Friday, August 05, 2022

Organising for Revolution


The propertied class will, under pressure, do various small things to meet working-class discontent, but they will never get off the workers’ backs until a majority determines to have socialism. Our future world will be very much like the dystopian world that we live under now unless the working-class chooses otherwise.

During humanity's early history, when society was in the stage of primitive communism, there were no classes and no class struggles. Then—and the period must have lasted for thousands of years—private property was unknown, all members of the tribe joining in the ownership of the hunting grounds and fishing waters. The proceeds of the chase were for the enjoyment of every member of the tribe. Thanks to this ownership in common there was no monopolising of resources and wealth by one section of the community to the detriment of another. No person could live by the exploitation of others. Agriculture and the domestication of animals brought to an end this first stage of mankind’s history. Now tribes conquered others with the express purpose of converting the vanquished into slaves. They were brought home and set to work on the fields The conquerors owned the animals and the land; the conquered were propertyless. Thus did private property arise and with it came classes and man’s exploitation by man. Since that time the history of all society is the history of class struggles, a conflict between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” With the advent of private property and farming, came more permanent dwelling places, and exchange of products, the domination of tribe by tribe, and the growth of privileged and ruling classes. Whereas formerly man’s struggle for existence represented a unified battle against the elements, the fight for survival now took the form of man against man, class against class, state against state. No longer did men and women live a harmonious and cooperative life. The road to prosperity was now littered with the weaker and less fortunate over whom the successful had to step.

In wartime and during economic crises appeals are made to the exploited, the working class, to abandon the class struggle. Isn't it strange how the workers are always held responsible for the class struggle. Yet class division owes its origin to private property, the corner-stone of capitalist society. The class struggle exists because of the clash of interests between the workers and their masters. That the interests of these two classes are opposed is quite clear if we take one aspect of it. The worker sells his energies, his labour-power, to the capitalist. Over the price of this and over the length of time it shall belong to the capitalist, there is bound to be disagreement. The worker, living on the starvation line, wants the best price (wage) he or she can get; the capitalist, seeking to produce his wares cheaply so that he can sell them in the world market, wants to reduce production costs. He, therefore, tries to keep wages down. Strikes and lockouts, both as old as capitalism, are evidence of the class struggle.

We can say with confidence, therefore, that such appeals are in vain. The workers are compelled by the very nature of capitalism to wage the class struggle in order to maintain their standard of life. This they are forced to do, even if they do not understand the economics of capitalism, even if they are not politically minded.  There can be no check the outbreak of the class struggle, either by words, government decrees or brute force. Nothing less than the abolition of that which gives rise to classes will accomplish that—the abolition of private property.

 A class-free society, devoid of strife, can only be assured by socialism alone. The means of production can to-day pour our abundance. The truth of this is evident when one remembers that though so many millions are under arms and so many more millions engaged m turning out weapons of destruction, the world still carries on. The Socialist Party urges that the way to end the class struggle is to make the productive forces the property of all society. This would immediately remove the cause of classes and conflict. This remedy, the only one, is, of course, opposed by the capitalist class. Their interests and privileges are at stake. The task, then, of effecting this economic transformation rests with the working class, and sooner or later the workers of all nations will be obliged to undertake it.

Beginning in the economic field over such particular questions as hours of work and wages, the struggle becomes a political struggle. The workers must win political power in order to carry through their revolution. As time goes on the working class will realise more and more that this is their historical mission. The workers will become ever more critical of capitalist society. Every sphere of present-day society will be carefully scrutinised by them as their class consciousness grows. When the majority of the workers become aware that class struggles need no longer be, that is, when they have become socialists, they will use political power to abolish private property. Capitalism will be replaced by a harmonious social system—Socialism.

When we have common ownership of the means of life, the individuals' interest will coincide. Then, at last, strife and turmoil, so characteristic of capitalism, will no longer impede humanity’s progress. With a society united and each giving according to his ability, who can say what will be the limits of society’s progress?

The working class will carry the class struggle to its logical conclusion.

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