Editorial – Tinkering will not fix things

Change is needed, urgently. But we need to remember what we are dealing with. The profit system is worldwide. This means that the actions of all national governments are limited by the need for the system to yield profit. No matter what politicians promise, in or out of office, in the end they always have first to look to the needs of the capitalists, the privileged elite who own the means of living.

This doesn’t mean that funding cannot be found for cleaner air, education or subsidised childcare – provided this meets the needs of ‘the economy’. And that it is kept as cheap as possible to avoid scaring ‘the markets’. And any improvements that are achieved will always be threatened when the next slump or recession occurs, as it inevitably will.

Capitalism has solved the technical problem of producing enough to ensure a comfortable standard of living for everyone on the planet. It has brought the world’s population together to cooperate in a massive network of socialised production, by and large organised and operated by the excluded majority, us the workers. The disjoint between this and capitalism’s class basis and profit motive prevents the needs of the world population being properly met and leads to want, waste and war.

The revolutionary change that socialists propose is nothing more than a re-purposing of the global production system. In other words, stop cooperating on behalf of the capitalists and cooperate instead to meet human needs. This presupposes that the means of living are no longer monopolised by a few.

Of course, we’ll still have to mine, grow food, make machinery, and the like. After all, that is the human condition. But working just to meet needs means that we will be able to plan and produce rationally – making everything to the best of our technical ability, with as much regard for the rest of the natural world as is reasonably possible.

It means an end to any form of exchange – what we produce will be available for anyone to use/consume as they wish. This will mean that everything to do with buying and selling will be scrapped. And with no bosses, we’ll all be able to take as big a part as we wish in decision-making. The material conditions for socialist production already exist. Just one thing is missing – class consciousness. Class consciousness is the understanding that capitalism will always work against the economic interests of us as workers. It is the understanding that our class position ensures that we will, inevitably, never get much more than enough to keep ourselves in working order.

It follows from this we should not seek to reform, mend or tinker with capitalism to try to make it work in our interest. Rather should we organise to ditch the profit system once and for all and bring in socialism, the common ownership and democratic control of the means of living as the only basis on which things can be fixed.

Next article: Pathfinders – Attack of the zombies ⮞

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