Capitalism is the Disease, Revolution is the Cure
Do you want to abolish crime, disease and despair from the world? Then abolish poverty which is the cause. Would you like to abolish poverty? Then assist us in abolishing the wages system, the cause of poverty. A society that cannot hush the crying of hungry children or the weeping of women made widows by war isn't worth a damn. For every crime against the mother and the child, capitalism is to blame. It is the ulcer of privation. So long as society maintains the present system of wage slavery, there can be no relief. To rid the world of poverty, capitalism has to be abolished. The only one escape is through the united effort of the whole working class.
The whole working class has been under attack and resistance have been infrequent and limited. Like it or not, so far, the class struggle has been pretty much contained. But even if workers don’t recognize it working-class fight-backs are not only possible -- they are inevitable. Class conflict between the capitalists and the workers is at the very heart of the capitalist system. The capitalist class makes profits at the expense of the working class’s wages and living standards, so the two sides are inevitably driven to class war. When a capitalist pays a worker a wage, they are not paying for the value of a certain amount of completed labour, but for labour-power. The soaring inequality in contemporary society illustrates this--over the past decades, the wealth that workers create has increased, but this has not been reflected in wages, which remain stagnant. Instead, an increasing proportion of the wealth produced by workers swelled the pockets of the super-rich, who did not compensate the workers for their increased production on the job. It appears that the capitalist pays the worker for the value produced by their labour because workers only receive a paycheck after they have worked for a given amount of time. In reality, this amounts to an interest-free loan of labour-power by the worker to the capitalist. As Marx wrote, "In all cases, therefore, the worker advances the use-value of his labour-power to the capitalist. He lets the buyer consume it before he receives payment of the price. Everywhere, the worker allows credit to the capitalist." Socialists conclude that the only way for workers to control the wealth they create and use it to meet their needs was under a different system altogether. As he wrote in Value, Price and Profit, "Instead of the conservative motto 'A fair day's wages for a fair day's work!' they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword: 'Abolition of the wages system!”
To re-iterate capitalism can be best defined as generalised commodity production where labour power itself has become a commodity. The workers—those who operate the means of production—are separated from them, or using legal language, don’t own them. Instead, a separate class of people—the capitalists—own the means of production. The capitalists purchase labour power from people who belong to the proletariat—people who own neither land nor capital. The proletarians sell their ability to work, or labour power, to the capitalists and get in return a definite sum of money—called a wage. Wages are therefore nothing but the price of labour power. In a socialist society there would be no wage system. In a socialist society we would have full and free access to the collective wealth of society.
Marx described the often mis-defined first phase of communism thus.
“Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production,” Marx wrote, “the producers do not exchange their products; just as little does the labour employed on the products appear here as the value of these products, as a material quality possessed by them, since now, in contrast to capitalist society, individual labour no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of total labour.”
Remember, this is Marx describing the lower not the higher stage of communism. While under capitalism only the labour that is used to produce the money commodity is directly social, under communism, including its first stage, the labor that goes into the production of all products is directly social. Marx explained that the lower phase of communism is a co-operative society. It is a gigantic producers’ cooperative that embraces the entire economy. Its central feature is the common ownership of the means of production. Notice, not some means of production but all means of production of any significance. There is not only no private ownership of the means of production. There is also no group ownership of the means of production such as existed with the Russian state-capitalism. Therefore, there are no classes at all. We are already dealing with a classless society. As far as their relationship to the means of production—ownership in legal language—all people are equal.
Second, “the producers do not exchange their products.” This is not only true of the producers of the means of production but also is true of the producers of the means of consumption. Many so-called Marxists over the decades such as the well-known economist Ernest Mandel, imagined that this was true only of the higher stage of communism. But this was not Marx’s view. Even in its initial stage, according to Marx, commodity production has already completely disappeared. “Just as little,” Marx wrote, “does the labour employed on the products appear here as the value of these products—since now, in contrast to capitalist society, individual labour no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of total labour.”
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