Passion for Socialism

A society based on sharing and caring.

Passion for Socialism

A society based on sharing and caring.

Photo by Arie Wubben on Unsplash

The Difference Between
Socialism and Communism

 

There is no difference.

 

The two terms are interchangeable: both describe the class-free, state-free society of equal producers advocated by the co-founders of scientific socialism, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Initially they used "communism" to describe the future classless society because of the popular association of "socialism" with the Utopian "socialists" of that time.

 

As Engels explained in his 1888 preface to the English translation of The Communist Manifesto: "When it [the Manifesto] appeared, we could not have called it a socialist manifesto. Two kinds of people were regarded as socialists in 1847. On the one hand were the followers of the various Utopian systems, especially the Owenites [followers of Robert Owen] in England and the Fourierists [followers of Charles Fourier] in France, both of which at that time had dwindled to mere sects that were already dying out. On the other hand were the numerous social quacks who, with their various panaceas and every type of patchwork, wanted to do away with social evils without, in the slightest, harming capital and profit. In both cases they were people outside the labor movement and looked far more for support from the 'educated' classes.

 

"On the other hand, that part of the working class which was convinced of the inadequacy of a mere political revolution and demanded a fundamental transformation of society -- that part at the time called itself communist.... In 1847 socialism signified a bourgeois movement and communism a working-class movement. Socialism, at least on the Continent, was respectable enough for the drawing room; communism was the exact opposite. Since we were already then definitely of the opinion that 'the emancipation of the workers had to be the task of the working class itself,' we could not for one moment be in doubt as to which of the two names to choose. Nor has it ever occurred to us to renounce it since then."

 

Subsequently, as the Utopian "socialists" faded into oblivion and were largely forgotten, Marx and Engels generally preferred to use the term "socialism" in their writings. Today, both "socialism" and "communism" have been wrongly associated with false and pernicious definitions. Thanks to the so-called social democrats, or reformist "socialists" (for example, the Socialist Party of France, the Labour Party in Britain, the Democratic Socialists of America, in the United States), many people have come to equate "socialism" with any industry or program that is administered by the capitalist political state, be it a nationalised healthcare system, the postal service or a welfare program.

 

"Communism," meanwhile, has come to be associated with the system of bureaucratic despotism, the state-capitalist command economy run by the so-called “Communist” parties, that unraveled in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but which still prevails in China and Cuba.

 

Further adding to the semantic confusion is the false concept that the Communist parties and other Leninist organisations have promoted for many years -- the concept that a post/capitalist society first goes through a lengthy "socialist" stage, before arriving at the classless society of "communism."

 

This is a distortion of Marxism, invented by Lenin in his work, State and Revolution. Marx did describe a "first phase" and "higher phase" of "communist society" in his Critique of the Gotha Program. But he was not describing a "transitional" stage in which classes and the state would still exist, and a "higher" stage in which they would disappear, and he did not describe the "first phase" as "socialism" and the "higher phase" as "communism." Rather, he was describing a development that would occur after the classless society, based on social ownership and democratic workers' control of the means of production -- a society that could be described as either "socialism" or "communism" -- was fully established. In the "first phase," some measure of labor time would still be needed to govern the exchange and distribution of the workers' product; in the "higher phase," distribution could be conducted according to the principle: "From everyone according to his faculties, to everyone according to his needs."

 

Lenin described Marx's two "phases" as "the scientific difference between socialism and communism." Subsequently, in the ideology of the Soviet Communist Party and its progeny, "socialism" became associated with the state-ruled society of bureaucratic state despotism, and "communism" with the classless society that somehow would arrive some day in the distant future. But these false and confusing definitions of "socialism" and "communism" have no basis in Marx's writings or in scientific socialist thought.

 

Naturally, the capitalist class and its leading propagandists in the United States have been all too happy to seize upon any and all of the false definitions of "socialism" and "communism" in order to confuse the working class and discredit both words in workers' minds.

 

Standing against such misinformation, the World Socialist Movement have a well established history of fighting to uphold the correct, scientific, Marxist meaning of socialism or communism. In defending and advocating Marx's and Engels' conception of the future class-free society, though, we have focused on winning over workers by using the term that Marx and Engels preferred in their later years -- socialism. You've heard bad things about socialism. It's because the capitalists who own the industries don't want people to know that there is a better and fairer way for society to be organised. They don't want socialism because socialism would mean that they would have to give back all the wealth they've made off the backs of working people. So they spread a lot of lies and confusion about socialism.

 

Source  |  Socialist Courier  |  Adapted

 

P4S
Passion for Socialism


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Against Reformism

 

The Socialist Party [of Great Britain] has never said that all people are equal, in the sense of having the same abilities and the same needs. Far from it; we have always recognized that each individual human being has different abilities and needs, a point summed up in the old socialist slogan "from each according to ability, to each according to needs”. The word equal has a double meaning— the same and not inferior or superior to. Because people are different does not necessarily mean that they are inferior or superior. Yet this simple error is often made. To talk about inferior/superior is to erect some standard against which people can be judged, a standard that is man-made and outside biology and genetics. We answer that every human being, whatever his abilities, is of equal worth and should have an equal say in the running of human affairs. That is the equality socialists stand for. Even if science were to establish a correlation between intellectual ability and some physical characteristic, that would not alter the socialist case in the least. A world community, without frontiers, based on common property and production solely for use, would still be the solution to working-class problems. The case for socialism has never rested on the absurd proposition that all men are the same, physically and intellectually.

 

The Socialist Party is in favour of workers trying to improve their conditions under capitalism. It does not say that we support specific reform measures in the housing field. We are opposed to all reformist movements. But this does not mean that we are opposed on principle to any reform of capitalism. What we say is that a socialist party ought not to advocate reforms for fear of attracting non-socialist support, and in a bid to keep that support being dragged into compromise with capitalism. We thus campaign for Socialism alone, and not for or against specific reforms. We are indeed very happy to receive any crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table.

 

We have long held that socialist MPs or local councillors ought to judge on their merits any reform measures placed before them by other parties. We accept that on occasions this would mean their voting for reforms. But the socialist delegates would not themselves propose reforms. So it is not true that in such a situation the Socialist Party would be advocating reforms as well as socialism. The difference would be that then, as compared with now, the larger socialist movement would be able to have some political influence which it would obviously use to further working-class interests.

 

We do not advocate reforms. We do, however, judge reforms proposed by other parties on their merits. Our knowledge of how capitalism works enables us to see that most of them are pretty futile, though at times we recognise that some could be useful in a small way — and say so.

 

Reformism is a ceaseless following of blind alleyways in which the workers get bewildered and hopeless. Unless they understand the socialist position, they are tempted to make useless angry demonstrations and riots which can only result in loss of life or injury to our class and give the government a chance to demonstrate their power and make an example of a few of the workers. There is only one sound policy to pursue, and that is the constant preaching of socialism. When we have sufficient knowledge as a class, we can obtain political power. Remembering that the salvation of the workers must be the work of the workers, we must neither put our faith in the Lord, nor leaders, nor psychologists. Given the knowledge, the rest, by comparison, will be simplicity itself.

 

Source  |  Socialism or Your Money Back Blog

 

 

P4S
Passion for Socialism


Humanity or Capitalism

 

Capitalism has deteriorated to the point where it threatens the existence of civilization and perhaps even mankind. The system faces problems it cannot possibly solve. Most serious of these are the intensification of the effects of climate change and the growing unemployment as a result of automation and the ever present threat of nuclear war. Other problems that defy capitalist solution are: wide displacement and impoverishment of refugees and migrants, mounting racism, and rising levels of mental illnesses. All these are symptomatic of a social system that is taking us toward social catastrophe.

 

Capitalism is an economic system in which goods are produced to be sold at a profit. The goods are produced by the working class in industries owned by a small class of capitalist parasites. The capitalist owners of industry become the owners of the products. The workers get for their creative efforts a wage , an amount just barely sufficient to maintain themselves and their families. It is the relation of this amount to the value of the workers' output that is at the bottom of capitalism's recessions and conflicts. Don't be misled by delusions. While the capitalists probably do fear the danger that their class rule and privilege might result in a climate cataclysm, there is still no guarantee that their class interests will not drive them to gamble with the planet. As for the nonsense that government intervention and the Green New Deal is able to restore stability and prosperity remember that all of the original New Deal's "pump priming" failed. It took a world war to end the economic slump.

 

The Socialist Party [of Great Britain] says this: Global warming, recessions and wars are inevitable effects of capitalism, therefore they can never be eliminated as long as the system survives. Only when our economic life has been entirely rebuilt on a new foundation can lasting sustainability, peace and economic well-being for all be achieved. Production for private profit must be replaced by production for the common good. Instead of letting a tiny useless class appropriate the largest share of our collective product, the workers who create it must retain its full social value. Likewise, the existing despotic capitalist control of the economy must yield to a democratic management of the industries by the workers who run them. And, of course, to permit the foregoing fundamental changes, the industries and natural resources of the Earth must become the social property of all of its peoples. We must establish a new society -- a Socialist society. We mean genuine Marxian socialism and emphatically not those monstrous counterfeits which workers in the past have been deceived by in the past.

 

Working people have the potential political power to dispossess the capitalist class in order to place the economy under common ownership. It is of crucial importance that the workers vote for socialism. There can be no peace or economic security without socialism! Nor can we solve our other tragic problems until we get rid of their capitalist cause. Put your full weight behind the only movement that can transform our world into a model of peace, abundance, freedom and social sanity.

 

Are we going to keep the system of private ownership? Shall we attempt to preserve a social system that has proved its incapacity to solve the problem of poverty in the midst of plenty? Do you favour prolonging the life of a society in which a few own all the means of wealth-production, in which labour-saving machinery, instead of lightening labor's toil, throws workers out of their jobs onto the industrial scrapheap? Must mankind pass through still another vicious cycle of recessions and continue to suffer war and climate crises? Or shall we do the common-sense thing, make the means of production our collective property, abolish exploitation of the many by the few, and use our productive genius to create leisure and abundance for all?

 

If you agree with us that society must be reconstructed, then there are certain things we must understand. The first is that we can expect no help whatsoever from the beneficiaries of capitalism. Here and there a capitalist may see the handwriting on the wall and join with the workers, but as a class the capitalists, like the slave-owning and feudal classes before them, will strive to prolong their poverty-ridden, war-breeding system. The workers of hand and brain must build this new world and emancipate themselves through their own class conscious efforts. The second thing we must understand is this: Though the workers are in the overwhelming majority, and have tremendous potential power, they can apply their collective strength to the task at hand only through political and economic organization. This means that by organizing as a political party the working class and avails itself of the ballot. This is the peaceful method. It permits the forces of progress to proclaim their purpose openly, and mobilize themselves for political victory and the conquest of the capitalist political State. 

 

The people run the industries today, under capitalism, and will run them tomorrow, in socialism. The difference will be (1) that tomorrow, with socialism, production will be carried on to satisfy human needs-instead of for sale and profit - and (2) the despotic management of capitalism will be replaced by the workers' own democratically elected and democratically controlled administrators and delegates, the most complete democracy ever achieved since the breakdown of the tribal councils of primitive communist societies. There can be no bureaucrats or technocrats. This will be a living, vibrant democracy in which all power is in the only safe, place for power to be- with the people integrally organized in every community and workplace across the land.

 

Will you take an active role in the revolutionary process that is already unfolding? Will you put in the energy and effort?

 

Source  |  Socialist Courier

 

 

P4S
Passion for Socialism


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Nationalism –
the handmaiden of the capitalist

 

The Socialist Party [of Great Britain] is opposed to the state because it is the instrument of the capitalist class used to impose and maintain its domination over the working class. In overthrowing capitalism the world socialist movement aims to abolish ALL nation states and national borders. The proposition that 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, which leads some people to support nationalists, invariably misjudges who or what the real enemy is, and so ends up dragging the working class into taking sides with 'nice” factions of the capitalist class in its squabbles with the 'nasty” factions of the same class. However, the real enemy of the working class is not any of these different factions of the ruling class but the entire capitalist system itself. The outcome of past 'national liberation' struggles shows that the working class always ends up being oppressed just as much by its so-called 'liberators' as it was by its old colonial foreign masters. Yesterday's freedom fighters have today changed from combat fatigues into business suits.

 

To speak of the Scottish nation' or 'the Welsh people' as if these are homogeneous entities flies in the face of the reality that capitalist society is divided into mutually antagonistic classes. 'The people as a whole' have never determined their own 'political, social and economic affairs'. In every country, political, social and economic policies are drawn up by, and in the interests of, the ruling class. What is presented as being for the good of the nation is purely for the benefit of the bosses. Any ideology which denies this is so, is a barrier which must be overcome if the working class is to assert its own independent class interests. By campaigning for independence, nationalists encourages workers to waste their efforts in chasing something which cannot be achieved. It is an illusion to suggest that a sovereign Scotland or separate Wales could determine its affairs free from the global economy. A government of an 'independent' Scotland or Wales would find itself having to come to terms with a worldwide economic system dominated by powerful trading blocs and transnational corporations. Its room for manoeuvre within this framework is extremely limited and would continue to be subjected to its domination.

 

Nationalism isn’t “natural”. It is the manufactured ideology of the capitalist class. Nationalism, whatever form it takes, does two things: it tries to create a community of interest between the bosses and the working class; and it binds this community to the capitalist nation-state, reinforcing the latter’s power and role in exploitation. There is no ‘progressive’ form that this can take.

 

The real issue is that they face an increasingly dire future under whatever capitalist regime. The world's working class has seen living standards falling across the planet. It is not surprising that there has been a rise of nationalist and populist movements. They all claim the old conventional status quo parties are the cause and they have the solution in their policies. They all want us to believe that they can manage capitalism fairly, that they can magically escape the imperative of capitalist production. They all pretend that the accelerating attacks on wages, conditions and social services can be blamed on others such as greedy banks, or tax-dodging rich rather than being integral and intrinsic to the global profit system.

 

We have over a century of experience of national liberation, anti-colonialism, separatist struggles which in most cases culminated in an oppressive new ruling class. Do we expect different results? Even if the Scottish government or Plaid Cymru are now against draconian cuts to the Welfare State, this is in no sense a permanent situation. None of the promised reforms from nationalists are guaranteed. Nor can we trust them to share the wealth, to protect social services, to not attack the unemployed or the disabled, not to make cuts, to deport people or remove trade union restrictions. Massive political and economic forces will be brought to bear on any post-independent government – it will be austerity policies for the economic interests of its ruling class. When the left nationalists employs radical rhetoric such as participatory democracy it is to soften their reformism with some mild criticism of the status quo. This is wishful thinking from these ever-hopeful entryists.

 

The real issue for the world’s workers is that they face an increasingly dire future under whichever capitalist regime rules. Our only hope lies in getting rid of the system that produces such misery.

 

The nation state is the political organisation of capitalism. With socialism, nation states will disappear. The Socialist Party opposes every attempt to rally the working class to the cause of nationalism, a reactionary force which divides and weakens the working class.

 

The ruling class - or those who aspire to become the ruling class - have always been able to rope the working class into fighting their battles for them. Our attitude to the issue of nationalism may not find much of an echo among many workers at present, but for genuine socialists there can be no alternative to calling for a united working class struggle against the capitalist, foreign or domestic.

 

Source  |  Socialism or Your Money Back Blog

 

 

P4S
Passion for Socialism


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Marxism is What?

 

What Marx meant and what Marxism means has been debated by literally thousands of writers on the subject, supporters as well as opponents. The validity of Marxism is far more widely rejected than accepted. The “failure” of Marxism has been the prevailing message. And even proponents of Marxist ideas squabble about the correct “party-line.”

 

Marx saw the theft of the peasants’ lands as the birthmark of capitalism. Marx opposed slavery, and chose as his favourite hero Spartacus, leader of the slaves’ revolt. Marx thought that, with socialism, the state would wither away. Marx explained the whole social world rests on the labour of working people. Marx argued that humanity needs to take back, collectively and democratically, its own power to shape the world. To do that, it must destroy the power of the ruling classes. Marx described a divided social system across the globe, driven by competition between rival capitalists and rival states, as a system out of all control where misery and poverty continues. It is subject to immense convulsions and crises, which alternately promote expansions of exploitation slumps, when workers are cast on the scrapheap. Marx insisted that capitalists have ‘despotic’ power over workers at work, and called the workers ‘wage slaves’. Marx once wrote that the choice for humanity was between socialism and barbarism: the truth of that observation is more obvious and chilling today.

 

Marx said that it’s no good just wishing for a different world, or drawing up schemes for social regeneration. Socialism only becomes really possible on two conditions.

 

The first condition is that human productivity should have developed sufficiently to make communism practicable. A poverty-stricken world, where men and women can barely produce enough for their own needs, could not sustain a genuinely democratic society: everyone would be at each others throats. This is why Marx praised capitalism for its achievement in creating the material conditions for socialism where everyone could have enough to eat, adequate clothing and decent housing, with ample leisure time. Today everyone knows that not a child needs to starve, that not a single sick person needs to lack medical care.

 

The second condition is for socialism to be more than an Utopian dream, there needs to be a social force to bring it into being and according to Marx, that agency is the working class. Workers are unlike previous exploited and oppressed classes in history. Capitalism itself shoves them together, in cities and workplaces, endowing them with collective power; capitalism forces them to cooperate with each other; capitalism, precisely in order to exploit workers better, must educate them and raise their cultural level – far above, indeed, the level of previous ruling classes. And capitalism compels them into a life of permanent struggle, whether they like it or not. What distinguishes the working class, therefore, from all previous exploited classes is not its misery as they live on average better and longer lives than chattel slaves or feudal serfs. But crucially, the working class has immense power and capacities. It is the first class in history which is capable of overthrowing class society entirely. The very heart of Marxist ideas is the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves, their aim was the abolition of all class rule and the end of all servitude, misery, degradation and political dependence across the world. Always and everywhere he opposed those who preached ‘socialism from above’. For Marxists, the working class alone has the capacity to free the new society that lies, waiting to be built, within the present chaotic and divided world of capitalism. No one need starve in a world where food surpluses are produced every year. No one need be homeless, or tortured, or bossed about by bureaucrats and leaders.

 

The job of socialists to spread these ideas and to organise themselves, showing the way forward to working class solidarity and power. It is not surprising that at this moment the capitalist intellectuals reject Marxism. But the authentic tradition of Marxism and the real Karl Marx can again be discovered. The genuine socialists have some very marvellous ideas that need spreading far and wide.

 

Source  |  Socialist Courier

 

 

P4S
Passion for Socialism


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It's a Gamble

 

Blog #21  -  21 June 2019

 

People want an anti-capitalist party, an anti-war party, a party for the environment and humankind. Socialists must start now to build a party that will speak for the workers. We cannot wait for ‘ideal’ conditions which never come.

 

There is a recognizable political cycle. We have been through it before, over and over again. It is the cycle of lesser evil. Politicians knowingly market themselves to lesser evil voters by constructing phony sales pitches, making themselves look more progressive than they really are. For instance, for the sake of argument, there is a campaign to get Joe Biden into office so to ward off a greater evil of Trump. But once in office, Biden comes under irresistible pressure from his capitalist masters to break his “populist” promises, to disappoint, disillusion and betray the working people who placed their trust and hope in him. Some supporters sink back into apathy and despair, while others fall prey to the populist-type backlash. These reactions give the Republicans their chance to return to political power. Those who support the lesser evil play an essential role in constantly reproducing the cycle. They share the responsibility for its persistence. Support for the lesser evil also entails support – indirect and delayed, but support nonetheless – for the greater evil. Whichever party assumes office, it has but one remit once in office – to further the interests of the corporate elite. It’s just not a feasible option for any newly elected president to entertain any idea other than guaranteeing a safe playing field for the domestic profit-machine. The lesser evil invariably paves the way and makes inevitable the greater evil because people cease to vote when they have been betrayed by the lesser evil. What lesser evilism is about is supping with the devil, but with a longer spoon. No matter what the outcome of the 2020 election, no matter who wins, the continued existence of capitalism is guaranteed. The problems of capitalist society have been described by journalists, novelists, historians, economists, sociologists, and even many politicians. But only socialists recognize that these problems cannot be solved until capitalism is replaced by a social system in which people throughout the world will work harmoniously together to produce and distribute wealth to satisfy society’s needs.

 

Workers' cannot be defended by an adoption of the 'lesser evil', that is, a policy of concessions to and compromise with elements of capitalism. We do not unite with non-socialist organizations which claim to be defending our fellow-workers. A worker that has been robbed is like a cow that has been milked. The poor dumb animal is incapable of worrying about what becomes of the milk, but the so-called “intelligent” worker takes sides, as they often do, with one gang of robbers that has plundered him as against the bunch of thieves. We should realize that voting for one crooked politician to stop another, backfires on the working class. Your vote does count in elections. It counts for capitalism. It becomes the mandate for all the actions of government over the next four years. sides in the quarrel which goes on over that which has been taken from him. When sections of the capitalists, who exploit the working-class milch-cow squabble over their share of the surplus value, workers who line up and take sides in this quarrel are in the same position as the worker who has been robbed by thieves who then later fight over the division of the booty. It would be funny if it were not so sad and tragic to see.

 

Of two evils, choose neither. Abstention from voting, but more importantly spoiling your ballot, is a valid legitimate expression of a person’s political position. Voting is presented as a sacred cow. Popular slogans such as “if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain”, or “it is your duty to vote” are repeated ad nauseum. It is almost impossible to watch the news without the classic platitude from celebrities to public intellectuals: “Whatever you do, just make sure you get out there and vote”. They ask “How do we bring the non-voters into our political process?” or “How can we engage voters?” but rarely do they question “Why are these voters not engaged” and never “Is their disengagement correct?” and “Should we join them in solidarity?”

 

In the conflict between Tweedledum and Tweedledumber, the advice is to spoil the ballot paper and abstain from voting for either evil. The only way we can prevail is by offering an alternative – don’t play the game, don’t be forced into a false and hypocritical “choice”. The only way to save democracy is to expose the falsity of the choice at hand. Reformists are Judas goats, helping to lead the working class into the slaughterhouse. Well-meaning, good-intentioned reformers have nearly obliterated one of the fundamental principles of socialism, that the independent working class must create its own revolutionary party and put an end to class collaboration. A genuine working-class party would tell the truth about the system. By not voting working people will register their rejection of pro-capitalist candidates. The enormous success of the lesser-evil political system is in getting about half the people simply not to vote and forcing those who do to vote, in favour of what they oppose. The solution to the lesser evil/greater evil is to build the independent activity and consciousness of the working class. The working class must make use of democratic rights under capitalism to build their own organization of struggle and in doing so we shall acquire the ability to bring down this wretched system of exploitation, oppression, and sham democracy. The working class needs a political alternative.

 

Source  |  Socialism or Your Money Back Blog

 

 

 

P4S
Passion for Socialism

 


Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Who controls my bread,
controls my head

 

Blog #20  -  17 June 2019

 

In the past few hundred years, capitalism has become the dominant form of production and of division of society into classes, i.e. the dominant mode of production. Its distinguishing characteristic is to have simplified class antagonisms by increasingly reducing them to the one opposing the proletariat (or working class) to the bourgeoisie, to capitalism.

The key to the economic and political power of the bourgeoisie is the private ownership of the means of production and exchange (land, buildings, factories, machines, stores, transportation, etc.) and the exploitation of the labor-power of the working class. The bourgeoisie is a class whose reason for existence is the accumulation of capital, i.e. the continual growth of its economic power; a capitalist who does not grow is, as a general rule, a capitalist condemned to disappear. On the other hand, the capitalist has nothing if he cannot find in society a large number of people who have no other means of subsistence but the sale of their labor-power in exchange for a wage equivalent to the strict minimum for survival. The secret of capitalist exploitation lies precisely in the fact that what the capitalist buys from the worker is not his work but rather his labor-power. If the capitalist had to pay for the work furnished, he would not be able to make the profit he does. Let’s look at an example to illustrate this.

Suppose that a worker produces 10 pairs of shoes a week which sell for $25.00, thus making a total value of $250.00 per week on the market. This worker receives a weekly wage of $100.00. Where does the value of the shoes come from? The raw materials – the leather, thread, and glue – along with the other means of production such as electricity, the machines, etc. alone account for $75.00 to which is added the value added by the worker’s labor, i.e. $250.00 less $75.00 or $175.00. This sum represents the amount that the worker added by his work to the value of the materials that he was given at the beginning. If the capitalist paid the worker according to the value of his labor, he would have to give him $175.00. However, this is not what happens because the wages paid to the worker do not correspond to the value of the work he furnishes; rather, they correspond, on the average, to what it costs the worker to reproduce this labor-power or, in other words, to recuperate his energies and ensure his subsistence given the cost of living and the living conditions at a given time.

There lies the essence of capitalist exploitation: the worker gives a certain value of work to the capitalist, but his wages do not correspond to this value but to only a fraction of it. The value of the non-paid work is called the surplus-value; the capitalist appropriates this non-paid fraction which constitutes the source of his profit, the source of capital. Here lies the key to the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie, the key to the enrichment of the bourgeoisie on the backs of workers.

The history of humanity shows that the exploiting classes are eventually overthrown by those whom they oppress. Capitalism is no exception. It also is condemned as the slave society and feudalism before it. Capitalism is undermined by its own contradictions. This means that, with the development of capitalism, the working class whose historic mission is to dig the grave of capitalism, develops and is strengthened. This also means that capitalism can no longer ensure humanity’s progress; on the contrary, it slows down this progress. It has thus become a reactionary mode of production. Capitalism's fundamental law is the search for individual profit, has reached the point where the development of the productive forces is incompatible with the search for profit. Corporations prevent the utilization of a large number of technical and scientific innovations which although they would benefit the majority of people, would not be good for profits. Land speculation and the law of profit have had disastrous effects on agriculture which goes from the underutilization of arable land to the massive destruction of agricultural products. The quality of goods diminishes constantly. While the productive potential is enormous, capitalism slows down its development. 

Contrary to the other revolutionary classes of humanity’s history, the historic mission of the proletariat is not to substitute one exploiting class for another but rather to rid humanity of all exploitation. When the bourgeoisie drove out the feudal nobles and kings, it did so, of course, in the name of all the people; but, in fact, it only replaced the old oppressors with new ones. It couldn’t have been otherwise because the bourgeoisie was itself a class whose existence was based on the private ownership of the means of production and the exploitation of the labor of others. Thus, it only substituted a new form of class exploitation for an old one.

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What characterizes the working class, on the other hand, is that it does not own the means of production and that it is the object of exploitation. As a class, it has no other future but the total elimination of exploitation of Man by Man. This is why we can say that the movement for the emancipation of workers has to lead to the liberation of all of humanity.

In attacking the foundation of the capitalist system – the private ownership of the means of production and wage labor – the proletariat undertakes at the same time the elimination of classes themselves. In effect, to eliminate the private ownership of the means of production is to destroy the material basis on which all exploiting classes are founded. Consequently, it is also to eliminate classes themselves. Therefore, we say that the aim of the proletariat’s struggle is the class-free society, a community in which no person exploits the labor of another. After the proletariat, there are no classes to serve as the object of exploitation. To eliminate the exploitation of the proletariat is to eliminate all exploitation. The liberating task of the proletariat also comes from the fact that in order to carry it out fully, it must attack the conditions which, historically, have made class exploitation possible.

Among these, most important are the State, the division between city and countryside, and the division between manual and intellectual work. The very existence of the State is an expression of the fact that society is divided into classes and that it is necessary to fix the relations between the classes. This is why the State monopolized violence by depriving the exploited and oppressed classes of the weapons necessary for their liberation. This is why the State seals in law the rules of the ownership system. Thus, to say that the struggle of the working class leads to a class-free society is to say that it leads to a state-free society.

The first act, the decisive act on the road leading to the total emancipation of workers, is the socialist revolution.

Source  |  Socialist Courier

 

 

 

P4S

Passion for Socialism


The Way of the Socialist Revolution

 

Blog #19  -  13 June 2019

 

People are beginning to speak more and more often of the ‘end of civilization’, or at least of the ‘crisis of the capitalist system’. It is chaos and empty darkness that are now facing the world. Capitalism has nothing more to offer to people. Many people who describe themselves as socialists believe that socialism is about expanding the state through nationalization. The more left-wing they are, the more they promote state-ownership. What is wrong with the state is that it protects the ruling class, capitalism and private property. Reformists argue that the possibility remains that the state can be won to other, socialist purposes. It is an enemy in its own right; its existence is nothing but a barrier to socialism. State-free societies do not lack social regulation. For the longest period of human history, our species has managed without states. Those who oppose class exploitation must, necessarily, oppose the state. 'Socialists' who wish to maintain the existing state are simply not serious.

 

Necessity is driving them towards socialism. People need to choose between leaving the running of the planet in incompetent and incapable hands that have brought forth this disorder or taking power into our own hands. Necessity forces the working people to make their choice. There is a pressing need made the working class to stand up for socialism. We need to construct a kind of socialism where workers, consumers, and ordinary citizens make the decisions through both direct and indirect democratic processes at all levels. Do we really want to leave to our children and grandchildren a world that will still be controlled by corporations dependent upon such a private institution as the stock exchange where financial speculators control people’s welfare and well-being? Socialism deserves a discussion, because it is a debate about the issues that face our future generations. No rational discourse of socialism in mainstream media has been permitted. Having no socialism sort anywhere on earth, our movement is breaking new ground toward envisioning a new society of both economic prosperity and genuine freedom, that can protect the planet, ensure human rights, and raise the standard of living in a new world of peace.

 

The Socialist Party [of Great Britain] is opposed to the system of society in which we live today because knowing that there are millions of our brothers and sisters suffering for the barest necessities of life. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” That theological question has now been answered by the Socialist Party. Yes, we are my brothers (and sisters) keepers. It is that sort of society we are seeking.

 

Are today's anti-capitalists moving towards a common vision of a new social system? The people were fighting for a new way of life. This is the capitalist world. This is the world of competition, of exploitation, of production for profit. The great mass of working people are its victims; the downtrodden and suffering people who have paid for the universal slaughter with their lives and labour, who suffer hunger, homelessness and disease; the exploited, harassed and suffering people – they are being made to pay the price of capital's expansion. People cry out for real freedom, security and peace. There will be no peace, freedom or security for the hundreds of millions of people. The capitalist ruling class main achievement is destruction. The capitalist world remains an armed camp awaiting only the passage of a few more years before it is ready to plunge into bloody carnage to determine which of the great powers shall dominate the world in the interest of profit. Capitalism outlived its usefulness long ago. It is no longer capable of progress, of raising the standards of living of the people. Capitalism is only capable of guaranteeing new wars, poverty and misery. World history shows that we live in a situation where devastating wars and exploitation and oppression of working people have become a daily part of life. Hunger, poverty, illiteracy, and all kinds of degradations make the lives of hundreds of millions of men, women, and children scarcely tolerable.

 

In our world, injustice and the denial of the most elementary rights have become common practice. More and more peoples are under the fascist heel of military regimes and police states. The number of victims of world reaction has increased to such an extent that they can no longer be counted. Billions of dollars are spent to perfect methods of repression and torture. There has been attempts at the systematic elimination of entire populations. Humanity’s resources are wasted in senseless adventures while people’s basic needs remain unsatisfied, land is despoiled, misery increases, and poverty spreads. The gap between rich countries and poor ones, far from diminishing, is increasing. There is an increasingly evident imbalance between humanity’s capacity for progress and the wretched reality that hundreds of millions of people must live under daily. In most countries, moral and cultural decay, crime, alcoholism, drugs, and prostitution are spreading like a cancer. Prisons are being built at an unprecedented rate. Factories are closed. Populism, national chauvinism, racism, and bigotry are developing at an alarming rate.

 

The Socialist Party asks why is it that we must put up with these conditions? Who is responsible? What economic, political, and social system creates and perpetuates this situation? How can things be changed? Representatives of the ruling class respond that this situation is inevitable, that oppression and exploitation and economic, political, and social inequalities have always existed and will always exist. They invoke the laws of nature, divine laws, and all kinds of things over which people have no control. Reality, however, is quite different. It shows that these are the explanations of those who profit from this misery and whose power depends on maintaining the present conditions. The reality is that, despite diversity in political regimes, in language, and in culture and beyond differences in race and nationality, the vast majority of the people of the globe share a common condition: that of living in a society where the owners of the means of production impose their will over those who possess nothing or little. In other words, most people live in a society divided into social classes where the propertied classes, the capitalists and landowners, dominate the classes who have little or no property, the working class and the small farmers. The economic base of this social regime is the capitalist system.

 

But the people of the world want an end to this system. They want jobs, peace, freedom, security. They want a new life; they want a change from the chaos of the profit system which has proved its incapability to maintain a high level of production in the interest of the people. The struggle of the peoples of the whole world will go on. Capitalism has brought civilization to the brink of disaster. A new life, a new social, system, that is, socialism, is the only hope for humanity. When they fight for plenty for all, they are fighting for socialism. If more workers are to be won to the cause of socialism we must greatly advance in our ability to explain the advantages of a socialist world and how we can achieve it.

 

Source  |  Socialist Courier

 

 

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Passion for Socialism


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Prosecuting Capitalism:
The Case For and Against

 

Blog # 18  -  9 June 2019

 

by Paul Bennett

 

We look at some arguments that might be presented in defense of capitalism and provide answers to them.

 

In Defense

Capitalism has had an overwhelmingly positive influence on the world. Three hundred years ago, before the development of capitalism, most people lived lives of unremitting toil, in near destitution. They suffered poor health and had far shorter lifespans than today. They enjoyed none of the conveniences of modern times, hardly travelled to other places and had little by way of entertainment or relaxation. Capitalism is not perfect, but it has undoubtedly transformed people’s lives massively for the better.

 

Against

There is no denying capitalism’s impact on people and the world we inhabit, but this needs to be put into context. The development of capitalism involved wars and genocide, as colonialism led to the conquest of most of the world and rival states fought each other. Slavery and the slave trade caused untold misery and were an integral part of the rise of capitalism. There has been huge environmental damage, and the conditions of famine and starvation that affect hundreds of millions now are human made, not natural. Even in developed countries, there is widespread poverty, as shown by the increase in food banks. Moreover, pre-capitalist societies were by no means as dreadful as claimed, with hunter-gatherer economies having been described as ‘the original affluent society’, since they could satisfy their material wants through a few hours’ labor each day.

 

In Defense

Capitalism emphasizes personal responsibility and ensures that rewards depend on a person’s own contributions. Lazy people who take no responsibility for their actions and lifestyle do not deserve to do well.

 

Against

Capitalism absolutely does not mean that people are rewarded based on their own efforts. For one thing, capitalism stops many from working, as they cannot be employed in such a way as to create profits for an employer. For another, plenty of people work hard throughout their lives and end up with next to nothing. Lastly, those who really benefit, in terms of both wealth and power, do not do so based on their own work but by exploiting others. Nobody becomes a billionaire by working ten thousand times harder than the average worker.

 

In Defense

Capitalism offers equality of opportunity. Everyone has the same chance to make a success of their life. It is not a rigid society ruled by an aristocratic elite that nobody else can join.

 

Against

There is simply no equality of opportunity under capitalism. Some people inherit fortunes and benefit from expensive educations, while others are born in poverty and suffer from their youngest days from ill health and dreadful living conditions, and racism and sexism also prevent many from realizing their potential. A very few people start out poor and become extremely rich, but that does not alter the fact that capitalism is in no way a ‘level playing field’, and that it necessarily involves massive inequalities of outcome.

 

In Defense

All attempts to replace capitalism with an alternative have ended in disaster. Look at Russia after 1917 and China after 1949: vicious dictatorships with reigns of terror that led to millions of deaths.

 

Against

Despite the rhetoric surrounding them, these were not in fact alternatives to capitalism at all. In Russia and China, far more people were forced to become wage workers, and the system of commodities, where goods and services are produced for sale, was greatly expanded. The state-owned the main means of production (land, factories, offices, etc.) and the minority who controlled the state effectively became the capitalist class. This was a system of state capitalism, which differed in some ways from private capitalism, but still retained the main features of all varieties of capitalism.

 

In Defense

Some impractical dreamers do talk about a world without capitalism and the wages system, where there would supposedly be free access to what has been produced. But this would never function in the way envisaged, as most people would simply not perform any work and would just leave that to a few keen types while doing nothing themselves.

 

Against

Even under capitalism, there are many examples of people doing voluntary work, from charities and sports clubs to lifeboats and mountain rescue. They perform this work because they know it is useful and for the companionship it offers. Moreover, it has been shown that volunteering is good for volunteers, in terms of their health and their social contacts. In a society without wages and employment, steps would be taken to make work as enjoyable and rewarding as possible, including shorter working hours.

 

In Defense

In any case, there is simply no prospect of a system like that ever coming into existence. While they grumble and want small changes here and there, most people are – quite rightly – content with capitalism and do not wish to see it replaced.

 

Against

But ideas do change over time. No one believes any longer in the divine right of kings; nobody in a developed capitalist country nowadays would argue that women should not have the vote; cremation was once looked on as completely unacceptable; ideas relating to gay and lesbian relationships have changed enormously over the last half-century or so; racist views, while still influential, are far less prevalent than they were a couple of generations ago; religion no longer plays the central role in almost everyone’s life that it once did; awareness of environmental issues has increased enormously in recent years. Ideas and opinions do alter, if not always as quickly as some of us would like. Currently, most people are indeed content with capitalism, but people’s ideas are not set in stone, and the examples above and the shift away from allegiance to traditional parties show that they can certainly change.

 

Source  |  Socialist Party of Great Britain

 

 

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Marxism is what?

 

Blog #17  -  05 June 2019

 

What Marx meant and what Marxism means has been debated by literally thousands of writers on the subject, supporters as well as opponents. The validity of Marxism is far more widely rejected than accepted. The “failure” of Marxism has been the prevailing message. And even proponents of Marxist ideas squabble about the correct “party-line.”

 

Marx saw the theft of the peasants’ lands as the birthmark of capitalism. Marx opposed slavery, and chose as his favourite hero Spartacus, leader of the slaves’ revolt. Marx thought that, with socialism, the state would wither away. Marx explained the whole social world rests on the labour of working people. Marx argued that humanity needs to take back, collectively and democratically, its own power to shape the world. To do that, it must destroy the power of the ruling classes. Marx described a divided social system across the globe, driven by competition between rival capitalists and rival states, as a system out of all control where misery and poverty continues. It is subject to immense convulsions and crises, which alternately promote expansions of exploitation slumps, when workers are cast on the scrapheap. Marx insisted that capitalists have ‘despotic’ power over workers at work, and called the workers ‘wage slaves’. Marx once wrote that the choice for humanity was between socialism and barbarism: the truth of that observation is more obvious and chilling today.

 

Marx said that it’s no good just wishing for a different world, or drawing up schemes for social regeneration. Socialism only becomes really possible on two conditions.

 

The first condition is that human productivity should have developed sufficiently to make communism practicable. A poverty-stricken world, where men and women can barely produce enough for their own needs, could not sustain a genuinely democratic society: everyone would be at each others throats. This is why Marx praised capitalism for its achievement in creating the material conditions for socialism where everyone could have enough to eat, adequate clothing and decent housing, with ample leisure time. Today everyone knows that not a child needs to starve, that not a single sick person needs to lack medical care.

 

The second condition is for socialism to be more than an Utopian dream, there needs to be a social force to bring it into being and according to Marx, that agency is the working class. Workers are unlike previous exploited and oppressed classes in history. Capitalism itself shoves them together, in cities and workplaces, endowing them with collective power; capitalism forces them to cooperate with each other; capitalism, precisely in order to exploit workers better, must educate them and raise their cultural level – far above, indeed, the level of previous ruling classes. And capitalism compels them into a life of permanent struggle, whether they like it or not. What distinguishes the working class, therefore, from all previous exploited classes is not its misery as they live on average better and longer lives than chattel slaves or feudal serfs. But crucially, the working class has immense power and capacities. It is the first class in history which is capable of overthrowing class society entirely. The very heart of Marxist ideas is the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves, their aim was the abolition of all class rule and the end of all servitude, misery, degradation and political dependence across the world. Always and everywhere he opposed those who preached ‘socialism from above’. For Marxists, the working class alone has the capacity to free the new society that lies, waiting to be built, within the present chaotic and divided world of capitalism. No one need starve in a world where food surpluses are produced every year. No one need be homeless, or tortured, or bossed about by bureaucrats and leaders.

 

The job of socialists to spread these ideas and to organise themselves, showing the way forward to working class solidarity and power. It is not surprising that at this moment the capitalist intellectuals reject Marxism. But the authentic tradition of Marxism and the real Karl Marx can again be discovered. The genuine socialists have some very marvellous ideas that need spreading far and wide.

 

Source  |  Socialist Courier

 

 

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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Bernie Sanders  -  Left Capitalist

 

Blog #16  -  03 June 2019

 

by John Oswald

 

I like Bernie Sanders, very much, and believe he is a sincere and honorable man.

However, once a sincere person is elected to office in any government anywhere, they become the captive of capitalism, compelled by the system to represent the interests of the ruling class of the nation state, whichever nation state it happens to be.

The Left, the Right, and the Centre are all parties of capitalism, which they think they can run in their respective ways. But capitalism cannot be controlled, only abolished. It cannot be run in the interests of the exploited, being itself the reason for their exploitation.

Left failure leads to Right resurgence and Right or Centrist failure to Left resurgence, and then the same cycle over and over. Anyone trying to control capitalism will always fail, because it is the economic basis of society which needs to be overhauled. What is needed is the abolition of wage-labour and capital.

You will respond, “surely, a little is better than nothing?” Except it will always result in nothing, because exploitation can never serve the exploited.

By calling for the “bettering” of the system, reformism has served to postpone world socialist revolution indefinitely, and no number of reformist short-cuts will ever lead to socialism.

The fact that there is no impetus toward socialist revolution currently evident is not to be met by therefore pursuing reformist dead-ends.

There is the World Socialist Movement with a Party in the USA (the WSPUS), in Britain, India and Canada. The membership is minute, it is true, but there is no alternative to world socialism if the Earth is to have a future.

Certainly not Left Capitalism!

Source  |  Socialism or Your Money Back Blog

 

 

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Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

A New World

 

Blog #15  -  2 June 2019

 

by P.J. Penner, P4S Editor and Publisher

 

Socialists have many ideas and plans to create a world that meets the social and economic needs of everyone. This will be a world in which the people work cooperatively with each other instead of combative competition just to get and stay ahead.

 

The world will be at peace with each other working to meet the needs of the local and global community and enjoying the many pleasures that life will bring when people do not have to worry about meeting their basic needs while falling further behind each month . The people will have the time and energy to enjoy their hobbies, go to concerts, go to sporting events, etc.

 

The production of products and services will have the sole purpose of meeting the needs of people instead of earning a profit. Capitalism and money will be abolished. We’ll have access to products and services that we’ve never seen before because the for-profit mode of production and distribution will be replaced by producing products and services to meet the needs of the people. The global community will have access to food, materials and other products that could not have been provided previously because it wasn’t profitable to produce or distribute them under capitalism.

 

There won’t be an authoritarian leader or government to coerce or use violence to force the people into accepting never-ending military conflict based on religion, borders or the greed of capitalism. These three aspects of discontent have historically been the core reasons for war. Under a Socialist society, there will be no need or reason for any of the three.

 

Radical democracy is a cornerstone of Socialism. As we know all too well today, the representative form of government is nothing more than a government that represents the capitalists and other ruling elites. Real representation for the working class is nowhere to be found. Democracy by representation isn’t really democracy at all.

 

Under Socialism, each person will have a voice and vote regarding the things that affect their lives every day. Every person has a responsibility and social obligation to be socially active in their local community. This is known as direct democracy and the system can be easily implemented using a computer or any “smart” device.

 

In addition to direct democracy, a system of worker and consumer councils will be utilized. There will be local councils, regional councils, international councils and global councils. The local councils will democratically elect a delegate to a regional council, the regional council will democratically elect a delegate to the international council and so on. Each delegate will have a very limited mandate that limits their authority to the electorate’s position on a any number of issues that were determined democratically by vote at the local level. Delegates will serve a limited term and can be recalled at any time with a simple majority vote. No council above the local councils have any authority to enact any laws unless or until it has been approved by majority vote by the local councils.

 

Socialists are working to build a society we all want and need to live a happy and fulfilled life.

 

 

 

P4S

 


Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Master and Slave  

 

Blog #14  -  30 May 2019

 

by Dylan Muirhead

 

“We are not equals” the Master says to the slave.

Capitalism in society is the final stage in human evolution to enslave humanity. No matter how much you make, where you are from, what your sex or gender is, or what religion you follow, Capitalism has aided to create more division within our social structures. So when someone says, “equality will never exist, some people just aren't as good as others” they are under the misinformation that income or race dictates equality. These are constructs humans have created, dictated by a Master-class to oppress anyone below them. And for anyone to state “we need leaders” or “it's human nature to gravitate to leadership” is simply what slaves are bred to believe.

“Master and Slave,
King and Peasant,
Capitalist and Worker.”

The slavery of humanity will never end, unless all humans realize that all humans are slaves to someone, which makes all humans equally oppressed, which means all oppressed humans are equal. Our Capitalist Master-class may control the banks, land, and resources from wealth and ownership, but their slaves the “working-class” all humans that do the work, only do the work because “income”, as we're told by our Masters, is “the only way”.

It is true, in our society, socially and economically, we are not equals, but not because humans aren't actually equal, but because of some Master-class telling us who is better than who, and us actually believing them. The “rich-class” is better than the “middle-class”, the “middle-class” better than the “poor-class” and the poor are better than the homeless.

If women aren't equal to men, or themselves, or other nationalities, ethnicities, religions, and no one is equal to each other, but some are better due to their nationality, ethnicity, sex, religion, and we're not equal to our leaders, but some are better than other leaders of other nationalities...doesn't this all seem idiotic, and pointless?

The simple truth is, our leaders, our Masters, those who control all the wealth, the power of every nation, have used borders and nations, ethnicity, sex and religion to pit the citizens to fight, but proclaim unity and sovereignty, patriotism, nationalism, these false ideals to pit nation against nation, all the whilst it's own citizenry are pitted against each other. This loaded idealism, to state some are better than others, but no one is equal, is the great “Conquer and Divide” plan of the upper ruling class. They fund both sides of Wars, opposing media outlets, and ultimately control all mainstream political parties.

Source  |  The Anarchist Library  |  Condensed

 

 

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Passion for Socialism

 

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