From the April 2016 issue of the Socialist Standard
Wales or the World?
That’s the issue in the Wales Assembly election – says Brian Johnson, the Socialist Party of Great Britain candidate in Swansea West.
‘Could the Welsh Assembly be the most important thing that has ever happened to Wales?’
This was the question posed by a journalist Brian Walters writing in the South Wales Evening Post in March 1999 shortly before the first Assembly elections. He suggested that the Assembly would profoundly affect our lives deciding issues on education, health, housing, transport.
16 years on, is Wales any better? Are the problems in Wales – job insecurity, poverty, crime, poor healthcare -- any less than anywhere else in Britain?
The answer has to be ‘no’. The reason for this is clear. These problems don’t come from particular constitutional arrangements. They come from the basic way society is organised – production for profit and ownership of the vast majority of the wealth by a tiny minority of people: the global system of capitalism.
The other parties
This is what all other political parties exist to administer. They have different ideas on how that system can be best maintained, but all agree it must be retained.
Many of their supporters have good intentions but are unaware that, in campaigning for these, they are helping to maintain this built-in system of minority privilege. However different the policies of Corbyn seem from those of Cameron, they offer no alternative to the present way of running society.
No matter how well-meaning politicians may be, they can’t control the system – it controls them. The best any government can do is ride the storms of the market.
So what's the alternative?
We propose an alternative to the system based on ownership of capital and market forces that currently exists in Wales, the UK and worldwide. This alternative is a society of common ownership that we call socialism.
But not ‘socialism’ as you probably know it. Not the type of dictatorships that collapsed in Russia and elsewhere and that were in fact a form of state capitalism. Not the various schemes for state control put forward by some in the Labour Party.
For us socialism means something completely different and something much better. We are talking about:
• a world community without states or frontiers based on participatory democracy
• a society without buying and selling where everyone has access to what they require to satisfy their needs, without the rationing system that is money
• a society where people use the earth’s abundant resources rationally and sustainably, and freely contribute their knowledge, skills and experience to produce what is needed
To sum up:
• If you don't like present-day society
• If you’re fed up with the way so many people are forced to live – hanging on for dear life to a job that gives little satisfaction and doing it just for the money
• If you are sick of seeing grinding poverty alongside obscene wealth
• If you are sick of the Earth being abused by corporations who couldn’t care less about the future or the environment
• If you think the root cause of most problems is the market system and the governments that maintain it
. . . then you’re thinking like we are.
What you can do
We are not promising to give you the society we describe. We are not putting ourselves forward as leaders.
The new society is one without leaders just as it is one without owners and wage-slaves. It is a wholly democratic society, which can only be achieved when you – and enough like-minded people – join together to bring it about peacefully and democratically.
If you agree with this, you will obviously not want to vote for anyone but our candidate. In casting your vote for Brian Johnson, the Socialist Party of Great Britain candidate, you will be voting for the kind of socialism you – and we – stand for.