1970s >> 1970 >> no-785-january-1970

Can you think?

nside capitalism lie the seeds of its own destruction — the working class, developing the consciousness which one day it will use to win political control, and large-scale highly productive industry and intensive agriculture, capable of providing for the needs of all mankind without distinction of race or sex. Because world capitalism is not ruled by a homogeneous, unified class but by many sectional interests forced into competition, these individual capitalists and individual states are compelled inescapably and sometimes reluctantly to develop the old, and introduce new, productive techniques (but also to inhibit their use by trying to ensure that only that which can be sold at a profit is produced) and to educate the working class to a correspondingly high technological level (but also to try to prevent it coming into contact with truly scientific ideas about the society which it now organises and maintains without the help of these parasitical owners).

Ideas such as: man has no instincts, either noble or savage. All his social behaviour is learned and socially conditioned.

The working class own almost nothing except their physical and mental energies. Certainly they have no country and so patriots (except the dead ones) suffer from delusions.

No god has ever been proved to have intervened in the affairs of man — but make-believe gods have been invoked to keep the serf at his plough, the king on his throne, the Ulster Unionist Party in office and the pope in his luxury palace.

Members of all ethnic groups — be they black, red, yellow, white or brown — have potentially the same intelligence. That these potentials are not realised is due to historical circumstances and environmental factors and not to biological differences.

Neither Russia nor any of its satellites, allies or former ‘fraternal states’ is controlled by the working class. Capitalists rule there and exploit wage slaves. Wherever wages are paid in exchange for labour-power a profit is being made, or the deal would not take place.

So-called overpopulation is only a problem because the prevailing social system cannot afford to feed the hungry.

For example, the Indian sub-continent, highly fertile in most parts as it is, with contemporary methods of agriculture could provide food enough to feed the whole world, not just Indians.

The race for the moon, like all other military-political-strategic ventures would be a long way from the top of the list of priorities in a sane and rational socialist world without money, prices and profits, where all goods would be free and all work would be entirely voluntary, where human beings would not be capital investments being kept as oiled and efficient soft machines by their weekly wage packets, but would be priceless co-participants in the conquest of human needs through the democratically controlled harnessing of science, industry and agriculture, the motive being freedom from want, freedom and time to pursue pleasing and satisfying activities instead of the monotonous and physically destroying enslavement to the hard machine in the service of their master—profit.

A hallucination? A dream world divorced from the objective realities? Do you still succumb to the human nature/original sin myth that is central to the apologetic ideology of capitalism, which justifies coercion, oppression, repression, moral codes (‘Thou Shalt Not’), exploitation, war, periodic crises, poverty and the existence of a class which produces nothing but consumes the best? Or do you still subscribe to the even hoarier view that resources are scarce and always will be scarce because they always have been scarce? How long is it since you took your head out of the sand and had a breather? The atmosphere will very soon be thick with socialist ideas. Not solely because of the efforts of our Party’s small membership but because others besides us are rational people faced with the general problems of the working class. If we have come to these conclusions from examining the world in which we live and the agents of change contained within it, then so can they. So can you.

Ideas spring out of the economic structure of society. They spell out Socialism a mile high. Freedom and plenty will not be the result of heaven-sent providence but of human effort, as everything in history has been.
Michael Bradley