That the emancipation of labour is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries” – IWMA
It is scarcely necessary to observe that capitalism is the same everywhere, that like causes produce like results. Wherever capitalism appears, its mission of is the pursuit of profit and exploitation. Socialism is necessary to the emancipation of the working class.
The World Socialist Movement’s only aim is socialism as a society of common ownership and democratic control with production for use not profit. Because we hold that the best way to further the cause of socialism is to campaign for socialism and socialism alone— ‘to make Socialists’, as William Morris put it—we have always refused to ally ourselves with organisations which campaign for reforms to be achieved within the context of capitalism.
Apologists for capitalism, ever search for doctrinal dope to infuse new life into the doddering near-corpse of the present politico-economic set-up, will drag out some outworn theory, blow the dust off it, and present it to the public as up-to-date evidence against the socialist.
Common among these theories is one built around the suggestion that the rich may well experience as much financial difficulty as the poor. A common misconception that the World Socialist Movement just aims at taking from the rich and sharing is one of the many unfortunate outcomes of the obscuring propaganda of avowedly capitalist and so-called labour institutions.
Hence, we must at all times reiterate:
- no matter how large a persons’s income, he or she is a worker if forced to sell their mental or physical energies for it;
- it is readily appreciated that many capitalists, in the basically unnecessary fight for wealth, may to varying degrees suffer worry and inconvenience, and this applies particularly to the few capitalists who have an active role in their business. But the essential point is that they, as well as the working-class, would gain with socialism a better, fuller life, free from economic dominance;
- that socialism will not bring merely a different share-out, but a much greater total wealth.
It needs little effort to see that modern men and women finds their lives so dominated by work they have little opportunity or energy for intellectual advancement, the little he does receive being almost entirely the result of capitalist training for capitalist ends.
It is not so obvious to the uninitiated that under modern capitalism, production of the material means of life is not progressing, but retrogressing. Though the rate of production consistently increases, the totality of production is with like consistency restricted.
This is done by:
- leaving unused a considerable portion of the two basic factors in wealth production—land and labour power;
- deliberate, “legal,” large-scale destructions of goods the world over;
- national and international agreements to restrict production of commodities below the potentiality;
- use of labour for ends peculiar to capitalism and meeting no human need: armed forces, insurance workers, commercial travellers, banks, advertising, servants, pawnbrokers, and the printing and production of paper for putting the prices on packets of peanuts are a few examples;
- neglect of improved scientific methods of production.
Well, we suppose all this is because people already have all they need ? Oh, no. Nearly all of them are in great want.
Then, surely all those in want are organising to set things right ? On the contrary, they’re fighting among themselves as hard as they can.
It is crazier than “Alice in Wonderland”, tragically so.
These wealth restrictions arise because under capitalism the profit motive controls production. With socialism will come production for human needs, banishing for ever the ghastly paradox of poverty amid plenty.
The World Socialist Movement view of capitalism is that it is essentially a half-way house in production relations on the road to post-scarcity society when the world has developed its productive abilities to the point of abundance — which it did decades ago — capitalism fulfils its historical role and is of no further use. But to describe capitalism as merely “obsolete” scarcely conveys its sheer destructive power or the tragic effects on individuals of its continued existence. Capitalism’s frequent booms and slumps — one of its unavoidable features — gets bigger, and nastier.
It is impossible to contemplate the horrors of capitalism and remain neutral or passive. The time has come for a social revolution and a new and worldwide change of system. Socialism is the only hope for the working people. A class-free socialist commonwealth cannot be attained without the overthrow of capitalism. To accomplish this aim is the historic mission of the working class.
Everywhere you will find:
1. A comparatively small class of persons who make big profits and who are very rich, such as bankers, great manufacturers and land owners – people who have much capital and who are therefore called capitalists. These belong to the capitalist class
2. A great number of working-people employed in various occupations – in mills and mines, in factories and shops, in transport and on the land. This is the working class.
The working class is always the poorest class, in every country. Why are the workers the poorest class?
Socialism is a system where the wage system, under which labour has been reduced to a commodity, and millions of people depend for employment upon the assent of an employer, is replaced by the cooperative system under which all may engage together in useful work in harmonious cooperation for the emancipation and the uplifting of humanity. We shall merge all our energies to end the present capitalist system and establish the cooperative commonwealth.
Can the day of change be hastened? Without a doubt. Every socialist who spreads the light according to his opportunity, who helps the campaign, votes for the World Socialist Movement, and encourages others to do likewise is doing a share to speed the day of the new commonwealth.
When we declare the abolition of private property in the means of production to be unavoidable, we do not mean that some fine morning the exploited classes will find that, without their help, some good fairy has brought about the revolution. We consider the breakdown of the present social system to be unavoidable, because we know that the economic evolution inevitably brings on conditions that will compel the exploited classes to rise against this system of private ownership. We know that this system multiplies the number and the strength. When we speak of the inevitable nature of the social revolution, we presuppose that men are men and not puppets of the exploited, and diminishes the number and strength of the exploiting class, and that it will finally lead to such unbearable conditions for the mass of the population that they will have no choice but to go down into degradation or to overthrow the system of private property.
The abolition of the present system of production means substituting production for use for production for sale, social or co-operative production for the satisfaction of the wants of a commonwealth. Through socialism alone will this be accomplished.
The ownership of the means of production is at the root of wage-slavery and wage-slavery will come to an end only with the abolition of the ownership of the machine. Society itself must control the machinery and technology. Socialism is the only hope of the wage-slave. Compromise never freed the slaves, nor will it eliminate wage-slavery.