Sunday, February 28, 2021

No socialism (2009)

Pamphlet Review from the February 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard

Capitalism’s New Crisis: What Do Socialists Say?’ By Chris Harman. Socialist Workers Party, 2008. £1.50.

The author writes of capitalism “The key question is what is going to replace it . . . To finally get rid of capitalist crises, in short, you have to get rid of capitalism.”

With such promising revolutionary sentiments, you would surely expect some discussion of the socialist future, some mention (however brief) of common ownership, democratic control, production for use not profit. Not a bit of it. Harman offers instead ‘A People Before Profit Charter’, a ten-point mish-mash of reformist measures such as wage increases, more tax on big companies, less tax on the poor, no to the BNP.

The pamphlet has section headings which include free market failure, slump, boom and crisis, and the debt economy. These concepts sound familiar because they are scattered liberally in the broadsheet dailies, the weekly journals, radio and TV programmes that comment on the problems that “business” and hard-working men and women have to face. This pamphlet has some value in bringing together the various critiques of capitalism and the reforms that are offered to improve the system despite persistent past failures. It has no value at all in promoting revolutionary thought and action to change the system from capitalism to socialism.
Stan Parker

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