Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Socialist Ecotopia

Solidarity is the watchword of the people against the master class. Let the slogan resound — "World for the Workers, Workers for the World”. On the 20th September there will be a global climate strike for the planet. There is urgent need for a change of our society. The great threat of climate change hangs over humanity. Socialism is a necessity. It would end the capitalist system. Socialism is not a benevolently-administered capitalism: it is a different social system.

The need for socialism grows more urgent each day. It awaits the conscious will of the workers of the world, and nothing more; when they desire it, it can be. 

On Friday, the voice of the Socialist Party will be a small one, but it must be heard. Our message is the same as it has always been, and is the same for every day of the year. More than that, it is the only message of hope in the  world. The ills the workers suffer today are the product of capitalism. As long as capitalism lasts there is no cure for the evils it throws up. Many of those taking part in the global day of action, however well-intentioned, cannot accomplish any lasting cures for these evils.

The only sure and effective cure is to remove the source from which these evils flow—remove capitalism and replace it by a system in which everything that is in and on the earth is the common possession of mankind. A system in which all those who are able will take part in producing what is required and each will receive what he needs. Our message therefore is a message of hope. The evils of today can be removed when people understand their cause, the remedy, and organise together to apply that remedy.

Of course, many genuine environmental activists will argue that a world of abundance is not possible to sustain. That we are over-populated, that we consume too much, that technology cannot produce what we require but will be actually counter-productive by contributing to the pollution and depletion of natural resources. All sincerely held opinions but all come from a view embedded in seeing the world through capitalist eyes and not of a socialist vision of a completely different type of economics.

Most scientists are just as politically myopic and blinkered about socialism. They may well recognise that a socialist world is not the same as the present capitalist system but decline to put the revolutionary transformation of the profit system on the agenda. The scientific community insist that they should work within today's parameters of capitalism, and persuade the business leaders and their political retainers to implement far-reaching reforms which will impact upon profit margins. The scientists are setting out to impose on capitalism something that is incompatible with its nature. Such a strategy is exactly the route towards climate change catastrophe.
The modern world is a society of scarcity, but with a difference. Today’s shortages are unnecessary; today’s scarcity is artificial. More than that: scarcity achieved at the expense of strenuous effort, ingenious organisation and the most sophisticated planning.

The world is now haunted by a new spectre – the spectre of abundance. Socialists are seeking to establish a society where human needs are in balance with the resources needed to satisfy them. Socialism means plenty for all and does not preach a gospel of want and scarcity, but of abundance. If the assumption of abundance is not regarded as far-fetched (which, we say it is not) then there is a better method of ensuring individual consumer choice than with money, an unnecessary complication that leaves the exchange economy intact. The more viable option is free access, “from each according to ability to each according to need”.

Continuing artificial rationing and restricting access and offering privileged groups extra remuneration as in "to each according to work" is repeating the mantra of the capitalist work ethic. Why project into socialism capitalism which relies on monetary accounting, whereas socialism relies on calculation in kind? This is one reason why socialism holds a decisive productive advantage over capitalism because of the elimination for the need to tie up vast quantities of resources and labour implicated in a system of monetary/pricing accounting. 

In socialism calculations will be done directly in physical quantities of real things, in use-values, without any general unit of calculation. Needs will be communicated to productive units as requests for specific useful things, while productive units will communicate their requirements to their suppliers as requests for other useful things.

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