Tuesday, May 18, 2021

World Cooperative Commonwealth


"Omnia Sunt Communia", or "everything in common", a quote attributed to the 15th century German rebel leader Thomas Müntzer

The progress of socialism is governed by the advance of socialist thought among the workers. The socialist movement of to-day cannot bring socialism. The co-operative commonwealth can only be inaugurated by the majority action of the workers. Steadily the workers move along the road to-wards socialism. Circumstances compel them to take that road. Economic laws operate whether they are known or not, but if we understand their operation we can bend them to our purpose and assist society along the course it tends to travel. As a socialists we must help bring this knowledge to our fellow workers.

The shackles of the wage slave and the whip of the master symbolise the reign of capital. Not until slave and master have both disappeared, and forever, and the equal freedom of all has been established, can we lay any proper claim to the term civilisation. The cooperative commonwealth is not dream but entirely within the realm of the possible. This new world will not arrive without the aid of human endeavour. It means hard work. It involves courage. It presupposes earnest convictions. Its goal is industrial freedom and independence that the world has never known and can never know until cooperative labor, solving every problem and surmounting every obstacle in industrial affairs, achieves emancipation. Under the wages system there is no independence for those who toil, because independence means exemption from control by others, the direction of one’s own affairs without interference. There is not in the world a wage-worker who is independent. He or she must not only work to live, but always under conditions dictated by another person. His or her life and the lives of those dependent upon his work are absolutely under the control of others. This is not the land of the free but the home of the slave.

 “Read! Think! Study!” Working people should be ashamed to follow leaders. They may betray. Unions should be educational to spread economic knowledge. Ignorance is slavery. Intelligence is liberty. Socialism is no utopian dream, nor the product of imagination and not a mirage of the desert to allure and vanish, but a theory of life in which the humblest individual owns him or herself. The basis of this new cooperative commonwealth is the brotherhood of man, and the idea of brotherhood carries with it toleration and toleration means liberty of thought, liberty of opinion, liberty of action. We do not fear the man or woman that says I don’t agree with you. The only thing in this world we dread is ignorance. Think for yourself. If you oppose  us – so be it for we will have infinitely more respect for you than if you support the party without thinking for yourself.

We are not after office, we want socialism. We care little about office except in so far as it represents the triumph of socialism. Socialists are not afflicted with the kind of patriotism which makes the slaves of the nation itch to murder the slaves of another nation in the interest of a plutocracy that wields the same lash over them all. It seems not a little ironic that millions are so patriotic in a country in which the only interest they will have is six feet of dirt in a cemetery.

The World Socialist Movement declares that life, liberty, and happiness for every man, woman, and child are conditioned upon equal political and economic rights. That private ownership of the means of production and distribution of wealth has caused society to split into two distinct classes with conflicting interests, the small possessing class of capitalists or exploiters of the labour force of others and the ever-increasing large dispossessed class of wage-workers, who are deprived of the socially-due share of their product. Our present system divides society into two classes, the “have all” and the “have nothing” class, and that it is the great mass of the people that do all the useful work who belong to the “have nothing. That capitalism, the private ownership of the means of production, is responsible for the insecurity of subsistence, the poverty, misery, and degradation of the ever-growing majority of people. That the same economic forces which have produced and now intensify the capitalist system will compel the adoption of socialism, the common ownership of the means of production for the collective good and welfare, or result in the destruction of civilization. The WSM declares its object to be the establishment of a system of cooperative production and distribution, through the restoration and repossession to the people of all the means of production and distribution, to be administered by organised society in the interest of the whole people, and the complete emancipation of society from the domination of capitalism. Wage-workers with their historical mission to realise a new world should sever connection with all capitalist and reform parties.

The WSM does not hope for the establishment of social order through the increase of misery, but on the contrary expects its coming through the determined, united efforts of the workers of both city and country to gain and use the political power to that end. American socialism is only a branch of world socialism, as American capitalism is a branch of global capitalism. A socialist does not hate every capitalist individually (although many truly deserve our contempt), that some should be picked out as scapegoats while the economic power and political encroachment of all the others should be silently submitted to. It means that while we understand that every individual capitalist is the result of the present system as much as the wage worker, we still must fight the capitalists as a class, because the producers cannot reasonably expect anything but exploitation from the exploiters as a class. To achieve socialism we want to make use of our political liberty and take possession of the public powers.

The WSM will fight open and above-board everywhere and fight all capitalist parties alike. It cannot and will not assist capitalist politicians of one party in one state and of another party in a different state. In short, members of the WSM will be simply socialists, and nothing else.

“Each for all and all for each”

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