Simpler is Better 3/3

We, in the World Socialist Movement, hold that the social system needs to be changed fundamentally and 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 a widespread understanding of what needs to be done. We are members of the working class, which is everyone 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 and the time has come to put it behind us and build a system of society that really works for everyone.

Those of us in the World Socialist Movement seek a world without poverty, environmental devastation, war, sexism, racism, nationalism, and all other forms of hatred.

Socialism is for anybody who thinks there is no need for bosses and politicians telling everyone else what to do and holds that the world would be a better place if democracy meant more than an election every few years, freedom meant genuine liberty for everybody where people cooperate to satisfy human needs. Socialism is for anybody who seeks real solutions, not repeated failures. Conventional mainstream politics have not solved anything of importance and it can’t.

It may take socialism a while to be built but that’s better than never. Socialism requires rational thought, not posturing and hype.

We reject the idea that socialism has been tried in countries sometimes referred to as socialist.

We reject the idea of socialism in one country. Just as capitalism is a world system of society, so too must socialism be.

We reject the idea that people can be led into socialism by well-meaning leaders.

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 coordinated through its worldwide structure.

It has been suggested that socialist ideas develop unevenly across the world and that socialists of only some parts of the world will be in a position to acquire political control. This assumes the possibility that the socialist organisation 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 light of all the circumstances at the time.

It would certainly be folly, however, to base a programme of political action on the idea that socialist thought 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 unreasonable to assume that socialist ideas will develop unevenly. Given the worldwide nature of capitalism and its social relationships, the vast majority of people live under basically similar conditions, and because of the worldwide 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 to owe 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 problems, but they do not constitute a barrier to the immediate establishment of socialism as a world system. 

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. 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.

“…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