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In a Socialist society the means of production are owned by the workers, rather than a rich minority of capitalists or functionaries. Such a system of ownership is both collective and individual in nature.
It is Collective because society can control production unlike the economic anarchy of capitalism, and because production is for the common good rather than for individual private profit of the few.
At the same time it is individual, because workers are no longer a 'collective' mob of alienated non-owners employed by a minority of owners. Work becomes a free and self affirming activity for each worker and they receive the full fruits of their labour. The capitalists and their servants no longer control production nor grow rich from the other's toil. Everybody is an owner. Socialism is genuine free enterprise.
The personally empowering and cooperative nature of socialist ownership underpins similar changes in other aspects of life. Socialism means far healthier individuals and human relationships. It means full participation by each individual in the intellectual, cultural and political life of society.
Socialism will not be an utopia simply created in peoples minds. It will be the product of economic and social development. In developed countries it is now possible for some to live a reasonably affluent life and be free of long hours of routine toil. This creates a better basis for cooperation and mutual regard. Historically, where equality would have meant shared property, it was inevitable that a minority would plunder, enslave and exploit the majority. At the same time rank and file workers are progressively acquiring through their exeriences, the abilities to do without an elite. Their general level of education and training had advanced significantly over the last couple of generations. The work they do, while still totally opressive, has an increasingly mental and conceptual content. And they now have extensive access to cultural and intellectual resources and the diverse experiences of living in a modern society. So while Socialism was impossible in the past, these emerging conditions make it inevitable in the future.
WE NEED A NEW SOCIETY!
*Work is generally boring, unfulfilling and oppressive.
*Society is grossly unequal. Some people are super rich and others super poor. Many have no job, no education and no skills.
*Many of us live in a personal hell - Drug addiction, the expierence of violence and sexual abuse.
*We all to carying degrees feel isolated and alienated from the society we live in.
What lies behind these lousy conditions? The basic problem is that a minority monopolize the society's economic resources and force most of us to work for them. This means they get to cream off a lion's share of the output we produce and to control our working lives. This is the basis for a society of oppressed and crippled individuals. It is usually called Capitalism.
It is a society where you are rewarded for being an asshole and penalized for doing the right thing. Sound familiar? It is a society where most of us are just shit kickers performing crappy work under the command of brown noses. And when they no longer want us we are discarded like the piece of rubbish they view us as. Afterall, the working and middle class can be replaced THERE ARE MILLIONS OF US!
Because work is self-destroying or self-limiting rather then self-affirming, it poisons every aspect of our life. Our spirits are ground down, our mind cramped and our feelings desensitized to the needs of others.
In this dog-eat-dog world, salt is thrown onto every wound. Fears and uncertainities are reinforced, and weakness magnified. If you refuse to fit in you are made an outcast. If you are a round peg you are jammed into a square hole. And poverty is the lot of the low paid, the discards on the job scrap heap and those who just can't function any more.
The only solution is a society based on equality and cooperation. This requires a new social system in which we collectively own the means of production and take control of our own working lives. We will no longer be bossed about. We will transform work so that everyone gets to do the interesting and challenging tasks and speed up the automation of the more routine ones. We will ensure each worker the right to a diverse career path that meets their needs and we establish a culture of life-long development. We will also eliminate the unemployment scrap heap and let people reduce their working hours. Such a new society is often called Socialism.
Of course the elite tells us that this is impossible. They tell us that Socialism is against human nature and will not work. And they always say Communist China is Socialist which is why they have police states and clapped out economies.
Is it really against human nature to cooperate for the mutual benefit when you yourself benefit off of it also? As for the failure of Socialism in other places like China(which is Communist) and the attempted USSR(Never achieved Socialism, went straight to Communism.) , if it could thrive in such backward and feudal countries it would not be worth having. Even Capitalism has had a lot of trouble developing in places like these, going by the experience of most other Third World countries.
While the struggle for radical change in developed countries such as ours will never be a tea party, the conditions are there for it to happen. To begin with, Socialism in a developed country would mean shared prosperity rather than futile atttempts to share poverty. And over time we are becoming increasingly better equipped to successfully run things without masters. We are becoming better educated. We have the experience of modern life. And even our crappy jobs require most of us to use our brains more than workers of past generations.
Is Socialism on the agenda for today? No, not yet, but it is time for some of us to start talking about it.
*Footnote . The means of production comprise everything, except labour, that is used in production, namely, factories, plants, equipment, offices, shops, raw materials, fuel and components.
The footnote is from Websters Dictionary: Copyright 1998; New York, USA.
|Socialism In a Nutshell