Why Socialism must come
S. Warr, junr. (Southend), asks what reply we would give to the following observation made by a Conservative opponent : “You cannot tell us how Socialism can work even if we desired it, and therefore how can you deal with the social question, etc?”
Answer: This opponent quite fails to understand the case for Socialism because he has placed the problem on its head.
Socialism is not a scheme evolved out of nothing and depending for its acceptance and introduction on our ability to convince the workers that it is “desirable,” and that its working will be perfect. On the contrary, it is offered as a practical means of solving certain pressing working-class problems. Capitalism has presented us with these problems and is making it continually more urgent that the workers should tackle them or find them growing worse ; but capitalism has also produced the material and mental means necessary for solving the problems it created.
For instance, in the early clays of the present system, the demands of a world market encouraged the development of the means of producing wealth by making possible our modern methods of mass factory production. Capitalism is now unable to dispose of the enormous amount of wealth it can create, markets are overcrowded and permanent unemployment for millions is the result. Unemployment is the problem which capitalism presents and which the capitalist class cannot solve. The Socialist solution is simple, but it could not be put into effect by the present ruling class even if in some way they could become convinced that it was “desirable.” The solution is this : Since production for the world market has become a fetter on the production forces, let us abolish production for the market, that is production for sale, and organise production on the basis of use.
Again let us repeat that this is not the abstract idea of Marx or some other genius; it exists and only exists, because capitalism by organising production on something approaching a world basis has laid the foundation for Socialist society.
Finally, it is unpleasant but demonstrably true that the workers will try every scheme—genuine or sheer bluff—that our masters offer, before they will examine the case for Socialism. In fact, if the Conservatives could produce even a semblance of a solution for unemployment and other working-class problems, Socialism might be delayed indefinitely. They do not, because they cannot, and when the workers find this out they will solve their problems in the only way—through Socialism.
(Socialist Standard, January 1926)