On Dispossessing the Capitalist Class


Information -- Key to Democracy
By Alan Sanderson
Published by the De Leonist Society of Canada

"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise that control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion."

-- Thomas Jefferson, 1820

De Leonists stand with Jefferson on democracy, believing in government of society by the people themselves. The problem today is that the people neither govern themselves nor are they informed of the means whereby they could do so.

At issue is the need for a new and higher social order -- Socialism -- to replace outworn capitalism.

By Capitalism we mean the system we live under, in which the necessaries of production (land, minerals, timber, farms, transportation and communication industries, factories, service industries, etc.) are owned and/or controlled by the capitalist class, which possession translates into both wage slavery in the workplace and capitalist class control of the political field.

By Socialism we mean the meaning conveyed by De Leon thus: "Socialism is that social system under which the necessaries of production are owned, controlled and administered by the people, for the people, and under which, accordingly, the CAUSE of political and economic despotism having been abolished, class rule is at an end. That is Socialism, nothing short of that."

The former definition accords with evidence that cannot be gainsaid, the latter with the opportunity inherent in the nature of modern industry -- a giant wealth-producing complex operated and managed largely by SOCIAL LABOR. The former precludes democracy, the latter is the frame for its exercise.

But although this knowledge has long been known, the capitalist class is obviously loath to share it with the public! Let the naive shed their naivety and the credulous their credulity, this "conspiracy of silence" is surest sign of capitalist fearfulness of the very thought of bona fide Socialism. Small wonder that capitalist journalism suppresses the truth that the capitalist class is a class of sponge, that Capitalism enriches the capitalist class by impoverishing the working class. Small wonder that the truth about Capitalism, and by contrast the truth about the socialist alternative, must necessarily head the capitalist index of no-nos, and that censorship, misinformation, falsification and double-talk anent these systems are the order of the day. For if the truth were generally known, what great change might take place! The people might decide to scrap Capitalism in favor of Socialism, and Socialism, with egalitarian soul, would undoubtedly (perish the thought!) enroll the erstwhile capitalist in the workforce.

No doubt about it, under Capitalism the mass media constitutes an information industry which, being owned and/or controlled by the capitalist class, thereby serves the interest of the said class. The fact is proved a thousand times over, and even as we write another revelation comes to hand.

The case concerns the recent meeting in Detroit of ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized countries. We have before us the March 16th edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail (self-styled "Canada's National Newspaper") containing both a report of that "summit" and comment upon it. The significance of both lies not only in what is conveyed to the nation, but in what is concealed. Under the head, "Governments seek new unemployment cures," the reader is informed that, "The two-day international jobs summit may have at least convinced governments that old cures for unemployment won't work," and that the "focus" of the conference was therefore a search "for potential solutions." Now SOCIALISM is, of course, a "potential solution," a solution without equal, a solution which, instead of attemping to mitigate the effects of unemployment, affords a complete and permanent cure by removing the cause. The Globe and Mail (as well as the G7 leaders) must well know it, yet, monstrous as unemployment is, it was a foregone conclusion that this "national" newspaper, for one, would on this occasion, as in the past, continue to put capitalist interest above national well-being by allowing not a whisper of socialist information to grace its pages.

If society is to be lifted out of the capitalist morass it is now in, the lifting can be done only by a working class informed of both the goal of Socialism and its architecture -- a working class enlightened upon the aim, form and function of Socialist Industrial Unionism. That information will never be given to our class by the mouthpieces of Capitalism; we must inform one another!