Cross-posted from the Socialism Or Your Money Back blog
From the online magazine Digital Journal.
Some believe that the recent financial meltdown was caused by free markets and capitalism, which has drawn many people to look at the alternative: Socialism. The Socialist Party of Canada wants to define what socialism really means.
At several demonstrations in Toronto, this journalist has come across a lot of members of the Socialist and Communist Parties of Canada. The representatives hand out information on certain events occurring and their stance on the issue. It was time to finally speak with the party and understand their points of view.
The Socialist Party of Canada (SPC) distinguishes itself from the left-leaning parties, such as the Liberal Party, the Green Party and the New Democratic Party, by not representing the “capitalist class” and not being “managers of the capitalist system.”
On Thursday, Digital Journal had the opportunity to speak with Socialist Party of Canada representative and content contributor to the publication journal Imagine, John Ayers, to discuss the idea of socialism, what the party’s views are in terms of foreign policy and the current political establishment and system.
According to dictionary.com, socialism is defined as: “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.”
However, Ayers feels that socialism and communism have been misunderstood due to the media and various governments around the world that call themselves socialists but do not represent the idea or have the vaguest notion of what it actually is.
About the party
The first Socialist Party of Canada began in 1904 and ended in 1925. The second SPC began in 1931 and continues to this day and is part of the World Socialist Movement.
“We have an idea, which when implemented by the majority worldwide, will end all war, all poverty, all inequality and provide everybody with the needs they have.” said Ayers. “Capitalism can’t do that, which is obvious right now.”
Even though the party does not have the proper funds to operate on a level as the main political parties, Ayers says that the party is mainly operating on an educational basis by publishing brochures, pamphlets and other methods to get out the proper information.
“Our electoral system is based on whoever has got the most money wins and we have to a lot of money, we don’t have a lot of money,” notes Ayers. “Right now we’re basically an educational phase.”
What will happen if the SPC gets elected? First the voters must understand what their view of socialism is. Ayers calls the ideology of the SPC as “scientific socialism” as they study the work of Karl Marx and use his economic theory as a basis of socialism but “don’t take his work as gospel.”
Socialism and ideas
The quintessential question is then: What is socialism? Ayers explains the following:
“Socialism is a society based on the common ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth. Managed democratically in the interest of all mankind. That necessarily means an end to the class system, to money, to employment, to wages and necessarily means a society based on voluntary labour and free access for everybody to all goods produced. It is a production for use and not for profit.”
Ayers adds that this idea has never been practiced and certainly the Green Party, NDP and those who say they are socialists are not because they don’t have the same idea of socialism and communism due to their attempts of trying to be popular and “putting a happy face on capitalism.”
If elected, the SPC would use parliament and legislative powers to end the private property and state systems. In place of it, voluntary labour would be implemented and power would be given to local and production councils, which would be democratically elected and ultimately be the foundation of socialism.
“Most of the stuff won over the past 50 years are disappearing such as the health care system, proper wages, etc.,” notes Ayers. “The only thing we promote is establishing a socialist society. Promoting capitalism can never work and benefit the working class.”
Foreign policy and war
Remembrance Day was on Thursday and it was only fitting to understand the party’s stance on Canada’s foreign policy and war. Ayers says the party’s foreign policy would be to “join the hands with socialist parties around the world,” which would result in no war and nothing to fight over because “wars are fought over economics.”
War, according to Ayers, is a struggle between two capitalist classes and their attempt to gain control over strategic and trade routes. However, in the end, says Ayers, “humans don’t need wars” because we’re the ones who get killed and “it solves nothing.”
“Once we’ve established socialism,” says Ayers, “all of this is gone. The military complexes are gone.”
The current state and can the government change?
According to Ayers, ultimately nothing is going to change. The SPC representative cites Toronto mayor-elect Rob Ford as an example because he is someone who is not going to change the system but ran on a campaign promise of ending the gravy train and changing the corrupt city hall.
In the end, says Ayers, the municipal government is going to get bigger and make union workers poorer. Although one public official can “tweak” little things in government, if you want real change then you have to “remove it entirely” in order to have a “society that is viable, equitable and worth living in.”
The current system does not give people freedom or the freedom to travel: “If you don’t have money for a bus ticket, you can’t go anywhere. But people with billions of dollars can travel anywhere and have their voices heard easily.”
“It’s the system itself that creates war, poverty and global warming,” says Ayers. “The government, managers of capitalists, have done absolutely nothing.”