The World Socialist Movement consists of individuals who have come together for one purpose: to assist in the urgent task of establishing worldwide socialism. We define socialism as a society in which all the resources of the world are used in common to meet all the needs of all the people of the world, without any distinction whatsoever, including the distinction of so-called national identity. It follows, then, that we do not concern ourselves with either the destruction or the creation of national or territorial borders within capitalism.
We have, of course, been admonished to recognise the seemingly vital need to defend this national group against that one; to support the imposition of this territorial border or the dissolution of that one; to denounce this act of nationalist aggression or to excuse that one. Many have urged us to take sides in the current Ukraine-Russian war.
Our reply has always been that while capitalism exists, such disputes and conflicts are unending and it is not the role of socialists to act as adjudicators over the rights and wrongs of conflicts that are endemic to capitalism.
To talk of self-determination is to play with words. Past circumstances notwithstanding, the world is today so integrated that no country can be genuinely independent in how it acts. Usually, it can’t even independently decide how it behaves within its own ‘borders’, for fear of criticism or censure from international bodies, or, more usually, powerful outside interests.
Socialism must be a world community without frontiers. It can not be set up in one country or even in one part of the world. This means that, just as there will be no buying and selling between individuals in socialism, so there will be no trade between different countries. Production in socialism will involve a worldwide effort to produce what is wanted and since every region will be working towards this end (and will participate in the democratic processes used to decide what is needed and in what quantities) naturally every group of people will have free access to what is produced.
We need to see the world as a whole because capitalism itself is a worldwide system and as such produces worldwide problems. The only effective route to freedom is its worldwide abolition and replacement with a class-free, money-free, world society without governments or national boundaries – socialism.
In socialism, we wouldn’t do whatever we pleased. But the constraints on our personal freedom would be self-determined by local communities agreeing as equals and not imposed on us by the state or one of its local government offshoots. Whatever freedoms we decided to sacrifice would genuinely be for the good of the society we lived in, i.e. the people around us and the world at large.
World capitalism always has been, is now, and always will be a quagmire of different competing interests along national, religious and ethnic lines. But all such differences are artificially created by artificial scarcity. Only world socialism can finally put an end to this fight for resources – a sordid fight that, in order to acquire a semblance of decency, hoists coloured rags on poles and conscripts evolved human morals and ethics into ‘national’ armies and risibly ordained ‘national’ interests.
Socialists don’t deny the value of human culture, of course not. What we abhor and oppose is the culture of all the people of the world – which ‘belongs’ to and should be accessible to us all – being turned into nothing more than ruses to corral the working class of the world behind artificial borders, the real and sole purpose of which is to enlist us into fighting for and protecting world markets for ‘us’ and not ‘them’.
The twin issues of personal poverty and the human rights of the individual are the main concerns in West Papua, just as they are in West Ham in London or West Bronx in New York. Why should the members of the human family who happen to be born in the particular part of the world named limit their horizons, in this day and age? Why shouldn’t an inhabitant of a particular part of the planet not see themselves as a citizen of the world, free to live wherever they choose on the planet?
Capitalism, of course, can never allow for such a world at peace with itself, of personal universal rights and personal self-determination – the only form of genuine self-determination and the only form that socialists care a hoot for. Only in capitalism is it necessary to construct borders around a designated area arbitrarily created by history, to keep certain people in and keep other people out.
Socialism, the only universal solution to ‘borders’ will require no such artificial distinctions between the world’s people and will have no borders. And since this is the goal of socialists, why would we do something as illogical as interrupt or postpone our endeavours to create a border-free world in order to advocate new borders that we aim to abolish? The World Socialist Movement promotes a global community with no private property beyond immediate possessions, no need for money, no racism or sexism, no enslavement of children, no profit motive to drive the oppression of working people, no battles over personal interpretations of spirituality, and no disrespect for the ‘other’. It envisages a society where the concept of exchange is non-existent.
Is the idea of a worldwide revolution realistic? Why not? After all, capitalism is already a worldwide system, in fact, it is now more than ever a single-world system. Even theorists of capitalism recognise this with their talk of “globalisation”. They are right. What it means is that if global capitalism is to be replaced it can only be replaced globally, by another global system, world socialism.
It is up to those who think it unlikely that when the idea of world socialism catches on it will do so more or less evenly in all parts of the world to explain why they think it will catch on first in some countries before others (and in which).
To us, the more realistic supposition is that of an even growth, because conditions are essentially the same everywhere and because socialism is the idea of a world society and also, of course, because the international socialist movement will be consciously working to try to ensure an even development of socialist ideas.
Capitalist-imperialist development has certainly held back the development of many parts of the world, but remember socialism is not something that is (or could be) established separately in different countries one by one; it is a world system. Like capitalism. When we socialists say that the resources of the world are (more than) sufficient to eliminate world hunger and poverty and provide a decent life for the whole world’s population we are talking about productive resources on a world scale.
The future of human society rests with working people. If they want to, they can make their world of peace and happiness, in which men and women can live in freedom. This is more than a dream; it could so easily become reality. We live on a planet that is capable of providing all its peoples with the food, housing, health care, education and the other amenities of life that they need. But this does not happen. Instead, there is no end to problems. It is clear that there can be no national solutions to these problems. The only way out is global. It’s the world’s natural and industrial resources becoming the common heritage of all humanity so that they can be used to directly meet the needs of the world’s population on the basis of ‘from each according to ability, to each according to need’. Free of ownership by the few and the rule of ‘no profit, no production’, this is the only framework within which problems such as global warming, growing inequality and wars can be tackled for good.