Editorial: What about the real issue?
By now you will perhaps have heard a fair bit from the mainstream candidates in this month’s General Election. They will have waffled on about services, jobs, crime, and how things will improve, if only they are put in power.
They all talk about money – spend more, spend less, tax it, borrow it, lend it, find it – but they never talk about where it comes from. They never talk about the basic rules by which it is used. They just assume that money is being made, and that they can adapt their policies to the rules of the money-making game. That is, they assume capitalism.
They defend a society in which the majority of the population must sell their capacity to work to the tiny handful who own most of the wealth. They defend a society in which things can only happen if there is a profit to be made. In short, they subscribe to the law of no profit, no production.
One thing is certain, and perhaps you’ll already be of this opinion. Whichever candidate or party will win brings about no significant changes to the way things are. And in between elections we have little or no say in the important decisions, the ‘real issues’ that concern us. Politicians are fond of telling us that we must take responsibility for our own actions and that we must see to it that our world is a fit place for our children to grow up in.
But how can we seriously do anything about it when the real decisions are not in our hands? Because of the way things are organised at present, none of us are allowed to take part in the really important decisions that effect us – the ones about our schools, about health and housing, peace and pollution, and the distribution of wealth.
What the Socialist Party urges as the alternative to this insane set-up is a truly democratic society in which people take all of the decisions that effect them. This means a society without rich and poor, without owners and workers, without governments and governed, a society without leaders or the led.
In such a society, people could cooperate voluntarily to run all of the world’s natural and industrial resources in their own interests, freeing production from the artificial constraints of profit and establishing a system of society in which each person has free access to the benefits of civilisation. Socialist society would consequently mean the ending of buying, selling and exchange, an end to borders and frontiers, an end to force and coercion, waste and want and war.
Today we have the technology, the resources and the know-how to satisfy everyone’s needs. That fact is well established. However, we cannot utilise society’s assets sensibly because of the profit-driven requirements of the market-system.
In a society in which the fundamental need of production is profit, our needs will always come a poor second. The profit system exerts such an influence in society that it impinges upon every aspect of our lives, and you’d really be hard pressed to think of some service or product that is not balanced against cost – something to muse on when you’re waiting for the bus, the police or visiting the local shops.
You may consider that the society we urge sounds nice, but that we are demanding the impossible. In truth all we are asking is that you, as members of the waged and salaried class, think for yourselves, value yourselves and your fellows higher, expect more for your children and grandchildren. Is it not the case that our world would be a better place to live in if we had a real democratic say in the decision-making process and real democratic control over the means and instruments for producing and distributing the things we need to live in comfort? Is it not high time that we took back control of our destiny from the profit-mongers and the masters of war?