Monday, December 05, 2016

Humanity on a deadline

'When it comes to climate change, there’s precious little time for lesser evils; the physics—as scientists are quick to tell us—has put humanity on a deadline.' - Kate Aronoff, political commentator

If current economic, social, political, and environmental trends continue, as they seem set to, the future seems ominous. There has been rapidly worsening decline in living conditions for many: poverty, inequality, unemployment, sickness, pollution, and the erosion of social and political rights. There is a tendency to perceive these and other ill-effects as separate problems when, in fact, they are all connected. They can all be traced to a single source – the capitalist system. As George Monbiot explains capitalist liberty is, “Freedom from unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation is the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, and charge iniquitous rates of interest. Freedom from taxes means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.”  Governments around the world have allowed corporations to continue their iniquitous behaviour, further impoverishing billions, worsening inequality, and eventually wrecking the planet.

Our world is being ravaged for the profits of the few. We are poisoning of soil and seas. Wars are instigated by elites for interests that only benefit themselves. Isn’t it ridiculous that when the financial system slumps millions go poor and hungry, while there is enough food, manpower, and means to provide for everyone? Everything is economised, which means if you don’t increase profit to the system, read are old, sick or unemployed, you are a burden to society – non-earning humans. Rather than provide cures politicians sell us palliatives to treat the symptoms. Why aren’t enough people doing something about it? Perhaps because people are willing, collaborative, positive kind people, we trust the promises. Changing leaders changes little. Others take their place and nothing really changes. So don’t expect any new prime minister or president to be a solution. Throughout the world there is discontent and the dissatisfaction is growing.

If you hope to have more control over your own life and not be exploited by others, you owe it to yourself to learn about the principles and vision of socialism. The Socialist Party introduces you to the idea of a society based on common ownership. It is a society beyond capitalism. For socialists, it is a dilemma in that we are aware how much the world is in trouble and yet be hopeful about the future. We don’t have to sit back and watch the world collapse around us. Socialists voice the truth in a world where almost everyone is living in self-deception and that means confronting the herd mentality of our fellow-workers. Socialists desire to live the way we want to live and not the way our masters seek to impose upon us. We require that we be in community with and make connections to others of like heart and mind. Our shared awareness of our problems means we can create solutions for them. In order to maintain our sanity, we need to not only understand our potential but also recognize that we are not responsible on our own for fixing the world. Ask any psychologist about the human mind and they will tell you we are wired for human connection. We feel a strong foundational need for belonging. This need is so fundamental. Similarly, the fundamental unit of human existence is the group and not the individual. Power goes to the people that see their personal happiness and security is bound up with all people meeting their common needs for happiness and security. There is unity in recognising that our problems are one and the same.

Socialist question all beliefs that have been handed down to you from tradition, no matter how back in time they go. This will help you see the world with differently and will allow you to better understand it and your relation to it. Socialists challenge those who want to keep humanity enslaved, the politicians and the capitalists. Never forget that this economic and political system is not for us. Party platforms and campaign promises are routinely violated is undeniable. The only route to a better world is through mass movements articulating clear goals. But instead of settling for reforms, the only way out of our present crises is to push beyond what is possible in the world’s present political systems.

Some day we will have Socialist Party candidates who we can vote for rather than the lesser evil who we presently vote against, but there is much work to do before we reach that day. Socialism is something we have to build it together and fight for. The Socialist Party accept that common ground is not always possible or even advisable. Some things need to be argued over because our class interests, our ideological understanding, our political projects are not simply different; they are often in opposition to each other. Sometimes we need to stop talking and just do what we believe we have to do. If people know why they believe what they believe, and have already considered the arguments we make and reject them, so be it. Time will be better spent engaging those who are more receptive to our ideas. The reason people don’t act on the crises humanity is now facing, is simply they don’t have confidence in how to do it.

Hope is an essential ingredient for change. Let’s be clear about what hope is not. Hope isn’t blind confidence that things will, somehow, work out. Hope possesses power. It takes courage to speak out and demand change. It requires that we not allow ourselves to be side-tracked from our goal. Our task remains the same: organise and mobilise as never before for socialism. Cynicism and despair are among socialism’s worst enemies that dilute our creativity and energy.

Falling Costs In Winter

A recent report from the Toronto Public Health Department stressed the need for the city administrators to do more to protect people, especially seniors, from falling on the ice in the winter. The report suggested the city should lower the threshold for sidewalk snow clearing from eight centimetres to two.
 During the last ten winters, almost 30,000 people went to emergency rooms and 2800 were admitted, because they fell on the ice – 225 had life-threatening injuries. The average age of the injured was 51, prompting Antony Quinn, a director of CARP to say, ''It can make them afraid to venture outside. Fear of falling causes them to be less active which increases their chances of falling again.'' The report emphasized this costs the City of Toronto $6.7 million annually in claims.
 In other words, it would be cheaper to do a better job - another lovely aspect of capitalism - to put a price on people's well-being. 
John Ayers.

Dreaming Beyond Capitalism

Things are changing and a lot is at stake. It is even possible that civilisation may collapse in our lifetime. We need a revolution that builds new foundations for humanity. We need a revolution of solidarity. This revolution will not be achieved by switching government from one party to another.

For much of the last million years, human beings have lived in communities; in fact, the era in which we have not is only a tiny fraction in the entirety of human history. Making our human existence compatible with nature again may well be our only opportunity to secure ourselves and our children a future worth living. We need a revolution. Poverty is a tremendous waste of human resources. The human potential that is lost is massive. Real political change is a revolution of social consciousness. We need to be unified. For that, we have to heal the divisions the elite fuel within the working class: the antagonisms of white vs. black, men vs. women, young vs. old, native vs. newcomer. This requires being organized. Just being angry isn’t enough; unless we actively join with others, we won’t be able to build a successful alternative to the capitalist parties. Working together is an antidote to the isolation that can afflict those who try to go it alone. Bonds of comradeship and solidarity sustain us in difficult times.

Reformism hasn’t yielded any lasting changes. Reforms have had only a temporary impact. A kinder, gentler capitalism is impossible, and the hopeful rhetoric of progressive reformists isn’t going to change this economic reality. Their program is designed to divert potentially revolutionary energy into the dead-end of tinkering with the system, trying to fix it. But capitalism isn’t broken; this is how it functions. We have to junk it, not fix it. It needs to be replaced with socialism. The two systems are mutually antagonistic, and the struggle between them can’t be comprised. From the 1950s to the ’70s unions were able to force through higher wages and better working conditions in many industries. Back then capitalists could afford this because the main market for products was the home country, and higher wages stimulated consumption. This Keynesian approach created a bubble of prosperity in North America and Europe that has now burst and can’t come back. The hard-fought gains of those days are being reversed because the world market has become more important than the home country. To compete globally with low-wage countries such as China, India, and Brazil, corporations here have to slash their labor costs. The pressure of international competition is being shifted onto us, the workers. These conditions will inevitably intensify; capitalism needs ever more profits to keep growing. It finances its expansion through bonds and bank loans, so it needs increasingly more money to pay the interest charges. And it must invest more in plant and equipment to stay competitive. Its rate of profit is always under pressure. And if it stops growing, it dies. The rival capitalist blocs are fighting among themselves in a dog-eat-dog struggle for survival. To lower costs and hold on to its markets — to remain top dog — the elite are pursuing repression at home and war abroad.

The Socialist Party is opposed to capitalism. The economic system based on private property and production for a profit literally creates poverty by depriving the poor of the means of subsistence. The poor are then exploited by the rich as a source of cheap labor. As long as there is capitalism, there will be poverty, misery and exploitation. We are opposed to borders. Borders are artificial barriers that divide us and facilitate our exploitation. They allow the rich and their investments to pass easily while impeding the free movement of people. Borders are the inhuman laws that allow humans to be labeled “illegal” and exploited as cheap labour. We want economic equality and industrial democracy. We want the land and the means of production and distribution held in common. We want a state-free society—a society without rulers and ruled. We want political institutions created out of free association and not coercion. We want autonomy and self-government for all peoples and for all people. We want a class-free society, where people are free to define themselves and interact as equals. We want local, regional and global solidarity and mutual aid. Those who profit off of misery will do everything in their power to maintain the world as it is. Only through struggle on the part of the poor and exploited, against their exploiters can we ever hope to bring about an end to exploitation. A global socialist organisation is our link to the future. It gives us assurance that knowledgeable and committed people will be there to make it happen: to overthrow capitalism and build socialism, in which the resources of the world are used to meet human needs rather than to generate profits for a few owners.

It may already be too late. Much environmental and social harm has already been inflicted.

How we became slaves

“You wretches are detestable both on land and on sea. You seek equality with the lords, but you are unworthy to live. Give this message to your fellows: rustics you are, and rustics you will always be. You will remain in bondage, not as before, but incomparably harsher. For as long as we live we will strive to suppress you, and your misery will be an example to prosperity.” Richard II

Despite what you might have learned, the transition to a capitalist society did not happen naturally or smoothly. The peasants didn’t want to give up their rural communal lifestyle, leave their land and go work for below-subsistence wages in the factories being set up by a new, rich class of landowning capitalists. And for good reason, too. Using Adam Smith’s own estimates of factory wages being paid at the time in Scotland, a factory-peasant would have to toil for more than three days to buy a pair of commercially produced shoes. Or they could make their own traditional brogues using their own leather in a matter of hours.

In order for capitalism to work, capitalists needed a pool of cheap, surplus labour. Adam Smith’s proto-capitalist colleagues complaining and whining about how peasants are too independent and comfortable to be properly exploited, and trying to figure out how to force them to accept a life of wage slavery. Over time, they enacted a series of laws and measures designed to push peasants out of the old and into the new by destroying their traditional means of self-support, forcing the peasants off the land such as the enactment of so-called Game Laws that prohibited peasants from hunting.

Daniel Defoe, the novelist noted that in the Scottish Highlands:
“people were extremely well furnished with provisions. … venison exceedingly plentiful, and at all seasons, young or old, which they kill with their guns whenever they find it.’’

 If having a full belly and productive land was the problem, then the solution to whipping these lazy bums into shape was obvious: kick them off the land and starve them into the new towns and rising cities by fencing off the commons.  

John Bellers, a Quaker “philanthropist” saw independent peasants as a hindrance to his plan of forcing poor people into prison-factories, where they would live, work and produce a profit of 45% for aristocratic owners:
“Our Forests and great Commons (make the Poor that are upon them too much like the Indians) being a hindrance to Industry, and are Nurseries of Idleness and Insolence.”

Arthur Young, a popular writer and economic thinker respected by John Stuart Mill, wrote in 1771: “everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.”

Sir William Temple, a politician and Jonathan Swift’s boss, agreed, and suggested that food be taxed as much as possible to prevent the working class from a life of “sloth and debauchery.” Temple also advocated putting four-year-old kids to work in the factories, writing:
‘‘for by these means, we hope that the rising generation will be so habituated to constant employment that it would at length prove agreeable and entertaining to them.’’

John Locke, often seen as a philosopher of liberty, called for the commencement of work at the ripe age of three.

David Hume, that great humanist, hailed poverty and hunger as positive experiences for the lower classes, and even blamed the “poverty” of France on its good weather and fertile soil:
“‘Tis always observed, in years of scarcity, if it be not extreme, that the poor labour more, and really live better.”

Reverend Joseph Townsend believed that restricting food was the way to go:
“[Direct] legal constraint [to labor] . . . is attended with too much trouble, violence, and noise, . . . whereas hunger is not only a peaceable, silent, unremitted pressure, but as the most natural motive to industry, it calls forth the most powerful exertions. . . . Hunger will tame the fiercest animals, it will teach decency and civility, obedience and subjugation to the most brutish, the most obstinate, and the most perverse.”

Patrick Colquhoun, a merchant who set up England’s first private “preventative police“ force to prevent dock workers from supplementing their meager wages with stolen goods, provided what may be the most lucid explanation of how hunger and poverty correlate to productivity and wealth creation:

Poverty is that state and condition in society where the individual has no surplus labour in store, or, in other words, no property or means of subsistence but what is derived from the constant exercise of industry in the various occupations of life. Poverty is, therefore, a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society, without which nations and communities could not exist in a state of civilisation. It is the lot of mankind. It is the source of wealth, since, without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.

What was true for English peasants is still just as true for us.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Abundance and Scarcity

First we have to define what scarcity is. Orthodox economics argue it is limited supply - versus- boundless demand. Our wants are essentially “infinite” and the resources to meet them, limited, claim the economists. Von Mise claims that without the guidance of prices socialism would sink into inefficiency. According to the argument, scarcity is an unavoidable fact of life .It applies to any goods where the decision to use a unit of that good entails giving up some other potential use. In other words, whatever one decides to do has an "opportunity cost" — that is the opportunity to do something else which one thereby forgoes; economics is concerned with the allocation of scarce resources .However, in the real world, abundance is not a situation where an infinite amount of every good could be produced. Similarly, scarcity is not the situation which exists in the absence of this impossible total or sheer abundance.

Abundance is a situation where productive resources are sufficient to produce enough wealth to satisfy human needs, while scarcity is a situation where productive resources are insufficient for this purpose. Abundance is a relationship between supply and demand, where the former exceeds the latter. In socialism, a buffer of surplus stock for any particular item, whether a consumer or a producer good, can be produced, to allow for future fluctuations in the demand for that item, and to provide an adequate response time for any necessary adjustments. Thus achieving abundance can be understood as the maintenance of an adequate buffer of stock in the light of extrapolated trends in demand. The relative abundance or scarcity of a good would be indicated by how easy or difficult it was to maintain such an adequate buffer stock in the face of a demand trend (upward, static, or downward). It will thus be possible to choose how to combine different factors for production, and whether to use one rather than another, on the basis of their relative abundance/scarcity.

We are seeking what some call a "steady-state economy" or "zero-growth", a situation where human needs are in balance with the resources needed to satisfy them.

Such a society would have decided on the most appropriate way to allocate resources to meet the needs of its members. This having been done, it would only need to go on repeating this continuously from production period to production period. Production would not be ever-increasing but would be stabilised at the level required to satisfy needs. All that would be produced would be products for consumption and the products needed to replace and repair the raw materials and instruments of production used up in producing these consumer goods. The point about such a situation is that there will no longer be any imperative need to develop productivity, i.e. to cut costs in the sense of using fewer resources; nor will there be the blind pressure to do so that is exerted under capitalism through the market. Technical research would continue and this would no doubt result in costs being able to be saved, but there would be no external pressure to do so or even any need to apply all new productivity enhancing techniques.

In a stable society such as socialism, needs would most likely change relatively slowly. Hence it is reasonable to assume that an efficient system of stock control, registering what individuals actually chose to take under conditions of free access from local distribution centres over a given period, would enable the local distribution committee to estimate what the need for food, drink, clothes and household goods that would be required over a similar future period. Some needs would be able to be met locally: local transport, repairs, and some food produce are examples as well as services such as libraries and refuse collection. The local distribution committee would then communicate needs that could not be met locally to the bodies charged with coordinating supplies to local communities.

The individual would have free access to the goods on the shelves of the local distribution centres; the local distribution centres free access to the goods they required to be always adequately stocked with what people needed; their suppliers free access to the goods they required from the factories which supplied them; industries and factories free access to the materials, equipment and energy they needed to produce their products; and so on. Production and distribution in socialism would thus be a question of organising a coordinated and more or less self-regulating system of linkages between users and suppliers, enabling resources and materials to flow smoothly from one productive unit to another, and ultimately to the final user, in response to information flowing in the opposite direction originating from final users. The productive system would thus be set in motion from the consumer end, as individuals and communities took steps to satisfy their self-defined needs.

Socialist production is self-adjusting production for use. It will be a self-regulating, decentralised inter-linked system to provide for a self-sustaining steady state society. And we can set out a possible way of achieving an eventual zero growth steady state society operating in a stable and ecologically benign way. This could be achieved in three main phases.

First, there would have to be urgent action to relieve the worst problems of food shortages, health care, and housing which affect billions of people throughout the world.
Secondly, longer term action to construct means of production and infrastructures such as transport systems for the supply of permanent housing and durable consumption goods. These could be designed in line with conservation principles, which means they would be made to last for a long time, using materials that where possible could be re-cycled and would require minimum maintenance.
Thirdly, with these objectives achieved there could be an eventual fall in production, and society could move into a stable mode. This would achieve a rhythm of daily production in line with daily needs with no significant growth. On this basis, the world community could live in material well-being whilst looking after the planet.

Socialism will seek an environmental friendly relationship with nature. In socialism, we would not be bound to use the most labour efficient methods of production. We would be free to select our methods in accordance with a wide range of socially desirable criteria, in particular, the vital need to protect the environment. What it means is that we should construct permanent, durable means of production which you don’t constantly innovate. We would use these to produce durable equipment and machinery and durable consumer goods designed to last for a long time, designed for minimum maintenance and made from materials which if necessary can be re-cycled. In this way we would get a minimum loss of materials; once they’ve been extracted and processed they can be used over and over again. It also means that once you’ve achieved satisfactory levels of consumer goods, you don’t insist on producing more and more. Total social production could even be reduced. This will be the opposite of to-day's capitalist system's cheap, shoddy, throw-away goods with its built-in obsolescence, which results in a massive loss and destruction of resources.

We have said above that the most urgent task will be to stop people dying of hunger but the supply of decent housing will require a vastly greater allocation of labour than any necessary increase in food production. This means that a great surge of required materials and equipment will flow through the units producing building supplies. A structure of housing production that is generally adjusted to the market for housing under capitalism, which is what people in socialism would inherit, will in no way be able to cope with a demand for housing based on need. So, within the wider context of a democratically decided housing policy, in which questions of planning and the environment would have been taken into account, the job of implementing housing decisions would eventually pass to the committees or works councils throughout the construction industry.

We see the technological perfection in modern society – automation. And we see also a productive apparatus capable of producing more than a suf´Čüciency for all. The age-long problem facing man – production – has been solved. The very evolution of capitalism itself has solved the problem of production. The material conditions are now ripe for the establishment of Socialism. The " World of Abundance" referred to by socialists has never referred to the open-ended consumerism encouraged by the advertisers but has rather as its target a stable and more satisfying way of life in which the scramble to accrue things is no longer central. With material survival removed from the marketplace by the abolition of commodity production, we can expect that individuals will calm down their acquisitive desires and pursue more satisfying activities.

For socialism to be established, there are two fundamental preconditions that must be met. Firstly, the productive potential of society must have been developed to the point where, generally speaking, we can produce enough for all. This is not now a problem as we have long since reached this point. Secondly, the establishment of socialism presupposes the existence of a mass socialist movement and a profound change in social outlook.

When we propose different scales of social co-operation such as local, regional and world scales, this is not a question of there being a hierarchy with power located at any central point. What we anticipate is both an integrated and flexible system of democratic organisation which could be adapted for action to solve any problem in any of these scales. This simply takes into account that some problems and the action to solve them arise from local issues and this also extends to the regional and world spheres. Crucial to the question of democracy is not just the ability to make decisions about what to do but also the powers of action to carry out those decisions. But with the abolition of the market system, communities in socialism will not only be able to make free and democratic decisions about what needs to be done they will also be free to use their resources to achieve those aims. Problems are not solved with money resources. They are solved by people using their labour, skills, and the necessary materials and there is, in fact, an abundance of these material resources. But it will take the relations of common ownership to release them for the needs of communities and this will also mean that communities will be free to decide democratically how best to use those resources.

If people didn’t work then society would obviously fall apart.
If people want too much? In a socialist society "too much" can only mean "more than is sustainably produced."
If people decide that they (individually and as a society) need to over-consume then socialism cannot possibly work.
This does require that we appreciate what is meant by "enough"

To establish socialism the vast majority must consciously decide that they want socialism and that they are prepared to work in socialist society. The establishment of socialism presupposes the existence of a mass socialist movement and a profound change in social outlook. It is simply not reasonable to suppose that the desire for socialism on such a large scale, and the conscious understanding of what it entails on the part of all concerned, would not influence the way people behaved in socialism and towards each other. Would they want to jeopardise the new society they had helped create? We think not. If people cannot change their behaviour and take control and responsibility for their decisions, socialism will fail.

Socialism could be like this


Capitalists – A band of brigands

“At the founding of the International, we expressly formulated the battle cry: The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself. We cannot, therefore, go along with people who openly claim that the workers are too ignorant to emancipate themselves but must first be emancipated from the top down, by the philanthropic big and petty bourgeois.” - Marx

Profits are made not primarily by cheating in the market or arbitrarily adding a “profit margin” to the price of a commodity. Nor is it under-cutting your competitors and stealing their share of the market. Instead, they come from appropriating at the point of production the greater portion of the values labor creates. By measuring things like unit labour costs, output per hour, etc., productivity figures help keep tabs on this process of exploitation. Though usually presented as a simple measure of efficiency and output, productivity figures are in fact yardsticks of labour’s exploitation. The value of any commodity is determined by the amount of socially necessary labor time consumed in its production. Some of this value is already crystallised in the raw materials and other capital goods needed for a new product. For example, if £1,000 worth of steel is used in the making of a car, that value reappears in the price of the automobile. But in the process of turning steel and other materials into a car, another quantity of value is created. The labour expended by workers adds values to the materials used. This added value is the crucial quantity at any given step along the production process. It’s out of the added value that both workers’ wages and capitalists’ profits come. If a capitalist must supply £1,000 worth of steel, he generally has to pay that much for it. There is no new value created in this even exchange and nothing to divide. But if his workers add another £1,000 of value in the course of their labor, the capitalist pays only part of the new value back to his workers as wages, keeping the rest as what Marx terms surplus value. The wages workers receive come as no gift from the boss, but are just a portion of the wealth workers produce.

Technological development clearly dictates the course that must be taken. Modern industry is thoroughly socialised in its organisation and operation. It has outgrown private ownership of industry and production for sale and the profit of the owning few. We are now at a point where we can produce an abundance for everyone. By establishing a new society we can prevent worsening crises and ultimate catastrophe toward which our present society is taking us. What we are saying is that we can and must establish a socialist society. Let us explain briefly what socialism is and the kind of life we can have under it.

The Socialist Party’s task is to build a society called socialism, the co-operative commonwealth. We readily admit that so far the working class has not shown any marked tendency towards such a society. Are we then to abandon the idea as false? By no means, the results so far merely show that our fellow-workers have not yet become politically conscious of their own interests. But will so in the future begin more and more completely to understand his economic and political situation. Many workers are already beginning to show signs of independent life. Events will confirm the need for independent working class political action. The message of socialism, which, for years was spurned by people, falls today upon eager ears and receptive minds. Their prejudices are melting away. They are now prepared to give a hearing to the only political party that proposes a change of system.  The Socialist party is the only party of the people, the only truly democratic party in the world. We are not here to play the filthy game of capitalist politics. The Socialist Party as the party of the working class stands squarely upon its principles in making its appeal to the workers. It is not begging for votes, nor asking votes, nor bargaining for votes. It is not in the vote market. It wants votes but only of those who want it - those who recognise is as their party, and come to it of their own free will. To be sure, we want all the votes we can get but only as a means of developing the political power of the working class in the struggle for industrial freedom, and not that we may revel in the spoils of office. The workers have never made use of their political power. They have played the game of their masters for the benefit of the master class - and how many of them, disgusted with their own blind and stupid performance are renouncing politics and refusing to see any difference between the capitalist parties financed by the ruling class to perpetuate class rule and the Socialist Party organised and financed by the workers themselves as a means of wresting the control of government and of industry from the capitalists. The Socialist Party clearly states that the time has come for the workers of the world to shake off their oppressors and exploiters, put an end to their age-long servitude, and make themselves the masters of the world. To this end the Socialist Party has been organised; to this end, it makes its appeal to our fellow-workers workers.

In the name of the workers the Socialist Party condemns the capitalist system. In the name of economic freedom, it condemns wage-slavery. In the name of modern technology, it condemns poverty and famine. In the name of peace, it condemns war. In the name of civilisation, it condemns the starvation and deaths of children from preventable disease. In the name of enlightenment, it condemns religious ignorance and superstition. In the name of humanity, it demands social justice for every man, woman, and child. The Socialist Party points out clearly to our fellow-workers why their situation is hopeless under capitalism, how they are robbed and exploited, and why they are bound to make common cause with other workers in the mills and factories of the cities, along with the railways, and in the mines in the struggle for emancipation. The education, organisation and co-operation of the workers is the conscious aim and the self-imposed task of the Socialist Party. No power on earth can prevail against the working class coming into consciousness of itself in its complete awakening. In the coming socialist system based upon the common ownership of the means of life and the production of wealth for the use of all instead of the profit of the few, for which the Socialist Party stands, peace will prevail and plenty for all will abound in the land. The brute struggle for existence will have ended, and the millions of exploited poor will be rescued from the clutches of poverty and famine. The social conscience and the social spirit will prevail. Society will have a new birth and a new destiny. There will be work for all, leisure for all, and the joys of life for all. Competition there will be, not in the struggle for survival, but to excel in the common good work and in social well-being. Every person will have an equal chance to rise to its full stature and achieve success in life.

The members of the Socialist Party are the party and is organised and administered from the bottom up. There is no leader and there never can be unless the party deserts its principles and ceases to be a socialist party. The party is supported by a dues-paying membership. Each member has not only an equal voice but is urged to take an active part in all the party committees. Each branch is an educational centre. The Party relies wholly upon the power of education and knowledge.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Our Immediate Demands

Capitalism, the private ownership of the means of production, is responsible for the insecurity, the poverty, misery, and degradation of the ever-growing majority of people. We are living under a system which is more and more clearly revealed as the enemy of mankind. There is a crying need for an immediate change in the social system and this necessitates the adoption of socialism which is the common ownership of the means of production for the common good and welfare. The capitalist system has created the potential for a vast abundance, but it brings poverty and hunger to the working people. It imposes draconian cuts in living standards on the already poor, simply in the interest of still greater profits for the capitalist class. From the standpoint of the vast majority, it is already an obsolete system, and the productive forces and technology it has created will have to be turned to the benefit of humanity as a whole under a new social system. Capitalism is responsible for the destruction of the environment. Its arms industry sucks up the world’s research and development and cynically profits from a series of local wars of unparalleled destructiveness. The root cause of all this is capitalism’s guiding principle, the quest for profit, which takes precedence over any human interest. Today more than ever capitalism brings nothing but misery and exploitation. Capitalism threatens the future of humanity. The profit motive is incompatible with safeguarding the world’s resources. So long as it is profitable, environmental destruction is perfectly ’logical’ under capitalism. Our problem is not limited resources but the waste of resources which is an essential part of the process of capital accumulation. Marx and Engels explained that only the working class could be the force bringing about the necessary revolutionary transformation of society. Socialism will provide the opportunity for a society planned for the majority rather than for profit.

The Socialist Party will not confine itself to demanding some demand for improvement of this or that condition. Capitalism cannot be reformed. It has undergone many changes in its history, but much of these have simply meant finding new ways to exploit people. The only solution is to destroy it and build a new social system. The purpose of the Socialist Party is to expropriate the capitalists. The Socialist Party is the political expression of what is known as “the class struggle.” The overthrow of capitalism—that is our DEMAND—it is THE demand. This does not mean, however, that the workers will wrest control of the State from the capitalist class simply for the purpose of continuing the class struggle on a new plane, as has been the case in all previous political revolutions when one class has superseded another in the control of the government. It does not mean that the workers and capitalists will merely change places, as many believe. It means the inauguration of an entirely new system of industry, in which the exploitation of man by man will have no place. It means the establishment of a new economic motive for production and distribution. Instead of profit being the ruling motive of industry, as at present, all production and distribution will be for use. As a consequence, the class struggle and economic class antagonisms as we now know them will entirely disappear. If the Socialist Party had no political ideal than the victory of one class over another it would not be worthy. The struggle for working class emancipation, which finds its expression thru the Socialist Party, must continue and will increase in intensity. There is no middle ground possible. Corbyn and Sanders want to bluff the voters that they can transform the capitalist system into a socialist one. All that is necessary are a few new taxation laws. “Squeeze the rich” with taxes and give to the poor. Many of their reform ideas cannot be successfully carried out inside the framework of capitalism, and if some of them are, they will deepen the recession rather than help to overcome it. We only know that the principles of socialism are necessary to the emancipation of the working class. Social changes are preceded by agitation and unrest. The old system is being shaken to its foundations and its passing is but a question of time. The Socialist Party stands against the present system and for the rule of the people; the only party that boldly avows its purpose the overthrow of wage-slavery. So long as the present system of capitalism prevails and the few are allowed to own all, workers will be struggling in the hell of poverty, as they are today. Private ownership and competition have had their day. The Socialist Party stands for common ownership and co-operation. Capitalism is industrial despotism; Socialism, industrial democracy. The Socialist party demands the overthrow of the wages system.

The Socialist Party demand the machinery of production in the name of the workers and the control of society in the name of the people. We demand the abolition of capitalism and wage-slavery and the surrender of the capitalist class. We demand complete control of industry by the workers; we demand all the wealth they produce for their own enjoyment, and we demand the earth for all the people.

Our way is better

As socialists, we see the enemy as capitalism, the social system that exists throughout the world. We do not preach hate against individuals who administer capitalism. To do this would only reveal ignorance of how the system function. Capitalism can only be abolished when the majority of people throughout the world desire the change to socialism and take the appropriate action through the ballot box. The only barrier to socialism now is the lack of socialist knowledge among the working class. Our object is the  education of the working class to their real interest in society, and expose the bankrupt social order, under which we live. Our task is to assist our fellow-workers to discover the nature of the capitalist system, realise their problems and that these problems can’t be solved within it.

Understand that it does not matter how clever, or educated your leaders are, they are helpless in doing anything fundamental about conditions. Politicians are not in charge of things as is widely believed. It is capitalism that is in charge of them! They are elected to administer a system rigged with contradictions and not in the interest of the majority. They can do nothing to change this, regardless of their good intentions. There is no political conspiracy against the poor, it is the system that makes poverty inevitable. A socialist party differs from other parties in various ways, one of the most striking difference being the views socialist hold towards the question of leadership. A socialist organisation does not recognise the need for any one person to be regarded as leader. This is based on the fact that within a socialist organisation everyone is conscious of the objective, and therefore there is no need for any special person to lead.

Most political parties start from the premise that the majority of people can't understand the complex nature of society. They, therefore, encourage members that this analysis of society be left to an "educated" elite. No doubt conscious of the fact that if members do examine our social structure they would soon no longer be members. Observe how we hear quite often people expressing their disappointment in a particular leadership. This is partly due to the fact that the leader, and the members don't share the same philosophy, and are in the organisation for different reasons. Few organisations on the political level, ask people to endorse a set of principles before becoming members. They would, in fact, regard this as suicidal, their chief objective being, to gain as much popular support as possible, and not to put obstacles in the way to this end. This in one reason why they need a leader, someone with the personality to unite so many people with different views. The ability to keep alive hopes that can never be fulfilled is regarded as an essential quality for a modern leader. Despite this, however, it is impossible for any political leader to escape conflict within his or her organisation, with members so confused as to goal, and their natural ignorance of the motive of capitalist society.

Every socialist organisation throughout the world demand that each prospective member endorses a set of principles. This eliminates conflict of goal, and the method of achieving it. Members already conscious of the wrong in capitalist society soon grasp the full consequence of its continued existence. This is done through our literature, and lecture programmes, their educational value are very rewarding, extending to a change of one's life-style. Socialists have often expressed confidence in any person of average intelligence, to understand the socialist case. It is really the intelligence of the average worker they attack, those people who accuse us of inaction. Taken in this sense, our activities rightly reflect the amount who join us, in the different countries around the world. Remembering that we don’t engage in marches, and demonstrations, as we regard such methods as useless. While other organisations do everything to create the impression of false strength, to gain recognition, socialist continue to reflect their true influence in society. We regard politics as serious business and proceed to educate people to realise that capitalist society can be changed to socialism, to others it really is a game, with the leader as the chief player. 

The world cannot change to something better until the majority of people in it visualise a new social system, and then set out to make it a reality. This is everyone's responsibility, not for a few to decide. When people have this vision they won’t need leaders, as they will be certain of where they are going. It is in the structure of society that we live under that create the problems of the world, leaders can’t change the system, all of us can. The record of the staggering failure of leadership is proof enough how useless it is. We only help to make capitalism survive by supporting leaders. We need a social system to establish harmonious, relationship for men on earth. When men are moving consciously to this end they will have no need for leaders.


The anarchy of production of the capitalist system means there is no overall planning to match production with human need. Anyone can start up or ramp up production when sales and chances for profit are high. Inevitably a saturation point is reached when demand is lower than production and we have an overabundance of goods. Workers must be laid off and factories closed, creating a recession. Since the seeds of the next boom are to be found in that recession - cheap labour, raw materials, machinery, and factory rent - then we have the continual boom and bust cycles familiar to capitalist production. When an opportunity presents itself to the capitalist to expand production, he must be able to find the necessary labour. This is where the poor, unemployed and welfare people come in. They are `the reserve army' standing by on minimum benefits ready to be called on as required. In other words, they are a necessary part of the system and they won't go away while the profit system exists, and the people mentioned above are simply attacking the symptoms, not the disease.

The source of all social wealth is human labour. The working class produces an abundance of wealth, so much so that poverty could be eliminated very quickly if a socialist society, based on the common ownership of the means to produce that wealth was established. Poverty is an endemic part of capitalism and it cannot be different. The fundamental aspects of capitalism are the ownership of the tools of production by a tiny minority of the world's population and the consequent wage-slavery of the majority. With production for profit, the capitalist tries to extract as much as possible from his workers, who inevitably resist and organize into unions to improve conditions as best they can, hence the class struggle.

Governments, dictatorial or democratic, exist to run the affairs of capitalism and therefore to preserve the status quo, which makes the continuation of poverty inevitable. This does not mean that there are no well-meaning politicians or political parties, but they cannot succeed in eliminating poverty within capitalism. For more than two centuries the profit system has held sway over this planet and none have succeeded in this endeavour yet. In 1945, the Labour Party introduced the modern-day welfare state which, in 1948, included the NHS for all. Nobody would deny today that poverty exists in the UK and even their health system is in a mess and suffering from gross underfunding. Nor does it make sense to argue that we don't have socialism yet, so, in the meantime, we need to fight for reforms to at least reduce the worst effects of poverty. This argument has been voiced by so many for so long that `in the meantime' has become forever. The time is long past and too many people have suffered, are suffering, and will continue suffering until we attack the disease itself.

There is one way, and one way only, to abolish poverty, and that is to establish a socialist society in which the tools of production will be commonly owned and administered by the population as a whole in their own interests. In such a world, not only poverty but all the social evils created by the profit system will be abolished. Who would not want to abolish war, famine, crime, preventable disease, planned obsolescence, people having nervous breakdowns, and a host of other problems engendered by profit motives? Who would not want to replace them with a world where all will live in peace, harmony, and prosperity? This can be had as soon as people want it. So why not organise politically in the Socialist Party to bring it to fruition.

The Socialist Party has continually shown that, while there may be some subtle shades of difference between the main political parties of the world’s developed countries, they all support and work in the interests of the current economic system that is the underlying cause of the ailments afflicting the world such as poverty, war and deprivation of necessary goods and services. So long as we keep as we keep electing these parties, so long will those afflictions continue no matter which party is in power or how many new leaders arise.
 “Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.” (Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte).

On the other hand, when socialism replaces capitalism, there will be no leaders, no political parties, and no states, as they are expressions of a class-based society. In socialism, which can only be established by the democratic will of the majority of the working class, it will be up to the people to decide how their society will operate. Elected delegates will carry out the will of the people with no more special powers or privileges than anyone else and would be accountable and recallable at any time. Leadership implies the investiture of special powers in a person and subservience of all others to those powers. Decision-making and policy-making are taken out of the hands of the majority as being incapable, and left to the leader and his small cadre of “experts”. Once the leader is elected, the rank and file who elected him are expected to go away and remain quiet only to be trotted out for support every four or five years. We cannot be led into socialism for if that were the case, we could be led out again by a so-minded politician. It will only be the understanding of the socialist case and the desire for it by the vast majority that will give birth to and maintain a socialist society of common ownership of wealth production and distribution in the interests of all.

“All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interests of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.” (Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto).

 The Socialist Party has no leaders, only elected officials following the directions of the membership.

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Capitalist Tricksters

The Socialist Party does not see itself as a part of the Left and view Left and Right as being outmoded bourgeois terms reflecting different aspects of managing the capitalist system which it opposes. Corbyn is as much a part of the problem even though he, probably genuinely, wishes to reform it. But his reforms are just not socialism or even 'socialistic'. As Tony Benn once pointed out, “The Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it – a bit like Christians in the Church of England.

We do not have problem with any individual who has enough capital to start up a business and employ others, it is in their economic or class interests to do so and maximise accumulation, but their motivation is to profit from it and certainly not a philanthropic desire to create work for others. We have yet to meet a business-person who worried about how many jobs they were creating, though we have met many anxious ones worried as consequence of how many they would have to shed but increase or accelerate the rate of exploitation to maintain profit accumulation. Capital (stolen from surplus value created by workers) is not invested to create jobs, but to create profit accumulation. This could just as likely take the form of reducing worker numbers and increasing the rate of exploitation of the remaining workers. The purpose of investment, the driving motivation, is to create profit for the parasite class. All wealth springs from labour. It is inevitable that workers are employed, where else would the wealth come from, but this is a consequence of the workers capacity to create a surplus over and above their subsistence and maintenance (waged ration) and not the motivating factor of deploying capital (stolen surplus value), which is profit from exploitation.

As Robert Tressell put it, the workers are the real philanthropists.
Video version of The Great Money Trick explained here.  

The global economy is in a periodic slump so the fat cats can sit it out until it picks up again. Credit Suisse have produced their Global Wealth Report for 2016. It notes, for instance, that 'the 33 million parasite millionaires comprise less than 1% of the adult population, but own 46% of household wealth.' There's lots more data there.
The report can be downloaded from here
The capitalist baby is a monstrous irreformable creature which requires to be drowned forever before it conducts more war science upon hapless civilians such as at Nagasaki or Hiroshima. I do not share your happy-clappy view of capitalism. It is presently the only show in town to be sure, but this is no reason to abandon the only solution to it, regardless of how our class enemies or erstwhile shamefaced supporters of Leftist variants, bring disrepute to its name or traduce the idea of real communism.

A socialist world will, of course, be what we all make it. Everyone's ideas and efforts will contribute. Everyone will if they choose to, have an equal voice in the democratic decisions that are taken. Perhaps this is one thing about socialist society that most of us today would find strikingly different – the amount of discussion that will take place about what things are to be made and built. There will be no market forces offering a quick profit in plastic handbags or causing a shutdown in shipping. There will be no governments imposing taxes, preparing for germ warfare, tapping telephones or closing hospitals. Road-building, shipping, agriculture, manufacturing, distribution, services, entertainment – these things will be everybody's concern. And these things – not crimes or wars – will be news. The whole pattern of production and distribution will become a conscious social process.
We don’t need to become Super Man.  We are ordinary men and women who aspire to do extraordinary things, a class in itself yet to become a class for itself and then to end classes. I think the 'withering away', Engels referred to was that of government as in the state becoming obsolete, as we captured it initially to avoid its coercive apparatus being used to prevent the revolution, being shorn of this repressive possibility and useful parts retained directed over things, rather than over people. The politicians are powerless to do anything other than attempt to manage us in the interests of the global parasite class. All government is over us.

There are not too many people on the planet just too many poor people, but that can be sorted out with a social revolution to make it a commonly owned world.

Wee Matt

The time is now, why must we wait?

Well-meaning people always want a reform passed to deal with a particularly unsavoury aspect of capitalism. They introduce wishy-washy reforms that may in some way or another make a slight improvement to workers lives, only to find them quickly reversed by the next government. The erosion of the NHS is a typical example. No one can deny the world is in a heck of a mess today, and every day there is evidence that the politicians cannot cope. Politicians have long been attempting to manage this anarchic market volatility since the beginning of the modern day industrial state two hundred years ago and haven’t yet succeeded. Do they still wish us to believe they have a chance today? Their job is to manage the day to day chaos of capital little more. It makes not an iota of difference whether they are honest, clever, stupid, or educated. Nor does it matter if they are well meaning. If good intentions or any of these other things were all that were required to fix capitalism there would be no problem.

Wars is being across the world that benefits no member of the working class. All over the world religious fanaticism has reached ridiculous levels. Global warming continues to wreak havoc with the environment with increasing extreme weather events in all around the world.

We in The Socialist Party are not interested in upholding capitalist economics. We are not asking anyone to vote for us who does not understand and want socialism; we are not in the business of providing reformist promises to patch the system back together. We are asking you to study the case for socialism so that when you do vote for socialism, you will, in effect, be voting for yourself for your own interests. We believe in the hard-headed understanding of knowing what we want as a class and the perseverance to achieve it. The Socialist Party has clearly explained for over a century that poverty and all the economic and social evils are caused by the ownership of the tools of production by a tiny minority with the consequent need for the vast majority to sell their mental and physical capabilities and work for wages with which to buy back some of what they produce. If that sounds crazy, that’s because it is! Production for profit has created the mess we are in.

All this can be changed simply and quickly for the better by the world’s working class organizing politically for a socialist world in which the means of production will be owned and used for the benefit of all humanity. The Socialist Party isn’t interested in making life less harsh for anyone within capitalism, but in overthrowing an economic system that makes, and will continue to make, life harsh for the vast majority. We hold that the root cause of today’s social problems is that a tiny minority owns the world’s natural resources, and all political parties, except those of the World Socialist Movement, exist to maintain the status quo. We advocate a society where the means of production and distribution are owned by everyone and where all production is to satisfy needs, not profit. In such a society, there will be no military budget, in fact, no military and no budget; no bombs, no taxes, no funding for anything; no fares, no prisons, no police, no racism, no rents, no homeless, no utility cut-offs, no corporations, no take-home pay, in fact, no money. A society based on common ownership, where all take what they require will eliminate buying and selling and has no need for money. It will be a case of “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

 Many may argue, ‘that sounds fine, but it won’t happen yet and, in the meantime, we need reforms to make our lives better in capitalism.’ Our answer is that we have had a century of reforms and reform parties and still we struggle and fight for the crumbs. ‘In the meantime’ has become forever, and the only alternative to socialism, the only solution to our major problems of war, poverty, and want, has been put aside. No, the time is NOW! Socialism is there, waiting for you as soon as you want it. How do you get it? By joining with us to capture political power to win the Social Revolution.

The Real Culprit

The only time capitalists speak of patriotism is when they exhort workers to buy their ‘home grown’ products and when they urge them to fight for their interests in wars.
Our current economic system, capitalism, is based on private ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth produced by the workers i.e. the land, resources, the factories and machinery, the transportation systems etc. Goods are produced with a view to making a profit that comes from the extra value that the worker puts into the products over and above his wage. That is, after working for part of the day to create enough value to pay his wage, the worker then continues to work to create the value that becomes profit. Economist Jim Stanton in 2009 said that the average Canadian auto worker earns $65 000 per year and creates $300 000 in value. If the figures are correct, then, if the worker starts his shift at, say, 7am, he has earned his wage by about 8:45am and the rest of the day he works for his employer for free.

Capitalist production is commodity based, meaning that goods are produced only with a view to making a profit. If that profit doesn’t materialise, or is less than expected, production ceases, no matter what the need is. Food, in many parts of Africa, is a prime example of this system in action. No profit, no production, can’t pay, can’t have, is the logo of commodity production. Capital accumulation must take place for the system to work. Investors expect to take away more than they put into an enterprise. Capital then is value in perpetual search of additional value, and it this continual search for augmentation that drives, or derails, the capitalist mode of production. It must be, of course, predicated on continual expansion, ever greater destruction of the earth to extract resources, ever greater factories, machines, and production systems, ever greater markets to absorb the extra products. Capital’s search for greater value means that the managers of the investment funds and the corporations involved in every aspect of production are charged with finding opportunities for producing the greatest value. In this, they are in a life and death struggle with their competitors. Lose the struggle and your capital investment dries up and you are taken over or, worse, you go bankrupt. Given this analysis of our economic system, it is not surprising that qualities such as ethics, loyalty, or morality are tossed aside when it comes to the economic survival of a business. A Corporation is a paper agreement between groups of risk capital and has no feelings. Its mandate is to protect and augment the capital it has been loaned. If this protection means cutting the payroll, then it is unfortunate but so be it. If returns are better in one area of the globe, then, as water flows with gravity to the lowest level, so capital will flow to the lowest cost area. The profit oriented and competitive nature of capitalist production compel the bosses to keep costs, such as labour, as low as possible. Some may search for long-term solutions to the problem of jobs being out-sourced abroad. There is one solution that would end the turmoil and insecurity of relying on the whims of capital and profitability for good - the establishment of socialism.

What is to be done?

In the short term, there is very little that can be done to reverse the situation. As noted above, when the prospect of profitability returns, capital will be invested again and the recovery will begin. Union activity through pressure on employers, collective bargaining, demonstrations etc. are always available to mitigate the worst aspects of the system, but are even less effective during a recession, as current negotiated concessions of wages and benefits attest. In the longer term, we must examine the system that creates so much wealth but delivers so little to the general population and yet so much to the few owners. It is a change in this ownership that The Socialist Party proposes. Presently, capital dominates our life. It tells us that we must get a job to survive, then tells us when and how we do it, what the conditions of work will be, and even whether we will work at all. We propose that a new system of producing and distributing wealth is needed, one where the ownership of the world’s resources, and the means to turn them into useful goods, is owned by all, in common, and operated democratically, in the interests of all. That would mean all mankind would get a proper diet, housing, clean water, education, health-care, and the need for continual wars over who owns the resources (the major cause of all wars) is ended. The only answer is to abolish capitalism and establish a society where all stand equal in relation to the tools of production, decisions are made by the people in the interests of the people, and love of humanity reigns supreme.

Since reformers accept the status quo, they are condemned like Sisyphus to roll a great weight uphill only to see it roll down again. In a socialist society, where all will stand equal in relation to the tools of production, there will be no unemployment, no one will be homeless and no one will be denied medical attention because the wealth of society will be distributed through a system of free access to all goods and services produced. Who wouldn’t want it? So why not work politically and consciously for that end?

Thursday, December 01, 2016

A Bit Marxist Economic Theory

The Cash Nexus 
Every recession is a crisis in the capitalist mode of production. Marx wrote that capitalist production moves through certain periodic cycles. It moves through a state of quiescence, growing animation, prosperity, overtrade, crisis, and stagnation - what is referred to today as the business cycle. The manifestation of a recession is an oversupply of goods to the market that cannot be sold immediately, sending a signal to the production units to slow down or stop production and thus creating unemployment. The production units reduce orders for the means of production, raw materials and machinery, which causes more lay-offs and the unemployed reduce their purchases, creating a snowball rolling down a hill effect. But what causes the overproduction? Marxist scholars such as Rudolph Hilferding and Mikhail Tugan-Baranovsky pointed to the anarchy of capitalist production as the culprit and other socialists developed this idea. For steady sustained growth, capitalist production needs a state of equilibrium between the various sectors of the economy and between supply and demand. The absence of social regulation means that this is rarely achieved and only for short periods of time. Production is based on the expectation of profit and profit is highest in a boom period. Then the drive for maximum profits sees production lines ramped up and new ones created. No one wants to miss out on the bonanza and no one expects to be the one who cant sell his commodities. Eventually, of course, all this expansion means that productive capacity goes beyond what the market can absorb and productive capital is tied up in the form of unsold goods. Profits drop and capital turns over slower or is withdrawn altogether. In addition, the reserve army (that part of the work-force that is often unemployed or on welfare and kept around only to be activated in times of expanded production) disappears in a boom so that demand for labour increases, raising its price and reducing profitability and depleting the investment fund of the capitalists. This results in a lower demand for producer goods, i.e. natural resources, machines, etc. producing a crisis in that sector. Thus the anarchy of production, the loss of equilibrium between sectors, and rising wages, create the climate for recession.

Once the recession is upon us, conditions that are favourable to a recovery become apparent. Companies that declare bankruptcy sell off their assets cheaply to their rivals. Less demand for producer goods means lower prices. The reserve army and many others are laid off creating a competition for jobs and thus lowering wages. Lower demand for loans reduces interest rates like any other commodity. The large stocks built up before the advent of the recession gradually decline to a point where production is again necessary. All of these factors make investing in production more attractive and the cycle begins its upward swing. It is evident then that the seeds of every boom are to be found in every recession and, conversely, the seeds of every recession are to be found in every boom. This boom and bust cycle is an entirely natural occurrence of the capitalist mode of production. It hasnt collapsed capitalism yet, and, in fact, recessions tend to strengthen the system by weeding out the weak and inefficient enterprises, something not apparent in the state-run capitalism of the Soviet Union, contributing to its demise. Collapse theories developed in the latter part of the nineteenth century, in part as a response to the Long Depression, 1873 to 1895. Several leading theoreticians and leaders of left organizations presented collapse scenarios. Karl Kautsky said that capitalism is incapable of prolonged survival because of the inability of markets to keep pace with production. Henry Hyndman, of the Social Democratic Federation, thought that the depression would bring an attempt to substitute collective for capitalist control, i.e. a social revolution. Engels wrote that while productive power increases in geometric ratio, markets increase in an arithmetic one. Rosa Luxembourg, Kautsky, and Bogdanov based collapse theories on the restricted purchasing power of the working class. This underconsumption theory argued that aggregate demand, i.e. workers consumption fund plus capitalists consumption fund could not buy the total product, especially when the capitalists used some of their fund for reinvestment thus reducing the total available for buying products. Luxembourg theorized that the extra product, not bought by the workers or the capitalists, was disposed of in those parts of the world not yet under the capitalist mode of production. Since the tendency of capitalism is to expand and spread, then that market would shrink until the extra product could not be sold putting capitalism into a crisis from which it could never recover. The World Socialist Movement argued that total aggregate demand consists of workers consumption plus capitalists consumption plus capitalists investments because those investments were not lost but used to buy the means of production raw materials, machinery, buildings etc.

In addition, since the exchange value of a commodity is determined by the amount of socially necessary labour embedded in it, then a value equal to that must be shared between the workers and the capitalists, i.e. the total purchasing power is equal to the total sum of values. Even though value and price may vary (according to the supply and demand of the market) the sum total of values equals the sum total of prices. Thus the workers and the capitalists together would be able to buy all the products on the market. If underconsumption were true, then it would have stifled the growth of capitalism completely. A second collapse theory centered around the falling rate of profit due to the rising rate of the organic composition of capital. Capital invested is divided into two parts. Constant capital is that part that buys the raw materials and producer goods such as machinery and is transferred directly through the productive process to the finished product. Variable capital is used to buy labour-power that produces surplus value (that value created by the worker over and above his wage) that is embedded in the commodity and realized at its sale. That is the only source of profit. As technology and machinery develop, more of the invested capital goes into the constant part and less into buying labour-power, more into dead labour (machinery) and less into living labour. Thus the part producing surplus-value shrinks and with it the rate of profit. However, so far, the fall in the rate of profit has been very slow and often not apparent at all. Marx noted that this falling rate is only a tendency, not a law, and is offset by many other factors such as shift work, increased use of the machinery, (increases the rate of exploitation), cheapening of the elements of constant capital (cheap goods that dont last long), higher productivity, including higher intensity of work, and the increased rate of the turnover of capital. Thus, it is unlikely that the rise in the organic composition of capital will bring about the collapse of the system. The real evidence is that capitalism has continued and continues to expand despite regular crises and doesnt look like collapsing any time soon. Whether other factors such as the end of a fossil-fuel economy and climate change will have a major effect on the health of capitalism remains to be seen What we can say for sure is that:
1. A recession is a normal consequence of capitalism.
2. A recession can invigorate capitalism.
3. Capitalism is not likely to collapse of its own accord anytime soon.
4. If collapse theories were true, all socialists would need to do is sit back and do nothing.
5. If capitalism did collapse, it wouldnt necessarily mean that socialism would follow.
6. Socialism is the task of the working class and can only come about by the actions of a conscious majority understanding and wanting socialism.
7. Thus we must assume capitalism will continue and work towards its demise.

8. Collapse theories, therefore, undermine the real work of socialists, just as do time and energy spent on reforms and alternative systems within capitalism such as cooperatives, fair trade, and communes.

The problem with capitalism

Trade unions can only fight a rearguard action against the worst excesses of capitalism. They try to improve conditions for their members within capitalism in the form of higher wages, fewer hours, better overtime rates, sick pay, pension plans, safety legislation, etc., but can never be a means to establish socialism. Nor can it be argued that workers in unions can capture the tools of production within capitalism, thereby creating a new society within the womb of the old, which Industrial Workers of the World advocate. For a union to be effective, it must embrace workers of all political beliefs in its ranks, including reformers, liberal, conservatives, and fascists - hardly an organization that will change anything fundamentally. Benefits won by years of union activity and strife can be lost in the blink of an eye, as we see here. This doesn't mean there is no solution to the problem. In fact, the solution exists and can be implemented as soon as most people decide we need a complete change. It's called socialism - common ownership by all and free access for all to the products of society - and to establish it we need to work politically for its speedy arrival. One thing that Marx stressed that the unions these days no longer concern themselves with and it is the complete abolition of the wages system.

Socialism, the only viable alternative to capitalism will be a system based on the common ownership of the production and distribution of wealth and worldwide cooperation for the benefit of all. Of course, there will be disputes, solved by discussion, mediation, and majority vote that will heed the greater good for all the earths people, not just the interests of the tiny minority of owners, as our the present system. But socialism, being a truly democratic system will certainly put an end to borders. There is no answer within the competitive capitalist system where every country looks after its own welfare, or rather that of their capitalist class, doesnt mean that there is no answer. In a socialist society of common ownership, where production is for the satisfaction of human needs, it naturally follows that there will be no need for money, the profit system, or the profit motive. Decisions, including ones concerning the environment, will be made by the majority of the worlds citizens in the interests of the majority. All due regard will be given to satisfying need without environmental murder. The problem is that time is running out. If there is any time left to establish a socialist system to solve this world problem, before environmental destruction is irreversible, then the time is now.

Socialism can only be established by a class-conscious majority of the world's people working together. It will mean an end to nation states, their central governments, and to competition and replace it with a cooperative, democratic system where producers meet as equals to produce goods for use, not profit, and to look for real solutions that benefit all mankind, based on science and common sense. Only in such a system can the revolutionary changes in our life-style be enacted that will put an end to the dirty production, indiscriminate resource extraction, and unchecked development that characterize capitalist production. It is common sense to end our dependency on fossil fuels and to develop green technology, to move to local production and self-sufficiency, and produce only what we need in an economy planned to meet the needs of all humans. This kind of common sense is impossible to contemplate, never mind implement, under our capitalist system because its only reason for being, and its driving force, is the production of profit. Capitalism that has brought the productive powers necessary to create abundance for everyone is incapable of making the revolutionary social and economic changes needed to nurture the earth and all its inhabitants. Only socialism can usher in the next greatest step in human progress - the era of mutual cooperation, the real beginning of our history on this planet.

Our employers are class-conscious and they practice the class struggle. The bosses picked their battles carefully and prepared for them thoroughly.  During a strike companies show their capitalist class solidarity, joining forces to fight against their workers. On the other hand, workers look for every opportunity to turn things around.

The employing class makes their profit by taking it out of the blood, sweat and tears of their workers. The boss tries to squeeze as much profit out of the worker as he possibly can. And if the workers stopped resisting, they’d just be squeezed even more. Of course, there are some nice bosses and plenty of nasty bosses. On the Southern cotton plantations, there WERE kind slave-masters and cruel ones. The working class wants NO slave-masters and NO bosses. The capitalist class and the profit system does not change their spots. This system is designed to run on profit, not philanthropy or idealism. That’s why it’s called the profit system. Wars are fought – for profit. And peace treaties are written – for profit ... to the victor.

Everything you use, everything you eat or wear, your car, your housing — you didn’t make any of these things. We don’t produce these things as individuals. We produce socially. We have a division of work in the United States, and in the whole world for that matter. People in one part of the world make things which people in another part of the world use. But, even though we produce socially, through co-operation, we don’t own the means of production socially. And this affects all the basic decisions made in this society about what we produce. These decisions are not made on the basis of what people need but on the basis of what makes a profit.

Take the question of hunger. There are people going hungry all over the world but farmers don’t make their decisions by saying: “We need a lot of corn to feed those folk, so I’m going to plant a lot of corn.” Instead, the question is: “How much profit am I going to make if I plant corn?”
Take the question of housing. We could build beautiful homes for every family. The potential exists to clear out every slum and shanty-town. We have the factories, machinery and the materials for building. Yet, these houses are not going to be built to solve the housing question because it’s not profitable for the construction companies.

Did you know that because of the way the system is structured a large percentage of the people do not do any productive work at all? You have the unemployed who are not hired because it’s not profitable to hire them. Then you have the people who consume a great deal but don’t produce anything such as those in the army and the police. Then you have things like the people in the advertising industry. They don’t do anything really useful or necessary. In addition, you have a mammoth, organised effort to create waste. For instance, if you designed a car that would last 50 years, they wouldn’t build it. Because that would destroy the purpose of making cars, which is to produce profits by bringing out newer models each year – built-in obsolescence.

In the developing world — in Asia, Africa, and Latin America consider this: When a worker finishes working a full eight-hour day, he or she produces as much as an average American or European worker does in an hour. In order to raise this figure, you have to industrialise, you have to mechanise, you have to invest new technology and automation. Instead of getting real assistance from the industrialised sections of the world, developing countries are looted and drained of their wealth. Tariff barriers and protectionism blocked them from industrialising simply because the advanced capitalist countries will not permit the competition which would result from it. In fact, they impose trade treaties that permit them to out-compete and under-cut developing countries in their own domestic market.  In terms of the effect such exploitation is having on the developing world, in terms of people actually dying, starving and suffering, and their whole lives being destroyed by poverty, this is one of capitalism’s greatest crimes.

The conflict between capitalism’s drive for profits and human needs inevitably leads to social explosions. Capitalism cannot resolve its basic contradiction by becoming more responsive to social needs except for short temporary periods of time, and then only in a limited manner. Human needs always comes up against capitalism’s reason for existence - profits and this opens up the road towards revolution.

The Socialist Party believe we can win a majority of the people to support a fundamental change in the system. The right to vote, the right to representation, is deeply ingrained in our culture and traditions and can become a powerful weapon against the ruling class. We have to present our conception of a future society in which there would be no rich or poor, where society would be run democratically both politically and economically, where the economy would be rationally planned and production would be based on human needs not profits for individuals, until it become accepted by millions throughout the world. That future society is socialism. The Socialist Party’s goal is to help mobilize the whole working class, to unite the class in action.