Socialist Studies Socialist Studies

Will the Real Socialist please Stand-Up?

Are you a socialist? You might be. There seems to be socialists everywhere.

Trump supporters interviewed demonstrating against their misguided belief that the election had been stolen from Trump, accused Joe Biden of being a 'socialist' and his programme a 'socialist programme'.

Biden, though, supports capitalism. As Senator for the state of Delaware, he either sponsored or voted in favour of financial deregulation and trade deals, supporting US capitalism. His Democratic programme is a programme to further the interest of the capitalist class in the United States. How can it be socialist?

In a recent interview, Tommy Tuberville, the historically illiterate incoming Republican senator from Alabama, declared that a Biden presidency scared him, because his father a soldier, fought in the Second World war to "free Europe of socialism" (GUARDIAN 21st November 2020).

Then there is Rudy Giuliani, Trump's loyal henchman. He claims that the election was lost through a 'communist' plot from Venezuela. The voting machine was 'socialist' and caused Trump to lose the election. And when asked for evidence his reply was to accuse his questioner of being a 'socialist'.

At the same press conference, now no longer the one squeezed in between a crematorium and an adult book store, one of Trump's legal advisors, Sidney Powell, claimed that a fraud had taken place to deny Trump the presidency. It was a result of money coming from "socialist" Chavez's Venezuela, Cuba and China. A "reds under the bed" conspiracy theory dug-up from the 1950s. And who was directing this conspiracy? The 'socialist' Hugo Chavez had been dead since 2013!!!

Venezuela, China and Cuba are all capitalist countries. They all retain the wages system and the exploitation of the working class. Conspiracy theories are only for the stupid. Yet Trump has millions of supporters who believe this political rubbish. If he said that Fox News was 'socialist', his millions of supporters would uncritically believe him. Fox News, it should be remembered, routinely referred to former President Obama as a 'socialist'.

Red neck Republican militias, armed to the teeth with semi-automatic rifles, and with their minds wrapped in the racist Confederate flag, spare no time in telling everyone and anyone that the Democratic Party is full of 'socialists.' They yearn for a second civil war to defeat the 'socialism' of the Democratic Party once and for all.

And, indeed, many members of the Democratic Party believe they are themselves 'socialists'. They are forever talking up their 'socialist' credentials. What are these 'socialist' credentials? They want a 'green capitalism', a regulated and higher taxed capitalism, a capitalism that is fluffy, purrs and is kind. They want the impossible: capitalism without the effects of capitalism. These Democrats all support capitalism, the labour market, the buying and selling of labour power and the exploitive wages system. Socialists they are not.

The same mis-use of socialism applies to the Labour Party in Britain. Thousands of its members believe they are 'socialist'. They claim their former leader; Jeremy Corbyn was a 'socialist'. The DAILY MAIL, the SUN and the DAILY EXPRESS enjoy referring to the Labour Party as 'socialist'.

When he was leader of the Labour Party, Corbyn had no intention of abolishing class society. Neither does the new leader, Keir Starmer. The Labour Party refuses to accept the scientific socialism of Marx with its theory of history, theory of value and political concept of the class struggle. The Labour Party accepts capitalism's economics. They do not agree workers are exploited within the sphere of production. And they do not see socialism as a distinct social system in its own right but accept, instead, capitalism going on and on forever through the enactment of reforms. The Labour Party refuses to accept socialism as a social system in its own right.

Some free market think tanks claim Maynard Keynes was a 'socialist'. You cannot do anything about a politics coming out of a padded cell somewhere outside Reading. Keynes wanted to save capitalism not get rid of it. He was a Liberal not a socialist. It seems that if you do not politically like someone or something you refer to it as a 'socialist'. It is just playground politics: childish name-calling.

If the media are to believed there are socialists everywhere. They are dangerous to know. They are used to frighten the children.

Socialists are not the first to have to endure this political stupidity. The 17th century levellers were demonised in this way, among others by the conservative, Edmund Burke. No one in the late eighteenth century wanted to be associated with a leveller. And later 'Jacobin' was used as a blanket term of abuse for the English radicals of the Corresponding society. No respectable person wanted to be a 'Jacobin'. Enemies of the ruling class are always shown dining with the devil.

So, who the hell is a socialist and why would you want to be one. Will a real socialist stand up?

Well, we are socialists. There are not many of us. Enough to know want we want and how to get it. And we want to see capitalism abolished and replaced with socialism. We want you to become socialists too. We want you, the working class to become socialists. Only a socialist majority made up of the working class can establish socialism.

As socialists we have studied capitalism, the world social system in which we live. We recognise that there are two classes; a capitalist class minority and working class majority. This is the basis we start from.

The capitalist class live off the unearned income of rent, interest and profit. The working class produce all the social wealth but only receive a fraction of this wealth in the form of wages and salaries.

As a class the capitalists exploit and the working class are exploited.

The capitalists own the minerals, the oil, the gas, the land, the factories, the transport and communication systems, the distribution points. Capitalists own the means of life to the exclusion of everyone else.

We, the working class majority, own nothing. We only have our ability to work for a wage or salary. We are forced to sell our labour power as a commodity.

At the heart of capitalism there is a class struggle over the extent and intensity of class exploitation. The class struggle takes place whether workers are aware of it or not. Capitalists have to exploit. They need to make surplus value and profits to re-invest and make more profit. Capitalism is all about making a profit for the capitalist class.

Class exploitation can only end with the abolition of capitalism. It can only end when the means of production are bought under common ownership and democratic control by all of society. And workers have to free themselves from capitalism. Workers must establish socialism without leaders. Workers have to politically think and act for themselves.

And to free themselves from capitalism requires the establishment of a principled socialist party with socialism and only socialism as its democratic objective.

The reason for a socialist political party is for socialists to gain control of the machinery of government including the armed forces of the state. The machinery of government protects the privately owned means of production and distribution.

As a consequence, socialists see the Labour party, the Democratic Party, the Republicans, the Greens, the SNP, and the Liberals all in one capitalist boat. And we oppose them all.

So we have become socialists not to enact reforms, nationalise industries, and force on capitalists rules and regulations. Capitalism can never be reformed to work in the interest of the working class. Nationalisation is state capitalism and changes nothing for workers and the economic and social problems they face. And most rules and regulations are passed either to protect capitalists from other capitalists or make the system more efficient in the exploitation of the working class.

We became socialists to abolish buying and selling and class exploitation. We become socialists to abolish the wages system and establish a classless society of free men and women. And we became socialists to struggle for a society that directly produces just to meet people’s needs not profit: "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need".

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