Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Class Conscious

 Today the workers are facing a ruthless capitalist offensive. They must fight against rampant unemployment, against wage cuts and speedups, and against the deterioration of schools, health care, pensions and all social benefits. 

The Socialist Party explains the cause of all these catastrophes. It shows that it is the capitalist system, the system of private ownership by a few robber barons of the factories, mines and mills built by the working millions, that causes all this misery. The facts are these: the masters are out to exploit the workers as much as possible, and the workers strive to secure as much as they can of their products for their own consumption; the masters are out to reduce the workers to slave status, and the workers to achieve the dignity of free men and women.  It is the story of the merciless class war between the haves and the have-nots. In this war, the have-nots, have only one weapon of self-defence -- the weapon of class struggle.

Socialism will be possible only when the workers, those who meet the needs of society, decide that they are determined to lay the living conditions of mankind on a new foundation. The whole future of humanity rests on the emergence of the working people as the creative force in society. 

Capitalists and the propertied have control over all means of subsistence; they regulate production, and they rule society. Workers, always threatened by poverty and always in danger of being unemployed must of necessity endure the conditions it suits their masters to impose.  We live in a world where a few have it all and the rest have nothing. Those who have nothing are allowed to live only because it pleases the former, and in return for their labour, they receive the minimum required to allow them to render the services demanded of them.  The mere fact that strikes happen shows that the workers have a certain awareness of their rights and there is a level of suffering past which they refuse to go. This is why the strike has become such an important factor in history.

While it is true that the capitalists control all means of subsistence and can call upon the entire machinery of the state to guarantee their possession and unimpeded use of those means—without which the workers can neither work nor survive—it is also true that the workers have greater numbers and that they alone have the effective capacity to produce. Ultimately, therefore, there is no doubt that, if the workers wanted, they could demand the entire product of their labours and thus radically transform the existing social order.  The fact that the masters know that they cannot exploit the worker beyond a given limit without triggering a backlash damaging to their own interests is what sets a limit upon exploitation.

The misery of unemployment is a big burden on the shoulders of all the workers, employed and unemployed. For the capitalists, however, it means big profits. A desperate army of unemployed is a weapon in the hands of the employers for squeezing more exploitation out of the workers still on the job. In turn, this produces yet more victims for the ever-expanding ranks of the unemployed. The longer the breadlines, come the more demands for wage cuts, work rule changes and other concessions.  The bosses' message is clear: either work harder and faster for less or join the dole queue. Nothing can be expected from the profit-hungry capitalists but more foodbanks.

However, we should not believe that strikes suffice to solve the social question, or even improve the conditions of all workers in a serious and enduring way. No matter how determined the workers might be to rebel against living conditions that fall below a certain standard, with production organized as it presently is, there are even stronger circumstances at work crushing all possible resistance. The swelling numbers of the unemployed, crises, and relocation of industries will persist as long as private property and production for profit endure, and poverty will merely swing between the highest and the lowest point without ever going away, forcing workers to travel the same treadmill over and over again.

While they wage the daily struggle of labour resistance, the resistance societies must also aim at a higher target: the transformation of the system of ownership and production. Socialists arraign the present system of production for profit, in that our health and lives are directly and detrimentally affected. Our struggle is to transform production for profit for the few to production for an ever-expanding system of a rich and wholesome life for the benefit of the society of producers.  We have philosophy, economics and history on our side calling for the surrender of the capitalists.

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