We Need a New Society
We live in a society where:
- Work is generally boring, unfulfilling and oppressive.
- Income is grossly unequal. Some people are super rich and others super poor. Many have no job, no education and no skills.
- Many of us live in a personal hell - mental illness, drug addiction, the experience of violence and sexual abuse.
- We all to varying degrees feel isolated and alienated from the society we live in.
What lies behind these conditions? The basic problem is that a minority monopolizes society's economic resources and forces most us to work for them. This means they get to cream off a lion's share of the output we produce and to control our working lives. This is the basis for a society of oppressed and crippled individuals. It is usually called capitalism.
It is a society where you are rewarded for being a bastard and penalized for doing the right thing. It is a society where most of us are just menials performing crappy work under the command of brown noses. And when they no longer want us we are discarded like a piece of rubbish.
Because work is self-destroying or self-limiting rather than self-affirming, it poisons every aspect of our life. Our spirits are ground down, our minds cramped and our feelings desensitized to the needs of others.
In this dog-eat-dog world, salt is thrown onto every wound. Fears and uncertainties are reinforced, and weaknesses magnified. If you refuse to fit in you are made an outcast. If you are a round peg you are jammed into a square hole. And poverty is the lot of the low paid, the discards on the job scrap heap and those who just can't function any more.
The only solution is a society based on equality and cooperation. This requires a new social system in which we collectively own the means of production and take control of our own working lives. We will no longer be bossed about. We will make work interesting and challenging for everyone and speed up the automation of the more onerous jobs. We will ensure each worker the right to a diverse career path that meets their needs and we will establish a culture of life-long development. We will also eliminate the unemployment scrap heap and let people reduce their working hours. Such a new society is often called socialism.
In such a society we will not only become more human, but also more productive, because work will be something we want to do and we will make more effective use of our creative powers.
Of course the elite tells us that this is impossible. They tell us that socialism is against human nature, that countries like the Soviet Union and China prove that it won't work and that socialism means police states and clapped out economies. Is it really against human nature to cooperate for mutual benefit? As for past failures, why would your expect socialism to succeed under such backward and feudal conditions? Even capitalism has had a lot of trouble developing in similar places.
While the struggle for radical change in developed countries such as ours will never be easy, the conditions are there for it to happen. To begin with, socialism in a developed economy would mean shared prosperity rather than futile attempts to share poverty. And over time we are becoming increasingly better equipped to successfully run things without masters. We are becoming better educated. We have the experience of modern life. And even our crappy jobs require most of us to use our brains more than workers of past generations.
Is socialism on the agenda yet? No, not yet, but it is now time to start winning the argument.
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