2000s >> 2001 >> no-1161-april-2001

Editorial:The politicians’ festival

So a general election has come round again.

In theory, this should be an important event since it is a time when we have a chance to decide who is to control political power: the rich and the super-rich and their political servants or the rest of us who produce all the wealth of society but who are not in charge of things?

In practice, elections have become a Festival of Politicians.

Rival groups of professional politicians spend millions of pounds competing for votes. If only we vote for them—they tell us–they’ll do wonderful things for us. Improve education. End the health care crisis. Solve the transport problem. Stop pollution. Avoid wars. We’ve heard it all before, but nothing much changes. The same old problems continue. The reason they continue is because the capitalist economic system of production for profit, which causes them, continues. As long as this happens it does matter which party is in office.

The fact is that, at election times, we are not offered a real choice. The candidates all stand for the same thing—keeping the capitalist economic system in being in one form or another. The three main parties only offer themselves as better managers of this system than the others. In Scotland, Wales and Ireland the Nationalist parties there merely propose to change the seat of government, from London to Edinburgh, Cardiff or Dublin, while leaving production for profit intact. As if that would make any difference.

The profit system—which all of them want to keep and try to manage—can never be made to work in the interest of the majority class of us who run production from top to bottom. It can only work as a profit system in the interests of those who live off profits.

If we are going to improve things—and the resources have long existed on a world scale to provide a decent life for all—we are going to have to get rid of the profit system and replace it by a new and different system based on the world’s natural and industrial resources becoming the common heritage of all humanity.

On this basis, production can be carried out, not to make a profit, but to satisfy people’s needs. The ravages of the profit system—the world-wide pollution, the waste of resources on armaments and on buying and selling, the artificial scarcity resulting from only producing to meet paying demand—can be ended and a world of peace and plenty brought into being.

But this is not something we can leave to professional politicians. It is something that we can only do ourselves. That means organising ourselves democratically without leaders and, at a later stage, mandating socialist delegates to stand against the professional politicians. In the meantime (except in the one constituency where there will be a candidate standing for a world of free access, in Jarrow) those of us who want a socialist world can indicate this and our rejection of the profit system and its politicians by writing the words “WORLD SOCIALISM” across our ballot paper.

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