Thursday, September 23, 2021

Socialism and Economic Freedom


The Socialist Party asserts using the language of the American constitution the inalienable right of mankind to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Socialist Party raises the banner of revolt and demands the unconditional surrender of the capitalist class. No reform measures will suffice. Having outlived its social usefulness, capitalism must give way to a new social system. We will put an end to the existing barbarous class society by placing the land and all the means of production, transportation and distribution into the hands of the useful producers as a collective body, and creating the Socialist Cooperative Commonwealth.

Ruling classes have always exploited ruled or subject classes. In the ancient world, chattel slaves were exploited openly by being made to produce more than was needed to feed, clothe and house them. In the feudal era, serfs were forced to turn over part of their product to their feudal master or to toil for him so many days each year. But under capitalism, exploitation is cloaked by the wage system. The capitalist buys the worker's labour-power for a price (wage), and it appears as if a fair bargain had been struck. Actually, the working class produces all social wealth and performs all necessary social services. The wages it receives in return represent but a small fraction of the social wealth it alone produces. The capitalist class, by virtue of its ownership of the tools, appropriates the balance (by far the larger portion) of the social wealth. Thus, the wage system disguises the true nature and extent of capitalist exploitation, which has been well described as the "greatest robbery in history." Under capitalism, production is carried on for sale and profit. As in capitalist society, the great mass of workers receives A BARE LIVING WAGE. A minority of specially trained workers share some of the privileges that dribble down to them as prizes and bonuses

The State is a government based on territory and having special coercive powers (police, army, prisons, etc.) that are beyond democratic control. Historically, the State has always been an engine of ruling classes for holding down the ruled. The ancient State was the State of the slave owners, the feudal State was the State of the feudal lords, and the modern State is the executive committee of the capitalist class.

"Democracy" is not a synonym for "capitalism." In even the most "democratic" of capitalist countries, there is economic despotism. The capitalist is an absolute master. He can replace workers with technology. He can close down until business gets better and force his workers into unemployment. Or he can move his plant to another city or a different country and leave his employees abandoned. The truth is that capitalism is not only an economic despotism -- it is also a foe to political democracy. Wherever worker unrest arises, and the capitalist rule is threatened, the capitalists are quick to jettison political democracy and establish authoritarian rule.

Socialism is the direct opposite of capitalism.  It means completely new administrative institutions through which to direct democratically the social production of our modern age in the interests of all society. Socialism does not now exist, and it never has existed anywhere in the world.

In socialism, the land, factories, mines, and all the other means of social production, distribution and services will be owned, controlled and administered, not by private persons, and not by a State, but shared in common by all the people. There will be no economic classes in the socialist society. With the elimination of private (and State) ownership, the division of society into exSocialism means abolition of the wage system. Instead of wages, the useful producers under Socialism will get back directly and indirectly (indirectly through social services-public health, education, recreation, etc.) all that they produce. Private (and State) property and profit having been eliminated entirely, there will be no way for social parasites, capitalistic or bureaucratic, to exist. In short, it will no longer be possible for any individual or group to secure the economic power that would make possible the exploitation of another human being and exploited classes will end. Everyone will have the same basic material interests.  We shall collectively produce the things we need and want. New techniques and inventions, and the elimination of anarchy and waste in production, will greatly increase the wealth available. And such technological improvements will not result in unwanted surpluses and unemployment -- they will enable us to reduce drastically the hours of work. Socialism will, therefore, give us the leisure time to develop our faculties and live healthy, happy, useful lives. 

In the class-divided world of today the primary consideration is: Does it pay? In world socialism of tomorrow, the chief question will be: Is it needed, desirable and socially beneficial? In short, Socialism means the production of things to satisfy human needs and wants and not, as under capitalism, for sale and profit.

Socialism will be a society wherein we will make the fields yield an abundance without arduous toil; wherein the factories, mines, transport and communication networks, etc., will be the safest, the most modern, the most efficient, the most sustainable possible, and productive beyond our wildest dreams without laborious work; wherein our educational institutions will have the finest facilities and be devoted to developing complete human beings; wherein our medical and social services will concentrate on creating and maintaining the finest health and recreational facilities conceivable; wherein, in short, toil and drudgery, poverty and social misery will be banished forever.

 It will be a democracy solidly based on that PRIMARY freedom which is the foundation of all freedoms -- ECONOMIC FREEDOM.


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