1920s >> 1920 >> no-194-october-1920
“A World to Win.”
One of the finest things ever penned is the clarion call of Karl Marx: “Wage Workers of the World Unite ! You have nothing to lose but your chains, you. have a World to win.”
Thoughtless scoffers may deride the profound truths embodied in these vital words, but they are built out of facts, and are impregnable against the assaults of anti-Socialists.
What is the extraordinary significance of this phrase to the working class? Consider the world as it is to-day—the wage-workers and their general conditions first of all.
The working class are divorced from the essentials for producing wealth: they own neither the land nor the means and instruments by which the natural resources are, by their class alone, utilised and transformed into wealth. The expenditure of their labour-power creates all economic wealth, but that wealth is appropriated by their exploiters, the capitalist class, who own the means of life. Out of the total value alone produced by our class, we receive but a small portion—wages—to keep us in bare subsistence to enable us to “carry on” from day to day.
The sole function of the worker is to create wealth in order to produce a surplus-value, i.e., a value which is unpaid for, for their masters. Slaves thus, to the class that own all the means of producing wealth and appropriate all the products, they exist to serve the interests of the exploiting class only. Commodities being produced only for profit, a market must be found for them. They are sold in the long run at their value, and realise profit for their sellers. But embodied in a commodity is far more value created by the labour expended in its production than has been received by the workers for producing it. Practically every single commodity in the world, in fact, contains unpaid labour. And they are all produced by wage-slaves. Through the fleecing wages-system the greater part of the value of all commodities represents the robbery of their producers through capitalist exploitation.
Their labour-power is bought solely for that purpose !
They have to toil far longer than is necessary to create the wealth they require to maintain themselves; and the surplus labour-time produces a surplus-value for the exploiting class.
At present the latter are the masters of the world: they own and control humanity’s means of life. Their class interests are upheld in every sphere—industrial, social, political. Press, pulpit, and platform reflect their will and make secure their dominance.
And above all they have and wield the political power. Through that alone the Army, Navy, and Police obey their will, and laws are shaped to protect their interests.
Is, then, the position of the workers hopeless? Emphatically no ! They will inevitably be freed from the chains binding them—but the workers alone can and will make them snap. The development of the capitalist system engenders an ever-increasing strife through the innate opposition of interests, proletarian and capitalistic. The workers are driven by the economic forces ringing them round to increased class-consciousness.
What irony that the world is owned and controlled by the capitalists, and a shackled proletariat run the whole concern for them !
Only the workers can free it from the bonds of a pernicious system. “Wage-workers of the World, Unite! ” says Marx. The solidarity of the workers, keenly conscious of their class interests and aims, and educated to see their goal and the way to it, will, with organisation, prepare them for capitalism’s overthrow.
Crisis after crisis will occur, ever intensifying, as the present system increases in complexity and becomes unworkable. The more the workers feel the economic pinch the more will .they be ready for our propaganda. And Socialist propaganda will have its effect The proletarians’ chains will chafe unbearably.
Then will come the Social Revolution !— brought about as the result of capitalism’s inability to solve the problems it has created.
Having captured political power, the workers will control it and its adjuncts, overthrowing the present regime and establishing in its place the Socialist Commonwealth.
They have nought but their chains to lose ! They have EVERYTHING to gain by a Socialist system of society. No other class but their own will emancipate them from wage-slavery. No other means but the seizing of the political power, the capture of the machinery of government through the ballot, will enable them to effect their purpose—it’s the key!
The economic resources of the world, then, will be organised for the use and benefit of the Community as a whole, by the only class that counts—the workers.
Production for profit will be superseded by production for social use. Exploitation will be extinguished, class ownership of the means of life having been displaced by social ownership in a society in which the class barriers are swept away.
The wondrous means of large-scale production—prolific beyond even our wildest dreams as soon as the stifling hand of capitalism is removed from it—will enable society to create a superabundance of wealth with a minimum of effort—sufficient for all without toil, so that none need look askance at what another eats or enjoys, no hand may be niggard toward its neighbour, and no back warped and bent with drudgery.
As all who are able will have to contribute their share to the work of producing the social wealth, and there will be no parasitic idlers of any kind to maintain, it follows that the daily social effort will furnish abundance for ALL with an unimagined facility.
Thus man’s life will not be as now, one long drudgery of wealth-production to enrich the coffers of an idle and thievish class—but it will be life indeed !—full and free as only the conquest of the forces of nature, and equality in the enjoyment of the economic fruits and advantages of that conquest, can afford.
Also all the evils inseparable from capitalism—its inevitable products, in fact, will disappear. Unemployment, overwork, want, prostitution, and all the preventable evils will cease to exist along with capitalism itself.
Mankind, liberated from wage-slavery, will at last be free ! Society then will be one in which oppression, class-rule, and all the anomalies of the present order will have disappeared. The impetus this will give (through the reorganisation by a revolutionary class on a sane economic basis and the consequent liberation of that class) to the devotion of society to things of real worth will be tremendous. The fullest opportunity to gain and keep health of mind and body ; the development of each individual citizen’s finest abilities and innate qualities will be accorded every facility; and culture and all that makes life worth living from youth to old age will, under Socialism alone be the birthright of all.
Isn’t such a world worth winning ? Compared with the sordid system of the present day the gain for the workers is indeed immeasurable.
The toilers have even now the means at hand for realising Socialism, for they have the preponderance of the votes. All that is lacking is an understanding of their class slavery and how Socialism will free them from it.
Think it over, fellow workers. Consider its meaning to you and your class. Socialism is inevitable but the sooner you are ready for it the sooner you will be able to establish it.
It rests with you, the workers of the world, to liberate yourselves from your slavery, and rid the world of a blighting system of capitalist exploitation.
Workers of all lands, unite ! you have only your chains to lose: you have a world to win!