Sunday, May 28, 2017

Change the World

Many on the Left want to run capitalism themselves in a way that’s been tried many times before (and always fails!), whereas The Socialist Party will get rid of capitalism and we’d move on to something infinitely better. In a genuine socialist economy there will be no need for wages or money as you won’t have to pay for anything. When we collectively and directly own all the farmland, factories, natural resources, power stations etc. then everything produced will also belong to all of us, and so, will be freely available. The only unashamedly socialist party in these elections is the Socialist Party. We are standing solely for socialism and not making promises on any subject because we’re not running the sort of campaign where parties say “Vote for us and we’ll do this or that for you”

Sadly we hold that unless the nature of the power structures in our society are radically altered, pieces of legislation and conventions are likely to be more honoured in the breach than the observance. The state, as the perpetrator of most of these abuses is there to reflect the interests of the rich and powerful and will find ways to circumvent such constraints if they stand in the way of business opportunities.  Look at the USA post 9/11 and the extent to which codes of decent conduct were simply torn up and discarded. A society of haves and have-nots will always create conflict and the haves will enact measures to suppress the have-nots; measures moreover to teach them a lesson and punish them for aspirations beyond their station. Even if every government indiscretion were investigated and some fall-guys identified and punished, it will make little difference: the real culprits will go unmolested, because the law and the legal system is there mainly for them. It will only be when the power balance is redressed that we can be honest and hopeful about these issues; that there can be some possibility of real human rights - where one group of people does not have the power to inflict these vile degradations on others. Only in a socialist world can we permanently preclude the possibility of the power relations which allow such abuses.

We live currently in a world where wealth and power are very unevenly distributed, entailing the deprivation and degradation of many people, throughout the world: poverty wages here, child labour abroad, interference in overseas regimes and constraints on their markets. The system works to the advantage of a tiny minority. Yet somehow a belief has gained currency that this is the only way it can be; that there is no alternative to this system of haves and have nots; that we need incredibly rich people in order to make the whole thing work. We hold that we are a remarkably resourceful and adaptable people and the advances of technology provides testament to what we can do when we have the impetus. This convinces us that we could organise this world in a far more egalitarian manner.  Can it be right that since the start of the recession in the UK the richest 1% have seen their wealth grow by £77m per day whereas the rest of us have had to endure cuts to our public services and real terms drops in the value of our earnings?

Housing and the property market is a superb illustration of so many things that are wrong with capitalism: this area of the economy is one of the most market driven and as a consequence one of the most divisive and dysfunctional. From the ‘buy your own council house’ bribery scandal of the 80s to the rise of the buy-to-let schemes, housing has been a series of awful messes. However the property market has to keep rising because politicians believe it is key to the feel-good factor.  What this does is embed a system of haves and have-nots. Trying to reform this system is like trying to reform a leech: it thrives on sucking your blood.  Some rent controls here, some health and safety there, a few more affordable buildings…like applying a sticking plaster on a tumour.  Only the destruction of this exploitaative system will yield a solution.  No-one should be able to own a portfolio of properties and thereby control the lives of others, while the rents from these latter often pay the mortgages on the rented properties.  The other side of the coin is that there are one million empty properties in this country. If we had a true democracy where people decided local and national issues, we could simply take these empty properties and use them.  We could arrange to build where we needed them.  We could use all the second homes that the better off have at their disposal and mostly leave empty. A socialist society offers this scope. 

Changing the world is not a simple process.  We do wish we could believe in the reforms offered by other parties of conscience, but clearly that unless the power balance of our system is amended, the rich will always have greater influence and move things to their advantage and hence against ours. It is only by the abolition of the capitalist system that we can progress to a compassionate distribution of the worlds bounty: the most compassionate maxim in politics is 'from each according to their ability, to each acccording to their need'.  Only socialism can deliver this. What we know is that humans have lived in many different systems of society, and capitalism isn't the only way we can organise.  We co-operate daily within our workplaces, we don't charge colleagues for every act we perform, and we can extend that into a worldwide system of co-operation.

Hunger, inequality and vulnerability are built into this system of haves and have-nots: our current system works on the basis of the wealthy individuals and corporations being able to do as they wish in pursuit of profit, and the rest of us are resources to be used and abused as fits their ends. The rapacious nature of capitalism means the planet is merely another resource to be used and abused leading to more poor countries being the brunt of climate change. Unless we dismantle this egregious system so that power is distributed amongst us equally, unless we take away the wealthy elite's ability to determine our futures; unless we show we have had enough of this exploitation, things will carry on in this disastrous manner.  The Socialist Party advocates popular democracy: we want you, not us, to be in charge of the change. Voting for us is a statement that you have had enough of being treated like a serf: that you want your share of power and of the wealth of the world.

Whilst the reality is that there is no possibility of a socialist victory at this election, and it is a long road towards success, the journey must start sooner than later: for the sake of humanity and for the sake of the planet. It is incumbent on every conscientious person to vote the Socialist Party as the first step. We believe socialism can offer a better future for us, our children, and the planet. 

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