Capitalists are the most class-conscious people in the world. Despite their family quarrels over how to divide the wealth that is produced by labour and appropriated by capital, the capitalists all stand shoulder to shoulder when they sense any danger to their system of robbery. Some capitalists call themselves Tory, while others call themselves Labour Party (though many of them contribute money to both capitalist parties). Ahe capitalists realise this and are already showing how they can stand shoulder to shoulder when their ancient privilege to live by the toil of others stands in danger. Will the workers learn in sufficient time also to stand shoulder to shoulder? Will they learn the bitter lessons quickly enough to develop the class consciousness necessary to stop voting across class lines and build their own working class party?
Why is wealth piled up on one side and poverty on the other? Why “boom” years followed by “depression”? Why the turmoil of strikes, strife, struggle; man against man, class against class, nation against nation? Because the very root of capitalism is wrong. Because the basic idea is unsound. Because the foundation is illogical. Because the capitalist system is founded on a CONTRADICTION. What is this contradiction? It is the system in which the one who owns the tools of production does not work them; and — The person who works them does not own them. This is, the basic contradiction of capitalism.
Only a rich man could set up a factory. Land owners, bankers, merchants had the capital. They became the capitalists. Each machine now turned out as much as several workmen formerly did with hand tools. The owner of the machine could pay the worker to run it and still keep a good margin pf profit. The profit bought more machines. More workers were employed. More profit. More machines. On one hand, a handful of men who owned the tools of production. On the other hand, the mass of workers who could only make a living by working for the capitalists. What happened now? The product no longer belonged to the producer – the worker at the machine. It belonged to the capitalist owner of the machine. He sold it for the best price the market would pay. And he gave the worker the smallest wage he would work for. The less the wage for the worker, the bigger the profit for the capitalist. The bigger the wage for the worker, the less the profit for the capitalist. The capitalist was interested in longer hours, speed-up, and low wages? The worker was interested in shorter hours, easier work, and high wages. Capitalism created a class of owners pitted against a class of workers – at war with each other – engaged in a CLASS STRUGGLE with each other. The capitalist owner of industry has only one reason to run his factory – profit.
Under capitalism, the needs of the people for various goods are not the PRIMARY purpose of production. The capitalist will just as soon make rifles as Bibles, medicine as poison gas, pre-fabricated houses as “block-buster” bombs, artistic reprints as pornography. All he asks is: “Which will pay more?” The fact that the millions of people depend upon industry for food, clothing, housing, furniture, transportation, communications and amusement is of interest to the capitalist only as the “market” in which he can realize a profit. is the dictator over his factory. He can run it or shut it down to please himself. If there is profit in production he hires men, works overtime, night shifts. If profit falls off, he throws his workers into the street to shift for themselves. He operates anarchistically. Without plan, without social purpose. His only god is the Almighty Dollar – his Holy Script is the magic word, “Dividends.” That is why capitalism is more destructive than all the earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, cloudbursts, tidal waves and volcanic eruptions ever visited upon earth from the beginning of time. Capitalism kills and cripples millions in its wars, in class strife and civil wars, in hunger and freezing, in industrial accidents and disease, in malnutrition and child labour, in poverty and crime. It destroys the wealth of society and wastes the labour potential of millions of idle hands. All in the mad race for a crust of bread, for survival, for security. In an age when plenty is possible for all! It is the system of COMPETITION – It is the system of dog eat dog, of each person for oneself.
Why will socialism guarantee peace, security and freedom and prevent the destruction of mankind? Socialism will destroy tile root evil of modern society, i.e., the private ownership of the means of production, the factories, mines, mills, machinery and land, which produce the necessities of life. Under socialism, these instruments of production will become the property of society, owned in common, producing for use, for the general welfare of the people as a whole. With the abolition of the private ownership of the means of life and with it the factor of profit as the prime mover of production, the sharp divisions of society between nations and classes will disappear. Then, and only then, will society be in a position to become a social order of abundance and plenty for all, for socialism will create a new world of genuine cooperation and collaboration between the peoples of the earth. In abolishing classes, the State and war, socialism will at the same time destroy all forms of dictatorship, political as well as economic. The socialist world will be the freest, most democratic society the world has ever known, truly representing the majority of the population and subject to its recall. A citizen of a socialist society will look back upon the capitalist era with its wars, destruction and bloody and cruel dictatorships as we now look back upon the dawn of written history.
World socialism will assess the industrial potential of the world, determine its resources, the needs of the people and plan production with the aim of increasing the standards of living of a free people, creating abundance, increasing leisure and opportunity for cultural enjoyment. Socialism will not concern itself with profits and war, but with providing decent housing for all the people. Socialism will provide for a multitude of schools for all the people. Socialism will eliminate illiteracy, which is one of the hallmarks of capitalism, and cease to regard schools primarily as institutions to produce skilled labour to help operate the profit economy.
The modern world contains all the pre-conditions necessary for socialism. All about us we observe gigantic industrial establishments containing machinery which could produce the goods of life in abundance. Man has developed a marvelous technology. The discovery and control of atomic energy has not only made it more possible for man to control his natural and social environment to create a fruitful life of abundance, but has made it imperative.
Socialism will place at the disposal of science and the scientists all the material means to help create an ever-improving social life for mankind. Under capitalism, scientists are mere wage workers hiring out their skills to private industry. The fruits of their intelligence, learning arid research become the exclusive property of the capitalists who profit from the work of these scientists. Thus, science has become subordinated to profits rather than to the common good of all mankind. Yet the future society depends in large measure on changing this relation of science to society. Only socialism can place science where it properly belongs: in the service of the people Socialism will create a system of health preservation and insurance in which the needs of the people and the improvement of the human race would be the paramount consideration. Above all, socialism will provide jobs for all. But this will be work without exploitation. For the aim of socialism is not the increased exploitation and intensification of labour, but the utilisation of machinery, technology, science and invention to diminish toil, to create time in which to permit all the people to enjoy the benefits of social progress.