Saturday, July 23, 2022

The Voice of the Exploited and Oppressed

Millions have fought for civil and human rights, and battled for equality to women, for immigrants, for the LGBTQ communities and for all the poor and vulnerable. They have campaigned to protect our planet from environmental harm. They have marched in the streets, petitioned and lobbied politicians. People have been beaten and even killed in their struggle. All to no avail.

The masters of the world live by a code: “All for ourselves and nothing for other people. 

We live in an age of oligarchs, demagogues and aspiring autocrats, an era of bigotry and white nationalism with ruthless attacks on our limited liberties. Capitalist ideologues blame the victims for all the social problems as they embark upon policies of dismantling the safety nets of the welfare state and deny any responsibility for the increased immiseration of working people.

Sparked by the capitalist war on the working class, workers employed in the formal economy, the informal economy, working in the cities and the countryside or doing unwaged labour have entered the global political stage in an astonishing array of movements. These offer much by creatively developing new structural forms and organising strategies. The demands of the impoverished class for food, housing, education, healthcare and an opportunity to contribute to society are summed up as the demand for a cooperative society. Revolutionary socialists are unwilling to allow capitalism to set the horizon for what can be envisioned or struggled for. Understanding the ways that workplaces and communities are interrelated leads to more effective modes of organising and more possibilities. 

The Socialist Party claim that the reason the working class are unable to obtain a decent standard of life is that the wealth the workers produce is owned by the employing class.

The capitalists own the means of wealth production, land, factories, machinery, means of transportation, etc., and allow the workers to produce further wealth and give them in return just sufficient of the necessaries of life to keep them alive to produce more wealth. The masters will only allow the workers to use the means of production when they can sell the commodities the workers produce at a profit.

If the capitalist cannot sell these commodities they close the factories. The workers are then unable to sell their working power, and unless they can obtain relief from charity or insurance, they are forced to go without the necessities of life.

If the working class could obtain access to the means of wealth production, they could produce more than sufficient to keep every member of the community in comfort. The working class by supporting socialism would obtain control of the political machinery and use it to take the means of wealth production from the present owners. The community would then have the means to give every person the full benefit of the enormous amount of wealth that is produced by modern methods of production.

Despondency and despair are not an option, despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges. We are fighting for not just ourselves but for our children and their children. We cannot turn our backs on future generations. There is too much at stake. 

Frederick Douglass stated that “knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” 

Helen Keller in a letter to a Nazi youth explained: “History hasn’t taught you anything if you think you can kill ideas. The tyrants tried to do so often in the past, but the ideas revolted against them and destroyed them.”

Solidarity must go beyond words and appeals. We must go beyond capitalism and its nation-states. Our World Socialist Movement must become the World Party of Social Revolution. We have to determine our own collective future. We must connect vital human needs, desires and hopes in a way that will persuade people to assert their voices and actions in the building of a new mass movement for a democratic socialist society. We call for a new vision of what kind of society we want, along with the mass movement capable of delivering our vision. We reject the notion of a small group deciding on a “party line. That approach is discredited elitist vanguardism.

As Eugene Debs reminded us all:

 Too long have the workers of the world waited for some Moses to lead them out of bondage. I would not lead you out if I could; for if you could be led out, you could be led back again. I would have you make up your minds there is nothing that you cannot do for yourselves.”

We in the Socialist Party face the future with confidence. Nothing can be accomplished until working people hold a vision of where they want to go and what they want to be. Creating and imbuing them with such a vision, to educate and win them over to the cooperative, socialist answer to their problems is the task of our organisation.

We call upon all fellow workers to unite around the practical demands to secure humanity’s imperilled future.

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