Which Would You Choose? Capitalism, State Despotism, or Real Socialism?

Image from page 1 of the leaflet
Capitalism, State Despotism, or Real Socialism?

Which Would You Choose?
Capitalism, State Despotism, or Real Socialism?
***
This is an OCR scan a four-page leaflet
that was distributed in 1969 by the
Socialist Labor Party of America.

WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

CAPITALISM
TWO CLASSES
WEALTH PRODUCED SOCIALLY
... BUT PRIVATELY OWNED
... AND CONTROLLED BY POLITICAL STATE
WORKERS PRODUCE ALL RECEIVE FRACTION

STATE DESPOTISM
TWO CLASSES
WEALTH PRODUCED SOCIALLY
... BUT STATE OWNED
... AND DESPOTICALLY RULED
WORKERS PRODUCE ALL RECEIVE FRACTION

OR REAL SOCIALISM
NO CLASSES
WEALTH PRODUCED SOCIALLY AND OWNED SOCIALLY
PLAN - DESIGN - MANUFACTURE - DISTRIBUTION - SERVICES - ETC.
WITH DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATION
THROUGH SOCIALIST INDUSTRIAL UNION GOVERNMENT
YOU WILL VOTE WHERE YOU WORK FOR
PLANT COUNCIL
LOCAL INDUSTRIAL COUNCIL
NATIONAL IND'L COUNCIL
ALL-INDUSTRY CONGRESS
WORKERS PRODUCE ALL, RECEIVE ALL

THE THREE SYSTEM COMPARED

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CAPITALISM

Capitalism is the prevailing social system in most of the world. Its apologists say it is the best of all possible systems. In the U.S., capitalists shun the word "capitalism." They prefer names that evoke a more pleasing image, such as "free enterprise," "people's capitalism," or even "democracy." Historically, however, "capitalism" is the accepted name for the economic and social system that emerged out of feudalism, and under which mankind has achieved phenomenal technological development and economic growth, though accompanied by brutality and at the cost of countless human lives.

PROPERTY

Under capitalism the means of production, distribution and social services are privately owned, with some government ownership. However, government ownership is usually limited to areas where the risks are too great, the profits too unattractive, or the scope of the operation too vast for private capital to undertake, or the activity too important to all capitalists to allow any one group of capitalists to have control: i.e., operation of the mails. By and large, the tools, land, factories, mines and other means of social production under capitalism are privately owned.

CLASSES

There are only two economic classes in a developed capitalist society -- a capitalist class and a working class. The capitalist class performs no useful economic function but lives by virtue of its ownership of the means necessary to sustain life. The working class, on the other hand, owns nothing except its ability to work, i.e., its labor power. When we say the working class owns nothing we mean that it owns none of the tools, none of the means of production that it must have access to in order to live.

Many who think of themselves as "middle class" are so-called professional workers, such as teachers, technicians, engineers and similar kinds of "white-collar" workers. But one and all they must sell their labor power to capitalists or to the political State in order to live, hence are members of the working class.

EXPLOITATION AND THE WAGE SYSTEM

Ruling classes have always exploited ruled or subject classes. In the ancient world, chattel slaves were exploited openly by being made to produce more than was needed to feed, clothe and house them. In the feudal era, serfs were forced to turn over part of their product to their feudal master, or to toil for him so many days each year. But under capitalism, exploitation is cloaked by the wage system. The capitalist buys the worker's labor power for a price (wage), and it appears as if a fair bargain had been struck. Actually, the working class produces all social wealth and performs all necessary social services. The wages it receives in return represent but a small fraction of the social wealth it alone produces. The capitalist class, by virtue of its ownership of the tools, appropriates the balance (by far the larger portion) of the social wealth. Thus, the wage system disguises the true nature and extent of capitalist exploitation, which has been well described as the "greatest robbery in history."

CLASS STRUGGLE

Wherever there are classes with antagonistic economic interests, there must inevitably be class struggle. The essence of today's class conflict may be simply stated. It is a struggle over the division of labor's product. The working class, driven by stark necessity, strives to increase its wages (its share of the wealth it produces), while the capitalist class, driven by the profit motive and related economic compulsions, constantly strives to increase the rate of exploitation. Neither class can increase its share without decreasing the share of the other. The result is an irrepressible and irreconcilable class struggle between the capitalists and workers.

PRODUCTION FOR SALE

Under capitalism production is carried on for sale and profit. This explains why it is that during capitalism's periodic depressions (which occur when production outstrips markets) workers suffer privation while the things they need to live rot in warehouses filled to overflowing or are wantonly destroyed.

DEMOCRACY

"Democracy" is not a synonym for "capitalism." In even the most "democratic" of capitalist countries, there is economic despotism. In the workshop the capitalist is absolute master. He can replace workers with machines. He can close down until business gets better and force his workers into unemployment. Or he can move his plant to another city or country and leave his employees stranded.

The truth is that capitalism is not only an economic despotism -- it is also a foe to political democracy. Wherever worker unrest arises, and capitalist rule is threatened, the capitalists are quick to throw political democracy overboard and establish dictatorial rule. This is what happened in Germany and Italy. It can happen here.

POLITICAL STATE

The State is a government based on territory (states, counties, congressional areas, etc.) and having special coercive powers (police, army, prisons, etc.) that are beyond democratic control. Historically, the State has always been an engine of ruling classes for holding down the ruled. The ancient State was the State of the slave owners, the feudal State the State of the feudal lords, and the modern State is the executive committee of the capitalist class.

THE FUTURE UNDER CAPITALISM

No social system can remain static. The process of technological evolution is continuous and it produces, within the limits of the fundamentals of a social system, changes in its outward character. Thus we observe definite trends in capitalism that are products of economic change and development. Control of the nation's economic life is steadily concentrating in a few giant capitalist corporations. At the same time, a steadily growing portion of the working class is becoming permanently unemployed. Trends now present in capitalist society are leading to Industrial Feudalism, a system wherein economic government, dominated by the bureaucratic hierarchies of great corporations and the plutocratic capitalists for whom they act, overshadows and absorbs the political State. This is the direction in which decadent capitalism is taking society.

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STATE DESPOTISM

The rulers of Soviet Russia falsely describe their system as "Socialism." Indeed, Russia's economic and social system bears so many striking resemblances to capitalism that it is often called "State capitalism." Such a designation is a misnomer, because to have capitalism proper there must be private ownership of the means of production. This does not exist in Russia. Fact is, the Russian system is unique in the world's history -- a bureaucratic State despotism.

PROPERTY

Bureaucratic statism vests ownership of the land, mills, mines, factories and all other means of social production, distribution and services in the State. Except for a modest amount of peasant property in the form of livestock, etc., there is no private ownership under this system.

CLASSES

Bureaucratic statism has brought into being a self-interested bureaucracy which, while it does not own the industries, otherwise fulfills the requirements of a ruling class. The State owns the industries, but the bureaucracy absolutely controls the State. This enables the bureaucracy, while paying lip service to "Socialism," to use the State-owned industries to exploit the propertyless workers and to enjoy disproportionately the fruits of their labor.

EXPLOITATION AND THE WAGE SYSTEM

According to the Kremlin rulers, the Soviet State is a workers' State. Workers, they argue, own it. To say the Soviet State exploits the workers, therefore, is equivalent to saying the workers exploit themselves.

This is sheer sophistry. It is made to seem plausible with the argument that what the workers do not receive directly in wages is used to build factories, homes, parks, and otherwise carry on "Socialist" construction.

Of course, part of the surplus value produced by Russian workers -- that is, the value produced over and above their wages -- is used for industrial and cultural expansion. But this may also be said of part of the surplus value squeezed out of the wage slaves of capitalism.

As in capitalist society, the great mass of workers receive A BARE LIVING WAGE. A minority of specialty trained workers share some of tne privileges that dribble down to them as prizes and bonuses, but the majority of Russian workers live from payday to payday, just as wage slaves do in the United States.

The points to note are these: 1. Russia's mreaucratic statism has the WAGE SYSTEM, the system in which workers sell their labor power as a commodity. (Marx called for "abolition of the wage system.") The big incomes and superfluities of the privileged bureaucrats can only come out if surplus value produced by labor. This is vhat enables the top bureaucrats to live like capitalist plutocrats.

CLASS STRUGGLE

The Soviet bureaucrats are constantly striving, not merely for more production, but, with their own bureaucratic interests in mind, for more profits. It is by making more profits for his factory that the Soviet manager gets bonuses for himself.

The class struggle exists in Russia, but it is camouflaged by a variety of devices, including the trade unions, which are kept under strict bureaucratic control, and by the judicious use of modest concessions not unlike those used by U.S. capitalists to insure themselves long periods of strike-free operation.

PRODUCTION FOR SALE

As under capitalism, production under mreaucratic statism is carried on for sale and profit. In fact, although competition is eliminated, and the "free" market is replaced by arbitrary pricing, business is conducted much as under capitalism. The money system prevails. And there is banking, interest, profit and capital. The fact that capital is owned by the State doesn't alter its character as capital. Marx explained that capital consists of means of production that are used to exploit, that is, get profit out of wage labor.

DEMOCRACY

Democracy is a word used as recklessly by the Soviet bureaucrats as by the capitalists. For the Russian workers have no more to say about the economic policies to which they must submit than have the American workers. And Russia's political "democracy" is form without substance -- the very opposite of Karl Marx's deal. The Soviet despots have twisted Marx's words for their own expedient ends. They have made a mockery of democracy and freedom.

POLITICAL STATE

It was a basic principle with Marx and Engels that, once capitalist rule is overthrown, the State "DIES OUT." Marx stated unequivocally that "the existence of the State is inseparable from the existence of slavery."

No one, least of all the Russian despots, can deny that the State exists in Soviet Russia. The myth is kept alive that sometime in the dim, distant future it will "wither away." But even this vague promise is belied by the constant efforts of the bureaucracy to strengthen the State and entrench their privileged positions.

THE FUTURE UNDER BUREAUCRATIC STATISM

Bureaucratic statism is, like all social systems, subject to evolutionary change -- within the limits of the fundamentals of the system. Some people wishfully dream of genuine Socialism coming via bureaucratic means. The hard truth is that the bureaucratic class has a material interest in perpetrating the bureaucratic system. To imagine that such a class will voluntarily yield its material interests and special privileged status is unrealistic. It is much more likely that, as new generations of bureaucrats inherit these privileges, they will seek more diligently than ever to entrench themselves. The ultimate result would be, not Socialism, but a variation of the same Industrial Feudalism (or at best a "benevolent" despotism) toward which decadent capitalism is tending.

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SOCIALISM

Socialism is the direct opposite of capitalism and bureaucratic statism in its philosophy and its economics, as well as in social form, governmental structure and productive purpose. It means a completely new social order, with new administrative institutions through which to direct democratically the social production of our industrial age in the interests of all society. Socialism does not now exist, and it never has existed anywhere in the world.

PROPERTY

Under real Socialism, the land, factories, mines, and all the other means of social production, distribution and services will be owned, controlled and administered, not by private persons, and not by a State, but collectively by all the people.

NO CLASSES

There will be no economic classes in Socialist Society. With the elimination of private (and State) ownership, the division of society into exploiting and exploited classes will end. Everyone will have the same basic material interests.

NO EXPLOITATION -- NO WAGE SYSTEM

Socialism means abolition of the wage system. Instead of wages the useful producers under Socialism will get back directly and indirectly (indirectly through social services-public health, education, recreation, etc.) all that they produce. Private (and State) property and profit having been eliminated entirely, there will be no way for social parasites, capitalistic or bureaucratic, to exist. In short, it will no longer be possible for any individual or group to secure the economic power that would make possible the exploitation of another human being.

Under Socialism we shall all be useful producers, collectively concerned with producing the most with the least expenditure of human labor, and collectively jealous of the rights of every individual to a life of happiness and affluence. We shall collectively produce the things we need and want. New techniques and inventions, and the elimination of anarchy and waste in production, will greatly increase the wealth available. And such technological improvements will not result in unwanted surpluses and unemployment -- they will enable us to reduce drastically the hours of work.

Socialism will, therefore, give us the leisure time to develop our gacuities and live healthy, happy, useful lives. Even with the facilities we now have, merely by eliminating capitalist waste and duplication and providing useful work for all, we could probably produce an abundance for everyone by working four hours a day, four or five days a week, and forty or forty-five weeks a year.

NO CLASS STRUGGLE

The material basis of Socialism provides the foundation and shelter for the lofty aspiration of the Ages -- the Brotherhood of Man.

PRODUCTION FOR USE

In the class-divided world of today the primary consideration is: Does it pay? In the Socialist World of tomorrow the chief question will be: Is it needed, desirable and socially beneficial? In short, Socialism means production of things to satisfy human needs and wants and not, as under capitalism or bureaucratic statism, for sale and profit.

INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY

Socialism means democratic control and management of the industries and social services by the useiul producers through a Socialist Industrial Union Government. The Socialist Industrial Union form of government, and the program for establishing it, were discovered and developed by the great American Marxist, Daniel DeLeon, and are expounded only by the Socialist Labor Party.

Under Socialism, all authority is exercised by the useful producers. Organized into integrally united Socialist Industrial Unions, they will manage and direct all social production. In each plant the rank and file will democratically elect a council or management committee to supervise their plant operations. In each shop unit every worker will participate directly through a shop council in making the plans tor carrying out the decisions of the management committee. The workers will also elect their foremen and supervisors, and make such other decisions as prove necessary for the efficient operation of the shop. Finally, they will elect their representatives to the All-Industrial Union Congress, which will coordinate all social production. All representatives and administrators will be elected directly by the rank and file. To further guarantee effective democratic control over all administrative bodies, all representatives will be subject to immediate removal or recall whenever a majority of those who elected them decide it is necessary or desirable to do so. Such is the full-flowered democracy of Socialism. It will be a democracy solidly based on that PRIMARY freedom which is the foundation of all freedoms -- ECONOMIC FREEDOM.

NO POLITICAL STATE

In advanced industrial nations such as the U. S. there is no need for a so-called transition period. We can move into Socialism immediately. There will be no class to hold down, hence no need of a political State. The Socialist Industrial Union, WHICH THE WORKERS WILL HAVE TO ORGANIZE TO ENFORCE THE SOCIALIST BALLOT, will assume the reins of government the moment Socialism triumphs at the ballot box.

THE FUTURE UNDER SOCIALISM

Socialism is the next logical and higher order of society. All historic forces, economic and social, point in that direction. And when Socialism is achieved, the cause of mankind's most pressing problems -- war, depressions, crime, prejudice, etc. -- will have been eliminated.

Socialism will be a society wherein we will make the fields yield an abundance without arduous toil; wherein the factories, mines, mills, etc., will be the safest, the most modern, the most efficient, the most sanitary possible, and productive beyond our wildest dreams without laborious work; wherein our educational institutions will have the finest facilities and be devoted to developing complete human beings; wherein our medical and social services will concentrate on creating and maintaining the finest health and recreational facilities conceivable; wherein, in short, toil and drudgery, poverty and social misery will be banished forever. To Socialism alone is the task reserved "of solving one and all the problems that have come floating down the streams of time, and that have kept man in internecine strife with man."