Socialist Review No. 02
Principles of socialismSocialism is a world-wide social system in which the means of production will belong in common to mankind and will be controlled by them for their own benefit. Production will be carried on solely to satisfy human needs. The wages system, buying and selling and money will disappear. In their place the principle "from each is best, to each his need" will operate.
Socialism can only be achieved by political means. At present the capitalists are able to keep their privilege position because they control political power. To free themselves from wage-slavery workers must therefore organise into a political party whose aim is to win political power and to use it to replace capitalism by Socialism.
Socialism can only be achieved by a socialist class. Until workers want and understand Socialism, it is impossible. Thus only conscious, majority, political action can achieve Socialism. Minority action, whether on the industrial or political fields, cannot. The way to political power lies through the ballot box. A socialist working class can use the vote to win power just as today they use it to hand over power to capitalists. A Socialist party can have only one aim: Socialism. For a socialist party to seek support on the basis of a reform programme can only lead to compromise with capitalism.
To free themselves from wage-slavery workers need no leaders. Leaders only flourish on the ignorance of their followers. Once workers understand their interests and know that they want Socialism they require no leaders. All they require is political organisation.
Trade unions arise out of the class struggle that goes on under capitalism between workers and capitalists. They will be necessary and useful as long as capitalism lasts. However trade unions have their limitations. They cannot be used to overthrow capitalism. Only conscious political action can do this.
There is no Socialism in Russia or China. In these countries the workers are still exploited by a privileged minority through the wages system. Workers there have no trade union or political rights The system in Russia and China is state capitalism, not socialism. Government ownership of industries is not socialism either. It too is state capitalism.
Socialists are opposed to all wars. Workers have no interest in fighting in wars since all wars are fought over the markets, trade routes and sources of raw materials of rival capitalist groups.
Socialists are opposed to nationalism. Workers have no country save on paper. Workers all over the world have a common interest in achieving Socialism. Nationalism is a device used to get workers to support their masters in peace and war.
Socialists are materialists and are opposed to religion which has always been a prop to class society.
REPRINTED PROM THE SOCIALIST STANDARD.
A letter from EnglandThe other evening having very little money and plenty of time to reflect, i switched on the telivision (B.B.C.) and to my surprise i was just in time to see a film and hear commentary of the mutiny and rioting that took place in Trinidad. The documentary was very enlightening, it showed what real Black Power was in the hands of black politicans who were quite prepared to shoot down any agitator or worker who threaten their position of privilege, and luxury. At the same time the white American, and British bosses have their own ships, and troops ready to step in, if the local capitalist failed to contain the rebellious workers, giving ample proof of the willingness of the Capitalist Class to unite when it comes to a showdown. Black workers, take notice, when it is a question of exploitation you are in the same position as your white brothers. Colour is no safeguard. Black Capitalist are just as brutal as White ones.
Workers in Trinidad should learn from this episode that the ways of direct action leading to violence are of no avail in modern capitalist society. All the workers will get from this method of action, will be to say the least broken heads, and a spell in jail. I appreciate how frustrating it is for workers in Trinidad, when they can see no end to their poverty, but unless they take political action and unite on a Socialist understanding their lot will remain the same. I.E. EXPLOITED WAGE SLAVES. No leader sincere or otherwise, can emancipate them, only by understanding Capitalism and its manifestations, and applying Socialist knowledge and uniting together in a conscious Socialist organisation will the workers of Trinidad put an end to their poverty and misery.
Jamaican workers take heed, those same conditions (as in Trinidad) apply to you. Your Bosses both Black, and White are quite prepared to use the same methods as used in Trinidad. Dont be misled by your own bunch of leaders, your salvation is Socialism, nothing else will do. Workers in Trinidad, Jamaica, unite for Socialism you have nothing to lose but your fetters, you have your freedom to win.
Objective: A world where all wealth is held in common and production and distribution are democratically controlled by the whole community.
Where in the world are you going?One of the relieving factors for the ruling class in Jamaica, is that the majority of the people have never fully accepted that it is their right to a job here. More people have been made upset by immigration restrictions in Britain and America, while giving very little thaught to the yearly growth of unemployment. To go abroad to seek work is the chief ambition for many Jamaicans. The ruling class and their spokesmen have not been indifferent in keeping this idea alive. How many times have you heard on the radio, or seen on television someone saying how wicked the British government is for restricting us from going there? They usually go on to say that because of so many previous years of exploitation, the British Government now owe us a living.
Since the early sixties when restriction was first imposed in Britain, America have become the chief attraction for Jamaicans. Thousands do get through every year. Most go by the vacation route, when they are there they hide and work, and spend the alloted time seeking ways to remain permanently. One of the cost freequent ways of doing this is to "buy a wedding". They simply pay an American citizen, to get married,(the fee range from $500 up) to get married, when they have achieved their permanent stay they get a divorce. Many ignore the divorce and just go away and pick up their life.
There are now signs that the track to America will slow down. Whether its the hundreds of people who vanish with a three months visa, or the worsening condition in the slum areas, much more people are being turned down by the Counsel. The British voters have made it clear that they want a complete halt of coloured immigrants. The Conservative Government is well aware, although they may not admit it publicly, how much their return to power was helped by Enoch Powell. Powell played on the fear that is ever present in Capitalist society. If he did not do it someone else would. It is not Powell that you should hate, but the syste that make what he did possible.
It is this same system that make the world of travel limited to only a few. Everywhere the shutters go down, as governments are forced to respond to popular prejudice if they wish to keep power. The jumbo jet age is here, but relatively few people will enjoy it. Even in the developed countries thousands are too poor to travel, and a slight depression can cause many more to abandon any travel plans for years. Do you ever consider the way mankind could live now, with our ever expanding knowledge, and the way we are forced to endure? This is the heart of the Socialist message. To update man's life in relation to his present ability. To make this ability count for something in everyone's life.
The climate of the West Indies is the envy of most visitors. Yet men and women from here will work and pay to stay in a freezing and for them unhealthy climate, simple because the need a job. Its time you examine the nature of a system, that give rise to such acts. Then you could give thought to the socialist alternative, of creating a moneyless, classless, world. All national boundaries would be abolished, the dislike for workers of one country for another would cease. Travel would become available to all, and would be done exclusively for pleasure. It is not the Capitalist Class that is the greatest obstacle to Socialism. That distintion is held by the working class themselves. The inability of workers to take the blinkers off their mind, and start visualising a new social order.
Cuba and the CaribbeanThe Cuban Revolution is now eleven years old. Far from being the shining light in the Caribbean, and the Americas it more likely has become the way not to follow. The recent failure, to harvest the target of 10 Million tons of cane have made Castro confess of the growing difficulties. In his recent speech he spoke of the "failure of the revolution", and seem to have thrown away the line that America is the cause of the ills in Cuba. All this must be very embarresing to those who hailed the revolution, and look up to Cuba as the model state.
Belief not based on factual evidence generally die the hardest. Many people still maintain that some kind of socialism exist in Cuba. The fact that the evidence from Cuba, and all the other so call communist countries tell a different story is largely ignored. THERE IS NO SOCIALISM IN CUBA OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. What masquerade as socialism, is really State Capitalism. Instead of having individuals and companies running businesses the government does it themselves. This in no way change the status of the worker, he is still only a wage earner. In some ways he is worst off, for instance, trade union representation is considerable weakened. It is not because the workers are happy, why they do not strike. There have been some improvement in the standard of living for some, and significant inroad have been made into the illiteracy problem. Most countries in the region can in fact boast of similar improvements, so this could have happened without Castro.
One job that Castro expreseed his desire to do, is to inspire other revolutions within the region. This have been very disheartening work, and the Cuban leader have shown signs of abandoning this task. Recently the Venezuelan guerrilla leader Douglas Bravo issued a manifesto accusing Castro of scaleing down his assistance to "Latin American Revolutionaries". The Cuban ruling class are now more occupied in conserving their own position, and giving less effort to "spreading the revolution". How many expected this trend? Workers in Cuba are again being called on to make sacrifices, and work harder, with the promise of better days to come. They will find out like other workers have that these better days never come.
Socialism cannot be established in one country. It cannot be achieved by violence or the act of a minority. It must be the conscious act of the majority of people throughout the world, through the ballot box. The Socialist Movement have been right about Cuba from the start, nothing that have happened there is worth emulating. Cuban workers are just as in need of liberation, as workers in any other country. They will be given every opportunity to realise that the revolution is not their’s as they were led to believe. The idea of a better world through leadership has been made obsolete by history. Socialism is the only thing that can upgrade human life to its proper dimension.
White sugar and "Black dignity"Guyana, aa a sugar producing member of the Caribbean commonwealth, reached a total of 360,000 tons of sugar production for 1969 and some 2 million sugar workers of the Caribbean countries of ,Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, Martinique etc. are now organised into Trade Unions affiliated to the Caribbean Congress of Labor (C.C.L.)
According to the Guyana "Labor Advoate" (official organ of the "Man Power Citizen's Association") .(M.P.C.A.). the C.C.L. is to
"Continue to struggle for Black Dignity and economic power".
But by this it must not be supposed they in any way subscribe to the "Black Power" Concept of Stokely Carmichael, whose ideas they oppose and do not wish to see take root in the Caribbean area. Rather does Mr. Richard Ishmael, Editor of "Labor Advocate" and also President of C.C.L,explain the Trade Union concept of "Black Power" as being
"To ensure the dignity of the black man and when we speak of "black man" we mean all non-whites and not just people from Africa".
That is certainly a broader view than Stokely Carmichael's. However, what can "Black Dignity" mean to the wage enslaved sugar workers of the Caribbean ? Possibly as much as it may mean to the thousands of colored inmigrants in Britain, intergrated into the native white working class of that island. A SUBJECT class, "held to ransom" by the wages system . The Class as the leveller , not the color.
So, if there is any "black dignity" floating around the sugar canes of the Caribbean, it is more likely to alight on those who own the sugar;than on their employees!
Furthermore, the function of the C.C.L. is to negotiate wage rates and working conditions with the S.P.A. (Sugar Producer's Association) owners of the sugar cane Estates and the sugar thousands of tons of it, produced by the aforesaid 2,000,000 organised sugar workers, who are selling their labour power at trade union rates whilst their Employers sell the sugar, containing the surplus value donated by the workers, because they, the workers and Unions have accepted the swindle of "A fair day’s work, for a fair day's pay" concealing as it does, the exploitation of the working class all over the world.
This is something which our fellow workers of the Caribbean would do well to ponder, instead of identifying their interest with those who exploit them!
In conclusion, human dignity can only accrue to a class less, wages less citizenry of the world; freed from the necessity of selling their abilities for "high" or "low" wages, which , far from being "dignified" , is downright degrading!
So, our message to the working class of the Caribbean is organise with us for THE ABOLITION OF THE WAGES SYSTEM!
Because, if you desire dignity, you desire Socialism and WE desire your help to achieve just that!
G.R.Russell (International Secretary, S.P.G.B.)