“The basic law of capitalism is you or I, not you and I.” Karl Liebknecht
Whoever travels across the world can see the magnificence of its beauty and will also encounter its bountiful natural resources in sufficient abundance to adequately supply the needs of all. It could be a paradise for people. But our planet is not a paradise for the people. We all know there is poverty in every country we visit. In every country people suffer from deprivation and shortages, resulting in disabilities and deaths from disease and hunger. Such incongruities would be unbelievable if it were not for the facts being laid bare for all to see by innumerable global organisations. But they rarely offer any meaningful solution.
However, members of the World Socialist Movement (WSM) understand the causes which are to be found in the private ownership of the means of wealth production and therefore we advocate for co-operative ownership in order to eliminate private or sectional ownership. World socialism involves the transference from private ownership to common ownership of all wealth production required to supply of life’s necessities for the whole people.
The WSM bears witness to the truth of the statement that the effects of production for profit for capitalists is damaging and detrimental to the world’s communities and so stands condemned. Socialism does not aim at robbing the rich but at stopping the rich from robbing the poor. The capitalist system is based upon the legalised theft of the wealth producers.
The merchant calls it profits
And he winks the other eye;
The banker calls it interest
And heaves a cheerful sigh.
The landlord calls it rent,
As he tucks it in his bag,
But the honest old burglar,
He simply calls it swag.
The fundamental cause of all the misery and suffering of working people is that world is capitalist, ruled by capitalists and run by them for their profit. Our society is divided into rich and poor — a handful of rich, 10 per cent, own more than the other 90% and the overwhelming majority are required to work their entire lives for the sole benefit of the tiny minority. The immense majority of us own nothing other than our ability to work, which we hire out to our employers for our subsistence and survival. The capitalists are the ones living off the labour of other people.
“You show me a capitalist; I’ll show you a bloodsucker.” said Malcolm X
In capitalist society workers are wage-slaves. Dispossessed and property-less by such events as the Enclosures and other such land-grabs, the essence of capitalist exploitation is that we are required to search for employment to earn a wage to buy the necessities we and our families need to live. Our employers, our masters, set us to work with raw materials and machinery which they have acquired, and with those tools and equipment we produce far more in values than what is paid out by the capitalists in wages. In short, they produce a surplus which is taken by the capitalists and for which they are not paid. Thus they are robbed of the values they produce. This is the source of capitalist profit. It is on this surplus value, produced by the workers, that the capitalist lives in leisure and luxury:
“You shall sell your labour to me. I will pay you only a fraction of its value in wage. The difference between that value and what I pay for your labour I pocket, as a member of the possessing class, and I am richer than before, not by labour of my own, but by your unpaid labour.”
This was the teaching of socialists, Socialism stands for the abolition of this robbery by ending the exploitation, i.e. the theft of the values we produce over and above the value of our wages.
The WSM seeks to replace capitalism by a world cooperative commonwealth because we hold that capitalism has outlived its usefulness and are persuaded that if capitalism carries on, we may well find ourselves plunged into a form of barbarism. We hold that capitalism is redundant,and that if humanity is to advance it must continue on its evolutionary path to socialism, by which we mean the common ownership of the means of production and the democratic organisation and administration by all of society freed of classes. Socialism is the union of the whole world into a global network of interconnected associations of free and equal peoples, sharing in common of the natural resources and wealth of the planet.
Only world socialism can organise production and distribution in the interests of society as a whole, providing abundance, security and freedom for all. The world has already available the technology, the raw materials, and the skills required to produce plenty for all. We just need to free them from the greedy grip of the capitalists for the nightmares of anxiety and insecurity to vanish forever. Where we have plenty for all, each with equal access to the fruits of nature and the products of industry, no one has the economic power to oppress any other to become a privileged bureaucracy. The basis of the State machine also disappears and we are freed from its coercive forces of repression. The WSM maintains that the means of production and distribution should be the property of the community, for those who now owns or controls them are neither responsible or accountable to those that does not possess them.
“A golden slavery instead of an iron one. But that golden chain would soon be turned to iron again, for if you still allow the system of wages slavery to exist, labour must be still subject to capital, and if so, capital being its master, will possess the power and never lack the will to reduce the slave from his fat diet down to fast-day fare!” – Ernest Jones, Chartist agitator, rejecting the reformist demand “a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work”