Are we ready for Socialism?
With election season upon us, the role of government is being debated by the American people. With so many struggling to survive, the question of government’s responsibility for the people’s well-being is on the national agenda. The refusal of government to do anything but make the richest people richer and protect the billionaire class’s wealth is causing many people to question their loyalty to a callous corporate government that cares nothing for the lives of the people.
As the billionaire class accumulates more and more wealth, more working people fall into insecurity, poverty, and homelessness. Whole communities are being decimated. Young people graduate from school thousands of dollars in debt and without any prospect of finding a job. People are demanding that their needs are met. They face police violence when they stand up.
The candidates are appealing to people in various ways, trying to convince them they have a remedy for the worsening problems.
The word socialism is now being spoken and its merits debated. Thirty-six percent of the American people say they have a favorable opinion of it. However, real socialism means putting an end to capitalism through government takeover of the giant productive forces, and equitable distribution of the goods and services such as energy, food, or healthcare to the people. Revolutionaries must join these debates. Socialism sets the basis for a transition to a whole new cooperative society. All that stands in the way is the private ownership of the productive forces by a small ruling class and its stranglehold on political power.
Others are appealing to what is most historically backward in our culture, to divide people and prevent unity on a class basis. Attacks on immigrant workers and blatant racism are whipped up to win over a section of people to the ruler’s agenda who are angry at the destruction of their lives. The poor are described as criminal, lazy and unworthy of help.
While the Sanders campaign offers an important opportunity to challenge the system and get out the new ideas that can make history, the role of both parties is to confine the fight within the bounds of capitalism. This points to the urgency that revolutionaries join the electoral battles, introducing a vision of a new society and how to get there.
We are living in a new era. Today’s vast computerized machinery, which produces what we need, is replacing workers with robots. This creates abundance on the one hand and hunger and misery on the other: an obscenely wealthy class that owns these machines as private property on the one hand, and the growing mass of impoverished workers all around the world on the other. These workers must get what they need to survive, whether they have money or not. No representative of the capitalist system can provide these things under the law of private ownership.
We will either organize to gain the political power we need to create an economic and political system compatible with the new forms of workerless production—one in which the goods produced are distributed according to need—or the ruling class will impose hunger, slavery and war. The world’s people want a future of plenty and peace for everyone. Revolutionaries must take this vision to those who are seeking answers. The future is up to us.
Originally Published on People’s Tribune