As wage workers, the vast majority of us have endless economic problems to worry about — pay and prices, rents and mortgages, sickness, unemployment, old age. Even more worrisome can seem the large and perhaps overwhelming problems facing us as human beings: war, poverty and the compulsive destruction of our own planet. There are numerous other problems, like racism or sexism, which distort human judgement and reinforce a system that thrives on human misery. Many people look to leaders to solve these intractable problems, sometimes through union action, more often by demanding social, political and economic reforms.
Come election time, all the parties suddenly grow excited, urgently recommending laws they will introduce if they gain control of the government. But they don’t regard it as their business to deal with the basis of any of those problems, where the cause actually lies. Neither Right, Left nor Centre has any intention of tackling and dealing with the core of our troubles: the system of employment, known traditionally as wage labour, and the associated use of capital to produce all of the wealth we depend on. This system, we maintain, generates massive artificial scarcities in a society with the technological means to afford us abundance.
We, in the World Socialist Movement, hold that the social system needs to be changed fundamentally: we advocate the abolition of social classes through production based solely on meeting people’s needs, democratically administered. This goes much deeper than a mere change in government, but it also assumes widespread understanding of what needs to be done. We are members of the working class, which includes everyone around the world who must sell his or her working abilities to some employer to stay alive, not just people whose collars are blue. We understand capitalism has gone as far as it can go; the time has come to put it behind us and start with a system of society that really works for everyone.
If you agree generally with arousing the rest of the world’s workers to an understanding of how easily within our grasp it is to achieve a world of abundance and peace — and a world we can pass on intact to the coming generations, join us.
Those of us in the World Socialist Movement seek a world without:
Poverty; War; Sexism, racism, nationalism, and other forms of hatred; Environmental devastation; Bosses and politicians telling everyone else what to do
Socialism is for anybody who thinks the world would be a better place if:
Democracy meant more than an election every few years; Freedom meant real freedom, and respect, for everybody; People cooperated to satisfy human needs
Socialism is for anybody who wants real solutions, not repeated failures. The Left, Centre, and Right haven’t solved anything that counts – and they can’t.
Real solutions may take a while, but that’s better than never. Real solutions require rational thought, not hype. Real solutions require people to work for them
We reject the idea that socialism has been tried in countries sometimes referred to as socialist but which can be described as state capitalist police-states of modern China and Cuba or the old regimes in Russia and eastern Europe.
We reject the idea of socialism in one country. National socialism equals non-socialism. The capitalist system is global and so must the system which will replace it.
We reject the idea that people can be led into socialism. Socialism will not be established by good leaders or battling armies, but by thinking men, women and children. There can be no socialism without socialists.
World socialism can only be brought about democratically. Socialism means a global system of social organisation based on:
Common Ownership: All the productive wealth of the world will belong to all the people of the world. No more transnational corporations or small businesses and therefore nobody will own the world. It will be possessed by all of its inhabitants.
Democratic Control By All: Who will run socialist society? We all will. There will be no more government and governed. People will make decisions freely in their communities, in regions and globally. With the existing means of information technology and mass communication this is all possible.
Production For Use: Instead of producing goods and services for sale and profit, the sole reason for production will be to satisfy needs and desires.
Free Access: A society in which everyone owns everything, decides everything and only produces anything because it is useful will be one in which all will have free access to what is produced. Money will cease to have any function. People will not work for wages or salaries, but to give what they can and take what they need.
The World Socialist Movement (WSM) consists of ordinary people who have organised themselves democratically with one objective; to bring about a complete change in world society. Although small, we are made up of members in several countries.
Everybody in the WSM has equal value and equal power. Real democracy is fundamental to socialists. The revolutionary transformation of society must be brought about by the will of the great majority of the people if it is to succeed. We have no leaders. Every member can take part in making decisions. Our democracy works both locally and party-wide. All our meetings are open to the public.
All the necessary conditions of production and communication now exist for establishing a world socialist society. What is lacking is the understanding and will among those men and women who would most benefit from it. The task for socialists is to spread the necessary information as widely and thoroughly as possible. This often involves correcting a great deal of misinformation put out by those who want society to remain as it is, with all its poverty, oppression, and war. We have a thorough analysis of the workings of present society, how it is developing, and what needs to be done to make changes that would be beneficial for the human race. Discussion and debate are essential to the progress of the movement. We welcome them. Everyone is encouraged to put their point of view.
Just as capitalism is a world system of society, so too must socialism be. There never has been, and never can be, socialism in just one country. Socialism will be one world-wide community without national boundaries, a united humanity, sharing a world of common interests, would also share world administration. This is the socialist alternative to the way that capitalism divides the planet into rival states and sets people against each other. But this does not rule out local democracy. It is sometimes said that world administration would mean power of central control over local democracy. In fact a democratic system of decision-making would require that the basic unit of social organisation would be the local community.
However, the nature of some of the problems we face and the many goods and services presently produced, such as raw materials, energy sources, agricultural products, world transport and communications, need production and distribution to be organised at a world level. One of the great technical developments under capitalism has been communications and the rapid processing and distribution of information. This will alter our awareness of being in the world and the boundaries between what is local and distant are shifted or become blurred. So, as well as the face-to-face contacts of our daily lives at home and at work with friends, neighbours and relatives, and as well as our part in local affairs, at the same time we would be involved with all other people in world issues and events of every kind.
The motivation for this new world comes from the common class interest of those who produce but do not possess. An important part of this motivation comes from the global problems thrown up by capitalism. There are no national solutions to world problems like world poverty, hunger and disease. Ecological problems make a nonsense of the efforts of governments. War and the continuing threat of nuclear war affect us all. The problem of uneven development means that many producers in the underdeveloped countries suffer starvation, disease and absolute poverty. All of these problems of capitalism can only be solved within the framework of a socialist world.
One of the great technical developments under capitalism has been communications and the rapid processing and distribution of information. This will alter our awareness of being in the world and the boundaries between what is local and distant are shifted or become blurred. From one moment to another we are able to take in local news, issues and events and those on the regional or world scene.
Socialism will be a co-operative world wide system. Nations and frontiers and governments and armed forces will disappear. Groups of people may well preserve their languages and customs but this will have nothing to do with claiming territorial rights or military dominances over pieces of the world surface. To move forward, the dispossessed majority across the world must now look beyond the artificial barriers of nation-states and regional blocs, to perceive a common identity and purpose. .
Because political power in capitalism is organised on a territorial basis each socialist party has the task of seeking democratically to gain political power in the country where it operates. This however is merely an organisational convenience; there is only one socialist movement, of which the separate socialist organisations are constituent parts. When the socialist movement grows larger its activities will be fully co-ordinated through its world-wide organisation. It is suggested that socialist ideas might develop unevenly across the world, and that socialists of only a part of the world were in a position to get political control. This relates to the possibility that the socialist movement could be larger in one country than in another and at the stage of being able to gain control of the machinery of government before the socialist movements elsewhere were as far advanced. The decision about the action to be taken would be one for the whole of the socialist movement in the light of all the circumstances at the time. It would certainly be a folly, however, to base a programme of political action on the assumption that socialist ideas will develop unevenly and that we must therefore be prepared to establish “socialism” in one country or even a group of countries like the European Union. For a start, it is an unreasonable assumption that socialist ideas will develop unevenly. Given the world-wide nature of capitalism and its social relationships, the vast majority of people live under basically similar conditions, and because of the world-wide system of communications and media, there is no reason for socialist ideas to be restricted to one part of the world. Any attempt to establish “socialism” in one country would be bound to fail owing to the pressures exerted by the world market on that country’s means of production. Those who become socialists will realise this and also the importance of uniting with workers in all countries. The socialist idea is not one that could spread unevenly. Thus the socialist parties will be in a position to gain political control in the industrially advanced countries within a short period of each other. (It is conceivable that in some less developed countries, where the working class is weak in numbers, the privileged rulers may be able to retain their class position for a little longer. But as soon as the workers had won in the advanced countries they would give all the help needed elsewhere. The less developed countries might present socialism with a problems, but they do not constitute a barrier to the immediate establishment of socialism as a world system.)
“…By creating the world market, big industry has already brought all the peoples of the Earth, and especially the civilised peoples, into such close relation with one another that none is independent of what happens to the others…It follows that the communist revolution will not merely be a national phenomenon but must take place simultaneously in all civilised countries – that is to say, at least in England, America, France, and Germany… It is a universal revolution and will, accordingly, have a universal range…The nationalities of the peoples associating themselves in accordance with the principle of community will be compelled to mingle with each other as a result of this association and thereby to dissolve themselves, just as the various estate and class distinctions must disappear through the abolition of their basis, private property.” – Engels
There is but one world and we exist as one people in need of each other and with the same basic needs. There is far more that unites us than can ever divide us along cultural, nationalistic or religious lines. Together we can create a civilisation worth living in, but before that happens we need the conscious cooperation of ordinary people across the world, united in one common cause—to create a world in which each person has free access to the benefits of civilisation, a world without borders or frontiers, social classes or leaders and a world in which production is at last freed from the artificial constraints of profit and used for the good of humanity — socialism. There is in reality only one world. It is high time we reclaimed it.
“I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World.” – Eugene V. Debs