Don’t be a nationalist

Capitalism is completely out of control. It is. as the World Socialist Movement has always said, a system of economic and social anarchy. Capitalism is an unplanned system. Each company chases after profits, quite without any care of how this affects others. Each nation-state (which is a gang of capitalist thieves dominating one territory) carries on regardless of the rest. International treaties count for nothing. Capitalist “agreements” are as reliable as one between the Mafia and Columbian cartels.

The hardships inflicted upon working people and necessitating the resistance of mass action will always occur under the capitalist system. This system is based on an insignificant minority of the world owning all the means of production and distribution of wealth i.e. land, factories, transport and communication networks, etc. These few individuals control all the wealth of the world whereas the majority have nothing and have to work for the owning class to continue making their profits. It is this sort of relationship that is the source of all the suffering in the world.

Therefore, it is only when this profit-driven system is abolished and replaced with a system that is operated on the basis of ownership of the world’s resources by the whole of humanity that such uncalled-for situations in society can be done away with. But this cannot be achieved except when there is concerted action on a global scale. Individual countries may rise up and chase away their leaders but it does not solve the problem. It is only when the majority of mankind and in particular the working class understand the capitalist system and, based upon this understanding, decide to do away with capitalism and replace it with a better mode of organising society (call it world socialism if you will) that the human race will be really human. For, such a socialist system will be run on the basis of collective ownership of the world’s resources for the use and benefit of all.

The establishment of socialism is a coordinated world movement to ensure that we all get there at more or less the same time. If there is any uneven development it will be up to the world socialist movement to decide what to do.

As we said in our pamphlet Questions of the Day:

“Socialists are sometimes asked about another aspect of uneven development. This relates to the possibility that the socialist movement 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.

Leaving aside for the moment the question as to whether such a situation is likely to arise, we can say that it presents no problems when viewed against the world-wide character of the socialist movement. Because capitalist governments are organised on a territorial basis each socialist organisation has the task of seeking democratically to gain political control 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 co-ordinated through its world-wide organisation. Given a situation in which the organised socialists of only a part of the world were in a position to gain control of the machinery of government, the decision about the action to be taken would be one for the whole of the socialist movement in the light of all the circumstances at the time.”

There is 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 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.

The concept of nationalism is one of the attitudes which makes war acceptable. The vital thing is to replace such fallacies with socialist understanding, which points to the unity of working-class interests all over the world. Then from the basis of a sound understanding of the world they live in, they will take the necessary political action to end the nightmare of capitalism and replace it with a world community of production for use, where the conditions out of which wars arise will cease to exist.

We are living in a world that has the potential to turn out enough to adequately feed, clothe, house, educate and care for the health of every single person on the planet, irrespective of where they live. That this isn’t done today is due to the fact that the production and distribution of wealth are organised on the basis of buying and selling, of trade.

The Earth’s natural resources and separate parts of the worldwide industrial network are owned separately, by corporations, states or rich individuals. These owners compete amongst each other to sell what those they employ produce and so realise as profit the surplus value contained in them. This has a number of effects. Production stops, not when enough to satisfy people’s needs has been produced, but well before this when what people can afford (the market) has been catered for. At the same time there is a huge waste of resources on the process of selling itself, on things that have nothing to do with production as such, but only with the buying and selling of the products that constitute trade (on fixing prices, making and receiving payments, transferring money, changing currencies, etc.) And there is also a huge waste in the armed forces and arms that all states are forced to equip themselves with in order to be in a position to protect and promote the interests of the capitalist groups within them.

So inherent to capitalism – the world trading system – is both artificial scarcity and organised waste. And as long as the system is allowed to continue there’s nothing that can be done to prevent this. But “another world is possible”, and it has to be another world since there are no national solutions to world problems like world poverty, hunger and disease.

The alternative is a world in which all the Earth’s natural and industrial resources become the common heritage of all humanity. This means that the production and distribution of the things that people need can be organised on the basis of the world being a single unit.

The oil resources won’t belong to wealthy Arab sheikhs – or even just to the people living in the Middle East – but to all humanity, to be used for their benefit. The same goes for all the world’s other natural resources. They won’t be traded. They will simply be transferred from one part of the world to another as required to meet needs. This wouldn’t be trade since there would be no question of payment or of any transfer of something of equal value from the part of the world where they went to the part they came from.

Under these circumstances, if people in one part of the world needed food – as is undoubtedly the case at the moment – it would be transferred there, for instance from the wheatlands of North America. This wouldn’t affect local agriculture since there would be no competition between the two; there’d be no local markets to undermine since local production wouldn’t be for a market either. In fact, local agriculture could be given the fertilizer and equipment that they need – without demanding any counterpart – so that it can contribute increasingly to satisfying local food needs.