Monday, July 09, 2018

Its Human Nature

For a' that, an a' that, 
It's  comin  yet for a' that, 
That man to man, the world, o'er 
Shall  brithers  be for a'  that.
Robert Burns

As we write, rescue attempts are currently taking place to extract 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cavern in Chang Rai, Northern Thailand and so far four boys have been taken to safety.. Help has come from many parts of the world with experienced pot-holers and divers offering their expertise and skills to help and risking their own lives in the process. Rescue personnel are from Thailand, the US, Australia, China and Europe. A British cave diving specialists found the team sheltered on a ledge nine days after they went in,  dishevelled  and hungry but alive. Thai diver, Saman Kunan was part of a team trying to establish an airline to the chamber where the children are awaiting rescue. He had placed oxygen tanks along the route but didn’t have enough air to get back to safety.

Thailand and the world are now presently following the epic tale. Sadly,  less  media exposure has been given to the commercial tour-boat sinking off the coast of Phuket, in Southern Thailand which had ignored bad weather warnings and has had no happy ending for over 50 people, mainly Chinese tourists, who have drowned.

Disasters provide glimpses of what is possible when people come together to offer assistance. All manner of volunteers offered their services without demanding any remuneration from the mundane chore of doing the laundry for the rescue teams while unpaid cooks prepare meals for them.

The Socialist Party visualises a future society which will be organised for the public good.  There is scarcely a single member of our party who has not heard repeatedly the statement that human nature is against socialism.  Our critics say such a society would only work in a world of perfect people, of saints and angels.  Socialism doesn't require us to be any less selfish or more altruistic than we already are today. Fear is the greatest ally of conservatives. When a majority of the population comes to the point of thinking that tomorrow may well be worse than today, the only possible strategy it can see becomes that of preserving what exists in order to preserve their own interests. It subtly promotes the glorification of selfishness. Which leads to preventing possible change. We need to move past fear. In the U.S. and Europe right now, we’re reverting to a new  tribalism, in the sense of, 'I am  this  nation and you are  that  nation.' 

At times there were those who predicted a pessimistic outcome for those lost boys but we should never grow resigned, never bow or submit, never beat a retreat. This applies as much to our own socialist politics. The future always looks strange when people's minds are imprisoned within the past, but the nearer we get to the next stage in social evolution the less strange the idea of a world cooperative commonwealth becomes. The World for socialists must be regarded as one country and humanity as one people. Stifling peoples' imagination and hopes are essential if the owning class are to retain their monopoly of the planet. The great revolutionary act for the working class is to imagine an alternative to present-day society.  Nothing is eternal and unchangeable. Everything is variable. The great revolutionary act for the working class is to imagine an alternative to present-day society and we see around us each day that it a possibility if we so desire, of people willing to help others in distress for no reward.  Even under capitalism people will undertake work of the most dangerous kind voluntarily because they were aware that they were needed to accomplish a necessary job to be done. If this can happen under capitalism where the cash nexus has corrupted nearly everything, why should we doubt there will cooperative relationships in socialist society. With socialism in place of profit-seeking enterprises, organisations would be formed by people themselves for the purposes of self-help and mutual aid. The tendency exists in modern capitalist society - in the form of the Red Cross and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. 

These voluntary associations give us a glimpse of is in store for us if we establish a state-free society in the future. And today's rescue of the trapped boys in Thailand shows us the willingness of strangers to go to the aid of those in need.

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