Socialism, a society based upon the planned organisation of production for use by means of the common ownership and the democratic control of the means of production. If, however, production were carried on for use, to satisfy the needs of the people, the question immediately arises: Who is to determine what is useful and what would satisfy these needs? Will that be decided exclusively by a small board of government planners? A technocratic elite? Both would make for the benevolent regimentation of the people “for their own good.” No matter how high-minded and wise they might be, they could not plan production for the needs of the people.
Production for use, by its very nature, demands constant consultation of the people, constant control and direction by the people. The democratically-adopted decisions of the people would guide the course of production and distribution. Democratic control of the means of production and distribution would have to be exercised by the people to see to it that their decision is being appropriately carried out. The continual extension and expnsion of democracy, is therefore an indispensable necessity for socialist society. Production for use is aimed at satisfying the needs of society and of freeing all the people from class rule including that of “experts.”
Many will say “It would be a good thing to have socialism; but it is only an ideal which cannot be realised in practice.” But socialism is not a utopian ideal, a blueprint for society that exists in the minds of some people. Capitalism itself has provided the social force capable of building the new society. Every social system changes ceaselessly, and, ultimately, having fulfilled its mission, passes away. The capitalist industrial forces are now making for socialism, preparing the way for it, and sooner or later it is sure to come. The seeds of the socialist society are already growing right in the soil of capitalist society itself. One of the results of capitalist development is that production is already carried on socially. The only important thing that has not been socialised is the ownership and the appropriation of the products of industry. These remain private. The capitalist owns the tools he does not use; the worker uses the tools he does not own. The working class alone made the tools; the working class alone can use them, and the working class must, therefore, own them.
People will no longer be the slave of the machine. The machine will serve people. Every increase in productivity would bring with it two things: an increase in the things required for the need, comfort and even luxury of all; and an increase in everyone’s leisure time, to devote to the free cultural and intellectual development of humankind. Humanity will not live primarily to work; he will work primarily to live. There are capitalist experts who declare that industry, properly organised, can produce the necessities of life for all in a working day of four hours or less. Organised on a socialist basis, even this figure could be reduced. As the necessities and comforts of life become increasingly abundant, and the differences between physical and mental labour, and the divide between town and country are eliminated. A planned organized society, efficiently utilising our present productive equipment and the better equipment to come, could easily assure abundance to all. In return, society could confidently expect every person to contribute their best voluntarily.
To be a socialist, merely means to be conscious of its necessity, to make others conscious of it, and to work in an organised manner for its realisation. The workers must be taught to unite and vote together as a class in support of a genuine socialist party, a party that represents them as a class, and when they do this the government will pass into their hands and capitalism will fall; private/state ownership will give way to social ownership, and production for profit to production for use; the wage system will disappear, and with it the ignorance and poverty, misery and crime that wage-slavery breeds; and a new era will dawn.