A simple Exposition

By Wm. A. Pritchard, 1972

To all the oppressed and exploited of the earth

The term, Socialism, is one of almost universal usage. Everywhere one hears various and opposing views as to what it means. Politicians, talking of “Law and Order”, or other conveniently contrived issues, often accuse their “opponents” of being socialists. Promoters of social reforms – pension for the aged, better and cheaper housing for the workers, etc., – also present their programs as socialistic.

This article offers a view of socialism which can be set down as follows:

(a) An Economic Analysis of the present social system – Capitalism.
(b) A Scientific view of Historic Development.
(c) A Philosophy of Life.
(d) A visualization of a possible future social system more humane and harmonious than any that has yet appeared, based on Production for Use, and not for Profit.

This concept of socialism as a possible future society is one wherein the means of production and distribution will be socially controlled and democratically administered, where use not profit is the objective, where the needs of humanity are deemed paramount, with sale for profit eliminated. One must then see this as a social system where the present means for facilitating exchange, money, will become superfluous.

In light of that description it would seem advisable to declare what socialism is not, although the supporters of these claim them to be such.

Granted the foregoing we must conclude that the following, all of which claim to be socialist are definitely not so:

(1) Russian state capitalism, with its authoritarian monolithic structure and regimentation, its production for production’s sake, its capital outlay and capital accumulation, and its wage-labor.

(2) The People’s Republic of China falls also into this category. (Interesting to note that these two alleged socialist countries are at daggers drawn, not because of announced ideological differences, but because of naked economic interests.)

(3) Cuba, Yugoslavia and Albania, although differing superficially, also belong to the foregoing.

(4) Sweden’s so-called socialism with 93% of its industries under “private enterprise” is not socialism.

(5) The British Labor Party and similar organizations in other countries are not socialist. All claim to be able to reform capitalism in the interest of humanity and to make the system work better than their political opponents.

Assuming that you accept the definition of Socialism as given here, the question arises: Do you think such a system is desirable as well as possible? Or, as you view modern society with its vast complexus of apparently insolvable problems, its many protesting dissidents and discontents, do you consider it to be necessary? An affirmative response to both these questions is important – especially the second – for if one is not convinced of the necessity for social change, further discussion is merely academic. I am not interested in those who view a study of the socialist case as a mere form of intellectual exercise. Such a position is of far less consequence to society’s problems than is the work of an entomologist studying the behavior of bugs. At least the entomologist is motivated by purpose. However, having merely assumed that socialism is desirable, possible, and socially necessary, let us, for the time being, dispense with these assumptions, recognizing that they are of no account without a body of supporting evidence. We ask again: (a) Is a social change desirable or possible; (b) Is it socially necessary?

This requires, first, that we possess ourselves of some knowledge of what we wish to change. And this calls for an acquaintance with the history (development) of what now is: Capitalism. This can be more definite than any view we take of the second question: Is it necessary? For here we are dealing with what has happened, and, consequently, find ourselves in the realm of actuality. With the second question, however, since it deals only with a view of what could be, we enter the area of possibilities and probabilities and any conclusions we arrive at must necessarily be speculative. In this area, because of its speculative character, an even greater amount of supporting evidence is demanded. Back to our first question then: Is it desirable and possible? This requires a consideration of what capitalism is, its development, its accomplishments – the social advantages it has created and the social progress it has made, and into its present decline and decay with the destruction of the dignity of the human being and its repression of man’s creative and artistic potentials, its anti-social tendencies, and its anarchic nature.

II. Capitalism - it’s “positive” side

A few centuries old, Capitalism emerged from a static, clerical, feudal society into one of voyages of discovery, of exploration and conquest of foreign lands, into one of burgeoning trade. Following the voyages of discovery of Da Gama, Columbus, De Soto, Magellan and others, trade bloomed tremendously and the initial steps were taken for the development of regional markets into a world market, and the capitalist system from a European (chiefly) restricted economy into an ever-expanding world-wide system.

It must be admitted that capitalism, historically considered, is a higher superior social system than any of its predecessors. It broke the restraints that Feudalism placed on society’s productive forces and thereby developed the increasing productivity of labor. It destroyed handicraft and established the factory system where workers labored together as teams rather than as individual craftsmen. The artisan became a mere cog in a socially operated machine – his skill was transformed to the machine in the factory. Through experiments, innovations and inventions labor has been made social in character as against the individualistic character of former years. One must also admit the rapid increase of labor’s productivity, particularly that Western Capitalism has provided the highest levels of living known to man.

In transportation alone we have witnessed in a life-time the advance from the stage coach and horse and buggy to horse drawn cars on metal tracks, these superseded by steam and (later) electric cars. I have here mentioned steam which through its discovery and application to industry via the steam engine did away with former sources of industrial power, the water-wheel and the windmill. The steam engine when first used in industry was stationary. In the early days of the last century, it was made mobile and the locomotive engine appeared on the industrial scene. With this came the rapid development of railroads until much of the earth’s surface was grid-ironed with them. Steam also replaced wind as a motive power on ships and the stately windjammer was made obsolete – the tramp steamer and the “dirty British coaster” carried produce over the seven seas. The diesel-electric, superseding the steam engine tripled the length of freight and passenger trains, making rail transport more efficient and more economical. Add to this modern air transport.

Long prior to this produce had been transported on the waterways, the rivers, lakes, gulfs, etc., of the old world. These ante-date the Christian era by several centuries, being used as means of communications, etc., by the Assyrians, Egyptians, Hindus and Chinese. The royal canal of Babylon was built around 600 B. C., and the 650-mile Grand Canal of China, connecting Tientsin and Hangchow was begun in the 5th century B. C. France was the first European country to develop an inland waterway system in the 17th century. Russia developed a canal system in the 18th century, linking what is now called Leningrad with the Caspian Sea. Sweden completed its 280-mile long Gotha Canal in 1832. The first canal in England was built in 1134, during the reign of Henry I, since which time some 4700 miles of canals have been built in Great Britain and Ireland.

When Vasco Da Gama sailed down the western coast of Africa and, rounding the Cape of Good Hope, discovered an all-water route to the Orient, trade was greatly facilitated making obsolete the route upon which the prosperity of the Italian ports depended. In 1869 a canal was cut through the Suez Isthmus and a shorter all water route to the Orient of some thousand miles less made the Cape of Good Hope route unnecessary for that traffic. In 1894 the Manchester Ship Canal was completed making that inland centre of cotton goods manufacture accessible to ocean going cargo ships. And then came the cutting of the Panama Isthmus, joining the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific, obviating the long and arduous sea trip around the Horn. By these means was the capacity of transportation increased, production and distribution of goods made cheaper, and social advance made possible. We leave untouched the waterways of Canada and the United States – sufficient has been described for our purpose. These developments made possible easier and quicker communication and cut the time necessary for world transportation. Together with this growth came the telegraph followed by the telephone and radio, by means of which messages were more efficiently and quickly delivered. So the processes of production and distribution were speeded up and trade flourished accordingly.

One could enter many areas to show how capitalism rapidly improved industry, providing an ever increasing volume of useful vendible goods. Without doubt this was a great social advance. It should be noted here, however, that this increasing volume of goods, while useful, was nor produced primarily with this usefulness in mind, but for sale on an ever-increasing world market with profit as the ultimate objective. The main question before any promoter of a new article, etc., is: will it sell?

From simple factories powered by windmill and water-wheel to the use of steam, capitalism has developed huge plants with fast moving assembly lines, employing thousands of workers in each plant. Today this mere mechanical production is giving way to the electronic and the use of the computer. All this means, as time goes on, more and more wealth will be produced with less and less labor. The button-pusher replaces the skilled mechanic.

One thing is definitely revealed as we study capitalism in its genesis and growth. Problems which once confronted society have disappeared. In times past famine occurred because not enough could be produced or conveniently transported. Capitalism has developed the forces of production to the point where an over-abundance now becomes the source of human distress. Famine and want are with us today as a result of too much production. Those in greater need invariably lack the purchase price. Yet the fact stands out: Society can with its present means of producing useful goods supply an abundance for all. Famine (shortage) can become as obsolete as the windmill and the water-wheel. The means exist that can make this abundance for all a living reality. But this is prevented by the very structure and nature of the capitalist system. “Production for sale” is the obstacle. Capitalism, however, should be credited with having so developed the means of production and increased the productivity of labor that this abundance can be apprehended. No previous society carried within it this potential.

Much more could be said but we permit ourselves a look at one other area – Capitalism has demonstrated its superiority over previous systems. The development of sanitary engineering has eliminated the open midden as a receptacle for human waste. It has given us “indoor plumbing” and produced equipment for sewage disposal. And it has provided this together with many other social benefits of which peoples of Feudal times could never even dream.

From an in-depth view of the rise and growth of capitalism one is able to perceive tendencies, certain potentials – most of which cannot be brought to full growth because of the competitive nature of the system – which unfolds a view of a possible alternative to what now is. It is capitalism itself, as it develops, which produces this view of a possible future society, with a system motivated by producing “the greatest good for the greatest number”. In short, a system of production for use. Does not this justify the conclusion that Socialism is not only desirable but possible?

The foregoing picture presents, in skeletal form, the accomplishments and achievements of capitalism, and constitutes what I call its “positive” side. This presupposes that there is another side which I call its “negative” side.

III. Capitalism - it’s “negative” side

In the preceding section a rather sketchy outline of the development of capitalism was given, and that only of that side of capitalism which I have called “positive” – its many achievements and accomplishments which certainly carried society to a higher productive level. Having conceded this, a question confronts the serious student: Were these many social advances produced in an atmosphere of harmony, of “Peace and Goodwill”, of general social well-being? The answer must be a definite “No!” This calls for a view of the other side of capitalism which I call the “negative” side.

From the days of its emergence as a social system capitalism, in its desire for increase in trade and its urge for profit, has been ruthless and relentless, smashing indiscriminately any obstacle which stood in its way. From its earliest days onward the capitalist class has, of itself, been one of many conflicting and hostile divisions. Its only completely unified stance has been that of unmitigated opposition to that class which it exploits, the working class. By this exploitation the wealth, increasing trade, yes! all the great advances were made possible. The history of capitalism has been one of piracy, chicanery and fraud, the invasion of “foreign” lands and the subsequent subjugation of native peoples. The efforts of conflicting capitalist groups to secure trade routes, establish spheres of influence, and control sources of raw material for its manufactories has led to bloody conflict – horrible wars with death and destruction to millions.

From the military conflicts in Europe of the 18th century to the Napoleonic of the early 19th war has been the order of the day. The Boer war of the late 19th century, in which young Britishers, themselves not possessing the privilege of voting, went “fifty thousand horse and foot . . . to Table Bay” to compel Oom Paul to grant the franchise to the Uitlander. That, at least, was the reason given. Britain thus acquired the area known as South Africa. At about the same time the new rapidly developing capitalist class in the U. S. A., in the Spanish-American war, acquired Cuba and the Philippines, and set out on its journey of “Manifest Destiny”. Prior to this Britain having destroyed French control in Canada brought that country within its political orbit. Australia, used as a huge prison for transported convicts, also came under British control. And then there was India, Burma, Malay Peninsula, etc, etc.

What should be stressed here is that all the various national groups were in almost constant conflict over the acquisitions of colonies, etc., and these disputes led to war. Many of us today are contemporary, not only with the Boer war and the Spanish-American, but have witnessed two great global conflicts, World Wars I and II, and a vast number of so-called marginal (little) ones, such as that now taking place in S. E. Asia, in which already a greater number of much higher destructive capacity bombs have been dropped on a small largely jungle country than by all the combatants in the destructive second World War. And the Vietnam war, at this writing, is still with us.

To recount the ravages, the slaughter of human beings and destruction of cities and villages, with their ancient irreplaceable art works would require volumes. The reader is aware of this so this brief description can be left to speak for itself.

Yet the wholesale destruction of life and of nature’s assets, the horrors of capitalism’s wars, are at least paralleled by its horrors of peace. Its exploitation of labor, with its concomitant periods of unemployment, is even more destructive of life and the earth itself than that of war. Is this not sufficient to call for a condemnation of so destructive and brutal a system? Does not this suggest that knowledge and understanding be developed so that this social horror might be ended?

Mention was made in the previous section of some of capitalism’s achievements. For example: Its progress in sanitation with a consequent aseptic society. But this has been negated by contrary achievements: the creation of almost world-wide pollution of the air, land and waters through a galloping technology which has produced huge industrial plants in most countries spewing their nauseous fumes into the atmosphere and onto the land. The U. S. A., the country which has developed capitalism to its highest degree, reveals a land when first occupied by the white man as a vast virgin territory, clean and unpolluted, rich in natural resources: fresh water in abundance, hills laden with minerals, forests with an almost unlimited timber supply, and a great expanse of arable land. Yet in the course of a little more than two centuries the streams, rivers and lakes, and that supposedly great aseptic agent, the ocean, are now polluted to the point of being almost irrecoverable. Minerals have been wrenched from the earth by the most destructive methods in the urge for quick and big profits. Copper mining and the “strip” method in coal have left a horribly scarified landscape almost unusable for agriculture. Forests have been raped and millions of board feet of lumber sacrificed in the process. The once abundant game life has, in many instances, been reduced to extinction, as also with many varieties of fish.

All this social loss has taken place during the growth of a nation not yet two centuries old, during which time there has been a gigantic increase in population, an almost unbelievable expansion of industry, accompanied by a technology not dreamed of even fifty years ago. And the greatest proportion of this technological advance has been during the last two decades. During this less than two centuries of capitalist development in the U. S. A., there has taken place, of necessity, the founding of many towns and cities; the once open plains are dotted with them. And most of the cities are monstrous replicas of the first horrible “Main Street” ever built. In some cities, unique in location, or outstanding for some other reason, a few spots of beauty and a few works of Art, etc., appear, but all it can be said that the cities of the U. S. A., are ineffably dreary. At best none carry the tradition and beauty, the works of Art, etc., observable in the countries of the “old” world. And new though they be, capitalism has furnished them, not only with its monstrous pseudo-architecture, its collection of “tracts” (usually gerry built on horizontal cuts on its hillsides), but it has produced slums and ghettos in all of them that put those of the “old” world into the shade. “Old” world city slums were developed over centuries; those of the greatest and wealthiest country on earth have appeared practically overnight.

It may be argued that undue emphasis has been given to this; that the commonplace is over stressed. Other areas could have been examined for this purpose, which is to indicate that capitalism, in these late days if its development, does not encourage the blooming of man’s creative artistry but thwarts it, and does so because of its insensate drive for profits. It is revealed in all its nakedness as destructive, anti-social and anarchic. Modern capitalism also displays many apparent anomalies, e. g., great wealth and great poverty. And the greater the wealth the greater the poverty.

What then is the cause of these conditions? Whence springs pollution, destruction of man’s Art works, the destructive war and the horrors of peace? Let us look into the system itself, note its structure and character, and, perchance, we may find the answer.

What must strike the serious student as he attempts to analyze this system is that it is a divided society, a society of orders or classes, a predatory society existing on pillage and fraud; that as a predatory society it must also be one in which cooperation (socially) is absent, and therefore one of disharmony and conflict, domestic and foreign. We perceive the manner in which the necessities of life, for instance, are produced. And it is here, in the mode of production and the social relationships which that mode establishes that the answer can be found. We noted that this society (capitalism) is a divided one, a class divided one, basically one of a master class and a wage working (slave) class, a ruling class and a ruled. In short, a class which owns and controls the machinery of wealth production, and a class which has no connection with that machinery except to operate it. This working class is dispossessed insofar as these means of wealth production are concerned: its only asset is its physical and mental ability to work. This working ability is called labor-power, the power to labor.

In that period of human development called civilization we observe three distinct (generally) social formations: (1) Chattel Slavery; (2) Feudalism; and (3) Capitalism. The relationship of master to slave under Chattel Slavery was that of an owner to his horse. As the horse supplied some service and in return received his hay and oats and stable so also the chattel slave. And, usually, the slave was considered valuable. He represented an investment and if lost had to be replaced. In Feudalism the relationship was not so direct. The Feudal Lord owned the land; the serf was attached to the land upon which he labored, and thus produced his own sustenance and a surplus which went to the Lord of the Manor. Despite this apparent difference to chattel slavery the relationship of master to man was basically the same. In capitalism, however, this slave relationship is obscured. The wage-worker is a “free” agent. No master holds him as a chattel, nor feudal lord as serf. This modern worker is free and independent: he has choices. He can dispose of his services to this or that capitalist owner, or he can withhold them. But his freedom is ephemeral. He must sell his working ability to some one or other employer or face starvation. His slavery is cloaked under the guise of wage-labor.

When the modern worker has found a master he receives in return for his labor a price known as wages or salary which represents on the average what is necessary for his sustenance so that he can reproduce the energy to go on working, and also produce progeny to replace him when his working days are over. During the working-day the worker produces wealth equivalent to that for which he is paid wages, but this does not require all the time of the working day. In providing for his own keep he has also produced a surplus and this surplus belongs to his master. This may eventually be split into profit to the manufacturer, rent to the landlord, and interest on capital invested by a financier. As capitalism develops the time in which the worker produces his own keep decreases while the surplus accruing to the capitalist increases. During this development the productivity of labor increases at an accelerating tempo: The worker continually produces more with less. This increased productivity – much of which has occurred in this century, and in the last twenty-five years – demands that the industrial plants of all capitalist countries belch forth an increasing volume of vendible goods, not only for domestic sale but for sale in foreign lands.

It is this foreign trade, and the cut-throat competition that accompanies it, that compels these countries to establish what is called foreign policy. So the diplomatic clashes which occur from time to time between the countries of these competing trading groups. But not always are these competing groups of different nationalities; they exist side by side in the same country. Witness the struggle, for instance, of American auto manufacturers: General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, etc., to place their cars in foreign markets. Witness also, domestically, the strenuous competition between detergents, cosmetics, cigarettes, toothbrushes, furniture, clothiers, etc., etc., each of which is boosted as the best and first. This “dog eat dog”, “devil take the hindmost” principle pervades all areas of the commercial world. This anarchy is also disclosed in the effort to successfully dispose of goods in foreign markets. Thus opposing national groups come into conflict in this attempt on the part of each to establish supremacy. Since national governments, as the highest political expression of these conflicting economic interests, must necessarily use their power, diplomatic and otherwise, to protect and promote their national capitalist groups, conflicts arise between nation and nation, or, as we have seen in this century, between groups of nations as against other groups. And when diplomacy fails steps in the direction of war are taken.

President Woodrow Wilson hit the mail on the head when, in a speech delivered in St. Louis, September 5, 1919, he said:

“Why my fellow citizens is there any man here, or any women – let me say, is there any child here – who does not know that the seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry?”

And another President (Eisenhower) forty-three years later, said of S. E. Asia:

“Now let us assume we lost Indo-China – if Indo-China goes, several things happen right away. The Malay Peninsula, the last little bit of land hanging on down there, would be scarcely defensible. The tin and rungs ten we so greatly value from that area would cease coming . . .” (emphasis added).

He continued:

“All of that position down there is very serious to the United States, because finally if we lost all of that, how would the free world hold the rich empire of Indonesia?” (emphasis added).

What is this “rich empire of Indonesia” which Eisenhower openly – as against the hypocritical statements of many politicians claiming the S. E. Asian expedition as one to establish democracy and give liberty to a backward people facing aggression – acknowledges to be the big plum that must be plucked? It is more than a two-thousand mile stretch of archipelago with its western island, Sumatra, constituting the southern shore-line of the Straits of Malacca, to the north of that the area we know as Indo-China. It is an immense territory, probably richer in raw materials – oil of the highest grade, an abundance of minerals, etc., than any comparable territory in the world. This was the chief reason for giving support to the corrupt Saigon administrations of Diem, Ky, and now Thieu.

Eisenhower speaks further. Appealing for appropriations to Saigon he stated:

“So when the U. S. votes $400 million to help that war, we are not voting a give-away program. We are voting the cheapest way we can to prevent the occurrence of something that would be of a most terrible significance for the U. S., our security, our power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of the Indonesian territory and from S. E. Asia” (emphasis added).

Some students of history missed completely what Eisenhower saw so clearly: the central importance of Indonesia to the American military adventure in Vietnam.

It might be said that this receives undue attention in a short work such as this. Perhaps! But it is deliberate. The S. E. Asian conflict in which the world’s leading capitalist power is so deeply involved is current. It is still with us and it may be so for some time. The callous butchery, the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians goes on, as does the steady wiping out of entire communities. This is capitalism in defense of its prescriptive rights and in its search for raw materials and new markets. Many comparable instances, however, involving other nations could be cited throughout the entire span of capitalism’s existence.

“By their fruits ye shall know them.” And on that basis capitalism can be judged. Its vast production of wealth is offset by the consequent production of staggering poverty. Its amazing galloping technology (with its indoor plumbing and sewage disposal) is negated by its pollution of the air, land and waters. (There are many experts in the field who declare unequivocally that, continuing as we are, forty years is all the probable life for humanity.)

Capitalism’s cities, despite their apparent affluence, carry the blight of their stinking ghettos. Its rapidly moving assembly lines in its industrial plants, continually being speeded up, make their attendants mere automatons – robots with stultification of their intellectual and cultural growth as a consequence. Its great industrial output – the economic volcano of the Ruhr Valley for example – is not a steady unbroken process. Periods of so-called prosperity are followed by periods of adversity, of widespread unemployment. Its booms are followed by its busts. And as a consequence, distress and starvation face millions of workers throughout the world.

The picture here drawn is what I term “capitalism’s ‘negative’ side”. And it seems to me this “negative” (destructive) side so overwhelms its “positive” (constructive) side that common sense alone would demand an alternative.

IV. Summation

In these rather sketchy descriptions of the development and nature of capitalism herein presented the effort was made to show the “positive” side of capitalism. That it had solved the age-old problem of scarcity through its rapid development of society’s productive forces and, along with this, produced a tremendous increase in the productivity of labor; that development and increase resulted in an ever-increasing volume of vendible goods, with the creation of a world market; that in this progression it had developed agencies and created machinery whereby the distribution of such goods was enhanced. It has made abundance for all possible. Further it has created potentials whose nature and function foreshadow possibilities for much greater use in a future society wherein these potentials could be developed to their fullest. The growth in logistics indicates there should be no cause to fear the absence in such a society of the necessary distributive agencies. In the modern army logistics have been developed to a high degree, and in this alone appears the potential for a satisfactory distribution of society’s products. It is the highly destructive competitive nature of capitalism which prevents the full growth and use (for society’s good) of these agencies and potentials.

From this “positive” side of capitalism it can be argued that a higher and better organized social system, a system of “production for use”, in which the instruments of production and distribution will be socially controlled and administered is not only desirable but possible.

Thus every person who accepts the concept of a new society being both desirable and possible becomes one who is liable to reject the notion that the present system is either desirable or eternal. In all probability he would reject the idea that capitalism is the completely satisfactory arrangement for modern society. Such person would not be inclined to “buy” it – to use a modern term. And when a sufficient majority no longer “buys” an idea or institution that idea or institution tends to die of inanition. The broad support giving validity to their existence has been withdrawn. They no longer receive general public support. But mere acceptance of desirability or possibility does not carry with it any conception of a dynamic capable of effecting social change. This brings us to a consideration of the last question: Is this social change necessary? But first we should review the “negative” side of capitalism.

Here we find its creation of great wealth and abysmal poverty; its advancing technology accompanied with general pollution; its raping of the earth’s resources and its conspicuous waste of human energy; its destructive wars followed by periods of contrived peace; its efforts to establish markets by which act, if successful, it sows the seeds for the possible growth of a competitor. It cannot erase the pollution it has created even with a vast outlay of capital which would offer no return. This would be contrary anyway to capitalism’s nature. It cannot obliterate the city ghettos it has made; it cannot do away with the periodic unemployment its alleged prosperous periods create; and despite its many achievements it cannot produce permanent peace for it is ever faced with the possibility of war and on so huge a scale that such might result in the destruction of humanity itself. It cannot, in short, act contrary to its own inner nature which requires the constant accumulation of capital and the opening of new markets throughout the world. And it cannot avoid that increasing productivity of labor which means more production for less expenditure of labor.

One should not condemn it on “mere” moral grounds. It must be viewed as a necessary phase of historic development in which the forces of production have been greatly developed, and thus has performed a useful function in advancing society productively. But it can go no further in this direction. Its usefulness to society has been outlived and only its destructive features remain. And from this standpoint alone it must be concluded that a change is necessary.

The reader whom I assume accepts the desirable and possible concepts can now be asked: Do you consider socialism necessary? The question is all important – or rather the answer is – for if one considers socialism desirable and possible but has reservations as to its being necessary then such a person’s position is merely academic and of no social consequence. These can be left in the blissful glow of their rather useless knowledge.

The concerned socialist will centre his attention on those individuals who not only accept socialism as both desirable and possible but further and more important conceive it to be a possible way of preserving and advancing humanity. Time and energy on any others would probably be unfruitful.

Anyone accepting the concept that socialism is desirable and possible and necessary will soon discover that he belongs to a minority, a fact which is obvious from the social consequences were conditions reversed. He will therefore recognize that as an individual he can do but little except endeavor to keep his own mind clear. But in concert with similarly minded individuals he may do a little more by trying to persuade others, through logic and simple explanation, to an acceptance of his position. He will furthermore become conscious that every person so persuaded means one more has come to reject modern capitalism as a satisfactory social order, and, conversely, one more who considers socialism to be vitally necessary. But it is assumed that our contact is aware of this, and also finally of the possibility of developing a majority which no longer “buys” society’s present ideology or institutions. This work of quiet education, of persuasion, may be long and arduous and accompanied with many disappointments and frustrations. But it is a very necessary work. Our contact must further understand that socialism cannot be established without socialists and this requires an ever-increasing dissemination of knowledge, not merely in those areas which we consider to be “The Socialist Philosophy”, but in the Arts and Sciences, as also in the realms of engineering, organizing and planning. Mention has been made of potentials appearing in modern society which cannot come to full growth because of the restrictive character of this competitive system. The possibilities for social good in apprehending and allowing full use of such potentials freed from their present restrictions are many, and a socialist majority need have no fear as to the ability of the engineers and scientists of the future.

The reader who has had contact with socialists and socialist propaganda may have some knowledge of discussions among socialists on what are theoretical or doctrinal points. He may have heard of “The Labor Theory of Value”, the “Theory of Surplus Value”, the “Tendential Decline of the Rate of Profit”, or “Necessary and Unnecessary Labor”, etc., etc. This short pamphlet has deliberately avoided reference to, or discussion of, these, for this writer holds that the acceptance of socialism as being desirable, possible and necessary is of prime importance. Without this acceptance disquisitions on History, Philosophy, Economics, etc., are but a beating of the wind. The interested individual accepting this prime requisite for a socialist can be left to further his knowledge by an inquiry into these. They are necessary for a grounding of the student in the “Socialist Philosophy”. And through a diligent study of these areas of socialist knowledge the inquirer may discover validity in my initial statement of what Socialism means. In Economics he may find it to be “An Economic Analysis of a social system – capitalism;”; his study of history may show it to be “A Scientific View of Historical Development”, (known as The Materialist Conception of History). He may find that his newly discovered knowledge and his changed opinions have set him in a different social setting than most of his fellow workers and that it is indeed “A Philosophy of Life”. And last of all he will know that it is “A Visualization of a Possible Future Society”.

I stated this as being one facet of what we understand as socialism At the beginning of this article, as follows: “(d) A visualization of a possible future social system more humane and harmonious than any that history has yet produced, based on ‘Production for Use and not Profit’”.

A very natural question here arises: “If one can visualize a possible future society then one should be expected to tell something of what that society will be like”. And so one should and so one can, but only within certain limits and with many reservations. Man ever has set himself goals and created ideals. He strives to reach such goals and achieve such ideals. Not always (indeed very rarely) does he succeed completely. He may at times hit the target but seldom the bullseye.

In making projections into the future one should realize that one is dealing with the realm of speculation. Where a definiteness of opinion can be allowed is in the realm of the actual: what is and what has been, for these can be subjected to close inspection, research and analysis. With the future the best we can hope for is to observe trends in the present and the creation and development of potentials, etc. These can be projected as trends into the future scene which may grow to greater potentials and into actualities that may become definite powers, agencies and institutions. We must beware of dogmatism when dealing with the future. Science does not deal in certainties but in high probabilities. It does not depend on clairvoyance or astrological forecasts for its findings. Nor does it admit the prognostications of economic determinists, who tell us that this shall be and that shall not be.

Yet, notwithstanding what has been stated, one must allow that Science, in its ever restless search for greater knowledge, must permit itself flights of imagination, so to speak, for lacking these it would hardly venture on those essential journeys into the future. In much the same way a socialist speaks of “visualizing a future social system”. Science does create for itself what are termed “working hypotheses”; that is to say, it presumes certain things to be so, and for the purpose of establishing a point of departure for definite scientific inquiry it takes its hypothesis as established fact. Of course it recognizes that this at best is speculation but proceeds to then gather data that may prove, or disprove, such hypothesis. In the same way we permit ourselves certain speculations and in so doing “we visualize a future society which will be organized for public good”. But we must never lose sight of the fact that these are speculations, but like the “working hypotheses” of the scientist can be considered valid to the extent that such speculations arise naturally out of our knowledge of the past and the present – and in the absence of any contrary body of facts.

The question is thus put “How will production and distribution be carried on in this visualized possible future society?” And, dealing with what we know now, of what is and what has been, peering as well as we are able into the future, all we can honestly say is: “Production and distribution will be carried on as they are now but with the exploiter of labor, the master class, off the scene”. But surely by then society will have gained greater knowledge of more than these points. If we can imagine socialism being established, say, tomorrow, the same agencies (but without the self-perpetuating “bureaucracies”), the same techniques, etc., will carry out the necessary work. But those potentials of which we have made mention will no doubt by the time socialism has been established have been developed to a higher degree, the technology of society so increased yet controlled, that the work could be carried out with a greater efficiency, with waste eliminated, and greater social benefits accruing.

The potentials we now observe also indicate that since production will be for the social good and not for profit wage-labor will disappear and therefore wages (that badge of modern slavery). Goods being distributed on the same basis and not sold for profit money would become superfluous. “Production for Use” being the objective of social effort, “distribution”, as such, would be carried out unrestricted by any elements of “exchange”. Thus the socially wasteful efforts represented in banking, insurance, brokerage, etc., would perforce be eliminated. Since society would require from its members contributions to the social welfare “according to each individual’s ability”, and return to each “according to his needs”, those economic rivalries – which even such capitalist spokesmen as President Wilson and President Eisenhower claim to be the cause of modern war – would have become things of the past. The disappearance of these hostile elements would allow the development of more humane and harmonious relations among people. Poverty, as we know it will have gone; industry – whose technological development has produced world-wide pollution – could be so organized and operated that further pollution could be avoided and the present pollution eliminated. It is safe then at least to predict that war and its horrors would have ceased, poverty done away with, and a really sane world “created” fit for human habitation.

As to the precise character of the apparatus – the necessary agencies, institutions, etc., that will be developed, – that surely will have to be the work of those then present. That is the future, but what to us is the “future” will be to them the “present”. They will not be living in the realm of speculation, as we are, but dealing from their greater knowledge of what “is”, and what “has been”. It would be sheer presumption for us “of the present” to specify in detail what they “of the future” shall or shall not do and dictate the form their operations should take. I defy the wisest to tell me the precise condition of the world a year hence, or even a month. Did the great conqueror of Europe in the early days of the last century, Napoleon, foresee “Waterloo”? He had the advantage of all the knowledge he had acquired during his military ventures. Or Hitler, stamping his foot in triumph as he dictated his humiliating terms to France, see the disaster of the underground shelter in Berlin that became his tomb? Nor can we afford to be too definite, or dogmatic, about the future. Nor should we. The important thing now is to try to convince others that a new society is desirable, possible, and necessary. When an adequate majority so convinced, and dedicated to the necessary work, is assured then that society which we envisage will become an actuality. The details of that society can be, and should be, left to those then concerned.

Finally, a word of caution. Many dissidents and discontented today, unable to see any redress to their grievances, resort (sometimes persuaded by agents provocateur) to violence: breaking store windows, burning banks and institutional buildings (foolishly so doing as they argue that these are symbolic of the system, or, as they phrase it, of the “establishment”). Noisy demonstrations are staged and politicians, many of whom only recently elected by sizeable majorities, are made the target of their fury. Wicked men are responsible, not the capitalist system. Until – as a comrade of mine once put it – they “stop shouting long enough to do a little thinking” they will only be ploughing the sand.

The scientific socialist is in complete opposition to violence in any form. From the standpoint of a minority in society it is self-defeating and can only produce counter violence, a situation often desired. And sometimes contrived by – the “constituted” authorities. The only time we could assure ourselves of its effectiveness would be when it is unnecessary. And that would be when a sufficient and intelligent majority insisted on the establishment of a Socialist Order.

Los Angeles, Calif., September, 1972.