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Why should we have to pay for things?

If the bogey word “socialist” gets you annoyed, please give us a chance to explain why, though we are called the Socialist Party, we are not supporters of what other "socialists" call for.

Has socialism been tried already? No! In dictionaries it's “common ownership of the means of production and distribution”. That is, manufacturing, utilities, transport, fuel, etc owned by the people. But at no time, in no country, has a population directly owned and controlled these productive assets. Private and/or state owners have always possessed and run these, and consequently—surprise, surprise—they've benefited most.

Does ownership of these assets really matter? Yes! Increasing cancers and illnesses due to pollution and unsafe food; no or inadequate essential services due to profit-making and cost cutting; excessive or dislikeable work; burglaries; homelessness; robberies; ageism; no free time; inequality; unemployment; racism; wars; mortgages, bills, rent, taxes etc. With genuine socialism, all those worries would end—not just get a little better. Take cash troubles. If we all owned tomorrow what a few do today, money would then be obsolete. Directly owning those vital assets means we would also own all the food, goods and services that these provide. And as one of the new collective owners, you'd then have a right to these as required. So, real socialism would bring free access to whatever you need.

Free access would not mean people grabbing everything in sight, because the whole purpose of working would have then changed from today's provision of goods and services for sale (causing artificial shortages and exclusion for the non-wealthy), to provision of goods and services purely to meet needs.

No more money might seem bizarre—even frightening—but what's money for? It's for buying things others own, and those owning what people need most (capitalists) benefit most. We are led to see money as offering freedom from worries, when in reality, it deliberately and barbarically maintains them. By making money essential for life, asset owners can then compel those able to work to become their employees (governments help out by imposing very low and hard to get unemployment benefits, and "educating" children to accept money and wages etc). Workers must then buy what they actually produced in the first place. Even working hard, they can't earn enough to quit for good, because if they could, capitalists would then be unable to use them to make profits. Money is basically just one part of a big scam to control and exploit the majority.

Obviously, cash is needed while this scam goes on, but if we want a far more agreeable, healthier, plentiful free-access society, we only have to take care over who we support and how we vote. Most people certainly would gain. Even those now with reassuring incomes and savings would benefit from this new system—not experience worse lives as a result of millions of others obtaining better ones. However, after a lifetime hooked on must-have money, we know this radical change to cashless co-operation can be hard to take in. But if you can calmly weigh up the facts, then we can show why socialism would be much better.

Would free access to what we need mean harder work? No! Ending capitalism also ends its unemployment, so millions of people unwanted because employers can't profit from exploiting their abilities could then participate. With no private asset rights to protect, or money, millions more, soldiers, solicitors, bureaucrats etc and those just tinkering with cash in retailing, banking, insurance etc, would all then be freed to contribute something of real value. What's more, many repetitive jobs could be done by automation, which won't happen today unless it's “cost-effective”. For these reasons, real socialism would bring a far shorter working week, and jobs that people enjoy—and are never again forced to do for money, or by governments.

Instead of getting money—which for most is too little and never makes up for all the harm and misery that capitalism causes—those who work, the sick and elderly would all have: entirely free food, appliances, housing, health care, car, rail and bus travel, electricity, water, gas, phones, TV etc, as required; far more spare time; fast progress due to no financial restraints; a safe, unpolluted, stress-free environment. And much more.

 

A recent advert for a telephone company with some unwittingly sensible advice

Today, work is for profits, but this means employees aren't paid the true value of their labour. Someone working six days may have done enough after two or three to cover their wages, but is kept at it so shareholders can sponge off profits, and owners can retain a viable firm. Even a "good" boss must exploit workers to buy better equipment, premises, advertising etc to remain competitive. So, to some extent, all employees are cheated.

Exploitation of workers is unavoidable with capitalism, as without it, the system won't work. This in-built abuse happens here now, just as it did in a supposedly "socialist" Russia. In reality, old Soviet Russia was capitalist too. It had employers (the state), money, wages, profits, inequality, leaders etc. None of these would exist if genuine socialism was established—a fact elitist "left-wingers" choose to ignore even today.

No point in tinkering
It's the 21st century, yet these groups and individuals still absurdly claim to be "socialist" while calling for “Full employment”, “Strong trade unions”, “Higher top-earner taxes” and “Nationalisation”. What they are therefore supporting is capitalism continuing, since waged work, labour bargaining, taxation and full-blown state ownership of productive assets are all features of a capitalist system. Even replacing private bosses with state bosses changes nothing, as work will still be profit-driven. These would-be reformers may hope to change market capitalism into something better, but they'll never succeed. The Labour Party has proved this. They, too, set out wanting to gradually reform capitalism until we achieved socialism. But in the end, it was unchangeable capitalism which reformed Labour—into yet another "New" Tory party.

These naive let's-make-it-nicer fiddlers are quick to claim that capitalism can help those suffering if more money is taken off the rich, or if it's governed "properly". Now this may sound good, but it's just tosh that ignores the only way capitalism can operate: exploiting assets in the most profitable way. If firms are made to pay higher wages, more tax for state services and welfare, use the very best food ingredients etc, then companies can't compete in a global market. As profits suffer, businesses go broke. Investment shifts overseas. The economy fails. Public services collapse. Unemployment and poverty rise. Even more people suffer, and the government of the day probably get booted out of office. So, no matter who governs, capitalism can never be run to benefit a suffering majority, as majority exploitation is its unavoidable fundamental purpose—for the chief benefit of a grasping minority.

Due to this fundamental bias, the Socialist Party do not seek to govern—only to enable voters to both obtain direct ownership of productive assets, and elect themselves to power, by voting for real socialism (once established, having served its purpose, the party will then cease to exist). We say that together, we are capable of running our own lives. That we should all be able to decide (e.g., through occasional electronic referenda) how assets are used—not just a privileged few, aided by egocentric two-faced puppet politicians.

Today's rat race requires a me-first, devil-take-the-hindmost attitude to get by or "succeed". This also happens to strengthen and delight capitalists, because it causes disunity, a lack of faith in one another and pessimism about ever achieving a real change. Are the fat cats right to feel jubilant and invincible? Has distrust and dog-eat-dog living left you crushed or cynical about human co-operation for shared gain? Is your choice merely to go on paying, until the very end? Whose future and benefit—yours or theirs?

MAX HESS