Thursday, July 14, 2022

What politics is all about


Although both Labour and Tories have a large core of loyal supporters who would never vote for any other party, there is a vast number of voters who are not committed beforehand. It is these, commonly lumped together as the “floating vote”, who determine which party victory goes to in present day political conditions. The way in which they can ebb and flow is well demonstrated by the fluctuating percentages of support published in the public opinion polls. But even these are often not accurate predictions of the actual results, and elections have been won or lost on developments and events just before the votes are cast.

Most voters think the art of government is some mystical thing which is the prerogative of professional politicians; once they have voted, they are prepared to leave the job to “those who know best” so its no small wonder then that the working class get the government they deserve and leads to disillusionment. What we are after is the establishment of an administration we want—not a government we deserve

From time to time, there arise movements for the reform of the electoral system or, even more misguided, for the total rejection of the electoral system itself. But the adoption of various systems of proportional representation has demonstrated that such reform does not solve the basic problem, as the sway of government still passes between the major parties or major coalitions according to the temper of the day. Although it is possible for more shades of opinion to be represented in the debating chamber, the general effect is usually only leads to greater instability in the government.

Some people think there are fundamental differences between the Labour and Tory parties—others, and this view has gained more credence in recent years —think there is very little difference between them. The latter view is nearer the truth the more we consider fundamental issues; the former view reflects more correctly the views of those who are concerned mainly with surface appearances. It is the fundamental issues which are more important but we should not blind ourselves to the fact that there are considerable differences between Tory and Labour Parties on the ways and means of organising the economics and politics of the country. It is these differences which will decide the result of the next general election.

So how would work, as opposed to employment, seem in a sane socialist society? Well, for a start at least 50 percent, maybe up to 70 percent, of the existing jobs will disappear. In a world of common ownership, money will cease to exist or have any function. All the jobs concerning money—cashiers, bankers, insurance workers, tax collectors, etc, would be totally useless. That’s the majority of the most boring jobs out of the way, then. The abolition of production for profit, and the introduction of production for use, will mean the end of unnecessary long and stressful hours. The line between “work” and leisure will become very hazy, perhaps disappear altogether for some. The fact that work will be socially and individually useful will be a great motivating factor. Ideas, expressions, thoughts and intelligence will be of great value when it comes to designing, building, organising and problem-solving. No longer would we be victims of the needs of the wages system. Human beings will cease to be mere one-dimensional, profit-grinding zombies. Everyone of us has ideas, logic, experience, knowledge, reason and creativity that is of use to others and society in general. And yes, that includes small children, the elderly and the “disabled”. In a fully democratic society we would all be able to contribute on an equal basis (if we so choose) and take according to our self-defined needs.

The working environment will dramatically change too, of course. Being bossed around, getting up far too early, dread, anxiety, working too many hours amidst an unpleasant environment all have a negative psychological and physical effect on us. When people work in a stress-free environment and act on their own free-will they are much more cooperative. Instead of competing for jobs and promotion, which gives rise to a hostile and back-stabbing environment, emphasis will be on cooperation. Even when there are not so exciting jobs to do—cleaning perhaps, the work itself may still be mundane, but working in a co-operative and friendly environment will make whatever work we are engaged in so much more enjoyable. Cleaning can become bearable. Being around people who are enjoying themselves, enthusiastic, cooperative and engaged in socially useful work is a wonderful experience. It may be hard to imagine such experiences being part of everyday life, but don’t think of socialism as a utopia. The only thing which stands in our way is a working-class majority who understands and desires such a society. And who is willing to take the necessary political action to achieve it.

We would argue that workers have nothing to gain from being employed or unemployed. Every time we set foot in the workplace we are being exploited. And to those who want to get rid of such a reactionary society.

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