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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 September 2019

Featured letter

At 96 I'm more convinced of socialism than ever

Claude out campaigning against NHS privatisation, photo Suzanne Beishon

Claude out campaigning against NHS privatisation, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Claude Mickleson, Gloucestershire Socialist Party

Approaching my 96th birthday, I thought the other day: why am I a socialist? I've been one, a revolutionary socialist, for a very long time - and do you know what? Every day that passes I am more convinced that I've chosen the right path.

I started out in the Young Communist League, the youth wing of Britain's Communist Party, in 1937. Then the war came. In the decades following, I never lost my beliefs, but the pressures of daily life took over.

It wasn't until 2009 that I finally reconnected organisationally with my past, but this time by becoming a true communist - a proud Trotskyist member of the Socialist Party and Committee for a Workers' International.

When people are introduced to the concept of socialism - whether in the popular media or at school - they are presented with a simple equation: socialism equals a crippled economy that fails to meet people's basic needs, plus a totalitarian government.

Stalinism, for example, is held up as a warning of where socialism leads to. The youngsters who learn in school about the Soviet Union are told socialism means brutality and weary consumers standing in endless lines to purchase defective products.

Disorder

But with capitalism today in an increasing state of disorder, which promotes and intensifies world poverty and the risks of new wars, it's becoming increasingly urgent to raise the question that capitalism always prefers to dodge. Which system is superior, capitalism or socialism?

When the question is posed in a bread-and-butter form of how well off the working class will be, socialism triumphs decisively. But socialism is more than about being well paid for the work one does. It revolutionises how society operates.

The capitalist system, in which a small number of bosses are allowed to steal the products of our labour and subordinate everyone else's interests to their own, is replaced with a democratic structure in which the working class itself runs society collectively.

The working class directs society's progress according to a conscious plan that is drawn up after a full debate throughout society, conducted through a real 'parliament', not the sham one we have today: democratically run workers' councils at every level - workplace, town and national.

In other words, we can begin to create a world in which all members of society will become informed, and encouraged to participate in determining the fundamental policies that will guide the direction of society.

With a reduced workweek, universal, quality education, and a system where everyone contributes to running society, a new culture can gradually emerge - in which "the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labour... has vanished" and "the productive forces have also increased with the all-round development of the individual."

Thus, we will finally be able to claim "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs"!

That's why I'm a socialist. I hope you will become one too if you are not already.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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In The Socialist 4 September 2019:


What we think

Tories out now - Corbyn in with socialist policies

Marches, blockades, strikes, occupations... How can protests win?


News

Money doesn't make up for cuts - education unions must organise for funding and against Tory attacks

Bury expelled from football league: Boot out the bosses ruining our game

Dozens of protests say Boris must go - Socialist Party policies heard on TV


Climate change

20 September climate action day: Strike to save the planet!

Climate action day - trade union round-up


Wales

Austerity anger feeds movement for Welsh independence


Retail

What strategy can end the retail jobs massacre?

Workplace victory emboldens retail workers to get organised


Workplace news

TUC: name the day for a mass demo

Nottingham college workers plan 15 days of walkouts

Science Museum Group staff strike over pay restraint

DVSA strike: action impacting

South Western Railway guards strike against DOO

London bus workers protest for better hours and conditions


International socialist news and analysis

Hong Kong protests: No let-up in trial of strength


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist Party Youth and Student national meeting

Priced out of Pride

Bradford demo: Self-determination for Kashmir


Opinion

At 96 I'm more convinced of socialism than ever

The Socialist Inbox


 

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