Editorial from the May 1995 issue of the Socialist Standard
• SOCIALISM HAS NEVER BEEN TRIED •
• WHEN IT IS TRIED IT MUST BE ESTABLISHED GLOBALLY •
• WORLD SOCIALISM CAN ONLY BE BROUGHT ABOUT DEMOCRATICALLY •
We begin with these three points because they are vital to any kind of an understanding of what we mean by socialism.
We reject the idea that socialism has been tried in countries sometimes referred to as socialist. These countries were based upon state capitalism. Look below at our definition of socialism and ask yourself if this in any way describes the police states of modern China and Cuba or the old regimes in Russia and eastern Europe.
We reject the idea of socialism in one country. National socialism equals non-socialism. The capitalist system is global and so must the system which will replace it.
We reject the idea that people can be led into socialism. Socialism will not be established by good leaders or battling armies, but by thinking men, women and children. There can be no socialism without socialists.
So what does Socialism mean then?
That’s a straight question, so here’s a straight answer.
Socialism means a global system of social organisation based on
- COMMON OWNERSHIP: All the productive wealth of the world will belong to all the people of the world. No more transnational corporations or small businesses and therefore nobody will own the world. It will be possessed by all of its inhabitants.
- DEMOCRATIC CONTROL BY ALL: Who will run socialist society? We all will. There will be no more government and governed. People will make decisions freely in their communities, in regions and globally. With the existing means of information technology and mass communication this is all possible.
- PRODUCTION FOR USE: Instead of producing goods and services for sale and profit, the sole reason for production will be to satisfy needs and desires.
- FREE ACCESS: A society in which everyone owns everything, decides everything and only produces anything because it is useful will be one in which all will have free access to what is produced. Money will cease to have any function. People will not work for wages or salaries, but to give what they can and take what they need.
It’s a great idea, but ... But, what?