If men and women understood what socialism really is and means they would flock to the socialist movement. They would strive just as hard for the advancement of the socialist idea as any capitalist ever schemed for profits because socialism is the only hope in the world for working people.
It is necessary to repeat a truism that few people can deny, but many forget. There are two classes in society.
The capitalist class owns the factories, farms, transport, communications and all the machinery for producing wealth
The working class who are forced to sell their energies to the private property owners, because they, the workers, do not own the means and instruments of wealth production, and are propertyless.
There is a clash of interests within capitalism. On the one hand, workers organise in the industrial field in trade unions to struggle for better working conditions, and higher wages while capitalists strive to force wages down. Conditions are favourable for workers in their struggle if there is little unemployment and unfavourable when there is widespread high unemployment.
Under capitalism and against capitalism you can demand nothing more essential, more definite, and more encompassing than the abolition of classes, i.e., the abolition of all exploitation. What to some appears as the antagonism between rich and poor, is in reality the class antagonism between the exploiting owners of the production apparatus and the non-possessing exploited workers. We, the workers, are the exploited class. And we demand and fight for, mastery over the production apparatus, where under common ownership in a class-free society true equality will be established. Socialism is the international movement of the working class to abolish the wage system. It is a revolutionary movement OF THE WORKERS, BY the workers and FOR the workers.
A person who works for wages is a slave, worse than a slave, for a slave can always look to a master to be fed, clothed and housed. The wage-worker is forced to get a job – to sell one’s working strength to a boss or beg, starve or steal.
Men and women can never be free or independent as long as they have to beg the idlers for a chance to work. The man who owns your job owns you. Generally, he will pay you barely enough to live on, while he keeps for himself all the things you make.
And we workers make everything in the world. There is nothing fine, valuable, beautiful, or useful that is used by men and women, no matter who they are, that is not made by the hands and the brains of workingmen or women.
But we are not permitted to enjoy these things. The bosses claim them all. They only give us (in wages) enough to eke out a poor existence.
The whole secret of our slavery lies in the fact that a few people OWN THE FACTORIES, the MINES, the MILLS, the LAND the TRANSPORTATION and the COMMUNICATIONS.
Socialism proposes that the workers who operate the industries shall OWN them in common – that men and women shall work for themselves and shall own the things they make without DIVIDING UP with any property owners. This is socialism in a nutshell. If you are an unhappy miserable worker living from hand to mouth and in constant fear of losing your job, it ought to sound good to you.
There is no way out for workers within the framework of capitalism. Struggle as they may improve their lot, and they do sometimes get a few crumbs. Here lies the root of the trouble. When the majority of workers become class-conscious nothing will prevent them from overthrowing and replacing capitalism by the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments of wealth production, which presupposes a money-free, class-free society, in which people will have access to all the good things that society can produce.
Is this too much to ask of those who produce but do not possess? Only you can judge. Would that we could circulate our literature wide and far. Would that our words carry to each one of you weary wage-slaves the message of socialism. Socialism is the movement of your class, the WORKING CLASS. Join it and help yourself and every other workingman and woman to free themselves from wage-slavery.
WORKERS AWAKE FROM YOUR SLUMBERS—YOU HAVE A WORLD TO GAIN.
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