The Socialist Task
The brutal power of capital steam-rollers over the weak. The capitalists seek money and power. All the peoples of the world, all the individuals, all people are forced to submit to it. Humanity’s happiness and independence are disappearing. Mankind is being transformed into things. No longer individuals, but things which are subjects of capital. They are pulled and dragged by the furious omnipotence of capital and are transformed into the appendices of machines. In the world of the capitalists the frantic greed for money, for power and for hedonistic pleasure increases. Corruption and boundless luxury are on the rise. Madness and mental illnesses become more common.
Among the working class the intensity and exploitation of labour increases. The intensity of the class struggle increases. And so does the power of the employers, the governments, the multinationals and corporations. Against all these powers, the power of the workers is diminished, the burdens which weigh them down get heavier and their lives become more fraught with hardship. The trade union struggle is more difficult, the parliamentary struggle becomes more problematic. Social welfare legislation has come to an end. Rather than the beauty of local customs there are no longer any differences between Russian, German, French and English culture. The differences that once existed have been leveled by capital.
The rich are themselves poor slaves: in effect, they are not the masters of their destiny. They must do what they do not want to do and are afraid to do. The crushing power of capital, master of destiny, pushes them forward. Capital launches them, insane with rage, one against the other. Like beasts that do not know what they are doing they try to tear each other and the world apart. But they must act this way because capital, in its latest phase of its expansion, wants them to. The workers futilely attempt to resist. They join together and fight for their emancipation, in vain. They are dragged along with everyone else. They are, for the most part, weak, without understanding, without clarity. When the trade unions and the workers’ political parties seek improvements, they are nothing but associations of slaves who want improvements in their servitude. How many workers are really fighting for their general emancipation? Few enough. Very few. The trade union movement, which fights only for small gains, and which obtains no satisfaction except thanks to small concessions on the part of the employers and by means of contracts signed with the latter, considerably reinforce this process. The capitalists and the workers are the puppets of material forces which are infinitely greater than themselves. The process of production, more powerful and more terrible than ever, dominates them entirely.
Great art is dead. Great painting is dead. The great poetry of all countries is dead. Great prose is dead. Great architecture is dead. Music is nothing but the shadow of its former self. What survives is without heart, without love. Art now ranges from the hard, cruel capitalist sensations to the soft and maudlin petit bourgeois sensations, and to a cowardly mysticism. It no longer contains a single elevated or universal thought. In its desperation, in its individualism, it has gone to the extreme and has often deviated into madness. Any higher culture, ardor of the soul and the spirit, moral beauty, is suppressed to a very low level by consumerism. Culture among the workers, culture in the sense of the fight for freedom is a very rare, almost non-existent phenomenon. Science remains aloof from society and is like a plant that can live without soil and water. Workers do not participate in scientific culture.
There are moments in the class struggle when only the antagonism between capital and labour can be taken into consideration; then, whoever treats this antagonism as of secondary importance and, considering all the chances and difficulties, ends up abstaining from action and from the struggle, would betray the cause of the proletariat. There are moments when defeat is preferable to avoiding danger. There are moments when retreating from an imminent threat guarantees a future defeat, and there are moments when everything must be sacrificed to guarantee the future. There are moments when one has to fight in spite of all difficulties. And we are currently living through just such a moment. Capitalism is for the first time coming forward with all its forces, with its supreme force, to conquer the world by destroying the environment, threaten the continued survival of the human species by unrestrained global warming and climate change. This is the moment when the people must show that it has recognized this necessity. This is the moment to declare and to begin the struggle because once one has started to bow one’s head, the struggle becomes infinitely more difficult. Yet the masses do not understand this. They bows their head for lack of sense, for lowly desires of small advantages which it will not be able to obtain, and for cowardice. The workers kow-tow like the slaves they are. We make no effort to fight for freedom and the consequences for the world may well be irreversible. How can the world’s population renounce their own interest in such a fashion and put itself at the service of the 1%? The international working class acts in such a way from ignorance. The working class as a whole and the individual worker need a higher level of consciousness if they want to take action.
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