The Red Flag Will Rise Again
Socialism, as a system of ideas, has either been ignored, or dismissed contemptuously, as an outworn, superseded ideology. All socialists are rebels against enslavement and exploitation. Working people will not be emancipated through the efforts of humanitarians and nothing can be expected from the politicians. Socialists reject the policy of state ownership. We reject the idea that state capitalism is an introductory phase of socialism. State capitalism is not the abandonment of capitalism. When the World Socialists conquer the state it will not nationalize industry. Rather its first act is to abolish the state, its parliamentary regime and forms of activity. Socialism, it must be emphasized, abolishes the state. Industry is not transformed into the state, but state and industry, as now constituted, are transformed into socialism, functioning industrially and socially through new administrative norms of the organized producers, and not through the state. State capitalism is not socialism and never can become socialism, precisely because it is a state proposition. The lure that is offered to the workers is the promise to “democratize” state capitalism and the belief that it will growing into socialism, placing the government, in the hands of “the people.” This policy dispenses with the necessity of overthrowing the state as an indispensable phase of the social revolution and tactically strengthens the state and weakens the workers. The reformists are deceiving workers when they declare that nationalization, and the state sector of a capitalist country are "socialist".
A change is absolutely imperative. Is it possible to modify and reform the present system by eliminating its bad features? That is what many liberals and reformists have been trying to do for many years without the slightest success. The social ills afflicting the working people can all be traced to one fundamental cause, to the fact that the means of production belong to a small group of private owners who are interested in producing things only if they can make a profit out of such production. Knowing the basic cause of society's illnesses, we are in the position of a doctor who knows the cause of the sickness of a human being. We can prescribe the cure. The cure is socialism.
Socialism is the working class in power. Working class power is the essential condition for far-reaching social change. Socialism can be built only when the working class has taken state power from the capitalist class: that is, when there has been a revolution. Socialism is built upon workers’ common ownership of the means of production. Socialism is not some Utopian scheme. Capitalism has created the economic conditions for socialism. Today there is social production but no social ownership. Socialism will bring social ownership of social production. It is the next step in the evolution of society. Socialism will be won through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism by the capture of political power by the working class who will take over the economic forces developed by capitalism and operate them in the interests of society. Socialism will not mean government control. Transforming the main productive resources of society into common property will enable working people to assume administration of production and distribution. Workers will be able to manage democratically their own workplaces through workers’ councils and elected administrators. In this way workers will be able to make their workplaces safe and efficient places that can well serve their own interests as well as society’s. The economy will be geared not to the interest of profit, but to serving human needs. This will release the productive capacity of the economy from the limitations of profit maximization. A great expansion of useful production and the wealth of society will become possible. Socialism will open the way for great changes in society. The people will establish a social democracy, a genuine democracy. Everything would be for the best in the very best of all possible worlds. In a socialist society the means of production will be free to provide for the needs of the people. The capitalist profit-makers will pass into history. Whether capitalism or socialism will be the order of society depends on what the working class does. Its struggle for socialism cannot be postponed. There is a working class and a capitalist class. There is a class war. Socialism is the expropriation of that capitalist class. Progressives and the Left do not recognize this task. They do not realize the futility of their insignificant reforms. To help forward the real struggle for socialism it is not enough simply to profess belief in socialism or to pronounce oneself a Marxist. It is necessary to apply Marxism and founding a policy upon it. There must be continuous Marxist explanation and education. All illusions about easy short cuts to socialism must be exposed.
The basic idea of socialism is that all the means of production and distribution be owned in common by all of the people, and that every person, who is not too young, or too old, or too sick, cooperate in producing those things which every member of society needs and uses. Instead of having individuals or corporations own all the factories and hire workers to produce goods only when a profit can be made from their sale, society as a whole will own the factories, and the workers will produce the things required to feed, house and clothe all of the people, and to satisfy all of their cultural needs, elected or appointed administrators will calculate approximately how much of each article will be necessary to satisfy the needs of society and the factories will be set into motion to produce more than enough of each item. Instead of the anarchy and competition that prevail at the present, production and distribution will be thoroughly planned by capable administrators with the help and participation of the workers. The plans will be constantly subjected to analysis and revision. It is impossible, of course, to furnish a complete blueprint indicating every detail of the functioning of society under socialism. Of one thing we can be certain. A change in the system of property from private ownership, producing for profit, to common ownership, producing for use, will solve the major problems facing people today.
World Socialists contend that industry has developed to a point where a enough quantity of goods can be produced to assure everyone a very high standard of living. Since things will be produced for use and not for profit, planning will be possible and feasible. A change from capitalism to socialism, by eliminating the waste inherent in capitalism, would easily raise the standard of living of all people across all lands. If because of some mistake too much will be produced, it will merely signify more leisure for the workers. With profits eliminated and production increased, there will be no difficulty for society to take care of those unable to work.
You can readily see that the solution offered by the World Socialists for the problems of all of humanity is a very radical solution, one that goes to the root of the whole matter. In our opinion it is the only solution possible. It is incumbent upon socialists to show how that solution can be realized. It is necessary to convince many more people, than are at present convinced, of the desirability and necessity for socialism. Mighty forces stand in the path of the working class. The state consisting of the police, the army, the courts, the jails, the government; the institutions that exist for the purpose of subduing and deceiving the minds of the masses, such as the church, the press, the schools, etc.; the divisions in the ranks of the workers themselves, divisions that are fostered by the ruling class. Can these mighty forces ever be defeated? Will the workers ever unite and join in the struggle for true freedom and true equality? There are many who throw up their hands in despair, proclaiming the hopelessness of the struggle.
The overwhelming majority of the population would benefit by a change from the present system to socialism. If the working people should be aroused and determined to abolish capitalism, the police and the army would be helpless, even if we assume that all of those would be loyal to the capitalist class. Even their police and their armies would not be reliable because the police and the army are composed of people who come from the working class and who permit themselves to be used against their class brothers simply because they do not know better. If the capitalists were to depend upon force alone to guarantee their privileged position, their situation would be precarious indeed. After all they represent only a small minority of the people. What the capitalist class must depend upon, more than on force, is deceit. All the force in the world would not avail the capitalists if they could not deceive and confuse people. It is the deception of our fellow workers, more than anything else, that assures the existence of a social order which brings so much misery and suffering to the vast majority of the people. Influenced by the false ideas propagated by the capitalist class, the workers not only fail to struggle against their real enemies but permit themselves to be arrayed against one another. They allow themselves to be divided on racial and national grounds. Prejudices are fostered amongst the workers and thereby the struggle against the common enemy is weakened.
When the problems confronting a people cannot be solved by the ruling class, when the people are compelled to suffer without getting relief, when they behold an arrogant minority wallowing in luxury, indifferent to the fate of others, then they are in a mood to listen to those who propose a radical solution. The ideas which the ruling class pounded into the minds of the masses lose their hold and new ideas are accepted. The cover which blinded the workers is lifted from their eyes and they realize that they must take their fate into their own hands. No force on earth can stop them. When a system of society outlives its usefulness, when in the womb of the old society there has been prepared the possibility of a new social order, when the masses suffer needlessly, and when the ruling class is unable to solve the problems facing society—under such circumstances—the ideas representing the new social order are accepted by the masses, and instruments of force and deceit at the disposal of the ruling class are helpless to preserve the old order. A revolution occurs and a new social system comes into being. And once the workers rally around the ideas of socialism, nothing in the world can stop their progress. Neither state repression, nor the lies of the media, will save the present system.
To achieve socialism workers must first gain political power. The capitalist class under feudalism had economic power; it required political power to consolidate and guarantee its economic power; it obtained political supremacy by a revolutionary overthrow of the feudal nobility. The workers under capitalism have no economic power (except in the sense that they can bring industry to a halt by withdrawing their labor power) and neither have they political power. Before they can take over the industries and proceed to construct a socialist society, they will have to take over the power of government. We need not look very closely at the working class to see that it has very serious divisions. There are divisions between skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers; there are differences in political development; there are divisions based upon race, creed and nationality. The workers, furthermore, are not born socialists. The conditions under which they labor make them amenable to socialist ideas but there must be some organization that assumes the responsibility of teaching the workers those ideas, of convincing them of the necessity to struggle for socialism, of representing their historic interests. What is absolutely necessary is an organization of workers who, regardless of their skill or lack of skill, regardless of any secondary differences, agree upon the necessity of solving the problems of the working class through the overthrow of the capitalist system and the establishment of socialism.
The Red Flag will be hoisted again because it is the flag of the oppressed, the flag of those deprived of their liberty, their labor, who are forced into wage slavery.
Source | Socialist Courier | Adapted
Passion for Socialism