent power of the masses is released. Contrary to commonly accepted ideas it was an intensely humane and tenderly sympathetic spirit that gave birth to socialism. The widespread impression that there is something remote, cold, and inhuman about the theories of socialism, and something regimenting and enslaving about that system of society is wholly false. The precise opposite is indeed the truth. The activities of socialists spring from the compassion aroused by the horror of capitalism and human suffering.

The class struggle is a fact, but a fact much misunderstood. In a class society, part of the community, by virtue of the ownership of the means of production, has control over the whole productive process and possesses corresponding privileges, together with the control of government. The other part of the community possesses nothing but a minimum of personal goods, the ability to work, and some hard-won political rights. Conflict of interest is inevitable. Sooner or later the dominant class will be actively opposed by the dominated class. This opposition will accord with justice, morality, efficiency and sense. When the dominated class gets strong enough it will seize the power of the state. The form of government will change: the tools that society employs will in the long run determine the nature of the state. In this way a slave society emerged from a primitive classless society; and feudal society from a slave society. The advent of industrial production and the development of trade and banking forced feudalism to yield to individualistic capitalism, which has now become monopoly capitalism on the one hand or socialism on the other. It is the resistance of the dominant class to changes demanded alike by morality and efficiency that produces the conflict. The emerging class does not seek conflict. It seeks the right to emerge. 

The class struggle, then, is a right struggle. It is right that those who create goods should share in their ownership. It is wrong that one set of men, few in number, should hold all the fruits of technology over and above a bare subsistence wage granted to those who operate it. It is  right that the workers should share to the full that extension of life and culture which the wealth-producing machine has made possible. It is wrong that a small possessing class should monopolise this life-giving wealth. The struggle is right so long as classes and class privilege remain. It can be blood-less if the people understand the law of social evolution leading to the class-free society.

Equality of race, equality of sex, equality of citizens; absence of domination and exploitation already yield results. A new sense of solidarity, a new unity of interest and comradeship, are brought to the surface. Socialism or barbarism! With the whole world hard pressed by advancing chaos to make the choice of socialism that it must make for civilization to survive, if not to flower. Capitalism is objectively over-ripe for replacement by socialism, that is only another way of saying that capitalism has become reactionary, that it is an obstacle in the path of social progress, that it stands in the way of the welfare of the people upon whom it places, and must place, increasingly heavy burdens.

 Capitalism can no longer work effectively, regardless of what is done or who “cooperates” in the doing of it. It can not longer work effectively in a double sense: it cannot work effectively for the social progress of the masses, as it once did; and it cannot even work effectively for the social progress of the capitalists. If it works at all, that is, if it is maintained at all, it can only produce a continual social deterioration and recurring crises, of which climate change and military conflicts are expressions.

 Capitalism is production for profit. Socialism is called upon to redress the balance of power, to help mankind to attain to an equilibrium of the main forces of life. Power must be strictly subordinated not only to the socialisation of the means of production, but to the socialisation of man, to the restoration of the rational order of the world.

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