Five Minutes on Socialism – No.2

In our last talk in the April issue we discussed, briefly, the economic and philosophic basis of Socialism and also the erroneous statement that Socialism exists in Russia, China and other countries applying totalitarian techniques.

China’s industrial background is one of foreign exploitation by British, French, Japanese and others. This resulted in two-fold opposition—from the workers and from the educate propertied class who were envious of the foreign exploiters.

The Communists fermenting this situation, expounded the role of patriotism and National Independence as being a working class issue. The result of this teaching (which still continues) can be seen in the recent struggle for internal power among the leaders resulting in the purging of some few weeks ago. If Russia’s experience is any example, the spate should increase. The final results may well provide a future struggle between China and Russia. In the long run the situation will become clearer as the Chinese workers realise that they suffer as much exploitation from their own ruling class as they did from the “foreign devil.” Socialists here again differ from all other parties when they say that the quarrels between various Capitalists groups are of no concern of the workers of their respective countries.

It is held by some that Socialism means “share with your neighbour” and knowing his neighbour, very often the worker is not so keen. “Anyway,” says the worker, “religion teaches this I want to apply it.” Socialism does not say this. Socialism means the Social ownership of the means of wealth. It is claimed that we owe the production of wealth to outstanding men of ability and that the creation of a “common denominator” of living will result in a lack of initiative. Such people should enquire into how Capitalism has rewarded its inventors, etc. Hargreaves, inventor of the “Spinning Jenny,” suffered from dishonest manufacturers and died in want. John Kay, inventor of the “Flying Shuttle,” starved to death. And one could go in this fashion.

Socialism is now possible but under Capitalism ownership remains the prerogative of a minority class. When production and inventiveness are no longer shackled to the profit system but serve the advancement of all, then, and only then, will initiative be given real encouragement.

W. Brain

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