Thursday, August 08, 2019

Beyond Capitalism and the State

For socialists poverty and squalor are unmitigated evils. Socialism is an idea gaining popularity. What exactly is an alternative to capitalism? When we talk of “socialism,” what does it actually mean? It begins with the question of what is meant by “socialism” as a mode of production very distinct from capitalism. The task of the World Socialist Party is to teach fellow-workers that the capitalist system is responsible for their miserable conditions and that the destruction of that system is essential for the solution of all their problems.

Socialism is not the conquest of the state by a political party: it is the conquest of society by working people through political action. The word socialism has come to be applied to any activity of the state or municipality in an economic direction, irrespective of what the nature of the activity or the state concerned is. Hence any industrial or commercial enterprise undertaken by a governmental body is labelled socialism nowadays. Mere statification does not mean socialism. Socialism is not state capitalism. Socialism is not government ownership or control of industry. Socialism aims for the elimination of the State, not the enlarging of its functions. The State is mainly an agent of the possessing class and commercial undertakings run by governmental bodies, largely in the interests of these class. Political institutions having their basis in class- or caste-rule. Their aim in all cases is to show a profit, in the same way as ordinary capitalistic enterprises. This profit accrues to the possessing class in the form of relief of taxation, mainly paid by them, interest on bonds, etc. In other words these business undertakings are run for profit and not for use and State employees are little, if at all, better off than those of private employers. State-ownership is not socialism and has nothing to do with socialism. To grasp this is also to perceive that socialism is not "nationalization" or "government-planning." Production for the market is not socialist production for use.

Socialism is to place the management and control of production directly in the workers through the overthrow of capitalism and its State. The aim of socialism is the transformation of private property ownership and control by individuals of the means of production into their common ownership and control by the community at large. Socialism involves a complete revolution in all aspects of human life, and that though beginning with the economic change it does not end there. Socialism as implying the emancipation of mankind from economic slavery implies also emancipation from every other bondage and servitude. Socialism aims at giving a meaning to people's life and work; at enabling their freedom and creativity to flourish. Socialism brings the end of alienation and commodification, sexism and racism, environmental degradation, militarism and nationalism. As long as capitalism reigns, the fruits of new technology advances will be turned against the working class. Socialism is a society which serves the needs of humanity.

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