The world is in crisis. Few can deny that the world today is in constant upheaval with widespread turmoil and conflict. Yet, after decades of new deals, fair deals, wars on poverty, civil rights legislation, government regulations, deregulations and a host of other reform efforts, capitalist millions who need and want jobs are still unemployed despite the official claims that unemployment is at historically "low" rates. Millions more are underemployed, working only part-time or temporary jobs though they need and want full-time work. Millions aren't earning enough to maintain a decent standard of living for themselves and their families despite the fact that they are working. Racism is on the upsurge; so, too, is contemptible discrimination against migrants generally.
In most nations infrastructure continues to crumble. The educational system is a mess and getting worse. The health care system still fails to meet the needs of millions. Slum housing abounds. Even the foregoing cannot give a full picture of the wide-ranging plague of social and economic problems modern-day capitalism is imposing on society.
Working people stand perilously poised on the brink of yet another nightmare. Capitalism has caused a climate emergency. Widespread pollution of our environment continues.
It is impossible to contemplate the horrors of capitalism and remain neutral unless one is emotionally numb.
For workers, capitalism has meant widespread unemployment, accompanied by homelessness and demands for high rents by landlords. At the same time, the exploitation of those with jobs has become more intense. Mass poverty escalates while multi-million fortunes are accumulated by the big capitalists and landlords.
The Socialist Party adheres to Marxism as its basic worldview. Against this insane capitalist system, the Socialist Party raises its voice in anger, protest and condemnation. It declares that if our society is to be finished with for once and for all with the economic, political and social ills that for so long have plagued it, the outmoded capitalist system of private ownership of the socially operated means of life and production for the profit of a few must be replaced by a new social system. That new social order must be organised on the sane basis of common ownership and democratic management of all the instruments of social production, all means of distribution and all of the social services. It must be one in which production is carried on to satisfy human needs and wants. In short, it must be genuine socialism.
Capitalism is a system of commodity production (that is, the production of goods for sale and not for direct use by the producer) which is distinguished by the fact that labour-power itself becomes a commodity. The major means of production and exchange which make up the capital of society are owned privately by a small minority, the capitalist class (the bourgeoisie), while the great majority of the population consists of proletarians or semi-proletarians. Because of their economic position, this majority can only exist by permanently or periodically selling their labour-power to the capitalists and thus creating through their work the incomes of the upper classes.
Under capitalism, social production replaces the individual production of the feudal era. It is based on the ever-greater socialisation of labour. However, although production is social, ownership is private. The working class produces the commodities which constitute the wealth of capitalist society, but it does not own them. They are appropriated by those who own the means of production – the capitalist class.
The contradiction between the social character of production and the private character of appropriation is the basic contradiction of the capitalist system, impelling its development and giving rise to the motive force of capitalist society, the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
It also manifests itself as an antagonism between the high level of organisation in the individual factory or enterprise on the one hand, and on the other, the anarchy of production prevailing in the social economy as a whole. Anarchy of production is the tendency of capitalist producers, in general, to produce to the maximum without regard to their competitors or to the capacity of the market to absorb their production.
Technological development under capitalism, stimulated by competition, together with other conditions favourable to the concentration of capital, leads to the steady growth of larger enterprises at the expense of many small ones. At the same time, it reduces the employers’ demand for human labour, which lags behind the supply, resulting in the development of a large pool of unemployed, a ’reserve army’ of labour, and intensified exploitation of those in work. The existence of such a reserve army enables capitalism to expand rapidly in ’normal’ times, providing a ready-to-hand supply of extra labour in boom times which can be laid off whenever it suits capital.
By replacing private ownership of the means of production with social ownership, by transforming the anarchy of production which is a feature of capitalism into planned proportional production organised for the well-being and many-sided development of all of society, the proletarian socialist revolution will end the division of society into classes and emancipate all of humanity from all forms of exploitation of one section of society by another.
Thus, fundamentally, capitalism is a system of exploitation of the working class (the proletariat) by the owning class. Governments cannot get rid of the evils of capitalism or solve the problems of the working class. Rather, it intensifies them. Only socialism, which results from the class struggle of workers against capitalists, can solve them.