Socialism and individualism
The polemicists of reaction set themselves up as defenders of Individualism.
According to them Socialism will be the sacrificing of the individual to Society.
Is there any foundation for such a statement?
Socialism is not an obstacle to the physical, intellectual, or moral development of man.
On the contrary, it is to-day the only social order capable of assuring the preservation of the individual.
Not only is capitalism the opponent of Individualism but it is its most redoubtable enemy.
Bourgeois society has sacrificed the living to the dead, the productive majority to the parasitical minority. It has made man a slave to the Rich. It has turned against the individual all the forces that have been forged to conquer Nature.
The individual has nothing to hope for, but everything to fear from a continuation of Capitalism.
The exploitation of man by man, of which the defenders of capitalism demand the continuance, is a powerful factor of organic degeneracy.
Denial is impossible.
Under capitalism man loses his means of action and development.
The iniquitous social system deprives him of the most primitive rights, refuses him the means of wealth production, the products of his hand and brain, condemns him to live in slavery, poverty, and ignorance.
Under this régime man weakens, deforms, and wastes.
The degeneration of the people, submissive to capitalism, is not controvertible.
It is proved – we have established it elsewhere – by a decrease in height, weight, muscular force, fertility, sight, hearing, smell, memory, etc., and by an increase of professional maladies, bodily deformities, accidents, lunatics, etc.
The cause of those evils is known, it is the exploitation of man by man.
The interest of the individual demands the abolition of social inequalities, the microbe of all degeneracy.
The integral development of man, physically, intellectually, and morally, the free growth of the individual.
Scientific Individualism – Individualism in the highest essence – is SOCIALISM.
Let us prepare its triumph.
(from the French of Désiré Descamps)
(Socialist Standard, December 1904)