Over the last few decades have witnessed an increasing number of anti-capitalist, anti-globalisation movements seeking a voice through protest and opposition to the damaging practices of transnational corporations and the institutions of the World Bank, IMF and WTO.
The probability is that the vast majority of these individuals have never studied economics or politics and don’t understand much of the workings of current economic policies, but they certainly do see and feel the results and negative effects of these policies and they have a feel for what is unjust. They share a common desire for a better world, a fairer world. They may not have identified clearly or explicitly what it is they want in this other, better world, but they have undoubtedly recognised much of what they don’t want. Their protests and their slogans are demands to be heard; these are ways of expressing anger, frustration and disagreement with the status quo.
Around the world such groups are voicing many different grievances from many different angles, protesting against the methods and results of worldwide capitalist Big Business. So many different reasons from so many different perspectives; different levels of anger, deprivation, and disenfranchisement.
It would be unrealistic to make broad generalisations about the myriad of individual goals but it’s certainly possible to bring the separate bits and pieces together and view them as perspectives with converging aims. All these fingers may not be poised over exactly the right button but at least they are pointing in the right direction.
It’s about choices. People’s first choice should be socialism. It seems such a small step but a huge paradigm shift. For people focused on life’s necessities – enough food for the family every day, somewhere secure to sleep, healthcare for those who are sick and childcare for increasing numbers of mothers obliged to take a job to pay the bills. It’s hard to focus on the light at the end when the tunnel is long and dark.
So, as socialists, how do we address this last little push, this yawning gap? Let’s not criticise those who haven’t figured it out yet. Let’s harness their strengths and energies. We need first to get people to see the light at the end of the tunnel, recognize it for what it is and then keep focused on heading for it through the darkness of capitalism, in growing numbers, with growing strength in the knowledge that there is a better world, a socialist world.
To those of us interested in social progress, the greatest of evils that have confronted and still confront humanity, is poverty, a cancerous growth that has shattered the lives of workers. Housed in soulless council estates, an exhibition of ugliness, who can but wonder that workers have their senses dulled, and their creative aspirations crushed out of them. Debased through overwork and periodic unemployment, living in conditions of squalor-breeding disease, and having little time to review the world around them, it is understandable why the working class have not yet found a solution to their poverty.
And what of the respectable poverty of those workers who dwell in sweet suburbia? Those workers who surreptitiously scrimp and save in order to keep up appearances. A demoralising existence, but one of respectability which must be maintained at all costs, even if it means apeing in manners, speech and dress the parasitic ruling class. Behind this facade of false jovialness is the growing fear of insecurity. Capitalism is casting a dark shadow of doubt in the minds of workers wherever they live.
The workers receive only sufficient on average to maintain them in efficient working condition. In contrast to this, the capitalists have, in abundance, those things that are denied to the workers. Yet the working class produce everything that is placed on the world market. Workers, it is no use relying on the capitalist class to solve your problems. If they could abolish poverty, they would lose their privileged position, power and prestige.
Our fellow workers do not delve into the roots. It is the socialist who has the solution, and it is the working class who has the power to build a world in which life can be a beautiful adventure. A world where slums and starvation no longer exist.
The Socialist Party since its establishment in 1904 has become the repository of genuine Marxist thought in this country and bases its political practice on the basic tenets of Marxism. We affirm that Marx’s vision of socialism – or communism, for he used the terms interchangeably – was a wage-free, class-free, money-free and state-free, a world wherein the machinery of production and the resources of nature would be owned in common by humanity and wherein the state as an apparatus of government over people would give way to a simple administration of things.
As Marx made clear, the very nature of his conception of socialism precluded any form of minority violence; socialism would necessarily have to be established by the conscious, democratic action of the working class – the producers of all real wealth – and be maintained by the most wide-ranging forms of participative democracy. Marx devoted much time and energy to repudiating the views of those who urged terrorism on the working class as a means of resolving any facet of its exploitation.