Monday, September 20, 2021

Understand the World to change it.

 In order to make the everyday decisions as well as the long-range planning decisions for the economy as a whole, we must have a decision-making system in place. There will need to be town meetings and community assemblies, community. At work, there will be elected management committees and workers’ councils, to coordinate the economy as a whole. It is essential to ensure that a new economic system operates as it's supposed to - to direct human resources to meet human needs, with the least waste and damage to the environment as possible.

Politicians have no useful talents for industrial management, only a socially destructive knack for bamboozling working-class citizens, to help enrich a handful of corporate owners. They are easily done without, as are the capitalists they work for. We can do away with the old system of professional leaders.

The workers' movement must organise politically. Until the majority agrees to change society along these lines, a change cannot take place. A socialist party with a straightforward revolutionary programme will rally the people behind it. Its vote will indicate the level of support reached for their platform, and encourage others to support it. And once it has won a majority of the electorate, the vote will be the legal mandate to transfer ownership of the industries to the people. At that critical point, the socialist party will be in possession of the State and will be in the most strategic position to prevent the political powers - the police and military - from being used against the new government. Political action is thus essential to minimise violence and bloodshed. With the new government secure, and in control of the nation, the old State powers can be dismantled, and, with them, their potential for future mischief.

Most people today discount the possibility of capitalism ever being dethroned. Capitalism, they say, is here to stay. After all, hasn't capitalism already vanquished socialism? The claim of efficiency for capitalism is pure nonsense. Capitalism has given us traffic jams and grid-lock rather than efficient mass-transit systems; a high percentage of potential industrial output standing idle; the incredible waste of planned obsolescence and duplicated effort; dependence on fossil fuels instead of renewable resources; the destruction of our nation's soil and aquifers; depletion of wildlife and fish stocks; the burning of the rainforests; the massive production and use of weapons which destroy wealth rather than create it. The list could be extended almost indefinitely. If some believe capitalism is the best we can do, they should take another look. If they understood capitalism better, they just might learn to hate it more. Many people think that the word capital is just another word for "money" or "wealth." For instance, a person might say something like, "I don't have enough capital to buy a new car. But capital is not just money. In fact, capital doesn't need to be money at all. Capital is wealth that its holder uses to get more wealth. If a company takes a certain amount of its money, its assets, and buys a piece of machinery, has its capital gone down? No. The new machinery has replaced the money as part of its capital. But the machinery is no more capital all by itself than money is. Your car is machinery, but it's not capital. The thing that makes the machinery a company buys into capital is its relation to labour, the workers who operate the machinery. When the workers go to work, they use the machinery to make things. When those things are sold, they are sold for a certain value, all of which has been created by the workers. But the workers don't get all the value their labour adds to the things they make. If they did, there would be no monetary value for the owner of the capital, no profit. It's this social relationship of owners and workers, the relationship that says the workers have to fork over part of the value they produce to the owners as the condition for being allowed to work, that makes wealth into capital.

Capitalism is not a type of government. There are capitalist dictatorships, governed by military strongmen, as well as capitalist republics, governed by elected representatives√Ĺ of the people. The thing that makes them both capitalist is not the particular form of political machinery each has. What makes them capitalist is the economic relationship between the people who work and the people who own the workplaces. Under capitalism, those are two different groups. With socialism, they are one and the same. Under capitalism, those who do all the work are only allowed access to the workplaces and the chance to earn a living on condition that they fork over most of the value they add during the production process to the people who own the workplace. Thus, a person who adds $30 each hour to the product or service he or she works on may only be paid $10 for each hour she works. The rest goes to capital: the owner of the workplace, his banker, insurance company, marketing consultant, etc. To maintain this cosy state of affairs the capitalist class uses its great wealth to control the electoral process and screens out any political candidates who might interfere too much with the very undemocratic running of the nation's workplaces. Whatever the political government does, it is forbidden to really interfere in the economic relationship between workers and owners, or to do anything, however sorely needed by the vast majority of the population, against the basic interests of the owning capitalists.

 Socialism, on the other hand, the workers collectively are also the owners of the economy. All the goods and services created by the people who work belong to the working people who have a democratic say in the running of those workplaces, which is a major advance for democracy. In fact, democracy is the defining characteristic of true socialism. Socialism cannot be given to the workers by a political or intellectual elite, however sincere it may be. Socialist self-management can only be built by the informed and united action of the workers themselves.

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