1980s >> 1984 >> no-959-july-1984

Peace and plenty

Wherever you look in the world today you will see suffering. Last year 15 million children died for lack of money to buy food. Poverty and insecurity face the great majority of the human race. Yet about one in twenty people escape this misery. They belong to an exclusive international club which is more accurately defined as the capitalist class. It is not an easy club to join: and its members are able to enjoy their wealth and power and privilege by persuading the rest of us to remain their obedient servants.

These people are the owners of all the companies, land, oil wells, finance houses. They make their profit by employing us as workers to create wealth for them in the processes of production and distribution. They pay us wages or salaries which can never provide more than second-rate, insecure living standards, and leave nothing to save or accumulate while they continually re-invest the wealth we create to accumulate more and more for themselves. This class division between employers and workers is the cause of an unceasing struggle over wages, hours, working conditions, living conditions. This is the class struggle.

But there is also a perpetual struggle among the capitalists themselves. The competition between companies for profits, leading to the conflict between nation states for colonies, markets, raw materials — like oil. copper and uranium and control of trade routes — like Suez or the Gulf of Oman — or territory — like Palestine or Afghanistan — military bases — like Cyprus or Gibraltar — all these keep war going all the time at one or more places in the world. They cause the deaths of millions of us in struggles where we have nothing to gain. As workers we have no stake in the power or property of any nation.

For this reason, nationalisation is of no value to workers. If any state nationalises an industry, this only means that it is now owned by the whole capitalist class of that nation — but not the workers. The state is now the employer and exploiter — with all the forces of law and order at its disposal. Nationalisation on a large scale has often been called socialism. It has nothing to do with socialism — it is state capitalism, such as exists in Russia.

Socialism means producing wealth solely and directly for free use by all. All the resources and machinery for producing wealth will be taken into the hands of the community as a whole, and work will be organised through voluntary co-operation, not the economic force of the wages system. Society’s principle will be: “from each according to ability, to each according to need”.

In a socialist world there will be no war because its cause will have been removed. The ownership of society’s means of living by a privileged minority will be ended. The governments and states by which they legalise and enforce their ownership and control will be abolished. The armed nations into which they formed themselves and us, with their frontiers, passports, tariffs and fortifications, will cease to have any use: and people will cease to think of themselves as Britons, Germans, Italians, Israelis. Palestinians. Iranians. Russians or Americans. They will live and work and travel where they wish.

Marx said, “the workers have no country”. “Workers of the world, unite”. And we ask you to unite with us in the socialist movement for the emancipation of humanity from the chains of capitalism. The Socialist Party of Great Britain alone stands opposed to the Labour Party and all other parties which seek to reform the profit system — and so protect and keep it. We work to spread information among workers about the way capitalism operates, and the way in which the majority can remove it by establishing a socialist world of production for need.