Saturday, July 10, 2021

This is what socialism really means

 The number of people living in poverty is rising relentlessly. All the summit meetings, all the hand-wringing, all the reports, have been to no avail. With every passing year, it becomes more and more obvious that nothing short of a revolutionary transformation of society will serve to wrench the mass of humanity out of the debilitating cycle of deprivation and despair. The Socialist Party puts forward the socialist proposition that the only solution to social problems is the establishment of a world without frontiers, based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means of living, with production solely for human need. 

How many more years will be wasted on a system which is utterly unworkable as far as the interests of the whole community are concerned? Only one interest rises above the economic, political and military divisions of national and international capitalism—our single, worldwide common interest as working people. Its political direction is clear—we must ensure the growth of the world socialist movement with the object of capturing political control of all the powers and machinery of governments by democratic political activity. From this position, we will enact the common ownership of the means of living. This will strip the capitalist class of their monopoly of land, industry, manufacture, transport and resources, whether maintained by private ownership or state control. We will establish free access by the democratically organised community to all these productive means and resources so that they can be freely used to provide directly for human needs.


This will involve the abolition of the state and the conversion of all useful government functions for the democratic administration of needs, operating through a decentralised system of decision making on world, regional and local levels. Socialism will remove all economic constraints on social action, and will involve the abolition of all distribution by buying and selling through the use of money; and therefore will establish free access to all the goods and services which the community could more freely make available. The wages system, which is the market for labour-power, will be replaced by direct co-operation between people. With this world co-operation, socialism would abolish all armed forces and armaments production. Thus all the potentially useful resources of labour, materials, technique and equipment now used for the military would be re-directed for human needs. During all the years which have been wasted on support for capitalism, socialism could by now have solved the major social problems. The urgent priority is for our fellow workers to join the growing world socialist movement. This is the only practical activity that is now being directed at the solution of social problems. 

Socialist democracy requires the widest participation in decision-making at all levels. Socialism is fundamentally the opposite of capitalism, substituting social ownership of the means of production for their private ownership. Market relations would have to be eliminated.

Capitalism has become an obsolete oppressive system that ought to be got rid of. Very few are consciously anti-capitalist, with the vast majority trying to satisfy their needs within the system rather than by overthrowing it. All that is needed is for workers to produce goods that people want and need, a  system of production for use instead of profit. Revolution does not mean that we would “demand” that the governments and corporations do this or that. It means that we, the working class take over the running of society and make the decisions ourselves and proceed to abolish the market economy. The injustices of slavery and serfdom were eliminated by abolishing the social institutions of slavery and serfdom themselves, not by prohibitions against the maltreatment of slaves and serfs. The injustices of wage labour will be eliminated by abolishing the social institution of wage labour itself, not by legislating employers to treat their workers better. We do not just want slaves to manage some of their own affairs. We want to overthrow the slave owners and abolish slavery altogether. Electing new bosses does not abolish the boss system. Elected cooperatives or workers’ councils would be in exactly the same position of having to lay off staff if there is no market for the goods they produce. 


Opponents of socialism usually fall back to one argument – human nature,  suggesting people have a tendency towards competitiveness and violence   Rather, we possess human behaviour which is flexible and variable according to the situation in which people find themselves. Humanity has lived in many different sorts of society. Socialism brings — or is it at least more conducive to — the end of alienation and commodification, sexism and racism, environmental degradation, militarism and nationalism.

No comments: