Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Why Are We Here?


Capitalism is the system of society which dominates the world today. It is a system where, either privately or through the State, the capitalist class own and control the means of production. It is a system of riches and poverty, of slums and palaces
.  It is through the exploitation of the working class that all the wealth of the world is produced. Capitalism denies workers access to the wealth they create beyond the extent of their wages. Truly it is a system where wealth concentrates in the hands of a few, where the market and the profit motive are supreme. Human need must come second in a society that lives on profits.The only possible solution is to change society. What is the fundamental change that we stand for? Briefly, we wish to establish a system of society where every single person will be able to take freely from the store of social wealth whatever he or she needs. Such a system — which we call “free access” — means quite simply what it says: there will be no restrictions (such as are imposed today by the size of your wage-packet or salary cheque) on the amount of goods or services which any individual consumes, enjoys or uses. We maintain that an abundance of wealth, which such a system implies, could quite easily be produced if production were motived by the desire to satisfy people’s needs, not by profit as at present. Profit acts as a barrier to production, since if a thing cannot be sold at a profit, it will quite simply not be produced, no matter how many people would like it.

Anyone who believes that capitalism can ever be made to work more humanely is being both naive and idealistic. Greed, envy and theft, are intrinsic to capitalism. Price and profit dictate in capitalism what pleasure and purpose will dictate in socialism. Capitalism’s obsession with ownership has in this case indisputably prevented significant technological progress. In socialism, the maxim “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs” will transform the character and quality of human existence. People will be able to choose the sort of work they most enjoy and be creative to the best of their ability. People will be glad to give their best and take the best of everyone else. William Morris describes his vision of socialism as when work will become the ultimate form of art. In socialism, with its culture of free cooperation and sharing, there is no conception of private property ‘rights’.

Socialism is not a market economy. It is (as developed in Engels's Socialism, Utopian & Scientific) a society where money has become superfluous because the means of production are completely under social control. All labor is voluntary, everyone has free access to whatever goods and services are available. Marx’s  alternative to capitalism was one in which the relation of production would be that of an association of free producers. Freely associated individuals would treat ‘their communal, social productivity as their social wealth,’ producing for the needs of all. We need to remember the destination of our movement.  If you don’t know where you want to go, then no road will take you there. The goal that that Socialist Party has always sought is one in which people relate to each other as members of a human family, a world of human solidarity where  we have “an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” In order to call up the concept of “socialism” as Marx used it in the 19th Century, it is also now necessary to add a qualifier. The qualifier is “non-market.” Without that qualifier, the word “socialism” means many different things to different speakers.

Socialists have sometimes called government “the executive committee of the capitalist class.” For that reason, the World Socialist Movement does not envision any role in socialist society for government per se, but anticipates that the men and women living in socialism will devise some method of managing affairs, with the necessary administrative authority but no coercive power.

Socialism is a world-wide community with common interests. Where the land, and all the means of production will be owned by mankind as a whole, with democratic control. Where the sole motive for production will be the satisfaction of your needs. Simply put — bread will be baked because people want to eat it — just that. Money will play not part at all in this society because there will be no need for money. Decisions by the community will be taken on their merits. The wages system will be abolished along with all the other stupid trappings of the present system. Socialism will be a system of co-operation; where each will give according to ability and take according to need. Mankind with its knowledge, harnessed to the riches of the earth, is capable of producing abundance. Why be satisfied with a world of shortages?

Socialism cannot be introduced by waving a magic political wand. It will be the outcome of understanding and hard work; your understanding, your hard work.  We ask you to study our ideas, and, if you agree with them, to make contact with our local branches so that you can find out more about them.

We are not asking you to vote for the Socialist Party because you are fed up with the others or because you think we should be given a chance. We only want your support if you agree with our case, our object and declaration of principles. Socialism means a way of life where the whole world and its resources will be held in common by all mankind. A classless world community with production solely for use and free access according to need. No longer will wages, markets and profits blight and restrict our lives. People will co-operate to produce an abundance — and then enjoy it. Socialism will be run democratically; that is why we have always stressed the need for understanding. Your support can help decide whether the misery of capitalism will continue.

Dictatorship of Capital (music)


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Age of Scarcity v The Age of Abundance

 Imagine that if all needs and desires could be met on the principle of free provision. Socialism is not something that is going to be or could be, introduced for people, but something that they are going to have to establish by themselves in full awareness of what they are doing and why. The people who establish socialism will understand that, in a society where goods and services will be freely and permanently available in relative abundance, hoarding or grabbing will be pointless.

Socialism is a society without money where people work as a social duty and wages are unnecessary ( ‘to each according to need.’). Money is no longer needed to acquire goods and work is voluntary (‘to each according to need.’) Socialism will be a system without the market and all members of society will have equal control over decision-making. Production to satisfy human needs is possible, but it requires a fundamental social change to make it a reality. Basically, all that is in and on the earth must become the common property of everyone. In other words, there must no longer be any territorial rights or any private property rights over any part of the globe. The farms, factories, mines and all other places where wealth is produced will not belong to anybody. Social classes would cease to exist and all men and women would stand in equal relationship to the means of production as free and equal members of a class-free community.

When we say production for use we mean in socialism wealth no longer will be produced for sale; buying and selling and all that goes with it money, prices, wages, profits, banks, and so on — will have no place.  they will, in fact, have no sense in socialism. Since the means of production will be commonly owned, it follows that what is produced will also be commonly owned — that is, by the community without classes, of free men and women who will have produced it. In these circumstances, the question of selling what has been produced just would not arise. How can what is commonly owned be sold to those who commonly own it?

How to distribute basic necessities? The answer is simple. Let people come and take what they need as they see fit. Wealth could be produced in such abundance today that there is no need to ration access to it. Free access to consumer goods and services which was always the long-term aim of nineteenth-century socialists and communists can now be instituted with the establishment of socialism. Free access — which we can list as the fourth basic feature of socialism after common ownership, democratic control and production solely for use — means exactly what it says. People will be able to come to the places where the basic necessities of life will be stored and freely take away what they consider they need. They themselves will judge what they need; individuals will determine their own needs. In conditions of permanent abundance, people will have no reason to take more than they need. To do so would be pointless. People won’t hoard basic necessities in a socialist society any more than they hoard the water which they draw freely from their taps today. They will simply take what they need from the stores as and when they need it. Ensuring that these stores are always stocked with what people need will be no problem given the technological possibility of producing in abundance. This will essentially be a question of stock control.

Clearly, it is not the sort of society that can be introduced gradually within capitalism. We either have common ownership or private ownership. We can’t have both.. We either have production for use or production for sale,  the one excludes the other. Free access according to to need is not possible as long as a privileged few own the means of production. It would first require a real social revolution changing the basis of society from class to common ownership.

Brother spare a dime (music)


Monday, November 28, 2022

An Ownerless World


We live in a society in which almost everything we need is owned by someone else. It is their property. We must buy it from them. we are taught from a very age certain basic concepts: theirs; ours; yours; mine; "Don't touch, it doesn't belong to you.", “private property, do not trespass. 

We learn early about ownership. It is time for common property. Or. as a logical consequence, no property. A propertyless society: common ownership — no ownership.

A society of free access to whatever people need is readily achievable by replacing today’s capitalism with a new system where we all collectively and directly own and democratically control the means of production and distribution (i.e., farmland, factories, raw materials, power stations, water supply, roads, railways etc). 

The case for a class-free society, in which production is geared to satisfying human needs, and in which production for sale and the market economy are abolished, is underlined by the fact that modern industry and technology have now been developed to the stage where they could provide an abundance of consumer goods and services for all the people of the world. The problem of production — of how to produce enough for everybody — has been solved. 

If we all directly own and control these assets – rather than them being owned by private individuals and, or, the state – then we will also collectively own all that they provide, resulting in free access to all goods and services. People don’t have to buy what’s jointly theirs already.

Nothing will have a monetary cost with real socialism. In fact, money, having no function at all, will be redundant. People will still work, but the purpose will then be for meeting society’s needs – not making profits for, and rewarding, a tiny minority class who have taken possession of the vital resources and machinery that make life possible.

A society of abundance is not an extension of today’s so-called “consumer society” with its enormous waste of resources. It does not mean people will come to acquire more and more useless and wasteful gadgets. It simply means that people’s material needs, both as individuals and as a community, will be fully satisfied in a rational way.

Contrary to what is popular wisdom and carefully cultivated by the defenders of capitalism, people are not inherently greedy; human needs are not limitless. From a material point of view, human beings need a certain amount and variety of food, clothing and shelter; what this is in individual cases can soon be discovered by the individual self — and would be if there were free access to consumer goods and services.

But, it may be objected, with free access wouldn’t people take more than they needed? But why should they if they can be certain (as they would be given the productive power of modern industry and the common ownership of the means of production) that there would always be enough to go around? When all goods and services are freely available people can be expected to take only as much food, clothing etc. as they feel they need. To take any more would be abnormal and pointless.

Modern industry really can supply enough for everybody to have free access to consumer goods and services.  Capitalism wastes resources.

First, there are the armed forces and armament manufacturing.

Second, there are all the people, buildings and equipment involved with the market and money economy generally: banking, insurance, government pension and tax departments, salesmen, ticket collectors, accountants, cashiers etc. Indeed, it might e said that under capitalism well over half the population are engaged in such unproductive activities.

Third, there is planned obsolescence, the deliberate manufacture of shoddy goods made to break down or wear out after a comparatively short period of time. In a rationally organised society, consumer goods could be made to last; this would mean an immense saving of resources.

With the elimination of these three sources of waste that are inherent in capitalism, enough to adequately feed and house everybody could easily be produced.

Workers' Song (music)


Sunday, November 27, 2022

A world of free access


The ability of the world has long since reached the point which would allow mankind to go over, in a very short time, to free distribution of the things needed to live and to enjoy life. Socialists are suggesting a world community where wealth is produced by voluntary labour and is available to all free of charge. Socialism will be a society of free access to what has been produced. There will be no money. To many, this suggestion seems fantastic.

It would be wrong to claim that socialism offers the solution to all our problems. However, enormous resources will be freed up when we rid ourselves of the waste inherent in capitalism. A new socialist society will face urgent daunting tasks to remedy the mess capitalism had bequeathed. Socialists do not assume that socialism will solve all problems at once, especially its ability in the crucial early stages. There is a need to be practical and realistic. 

 It’s doubtful that there could ever be free access to everything for everybody.   Not everyone's whim will be accommodated. Socialist communities will have to decide, through their democratic bodies and procedures, what free access will and will not cover, and how to distribute things to which free access cannot be provided. Socialists sometimes discuss free access as being possible by the technological capacity to produce material abundance but this can create an impression of socialism as being some kind of cornucopian consumer paradise. This is not so and there is a need to distance ourselves from such unfortunate connotations that "free access" conjures up over-consumption.

 "Free access" simply means an absence of any kind of quid pro quo exchange relationship that underlies access to goods and services in capitalism. While one's access to goods and services in socialism will not be linked to one's productive input this does not mean a severing of consumption and production. In socialism, of necessity, we will recognise far more clearly that we mutually depend upon each other and that we all benefit by ensuring the needs of our fellows are met. Such empathetic understanding will promote a kind of virtuous circle of sustainable development.mIn practical terms that might well mean ceasing or curtailing the production of certain kinds of goods in order to ensure the increased output of higher-priority goods.

Indeed, a socially agreed hierarchy of production goals will be a very important influence on the allocation of relatively scarce resources. A self-regulating system of stock control will reveal the availability of different factor inputs and enable decision-makers to identify those inputs which most constrain or limit the output of any given good. If the supply of a particular input is scarce in relation to the different demands placed upon it, it makes sense to be able to sort these different demands into some sort of order in which they ought to be met. This is precisely where a socially agreed hierarchy of production goals will come into play with priority in resource allocation being given to important goals such as meeting basic human needs (like providing adequate nutrition and housing) possibly at the expense of other less important goals such as the production of certain luxury goods. The less important such goals are the more likely are they to be starved of the necessary resources for their manufacture.

The point is not that we can explain in detail now just how the demand for every item will be realised in socialism. Rather, we can just set out some general principles about how free access would function and suggest that the human nature objections to it are based on a very narrow view of how human beings behave under capitalism. The combination of socialist consciousness and good old common sense will ensure that people will take what they need rather than all that is available or all they can carry. There will be no price labels, and no check-out cashiers because you won’t have to pay for anything. A society of free access will mean what it says. People will select their weekly shopping needs and take home what they’ve chosen, without anyone asking them to pay for it.

The point is not that we can explain in detail now just how the demand for every item will be realised in socialism. Rather, we can just set out some general principles about how free access would function and suggest that the human nature objections to it are based on a very narrow view of how human beings behave under capitalism. The combination of socialist consciousness and common sense will ensure that people will take what they need.

This is oor land (song)


Hail the Socialist Commonwealth of the World.

 "I feel only contempt for those who can take pleasure marching in rank and file to the strains of a band. Surely, such men were given their great brain by mistake; the spinal cord would have amply sufficed. This shameful stain on civilization should be wiped out as soon as possible. Heroism on command, senseless violence and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism—how passionately I despise them!"  Albert Einstein 

People are searching for answers. Our role is to provide them. The problem with being a socialist is that we view the world differently. Once one becomes a socialist it is as if a light comes on and that viewpoint or understanding colours everything we look at. And, too often, we are alone. Simply, there are too few of us right now and we have to build the movement, and make it vibrant so that we can at least have a community of like-minded people around us to share views, meet, and communicate our ideas. It is essential that more people are brought into the movement. 

In the society envisaged by non-market socialists, the people of the world would own the global means of production in common and would operate them communally for the benefit of humankind as a whole. Socialism in one country, or even one part of the world, is impossible. Since capitalism, today is a global society which encompasses all parts of the world, the socialist alternative to capitalism must be equally global in its scope. Socialism is as relevant to the plight of those who are starving in Africa and other parts of the world as it is to the inhabitants of London or Paris. It is true that non-market socialists have generally seen the wage workers of those advanced, industrialised areas of the world which act as the power-houses of international capitalism (Europe, North America and Japan) as the force which is likely to initiate the revolutionary change from world capitalism to world socialism.

Yet the establishment of non-market socialism can not be accomplished without the active cooperation of the majority of the population in those parts of the world that capitalism has consigned to underdevelopment. In contrast to the hopelessness and destitution which afflict the majority of the people in backward countries under world capitalism, the prospect of dignity and sufficiency which world socialism would open up for them would be overwhelmingly attractive. It is also worth mentioning that several of the non-market socialist principles closely resemble the principles of social cooperation found among hunter-gatherers and other supposedly 'backward' people. People in their social position would take much less convincing of the desirability of non-market socialism than would many of those in 'advanced' countries who are currently steeped in the values and assumptions that capitalism encourages. Socialism would be a global solution to the global problems which have accompanied the rise of world capitalism.

Democracy will have real meaning in a society where the production of goods and services is for human needs, with ownership and control of the means of production and distribution by all the people. Since the division into rich and poor will have been abolished, it will be a classless society. The precise day-to-day details of the running of this future society will be up to the people at the time, but what we can be sure of is that just as there will be free access to goods and services for everyone, without any need for money, so there will be open access to the administration of society for those interested in particular issues, such as food production, health, education, the building of houses, the environment and local matters.

Probably, there will be local administrations, perhaps in the form of councils, which will be reflected at wider levels, such as regional and global. The new democratic society will most likely involve the participation of delegates in these councils. The consequence of this is that certain delegates could be subject to recall if the electorate were dissatisfied with their activities. These factors would emphasise the genuine democracy and choice available to everyone. Humanity liberated from wage-slavery, will, at last, be free.  Society then will be one in which oppression, class-rule, and all the anomalies of the present order will have disappeared. The impetus this will give (through the reorganisation by a revolutionary class on a sane economic basis and the consequent liberation of that class) to the devotion of society to things of real worth will be tremendous. The fullest opportunity to gain and keep the health of mind and body; the development of each individual citizen's finest abilities and innate qualities will be accorded every facility; and culture and all that makes life worth living from youth to old age will, with socialism alone be the birthright of all.