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

The case for Socialism

We suffer unemployment because we live today under a form of social organisation known as capitalism.

Capitalism divides the human family into two parts: one, a small minority class, claims title to all the resources of the earth — this group is known as the capitalists; the other class in our society, the overwhelming majority of the population, are known, appropriately enough, as the working class.

Since the capitalists claim ownership of all the resources of the earth, either as individuals, private or public companies or through the agency of the State, the workers are obliged in order to live to sell to the owning class the only thing they (the workers) possess, their mental or physical skills. These they sell in return for wages or salaries, which enables them to buy back from the capitalists a portion of the things they have produced.

The sole reason for producing goods under capitalism is to ensure directly or indirectly, for the capitalists, profit. Human needs are of secondary importance. This is true of all the capitalist countries of the world today. It is true of the “western” nations under “private” capitalism and it is equally true of the eastern ‘communist’ countries under state-capitalism.

When, because of the mad economics of capitalism, it becomes impossible for the capitalists to find markets for all their produce then production is slowed down or stopped and workers are left to the tender mercies of the “dole”.

We affirm, that only in Socialism is a lasting solution to the problem of unemployment to be found.
Socialism is a form of social organisation wherein the convention governing the production and distribution of all wealth will be the satisfaction of human needs. All the resources of the earth will be the property of mankind as a whole and people will apply their skills and energies to these resources in order to produce the things society needs. Under such circumstances an abundance of all the things we need could be produced and it will not be necessary to find markets in which goods can be sold — for as all (save the young, the aged and infirm) will have engaged in the job of production, so all will take from the abundant wealth available. Money, a measurement of wealth and means of exchange under capitalism, will, in Socialism, be rendered superfluous, hence the humiliation of the wages system, with all the other ugly features of class slavery, will disappear, leaving the simple principle of socialist organisation: from each in accordance with his ability; to each in accordance with his needs.

You will readily see that in such a society there could be no problem of unemployment. The human family would produce more than sufficient to satisfy the needs of its every member and the fact that too much of a particular thing was being produced would simply mean that we would re-direct our activities or enjoy more leisure.

Is such a society economically possible? Of course it is! When you consider the organised waste that the ending of the money-system alone will bring you begin to appreciate the great possibilities that lie before us. Think of all the useless functionaries connected with capitalism and essential to that system: we have the capitalists themselves, and their lackeys and flunkeys . . . armies of salesmen, touts, tickmen and agents of all descriptions . . . brokers, bankers, clerks and advertising “specialists” . . . policemen, jailers and prisoners — to give point to the commandments of the system . . . soldiers, sailors and airmen, to fight capitalism’s wars — and, of course, the vast array of civilian brains and brawn necessary to the appetite of the war-machines, not to speak of the loss of human life and energy associated with “civilisation’s” wars. Very little mental exercise will show that we could fill many pages with lists of functionaries necessary only to the maintenence of capitalism.

With Socialism all these useless functions will come to an end and the people concerned can begin to make a real contribution to the happiness of themselves and all mankind.

There can be no doubt that freed from the restrictions and organised waste of capitalism the peoples of the world have it within their power to produce their needs, thus opening the door to a full and happy life for all humanity. The question remains, how can the change to Socialism be accomplished?

Capitalism could not continue to exist without the willingness and assistance of the majority of the people whose role in that society is that of wage-slaves. Even more so will Socialism require the participation of its people but, by the very nature of Socialism such support and participation must be conscious. Only the unqualified and conscious support and participation of the majority of the world’s workers can bring about Socialism. The socialist objective will mean freedom as Man has never before known it; it represents the beginning of the highest form of social organisation that mankind can achieve, hence it demands of those who institute it a knowledge of what it is and how it will function.

Accordingly, the task of the World Socialist Party and its Companion Parties overseas, is to use all the means at our disposal to bring about mass Socialist understanding; to build up an organised majority of conscious Socialists to the end of gaining control of the state power and converting this from the agent of capitalist exploitation into an instrument of Socialist emancipation.

Simply stated. Socialism will come about when the majority of the workers of the world realise that they are the people who equip and run capitalism in the interests of their masters and undertake the task of changing the economic foundations of society in such a way as will facilitate the functioning of society in the interests of all, irrespective of race or sex.

Socialism is only as far off as the willingness of the workers to accept capitalism and attempt its reform leaves it. We cannot over-emphasise the fact that there is no bar to Socialism now but the lack of socialist knowledge prevailing among the working class.

It is not usual for a political party to ask you to think and to ply you with something really worth thinking about. It is the practice to assure you that the party has your problem in hand and that “Mr. So-and-So”, a “born leader of men” will collect your vote and put matters right. We hasten to assure you that we have no “leaders of men” in our ranks; we are an organisation of working men and women tormented by the problems and humiliations of capitalism and eager to enlist your support to banish that system from the earth.

— From a pamphlet on Unemployment issued by the World Socialist Party of Ireland.