Monday, August 31, 2020

Set your course for socialism

There is only one road that leads to a socialist society: the workers have to learn:
Firstly, that they are slaves; 
Secondly, how they are enslaved
Thirdly, the revolutionary changes necessary to achieve their freedom; 
and lastly, how to accomplish this revolution.

A majority of the workers must understand these things.

Socialism as State ownership of the means of wealth production is a generally accepted notion. This definition has been accepted and advocated by many as a remedy for working-class ills. We are told that  nationalisation is a step towards socialism because under it, they say, the workers will have a measure of control. This is altogether false, as a glance any state enterprise will show—the workers in those concerns being more dependent and having less freedom, if anything, than those under private enterprise. Not only so, the the workers, instead of insisting on a measure of control, are more likely to be side-tracked, like all civil servants, into the belief that discipline and organisation is the necessary complement of state efficiency in the interests of the "general public." To To make of the workers state-employees is in no way socialism in action. It does not speed the progress towards socialism. On the contrary, it leads the workers up a blind alley, wasting their energies on something that does not materially change their conditions, and leaving them apathetic and ignorant as to the cause of their failure. Common ownership of the means of wealth production alone gives control; that is why the Socialist Party declares that until the workers organise politically to gain possession of the means of wealth production all the schemes to give them a share of control are impossibilist dreams. Within capitalism the antagonism of interests between the two classes manifests itself. The workers have yet to learn that this antagonism is not only destructive of schemes of share in control, but is the germ of a conscious antagonism that can never be abolished until the means of life are the common property of society—not the common property of the capitalist class through State ownership, nationalisation, or national control—controlled by the people through a democratic administration of production and distribution for use instead of for profit.

The first test of a socialist party is the recognition that the working class of all lands, having no interests in common with any section of the master class, but all alike suffering under the same form of wage slavery, must unite worldwide for the overthrow of capitalism. Our message is to the worker, and exposes the labour fraud at the same time that it declares the real enemy of the worker to be the capitalist class. Who or what would decide which belonged to the workers and which to the capitalists? Only the naked force of the State. The truth would then be revealed that the capitalists are robbers, that the wages system is a blind, and that might is right. The workers might then listen to the Socialist Party, and, spurred on by the knowledge they would thus acquire, commence to organise in real earnest for socialism.

The Socialist Party does not pretend to foretell the future. All that we claim is that we understands the present, with its class ownership of the means of life and the consequent enslavement of our class. The defenders of the ruling class deny this enslavement and assert that socialism would result in loss of liberty to the individual. It is evident, however, that class ownership and control implies a class that is subjugated and therefore without liberty.

Socialism, on the other hand, being a system of society where the means of life are owned in common and democratically controlled, must give the maximum freedom to the individual because there is equality of ownership and control. Under capitalism the worker is subjected to restrictions and rules, and subjugated to a discipline which would be hard to beat. It is only the master class that possesses liberty, and their liberty means working class slavery. The poverty of the working class persists because the social system is out of harmony with the means and methods of production; and this causes numerous conflicts between capitalists and workers. Social relationships, the relations between man and man, or between class and class, do not stand still; and the cause of their change is the evolution of the material things—tools, machinery, etc.,— on which humanity depends for its subsistence.

 Throughout history, from the dawn of time, when beset with threats and dangers on every hand, mankind treasured its freedom above everything else, and associating with fellow humans on a basis of equality, and controlled social actions democratically. Humanity’s confidence in, and adherence to, these two principles, carried it safely through the ages before civilisation. The abandonment of these principles was the beginning of the long class rule, in which successive ruling classes have robbed the workers of the results of their toil, from chattel slavery to serfdom to wage slavery—where the bondage  is veiled by the so-called freedom of contract. It is a system of poverty and squalor on the one hand, and enormous wealth and power on the other.

 The ensuing task of harmonising the social system with the more highly developed means of production is wholly that of the working class, and must be carried through against the conscious antagonism of the master class.  Socialism can be established as soon as there is a majority of socialists. The first step, therefore, is to make socialists. The next step will be the organisation of production in such a manner that the workers have complete control — not a share in management. First must come ownership: until that is effected the workers can have no control, either over the means or methods of production, or over their own conditions of employment.

There is no question of morality or justice about this expropriation of the capitalist class. The wonder is that the workers have tolerated the system so long. A small class in society owns all those things required by man to produce for himself the necessaries of life. This small class imposes slavery on those who do not own. To free themselves from slavery must be the desire and the aim of the working class. But they must have confidence, based on knowledge, in their associated power to arrange the details of production and distribution for use. Without a ruling class they can still carry on, producing wealth for their own use and consumption. Let them, first, understand ; second, take possession, and exercising full control, face the future determined to use nature's gifts for the well-being and happiness of society free, at last, from the withering blight of class rule.

Workers, for your own sakes and for humanity's sake study socialist ideas! Then, when you understand, you will organise to establish it and so emancipate yourselves from the shackles of wage-slavery on the one hand, and rid yourselves forever from that awful menaces of poverty and war. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

We need socialism

Socialism is built on three principles, all vital to one another. These principles are: social ownership of the means of production, egalitarianism, and social democracy. Our goal is a new social order based on common ownership of our resources and industry, cooperation, production for use and genuine democracy. Only socialism can turn the boundless potential of our people and resources to the creation of a world free from tyranny, greed, poverty and exploitation. The socialist option is the only alternative to capitalism. Capitalism has failed, and so have efforts to reform it. These failures puts a campaign for the socialist alternative as an immediate demand. The needs of people, not profit, are the driving force of a socialist society. It will be accomplished by democratizing all levels of society. Under capitalism, labour is a commodity. Workers are used as replaceable parts, extensions of machines—as long as they provide dividends. Employers use their power of ownership to devastate the lives of workers through lay-offs, shut-downs and neglect of health and safety. Socialism will dissolve the economic of management privilege by relying on the creativity of people.  We believe in the ability of working people to administer their own productive institutions democratically. We do not offer a blueprint to a better future. The capitalist system must be replaced by socialist democracy. That is the burning issue of our era, the only hope of humanity. Our planet is capable of satisfying the needs of all its people. But today the great majority of our people are faced with the threat of poverty, ever-rising prices, deteriorating health, education and other social services. A handful of capitalists control our world and make vast profits on the labour of the working people and the natural resources of the land. All the major means of production - the factories, forests, farms, fisheries and mines are in the hands of a few capitalists.

Capitalism is a system of exploitation. A handful of parasites live off the backs of the workers and could not care less about their situation. The capitalists get rich from the fruit of our labour. At the end of the week a worker collects their pay. The capitalists and their apologetic flunkeys claim this is a fair exchange. But it is highway robbery. In reality, workers get paid for only a small part of what they produce. For example, workers on average each produced new goods and services to the value of$1,000 each week. However they each received an average of $500 wages per week. The rest, the surplus value, goes straight into the hands of the capitalists and their flunkeys. The bosses get rich, not because they have "taken risks" or "worked harder," as they would have us believe. The more they keep wages down and get fewer workers to do more work, the more they can steal from us and the greater their profits. If the bosses think they can make more profit somewhere else, they just close their factories and throw the workers out on the street. Capitalists try to profit in the short run, but their individual greed eventually throws the whole system into turmoil, leading the working class and people to suffer. This anarchic system wastes a great deal of social wealth. People live in misery so a small clique of very wealthy individuals can live in luxury.The idea that everyone can get rich under this system is a lie invented by the rich themselves. Under capitalism, the only way to get rich is to trample on someone else. There is only room for a few capitalists - at any time the great majority must work and be robbed. This is why workers have only one choice: either submit to this wage slavery or resist it.

Capitalism has created the economic conditions for socialism. Today the whole system of production is socially interdependent, but it is controlled by private hands. In place of private control of social production there must be social ownership if society's problems are to be addressed. The problems of capitalism - exploitation, anarchy of production, speculation and crisis, oppression and the whole system of injustice - arise from the self interest of the tiny group of capitalistsSocialism will be won through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalismHaving overthrown the capitalist class, the working people will take over the economic forces developed by capitalism and operate them in the interests in society. Socialism will be a better society, one which will present unprecedented possibilities for the improvement of common peoples' lives. Because working people will control the great wealth they produce, they will be fundamentally able to determine their own futures. The end of exploitation of one person by another will be a resounding liberating and transforming force. Socialism will not mean  government control. Today we often hear of state ownership and  control of the railways or post office as "creeping socialism". But under capitalism the state serves the interests of the ruling capitalist class. When the government intervenes it does so to help, not hurt, capitalism. Rational planning will replace anarchy. Coordination and planning of the broad outlines of production by public agencies will aim at building an economy that will be stable, benefit the people. Directing the productive capacity to human needs will require a variety of economic methods and experiments. There could be a combination of central planning, local coordination. Various policies might be used with changing conditions. But no matter what means are chosen, a socialist economy must uphold the basic principles of social ownership, production for the people's needs, and the elimination of exploitation. Factories and other productive facilities will be modernised to eliminate backbreaking labour and ecological damage. Productivity gains will be used to shorten the working day and improve living standards, rather than create unemployment. Construction of housing, schools, medical, cultural and sporting facilities for working people will be a priority.

With socialism, goods and services will be distributed on the basis of from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs. No longer will bankers, landlords and investors live off the labour of others. To protect and administer socialism, the people will establish a socialist people's democracy, a genuine democracy for the masses of people. The people will elect officials and representatives at all levels of government and the economy. There will be the right of recall and referendum. Socialist democracy would be far broader than what is possible today because the voices of the people would be heard, not simply those of the rich. Classes will have disappeared, the state will "wither" away, and an exciting new era of human freedom and prosperity will arise.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

It Hots Up in the North Pole

Yet another one in this blog's long series on the military build-up on Arctic region as various nations seek to take advantage of the melting of the ice-cap to exploit its natural resources.

Trump  a year ago  said he would like to buy Greenland, a vast territory that is administered by Denmark.  It is about the same size as Saudi Arabia, and slightly smaller than India — a big country in which there is a Pentagon base at Thule. Denmark and the rest of the world laughed at Trump’s silly fantasy which caused the usual Trump reaction, in that he promptly cancelled a scheduled visit to Copenhagen and tweeted childish abuse about Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.  His reason for scrapping the visit and insulting the Danish people was that the prime minister had “no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland”.  Trump considers that when a country is presented with demands made by the United States then there has to be speedy and totally compliant action on the part of the targeted government.

 Defence News tells us, it is “the U.S. military’s northernmost base and the only installation north of the Arctic Circle. It is home to the 12th Space Warning Squadron, a cadre of Air Force officers and enlisted personnel that provide 24/7 missile warning and space surveillance using a massive AN/FPS-132 radar. Besides being a critical site for missile defence and space situational awareness, Thule hosts the Defence Department’s northernmost deep-water seaport and airfield. Those assets would come into play in any sort of military conflict in the arctic, giving the Pentagon forward-basing options if needed.”

In the Pentagon’s “New Arctic Strategy” it is stated that the Space Force will “develop new technologies and modernize existing assets in the Arctic necessary to ensure access to and freedom to operate in space,” while Air Force Secretary Barbara Barret announced in July that “U.S. air and space forces value the Arctic. Access and stability require cooperation among America’s allies and partners, along with a commitment to vigilance, power projection, and preparation.”

Russia has refurbished airfields, invested in search and rescue, and built radar stations to improve awareness in the air and maritime domains.

As to China, the American summation is that it is “attempting to gain a role in the Arctic in ways that may undermine international rules and norms, and there is a risk that its predatory economic behaviour globally may be repeated in the Arctic.”

Deciding For Ourselves

The Socialist Party places before our fellow-workers the limitations of present-day democracy. We are told that we live in a "democracy" in which we are free to choose what kind of society we live in. But the most important of all political decisions – what the community produces – is never subjected to any kind of democratic process. Instead Wall St investors decide which goods will deliver the greatest or most reliable profits. In other words these decisions are made by a tiny elite minority in the interests of an even smaller minority. In capitalist society the only ‘choice’ voters have is who will decide how taxes are distributed to create and maintain the state infrastructure – armies, police, road, rail, law, health and social security system and, of course, the education system. Even this choice is only ‘given’ to the people once every five years between two political parties with no important differences in ideology. And this is political democracy?

One of the driving forces for the creation of the Socialist Party was the view that democracy was integral to the establishment of socialism and thus a party with that object needs to be a reflection of the democratic principle. So although with a long history as a political party based on agreed goals, methods and organisational principles we still remain a small propagandist group. Mandating delegates, voting on resolutions and membership referendums are democratic practices for ensuring that the members of an organisation control that organisation – and as such key procedures in any organisation genuinely seeking socialism. Socialism can only be a fully democratic society in which everybody will have an equal say in the ways things are run. This means that it can only come about democratically, both in the sense of being the expressed will of the working class and in the sense of the working class being organised democratically – without leaders, but with mandated delegates – to achieve it. In rejecting these procedures what is being declared is that the working class should not organise itself democratically.

The Chartist Bronterre O'Brien is credited as the originator of the term " social-democracy." He had used it to express the views of those who wished to bring about a complete social reconstruction under democratic forms. As he expressed it elsewhere, “… it is to establish Democracy, not only in the government, but throughout every industrial department of society

O’Brien never ceased to emphasise the antagonism of interest between the working class and the middle class and to insist on the need for the workers to gain political power — through the implementation of the Charter — before they could do anything effective to improve their social position.

"The history of mankind shows that from the beginning of the world, the rich of all countries have been in a permanent state of conspiracy to keep down the poor of all countries, and for this plain reason — because the poverty of the poor man is essential to the riches of the rich man…The rich have never cared one straw for justice or humanity since the beginning of the world. We defy any historian to point out a single instance of the rich of any age or country having ever renounced their power from love or justice, or from mere appeals to their hearts and consciences. There is no such instances. Force, and force alone, has ever conquered them into humanity." -  Bronterre O'Brien, Chartist, 1838.

As O’Brien then wrote in 1834: The great advantage of a strike is that it increases the enmity between labourers and capitalists, and compels workmen to reflect and investigate the causes of their sufferings. . .

 Bronterre O’Brien, when asked whether the capitalist did not work as well as his wage-earners, replied: “Yes, he works, works hard, works o’ nights. So does the wolf. He works, works hard, works o’ nights. But the harder he works, my friend, the worse it is for the sheep.”