Monday, 25 February 2013
Socialism or Communism
It is an interesting thing I’m asked from time to time what you mean by socialism are you not just a communist. Well there is a difference but the end goal is more or less the same. Tonight I am doing a lead off at Harlow Socialist party on what is socialism and I will start by explaining its transitional nature. Socialism the lower form of communism as Lenin described it in The State and Revolution one of his greatest contributions to revolutionary thinking I’d say describes socialism or lower communism as a transitional phase which still consists of capitalist elements but with a socialist edge with the directional arrows pointing in the direction of moving towards a withering away of the state as the old ruling class is removed from the scene of history. Socialism what we stand for in the socialist party is a transitional programme consisting of reforms which capitalism c cannot meet quite deliberately. A transitional programme with transitional demands is supposed to draw the working class forward but not too far in front of its own current thinking to lead it to draw the conclusions for the need to change society. So in affect we are communists and socialists at the same time which may sound strange. But Communism is the final target of a state less and a class less society where the need for a state to oppress a class by another class is gone as there would only be one class left t he working class ready and able to run society for the masses. Socialism and communism are alike in that both are systems of production for use based on public ownership of the means of production and centralized planning. Socialism grows directly out of capitalism; it is the first form of the new society. Communism is a further development or "higher stage" of socialism. From each according to his ability, to each according to his deeds (socialism). From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs (communism). The socialist principle of distribution according to deeds— that is, for quality and quantity of work performed, is immediately possible and practical. On the other hand, the communist principle of distribution according to needs is not immediately possible and practical—it is an ultimate goal. Obviously, before it can be achieved, production must reach undreamed of heights—to satisfy everyone’s needs there must be the greatest of plenty of everything. In addition, there must have developed a change in the attitude of people toward work—instead of working because they have to, people will work because they want to, both out of a sense of responsibility to society and because work satisfies a felt need in their own lives. Socialism is the first step in the process of developing the productive forces to achieve abundance and changing the mental and spiritual outlook of the people. It is the necessary transition stage from capitalism to communism. It must not be assumed, from the distinction between socialism and communism, that the political parties all over the world which call themselves Socialist advocate socialism, while those which call themselves Communist advocate communism. That is not the case. Since the immediate successor to capitalism can only be socialism, the Communist parties,-like the Socialist parties, have as their goal the establishment of socialism. Are there, then, no differences between the Socialist and Communist parties? Yes, there are. The Communists believe that as soon as the working class and its allies are in a position to do so they must make a basic change in the character of the state; they must replace capitalist dictatorship over the working class with workers’ dictatorship over the capitalist class as the first step in the process by which the existence of capitalists as a class (but not as individuals) is ended and a classless society is eventually ushered in. Socialism cannot be built merely by taking over and using the old capitalist machinery of government; the workers must destroy the old and set up their own new state apparatus. The workers’ state must give the old ruling class no opportunity to organize a counter-revolution; it must use its armed strength to crush capitalist resistance when it arises. Instead of wanting to take away people’s private property, socialists want more people to have more private property than ever before. There are two kinds of private property. There is property which is personal in nature, consumer’s goods, used for private enjoyment. Then there is the kind of private property which is not personal in nature, property in the means of production. This kind of property is not used for private enjoyment, but to produce the consumer’s goods which are. Socialism does not mean taking away the first kind of private property, e.g. your suit of clothes; it does mean taking away the second kind of private property, e.g. your factory for making suits of clothes. It means taking away private property in the means of production from the few so that there will be much more private property in the means of consumption for the many. That part of the wealth which is produced by workers and taken from them in the form of profits would be theirs, under socialism, to buy more private property, more suits of clothes, more furniture, more food, more of the things we need. More private property for use and enjoyment. No private property for oppression and exploitation. That’s socialism. Socialism would see an instant shortening of the working week to an initial 35 hours with no loss of pay allowing workers to have time out of work to start to run society. As capitalism has you working all hours of the day you have no time to plan political activity or how to start to plan the running of society collectively. Former economies and nations which called themselves communist we do not consider were communist or even socialist they had a planned economy but run on a bureaucratic rule with no democracy to keep the bureaucracy in check or really had any intention on seeing through the transitional stage to removing the state if anything the states in these lands has grown beyond proportion. We often call these nations degenerated workers states as they are no longer capitalist but can’t be called socialist either they are transitional in c character but as Marxists we must understand the direction of change and the nature of that change. Ultimately today’s socialists and communists largely agree we need to replace this rotten capitalist system with something better some have different ideas of how to get there but one thing is for sure we can’t go on as we are the world is full of resources and there is so much wealth in society if only it was harnessed for the benefit of the many not just the few.