Friday, January 11, 2019

The Day of the People has Arrived

 Every worker must be troubled by the reality we face today. Our trade unions appear practically helpless before the offensive of the employers. The potential power of those organisations created to protect our interests appear practically impotent today. Capitalist governments have passed crippling legislation to handicap the labour movement. The simple truth is this: the trade union movement has been disarmed by the profit-greedy billionaires, beguiled by the fiction that the government was the impartial umpire between the classes.

When indeed will the time be ripe for the establishment of socialism? This question the slippery-tongued left-wing intellectual always dodge. We need not wait any longer for their evasions and ambiguities, for their procrastination and delays. We have seen how they postponed, blocked and sabotaged the campaigns for a socialist society, telling our fellow-workers that they are still not ready for such a revolutionary change. But our enemy, the capitalist class, have not waited.  They have politically paralyzed, politically dismembered, politically emasculated organized labour, bound and gagged by ruling class courts. From the capitalists’ point of view, ANY expression of socialist ideas represents a great DANGER. Those who will have courage and wisdom enough to resist them means the continuing life of socialism itself. All of the poverty and greed, bloodshed and suffering on this planet is a part of the capitalist system. And we intend to change it.

The physical and mental labour of our fathers and grandfathers has produced the factories, railroads and other riches that lie around us. But generations upon generations of our remoter ancestors produced the things that made our fathers’ labor more productive too. The tools and technology we have today, the accumulated capital of the past and the rightful heritage of all humanity, these are the things that make our labour so productive. Our brains, too – finer and more subtle instruments than our ancestors had, enable us to work more efficiently, to produce better things. But still, we as laborers have only ourselves to sell – only our labor power. All that we produce – all that we labor to make – belongs to the buyers of our labor power. Our ancestors built up such a tremendous storehouse of tools and knowledge, such a magnificent productive system, that it is impossible for each worker to own the tools that make labour so productive.  Our heritage is turned against us. The capitalist, who owns the means of production – the instruments of our labor, finds us disinherited in the market place, with nothing to sell but our labour power. While our labor creates our work places and his pleasure palaces – our labor-power is rewarded with slave’s bread, masquerading under the name of a “living wage.”

The Socialist Party has to be able to come up with the ideas and language that resonates enough to create solidarity across our whole class. We need to expose the political manipulation that are preoccupied with just profit where working people tend to be considered as an afterthought, if at all. We must reveal the indifference of elite to the pain of the poor and working people. They feel as if they can get away with anything with impunity, immunity and no accountability. We are living under  right-wing authoritarian populism; of a chauvinistic, xenophobic and nationalistic. We need to instill much more vision among our fellow workers.
The Socialist Party seldom win popularity contests in the current political climate even though it believes that poverty is unacceptable and unnecessary. Anyone with an inkling of understanding of socialist ideas, and anyone who has ever been a have-not under a capitalist regime, knows that “caring” capitalism is a contradiction in terms. Capitalism in order to maintain itself has to put profit and economic growth ahead of people’s needs. If in a time of “economic boom” profit and people’s needs coincide, then we are told to believe that this will always be the case, that capitalism brings the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Socialists see this as a feeble brainwashing technique. It insults our intelligence.

The Socialist Party has explained the subject position of the working class under capitalist society, and has showed that this subjugated condition can only be abolished by converting the means of living from the private property of the capitalist class into the common property of society as a whole. This conversion could be carried out only after the capture of the political machinery by the workers, organised in a sound socialist movement. The Socialist Party says that reforms failed either to remove the cause of poverty or to change the general direction of capitalist development. Hence the necessity for revolutionary political action. Our object is the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by, and in the interests of, the whole people.

The time for waiting is over. The time for action is now. It is time to rip the blinkers off the eyes of the entire working population and instill within them the confidence that they possess a formidable political power and economic strength.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Life Under Capitalism, A Losing Battle.

The Parkdale area of Toronto ain’t exactly a hang-out for the rich and famous, in other words you don’t live there if you can afford not to. 

Since 1971 the Parkdale Community Legal Service Clinic, has done an amazing job in fighting evictions, rent increases and, as they put it: ”Bad landlords”.

Some residents have said without the clinic they would be homeless or dead. Sadly the clinic itself may soon be homeless. 

In mid-October it was served with a termination notice by landlord, Martin Usher, ordering it to be out of the office space it has rented for 18 years by Jan 1. 

Naturally they will fight it, but win or lose, it just goes to show that the more one tries to resist the effects of life under capitalism, the more one is fighting a losing battle.
For socialism, 
Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC

Elevating Profits. To Hell With Safety.

On December 5, Ontario Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, issued a scathing report about the state of elevator safety in the province. She slammed the agency that regulates elevators, The Technical Standards and Safety Authority, for falling down (no pun intended) on the job. 

Ms. Lysyk said 80 per cent of elevators failed their inspections in 2018 and that there had been 487 safety incidents. The report noted that the agency does not have consistent inspection standards, and ”A number of companies dominate the market and have been failing to make sure elevators meet safety laws”. 

The report did not add they were probably cutting corners for bigger profits and to hell with safety.
For socialism, 
Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC

We need a rational world, Not a rationed world

The Socialist Party advocates the principle of common ownership. There was a time when it seemed to many that it was possible to tame the State and create a “welfare state” for the benefit of all. Yet it has only offered us crumbs. The apathy and despair endemic to our culture are symptoms of the powerlessness people experience over their lives. The State cannot build a socialist world for us, that must be built by ourselves. We seek to abolish capitalist commodity production and wage labour and replace these with a system where the wealth of society is owned in common, managed by the people themselves, and used to produce and allocate goods and services to each equitably and according to their needs. This socialist revolution will liberate us from both the need and the drive to create wealth for the rich, making possible a socialist mode of production that seeks to benefit all of humanity. Mutual aid is essential and promotes the positive flourishing of our collective humanity.

The Socialist Party’s object is the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by, and in the interests of, the whole people. What do we mean by common ownership? Do we propose taking over all the means of production, etc., and then divide them up amongst the whole people? Of course not. Industry and transport are all too large and too complicated to parcel out piecemeal division. In fact, one of the benefits capitalist production has conferred upon society is just this: that it has organised production on a social scale, though the process has brought misery to millions of workers and small proprietors. If we were to attempt to “divide up” existing wealth, therefore, we would have to take a step backward in development and revert to the primitive productive methods of our forefathers. And even if it were possible to take such a step backward, we would then be faced with two hopeless tasks: (1) To produce enough to satisfy the needs of the present huge population, without the productive, transport and other facilities that exist to-day; and (2) with private property of a primitive kind in existence to prevent the regrowth of huge amalgamations, such as exist to-day. We do not propose a “divvying up” society’s wealth.

What we do intend is that all the means of producing and distributing the things we need shall be taken over and administered as the common possession of one huge family—the human family. In other words, that each will be free to eat, drink and clothe himself according to his needs, and that in return each will contribute his services to production according to his capacities and the requirements of the times. This will involve the organisation of production according to plan. That is, it will be necessary to determine roughly: (1) The production required; (2) the raw material and machinery, etc., required; (3) the amount of work required to ensure the necessary production; (4) the allocation of the population to the work required.

Socialists are not hero worshippers because the emancipation of the working class can only be the job of the working class itself. That as long as it sits back trusting passively in some leader or savior or even party to “do good” for the people, it will never get an inch nearer to the great goal of freedom. The Socialist Party does not seek to “bring” socialism to the people; we seek to bring about  the conditions where the people win socialism for themselves.

When the new society has settled down to production on the new plan of organisation there will be ample leisure for each individual to employ himself in ways productive of pleasure. To some leisure time devoted to invention; to others the devotion to the different arts will be the outlet for their superfluous energies. Others again will like to spend some time in travel and it is just here that the new arrangement promises most. Modern technology has so simplified production that it has reduced the part of each to a comparatively simple one, and the tendency in this direction is still rapidly proceeding.

Working people live their whole life on the poverty line, some of them a little below it and some of them a little above it, but most of them precariously poised on it. Recession or war, unemployment or over-wok, hunger or obesity, collapse of economy or collapse of the environment – these are the alternatives presented by capitalism. It’s not difficult to prove that this is an insane world. Every issue of the Socialist Standard offers proof of the absurdity of the capitalist system. Even the capitalist media finds itself admitting the irrational character of this social system. Suffering and sorrow are the fate of individuals bent on self-destruction. Poverty and financial crises drive many into depression and to suicide. If one did not foresee a socialist solution to all of these problems, it would be easy to lose one’s mental balance. Our critics like to make fun of us and call us “crazy dreamers” But they are the ones who are supporting  this lunatic asylum called capitalism.

 You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Vulture Capitalism. Another Pension Fund sucked Dry

Two motions have been brought before the Ontario Superior Court, by 12,000 former Sears workers who feel they have been royally screwed, having been forced to take a 30 per cent cut on their pensions. 

The main focus of their ire is Eddie Lampert, a hedge fund billionaire, who took control over the ailing retail giant in 2005 and helped run it into the ground until it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017. 

What has upset the plaintiffs so much is that in December 2013 a $509 million dollar dividend was paid by Sears-Canada to its shareholders; you can bet they had a merry Christmas. 

As Bernie Sanders said, "Once again vulture capitalists have hollowed out a company to line their own pockets".

For socialism, 
Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Why is socialism still relevant?

Part of centenary celebrations. Speakers Dick Donnelly and Bill Martin.

Capitalism Humbug, would’ve been better.

A letter came in my mail from Toronto’s Scott Mission, which calls itself, A Christian Ministry of Mercy and Love, asking for a donation to feed the homeless at Christmas. 

To quote, "But for those who are homeless and alone, there is no such thing as a holiday. Every single day is a new struggle to find food to eat and a safe place to stay”, which could also be said of many who are not homeless, especially as many parts of major cities are not safe. 

They also said, "for the last 77 years we have relied on the lords provision…”, well he’s not doing a very good job. Each meal they said would cost only $4.25, but what the good folks at Scott Mission don’t say is they’ll be starving the next day and for many afterward. 

What good is Christmas Spirit to them then? Perhaps Scrooge almost had it right when he said ‘Christmas Humbug'. Almost ‘cos' Capitalism Humbug, would’ve been better.

For socialism, 

Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC

Workers face the same problems result of living within the same system.

The last contract negotiated between GM and the auto-workers union, Unifor, which was in 2016, ensured that the plant in Oshawa would be in operation well past 2019. Imagine their shock and everyone else’s when GM announced it would lay off 2,700 workers there in December 2019. 

This was all the more amazing because GM had recently made $500 million in improvements at the plant and, to quote Mayor John Henry, ”those trucks are selling like crazy”. Unifor has been informed that, "There is no product allocated to the Oshawa plant past December 2019.

 Furthermore it will affect their suppliers and businesses in the Oshawa area. 

So one minute you think you’ve got a future and the next minute you find out the truth – that’s life under crapitalism.

For socialism, 
Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC

Make Socialism a Reality

Socialism is a practical possibility. Human beings are quite capable of co-operating as free and equal men and women, to produce the wealth they need and to run a social system in which the satisfaction of these needs will be the guiding principle. The Socialist Party asserts that men and women can so organise the conditions of work that they can get pleasure from working and making useful things. The idea of a wage-free, money-free society terrifies the master-class. After all, how would they get their living without surplus labour to feast upon? Most people live in one of two quite different worlds. There is the world of sumptuous palaces for an opulent, parasitical few which the unemployed rich enjoy and there is the world of overcrowded slums for the poor, dispossessed multitudes.

 Capitalism is a brutal social system which splits the human race into two distinct classes: one a tiny, unproductive minority, able to wallow in the best of everything because of their ownership of the means of production and their unearned income from investments, and enormous number of propertyless workers who are restricted to shortages, enduring exploitation in spite of the fact that they are the actual creators of all the world’s real wealth.

The vast majority of people today are wage-slaves. In order to eat they are forced to work for the master class who own and control all the instruments of production. The masses who produce but do not own are robbed by the few who own but do not produce. They are robbed because they are paid in the form of wages only a small part of the value they create when they process raw materials into commodities. The workers must be paid less than the true value of the goods they produce for if they were paid the real value of those goods the master class would not be able to sell them for a profit. The profit which keeps the robber class in idle luxury come from the unpaid labour of the working class. That is what capitalism is all about and it cannot work any other way. Capitalism cannot operate in the interests of mankind.

What the poor cannot buy they must do without. If they cannot afford to buy food then they must starve, and capitalism will let them starve to death outside warehouses which are crammed full of good food which is rotting because the needy do not have the money to purchase it. Profit comes before people. Capitalism decrees that goods which cannot be sold for profit must not be produced, no matter how desirable and necessary they may be in order to make the world a better place for humanity. It also decrees that, at times of so-called glut, goods which cannot be sold must he destroyed as there is no money to be made by giving commodities away. That is why ‘surplus’ food (surplus only to the demands of the market, that is) is burned or dumped into the sea while underprivileged people are dying of hunger.

Capitalism causes unemployment, slums, poverty, famine, crime and war. Those social cankers are built into capitalist society and cannot possibly be eradicated as long as capitalism lasts. They are the natural and unavoidable consequences of the money system, the profit motive and the private property basis of society—the three fundamental rocks of capitalism. War cannot be charmed out of existence by reformist measures such as peace treaties and disarmament agreements. It is spawned by the national economic rivalries inseparable from capitalism. The structure of society must be altered in order to get rid of the social system which causes all the trouble. History proves that reforms achieve next to nothing—what we need now is a world-wide social revolution.

Instead of goods being produced simply to be sold to make a profit for the capitalists the privately-owned means of production should be converted to the common property of all Mankind so that everybody can have free access to everything that is produced. That would make money unnecessary as people would have no need to buy what they already owned. The working class would own the goods because they would be the people who had produced them. They produce everything now but capitalism deprives them of the fruits of their labour and relegates them to wage-slavery. But once production is organised to satisfy human need money will be superfluous and social equality will become a reality for everyone in the world of abundance which science could make possible tomorrow in a different social set-up. And when men have free access to all they need there will not be anything for them to fight over.

The capitalists employ every trick in the book to mislead people that capitalism is the best of all possible systems. Which it is—for the rich. But for the robbed millions who are the only useful, essential members of society capitalism is a curse. Unfortunately, it isn’t difficult to dazzle the masses of people with all the ostentatious ritual and ceremony, the pomp that the rulers stage for that purpose. The master class know how to divert the workers' attention from social conditions to irrelevancies. 

Monday, January 07, 2019

We Need Real Socialism

The Socialist Party insists that the workers must win political power and capture the State machine to obtain supremacy over the capitalist class. The property-owning class can only "command” the economic conditions by being in political control. Their economic interests unite the capitalists into political parties to control the governing machine so that their economic interests can be defended. Hence the fierce competition to win a majority of the working-class voters to maintain capitalist control. The capitalists are combined through the political government in order to hold the proletariat in subjection. Anarchist politics ignores the enormous power of the State machine to suppress revolts. It ignores, too, the lack of resources of the workers when on strike or "locked out.” Revolutionary Syndicalism/Industrial Unionism cannot establish socialism, for it organises the workers by industry and divides the workers up into industrial sections, each concerned with its own industry. The Socialist Party hold that the workers must first of all realise their common interests and unite into a class organisation as socialists struggling for political control. The forms of the workers' economic organisation under capitalism will reflect the growing class understanding and Socialist ideas of the workers. The Socialist Party rejects “workers’ management” as a solution to workers’ problems. We insist on the abolition of wages. We say that tinkering with administrative forms is of no use. Buying and selling must be abolished. The wage packet—the permission to live—must be abolished.

Wherever one turns, one discovers disappointment with the Labour Party at its manifest failure of to make an impression upon the various evils of the worker’s life. Some supporters of the Labour Party appear to consider that their leaders’ failure is personal; that it is due to not having the right men in office. It is plain, however, to anyone understanding the above facts, that no shuffling of ministers in the Government can accomplish any vital change. Any attempt to interfere with the normal operations of capitalism could only introduce chaos and intensify the very evils of which the workers complain, thus bewildering their supporters and producing an even more rapid reaction than that at present in progress. Economic laws cannot be set aside by the emotional rhetoric of orators, however sincere they may be. The only logical alternative to capitalism to-day is socialism, and as the majority of Labour Party supporters are not socialists, they will not support any fundamental attack upon capitalism. The present leaders of the Labour Party are astute enough and experienced enough to realise this, and they possess sufficient control over the party’s wire-pulling machinery to hold the left-wingers in effective check. Reformers plan to re-arrange the wages system. They imagine that slavery can be operated in the interests of slaves! They are wasting their time.

At present the majority of the workers lack the necessary knowledge to organise for socialism. Only economic development coupled with intelligent propaganda can teach them. In the meantime, all the efforts of calculating schemers and well-meaning blunderers can only bring them disappointment, disillusion and despair. The Socialist Party has said this for over a century, and it is prepared, if necessary, to go on repeating it. Day by day the truth of our contention is being confirmed. The bitter fruits of compromise are apathy. The attempts of reformers to gloss over and patch up the class-struggle have failed. For ourselves, however, not having based any hopes in the Labour Party, we find no cause for despair. The need for our existence becomes plainer than ever. Out of a realisation that compromise is futile will grow the conviction that the socialist policy of unswerving determination to end capitalism by attacking unceasingly its political props is the only fertile one. The failure of Labour is but the echo of the failure of Conservatives.  It is capitalism which fails to permit the workers to enjoy the fruits of their work. The interests of the workers demand a social change, a change from the private ownership of the means of living to the common ownership thereof. To that end we summon those workers whose blinkers are falling from their eyes to organise for the capture of the powers of government in order to achieve their emancipation. Capitalism is a society of unrelenting insecurity and poverty. The lot of all workers under capitalism. Their day to day struggles will be more frequent and intense, and the outcome a continuing vista of repetitive struggle over the same issues—work and wages.

Men and women will never be free from exploitation and oppression until all work is voluntary and access to all goods and services is free. Socialism means a world-wide society, democratically controlled, without profits, wages or money. This is a practical proposition now. All attempts to solve such problems as war, poverty, hunger, alienated and degrading toil, inside a society based on wages and profits are sure to fail. We, alone of all political organisations, use the slogan “Abolition of the wages system!”

It is true that the capitalists, like all ruling classes, live in great luxury and possess immense power. But it is a mistake to think that the workers are poor because the capitalists consume so much. On the contrary, the wealth actually consumed personally by capitalists is an insignificant (and diminishing) fraction of total wealth produced. Taking the consumption of the capitalists and sharing it out amongst the workers would result in a rise for us all of only a few shillings a week. It is a fact that our masters live off the fat of the land, but if they starved we should still be slaves. Socialists are not primarily concerned, like moralists of “fair play,” to indict the caviar and yachts of the super-rich, but rather the misdirection of production: the subordination of consumption to accumulation and the immensity of organized waste and destruction.

The wages system is the universal badge of class servitude and exploitation. When the class system of capitalism is scrapped, the wages systems will go with it. Poverty and insecurity are inherent in this capitalist society. Wages only represent enough wealth, on average, to keep workers in working order and to provide replacements when they wear out. Capitalism necessarily degrades both workers and capitalists in a thousand different ways. But this degradation presses harder upon the workers whose whole lives are spent as appendages to someone else's pursuit of profits, mere extensions to the productive resources of another class. They are harried and driven, deceived and deluded by more refined methods and to a greater degree of intensity than any exploited class in history. They are divided and subdivided and taught to take up the spurious ideology of their masters as their own. All wars in the modem world are predatory—fought by workers who own no means of production, to enable the victorious sections of the capitalist class to re-divide the plunder. Workers clearly have no stake in such a set-up.

The life of the working class is spent in struggles to maintain a meagre level of existence at the mercy of blind economic forces they as yet can only understand vaguely, if at all. Leisure becomes a respite between work shifts and work becomes a drudge to be regarded as a necessary evil, instead of an essential means of self-expression through social creativity. As much as workers hate employment and have little interest in what they do, they live in fear of unemployment and develop neuroses of resentment against “outsiders" or “foreigners” who are seen as a threat to “their” jobs. They fill half the hospital beds with cases of nervous and mental disorders which arise from the pressures to which capitalism subjects them. Yet, epithets such as "agitator" and “trouble-maker" are commonly applied to anyone who seeks change.

With the advent of socialism, goods and services of all kinds will be produced solely for use. Social products will no longer be exchanged, but will be freely available, because the means of production will belong to society as a whole. There will be no means of exchange or any other barrier between people and the things they need. The pattern of conduct that follows from common ownership will be a harmonious one; just as that arising from class ownership is antagonistic. Human dignity will again be able to assert itself, free from exploitation. The conditions which cause war and poverty will disappear. People will willingly co-operate because they will be conscious of their involvement in society and will be in control of their environment. The fact is that in order for socialism to be established, a majority of the world’s workers must understand and desire it. From the basis of this understanding, new, truly human relationships will arise in place of the crude cash nexus.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Taking Socialism Seriously

We need to hold to a vision of the future we want to see and work to make it a reality. It’s been a tough for those of us in the Socialist Party trying to overthrow capitalism but that doesn’t mean we should give up—in fact that would be among the worst things we could do. What stands in the way of socialism are attitudes of despair and despondency. And the business of the Socialist Party politics is, among other things, to change those attitudes. The Socialist Party holds the socialist future in our hearts and minds so that it can give us the perseverance to keep up the struggle. We resist capitalism not because we are guaranteed success but because it is right. Our compass should have socialism as its destination. We need to keep this end in mind so not to lose our way. An important part of our task today is to recover socialist theory from distortions.

Socialism aims at giving meaning to the life and work of people, enabling their freedom and their creativity to flourish. Socialism is not state ownership or government planning or even a rise in living standards. Socialist society implies the organisation by people themselves of every aspect of their social life, seeking to build the world without oppression and exploitation.  The purpose of socialist revolution is instead to provide today’s society with a form of organisation that corresponds to the material possibilities open to us. Today's world has all the objective material capacities to put an end to capitalist exploitation and all the forms of oppression that it perpetuates. This is the basic and primary reason for working for socialism.

The Socialist Party is often asked to lay out in detail our idea of what socialism will be like. A detailed blueprint is possible only where we have, in advance, comprehensive knowledge of all relevant facts. We do not possess such comprehensive information about the future which is not laid out according to a prearranged pattern, but is itself modified by our actions.  The most we can do or need to do, therefore, is to offer a general rough sketch. We learn about the details filling in the gaps provided by the rough sketch as we go along. If we are reasonably sure of the main outlines, we go ahead and find out what happens, adjusting ourselves flexibly to experience.

 Yet there are many elements to the socialist ideal— “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”; the disappearance of the State; the breaking down of the barrier between intellectual and physical labor; “society of the free and equal” In order for the society to be just and equitable, it must embody socialist principles. We need to make a fundamental change in society. SOCIALISM MEANS EXPANDING DEMOCRACY NOT ONLY IN THE POLITICAL SENSE BUT IN AN ECONOMIC SENSE. The socialist idea of a free and equal cooperative commonwealth is a practical one under an economy of abundance. A world without money, and without any kind of substitute for a monetary exchange, would not be a world of chaos, as some might suppose as the alarmists would have us believe. A world without money be like? I think it would be a world without poverty and hunger and unemployment; without economic misery and without fear for the future. It would be a world where men and women could choose their particular vocation and might work at the thing for which is best suited. It would be a world where everyone might be well and comfortable, fed and housed.

The Socialist Party counter the illusion that there can be world peace, explaining that there could be no lasting solution on the basis of capitalism. The form of the conflict could be changed, there could be interludes brought about by war weariness and exhaustion, above all the development of the class struggle could cut across nationalism and sectarianism for a period of time. But, so long as capitalism remained, the underlying problem and with it the basis for ongoing conflict would remain also.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

This is our opportunity

“To escape its wretched lot, the populace has three ways, two imaginary and one real. The two first are drink and the church, the third is the social revolution.” -  Bakunin (‘God, and the State,’ 1871)
The Socialist Party proposes great changes in the way our world is organised and run.  The idea of the impossibility of life without the market still predominates. Scouring the world for profits, capitalism has expanded into virtually every corner of the planet and created a global economy with an international division of labour. The capitalists have reaped unprecedented profits yet it is unable to solve the problem of growing poverty. As long as capitalism lasts only a few superficial cosmetic changes can be made in it. No matter that we remain a tiny minority. No matter that we face defeat. The more we proclaim the fundamentals of socialism, the more fertile the soil in the future. We, in the Socialist Party, seek the co-operative commonwealth, in which there shall be neither master nor servant, where people are not shackled and gagged by the system under which they work. 
Instead of the market choosing what to produce and when and how to distribute it, the Socialist Party say society should have rational planning. However, we decline to get lost in describing the fine details. What is the future of mankind? That is for mankind to decide, not the Socialist Party. Presently we are incapable of foretelling all the conditions of how this future will be like. Those who demand intricate blueprints of socialism are either political foes or sceptics. They insist upon a blueprint not to fill in any gap within it but highlight a weakness to undermine the idea. But we are able to depict socialism with broad brush strokes to indicate necessary components and signpost its direction. There is not much more to arranging socialism than there is to a happy family household. Socialism is the rational distribution of the necessaries of life according to need. A person’s needs are food, shelter, clothing, education, health care, and entertainment and leisure.  We cannot precisely define needs but socialism is bound to produce different longings and needs and we are confident that those can be furnished by ever more innovative technology
A community would get together in some presumably democratic way (no one way fits all) to organise the coordination among the individual production units.  So, the planning mechanism is where people would get together, exchange views and opinions, agree on a plan. That planning be done at a world level, at the regional level, at the local level, depending on circumstances. Obviously, if the planning is mostly local, and there has to be some coordination among the localities, then how much of that coordination is needed depends on the division of labour and the supply of materials. The more it does for itself, the less coordination needed but we are not talking about autarky. There will have to be cooperation among worker self-managed enterprises.
This age of plenty for all, an era of shared abundance for all has already been technically possible for several decades. Why wait any longer to usher in an age of peace and prosperity. Socialism will bring together the planning of production to meet human need, the development of science and technology, and the free access to goods. There is no obstacle to society being run on the socialist principle: ‘From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.’
 Our rulers are absolutely united on what they must do as a class to protect themselves from any challenge to the system of private property and to their privilege and power. There is a manipulation of people’s thinking,  the age old tactic of “divide and conquer,” with the intent being to isolate one section of society in order to control the rest.  The ruling class’ tactics is to disarm and divide the working class. The ruling class uses every question to assert alliances along national and colour lines, inciting bigotry and xenophobia particularly among native born. The ruling class is waging a vicious, relentless campaign for the hearts and minds of the people. It emphasizes “me, me, me, and to hell with everyone else." The Socialist Party is engaged in a war of ideas to win the hearts and minds of fellow-workers.  
People are confused. They don’t know where to throw a blow or who to blame for their poverty and misery. The ruling class understands that as long as the mass of people lack a vision and remain confused about who is their friend and who is their foe, it can maintain its supremacy. Mankind's future must not be decided by those in power, the financiers, the industrialists, and the politicians. It must be decided by working people who must organise and speak out with one voice.  We demand life inside socialism before death under capitalism overtakes us all. The struggle for socialism has become the fight for the very existence of mankind.
The Socialist Party cause is a vision of humanity creating a new world, a world free of exploitation and strife. No force on Earth can stop workers from taking what rightfully belongs to them. No force can prevent working people from coalescing into one unified workers movement but it cannot progress without a goal. That aspiration is a world free forever from want, from race and national hatred and from sexual oppression and human exploitation, where the ever-expanding material and cultural needs of the people are satisfied by an ever-expanding technology that has freed humanity from toil. Today, the level of the means of production makes realising this cause possible. The Socialist Party aim is one of prosperity and social harmony. In 1904 we formed our organisation to accomplish this end. With little hope of a decent future, the working class will always present a threat to the capitalists. However, a movement of sorts is taking shape. The movement consists of the social activity of millions of people to reorganise society to be ecologically sustainable.
Workers have to live in a class society and their wills are restricted by the limitations imposed by the State; nevertheless, within their own organisations they can aspire to community of democracy and a socialist commonwealth.  The Socialist Party is part of the movement of independent working-class education world-wide. Without interest, knowledge, and will, nothing can be done. With them, all difficulties will vanish. For as Goethe once said, “You need only blow upon your hands.”

Friday, January 04, 2019

The future is up to all workers

The Socialist Party is a political party, which means that its concern is the struggle of the working class as a whole. We stand for socialism: a new system in which the people own and control the economy. Capitalism is an outlived system whose lifeblood is profit and exploitation, whether or not represented as the “welfare state” and whether or not its government is administered by liberals or self-styled “socialists.” Capitalism perpetuates poverty, unemployment, racism, and war. Socialism will only be gained by waging the working-class struggle. Socialism means the ending of exploitation of man by man, a society without class antagonisms, in which the people themselves control their means of life and use them for their own happiness. 

The spirit of our time is revolutionary and growing more so every day. The capitalist system is doomed. The signs of change confront us upon every hand. For countless ages the world has been a vast battlefield and the struggle for existence a perpetual conflict. In this struggle which has appealed to the basest and not to the best in man the cunning few have triumphed and now have the masses at their mercy. The Socialist Party is the only party that stands against the present system and for the rule of the people; the only party that boldly avows itself the party of the working class and its purpose the overthrow of wage-slavery. So long as the present system of capitalism prevails and the few are allowed to own the World's resources and industries, the toilers will be struggling in the hell of poverty as they are today. The Socialist Party is absolutely the only party which faces conditions as they are and declares unhesitatingly that it has a definite plan for ending these conditions. The Socialist Party is the party of the exploited workers. Private property and competition have had their day. The Socialist Party stands for social ownership and co-operation. The one is capitalism; the other socialism. The one industrial despotism, the other industrial democracy. The Socialist Party demands the overthrow of the wages system. The workers who have made the world and who support the world, are preparing to take possession of the world. This is what the Socialist Party stands for in this campaign. We demand the means 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 the equal rights of all the people regardless of sex, race, color, or nationality.  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. The point about socialism is that it would replace a hierarchical, bureaucratic and undemocratic society – capitalism – with a genuine democracy in which the working people controlled their own representatives. The self-emancipation of the working class through their own struggle and the democratic society which follows such emancipation are at the heart of socialism. 

The attitude of the Sociaalist Party is clear and definite. It claims that the wealth of society is created by the workers. It claims that the workers must commonly own and control all the processes of wealth production. In a word, the Socialist Party strives to build socialism. We carry this struggle on to the political field in order to challenge the power which the present ruling class wields through its domination of the State which it wins at the ballot box. By its victory at the ballot box, and its consequent political domination, the capitalists are able to repress labour.

We are convinced that the present political State, with most of its attendant institutions, must be abolished. The  State is not and cannot be a true democracy. It is not elected according to the needs of the community. It is elected because the wealthiest section of society can suppress all facts through its power over the press. By its money the capitalists can buy up the media to create false election issues. The electorate is not asked to vote upon facts but only upon such topics as the media representing capital, puts before the workers. But we cannot build socialism and leave political control in the hands of the ruling class. We have seen what power the conquest of the State gives to the capitalists in its struggle with Labour. It is through its political strength that the capitalists can deprive us of every shred of civil rights the loss of which makes the peaceful agitation for the revolution impossible. Capitalists if necessary will resort to the use ofcoercive methods and even  the armed forces. The control of these forces flow directly from capitalist control of the State which it secures at the ballot box. Therefore, in order to achieve a peaceful revolution, the working class must capture the powers of the State at the ballot box and prevent the capitalist class from suppressing workers. This destructive function is the revolutionary role of political action. But this destructive political function is necessary in order that the industrial constructive element in the revolution builing socialism may not be thwarted.

The Labour Party has no message for the working class and no method whereby the workers may destroy capitalism and construct socialism. The Socialist Party alone puts forward such a position as a revolutionary political organisation that believes in revolutionary political action.  We urge our fellow-workers to use their votes to capture political power—not to play at politicians or pose as statesmen, but to use their votes to uproot the political State. To think that Parliament can be used as the means of permanently improving the conditions of Labour, by passing a series of acts, is to believe in parliamentarism. The Socialist Party is not a parliamentary party, in that sense. It believes in entering Parliament only as a means of sweeping away all antiquated institutions which stand in the way of the industrial union owning and controlling the means of production. . The social revolution is on now. It is for us to bring it to its consummation. For the first time since the beginning of human history, a great upheaval will have for its aim, not the substitution of one class for another, but the destruction of classes, the inauguration of a universal humanity. But this new social system cannot be created and inspired by a minority. It can only function with the approval of an immense majority of the citizens. It is this majority that will gradually create from capitalistic chaos, the various types of social property, co-operative, communal, and corporative, and it will only demolish the last remains of the capitalist edifice when it has firmly established the foundations of the socialistic order and when the new building is ready to give shelter to mankind. In this enormous task of social construction, the immense majority of the citizens must co-operate. Destined for the benefit of all, it must be prepared and accepted by almost all, practically indeed, by all; because the hour inevitably arrives when the power behind an immense majority discourages the last efforts to resist its will. The great  thing about socialism is precisely that it is not the regime of a minority. It cannot, therefore, and ought not, to be imposed by a minority.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Our future is socialism

Any arrangement which leaves most of us having to sell our labour-power in order to scrape a living is not  socialism.  Policies of state intervention in the economy or commitment to state responsibility for welfare and social services are normally labelled "socialist". These bogus claim blurs the essential differences between capitalism and socialism: wage-labour, commodity production, class struggle — all these characteristics of capitalism, however "reformed" and whatever the extent of state control of the economy, will have no place in a socialist society. The Socialist Party has frequently explained that socialism is very different.

The point is that the capitalist system is not in business to make people happy, to build houses for homeless people to live in, to produce food for hungry people, or to care for the sick, the handicapped the old and the very young. It is in business to make profits to keep accountants and shareholders happy. Any coincidence with socially necessary or desirable activities is just that — a coincidence. The real issue is whether we actually want a society which operates according to an accountant s sense of values or one which operates in terms of satisfying human needs. There is a real conflict in capitalism between what is perceived as profitable, and therefore feasible, and what is known to be necessary, desirable and useful but unprofitable, and therefore impractical. That is why there are homeless, hungry and unemployed people. And that is why socialists detest the capitalist principle which puts profits before people. It is time to end this system and create a better world.

 The only future the capitalist class seeks is one where they make plenty of profits. Or, to be quite precise about it, one where we, the workers, will make plenty of profits, to be handed directly to those who monopolise the resources of the earth. They can only get richer out of the hard work of suckers who are prepared to produce everything and then be thankful for a wage or salary which enables us to buy the cheapest and shoddiest of goods. The contented wage slave is the basic requirement of the contented capitalist. Unless the producers produce the possessors will have nothing to possess. Looking forward to a capitalist future is a bleak prospect. Capitalism's problems do not stay the same. They become worse.  Who can doubt that our future will see more needless human misery. There’s been a lot of bad news about climate change and the future of humanity with many foreboding dark predictions. But as a species we’re smart and creative enough to fix things.  The alternatives are not doomsday scenarios, ignorance and despair. The Socialist Party chooses hope. Let us be visionary. Let’s dream big. Let’s fight for our children and grand children and let’s strive together for their future.

Socialist change does not mean that the workers, like Oliver Twist, should ask for just a little bit more. Nor is it asking for a lot more. It means taking the whole lot. All of the factories, the farms, the offices, the media, the means of transportation, the sources of energy — the entire means and instruments of producing and distributing wealth will become the property of the workers of the world. Who can deny that socialism is the only practical hope facing working men and women in the years ahead? 

Is the socialism too ambitious? No. We need to aspire to great things.  We have an opportunity to join together as never before to form a working class movement to build political power through strategies of solidarity, education and action. The Socialist Party will encourage people to create socialist networks and become politically active so to determine their own destiny. We need solutions that are agreed and coordinated at the worldwide scale, not country by country. Consider civil aviation, a triumph of globally coordinated engineering. In 2017, there were almost 42 million flights without a single fatal passenger jet accident. The civil aviation system works so well because
all countries use aircraft manufactured by a few global companies and share standard operating procedures for navigation, air traffic control, maintenance, and other operations.  Other global systems are similarly coordinated such as the Universal Postal Union, praised by the anarchist Peter Kropotkin. More recently is the World Wide Web, where billions of daily internet activities (also mobile phone calls) are possible because of shared protocols. Both the scale and reliability of these globally connected high-tech systems are astounding, and depend on solutions implemented internationally, not country by country. Our capacity for cooperation definitely offers some hope.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Here We Stand

 Recognising that only through socialism, the common ownership and control of the means of producing wealth, can the people be freed from misery, we declare ourselves a socialist party, and undertake to campaign among the people to win them to the need to establish socialism. The Socialist Party is composed of is organised to educate the working-class into the knowledge of socialist principles and to prepare them to co-operate with the workers of all other races, colours and nationalities in the emancipation of labour.

Capitalism rests upon exploitation in the workplace, whether in a factory, mine, bank, office building, in the home, or online. All capitalist societies are marked by a sharp separation between the few who own and the many who must gain access to what the former have, namely society's productive property: land, resources, tools, equipment, machinery. Failure to do so means misery and even death. To get such access, people must sell the one thing they do own, their capacity to work. The advantage here obviously lies with the owners, that is, with the capitalists. This fundamental inequality gives capital the power to compel (exploit) workers to labour for an amount of time that is greater than that which would be required to produce the necessities of life. Employees are therefore paid a wage that will buy enough for them to live and to reproduce, to purchase their subsistence. However, their day's work produces far more output than what workers need, and this surplus, when sold, is the enterprise’s profits. These are used to buy more means of production, and the process repeats itself indefinitely, allowing for ever greater accumulations of capital. Businesses become larger and more concentrated, and they expand geographically until they encompass the world. Power grows from the points of production to every element within the larger society, from media, schools, and cultural institutions to each level of government. And as capital augments itself, it comes to infiltrate all the nooks and crannies of our lives, including our minds.

Capitalism is also based upon expropriation, which means the taking of something without payment. This occurs prior to and coincident with exploitation. For example, the private ownership of property in the means of production that distinguishes capitalism from earlier economic systems, came into being largely through theft of peasant lands, either by capitalists themselves or in league with governments (the State). Rural farmers, who typically engaged in cooperative labour on lands that were considered common and available to all for grazing animals, gathering firewood and plants, hunting, and fishing, even for cultivation, now found that the common parcels had become private property and what had once been a right to use them was now a crime. The early history of Europe is one of rampant, relentless, and brutal land robbery. Peasants deprived of their means of sustenance often had no choice but to become wage workers, providing a pool of desperate "hand" to be exploited. Profits made from them could then be used to finance the expropriation of more territory in a reciprocal process that enriched capital and impoverished labour. 

Another form of expropriation is that of nature. Capital considers the air, water, and soil to be “free” resources to be used and abused, so long as money can be made. The disharmonies created between society and nature, while existent in previous systems of production, rise to entire new levels with capitalism. The profits accumulated by polluting air, soil, and water allow for great accumulations of capital, always built upon the exploitation of labour, which gives rise to more expropriation of the earth. Nature eventually loses its capacity for regeneration, and this requires an intensification, by chemical and mechanical means, of the expropriation. Nature is stolen by capital, so that labor can be further exploited. In addition, land, water, even air, are made into commodities that can be bought and sold, again creating new arenas for accumulation. The social costs of capital's abuse of nature is typically borne by workers and peasants. They live where air pollution is worst, where the soil has been most degraded. They drink contaminated water. Their workplaces and their hunting and fishing grounds are fouled in multiple ways. When floods, hurricanes, and droughts, caused and exacerbated by capitalist-induced global warming, descend upon humanity, those of us with least will suffer the most.  Production methods that could significantly lower global warming will always be rejected if there are more profitable alternatives.

If we are to successfully combat exploitation and expropriation, we must counter all forms of inequality within the working class. The class struggle cannot be effectively waged unless we also reject racism, sexism, nationalism and ecological ruin which are central to capitalism's rule. These must be rejected root and branch, attacked all at once and all the time. If we want a social system, one in which production is democratically controlled by workers and communities, with meaningful work, with sustainable agriculture, with human-centered technology, with equality in all spheres of life, with true, substantive accountability, with pollution removed from our soil, air, and water then we must look at the world as an interconnected whole.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Socialist Standard No. 1373 January 2019

PDF Version

A Guid New Year to one and aw'

Another new year has arrived, and with it,  the usual good wishes for health, wealth, and prosperity. There exists a time-honoured illusion that somehow the advent of a new year automatically wipes out the mistakes, horrors and heartbreaks of the last 365 days. A sort of magical aura surrounds the celebrations with the old year depicted as a very old man plodding wearily to his grave, and the new year as a lovable little baby as if a new leaf has been well and truly turned, and the way ahead is clear. What a false idea, but it is one to which most people cling to. And what of the prospects for  2019? The same as for any other year or at any point in any year. It doesn’t take an astrology chart to tell us that capitalism will continue, and its problems with it. For most of us it means a drab and insecure life, and as much as ever the threat of destruction from climate change and war hanging over us like an angry dark cloud. This is the standard condition of capitalism with which we are so familiar.

Our wish for the New Year is that it will open a way to a harmonious life for all men and women by harmonising the economic interests of all men and women. We urge all members of our class to devote their attention in the coming new year to our emancipation from wage-slavery.
Capitalism is a system of society which divides people rather than unites them — capitalist from worker, men from women, blacks from whites, nation from nation. It teaches us competition not co-operation competition for jobs, housing and something that approximates to a bearable standard of living. The division between capitalist and worker is inherent in capitalism — their interests are totally opposed and can never be reconciled. But the divisions between workers are not inherent —they are encouraged by the conditions in which we live and work but could be overcome through a recognition of our common class interests, our mutual inter-dependence and, above all, the need for radical change.

 For your New Year's resolution  we suggest it would be nice to think that people throughout the world are scribbling the words: "I resolve that 2019 will be the year that I will organise democratically with my fellow workers to abolish capitalism and bring about a society in which we can all start to become healthy, happy and wise".