Thursday, May 26, 2022

What do we mean by socialism?


Most people’s ideas of what socialism would be like have been formed wither by the tyranny in the former Soviet Union or the experiences of the Labour Party or other ‘left-wing’ governments, a view that socialism is a one-party bureaucracy or a mishmash of palliative reforms. The Socialist Party, however, has as its task to educate the millions of our fellow workers on how society can be reorganised to put an end to poverty and injustice once and for all. Once socialism has been achieved and capitalism has been ended worldwide, the immense resources of our planet will be harnessed for the peoples’ needs. The State will wither away and a  new era of true freedom and a united humanity. We face two choices – either accept capitalism or set out to overturn this system. 

A great unanswered question with far-reaching implications and consequences for the world is why the socialist movement has not made substantial progress. Socialism is not a complicated idea even if not widely understood. It has not gained significant support from the working class. The socialist movement is weak and uninfluential. Socialism is not inevitable. What has been termed its ‘inevitability’ consists in this, that only through socialism can human progress continue? But there is not and cannot be any absolute deterministic inevitability in human affairs, since mankind makes its own history and chooses what to do. The Socialist Party does not tell us that socialism will come regardless, but that it explains to us where we stand, and what course lies open to us. It is not here dismissing the importance of achieving reforms or protecting civil liberties, but rather correcting the misconception that socialism can be won through improving or democratising part of the system without getting rid of the capitalist system in its entirety. Socialism is about working people being willing and able to fight for a society free of exploitation a. If socialism is not about creating a society without exploitation then it is merely another word for capitalism. And if working people are not willing or able to fight for such a society then, no matter what meaning we give the word, socialism is unattainable.

It is time to act and show the power of the workers. Time to prove we are not pawns in a deathly game of chess. We have the power of the vote. Our power also lies in the factories, in the trade unions and outside in our communities and streets. It is time to develop the will to use that power. Unity of purpose and action can develop power and a fighting force that no other power can destroy. We have to prove we are free men and women. Working people, united and determined, are strong enough by their own actions to banish capitalism and pave the path toward a new, free socialist way of life.

Being a socialist consists not merely in recognising the trend of social evolution from capitalism to socialism, and to hasten the day. It consists not merely holding the vision that life will be an improvement with socialism; that human behaviour, crippled in the class society, will assert itself and change for the better. Being a socialist consists in not waiting for its actual realisation, but in striving, here and now, insofar as the circumstances of class society permit, to live like a socialist under capitalism according to the higher standards of the socialist future.

The economic foundation of capitalist class rule is the private ownership of the necessaries for production. The overthrow of class rule means the overthrow of the political State and its substitution in which the necessaries for production are collectively owned and operated by and for the people. Goals determine methods. The goal of social evolution is the final overthrow of class rule, its methods must fit the goal. The objective of socialists is the abolition of man’s exploitation by man. Socialism can only come about when the working class itself takes control of the means of producing wealth and uses this to transform society.

You cannot build an island of socialism in a sea of capitalism. Attempts by small groups to cut themselves off and lead their lives according to socialistic ideas always fail  in the long term – for a start, the economic and ideological pressures are always there.


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