Letter: The Obstacle of Ignorance
A friend of the Party in Paris has sent us the following letter outlining part of the. case for Socialism:
What stands in the way of the advent of Socialism?
Certainly, it is the power of the State. So let us not be afraid to bring out in significance of the State. Let us advise the reading of The Origin of Private Property, the Family, and the State. Let us not hesitate to distribute this pamphlet among the workers.
It is also the ignorance of the majority of the exploited as to what Socialism, and even what capitalism, is. We must understand the cause of this ignorance and remedy it.
We must repeat that the economic system of production for profit is capitalism; that this system is inconceivable without the exploitation of man by man, without competition between individuals and between groups, without the robbery of; human labour by rich parasites. We must also admit that capitalism will continue to reign over the planet until it has been replaced by a more evolved, more human, economic system. The future system which Marx and Engels interchangeably called ‘socialism’ and ’communism’ cannot be imposed by a group with any chance of success. It is essential that first it is wanted by the workers of the entire world and thus universally understood. This system in which there will be production to satisfy human needs is called Socialism.
There is no need for a conscious minority to lead the working class. That’s what we have already in Paris, in London, in Prague; in Moscow, in Peking, in Havana. That’s what we have already in Algiers, in Tel Aviv, in Washington, in Dakar, and at the Cape. The present-day ruling minority itself joined with the people at a given moment. Then it took advantage of being an ‘élite’ to impose its authority on the people. Revolution by an élite inevitably leads to government by an élite.
The change from private capitalism to state capitalism does not free the working class. Those who produce continue not to own the means of production. Property changes hands and the exploited remain exploited. To put an end to private property is to end the very existence of the State, whether it is capitalist or alleged communist. It is to organise society to provide for the satisfaction of the needs of mankind. It is to establish Socialism.