Sunday, May 03, 2020

Use your power to vote

The quest for profits invariably prevails over the concerns for humanity. Political systems offer a choice between one party that supports a brutal, unrestrained version of capitalism and another party that supports a marginally less brutal version of capitalism. At each election, we enjoy a choice – between an evil and a lesser evil. Is it hardly surprising that politics and politicians have been so discredited? We should not be surprised that the “thought-leaders” for shutting down discussion and debate upon what really is the common good.

There is the false belief that you stand to lose by not choosing what is often claimed to be the lesser of two evils. Don’t be sidetracked by the specious plea that you have to choose between two evils when you can reject both by choosing socialism. We don’t have to choose the lesser of two evils – we can help towards something better. A world where the resources of the planet have stopped being the property of rich individuals, corporations or states and have become the common heritage of all. On that basis goods and services can be produced directly to meet people’s needs without the intervention of markets. Neither a free market nor a controlled market but a non-market society.

We don’t have to accept the self-fulfilling prophecy that capitalism is our only option. Imagine that all the people in the world made informed, collective and democratic decisions about what kind of system would best meet their needs and solve global problems. Would they choose a money and property system that forced nearly half their total number to try to survive on a dollar a day? Or would they prefer to organise production and distribution of goods and services on the basis of what they need, without the profit system?
Would they, if and when given the chance to vote, do so overwhelmingly for candidates who—whatever labels they attached to themselves or their parties—stood for the continuation of some form of capitalism? Or would they elect delegates, from among their own number, to initiate the process of setting up and running a fundamentally new form of world society, a system based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of wealth production and distribution?

Would they embrace nationalism, involving armed forces paid to kill “the enemy” with whom they have no quarrel? Or would they regard themselves and behave as citizens of the world, regardless of any geographical, cultural or philosophical attachments they may feel?

Would they divide themselves into classes, rich and poor, leaders and led, privileged and unprivileged, dominant and submissive, superordinate and subordinate, master and servant, powerful and powerless? 
Or would they, despite individual differences in abilities, personalities, interests, tastes, likes and dislikes, think and behave as members of the one human race, not perfect, sometimes fallible or irrational, but never deliberately cruel or anti-social?

Whatever words they use to explain or sloganise their ideologies, all parties except the Socialist Party stand for the continuation of some form of capitalism. From their point of view, a vote for their own candidate is best; a vote for one of their competitors is second best. 

Not voting could be a worrying sign of alienation from the system. Worst of all, a vote for the Socialist Party candidate – or, where none stands, writing “socialism” across the ballot paper – would indicate the beginning of a resolution to replace capitalism with socialism.
Don’t forget, there was some justification for the argument that: “The Labour hell is one degree cooler than the Tory hell.” So “Choose the lesser of two evils.”

Today, after successive administrations of the same system, the difference in temperature is too small to get excited about.

Support for socialism isn’t a matter of campaigning to make the poor rich in today’s terms of material consumption. That wouldn’t be environmentally sustainable. The socialist aim isn’t even equality in the sense of sameness, like amounts of work contributed or goods and services consumed. Socialism is essentially about social equality, encouraging and enabling every human being to realise their full potential as giver and taker, not buyer and seller, in the context of society itself moving towards reaching its full potential.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

The Socialist Party's Answer

The work of the Socialist Party is modest indeed. It is to construct the only thing of worth to the cause of socialism — a body of intelligent working-class opinion. Our aim is toward socialism, then the path of our advance lies in "Talk Socialism," until working men and women cease to content themselves with any amelioration of capitalist conditions, and organise for their twofold task: to destroy the system that binds them to toil, and attain to freedom by building anew. The solution to this is in the hands of the working class. All that is needed is the political knowledge to apply it. Because capitalism does not change fundamentally. neither does the case for its abolition. We know why socialism must be established, and how, and who will do it. The one remaining question is: When?

Capital is a means of robbery, whether in the hands of the few or the many, and being so must be abolished. Robbery and slavery are the basis of present-day society, and that basis must be ended in the interests of toiling humanity. Capital is unpaid labour, therefore robbery and slavery are the terms used to denote the conditions of human beings who are compelled to submit to being robbed, bludgeoned, and butchered through their ignorance of the factors operating within the capitalist system and the means necessary to remove them. This ignorance is not dispelled by so-called socialist organisations preaching capitalist economics. If progressives believe that capital will exist under socialism—which they claim— and if capital can only arise through exploitation, then, clearly exploitation will continue! To take it a little further, if capital is taken out of the hands of the few and placed in the hands of the whole of the people as in cooperatives, then the people, collectively, are going to exploit or rob themselves collectively! The absurdity can be seen. Workers are not not the owners of capital. That is the role exclusively of the capitalist class, who exploit the workers, who assert their privileged standing through capitalism's laws and its coercive state machine but who are prepared to break those laws if they see it as being to their immediate advantage to do so. What we have is capitalism and socialists are doing their best to persuade the working class to get rid of it and replace it with a worldwide system of common ownership. 

Capitalism, by its very nature, cannot run smoothly. It is teetering on the edge of another war. The EU are at loggerheads with one another and with America. The wars in Syria, Libya and Afghanistan are helped along by outside nations anxious to sell their latest war equipment and to test its efficiency in the same way as during the Spanish Civil War. States not at war view battlefields as opportunities for making a profit.

The Socialist Party puts forward the case for a society of free access, a society without buying and selling, money and wages, employers and employees. This is what socialism really means. Over the years its meaning has been changed and distorted in so many different ways that in most people's minds socialism now means either the kind of dictatorial society that existed in Russia, or state intervention in industry and housing, or the promises of social reform, full employment, higher wages, etc. that come from the Labour Party. But socialism means none of these things. It means a society in which everything is owned in common and in which people democratically take all the decisions that affect their lives. The situation at present is that these decisions are left to a government which, whether right or left wing, can only act in the interests of the profit system and of that small minority of the population who own most of the wealth and who, through the profits they make, don't need to work for a wage in order to live.

Most of the problems, whether local or wider, which most of us experience (poor public services, not enough money, dissatisfaction at work, anxiety and stress, etc.) derive from the fact that we have extremely little control over our own lives. We are made unable to exercise control both because our personal resources are limited (lack of money) and because important social decisions are out of our hands (lack of democracy).

The Socialist Party answer to this is for people not to place  trust in leaders but to take action themselves, peacefully and democratically, to bring about a free access society without the use of money or any such thing where we all take freely what we need from the abundance of goods and services which with modern technology we are capable of producing. A society where we organise things for the benefit of all not in the interests of a wealthy few. This is an entirely practical proposition once the majority of people want it. The Socialist Party exists to help spread the idea and to encourage people to establish a society which will put it into practice.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Socialist Standard No. 1389 May 2020

People want revolution.

In order to safeguard the wealth they have robbed from us and insure more profits, it is in the interests of the capitalist class to have a divided working class A working class that is divided is one that is not capable of defending itself or fighting in its own interests. The capitalists have a vast array of tools of oppression to keep the working class divided. They continually promote discord among us to keep us weak, fighting among ourselves, fighting against our brothers and sisters throughout the world. We are an organisation that fights political delusions and ideological illusions. Only a united working class  can effective wage class war against the ruling capitalists. This unity must be based on the struggle in our own interests – political working unity – a unity in common struggle against capitalism. Only with unity can we struggle for the emancipation of working peoples and our class from a common enemy.

The World Socialist Movement is an organisation of men and women committed to building a socialist society. Only within a socialist society can we take control over our own lives and bring an end to war, economic insecurity and sexual and racial inequality. Only within socialism can all people fully develop their potential and capabilities. We must bring about the end of the present capitalist economic and political system that is imposed upon our lives. It is a system which is inherently based on misery and exploitation. It profits a wealthy few at the expense of the vast majority of working people throughout  the world. It generates war. It keeps people weak and powerless by fostering racial, national and gender divisions. 

This system is controlled by a small number of extremely rich ruling class who use major institutions, including the government, to protect their interests and wealth and to maintain their control over our lives. In a class society, the dominant economic class makes and enforces the rules to ensure the actual rule of those who own and control the means of production. They own and manipulate the media. They purchase the political parties office-holders whose role is to serve those whose campaign contributions put them in their lucrative positions

At the workplace, it is clear that democracy does not exist. Working people exist under a system of wage slavery. In order to survive workers have no choice but to sell their labour power at a price determined by the capitalists. 

As long as capitalists exist on the profits from the sale of this labour power by vast numbers of working people, working people will have no freedom. The appropriation, by a small minority to be used for personal gain and profit, of the wealth produced by labour power must be stopped and replaced by new relations to production where the workers own and control the means of production, and their labour is for the good of the vast majority. We must change the basis upon which the exploitation and enslavement of people exists by abolishing the capitalist system.

It should be clear that the trade unions are absolutely necessary to the workers under capitalism. The workers trade union is the only organisation which stands between them and the capitalists. The trade union defends the workers, winning higher wages, better working conditions, and a measure of job security and dignity. 

Wherever capitalism has developed, trade unions have emerged as the major institutions of economic defence of the working class. Trade unions teach workers that the bosses must be fought in order to make gains in the worker’s standard of living, and they do teach workers that the working class must be united, and that its interests are inevitably opposed to the bosses. But it should be noted that trade unions, even at their best, are of limited benefit. Trade unions do not teach workers that the whole government is a front for the employers. Presently, no trade union talks about the need for socialism, or explains that ultimately it will be necessary to overthrow the state which is controlled by the employing class. Without socialism, the working class is reduced to a constant struggle against the effects of capitalism because without socialism, the foundation of capitalist exploitation remains intact. It remains the job of the WSM to explain these things and convince our fellow-workers of the need to overthrow the whole capitalist system altogether. 

Socialism is not just an ideal but a workable alternative system where political and economic power is held and used to benefit not a handful of people, but all people. We shall always attempt to present our ideas in the clearest way possible. It will be working people who will make socialism a reality.

The exploitative system ofcapitalism in direct conflict with the interests of the vast majority of the people throughout the world. The wealth of this society was and is created by working people, yet our human labor is expropriated by  profiteers and elites to enrich themselves at the expense of those who make the products and deliver services. Working people are exploited when a portion of their human labor is stolen from them by the capitalists for the sake of profits. The relationship of the capitalist class to the working class is inevitably exploitative. This is the essence of class society. We have no common ground, no basis for friendship, no reconcilaition or peace with the ruling class as long as it exists. The working class in their fight for socialism will lay the foundations for their own liberation. The WSM fights for the complete social, economic and political equality for working peoples. We see the way to fight the capitalist ideology and culture is to educate ourselves as to the contradictions and oppressiveness of the capitalist system. In so doing, we strengthen the class movement against capitalist exploitation. An essential part of building a revolutionary working class movement to end capitalism and build socialism is the development and furtherance of a socialist party. Right now there are many groups claiming to be socialist but there is just one which is dedicated to overthrowing the capitalist system and not reforming it - the World Socialist Movement.  

May Day - Our goal always remains the same

We have said many times that socialism is the sole solution for the problems of the world. The Socialist Party did not invent humanity’s aspirations for a just, egalitarian and free society; mankind have cherished such a dream for a very long time. Socialism is a movement based upon the historic evolution of the past and the economic conditions of the present. It is not, therefore, something that has been hatched in the brain and the imagination of some idealist philosopher. Socialism builds upon reality. It looks upon society as an ever-changing category, and it is able to explain why society has changed in the past and why it must change in the future. The reason why socialism is able to explain the past and the present and to foreshadow the future is because it establishes itself upon the facts of history and the truths of economic science.

Sadly socialism has lost in actuality and immediacy by the fact of being postponed to a far-off future. We believe that the emancipation of humanity from the age-long thraldom of the class rule will be achieved in our own time. When we talk about the inevitability of socialism we assume that our fellow-workers will continue to struggle for their rights. Were they, on the other hand, to fatalistically remain tamely passive wait till socialism came to them, they would soon lose all the rights that they have now and become more. slaves. When workers grow so class conscious and so well organised as to make their exploitation impossible then capitalists would have reached the end of their reign. That is what we understand by social revolution. The spirit of the revolution is stirring once more. Society is changing more rapidly today than ever before in human history. Capitalism is rushing civilisation to its doom. Capitalist society is today clearly treading the road to the abyss. Socialism proposes the common ownership of all the means of production and distribution, the operation of industry in the interest of the whole people, the application of every machine to reducing working hours, the equality of all races and sexe, the abolition of poverty, the end of war, the economic freedom of every human being — and thus emancipated from the cruel and degrading thralldom of the capitalist system.