Monday, October 07, 2019

Capitalism mocks all who try to tame it.

Socialists are a minority in all countries at present. We see the establishment of socialism being brought about by a majority of men and women who understand and want it, and who realise that no-one else will bring it about for them. In short, they will be prepared to work for this end. We do not have “faith” in the sense that socialism is something we accept without thinking about it, nor do we encourage this approach from members of the working class. Quite the contrary: it is because we think about it and debate that we are socialists. When the majority of workers also examine the material conditions in the world and how they operate, socialism will be introduced. The majority of the working class, including those who vote for the Labour Party, do not understand or want socialism at present.

Socialism means that there will be unrestricted free access by all to whatever is produced, because the means of production will be owned by all. Socialism does mean equality and freedom. It is the only condition on which they can be obtained. The spread of Socialist knowledge has been hindered by the widespread mis-use of the term 'socialism'. When it is used to describe everything from state-capitalism to Labour Government it is hardly surprising that workers have only attempted to solve their problems through reforms. For with the exception of a small minority they are unaware that there is an alternative to capitalism. We have every confidence in the ability of the working class to understand the simple and sound proposition that is socialism. It is after all the working class which runs capitalism.

If it would be wrong to say that poverty is an old friend of the working class, it is certainly a companion from the womb onward. Nowhere in the world are there any wealthy people starving. But even in the wealthiest countries there are poor people who go hungry. Poverty is an inherent part of class society. Under capitalism, the means of wealth production are concentrated into the hands of a minority class, or their state machine (which comes to the same thing). Wealth, the goods and services of society, is produced for sale with a view to profit. The vast majority are employees. By definition, they are propertyless. They must sell their working abilities for wages in order to live. They spend their lives as appendages to the factories, offices, mines and machinery owned by those who employ them. They are hired and fired at the dictate of the world market and the profit margin. They are alienated from life in any meaningful sense of the word. The wealth they are able to obtain, either through wages (if employed) or so-called Social Security (if unemployed or sick) is generally enough to keep them in working order and maintain themselves and families between pay-days.

Poverty leaves a terrible imprint upon all who suffer it. Not only in the physical struggle to get by, but even worse are its mutilating effects on the personality and the mind. There is nothing so brutally pathetic, as a worker with a job who counts his “prosperity” in terms of hard work and rails against other workers who live on social security, without working. Poverty of the mind can be seen in the acceptance by most workers of the perverse ideology of their capitalist masters. It is this which anchors them to capitalism so that the whole ridiculous set-up keeps going.

It is not uncommon to hear workers in this country argue that if places like India, and other starving areas in the world, were brought up to the standard of living in Western Europe “we” would have to make sacrifices. This reflects the capitalist ideology, in that it glibly looks to solutions within capitalism. Whilst it is true that poverty is a relative thing and that the degree of poverty among workers in most of western Europe is not so extreme as that of many people in India, this becomes a convenient argument in favour of workers here being content with their lot.

We are often asked why we do not supply details of economic and social organisation in Socialism. From time to time articles have indicated lines on which affairs might be conducted. We can say there will be no money; everyone will have free access to everything produced; the problems of capitalism — crises, wars, inequality and poverty and their consequences — will be entirely absent. There are two important reasons why we cannot go further. The first is that we do not know. There are a few hundred of us now, and we are working for a society which will be wholly democratic; how then can we anticipate the ideas and preferences of millions in the future? Many of us have our own speculations, but (and this is the second reason) to try making a policy of them would do no-one any good.

Most scientists, like other workers, are socially and politically ignorant about the state of society. Some are religious, spiritualists, reformers, etc., but they are trained thinkers and should recognise the existence of social science which is fundamental to a true understanding of the scientific method. Darwin was able to solve the problem of how there originated vegetable and animal species in the struggle for existence. Marx succeeded in solving the problem of how there arise different types of social organisation in the struggle of men for their existence. The spirit of research was the same in both thinkers despite the different fields. The capitalist has enjoyed the fruits of Darwinism; let us move quickly to the application of the science of Marx. The introduction of scientific Socialism will mean the freedom of all science to develop and fulfil its true social function — as a practical tool for society’s benefit

Our impatience is with those fellow workers who profess sympathy with our case but will not join us because they think others are not capable of doing the same. The point is do YOU understand the meaning of socialism and are YOU prepared to work with us in the Socialist Party in order to accelerate the spread of this understanding.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Scotland Needs Newcomers

Scotland faces future shortage of workers. Given Scotland’s peculiarities, including a lower birth rate than in all other parts of the UK, it needs immigration.

By 2041, Scotland’s pensionable-age population is projected to increase by 265,000, while the working-age population is seen rising only by 38,000. Since 1998, there had been an increase of 31 per cent in the number of people aged over 75 in Scotland, and a decline of 8 per cent in those under the age of 15.

Net migration from overseas, or inflows minus outflows, is forecast to decline substantially in the next few years. Experts commissioned by the Scottish government predicted in February that Scotland’s working age population would actually decline by 3 to 5 per cent over the next 25 years if the UK proceeded with proposals to end free movement of EU nationals.

EU migration to Scotland has to some extent offset the effects of an ageing population and one of the lowest birth rates in the developed world, says the paper by The David Hume Institute, titled ‘Wealth of the nation: Who will do the jobs?’. But overseas immigration, already lower than to England, has dropped sharply in recent years.
Jane-Frances Kelly, director of the David Hume Institute, said increasing immigration is important to sustaining the health of Scotland's economy.
"We are sounding a warning signal for Scotland's politicians and policymakers," she sad. "We need to get to grips with the coming demographic crisis or Scotland's economy will be severely affected.
Now that net migration is falling and we face the coming challenge of Brexit, we find ourselves once again facing a major demographic challenge,” the authors write. The report says part of the solution will come from future technological change and from encouraging more people of working age to enter the labour market. But even together these will not be enough to cover expected shortages. Immigration must, therefore, be a priority,” it notes.
Some parts of Scotland’s economy depend heavily on foreign workers. One example is the shops, hotels and restaurants sector. Another is what is known as the caring, leisure and other services industry.
Given the ageing population, the health and social care sector is likely to be particularly affected by labour shortages,” the authors write.
The ageing of Scotland’s population will be partly determined by immigration, since foreign nationals living in the country are on average considerably younger than the domestic population.

The Socialist Party and Equality

Socialism implies that all will have free and equal access to the means of living. Anything else, whatever it may be, is not socialism. Social equality, we are told, is a dream. A vague, utopian concept with no place in practical politics. Unfortunately, that view is also held by the majority of the working class. It is not surprising that the ordinary, average working man believes that existing inequalities are eternal and inevitable, when the self-styled intellectuals who offer themselves as his leaders, share the same misconception who repeat the same old refrain if we all started from scratch it would be the same all over again. Some would have, and others would not. The brainy and the thrifty would become rich, the dull and lazy would be poor." 

We, too, are also aware of physical and mental inequalities in men, but we also know that these differences are greatly exaggerated. What those “thinkers” fail to understand is that all men and women are equal in one overwhelmingly important respect. The individual, no matter what his or her physical and mental development, is entirely dependent upon the efforts of the whole of society for one's existence and comforts. Socialism is a recognition of the interdependence of men and women all over the world. It is not a sharing-out process where everybody will start off with equal shares. Human society is not a race-track, nor is it a jungle, even though it may give that appearance to superficial observers. 

The equality of Socialism does not mean that we shall all be obliged to eat exactly the same quantities of food, and wear exactly the same kind of clothes, or even work exactly the same number of hours It means that every member of society will receive what he requires for his own personal needs, and of the best that can be provided for him. And in return, he would be under the obligation of working in whatever capacity he was able to work, in line with his abilities, taste, or health. It would put an end to the existence of a class of property owners enabled to live without working by the exploitation of those who work. The very clever, the ordinary and the foolish, will have the same social standing. There is no absolute law of nature which lays it down that a very clever man must eat more food, or wear more clothes, than a less gifted man, or that he needs a larger house, and an army of servants to wait on him. Very clever people do not get these things to-day by mere virtue of their cleverness; they can only have what opportunity and social conditions allow them to take, and capitalists only pay for those “clever” qualities which enable them to pile up more profits.

We know that men and women must work together, and in working together they are equals. Socialism is a system of ownership which is consistent with the existing method of production. We say, that as wealth is produced in common it could be owned in common. Social equality is now a necessary condition for the fuller development of society, and this can only obtain with the common ownership of the means of production.

We urge the workers to rid themselves of their slavish notions. Wage-slaves they are, but they also have the power to free themselves. They are only held in subjection with their own consent. When they decide to establish a social order which is consistent with their interests there will be no power on earth to stop them. A world of wealth, as yet relatively undeveloped, is awaiting their strength and ingenuity. Its almost incalculable resources will never be extended to their fullest whilst allowed to remain in the hands of a minority.

Force and violence are not revolution. Revolution to the Socialist Party means the complete change from capitalism to socialism, achieved by the control of political power by an organised and informed working class. Not a revolution of a section of workers; not a seizure of government by a few intent on dictatorship, but an organised action on the part of the majority of the workers who see the necessity of becoming politically supreme in order to transform the economic system. The revolution is made necessary by economic development, and it can only be successful if the working class understands the socialist position. Hence, the educational work of the Socialist Party.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Workers have a world to win, not a nation to fight for

Yet again Scottish separatists are on the march, this time through the Edinburgh. It is the latest in a series of similar marches through towns and cities all across Scotland, organised by All Under One Banner. One of the speakers featured is that Tartan Trotskyist and known liar, Tommy Sheridan.

Workers in Scotland need socialism, not independence. Nationalists do not want to abolish capitalist exploitation. A sovereign Scotland can only serve capitalism. To pretend that the Union is the cause of all the problems is to deliberately fool the people. Scottish nationalism is an attempt to rally the working class behind the cause of the local bosses seeking better profits or a more secure market. 

Nationalism does not oppose capitalism. Nationalists acts in the interests of an aspiring ruling class. There are no shortcuts to the socialist revolution, and those who followthe nationalist path set back the revolutionary movement by chasing fake enemies. Nationalism is predicated on the myth of a common identity uniting all the citizens of a given country. This has been cynically and opportunistically promoted by the Scottish nationalists.

The Socialist Party wants to abolish the private ownership of the means of production and expropriate the capitalists. Workers fight each other instead of attacking the system itself. Nationalism emasculates the workers. It is used to divide the workers among themselves so they can ignore their real enemy. Separatism would divide the workers of Scotland from their fellow-workers in England. National divisions are a hindrance to working-class unity, and national jealousies and differences are fostered by the capitalists for their own ends.

It is nationalism that divides the workers so that the workers of one nationality struggle against the workers of another nationality for a few illusory crumbs the rulers throw out exactly for that purpose. If the working class divides its forces, this can only seriously hold back its victory. But if it remains unified, it will be able to triumph.

In the struggle to win the hearts and minds of the working class the Socialist Party has to contend with sacred beliefs and obstacles such as nationalism, the loyalty and patriotism felt by many for "their” country. Nationalism is at the top of the list of political illusions used to blind capitalism's victims. For the Socialist Party nationalist movements represent the interests of the capitalist class but politically they can take on a "right-wing" or a "left-wing" form.

The Scottish nationalists choose to present themselves as the latter. However, once the native ruling class has captured and consolidated its power, then nationalism becomes a conservative force. Workers should reject the nonsense idea of nationalism and should unite for their common good to abolish capitalism and work for socialism.

The Socialist Party opposes all nationalist movements recognising that the working class has no country. Feelings of loyalty to a nation-state are purely subjective, having no basis in reality. The working class in Scotland has more in common with the workers in other countries than it has with a land-owning laird. We resolutely oppose the politics of capitalism in which some people support the British version of nationalism against the Scottish brand of nationalism. Since we hold that workers own no country, why should we care which section of the class of thieves owns which national portion of the world? Workers own no country, so why should we care which section of the class of thieves owns which national portion of the world?

You don’t enhance the power of workers in their economic struggles against the capitalists by taking the same side as those sitting opposite you at the negotiating table and fraternally regarding them as your 'fellow citizens'. Yet depressingly large swathes of the Left have opted for a course of action that effectively submerges and obliterates working class identity in favour of national identity. We witnessed the Scottish Socialist Party convener, Colin Fox, sit alongside a hedge-fund manager in the 2014 referendum.

The obsession about Scottish independence is one which socialists meet all the time. We encounter it from Leftists who divide their time between paying lip service to the idea of workers of the world uniting and endorsing the nationalism of the SNP. Nationalists have always argued that Scottish workers would be better off in their own country, free from British rule. Socialists regard it as an irrelevance whether local capitalism is ruled by a Scottish capitalist state or by a British capitalist state or the multinational corporations. That modern nationalities are mere artificial devices for the commercial war that we seek to put an end to, and will disappear with it. Because of the economic interdependence of nations, the Socialist Party has always held that socialism must exist on a world scale. It has been an axiom with all socialists that the working class of one country should cooperate with the workers of all other countries. A class-conscious worker does not consider himself an American or British or Russian first, and a member of the working class second, but considers him or herself, first and always, a member of the working class interested in the struggles of the workers the world over.

For the worker in Scotland there is but one hope. It is to make common cause with the workers of other countries for the end of all forms of exploitation: saying to both English and Scottish capitalists: “A plague on both your houses."

For the true battle-cry of the working class is broader, more significant and more inspiring than mere nationalism, and that rallying cry is:


Look to the Future

The Socialist Party seeks to help build a workers movement. This
kind of movement cannot be instituted from the top-down, and cannot be led by party bosses. All those who think themselves powerless in this capitalist society must work together to forge a new one. We must move towards a common vision of a new social system. The Socialist Party rejects the panaceas of the reformists and stands for the establishment of a socialist society

Capitalism's inequality, unemployment, overwork, poverty, lack of democracy and environmental degradation are necessary results of its structural features. A differently structured system which we can call socialism, communism, social democracy, cooperative commonwealth, or industrial democracy is the viable, practical alternative to capitalism. As long as capitalism dominates people will suffer from all the manifestations of the anarchy of production under the capitalist system. The Socialist Party understand that the real solution to the economic and political difficulties of society lies in overthrowing capitalism. Although capitalism faces a serious crisis, it will not collapse on its own.

The question arises as to how the worker who has been transformed into a wage-slave and taught to obey the orders of his or her masters can develop class-consciousness. After all, there is not an inevitable development of such consciousness. A worker may live in extreme misery, yet the experience will not make oneself conscious of his or her own social status and of the necessity for class action. These ideas can be brought through labour organisations, education and propaganda.The development of the subjective factor of class-consciousness seems a hopeless task under capitalism. For how can an enslaved worker develop class-consciousness?

The working class must be sufficiently unified, and guided by the common goal of socialism, in order to overthrow this obsolete system. More and more people are coming to realise that the present society offer no hope for the future. Day by day it is becoming increasingly clear that capitalism is incapable of solving the most basic human needs. But the consciousness of the need for socialism, and the spread of Marxism will not come about solely as a result of people’s disillusionment. It is the task of the Socialist Party to continually educate and promote the socialist alternative. We argue for socialism not as a Utopian alternative to the evils of capitalism, but as the next step in human development. We continually try to show now the people’s problems are rooted in capitalism and that only a rationally planned economy can overcome the present difficulties.

Poverty, homelessness, joblessness, crime, illiteracy, ill-health, ecological rape, racism, sexism, homophobia, domestic and random violence, addictions, ad nauseam. There is less of everything for everybody except stress. Reformers preach the hope of a world dedicated to sustainability without preaching the necessity of the revolutionary transformation to achieve such a condition.

There is a group of people who propagate the view that the working class are an ignorant lot, incapable of deciding what form of society is best for them, or, in the event of a new form of society coming into existence, running such a society. To such people leadership is an essential idea. Knowledge is the only safeguard for the workers against trickery and false advocates, and it is also the only doorway by which society can pass through to a society based upon common ownership. If those who seek a new arrangement of social affairs do not possess knowledge of what they want and how it is to be attained, then a new society can only be a new chaos.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Scottish Wildlife on the Decline

The abundance of species in Scotland is falling at a faster rate than the UK as a whole, according to a detailed study, 'The State of Nature 2019 Scotland' which found that average numbers across 352 species of mammals, birds, butterflies and moths had fallen 24% since 1994. Centuries of habitat loss through development and a rapid increase in climate change are being blamed.
It found that of the 6,413 species known to exist, 11% have been classified as threatened with extinction in Scotland. Overall, 49% of Scottish species have decreased in number and 28% have increased.
Bird numbers are broadly stable but seabirds in particular are continuing to substantially decline. Kittiwake populations have fallen by 72% since 1986 while Arctic Skua numbers have dropped 77%.
Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland, said nature was being lost across Scotland "at a deeply concerning rate". 
Jo Pike, chief executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, added: "To reverse the loss of biodiversity and address climate change it is vital that we increase our investment in nature.
"This means taking urgent, strategic action to protect and restore natural habitats on land and sea, green our towns and cities, and transform our relationship with the natural world.

Common Ownership in the Cooperative Commonwealth

Labour politicians the world over have discredited the very name of socialism. Our aim is a cooperative commonwealth without a State, without leaders, without classes, in which the workers shall administer the means of production and distribution for the common benefit of all. We appeal to fellow-workers to rally to the World Socialist Revolution. 

The private property of the capitalist class, in order to become the SOCIAL property of the workers, cannot be turned over to individuals or groups of individuals. It must become the property of ALL IN COMMON. The industries, too, which supply the needs of all the people, are not the concern only of the worker, in each industry, but of ALL IN COMMON, and must be administered for the benefit of all. We seek a commonwealth in which every worker shall have the free exercise and full benefit of his or her faculties, multiplied by all the modern factors of civilisation. Together we shall form a worldwide Co-operative Commonwealth.

The basic fact is that capitalism does not produce food for people to eat: it produces only what can be sold at a profit, regardless of what needs exist. If the starving, or the homeless, found themselves able to pay after all, they would no longer be faced by a shortage. The case against capitalism is not that it distributes wealth inequitably, but that it cannot develop the productive powers. Socialism, by removing the monumental restriction of production for profit, will enable man to produce to meet the needs of the world’s population. Socialism will be world-wide, with full access by everyone to everything which is produced, and therefore no money. There will be no parliament “to govern the people”, because government is required only in class-divided societies to maintain the monopoly by the owning class and keep the subject class in restraint.

Capitalism covers the globe and must therefore be replaced on a worldwide basis. Socialism is by definition a worldwide social system. It would not be possible to replace the market economy, with production solely for use and free access to goods and services, in one country. Ideas do not develop in isolation. The conditions which give rise to the need for socialism are experienced by workers in every country. It is extremely unlikely that socialist understanding will reach maturity in only one country. An immense majority of the worldwide working class ready to implement socialism will constitute an irresistible social force. A small time lapse between the final voting for it in different areas would be of no consequence.

Our object is socialism. A social system based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means for production requires the active participation of all of its members. It cannot therefore be achieved until the vast majority of the working class are organized consciously and politically for that sole purpose. When the working class wants socialism it will use the vote, a powerful weapon, to gain control of the machinery of government. Socialist delegates will go to Parliament with the clear mandate to dispossess the capitalist class, so that the means and instruments for production can become the common property of all. We will then have democracy in the fullest sense. Socialist ideas alone hold the solution to the problems, nothing can prevent their growth and ultimate triumph.

There can be no intermediate stage between capitalism and socialism. We either have class-owned means of production and capitalism, or common-ownership, which is socialism. There is nothing between the two, which is neither one or the other. Marx was over-optimistic in thinking that Socialism would be established in his lifetime. This led to the view he expressed in The Critique of the Gotha Programme, that during a transition period the means of the wealth production would have to be rapidly developed. But all this was more than a century ago. Today advanced technology spans the earth. The potential for abundance exists. This leads to what you imagine is a paradox, “why bother about Socialism if capitalism raises production to such a level as to allow free distribution?” It is the continuation of class-ownership with its restrictive profit-motive and antagonistic market-economy, which bars the way to free distribution. Only from the basis of world-wide common-ownership, can modern science and industry be geared to free-access and production solely for use. The property relations of capitalism are obsolete and form a barrier to social progress. When working-class thinking catches up with the implications inherent in these facts, they will remove the barrier.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Scottish Racism has Not Gone Away

At least a quarter of those surveyed said they feel discrimination in Scotland has become more prevalent. 

Of those who have experienced prejudice, 25% felt it had happened when applying for a job, 18% said it had affected promotion chances, and another 18% believed it impacted attempts to seek equal pay. 

More than one third - 35% - reported experiencing discrimination while using transport services and 20% when accessing healthcare. 

A significant majority - 89% - felt this was because of their perceived ethnicity, while 66% felt it was also based on their perceived religion.

Some 37% with a black African Caribbean heritage said they have experienced prejudice in Scotland in the past two years, compared with 35% of those of Asian heritage, and 24% for mixed heritage respondents. 

Instances of prejudice may include name-calling, the use of inappropriate language, incidents on public transport and prejudice in the workplace. Discrimination at work could include unfair assumptions about an employee's ability in relation to promotion, or employers not wanting a particular racial profile to become the public face of an organisation. 

Lead researcher Professor Nasar Meer, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Social and Political Science, said: "This survey builds on others in previous years and points to a persistent trend of racial discrimination of black and ethnic minority Scots.” 

Ending racism will take much more than moral appeals to people's tolerance or the passing of anti-discrimination laws. Such approaches leave untouched the root causes of racial division. Recent events has shown how vulnerable and temporary reforms are regards equality are under capitalism. The underlying forces of the profit system, which make poverty, urban decay and unemployment permanent problems, continually overwhelm patchwork efforts to improve the status of minorities within the working class. The concept of "inferior" and "superior" races that had been fostered by capitalists has persisted. It will take the successful outcome of yet another struggle -- the class struggle -- before workers of all backgrounds will have the power to collectively enforce their claim to justice for all.

People, Planet, and Peace Not Profits!

Socialists! Some have been remembered. Many have been forgotten. Most have never been heard of. Socialists are people who want revolutionary change. Socialists are people who have promoted a new society with some success, with little success, and with no success. Socialists long for justice and fairness. Socialist knowledge leads to understanding. The more social change is discussed, the more the overthrow of private property is seen as a real possibility for the movement.

Socialism as a money-free, wage-free, state-free society, with the free distribution of goods and services, existing on a world scale. Socialism means a class-free society. It therefore presupposes not only the end of private property of the means of production, henceforth managed in a planned way by the associate producers of society.themselves, but it also calls for a level of development of the productive forces which makes possible the withering away of commodity production; of money, and of the state. The Socialist Party has only one purpose, that is to establish a socialist system

Under capitalism, the productive resources, land, machinery, materials and so on are owned and controlled by a minority of the population. The overwhelming majority of people are propertyless and can only get access to the necessities of life by working for the minority as wage and salaried employees. This is the latest and by far the most efficient form of the master and slave relationship. Workers fending for themselves on wages and free to roam the earth in search of employment are far more productive than their predecessors were as serfs or chattel slaves. Capitalism is run from top to bottom by the hired labour of the working class. It is a society torn by antagonism, the most important being that of the class struggle between capitalist and worker.

The capitalist class continue to dominate society by having control of political power and so having at their disposal the power of the armed forces, police, judiciary and so on. Political parties are at present returned to power by a majority of the electorate to run capitalism. So that capitalism with its rich and poor, production for sale and profit, its strife and warfare keeps going because the majority of people who are exploited by it accept it as being the best of all possible worlds. Socialism, where production will be solely for use, where strife arising from a multitude of social divisions will have given way to peace based on social unity; can only be established once a majority understand it and are organised politically to get it.

The source of all wealth is the application of human labour power to materials found in nature. As William Petty put it, Labour is the father and Nature the mother of wealth. Production is a vast co-operative effort, involving the world-wide division of labour. Production is carried out by process workers, managers, technicians, clerks and cleaners — all of whom are equally necessary to production. Yet despite this co-operative effort, the products belong to a section only of society.
The change the Socialist Party advocate is this: The means and instruments of labour should cease to be the monopoly of a few and should become the property of the whole community. The community, organised on a democratic basis, could then use them as it thought fit to meet the needs of its members, individually and collectively.

In such a society buying and selling, prices and money would be superfluous. These are features only of a private property society in which wealth is individually or sectionally owned. In a socialist society the wealth, produced by social labour, will belong to society as soon as it is produced. After setting aside wealth to renew and build up the instruments of production, the rest can enter directly into the consumption-fund of society. The problem of distribution will be the technical one of how to move the wealth to where it is needed. The productive resources of the world, with the most modern productive techniques, are quite capable of providing enough for all. Society can go over to free distribution just as soon as there is production for use on the basis of the common ownership of the means and instruments of wealth-production. With free distribution people will want more, and certainly better goods. But, once the barrier of profit has been removed, these demands can be met. Capitalism has had its day and it is time to change to give us a new society and a new style of living.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

We need socialism

In Socialism there will be no market, trade or barter. In the absence of a system of exchange, money will have no function to perform. Individuals will participate freely in production and take what they need from what is produced. The fact that Socialism will be based on common ownership does not mean that an individual will have no call on personal effects. It means essentially that no minority will have control over or possession of natural resources or means of production. Individuals will stand in relation to each other not as economic categories, not as employers and employees or buyers and sellers, but simply as human beings producing and consuming the necessary things of life. In Socialism there will be a common interest in the planning and smooth operation of production. Work will be a part of human co-operation in dealing with practical problems. Work will be one aspect of the varied yet integrated life of the community. 

With the change in the object of society, that is human welfare instead of profit, man will freely develop agriculture and housing, produce useful things and maintain services. As well as material production, man will freely develop desirable institutions such as libraries, education facilities, centres of art and crafts and centres of research in science and technology. Once produced, goods will be transported to centres of distribution where all will have the same right of access to what is available according to individual need. It will be a simple matter of collecting what is required. As well as tradition and geography, it will be a matter of organisation and practicality as to which things will require a complex world division of labour for their production and which things will be produced regionally. 

The insecurities of our present acquisitive society drive men and women into ruthlessly selfish attitudes and actions which frustrate the human need for co-operation. With success in this competitive race goes a hollow pride; with failure there goes guilt and stigma. Against this background the failure is general because where the individual is isolated, co-operation breaks down. 

Socialism will establish a community of interests. The development of the individual will enhance the lives of other men and women. Equality will manifest attitudes of co-operation. The individual will enjoy the security of being integrated with society at large. Socialism will end national barriers. The human family will have freedom of movement over the entire earth. Socialism would facilitate universal human contact but at the same time would take care to preserve diversity. Variety in language, music, handicrafts, art forms and diet etc will add to all human experience.

 Socialism will eliminate alienation because its relationships and organisation will be centred on human needs and not on economic forces external to human needs. The whole community will relate on equal terms about the means of production and the earth's resources and co-operate to produce goods, services and amenities solely for use. This will be an association of men and women in conscious control of their own lives, living for themselves with the freedom to decide upon social projects and to organise resources to complete those projects. Socialism places people themselves at the centre of social organisation. Equality, co-operation and democratic participation will bring productive efficiency in response to human needs. But more than that, it will do so in circumstances in which the self-directed individual will live positively, integrating his own life with the development of the whole community.

Socialism will combine different methods of production where this might be considered necessary by the community. It will deploy all its resources more freely according to practicality and desirability regardless of possibly different rates of working efficiency.
Socialism will enjoy more people available for the production of useful wealth; without the limits of market capacity it will enjoy greater use of production methods; without price competition it will enjoy wider selection of production methods; with the ending of national barriers it will enjoy a more rational deployment of world resources; and without capital investment it will enjoy greater adaptability of social production. 

Socialism will combine all these practical advantages with all the criteria for the selection of production methods according to need, such as material necessity, the enjoyment of work, safety, care of the environment, conservation. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Socialist Standard No. 1382 October 2019

A Party of Vision

It is either socialism or capitalism — complete freedom or total slavery.  
  1. The abolition of the private or state ownership of the means of production.
  2. Elimination of competition and production for exchange value and its replacement by democratic production for use.
  3. Workers’ and people’s management of the economy and society.
  4. The abolition of wage labour. 
  5. The elimination of classes. 
  6. The disappearance of the state. 
  7.  From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.
Capitalism is a system of commodity production (that is, the production of goods for sale and not for direct use by the producer) which is distinguished by the fact that labour power itself becomes a commodity. The major means of production and exchange which make up the capital of society are owned privately by a small minority, the capitalist class (the bourgeoisie), while the great majority of the population consists of proletarians. capitalism is a system of exploitation of the working class (the proletariat) by the capitalist class.

Marx defined capitalism as a mode of production based on generalised commodity production. All products and elements in the labour process are commodities. Goods and services are produced for exchange on the market, rather than for their use by the population. The result is that capitalist production is production for surplus value (commodities in relation to exchange value represent more value than that advanced for their production in the form of commodities and money).

Generalised commodity production and surplus values can only exist when regulated by a market economy and competition between capitalist enterprises. As Marx put it:
By definition competition is the internal nature of capital. Its essential characteristic is to appear as the reciprocal action of all capital: it is an internal tendency appearing as imposed from outside. Capitalism does not and cannot exist except divided into innumerable capitals: for this it is conditioned by the action and reaction of one upon the others.” (Marx – Grundrisse)
The fact that modern monopoly capitalism necessitates state intervention, planning (and even nationalisation) to survive and function efficiently is not in itself enough to change the system. For such planning is done precisely to ensure the survival of capitalism within a competitive market structure.

What socialism is all about in the last analysis is the conquest of human freedom for the greatest possible number to decide their own fate in all key sectors of life. This is, in the first place, true for all wage earners, who are under the economic compulsion to sell their labour power. Socialism will be accepted only if it is considered radically emancipatory on a world scale without exception. That is to fight against any condition in which human beings are despised, alienated, exploited, oppressed or denied basic human dignity. There is no better way to be a good human being in this world than to dedicate your life to this great cause. That’s why the future is with socialism. Understand that you cannot be happier than if you dedicate your life to the defence of the exploited, the oppressed, the downtrodden, the despised.

Arouse, ye slaves! Declare war on the capitalist system. We are educating, we are agitating, we are organising, that is to say we are preparing for when socialists will be the majority, declaring for the common ownership of the means of production and distribution and when for a’ that and a’ that, man to man the world o’er, shall brothers be for a’ that.