Is It Time To Turn Our Backs On Capitalism and Give Socialism A Chance?

Capitalism is greed.

Capitalism is theft.

Capitalism is alienation and anti-sociality.

Capitalism is authoritarian.

Capitalism isn’t working.

Capitalism is violent.

Capitalism is unsustainable.

Capitalism is destroying us.

It is not a success. It is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous — and it doesn’t deliver the goods. In short, we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it. But when we wonder what to put in its place, we are extremely perplexed. What do we want instead?

It is time to take the power back? To do this we need a system where the workers are in control and the means of production are owned by the workers not by a rich minority of capitalists…

In a socialist society the means of production [1] are owned by the workers rather than by a rich minority of capitalists or functionaries. Such a system of ownership is both collective and individual in nature.

It is collective because society can control production unlike the economic anarchy of capitalism and because production is for the common good rather than for individual profit.

At the same time it is individual because workers are no longer a ‘collective’ mob of alienated non-owners employed by a minority of owners. Work becomes a free and self-affirming activity for each worker and they receive the full fruits of their labor. The capitalists and their servants no longer control production nor grow rich from other’s toil. Everybody is an owner. Socialism is genuine free enterprise.

The personally empowering and cooperative nature of socialist ownership underpins similar changes in other aspects of life. Socialism means far healthier individuals and human relationships. It means full participation by each individual in the intellectual, cultural and political life of society.

Socialism requires a revolution with three main stages: firstly the emergence of a workers’ movement committed to socialist revolution, secondly the achievement of political power and the expropriation of the capitalists and thirdly a period during which workers learn how to be owners and rulers and cast off the psychological and ideological dross of the past.

Socialism will not be an utopia simply created in people’s minds. It will be the product of economic and social development. In developed countries it is now possible for everyone to live a reasonably affluent life and be free of long hours of routine toil. This creates a better basis for cooperation and mutual regard. Historically, where equality would have meant shared poverty, it was inevitable that a minority would plunder, enslave and exploit the majority. At the same time rank and file workers are progressively acquiring through their experiences, the abilities to do without an elite. Their general level of education and training has advanced significantly over the last couple of generations. The work they do, while still totally oppressive, has an increasingly mental and conceptual content. And they now have extensive access to cultural and intellectual resources and the diverse experiences of living in a modern society. So while socialism was impossible in the past, these emerging conditions make it inevitable in the future.

Footnote [1]. The means of production comprise everything, except labor, that is used in production, namely, factories, plant, equipment, offices, shops, raw materials, fuel and components.

It is time for the public to wake up. Time to open our eyes. The expenses scandal. The killing of Ian Tomlinson. Heavy handed police aggression during recent legitimate protests. The banking crisis. The Credit Crunch. The huge debts that have been put on future generations shoulders.

Enough is enough.

It is time for real change and to put people first. The only system that will truly do this is socialism.

Find out more. Visit the Socialist Worker.

One thought on “Is It Time To Turn Our Backs On Capitalism and Give Socialism A Chance?

  1. The working class comprises the majority in society, it has the power to shake the system. Unfortunately, this does not mean that most of its members have a clear idea of their ability to replace the existing system with a better one. On the contrary, being brought up in capitalist society leads most people to accept the ideas of the system to a greater or lesser degree – its racism, sexism, competition and greed, and the belief that there is no other way of living. As Karl Marx once wrote “the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class.”

    Working class organisations, such as trade unions for example, simply do not have the resources necessary to compete with the capitalist media hence only a minority of people accept ideas that challenge the system as a whole. The majority take most things for granted and accept much of what the capitalist media says.

    It is only when those whose labour keeps capitalism going are engaged in fighting aspects of the system that they discover they have the power to paralyse it. Only then do large numbers begin to see clearly that their interests run in opposite directions to those of capitalists. They discover through struggle that they can challenge the system, and that as a class they have an interest in uniting to replace profit making and competition with a society of democratic self organisation. It is through struggle that people discover that they have the collective capacity to change society.

    This is the type of awakening and enlightenment I refer to. When you look through history again and again we see examples of how the moral and intellectual condition of the working classes has deteriorated.

    In 1870 Thomas Cooper, a former activist in the chartist movement 30 years earlier, surveyed the workers of the north of England and and said:

    ‘it is true, in our old Chartist times, Lancashire working men were in rags by the thousands; and many of them lacked food, but their intelligence was demonstrated wherever you went. You would see them in groups discussing the great doctrines of social justice… they were in earnest dispute respecting the teachings of socialism. Now you will hear no such groups in Lancashire. But you will hear well dressed working men talking of cooperative stores and their shares in them, or in building societies (banks). And you will see others, like idiots, leading small greyhound dogs, covered with cloth on a string… Working men had ceased to think..’.

    If only Thomas Cooper could see the streets of London today! Millions of Londoners standing around at bus stops and on trains, before and after work, all reading the same “news” from the same sources – the free newspapers containing nothing but the same old ideas of the system – racism, sexism, competition and greed – reinforcing the ideas and beliefs and maintaining the status quo that keeps the majority ignorant and exploited.

    People need to see beyond the capitalist rhetoric and know that YES, an alternative society IS possible. The majority want a society in which production is for human need and not for profit. A society in which those who work, not those who own, make the decisions. A world in which human beings of all races and nations cooperate and children learn the lessons of the past of war and poverty in history lessons, astonished that such atrocities could ever have happened. Maybe I am naive, but I believe it is only when the majority wake up from their slumber and stand up and take power that it will happen.

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