SOCIALISM IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
Socialism is the political expression of the principle of human inter-dependence. It embodies the idea that as members of the human-race, we are all essentially responsible for one another: we have an obligation of mutual support and share a reciprocal bond which binds us together for our collective protection and maintenance.
Expressed in a religious sense, it connotes the proposition that in order to fulfil one's obligation to the Creator (Divine Source) one must necessarily fulfil the commandment to serve one's fellow creatures. It also embodies the principle that the physical possessions which are bestowed, albeit temporarily, upon mankind are for the benefit of everyone, not being confined to the exclusive use of a privileged section of society.
Socialism, however, has been thoroughly discredited as a workable political philosophy, and is no longer fashionable. This is the prevalent view of most political commentators and is certainly the opinion of those affluent individuals who occupy the driving seats of the various governments, which are running the world at the present time. So why raise the spectre at all at this time, when it is so obviously a "dead duck"? After all, we have all been enjoying ourselves and, particularly, here in
, in "Privatising" Public-Property and selling it off to the highest bidder: usually ourselves or our friends and relations. In the process, we have “done ourselves proud”. We have made,(or at least some of us have and are still making), money from such profitable investments. We certainly do not wish to know about Socialism: it is a dirty word, hereabouts. Australia
Unfortunately for the capitalist, socialism has a tendency to stick around and, when least expected, to rear its ugly and unwelcome head. The reason for this is that socialism is the expression of a basic principle of humanity: the fundamental and undeniable equality of the mass of mankind. In spite of the howling catcalls of the disaffected, there are, and always will be, a minority of thinking people who comprehend the essential validity of the proposition that, "....all men are created equal." This quotation, no doubt, rings a bell somewhere within the faint and subconscious recollection of those who dwell in the, "Land of the Free!". If men are, fundamentally, equal, then they are entitled, as of right, to an equal share of the good things of life.
Proponents of the theory of the egalitarian basis of Society have always been unpopular with the representatives of entrenched privilege. They would deny it outright. Even in the days of Jesus of Nazareth, the wealthy and the powerful were suspicious of all levelling movements and the teachings of Jesus were, essentially, levelling. There is nothing that wealth loves more than stability and certainty, in the knowledge that change is unlikely: that the "status quo" will continue into infinity.
Throughout the history of
Europe, there do not appear to have been many instances of the development of powerful levelling movements. The principle social systems have been of a primitive and feudal type, in which wealth and power were concentrated in the hands of the few. Thus the lives of the poor have been traditionally a record of continuous deprivation: extreme poverty and ignorance. The lot of the masses was, from the distant past, a vicious cycle of squalor and semi-starvation: tolerated, promoted and sustained by the overbearing pressure and coercion of the powerful. For a thousand years there was little opportunity for the flowering of the intellect of the poor. What social movements did develop, were rapidly and viciously suppressed: e.g., the Hussite Movement in Bohemiaand the Peasant's revolt in . England
The French Revolution was the first major attempt on the part of the masses, within
Europe, to bring about a more equitable change in human relationships. Whilst it brought about the downfall of the Bourbon Dynasty, the revolution itself failed, largely owing to the immaturity and inability of the "fathers of the revolution" to establish a truly democratic and just system of government. The French Revolution destroyed the intellectualist elite, who might have been able to run the country. Those who attempted to establish orderly government, such as Danton, found themselves victims of the monster that they themselves had created. There was lacking a fundamental morality, necessary for the establishment of an equitable social system. It is this socialist-morality, which is an essential foundation upon which to build an enduringly democratic political system. Without a firmly idealistic goal, based upon the idea of the commonwealth of the people, all attempts to establish socialism will fail. This is due to the inherent weakness of the individual will: to selfishness, greed and personal ambition.
It is apparent that the essential cause of the failure of Socialist systems, in the past, has been the inability of those professing to be Socialists, to establish and maintain truly fraternal relationships within the fold of the faithful. Nobody can profess to be devoted to the cause of human wellbeing, if his motivation is corrupt. Karl Marx may have been sincere and I have no doubt that he was, but those who followed Marx and who implemented his co-operative ideas, had little collective awareness of the underlying morality which the principle of socialism demanded from them.
From time to time, there have appeared political parties in various lands, naming themselves, "Christian-Socialists". This again, is all very well, but Christian-Socialists are required to act like true Christians, not, as is so often the case, like those who merely think they are Christians, yet act in ways contrary to the teachings of the Nazarene.
Perhaps the closest approach to a form of democratic Socialism was that of the Fabian Socialists of Great Britain, who evolved theoretically advanced ideas regarding the promotion of the interests of the masses, as opposed to the collective interest of the wealthy. This movement grew into the British Labour Movement of World-War Two, which ultimately gained momentary control of Government in
for a while. During its period in office, the Atlee Government processed a great deal of social legislation, much of which was later reversed by reactionary Conservative governments. An earlier Labour Government of the 20's led by Ramsay McDonald, which, I understand, lacked an outright majority, attempted but achieved nothing in the way of democratic reform. Great Britain
Fabian Socialism was merely a limited approach to the question of egalitarianism and quickly succumbed to the pressures of materialism. The Fabians themselves were privileged, educated people, who would have been out of touch with the living conditions of the bulk of the poor in
. Their Socialism was a theoretical philosophy. It did not include such things as serious re-distribution of wealth or land reform. Never at any time did British Socialism threaten revolutionary change, without which little progress could have been made. England
During the last fifty years, the British Labour movement has drifted away from all thought of socialist philosophy, until we perceive no essential difference between the major political parties of the right or left. As in
, the labour movement has been subverted by infiltration and deception, so much so, that it is now unrecognisable as representative of working-class interests. Australia
The absence of an influential Press of the left, means that, until there is a major breakdown of the Capitalist system, resulting in severe and continuous hardship for the masses, there will not be a revival of interest in socialist principles in Western Society. In spite of the fact that all the signs of such a impending social collapse are there, as Capitalism slowly turns the thumbscrews on the lives of the workers, the masses of the people are still deceived into believing that the good times are sure to continue, indefinitely. The rot has already commenced in
Asiaand it will not be long before the boom of the West will give way to the bust. When it does, the protection formerly available to support the poor during periods of economic depression will no longer be in place, having been gradually whittled away by callous and indifferent political leaders. Then poverty will begin to bite: deprivation and hunger may inspire the once comfortable and complacent minds of the poor to forget the “telly” and their local football team, and encourage them to spend a moment or two considering what they have unwittingly permitted to slip from their grasp.
This process has certainly happened in the
in recent years, with the reduction or elimination of Welfare Services. Here in United States ( and I have previously commented on this fact ), the working classes are facing a barrage of assaults against their entrenched rights and working conditions. These take the form of "Award" conditions protected by Federal and State legislation. What protest is being made by "Socialist" or "Democratic" parties? Very little indeed: even the Trade Union Movement is so much a tool of Labor Party policy, that its protests against attacks upon workers rights are muted and half-hearted. There is no really united Socialist Labour Movement here in Australia at the present time and what Socialist Parties exist are tiny bodies of self-interested individuals, who are all flogging their own particular aspect of "Socialist" activity: be it women's rights, homosexual rights, marihuana-smokers, animal welfare or other extremist idiosyncrasies. Australia
None of these people have any concept of the importance of co-operation between individual groups of workers: co-operation which has been sadly lacking in the past, as one group enjoyed privileges over and above those of its fellow workers. When called upon to support the claims of other workers, there has been no response. "I'm all right Jack!", has been the answer. Under such conditions of self-interest, it has not been difficult for employers to drive a wedge between various groups of workers in the community, whose rights and privileges have subsequently been eroded, one by one. Indeed, many workers, usually in small, independent industries, have been induced to agree to waive their rights and privileges, preserved by Award conditions, in return for short-term and transient advantages, such as increased weekly wages or allowances. By this means, such benefits as guaranteed sick pay, have been whittled away. The crass folly of such action demonstrates the vulnerability of the workers, in situations where there is no disinterested party to advise them of their best course of action.
Had Australian workers enjoyed a sense of fellowship with their colleagues in other industries and with the Public Services of the Commonwealth and the States of Australia, they would undoubtedly have remained in an invulnerable position. Now the situation has been drastically altered, with massive loss of employment in all walks of life.
It is not going to improve, such is the remorseless determination of the "captains of industry" to destroy the power of the trade unions and eliminate the high wages and living standards of the Australian worker.
None of this need have happened. Had there been a sense of social obligation and community within the hearts and minds of the Australian Public. The Australian people should take a long hard look at what is happening all around them. They have the example of the
, a vast country with a large population, which has enjoyed a wonderful living standard throughout the 20th Century. Yet it is a well-known fact that millions of citizens of the United States are living well under the poverty line. There has been little to change this situation right throughout this period of time. The city of USA Washington DC, the Capital city of the , itself has hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken black citizens residing within its borders. There is an enormous drug and alcohol problem affecting these unhappy souls, who live in close proximity to the vista of the massive opulence and vainglorious display of the wealth of their white superiors. United States
What has this to do with the principle of mankind's equality? It is merely an indicator that the rule is conveniently ignored when it is appropriate to do so. Of course, Washington, Jefferson and the framers of the
' Constitution were merely feeling sociable when they declared that "...all men are created equal...". Never for one moment did they consider that black people would ever be included within the general definition of "men". Nor, indeed, did they intend to introduce Socialism or anything approaching such a political philosophy into the new system, which they were so carefully establishing. The only essential change was in the persons who would be running things. It merely remains to confirm that neither the Parliamentary Revolution in United States in the 17th Century nor the American Revolution in the 18th were inspired by egalitarian principles. Britain
The 17th Century in
did produce a movement of "Levellers": puritanical Protestants, who were enthused with the idea of the equality of all people, amongst whom were the Quakers. They made but little contribution towards the progress of the revolution. Indeed, the Quakers, under their leader, George Fox, would have nothing whatever to do with the promotion of the Civil War: War and Civil strife, in any form, being contrary to the principles expounded by these most Christian of men. None of the levellers were popular with the parliamentary party and were actively suppressed. What was of great significance, however, was the fact that Britain , at this time, should have been capable of producing such progressive and liberal ideas and from within the ranks of the unlearned and ignorant masses. Of course, the Quakers, with their astonishingly advanced social philosophy, were unpopular with those who wanted to run things their own way. They were persecuted by the Independents during the period of Parliamentary rule and again, upon the restoration of the Stuarts. Many "Friends", including Fox himself, suffered extended periods of imprisonment, in foul conditions, for their staunch adherence to their enlightened principles. England
The Russian Revolution of l917, although prompted by egalitarian principles, quickly floundered in a sea of blood, resulting finally in the Soviet system of the Stalinist years. In no way can this period be regarded as the time of the, "Flowering of Socialism!". The Soviet system was totalitarian and belligerent: even engaging in a sustained reign of terror for 60 or more years and oppressing: butchering or starving, millions of its own citizens. Socialism is essentially democratic, whilst the
was, undoubtedly, a Police State, in which the rights of individuals were ruthlessly suppressed. In this respect the Russian people had much in common with the poorer citizens of the McCarthyist United States. USSR
Obviously, Russian style communism was only popular with Communist Party members and those who profited from the system. The satellite states,
Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, etc., were virtually annexed by the following World War II, with the consent of the Western Powers, and had little individual say in the question of who would be running their affairs. USSR
, on the other hand, was liberated by a determined Socialist revolutionary group, fighting against a corrupt, decadent and oppressive regime in its own country. This writer has only admiration for the Cubans, in their determination to run their own land in their own way. They have persevered, in spite of the most oppressive and outrageous conduct of the Cuba United States, which for many years has maintained a completely unlawful blockade and trade embargo against the people of . Cuba
It is a well-known fact that the "Bay of Pigs" invasion of
, in the 60's, was supported by President Kennedy and funded by the American Mafia. This fact speaks volumes regarding the morality of the Cuba , in its dealings with its near neighbour. One might be excused for imagining that there exists an obligation on the part of such a wealthy and powerful nation as the USA, to give the people of Cuba support and assistance in whatever way is possible, to enable them to establish and maintain reasonable living standards for their people. The contrary has occurred and is still continuing to deprive the Cubans of their essential right to live in peace and in freedom: to practice the principle of equality which is their God-given right and to which the United States pays lip-service in its much quoted, but generally disregarded and dishonoured, Constitution. United States
The sustained trade embargo and sanctions, arbitrarily imposed by the
over a period of fifty years, together with a constant barrage of anti-Castro propaganda throughout this period, has resulted in a reduced standard of living for the majority of Cubans. It is, therefore, not surprising that a proportion of the population should become disaffected with the prevailing Socialist system. Many of these people, unable to appreciate the sacrifices made by their forefathers and unwilling to work for the community, have left United States Cuba, seeking the bright lights of life in the . United States is well rid of these people: those who care only for themselves. They will find themselves much better off, I am sure, in the hell-hole of a degenerate and vice-ridden Cuba . Florida
So far as
is concerned: the triumph of Communism can only have been of tremendous benefit to the masses of the poor. At the end of the Second World War, China was governed by a motley array of War Lords, each seeking his own personal advantage in the general chaos. The success of the Chinese People's Army, created order out of anarchy. Sadly, a Godless communism, lacking a spiritual sanction, rapidly developed into a totalitarian system. Perhaps this was inevitable, given the enormous population and extent of the nation and the interminable historical difficulties facing the new rulers. How does one govern a nation of a billion people, without exercising a strict and, at times, ruthless control? Whatever happened, China was not an example of democratic socialism at work. The same could be said for China , in which totalitarian dictatorship is the order of the day and has been so for fifty years. North Korea
What then, went wrong with the Utopean ideal? Essentially, neither the
USSRnor and its satellites were sufficiently mature in a cultural sense, for democratic socialism to work. China with its horde of private armies was in a chaotic state, much of this chaos occasioned by l9th Century interference in Chinese affairs by European interests. The China Soviet Unionwas emerging from a feudal system, from which the serfs were only liberated in the late l9th Century. In neither culture did there appear to be a highly developed social consciousness. Life was cheap and the need for individual freedom, lightly regarded. After a blood bath in each instance, it is not difficult to understand why totalitarian systems were introduced in both Russiaand . China
With the withdrawal of the British from
Indiaand , in l946, the Government of India was established on Socialist principles. This was necessary, in order to moderate the extreme poverty of countless millions of poor Hindus. Pakistan
The Indian experience has been hampered by the need to maintain a large standing army: both from fear of
Chinaand from . With support from the Soviet Union, Pakistan was able to maintain, if not greatly improve, the living conditions of its poorer classes. Upon the collapse of the Russian economy, both India Indiaand have suffered financial difficulties. In the case of Cuba , there has been a "liberalization" of previously strict economic controls and an attempt at rapprochement with the Western powers. India
has largely failed, owing to the continuing class-consciousness in the survival of the Caste System, which denies the right of the lower castes to the enjoyment of a reasonable standard of living. This is despite the fact that the Caste System was declared unlawful soon after the attainment of Indian independence. The principle of the "Fundamental Equality of Mankind" has not borne fruit here. Another factor has also been the failure of population control measures, resulting in a population explosion since partition in l946. India
It will, therefore, be evident, that
has far to go before the establishment of a truly democratic and equitable social system. The rise of Fundamentalism within India , gives cause for further concern for the process of democratisation within this vast and ancient land. Religious polarization threatens to undermine the work of such earlier leaders as Mahatma Ghandi and Pandit Nehru, who both, in separate ways, worked for the unification of India . India
Socialism is the highest political aspiration of which the human mind is capable, but it must be based upon lofty principles as to the status of the individual. For a Socialist society to work, there must be the necessary degree of cultural maturity within the ranks of the people. There must be a devotional approach to the ideal: that the application and maintenance of the rule of service must be applied at all levels of public life. One cannot anticipate that there will be a rapid return to such standards in the forthcoming 21st Century: such is the progress of the march of materialism at the present time.
The Western World has been brain washed unceasingly for the last fifty-odd years, regarding the evils of Communism and its fellow-traveller, Socialism. It will not be until millions of people begin to think for themselves and to observe the capitalist mess, visible in the world around them, that Socialism will, once more, come into its own.
We certainly live in a world, gone mad, in the lust for the material benefits of life. These privileges, unfortunately, are not possessed by the majority of mankind but are confined to a relatively few of the "advanced" nations of the West.
Third Worldcountries are still racked by the internecine wars and civil strife which is the legacy of the white man's trade in arms, which the militarist interests of the West are willing and able to supply in large quantities to unsophisticated and ignorant people.
A resurgence of interest in Socialism as a Philosophy of life is inevitable, as the only ultimate solution to the woes that presently afflict mankind. Socialism invokes the recognition of the fact of the "Brotherhood of Mankind", and endeavours to apply principles of universal equity. Mankind does not need an over-abundant supply of luxuries to gratify the hedonistic wishes of the privileged but it does need suitable housing, food, employment, clothing, educational facilities and medical services for all its people. Only a Socialist system will apply these priorities: only Socialism will redistribute wealth so that it adequately provides for all the members of a given community.
A liberal socialist government will permit a modest degree of personal enterprise, it will not eliminate private property but it will limit the extent of the accumulation of wealth by individuals, as being in the interest of the people as a whole. It will see to it that no one is in a position to exercise despotic control over millions of poverty-stricken and ignorant poor, as is the case in many parts of the world today.
With a smaller share of the national wealth being diverted into arms production, a socialist government is able to invest in its people: in the education of the masses: in the maintenance of reasonable levels of public health. Socialism, practised universally, means no World Wars and less Civil strife. Recent activity on the part of the
United Statesand its allies, Britain, and France, would indicate that the world is moving rapidly towards a military catastrophe. How long can the West support such huge military establishments, equipped with "high-tech" killing instruments, before we descend into the abyss? Germany
The present state of affairs is the product of militarist policies which themselves result from pressure from arms-producing capitalist enterprises. The world is flooded with highly efficient weaponry, which is bound to be used by the strong against the weak. This is what we are witnessing at present in the Balkans and in the near-East. The world can only stand-by and observe the increasing disregard of the
for the decisions of the United Nations Organization. It has become apparent that the USA is prepared to trample upon the wishes of the world-community in determining for itself who is to be the next target in its assertion of its claim to world dominion. USA
If Socialism has failed, then it becomes increasingly evident that lassez-faire capitalism, which has burdened mankind in the past, is about to deal the death blow to human progress, in a massive conflagration, which is quite likely to result in the extinction of life upon the Earth. We have quite definitely reached the point of no return, when it comes to the decision whether to continue the arms race to the state when every man is armed against his neighbour, or whether simple common sense and sound reason will prevail. There can be no alternative but to dismantle the system before it wipes us all out.
The 2lst Century, if we reach that stage, might present us with a breathing space, wherein to consider our position. When it all comes to the point that nobody will be safe or secure, no-matter how well prepared for the impending disaster.
Capitalism will not submit: profits must be made: otherwise we go under. The richest rewards are in armaments: therefore, they will be produced and men will kill themselves much more efficiently than ever before. Politicians in the
, and elsewhere, are the product of a militarist/capitalist system: they have been educated within that philosophy and can see no other solution to the economic problems facing mankind. USA
What then is to be done? We observe the prevailing mess and despair of a solution. Only when men understand the principle of mutual dependence, will we begin to comprehend wherein the solution lies: it will lie in a return to social awareness: in the development of new socialism: in which a love and regard for humankind is expressed in physical terms: in a raising of the living-standard for all people: in the provision of jobs, of housing, of adequate food and clothing, of education and health care for all the people of a given nation. Only in the provision of basic services can we hope to see the light in the present darkness. Only when the swords have been beaten into ploughshares and put to work for mankind will we make any form of progress.
There were a few idealists in the l9th Century who looked forward to the progress of humanity. Were they to observe the state of things today, they would feel deeply disappointed and betrayed. Whilst benefiting from the material progress of this Century, we have allowed our moral faculties to atrophy. We have not wanted to know: we do not wish to be reminded of our failure to ourselves and to our fellows.
In the past, we have allowed self-interested, opportunistic politicians to bamboozle us into thinking that they were interested in the Public Weal. In all the nations of the Western World, as we rush to the brink of a third World- War, it becomes all too clearly apparent that we have been hoodwinked. Now is the time for working-class people, of all nations, to begin to think for ourselves and not merely to leave that to others, whom we have thought were cleverer than we ourselves. Now, more than ever before, is there a need for workers, in the immortal words of Marx, to "Unite!" against the enemy within. These are those puppets of International Capitalism who have been so busy undermining and destroying the essential rights and privileges of working-class people everywhere.
We are still in the majority: we have the vote: we should, indeed, unite and elect representatives who will honestly and dutifully fulfil the mandate of the people. Those who profess to work for the people under the banner of a "Labour" Party will need to return to the traditional socialist policies of a Working-Class political party. The only alternative is the formation of new parties, dedicated to the establishment of socialist principles.
Will the 2lst Century see the revival of Socialism? If we do not act now, there will not be a 22nd Century: nor yet will we see the completion of the first ten years of the next Century. Yes, my friends, the situation is that serious! The time bomb is ticking away! This is not merely an attempt at melodrama: the world is under threat of a major and irreversible disaster in the massive accumulation of weaponry: contemporary, nuclear and chemical, which is swamping our environment today. The control of these instruments of evil is in the hands of cynical and unprincipled men, who do not lack either the will or the capacity to use them.
It is not a pretty prospect for humanity at the present time. The only possible solution is to be found in a return to the idea of Democracy: based upon the principle of the fundamental equality of all people. This is the indestructible doctrine of Socialism: "Government of the people, by the people and for the people!"
Have you heard that somewhere before?
It's time to stir the slumbering giant!
31st March l999
Individualism is getting prominence. We were comparing small families and nuclear families, but suddenly Individualism has erupted. There are many affairs which are pure State affairs, many are not. One of them is Socialism. If Socialism in India has failed to some (good) degree then probably one of the reason was delimiting the scope of Socialism to state. It was not practised at the level of Individual. Or at least there never have been any any larger programme which would educate and groom masses about the aspects of Socialism. Probably when my study grows more on this matter, I can answer better. I am putting one article here about Socialism in 21st Century :-