Thursday, September 02, 2021

We must teach one another


Within the World Socialist Movement, there is no advocacy of state ownership of the industries. There is no belief that political government should nationalise the industries, under the leadership of a supposed working-class party. The goal, rather, is direct democratic control of all industries and services by the workers united in an association of a cooperative commonwealth. The socialist political parties that constitute the WSM have but one thing to do upon winning control of the political offices, and that is to transfer all management authority to the workers' administrations and, in so doing, abolish all political forms of power, including the abolition of the socialist political party itself, without delay. The WSM calls for a complete change in the structure of government, creating local, regional and global networks consisting of delegates elected by neighbourhood and workers’ councils in manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, education, health, recreation, etc. Industrial democracy is to replace the political form of parliamentary democracy. The World Socialist Movement agree partially with the anarchists, insofar as to say that a truly class-free society must also be state-free, and have no coercive power that is distinct from and ruling over the populace. As Engels has written that, with socialism, "the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things." 

The WSM differs from anarchists and syndicalists in our insistence that the working class can only abolish the state by first capturing control of it. The working people must come to control the offices of political government (i.e., the coercive and nationalist-based form of government) in order to dismantle it. Therefore, the working class requires organisation in the political field. The ballot raises the workers’ movement above the level of a conspiracy. Without the use of the present constitutional method, the social revolution would have to be violent, either involving the slaughter of participants or the transformation of the mass movement into elite vanguardism of cadres. The WSM continues to insist that modifications to the surface forms of the social system by reforms cannot bring about structural change and fellow workers should not be distracted  with "palliatives." Labour parties and progressive liberals have failed to focus on the need for a revolutionary reconstruction, and possess a diluted political program with calls for gradual reforms which imply the continuation of capitalism. The goal of abolishing "the wage system" is abandoned and the aim of "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work" is adopted.

The members of the World Socialist Movement affirm, as a fundamental principle, that labour is the creator of wealth and is entitled to all it creates. They accept the logical conclusion of such as the overthrow of the whole profit-making system, the extinction of the exchange economy, the abolition of classes and the obliteration of poverty. We declare war upon wage slavery which robs workers and gorges capitalists.

Socialism is the common ownership by all the people of the factories, mines, transport, land and all other instruments of production. Socialism means production to satisfy human needs, not, as under capitalism, for sale and profit. Socialism means democratic control and management of the industries and social services by the workers where all authority will originate from the workers. Such a system would make possible the fullest democracy and freedom. It would be a society based on the most primary freedom, economic freedom. Socialism does not mean government or state ownership. It does not mean a state bureaucracy as in the former Soviet Union or China, with the working class oppressed by a new bureaucratic class. It does not mean a party-run system without democratic rights. It does not mean nationalisation, or even cooperatives, or state capitalism of any kind. It means a complete end to all capitalist social relations. To win the struggle for socialist freedom requires enormous efforts of organisational and educational work. It requires building a political party of socialism to contest the power of the capitalist class on the political field and to educate the majority of workers about the need for socialism. You are needed by the Socialist Party fighting for a better world. Find out more about the work of the Socialist Party and join us to help make the promise of socialism a reality.

The capitalist economic system lies at the root of all of modern society's major social AND economic problems. Abolish strife-breeding capitalism and those problems are either eradicated or left to die, for lack of nourishment, on the ugly vine from which they spring. The Socialist  Party has long contended that only socialism can solve the major social and economic problems plaguing our society today. But many people have been taught all their lives that "socialism" means the state-controlled system that existed in the Soviet Union, exists today in China or Cuba, or bureaucratic state control of society in general. World socialism upheld by the Socialist Party, however, is completely different from the Soviet or Chinese systems, Cuban or any existing system. It has nothing to do with nationalisation, a welfare state or any kind of state ownership or control of industry whatsoever. World socialism would give power not to the state, but to the people themselves, allowing collective control of their own economic future.

Socialism means a class-free society. Unlike under capitalism, where a tiny minority owns the vast majority of wealth and the means of producing it, everyone would share equally in the ownership of all the means of production, and everyone able to do so would work. There wouldn't be separate classes of owners and workers. The economy would be administered by the workers themselves through industrially based, democratic "associations of free and equal producers," as Marx described it.

The workers collectively would decide what they want to be produced and how they want it produced. They would control their own workplaces and make the decisions governing their particular industry. With the abolition of the capitalist expropriation of the lion's share of workers' product, all workers would receive, directly or indirectly, the full value of the products they create, minus only the deductions needed to maintain and improve society's facilities of production and distribution.

As Engels once described it, socialism would be a system in "which every member of society will be enabled to participate not only in the production but also in the distribution of social wealth."

Far from being a state-controlled society, socialism would be a society WITHOUT A STATE. Marx once said that "the existence of the state is inseparable from the existence of slavery." Consonant with this truth, socialism would have management, but not a separate, coercive body standing above society itself -- a state. The people themselves, through the democratic associations of workers, would BE ruling.

Socialism can only be built in a developed, industrialised society with a working-class majority. The Bolshevik and Chinese revolutions weren't socialist in character. They occurred in pre-industrial societies. Without a majority working class and the ability to eliminate scarcity of needed goods and services, the creation of a class-free society was impossible. Material conditions there bred conflict and made the continuation of the class struggle inevitable in such countries.

In a socialist revolution, the industrially organised workers take possession of the means of production, abolish capitalist-class rule and supplant the state with "associations of free and equal producers." 

In the Bolshevik and Chinese revolutions, an elite "vanguard" party seized control of the state and used the state to control the means of production. Instead of establishing a class-free society, the party-state bureaucracy became a new ruling class.

A socialist political party is needed to educate the working class and to recruit workers to the socialist cause. But a political party isn't suited to carry out the primary objective of socialism -- to bring the workers into collective control over all social production and distribution.

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