What is the real possibility of a complete change from the world-wide social system we live under today, to one that is its complete opposite? From a market economy to free availability of wealth for all; from a class-bound system to one where there are no classes; from minority ownership of the means of production to common ownership. From wages and profits to a moneyless system; guns and bullets to the non-existence of armies, navies and police forces. From profound change in the habits, customs, ideas that have ruled people for a lifetime and which they have come to think of as normal, to habits and customs which will bind community interests together in a socially-cohesive and not divisive way.
Confronted with the socialist picture many reply by saying something like “well yes; 1 agree it would be marvellous, but it can never come about.” Well, socialists and sympathisers of the Socialist Party think it can be done, and not only that it can be done but is the only practical, sensible and workable solution to the otherwise insoluble problems of today. And it is not us who will do it, it is you. Our job is to point the way.
Waste of capitalism
Why do we think the way we do? The practical means of running socialism, that is production and distribution are not really problems. The working class already run the world. They produce everything, distribute everything and organise everything. The capitalist is quite superfluous to the creation of wealth, their only function is to make decisions, usually disastrous ones from the point of view of humanity, and usually acting as a brake upon the production of wealth. The capitalist system in addition requires around two-thirds of the potential workforce to be engaged in unnecessary labour. Unnecessary to a rationally-organised society that is. Activities such as the printing, counting and handling of money and all its accretions which make life complicated such as the acres of plastic in the form of cheque cards, credit cards, not to mention the coin machines and all the other garbage.
Then there is the capitalist destruction juggernaut, the army, navy, airforce and all the workers making bombs, guns, tanks, planes, worships, rockets, nuclear warheads, flame throwers, poison gas. The equipment required to feed, clothe and house an army, the barracks, airfields and harbours just for war. Let’s not forget the workers required to make the bits of tin for generals to hang on their chests and we are still only halfway through the colossal waste of manpower and resources that capitalism imposes on us. There is the energy involved in making good the actual destruction that these weapons inflict, Three weeks of war in Iraq and the equivalent number of years to plug the oil wells that went up in flames. The ending of capitalism will release enormous amounts of energy and potential labour that can be put to useful purposes.
Ending class rule
What about running things? Government, organisation, accounting. None of these is a problem. Socialism will not have government, nor will there be any Socialist Party, which will go out of existence as soon as capitalism has been abolished. Government is concerned with people, with compelling the ruled to follow the dictates of the rulers. Where control cannot be achieved by persuasion, using the propaganda machinery of the media, the coercive powers of the state are there to enforce ruling-class needs by violence. Anyone who doubts that need think no further back than the last major miners’ strike. None of this will be necessary in Socialism since there will be no minority ownership class and therefore no need for class control.
It will of course be necessary’ to have an administration. We arc not so daft as to think that things will run themselves: but this will be an administration of things, not government over people. Ownership of the means of production will be held in common, it follows that necessary tasks will be commonly run.
What about those countries which still lag behind the the development of the so-called “advanced” nations. Again this is no real problem. Socialism as a worldwide system will quite naturally help any areas of the world that need help in whatever way they require. Even capitalism does this in times of obvious need such as floods, earthquakes and famine. There is never any lack of volunteers to render aid, only hindrance by the restrictions imposed by governments.
Need for change
So what’s left? Where is the difficulty? Very few say “I could not live in socialism”. What they do say is “How are you going to persuade the others?” Once socialism has been explained to a non- Socialist the overwhelming majority are all for it, but hold back because they think the task of convincing the necessary majority is too difficult, or will take too long, or because they think that something or other must be done in the meantime.
We must remember that socialism is not an exclusive idea of the Socialist Party, it has formed part of the consciousness of suffering humanity for hundreds of years. Now that the practical difficulties to achieving it are no longer in existence it is only inertia of the majority that is holding socialism back. And it is only because so many see the task as being too difficult that socialist ideas are not spreading swiftly. However, when society is ready for change things can happen very quickly, as the recent events in Russia and eastern Europe have shown so dramatically. Socialism is not something that has to be imposed, foreign to people’s nature or their thinking. It is capitalism, which runs counter to the way most people would like to live, which has to be imposed. That is the real reason for schools, religion and all the other methods of propaganda which the ruling class employ to gain support for the continuance of their dominance.
The only obstacle to socialism lies in the mind. Socialism can only come about by the conscious decision of the majority who accept and want it. The need is now urgent. We cannot afford to wait while capitalism ruins the environment and plunges more and more workers into a state of misery and deprivation. Only the institution of a democratic, classless, moneyless system can solve the problems capitalism inevitably creates. Every individual who joins the struggle makes the effort easier and the outcome more certain.