Friday, June 24, 2022

Socialism and Mutual Aid


Socialism is a doctrine which gives an adequate explanation of the whole course of civilisation. Thus destroying the fallacious arguments of the capitalist theoreticians, the doctrine was essential to the interests of the working class. Not only did this doctrine give a clear demonstration of the inconsistencies of the opponents of socialism, but furthermore when showing their mistakes it supplied a historical explanation of these errors.

Just as Darwin enriched the natural sciences with his work on the Origin of Species, a theory simple and scientific, so the founders of socialism showed that in the development of the forces of production, and in the struggle of these forces against the social condition of production, there was implicit the principle of the transformation of social species. It must not be supposed that socialism is an absolute truth. Obviously even today the development of socialism is not finished. That development did not come to an end with the writings of Marx and Engels, any more than the theory of the Origin of Species was worked out once and out for all. Socialism is based upon the Materialist Conception of History. This means that it explains ethical and moral history as the outcome of the development of social relations, partly influenced by the natural environment.

To hold the view that mankind is a product of one's environment, that humanity is moulded by its surroundings, is not enough to account for the social differences. The environment itself is a complex of contradictions. It is not the consciousness of men which determines their existence, but conversely their social existence which determines their consciousness; so that people by acting on natural forces outside themselves and changing them at the same time, change their own nature.

Capitalism with its tremendous potentiality has made it possible to provide all members of world society with their needs of life to transform this potentiality into an accomplished fact. This is the historic mission of the working class. To change the basis of society from its present capitalist form to one of common ownership and democratic control, and so harmonise the present form of social production with one of social ownership in order that goods and services shall be freely available to all mankind. To bring about this change in the basis of society it is imperative that the working class (that is those who are dependent on wages or salaries in order to live) shall take control of political power in order that this power, at present being used to maintain capitalism, shall be so shaped and altered to the needs of the new society.

When we see how slowly the majority of workers the world over learn the facts of capitalist life and the need to end the system and establish a worldwide class-free society in its place, we can take comfort in the fact that there must be magic in the very name of socialism. Even if it is used up to now only to cloak the hideous reality of capitalism, there are many rulers who realise that the time has come to pay lip-service. There are still many people who will tell you that the British NHS offers the best medical attention, for patients of all social strata, in the world. In fact, nearly all its original claims have proved to be miserably false.  It was once boasted that the NHS would provide free specialist treatment for all and that the needy would not have to suffer ill health anymore because of their poverty. But now, with waiting periods of months for specialist appointments and years for routine operations, this is an empty promise. When told of these waiting lists workers often ask how much it would cost to “go private” and so have their case dealt with much sooner. When told the probable fee, some struggle to find it and others turn away amazed and disappointed. 

Taking over political power under these circumstances will be a revolutionary act. Nevertheless, it must be a democratic act, a deliberate act by class-conscious men and women, a class scorning the idea of leadership, a class which will instruct its delegates to work for the abolition of the working class, and thus abolish class society, and bring into being the new society. Capitalism will continue. And continue it will until you and a majority like you take the revolutionary step of deciding to abolish capitalism in all its forms and to bring into being a new society.

No comments: