Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Socialism is Needed

 Let us take a look at the world today. What do we see? A world where most must struggle to make ends meet, while a select few reap the rewards from their labour by virtue of what they own. They do not work any harder than your average worker, yet the surplus-value of the blood, sweat and tears of the world’s labourers goes to this parasite class. The benefits of working in such a society are centralised for the benefit of one exploiting class. The bread-crumbs, in the form of wages and salaries, are what workers must compete for in the labour market. It is like a lottery, in that many will enter, but few will actually “win.”

Imagine now a society in which the worker, instead of working for the profit ends of a private owner or government department works instead for the benefit of other workers. So, rather than working for someone else’s profit ends, or competing for more bread-crumbs than your neighbour, you are working for your own benefit in the context of being part of a broader society. Why is this so? It is because your work (along with everyone else’s) will work to increase overall production in society, whose rewards will be enjoyed by the society as a whole. As a member of that society, as a worker under socialism, you are entitled to work and share in the products of that work. It is in this way that socialism will work to meet the needs and wants of all members of society in a way that capitalist exploitation cannot.

The question changes from “how can I make a profit” or “how can I make ends meet” to “how can I help while enjoying what I do?” This change in the essential question that guides work is brought about through the construction of socialist relations to the means of production, as well as the consciousness of workers in society. As the working masses no longer have to worry about going hungry doing the work they do, they are allowed to decide for themselves what work they want to undertake. In addition, they will have every resource they need to undertake this new work, including public education through graduate school, healthcare and daycare services for their children, housing and job entitlements. It is with these considerations that workers will have the freedom to do the work they want to do.

In socialism, the social priorities are different. Rather than capitalism’s carrot and stick, the necessary risk of unemployment under capitalism to force workers to take on labour which is inadequately compensated (and therefore, undesirable) compared to the decadence enjoyed by those who best help advance the ends of capitalist profit, the emphasis in socialism is on the work that is needed for the betterment of social conditions. The bottom line is that every worker in socialism has their individual interests invested in the success of socialism. In order to protect these individual and collective interests, the worker is encouraged to take up that work that best suits current social needs. The force which would provide this encouragement is socialist consciousness, the understanding that one’s personal ambitions must coincide with those of the masses of the proletariat if anyone is to meet their needs.

Everything that happens birth, death and all the stuff in between are treated as commodities, purchased, rented and leased as units of marketable goods. In this economy, the creation of profit for the minority comes first and foremost and benefits for the majority public is secondary. The motivating force of the capitalist system is the never-ending quest for profits and accumulation. It must continually expand. It impacts every aspect of people's lives. We can’t just reform the current system. There can be no lasting solution to the world’s economic and environmental crises as long as capitalism remains the social system on this planet.

People demanding change are not united in focusing on the political economics at the root of most global problems but they are moving in that direction. This shows that many can understand the situation.  Because of the crisis, people are actually questioning capitalism because they’re being forced to. Capitalist "truths" are being delegitimatised by experience on the ground. People are talking, reading, and thinking.  Many people understand that we have reached a critical turning point that demands a radical change in how and why we produce the means of supporting life to the advantages of a shrinking minority which amasses incredible wealth while the vast majority are living in or fast approaching a status close to poverty.

 How do we unite in a way where we keep the diversity of multiple movements but still work together in solidarity? The answer is a common vision. If a movement does not have some vision of what it wants to become, it cannot know whether it is heading in the right direction or not. Capitalism constantly throws up alternative futures for itself. There is so much mythologized that ignorance is more common than knowledge even among the best informed.

Many speculate and forecast the future where the liberatory hopes of the past and the confidence in the collective power of our class has given way to uncertain hope and pessimism. The idea that the worse things get, the better they will be for revolutionary prospects dominates the thinking of some on the Left. If conditions become dire, then the blinkers with fall from the eyes of the misled masses are their logic. So if worsening conditions make it more favourable for radical change, then it requires these "radicals" to make matters worse to hasten the break-down, regardless that it brings repression down upon others and lends itself to developing various forms of authoritarianism within the Left. 

Periods of radical social upheaval have followed economic crises. But there is nothing preordained that suffering and lower living standards automatically prompt workers to radical collective action. Workers can seek different ways to cope, some of which would not win the approval of the Left. Historically, workers often take actions, even collective ones, to shut other workers out of better jobs based on race, ethnicity, or gender—such as “hate strikes” by white workers against the hiring or promotion of workers of colour. Innumerable acts of solidarity and resistance, of course, mark the history of capitalism. But they are not the only recourse to which members of the working class resort in hard times. It behoves socialists to construct a politics that categorically rejects this catastrophism. No amount of fire and brimstone can substitute for the often-protracted, difficult, and frequently unrewarding work of building up workers class consciousness. No serious socialist group can afford to abandon socialist education.

The science of ecology gives us powerful tools for understanding how nature functions — as interrelated, integrated ecosystems. It gives us essential insights into humanity’s impact on the environment, but it lacks a serious political social analysis. There exists a reformist fallacy that capitalists foreseeing an environmental apocalyptical future would stop investing their capital in unethical enterprises. Capitalists are the servants (“the functionaries” as Marx described them) of capital. They cannot but accumulate more and more capital: that is their function. Let us suppose that many capitalists do perceive that their interests are facing an ecological threat. What good would it do them to withdraw their capital? The capitalists are incapable of class unity, and no sooner would one withdraw investment than another would take his place as a new functionary of capital.

Socialism can make an ecologically balanced world possible, which is impossible under capitalism. The needs of people and the planet will be the driving forces of the economy, rather than profit. It will set about restoring ecosystems and re-establishing agriculture and industry based on environmentally sound principles. The only way we can change the world is to be fighting for the goal of socialism today. The longer we take to get started, the harder it will be

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