A Letter to the Liberals
The following letter was sent to Focus, a local Liberal Party news sheet.
It is often suggested that a change of leader and/or party might make a real difference to our everyday life. Those of us who look intelligently at the kind of social system in which we live know that it would not.
We live under capitalism which operates according to its own economic laws, irrespective of changes of government, whether it be Conservative, Labour or Liberal.
There is a basic contradiction in capitalism between social production and class ownership. For while the actual work of producing wealth is done by the cooperative labour of millions — the working class — the means of production (lands, mines, factories etc.) and the products belong to a relatively small section of society only — the capitalists. It is this contradiction that causes modern social problems since it means that production cannot be carried on to meet human needs. The economic law of capitalism is that all enterprises, whether private or nationalized, are operated for profit. If their products cannot be sold at a profit, production is curtailed or brought to a stop. All governments administering capitalism, no matter what principles the individuals profess, have as a clause of their economic policy one which enables profits to flow.
Let us look at one or two problems that this situation creates. Unemployment is an inevitable part of capitalism. Periodically hundreds of thousands, even millions, are thrown out of work for the simple reason that it has become unprofitable to employ them. The pool of unemployed can be called on in times of boom and is as such needed by capitalism. It can also at times serve the purpose of keeping down wage claims.
People often talk of there being a housing problem, but there is no such problem. There is no reason why enough good houses for all should not be built. The materials exist, so do the building workers and architects. What then stands in the way? The simple fact is that there is not a market for good houses since most people cannot afford to pay for them, and never will be because of the restrictions of the wages system.
Is there a way out? Of course there is, but it demands self-reliance and bold thinking on the part of everyone. The economic system under which we live is man-made and can be altered by man’s action. You can go on frittering away the years in the sterile dispute whether the Conservatives, the Labour Party or the Liberals make a better job of running capitalism, or you can consider the alternative of ending capitalism and putting Socialism in its place. Rely on your own experience and recognise that capitalism has never been and cannot be made to work in the interest of the working class.
The alternative is a social system in which production of goods and the operation of services are carried on solely and directly for use, without buying and selling, profit-making or the wages system. This is what Socialism really means and its basis would be the ownership of the means of production and distribution by the whole community.
Its achievement demands understanding, organisation and democratic action by a Socialist working class. It calls for international co-operation, not of the world’s bankers, but of the world’s workers.
A revolutionary idea and hard to grasp? You have to choose. Either you take action to get Socialism or you have to put up with the consequences of capitalism. There is no third choice!