Friday, May 19, 2017

A chat with some kids in the park

 Lee: It's a nice day.

John: What you up to?

Lee: Chillin. What about you?

Jane: Chillin.

Sarah: Do you live round 'ere?

Lee: Yeah.

Rob: You into football?

Lee: Yeah.

Rob: Who do you support?

Lee: Man United.

Jane: You into books?

Lee: Yeah. I might write a book one day, and call it Revolution.

John: What kind of revolution?

Lee: The peaceful kind. I think we should dismantle and abolish capitalism, and establish a system of society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the Earth's resources, by all, for all.

Jane: We're too young for all that shit.

Lee: How old are ya?

S.J.R.J: 14...

Lee: I joined the Socialist Party of Great Britain or SPGB when I was your age.

Sarah: What's that?

Lee: It's a political party that's a part of a world-wide movement called the World Socialist Movement.

Rob: Do you think big fuck-off-aliens will come to Earth?

Lee: I think we're too far away for intelligent life to reach us. If intelligent aliens do make it to Earth they'll be either proper horror show or friendly.

Jane: Proper horror show?

Lee: Ugly mother fuckers that wanna rip our 'eads off.

Sarah: Like in that film?

Lee: Yeah, like in that film. Or maybe the aliens will be socialists. And they'll help us with our socialist revolution.

John: Is socialism like what they used to have in Russia and China?

Lee: No, that was a dictatorship, nothing to do with socialism. People have preconceived ideas about socialism. Socialism has come to mean many different things to many different people and parties. I sometimes think we should talk instead about a 'World Without Money'. What do you all want to do when you grow up?

John: I wanna join the army.

Rob: I wanna be a footballer.

Sarah: I wanna be a nurse.

Jane: I wanna be an actress.

Rob: Do you believe there's like parallel universes?

Lee: I don't believe that you or me exist on any other world, or at any other time but right here right now.

Jane: What about religion?

Lee: I don't believe in it. I've got no problem with people being religious so long as they're not dicks about it. I think we have only one life.

Jane: Do you think people will go extinct one day?

Lee: A nuclear war could wipe out mankind. A virus could wipe us out. A space rock, meteorite, whatever, could wipe us out. A mega-volcano, mega-flood, mega-ice-age could. If nature doesn't go ape-shit like this, then there's no good reason why Earth can't sustain billions of people at any given time for the next three billion years, at which point the sun would have heated up to such a degree that humans can't survive.

John: Do you think machines will take over?

Lee: I think computer-machines for all time will remain as they are now – unthinking tools. All AI is a matter of programming. Try as we might, we will never program independent thought.

Sarah: Do you think global warming is real?

Jane: I do.

John: One day I bet there's another ice-age.

Rob: Do you think people are polluting the atmosphere?

Lee: Yeah.

Sarah: Why do people do it?

Lee: Because there being very silly, and very selfish, is the short answer.

Jane: What's the long answer?

Lee: The world we're living in today, is a capitalist world. It's not a system of society that's been designed – organized – to give the human race the means to enjoy a fair, fantastic, bountiful, beautiful life. Capitalism, sometimes referred to as the money system, sees a tiny number of people own and control the Earth's resources. They don't organize the production and distribution of the things we want and need to satisfy humans' well-being. The interest of the one percent – the owning class – is to make monetary profit above all else, to the detriment of Earth, and all who sail on her. That gives them a life of luxury, privilege, and power.

John: So we need to take out the one percent?

Lee: At ease John. People need to understand that the common ownership and democratic control of the Earth's resources, by all, for all, is the only way to stop the damage being done to the Earth. We can all make a difference to the Earth's well-being, to humankind's well-being if we try. The only way to fail is not to try. Everyone who can intervene, and doesn't, will be guilty of the crime of allowing the environment to be irretrievably broken. Should it come to that, in the final analysis, the one percent will be no more or less to blame than the rest of us.

Jane: What have we gotta do?

Lee: The people of the world need to have a revolution. A revolution to change the world for the best. They need to make a conscious decision to implement a system of society that works in the best interest of mankind.

Jane: I don't think things are all that bad in England?

Lee: In comparative terms, we live in a nice country. Not just in England but throughout the world there are many people going about their ordinary business; eating, watching TV, visiting friends, and having fun. A socialist revolution will make things better. Live for more. Help break the chains of wage slavery.

Jane: I think a revolution is a stupid idea.

Lee: Why's that?

Jane: Well, whenever there's a revolution loads of people end up dying.

Lee: Well, then this revolution will just have to be unprecedented – the peaceful world-wide revolution. People can't be forced to open up their eyes. They can only be taught. And this will be done without recourse to violence. There's no rule that says revolution can't be non-violent, without need for an armed uprising. Many people haven't worked out that it doesn't matter which party is in government; if a party doesn't plan to abolish capitalism they will have, as their primary objective (like it or not) to serve the interest of the one percent – an interest that is quite opposed to that of the ninety-nine percent. I'm not saying that if a politician tells you it's raining you should look out the window (although to be on the safe-side you probably should). What I am saying is when a politician tells you what we've got today is in the workers' best interest they're lying. Some of them lie knowingly because they like the rewards they get from being politicians; others lie because they're so stupid as to think capitalism is the best system human wisdom can devise.

Jane: If there's a revolution will we still have to go to school?

Lee: The changes that the revolution – the change from a money orientated system, to one of free access – will bring won't happen overnight. Abolishing capitalism and establishing socialism will mean there are many changes to the way society – that's to say, people – carry on. If socialism becomes a reality money will become a thing of the past, poverty a thing of the past, war a thing of the past, crime either a thing of the past or reduced to a fraction of what it is today. Pollution a thing of the past. National identity a thing of the past – and compulsory schooling a thing of the past. In socialism – where money has been taken out of the equation, and the system of society has been designed and is organized, to work in the best interest of the human race – compulsory schools, I believe, will become obsolete. Kids will go voluntarily to classes to learn stuff they give a shit about. And will no longer be forced into classes to try to learn stuff, they couldn't give a shit about.

John: If there's a revolution will I still be allowed to be English?

Lee: I don't know what it means to be English. I think the whole idea might be an illusion. If you think of yourself as an English lad – that's fine. The revolution to change an insane system – to a system of common sense; common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution, by and in the best interest of the human race – won't mean that you have to stop thinking that you are English. I think, if socialism comes to be, more and more people as time rolls on will come to think of themselves as being a part of one people, one world. And that in time people who have the feeling of national identity will fade away. Until people who think they are English cease to think this. I hope one day there are 7 to 12 billion people, and they all say 'My country is the world'.

Jane: So when's this revolution gonna happen?

Lee: The short answer is: it will happen when people are ready. As the movement grows, so its ability to contest and win local elections grows. If it keeps growing, then in time, members of the movement will start to appear on TV. Those members of the movement who are comfortable being on TV – who are not easily beaten in debate – can start to make the case through the medium that the largest audience on Earth engages with. People will stop voting for any and all political parties that support capitalism. A vote for a capitalist party is a vote for more poverty, war, and crime. If enough people just keep right on voting for capitalism then one day we will look up at the sky, and see mushroom clouds. They would have inadvertently voted for the annihilation of the human race.

Rob: Who's the leader of the party?

Lee: There is no leader. It's a movement of equals. Socialism is an idea. An idea that requires understanding, not blind sheep playing a game of follow-my-leader. So long as a person has a couple of brain-cells to rub together they will understand the idea. Maybe it's a good idea whose time is nearly here. Hopefully, sometime in the not too distant future, enough people will have got the idea and peace on Earth can be made a reality.

Sarah: How will people pay for things if there's no money?

Lee: They won't pay for things – things will be free. All the things you see in the shops, all the services you use will be free. Because that's the way we will organize it to be. The system of socialism will make it possible for us to live in a money free world. And no one will be
paid for their work.

John: 'Ang on. How the fuck would that work?

Lee: Many jobs being done today would cease to exist if socialism was established. There are jobs that only have a value in a capitalist world. There are millions of people around the world whose job it is to operate a till. If there was no money there'd be no tills. Computers are not working to their maxim capacity under capitalism. If socialism was implemented computers would be employed to do as much work as they possibly can. Once you take away all the jobs that only have some kind of value in a capitalist world. And once you have computers doing all the work they can, there will still be jobs that are left for people to do. Those jobs will be organized in a way that is best. Which will mean people don't have to do jobs they hate, that cause them large amounts of stress, and general unhappiness. In socialism, life will be organized to give people maximum leisure time, and positive production time. People won't feel exploited when they work – won't feel like the work they did had no real value or real worth. Even a shitty job like a sewer inspector – a job that needs to be done – people living in a socialist world would volunteer to do. And whilst it's not a fun job the people who do it can take satisfaction from the knowledge, their work has contributed something positive to humanity. Imagine trying to explain how the money system worked to that child of the future who has been born and raised in a socialist world. Money, poverty, war, crime, pollution, have not been known in living memory, To begin with, it would seem as baffling as I imagine me trying to explain how socialism would work to you is now. Have you got access to the internet?

Jane: Like derrrr.

Lee: You four and everybody else who has access to the internet should go online, and check out what the WSM has to say for itself and the means by which the movement intends to achieve its objective: