Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The nightmare can end, but only if we wake up.


Capitalism is depriving us of a future. The task of today’s PR managers, the industry lobbyists and the media is to obscure the main cause the many problems inflicted upon the world’s population – our economic system, capitalism. For instance there is the increasingly desperate effort to dissociate capitalism from the imminent environmental crisis – to break any perception of a causal link. The chain of cause and effect of war is obscured as “humanitarian intervention” or “defending democracy.” England’s department of education has now ordered schools not to use any materials in the curriculum that question the legitimacy of capitalism. Opposition to capitalism was described as an “extreme political stance” – opposition, let us remember, to an economic system whose relentless pursuit of growth and profit treats the destruction of the natural world as a necessary price to be paid. The promotion of alternatives to capitalism is now a threat to free speech. These desperate and draconian measures to shore up an increasingly discredited system are not about to end. They may get a lot worse.


The Socialist Party is guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people, an organisation working to build a better world. It is not possible for the Socialist Party to share the illusion of the reconciliation of classes and the coming of social peace. That we do not share it is what makes us socialists. We know that if social peace is to come it will be not by a chimerical RECONCILIATION, but by the ABOLITION of classes. The Socialist Party is not content with piecemeal, incremental improvements in the conditions of the working class, but instead advances the need for a revolutionary transformation of society that would result in a cooperative commonwealth where workers would democratically determine their working conditions. For sure, there is still room for reform and betterment in the present social system, but this is of minor consequence compared to the world’s crying need for industrial and social reorganisation. There is no longer any excuse for a hungry person. All the resources and all the means are at hand and easily available for the production of all things needed to provide food, homes and healthcare for every man, woman and child, thus putting an end to the poverty and misery. But these tools and forces must be released from private ownership and control, socialised, democratised, and set in operation for the common good of all instead of the private profit of the few. A world of private ownership can never be a free world. Such a world is a world of strife and hate. The Socialist Party’s declared purpose is to abolish the wage-system, and supplant it by a system of co-operation in which society itself shall have full control of production and distribution for its own benefit, and to this end we recognise the necessity of organising the political power of the working class as the means attaining industrial democracy. The Socialist Party offers its encouragement and pledges its support to the fundamental revolutionary aims and purposes of the enlightened workers of every country. Political democracy is only one feature of complete democracy. Complete democracy necessarily includes industrial democracy. Without industrial democracy, political democracy is merely a preparation for democracy. Industrial democracy involves the common ownership and democratic management of production. Socialism is merely an extension of the ideal of democracy into the economic field. At present, industry is ruled by the owners of the  means of production and distribution, who have literally the power of life and death over the working people and made helpless before the system. Socialism proposes to put industry in control of the people so that they may no longer be dependents on others for a job, so that they may be freed from the tribute of profit, and so that they may manage industry in their own way, as seems best to them. Political democracy is to be used as a means for the obtaining of industrial democracy is Socialism a political movement, and in no other sense.


We know not what the people will do when they control the means by which they make their living, but we believe they will use them in their own interest and with a reasonable degree of intelligence. If they do, they can accomplish great resultsThey can banish poverty from the face of the planet. They can make it possible for every family to have a home and remove the fear of want for themselves and their children. They can make it possible for every person to have a good educationThese are not mere dreams, but things that may be constructed into concrete form, whenever men and women have free access to the means with which things are produced and distributed. They have been impossible in the past, only because the earth and its rich resources were withheld from the people by our masters. Socialism holds as its great goal that it shall make living a simple, easy thing, possible to all and to really live.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Socialism is not the philosophy of poverty


Socialism is the philosophy of abundance. 

Socialism presupposes the abundant availability of material goods to ensure full satisfaction of human needs. The material and technical resources for such a society, unquestionably exist in the world today. Everybody could have a comfortable home, ample food, decent education, opportunities for recreation and security against accident, sickness, and old age; and the sense of independence and self-respect that goes with these things. What we actually have, however, is mass deprivation and widespread poverty. This arises from the nature of the economic system – capitalism. 

Socialism shall satisfy peoples’ needs according to their desires and what is available. Everyone will be able to have what he or she reasonably desires in food, in accommodation, cultural and educational facilities. The abundant production now possible, and which new technology will constantly improve, will remove any need for rationing or limiting of consumption. Every individual will be secure from privation and anxiety.

There will be no class distinctions. There will be neither rich nor poor. There will be neither masters nor servants, all being in a position of economic equality — no individual will be able to become the employer of another.

Money will no longer exist, and none will desire to hoard commodities not in use, since a fresh supply may be obtained at will. There will be no selling, because there will be no buyers, since everyone will be able to obtain everything at will, without payment. The possession of private property, beyond that possessions for personal use, will disappear.

The main characteristics of the present capitalist system is valuable resources spent in the production and distribution of luxury goods, gadgets, waste, planned obsolescence, military equipment – in short, in what economists and sociologists call “unproductive” goods and services. Capitalism produces a business model that is rapacious. Companies pursue profit and have no choice but to inflict damage on wider society, or the planet, and then cloak their deeply anti-social actions. When externalities are particularly onerous or harmful, as they invariably are in one way or another, it becomes necessary for a company to obscure the connection between cause and effect, between its accumulation of profit and the resulting accumulation of damage caused to a community, a distant country or the natural world – or all three. Corporations that inflict the biggest and worst externalities invest a great deal of time and money in aggressively managing public perceptions. They achieve this through a combination of public relations, advertising, media control, political lobbying and the capture of regulatory institutions. Much of the business of business is deception, either making the externalised harm invisible or gaining the public’s resigned acceptance that the harm is inevitable.

Externalities” is a piece of economic jargon and it is also the foundation stone on which the current economic system has been built. In economics, “externalities” are usually defined indifferently as the effects of a commercial or industrial process on a third party that are not costed into that process. Here is a familiar example. For decades, cigarette manufacturers made enormous profits by concealing scientific evidence that over time their product could prove lethal to customers. The firms profited by externalising the costs associated with cigarettes – of death and disease – on to those buying their cigarettes and wider society. The externalised cost was paid – is still paid – by the customers themselves, by grieving families, by local and national health services, and by the taxpayer. Had the firms been required to pick up these various costs, it would have proved entirely unprofitable to manufacture cigarettes.


Externalities are not incidental to the way capitalist economies run but are integral to them. After all, it is a legal obligation on private companies to maximise profits for their shareholders – in addition, of course, to the personal incentive bosses have to enrich themselves, and each company’s need to avoid making themselves vulnerable to more profitable and predatory competitors in the marketplace. Businesses are therefore motivated to off-load as many costs as possible on to others. Externalities mean someone other than the company itself pays the true cost behind its profits, either because those others are too weak or ignorant to fight back or because the bill comes due further down the line. 


To secure the abundant production necessary to socialism and to cope with the ever-growing complexity of modern life and requirements, large-scale production and co-operative effort is necessary. To maintain the population in comfort and with reasonable leisure society cannot abandon all the productive factories and return to a pre-capitalist rural idyll. Socialism necessitates the working-together of large numbers of people supplying their products to others and being supplied in turn, so some sort of organisation of work and of distribution becomes inevitable. The work itself cannot be carried on without organisation. In each industry, the workers concerned in the work must form and control the organisation. The various industries are interlocked. Co-ordination and co-operation for the common good is necessary. Since reliance on reciprocity and mutual aid renders organisation necessary, the best responsive form of organisation must be chosen.

This is your choice – capitalism which means corruption and chaos or world socialism which means a higher level of civilisation and culture. The Socialist Party is intent upon to help the world towards liberty, justice and an abundant life for all. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Abundance for All


Today’s society with its information revolution understands much better than ever before what the needs of mankind are our duty as socialists is to do something to meet them. We are now in a position where — in respect of material needs, in, respect of feeding the hungry, watering the farms, housing the homeless and so forth — the means to satisfy the requirements of every human being are now available, Nevertheless the hungry are still there, and very little effectively is being done to feed them. It’s not because the food isn't there or that it couldn’t be brought very easily to those who need it. There is no longer any need for scarcity whatever. This reverses all the basic ideas of economics — economics was always described as the science of scarcity. Now, all scarcity — and this is really the most important thing — all scarcity, all need in the world, is henceforth due to capitalism’s need to accumulate profits. The means are there, the knowledge is there, and what is needed is the will to apply it. The difficulty is not a technical difficulty.

Capitalism can offer nothing but wars, unemployment, pandemics, misery and death. Yet our high-tech production system could pour out fabulous riches. Economically the world was ready for socialism decades ago. But politically people are not yet ready for socialism. They do not yet understand that society is fully capable of feeding and housing us all. They see only their immediate ills, and hence are able of making only immediate and emergency demands. The workers must awake, and awake quickly, to the all the horrors of the capitalist system.

Socialists can see a world surrounded by plenty, fertile fields which could be producing full harvests, idle machines and closed factories that could be packing warehouses. Socialists can see no necessity for empty plates on the table for the poor or the need for the poor to be living in shacks in a shanty town. The whole possibility for a sustainable and decent future in our epoch rests on the feasibility of enormously increasing the productivity of world society, the efficient use of resources, transport and factories, the elimination of unemployment, the cessation of war, the ending of economic chaos through rational planning and the early expansion of the productive system through the intensive application of science and technology. We have the possibility of plenty, instead of the manufacture of destructive armaments. At a stroke we could abolish all weapons and spend the resources and energy on relieving the world’s wants

Society no longer needs to impose repetitive and meaningless (because unnecessary) drudgery upon the individual. Society can now set people free to make their own choice of occupation and vocation from a wide range of activities. Any job that is dull and repetitive can be better done by computers and automation. Socialism will encourage new constructive, rewarding and ennobling work, activities that relate people to people rather than people to things and which enhances the quality of life of our society, in which wealth is distributed by and for people, and used for the widest social benefit. 

With the emergence of the era of abundance we have the economic base for a true democracy of participation, in which men and women no longer need to feel themselves prisoners of social forces and decisions beyond their control or comprehension. Democracy, as we use the term, means a community of men and women who are able to understand, express and determine their lives as dignified human beings.

Diseases are disappearing from the vulnerability of childhood, disappearing from middle-age and increasingly disappearing from the frailty of old age. But very much more can be achieved. We could for instance stop poisoning people simply by ending the pollution we are putting into the air. We are all eating and drinking things which will bring about ill-health and premature deaths. Medical experts know the things we are doing are the wrong ones. But business has a vast elaborate advertising industry to ensure we make the wrong choices. But now people are gradually realising that we are in a world that we share general moral sense of everyone being responsible, and feeling responsible, for the whole population of the world. And that something has to be actually done. We witness the climate change campaigners, the protect the environment protesters. People all over the world now see our problems but sadly, don’t fully comprehend the cause or the solution.

Our duty as socialists therefore includes first spreading the understanding and then the changing of the world we live in. The Socialist Party seeks to see humanity realise its full potential.