Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Freedom Now - The Need for World Socialism

In all corners of the world today great battles are breaking out between labour and capital. The capitalists are not only beset by class struggles. They are at each other’s throats as well. There is no reason to believe that the situation is going to improve in the near future. On the contrary, everything indicates that it will get even worse. There is no way out of today’s economic crisis because it is caused by the anarchy inherent to the capitalist system itself. It is caused by the contradiction between the private ownership of the means of production and the social character of that production. This social character, along with the gradual integration of the world economy, means that production, if it is to function properly, requires social control over the means of production, that is, economic planning and consideration of social realities in the organization of production. But the owners of the means of production, the capitalists and more particularly the big monopolies, are beyond all control; they in fact have ultimate control and the result is periodic crises. People who say we can reform our way out of the current crises are either liars or ignoramuses. The capitalist class and its state are bound to try to drive down workers’ living standards, and no amount of soft-soap can hide that fact. 


The capitalists have no solution except the suppression of the working-class movement. Working people aspire to completely change this society of exploitation and oppression. The ceaseless struggles which they have waged and are waging on a variety of fronts are irrefutable proof of this. The capitalist class is no longer fit to run society. Capitalism is the main obstacle preventing progress towards a new society in which there will be a good living standard and a rich political and cultural life for all working people and their families; the basic problem of present-day society can only be solved by a social revolution.  The capitalist system must be overturned and replaced by the socialist system and the abolition of class divisions.  A tradition of fighting class against class has run through the Peasants’ Revolt, the Levellers, the Diggers, and the Chartists.


Historically, capitalism broke down the old individual forms of production and replaced them with cooperative labour; it developed the productive forces to a tremendous extent, but those processes only took place along with the concentration of ownership of means of producing wealth into the hands of a small number of individuals and the conversion of peasants, artisans and others into a propertyless proletariat, only able to exist by selling its labour-power to the capitalist class. Capitalists buy workers’ labour-power at its value (that is, the bare minimum necessary for workers to live and bring up a new generation of workers to take their places), for wages. Proletarians are then obliged to work not only to produce enough to cover the price of their labour power (which includes the value of their labour-power) but also produces surplus value, which is the source of the capitalists’ profit. Capitalists realise their profit by selling the commodities produced by the workers, although at times the products cannot be sold in fact, and periodic crises of over-production are the result.

Thus, the capitalist system is a parasite on society and is maintained entirely by the labour of working people. This can only happen because capitalists possess a monopoly of the means of production, and their control is backed up by the powers of the state. In general, the state has the character of the class which is dominant in the prevailing mode of production, and thus all the actions it takes will serve that class. This means, in our time, that any attempt to put an end to the capitalist system must include the capture of the political power of the capitalist state if it is to succeed.

Reformists have claimed that it is possible to do away with the “bad side” of capitalism and preserve its “good side”, but this has always been impossible. The motive force of the capitalist system, independent of the wishes of individual capitalists, is the drive for profit, which can only be obtained by the exploitation of the working class. The very best that the working class can win under the capitalist order – and then only by unceasing struggles – is to be expected on slightly better terms, and even this becomes less and less possible during periods of crisis.

The working-class lives by the sale of its labour-power, has little property and stands at the crucial core of the production process. The working class sells its labour-power to the capitalist class in order to survive and its surplus-labour provides the capitalists with their profits and with the other costs of production, including those of administration.  

A revolutionary situation will arise when the bourgeoisie is unable to continue ruling in the old way, and the proletariat is not prepared to go on in the old way. The socialist revolution is the achievement of the majority of workers, and cannot possibly be carried out “on their behalf” by a few individual leaders or by terror. Through the socialist revolution, the working class will take power and will have the responsibility to make decisions on all matters. The economy will be rationally planned, in an ecologically balanced, holistic way.  Profits will no longer be the goal so that goods will be produced for use and not as commodities that must be sold to provide profits for a few.  Consequently, the cyclical crises of capitalism will disappear. The initiative and creative energy of working people will be released. All means of production, distribution and exchange will come under common ownership. The working people will take over the actual work of management and, even more important, economic planning will be carried out through democratic consultation.

Community life will be developed so that children and old people will play a greater part in society; more and more household chores will be taken on as a community responsibility, and a spirit of co-operation and comradeship will be fostered. The well-being of the whole of society will be the condition for the healthy development of its individual members. Capitalism, contrary to its claims, represses the potentialities of the great majority of people; these can only be developed under socialism. Socialism will fulfil people’s rising expectations and needs. Unemployment, poverty, inflation and hunger will become things of the past forever. People will give according to their abilities and take according to their needs. The abolition of classes is the fundamental goal. 

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