From the May 1968 issue of the Socialist Standard
The case for Socialism is simple. Anyone can understand it. Today you must work for a capitalist to get the money to buy your bread. In Socialism you will have access to everything you need without paying for it. Work will all be voluntary. There will be no money. Things will never be made for profit, but always for people to enjoy.
Socialism is plain and straightforward, but of course most people don’t agree with it. They think it wouldn’t work.
A lot of folk think we are after a perfect world, which is impossible. But Socialism will not be perfect. There will still be many problems, such as earthquakes or disease. We just think that some very bad problems (war and poverty, for instance) are caused by capitalism and can only be solved by getting rid of capitalism.
Then it is argued that “human nature” is against Socialism. This usually means that people will be too greedy and take too much. But people are not always greedy about everything, are they? Water, for example. Do you hoard buckets of water in your attic? Do you take as much water as you can possibly get? Of course not. Water is so cheap and plentiful that you don’t think much about it. You just take as much as you need and no more.
But you laugh at this and say: “That’s all very well with water. But some things are very scarce. There isn’t enough to go round.” You’re right: there isn’t. But why? It’s strange that so much time and effort is wasted on useless things like H-bombs and moon rockets, while all the time people go short of important things like good food and a decent house. The reason for this is that under capitalism everything is made for profits, not for people to enjoy.
Many things which are profitable are harmful to mankind, and the most profitable way to make something is not the best way to make it. There could be enough to go round, but capitalism is very wasteful.
So we think that Socialism would work. But it must be world-wide: you cannot have Socialism in one country on its own. And we cannot get Socialism until most people want it, which means we must bring Socialism by a free and democratic vote. Our first job is to spread ideas about Socialism and convince people that they need it.
Everyone agrees that there is a lot wrong with the world today. But usually people believe that something less drastic than Socialism will be able to mend things. They think that nationalisation (state capitalism) will cure our troubles. Or they imagine that the rich people can be taxed so that there is more for us. Or they believe we can stop war by getting politicians to be more kind-hearted.
But all these plans have been tried many times, and have always failed. They will never work. For instance, in Britain now about 10 per cent of the people own 90 per cent of all wealth. This means that there are two classes—those who live off profits, and those who have to work for wages. Big money, when it is invested, grows so fast that taxation doesn’t stop it growing. If taxes were raised so high that they did do this, the result would just be utter chaos, because nothing would be profitable any more.
In other words, you cannot abolish these two classes, the rich and the poor, just by controlling profits. You must abolish profits altogether. This means you must abolish wages as well, because wages and profits go together. You must make a clean sweep.
Some politicians, who want to make a career out of capitalism, will tell you that the cause of your troubles is your own laziness and greed. Others will tell you that old-fashioned trade unions, nasty communist agitators, wicked teenagers or immigrants are to blame. These politicians are all frauds who try to distract your attention from the real disease—capitalism.
Some of them pretend they are “socialists.” Stalin, Hitler and Harold Wilson did this—though of course all three were capitalist politicians. Anybody can use the word “socialism”, but you have to know what they’re really after. Think for yourself, and you will understand.
Don’t trust what anybody tells you, not even the Socialist Party of Great Britain. Please read our pamphlets, but think about them, criticise them, be suspicious of them.
If you find we are mistaken, please let us know, because we would hate to be wasting our time. If you decide we are right, join us and help us to get Socialism. You will be very welcome.