Thursday, June 10, 2021


 Since there is frequent use of the word "socialism", it is useful clearly to define what the Socialist Party means by the word. This can be summarised under three main headings — common ownership of the means of life; democratic control of society; and production solely for human need.

Common ownership means a relationship where the means of producing goods and services, and the earth's resources, are held in common by the whole community. This is distinguished from minority class ownership of the means of production under capitalism, in either its privately owned or state monopoly forms.

By democratic control we mean a system of administration through which the whole community would be able to make democratic decisions about the use of productive resources, the general arrangement of social affairs and the immediate priorities and long term objectives of social action. This is distinguished from the operation of systems of government which impose decisions on the wider community through the enforcement of law. By their nature, governments express class interests.

By production solely for human need we mean direct co-operation between people in producing goods and maintaining services directly for need. This requires the abolition of the market, including that for labour power in socialism, production would not begin with an economic exchange of labour time for wages and salaries, but would arise as social co-operation in direct response to community requirements. Free access by the community to available goods and services would replace the present restricted access to goods based on buying and selling, and the use of money as a means of exchange.

This is what socialism means for the Socialist Party.

Socialism will relationships and organisations centred on human needs and not on economic forces external to human needs. Socialism will be a society where the whole community will relate on equal terms about the means of production and the earth's resources and co-operate to produce goods, services and amenities solely for use. This will be an association of men and women in conscious control of their own lives, living for themselves with the freedom to decide upon social projects and to organise resources to complete those projects. Socialism places man at the centre of social organisation. Equality, co-operation and democratic participation will bring productive efficiency in response to human needs. But more than that, it will do so in circumstances in which the self-directed individual will live positively, integrating his own life with the development of the whole community. Socialism means democratic control of society in the human interest. This will be a society where the means of producing wealth and the whole of the earth's resources are held in common and at the free disposal of the whole human family. The object of socialism is fundamentally different to that of capitalism, and provides for a completely different social organisation. 

The possibilities of organising the world as a single productive unit have been given historically by the spread of capitalism and the development of trade and a world division of labour. But all the present political, economic and war-mongering chaos is now part of a redundant system which forms an unnecessary barrier against the organisation of the world in line with human need. To continue with it is madness. By establishing the world as a commonly held resource operated with co-operation all these absurd national divisions can be swept aside. The co-ordination of the world division of labour for production for use can be achieved by modern information and communication systems without the need for centralised control. A complete monitoring of world production is now technically possible at any level throughout the entire system. With a shared and equal interest between all people in world production, control can be maintained by a system of decentralised co-operation.

What is required is the removal of the present capitalist features which are now imposed on this useful structure. so that its useful features would be free to operate through co-operation directly for human needs.

Thus in socialism, with a system of production solely for use, needs would arise expressed as definite quantities of required goods among the whole community. These would be registered and communicated to regional centres of manufacture. As a result, regional manufacturing units would know the amounts of required production. This would be passed on throughout the entire network of production eventually to the mining and processing of such raw materials as tin. This would be a direct and practical response of social productive activity based on co-operation in line with social needs. But it can only be free to take place once the market system is abolished, which requires that the entire means of production and distribution must be converted into common ownership by the whole community.

No comments: