Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The future — we owe them one (1994)

Editorial from the June 1994 issue of the Socialist Standard

Why should one in four children in Britain be forced to live below the official poverty line?

Why are vast numbers of young people so deprived of hope that they turn to anti-social crime, the escapism of drugs and video games designed to divert them from reality?

Why is the number of teenage suicides rising steeply?

Why must school-kids go without books and adequate teaching resources while the uniformed killers in the armed forces never face shortages when it comes to resources of destruction?

Why must parents worry about buying the best treatment for their sick children?

Why do tens of thousands of children across the world go blind as a result of Vitamin A deficiency caused by lack of sufficient milk in their diets while milk is being destroyed because it is being "overproduced" for market demand?

Why are countless millions of young people world-wide driven to prostitution, begging, sweated labour and scavenging on filthy scrapheaps?

Why are kids sleeping in the doorways of our local streets?

Why, in a world which can produce more food than the entire population needs, are the grotesque screams of starving babies and dying, malnourished children a routine sound effect of "business as usual"?

A system of society that can do this to its most innocent and vulnerable members is badly out of order. Why is this happening in a society which claims to be civilised? The heartless conservatives wish us to ignore these facts of contemporary society. Close your eyes and it will go away. After all, the sons and daughters of the very rich will not sleep on the pavements, join the dole culture or be forced to sell sex for a few lousy quid.

The reformers, including the politicians of the left with their endless schemes to sanitise the present system, have told us for over a hundred wasted years that all we need to do is elect them to parliament and a decent future for our children will be possible?

Do not believe those who tell you that there is any worthwhile future under capitalism. The capitalist system means production for sale with a view to profit. No profit, then to hell with needs.

The role of the vast majority of us under capitalism is to make profits for the rich and privileged few. We are the raw material of their success. Our poverty is the basis for their luxury.

Socialists say that the world should belong to all of us.

Only when it does will all of us benefit from the rich abundance of the earth’s resources.

For too long we have lived cramped existences so that a minority can live life to the full.

We have sacrificed our lives to the profit system and now they ask us to sacrifice the future of our children.

Look at a group of children playing happily.

They do not think about banks, mortgages, bailiffs or ethnic cleansing.

These hateful ideas are fed to them, like poison, as they are conditioned to live under capitalism.

Contrary to capitalism’s defenders, these children are not infected by some disease-like human nature which determines that they will grow up to be beasts of the capitalist jungle.

Human beings are social animals.

That’s why children love to play together.

That’s why, freed from the burdens of employment, we like to work together.

And given a society of cooperation to live in rather than a rat-race, we will be free to live like humans.

There is no more worthwhile cause to stand up for.

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