Editorial from the June 2016 issue of the Socialist Standard
The basic nature of the society we live in, where we make human relationships, where we contribute with our ideas and our work, also fashions the problems we face. For good reason that society is known as capitalism, historically a developed human arrangement in which a minority class dominates in the exploitation of the rest of us to its own advantage and to enduring frustration and damage to us as humans.
For example a recent survey revealed that a serious health risk is needlessly imposed by the enormous amounts of sugar which are included in what are described as ‘fashionable’ hot flavoured drinks. This contributes to Britain suffering Europe’s highest rate of obesity – a condition which can fertilise a host of menacing illnesses such as diabetes, strokes, osteoarthritis. This highly dangerous addition is actively promoted by the street coffee shops, particularly the likes of Starbucks and Costa Coffee – a situation recently blasted by a Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine as ‘scandalous’. Starbucks and Costa, balancing it out with their profits, must have another word for it.
In another field, also relevant to our health, is a recent report by the Ministry of Justice which revealed that in 2015 in England and Wales a total of 42,728 ‘households’ were forcibly evicted from their homes by bailiffs because they had failed to pay their rent – the highest recorded since records were opened in 2000. This whole matter is a symptom of the most desperately dehumanising effects of poverty – at a time when George Osborne and David Cameron habitually insist that we are luxuriating in the shelter of a ‘strong economy’.
The conventional political parties – Conservative, Labour, LibDem, the Greens, UKIP, the Nationalists – strive to persuade us that they have the ability and the intention to wipe out the current problems in society. To this end they produce policies relating to problems such as health, housing, crime, poverty, education, transport, along with less prominent issues such as planning, art and culture.
This is often effective in persuading enough people that they should take serious notice of their pronouncements, however transparently populist. But for people to do this entails them ignoring the fact that these parties have promised many times before to solve these problems, so that at times the remedies being put forward clash with those in the past. It also entails ignoring the vital – indeed crucial – fact that, as these problems are engendered by the capitalist system itself, they cannot be solved within its framework of minority ownership and production for profit, a system which all these parties uphold in one form or another.
In contrast, the Socialist Party is an organisation which is distinctive through its principle of refusing to promise to ease the problems of capitalism as they are inevitable results of that social system’s basic nature. Our objective is the abolition of capitalism and its replacement with socialism – a classless, moneyless society based on common ownership – a universal system which cannot exist separately in Britain or any other part of the world.