1990s >> 1992 >> no-1051-march-1992

Socialism Made Simple

Existing society is based on class ownership. This means that the main resources of society are owned by the few and not the many.

In Britain today the poorest half of the population own only 6 percent of marketable wealth. The richest 10 percent own over half of all the wealth.

Society is not like this because it has to be. The rich are not at the top because they do more or know more than the rest of us. On the contrary, we, the vast majority, produce all wealth.

The capitalists do not need to work. If they want to they can go off to the Bahamas or the South of France for months on end, sure in the knowledge that their millions of pounds per week, month or year will still be pouring into their accounts. The capitalist minority live by accumulating rent, interest and profit. Who gives it to them? The Working Class.

We. the workers, run society from top to bottom. We are paid wages or salaries. Whatever we are paid is less than the value of what we produce. The difference between what we are paid and what we produce is taken by the capitalist as profit. The basis of all profit is the legalised robbery of the workers.

We do not choose to be legally robbed or exploited. We do not choose to be wage (or salary) slaves rather than capitalists. We are workers because we do not own enough resources to live without selling our labour power (our mental and physical energies) for a price.

So. we work in order to make enough money in order to pay to live so that we can go back to work and make profits so that the capitalist does not have to work. The capitalists live off our backs.

We do not need to carry the capitalists on our backs. We do so because we have agreed to live this way. We have agreed because we are conditioned to accept capitalism. We are conditioned because the capitalists pay to condition us. If we are properly conditioned we vote for leaders who will continue to run capitalism. Workers vote for their own exploitation.

The workers are many, the capitalists few. We have only to refuse to support capitalism and the whole system could not go on. This is a matter of political consciousness. At present most workers are politically ignorant. This is not intended as an insult. What we are saying is that our fellow workers have yet to realise their strength. When they do they will understand that it is not necessary to live second-class lives, enjoying less than the best that can be produced. The best of everything is available for everyone, not just the rich few. What we have to do is take it.

The movement for socialism is a movement to end minority power and establish the power of the whole community. Socialism will mean that everything in and on the planet will belong to everyone who lives on the planet. In short, common ownership and democratic control.

Another way of putting it is to say that in a socialist society nobody will monopolise the means of producing and distributing wealth. Social resources will be owned by everyone — and by no-one.

Once we workers have taken the world’s wealth into our own hands by means of democratic political action there will be no need for money, wages or other features of property society. Instead of wage slavery, people will work according to their abilities and take according to their needs. They will not work under compulsion, but because they will understand that to live we must co-operate to produce what we need. Access to available goods and services will not be rationed by money. Buying and selling will be abolished. Instead, everyone will have free access to what they need. Nobody will tell them what they need. The state will be abolished. Socialism is based upon the understanding that humans are intelligent, conscious, co-operative beings who do not need leaders or governments to force them to act decently.

On the contrary, it is the present capitalist system, which puts profits before needs and money before life, which forces humans to become uncooperative and indecent. Capitalism is anti-social.

The aim of socialism is not just to ensure that everyone has access to material wealth and that poverty is ended. Socialists want people to be free to co-operate. There will be no more class and no economic basis for prejudice based upon race or sex. Socialism will be a society of free, human equality.

The well-conditioned wage slave will regard the prospect of world socialism as a Utopian ideal. The prospect of homes heated and lit by electricity was dismissed as a dream by inhabitants of a pre-scientific age.

The working class needs to do some serious thinking about society—how it is and how it could be. Millions of politically conscious workers will be a threat to capitalism. We will educate and organise with more and more workers. Once we are a majority there will be no stopping us. The result will be social revolution.

The Socialist Party works to bring about the political consciousness and organisation that will make a revolution possible. In other countries companion parties work to the same end. Right now we are in a small minority. Our efforts are limited. But our analysis cannot be faulted and our principles are never compromised. We will continue to advocate the sanity of the case for a revolutionary transformation of society. We have nothing to lose but our chains: we have a world to win.

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