Understanding the WSM 2/3

Rally, all you workers

The World Socialist Movement (WSM) seeks to re-establish the genuine meaning of socialism. We are not arguing that the absence of the market is the sole defining feature of socialism. On the contrary, socialism is not merely a society without a market system, it is also a state-free society, a class-free society, a money-free society, a wageless society. Nothing whatever is gained by subterfuge or misstatement. The WSM believes that revolutionary world socialism is possible and for that “heresy” we are deemed to be “Impossiblists”.

 Impossibilists believe very little can be gained by trying to administer the capitalists’ political machinery, that this machinery is especially adapted to fit the necessity of the capitalistic or ruling class. It is one great machine, regulated from the head down, and the liberal officials are powerless to do more than the machine permits, and the machine permits practically nothing. What working people gain under capitalism at one point they lose at another and this process must go on until the workers learn the lesson that the source of their trouble is inherent in the wage system and that the remedy is not in putting temporary patches on this system but to its final overthrow and the establishment of the cooperative commonwealth. Impossibilists takes very little stock of those programmes that demand nationalisation or municipal ownership, etc., believing at the best that these are mere palliative, tending to put off the day of reckoning and prolong the general misery. 

 Socialism is a universal system of society where there will be no buying and selling. 

Consequently, all institutions which are now functioning only for the running of this buying and selling will disappear. Money, banks, insurance companies and the other capitalist institutions will disappear. All the resources of the world, the means and instruments of wealth production and social services necessary to the sustenance of mankind will be held in common by the whole people of the community. All the people will happily work and they will have free access to their needs. Each and everyone will determine his or her own needs. It is accepted by Impossibilists that socialism will entail the immediate ending of the capital/wage-labour relationship.

There can be no wages system. Wages, of course, mean that somebody is working for somebody else – they imply rich and poor, two classes. To talk of wages under socialism is ridiculous. Similarly, it is seen as being ridiculous to speak of the existence of money in a society of common ownership. 

The WSM proposes that the whole system of money and exchange, buying and selling, profit-making and wage-earning should be entirely abolished and that instead, the community as a whole should organise and administer the production of goods for use only, and the free distribution of these goods to all the members of the community according to each person’s needs.

There will be no private ownership of the means of production, nor will the state be the owner. State ownership of the productive forces is not the solution. Conversion into state property does not deprive the productive forces of their character as capital. The workers remain wage-earners and the capitalist relationship is not abolished, but rather pushed to the extreme. The State is only needed in class society, for in such societies there is no community of interest, only class conflict. The purpose of government is to maintain law and order in the interests of the dominant class. It is in fact an instrument of class oppression. In socialism, there will be no classes and no in-built class conflicts. The phrase ‘socialist government’ is a contradiction in terms. Where there is socialism there is no government and where there is government there is no socialism. The WSM makes an important distinction between government and democratic administration. The WSM has tended to refrain from extensive speculation about the precise organisation of the state-free society, pointing out that such decisions must be made by those establishing socialism, in accordance, no doubt, with ideas and plans formulated in the course of the revolutionary process.

Many different kinds of bodies might be used by the citizens of socialist society. There is intrinsically nothing wrong with institutions where delegated assemblies for decision-making (Parliaments, congresses or soviets). What is wrong with them today is that such structures are controlled by the capitalist class. Remove class society and these assemblies can function in the interest of the whole people. The point emphasis is that those establishing socialism will be free to determine the nature of its administration and of course, such a decision will not be based upon utopian fancy, but in accordance with the specific situation existing at the time of the revolution.

The World Socialist Movement is not a reform party. Its avowed purpose is the abolition of the present social order, the ending of the exploitation of labour by an idle parasitic class. It makes its direct appeal for the support of the workers as propertyless wage-slaves, not as “tax-paying” citizens, nor as charity cases seeking a handout, or dole, from the capitalist state. The framework of the new social system requires no building within the old. It is already built — in the form of highly organised, socialised production. The task that presents itself is to abolish the present class ownership. Let us not fritter away our time dreaming about how affairs will be administered in the future social order. Let us rather take up the work of clarifying out movement, let us cast out the dross of legislative reform, and carry to the working class an uncompromising message, rallying them for the first step — the conquest of political power.

Force is the weapon of the oppressor. The State holds the monopoly on the use of violence. A violent uprising by ourselves is its fervent hope as that allows the State to exercise more authoritarian control.

We must build something new to replace it. We must construct socialism as a voluntarist society. We have the power. We are the scientists and the engineers, the doctors and the nurses; we are the builders and the architects, the mechanics and the farmers; we are the soldiers who kill and die for their enrichment, we are the police officers who enforce their unlawful rules; we are the people who build and work in their factories, we are the office workers who administer their system, the shop workers, the programmers, the writers, the artists, the teachers. We possess all the technology we need and we are the experts. It is our world, not theirs. Without us, the capitalist class are utterly incapable of controlling anyone or anything.

We must create, not destroy. We must liberate science, technology, art and knowledge. We must build alternative decentralised systems, enabling humanity to live as free beings. We must support each other. We can live in harmony because we are capable of respecting each other equally, without reservation. A socialist society would be a society without rulers, not a society without rules.

The object of the World Socialist Movement is to assist in the emancipation of the workers from their enslavement to the capitalist class. Typically the Left share the idea that state ownership is socialism or a step on the way to socialism. This capitalist system under which we now live cannot bring real and permanent happiness to the workers. We must get rid of the social ills that are killing fellow workers, bringing hunger in the midst of plenty. We could have a real socialist revolution. Instead of the mock, “just as good” substitute which the intellectuals and think tank professors are trying to sell us. We, the working people,  could run society, instead of the bankers and industrialists who are still the real power, who still ride on our backs. 

Workers cannot espouse a narrow national isolationist attitude. What happens to the workers in one country has its effect on workers elsewhere. Just as the bosses try to create all kinds of divisions between workers in one country, so they whip up false patriotism to divide workers into various lands from each other. The problem of the revolutionary movement in one country has important similarities as well as dissimilarities from that of the movement in other lands. International conditions and events affect the life of the workers in each country. As distinct from nationalism, the working-class moves to an international world as a universal human brotherhood.