Saturday, January 28, 2017

Joe Hill

The Dream of Joe Hill lives on

It is right that the life of Joe Hill should be remembered still, for he was a worker who sang with militant passion in favour of the interests of his class and was framed by the American state on a murder charge for doing so.


 Joe Hill was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (the IWW or Wobblies) which was set up in the USA in 1905 in opposition to the traditional capitalist trade unions within the American Federation of Labor (AFL). The AFL accepted the necessity of the capitalist system and collaborated with the bosses to make the system stable, much as the hacks who run the British TUC do today. The Wobblies were not out to win a 'fair deal' from capitalism (that's like turkeys trying to win a fair deal from Christmas), but to abolish the system which thrives upon the poverty of the wealth producers.

Wages and Profit

  Abolishing capitalism, as far as the Wobblies were concerned then, and The Socialist Party is concerned today, involves nothing less than abolishing the wages system. No longer should men and women be the wage (or salary) slaves of a small minority who monopolise the major resources of the earth. To sell our mental and physical energies to employers for a wage is a symbol of our servitude. Only when we are all free to work voluntarily according to our abilities and take from the common store of goods and services according to our self-defined needs shall we be really free. Profits come from the workers being robbed of the wealth they produce; it is time to put an end to the profit system.

 That was the message of Joe Hill, and even though The Socialist Party would have differences with the Wobblies (which our party raised at the time) we too advocate the abolition of the wages system.

Abolishing Wages

 Abolishing wage slavery? When did you hear even the most radical figure in the Labour Party advocate that? They do not because they are a party of capitalist reform, out to tinker with the sick effects of the system, not to abolish it. The basic position of The Socialist Party is that we are out to achieve socialism and nothing less. The dream of Joe Hill - and countless other forgotten workers who dared to reject the inevitability of this crazy social system - must not be forgotten or relegated to a romantic memory. Their struggle is our struggle: their dream of a different kind of world is for us to take up and convert into social reality.

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