Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Time to change

So a general election has come round again and is in full swing. In theory, this should be an important event since it is a time when we have a chance to decide who is to control political power: the rich and the super-rich and their political servants or the rest of us who produce all the wealth of society but who are not in charge of things? In practice, elections are very different. The fact is that, at election times, we are not offered a real choice. The candidates all stand for the same thing—keeping the capitalist economic system in being in one form or another.  Professional politicians spend millions of pounds competing for votes. If only we vote for them—they tell us--they'll do wonderful things for us. Improve education. End the health care crisis. Solve the transport problem. Stop pollution. Avoid wars. We've heard it all before, but nothing much changes. The same old problems continue. The reason they continue is because the capitalist economic system of production for profit, which causes them, continues. As long as this happens it does matter which party is in office. The profit system—which all of them want to keep and try to manage—can never be made to work in the interest of the majority class of us who run production from top to bottom. It can only work as a profit system in the interests of those who live off profits.

The Socialist Party is working for a different world. But it can't happen unless you join us. The job of making a better world must be the work of all of us. The world we want is a one where we all work together. We can all do this. Co-operation is in our own interests and this is how a socialist community would be organised – through democracy and through working with each other. To co-operate we need democratic control not only in our own area but by people everywhere. This means that all places of industry and manufacture, all the land, transport, the shops and means of distribution, should be owned in common by the whole community. With common ownership, we would not produce goods for profit. The profit system exploits us. Without it, we could easily produce enough quality things for everyone. We could all enjoy free access to what we need without the barriers of buying and selling.

Most politicians blame our problems on the lack of money, but this is not true. Money doesn't build hospitals, schools, decent housing and a healthy environment. The things that make a good community can only be created by the work of the people. We have an abundance of skills and energy. If we were free from having to work for the profits of employers we would be able to work for the needs of everyone. The profit system is oppressive; it dominates our lives. It plagues us with bills. The rent and mortgage payments, the food bills, the rates, gas, electricity, water, and telephone bills. Money is used to screw us for the profits of business. If we don't pay, we don't get the goods. Without the capitalist system, a socialist community would easily provide for all of its members.

Whatever else was going on behind closed doors in the negotiations about who was to form the next government, there was one key issue that that government would have to face – namely, the economy.  And on this point, it didn’t really matter which party formed the government: Britain’s policy would inevitably be dictated by ‘events’ in the market, and by the actions of international ‘investors’ (the capitalist class). In other words, what was more important than the result of the General Election was the needs of a small minority of humanity to find profitable investment opportunities, and the democratic process was inevitably subordinated to that fact. That means that, whoever you vote for, the government faithfully promises to put first the interests of the rich minority who profit from investment, not the majority. Democracy under capitalism is all about choosing between different management teams, all of which are committed to serving the interests of ‘investors’, however much they may differ in style and on other comparatively minor points of policy. no government has the power to get the economy “moving”. All governments do is preside over the workings of the capitalist economy as it moves forward and backward of its own accord, irrespective of what they may or may not do. So why do politicians claim to have a power they do not have and make promises on this basis? There are only two possible answers. They either take us for fools or they are fools themselves. You should bear it in mind when you head to the polling station.

Politicians encourage people into wanting, believing or hoping that capitalism can actually be made fair when it can’t. For this deception they employ a we’re-all-in-this-together rhetoric and insincere calls for “responsible ethical capitalism”, “performance-linked pay”, and “rewards for success, not failure”. The media plays it part in spreading and reinforcing this futile reformism with their sole focus on capitalistic so-called ‘solutions’. And to be seen on the side of the austerity-penalised majority during an economic crisis, populist exercises are undertaken, like pressurising a few CEOs into forgoing their bonuses (which can always be got back when the heat’s off). If most voters just want to see the pay and of bankers cut back because their greed helped crash the economy, or because they don’t deserve the sizeable amounts they get, or because there’s such a thing as a fair profit, then there’s never going to any meaningful and lasting progress made. While capitalism carries on, there’ll always be widespread inequality in incomes and living standards because capitalism is irreversibly a system that exploits the many to benefit a few. Always has been. Always will be. Seeking to reform the fat-cat culture will achieve nothing because capitalism can never be made nice. It only thrives on inequality, ruthlessness, and selfishness. Only completely replacing capitalism with real socialism will permanently end the disgusting inequality and greed seen in the present class-divided society.

The alternative – a class-free, money-free socialist society – is actually very easy to achieve and maintain. A clear majority just knowing what it is and wanting it can bring it about. And as a much more efficient sustainable system, compared to the present one, keeping it going certainly isn’t going to be a problem. If we are going to improve things—and the resources have long existed on a world scale to provide a decent life for all—we are going to have to get rid of the profit system and replace it with a new and different system based on the world's natural and industrial resources becoming the common heritage of all humanity.

On this basis, production can be carried out, not to make a profit, but to satisfy people's needs. The ravages of the profit system—the world-wide pollution, the waste of resources on armaments and on buying and selling, the artificial scarcity resulting from only producing to meet paying demand—can be ended and a world of peace and plenty brought into being. But this is not something we can leave to professional politicians. It is something that we can only do ourselves. That means organising ourselves democratically without leaders and, at a later stage, mandating socialist delegates to stand against the professional politicians. In the meantime, those of us who want a socialist world can indicate this and our rejection of the profit system and its politicians by writing the words “world socialism” across our ballot paper.

As a Marxist organisation, the Socialist Party provides positive revolutionary direction to workers by promoting the growth of class consciousness. However, just as class consciousness will not grow of its own accord, neither will the Socialist Party. That responsibility ultimately rests with those the Socialist Party has reached. Just as it is the responsibility of a revolutionary movement to promote class consciousness, it is the responsibility of all those who grasp the Socialist Party's message to step forward, to join the party and to enhance its ability to reach the working class.