Capitalism has become an obsolete oppressive system that ought to be got rid of. Capitalism has failed, and so have efforts to reform it. That failure puts the socialist alternative on the immediate agenda. Socialism is a total system. It cannot grow piecemeal within a capitalist society. A relatively small minority presently recognise this and are consciously anti-capitalist, but the majority continue to futilely try to satisfy their needs within the system rather than by overthrowing it.
How does workers’ control of production coexist with control by a ruling class when the means of production in dispute are one and the same? The Socialist Party envisages a society in which there will be no private property, no exchange economy, no classes and no state. The Socialist Party regards the state as the instrument of class rule. It is not the general, impartial representative of all the people, as it is represented to be and as, unfortunately, many people think it is. The state, in its essential features, is the instrument of one class for the suppression of another. The Socialist Party has a single aim, production for the benefit of all. The needs of people, not profit, are the driving force of a socialist society and it will be accomplished by democratising all levels of society.
Under capitalism, labour is a commodity. Workers are used as replaceable parts, extensions of machines—as long as they provide profits and dividends. Employers use their power of ownership to devastate the lives of workers through lay-offs, shut-downs and neglect of health and safety. Unions, despite their efforts, have failed to eliminate even the worst abuses of management power. Socialism relies on the needs and creativity of people. The Socialist Party believe in the ability of working people to manage their own productive institutions democratically.
Because of the fact that capitalist production is profit-production, the accumulation of capital is an accumulation for the sake of accumulation. Capitalism and its class representatives will not release the forces of abundance and abolish profit. They can be released only by socialism. “Revolution” does not mean that we would “demand” that the government or the corporations do this or that. It means that we, the working class take over the running of industry and make the decisions ourselves. When production is geared to social needs rather than profits, it is quite feasible to cope with increased labour productivity by simply reducing the hours of work.
The only experience we have of working for the common good has been in cooperatives and in a few “community projects” providing voluntary services to the public. Everything else is based on people working for wages to produce commodities for sale on the market. Often those end up adopting conventional structures and profit purposes too or remain hopelessly inefficient. When they go under it reinforces the idea that capitalist production is the only system that can really work. We do not just want to re-create the same society within which slaves can manage some of their own affairs. We want to overthrow the slave owners and abolish slavery altogether.
Workers have no stake in the existing nationalist divisions of the world nor would they have a stake in any proposed new ones, they do, however, have a stake in opposing wars.
Whenever we describe socialism, somebody always objects: “You can’t change human nature.” Wrong! Our tasks as socialists are changing human nature away from the distortion that capitalism has made of it. The ruling class wants to preserve its privileges, its interests, its power, its wealth, and its dominion. And so it engages in a very interesting psychological technique called divide and conquers. It’s a weapon designed to make us all hate and resent and compete with each other. And so many of us buy into it. Some people try to escape the system. They try to ignore it, whitewash it, and pretend it doesn’t affect them. You may try to ignore it, but it won’t ignore you. We have to make the change and we can do it through unity. Sooner or later the system is going to bring you into a struggle. Sooner or later you’re going to find yourself in a class war. And you’ll discover you need support and solidarity. We are the people. We are the majority. If we go out and organize, we will change this world, and we must. When people realise the system has turned against them it results in very quick consciousness-raising.
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