Who Are the Wealth Creators?
When Boris Johnson gave his recent speech setting out his "New Deal", many commentators missed his reassurance that he was not a "communist". Why the reassurance? He was worried because some of the more wild free marketeers in his Party see Roosevelt's New Deal as a "communist" reform and Keynes as a "socialist".
Roosevelt had no intention of ending capitalism in the US. Neither did Keynes. Keynes was a Liberal. He did not like Marx. Keynes described Marxian economics as:
"not only scientifically erroneous but without interest or application for the modern world" (SHORT VIEW OF RUSSIA 1925).
Johnson suggested "wealth creators" should receive an NHS-style clap for their work in the economy. He did not mean the working class. We are not going to get any applause. Instead he meant the capitalist class, the employers. He went on to say:
"Yes of course we clap for our NHS, but under this government, we also applaud those who make our NHS possible, our innovators, our wealth creators, our capitalists and financiers". (GUARDIAN 1 July 2020).
The capitalist class should get no applause. They do not work. They produce no wealth. They are a class of parasites living off the unearned income of rent, interest and profit.
Wealth is in fact produced by the working class. Workers are exploited as a class.
The key to class exploitation under capitalism is that workers have to sell their labour power as a commodity to the capitalist class in exchange for a wage or salary.
The value of labour power or the worker's ability to work is determined, like any other commodity, by the socially necessary labour time required to produce it.
The value of labour power depends upon the amount of socially labour necessary to produce the basic necessities of life. This includes food, clothing, housing, transport and the ability to raise children for a future labour market.
Workers cannot see exploitation. That is because they are paid wages and salaries straight into their bank accounts according to the hours they have worked.
However, the working class as a whole receives wages and salaries less than the amount of social wealth they have created.
Suppose a worker works eight hours a day for five days a week. If it take six hours to produce for themselves and their children they still have to work a further two hours for nothing.
The first part of the day working for themselves is necessary labour time. The additional time the workers work for free for the employer is surplus labour time.
During surplus labour time workers are contributing to a pool of surplus vale. Surplus value is the source of profit. It is also forms the taxes which go to pay for the police, the army and politicians.
There is nothing to clap the capitalist class for. We do not need them. They are socially useless. Instead workers should organise democratically and politically to get rid of capitalism. The working class should not clap anyone until they have abolished capitalism and established socialism.
Once the means of production and distribution are commonly owned and democratically controlled by all of society then socialists can give a round of applause for freeing themselves and future workers from class relations and class exploitation.
Object and Declaration of Principles
The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.
Declaration of Principles
THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN HOLDS:
1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.
2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.
3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.
4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.
5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.
6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.
7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.
8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.