Omnia Sunt Communia – Thomas Müntzer, 1525
For as long as there has been human oppression there have been aspirations of the oppressed. History teaches us to never grow resigned, never bow down or submit, never beat a retreat. Fear is the greatest ally of conservatives. There is a message emanating from some in the environmentalist movement is that we are heading towards a dystopia. Some present an essentially hopeless vision of the future, lacking a meaningful sense of the future, and as a result, they cannot envision an achievable immediate possibility that may be realised. The beauty of the age we live in is that we possess new production technology. So the question is, which model do we want to follow? Toiling under the domination of bosses and corporations, or the return to a mythical idyllic past before the arrival of industry or seek a society of leisure and mutual cooperation.
There exists an idea that is unfashionable these days, an idea which is ignored by the media, dismissed coldly by politicians and avoided by anyone who prefers the status quo to stay put. That idea is the cooperative commonwealth. Our message to our fellow workers is that those who do not own the means of production are nothing but the slaves of those who do. The forces of production long ago reached the point where they could produce the abundance necessary for the change from private ownership into social ownership. The interdependence of society has outgrown local and national bounds and is worldwide.
When the working people in the world have power in their own hands we can achieve a cooperative commonwealth.
Reformists put off the cooperative commonwealth and prolong the suffering of the world’s people.
The World Socialist Movement (WSM) proclaims liberty to rest upon economic democracy. The WSM of today cannot bring socialism. The cooperative commonwealth will be inaugurated by the mass action of the workers. To assert the contrary is a denial of the cardinal principle of socialism – “That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves.”
The socialist parties of the WSM will not rest content until it has eradicated capitalism and established the socialist cooperative commonwealth.
We are well aware that socialism is a term little understood by the world at large, and that it is everywhere a target for denunciation by the media of the plutocracy. When analysed it means a more equitable distribution of the products of labour; cooperation instead of competition; common ownership of land and all the means of production and distribution. It proclaims the coming of the cooperative commonwealth to take the place of wage slavery. The present economic system is not only a failure but a colossal crime. It robs, it degrades, it starves; it is a foul blot upon our civilisation; it promises only an increase of the horrors which the world deplores. There is no hope for our fellow workers except for the advocates of the cooperative commonwealth. In socialism, with private property and the exchange economy being at an end, money loses its functions would disappear as will prices and wages.
We ask our fellow workers to organise with us to end the domination of private property— with its poverty-breeding system of unplanned production — and substitute in its place the socialist co-operative commonwealth in which every worker shall have the free exercise and full benefit of his or her faculties. The shackles of the wage-slave and the whip of the master symbolise the reign of capital. Not until slave and master have both disappeared, and forever, and the equal freedom of all has been established, can we lay any proper claim to the term civilisation. The cooperative commonwealth is not a dream but entirely within the realm of the possible. This new world will not arrive without the aid of human endeavour. It means hard work. It involves courage. It presupposes earnest convictions. Its goal is industrial freedom and independence that the world has never known and can never know until cooperative labour, solving every problem and surmounting every obstacle in industrial affairs, achieves emancipation.
For many who consider themselves radical, the post-scarcity society seems a dim and distant goal, a matter for the 22nd century perhaps, but not now. Lulled by the incessant idiotic inanities of politicians and their meaningless agendas, these progressives do not notice that even now, today, we are standing on the very threshold of that post-scarcity world. All we have to do is take one step forward. The world socialist parties of the WSM go further than any other political organisation and calls for one united world, a planetary cooperative commonwealth.
“Each for all and all for each”