Thursday, August 23, 2007

World without borders

We live in a world which has the potential to adequately feed, house and provide clean water and decent medical care for every single man, woman and child on Earth. The resources exist to banish material want as a problem for members of the human race. Yet millions throughout the world are malnourished, live in squalor or are actually dying of starvation or starvation-related diseases. The big question that faces the human race is: what can be done about it?

For some years, pressure groups concerned with the plight of populations in the less developed countries have urged bankers and governments in the richer nations to cancel the Third World debt. They imagine that if the billions of dollars in loans and interest owed by governments in Africa, South America, and Asia were written off then the crushing burden of poverty suffered by the mass of people in those regions would begin to lift. A fresh way would be open for development, they argue. Food subsidies and health programmes would attack the deaths from malnutrition and disease. Education and housing would raise the quality of life for millions.

These things would not happen. The cancellation of the debt would leave the curse of world poverty intact. The beneficiaries would be amongst the ruling elites who own and control production and distribution in the debtor countries. They are the ones who through their governments owe the money but they are not poor. Amidst the poverty of the masses they live in luxury. Holding power often with brutally oppressive methods they care little for their populations. Their aim is their own self-enrichment. Why should we want to bail them out? Why should we want to ease the way for the rising capitalists of the underdeveloped countries to accumulate capital from the exploitation of workers?

There is of course a case for the populations of the advanced regions giving aid and assistance to the people in areas where infrastructures, services, means of production and distribution are poorly developed. This is the compelling case that those with advantages should put themselves out to help those in need. Most people will accept this but it cannot happen under world capitalism which keeps even our ability to help others in economic shackles — or reduces it to the pathetic levels of charity. The tragic illusion which is misguiding those organising the Cancel the Debt campaign is their belief that the devastating problems of world capitalism can be tackled by re-arranging its finances.

The things that are desperately needed — food, clean water, housing, sanitation, transport, medical services and so on — can only be provided by useful labour, of which there is an abundance throughout the world. Finance is part of a system which operates as a barrier to useful labour producing what people need. Useful production must be freed from the constraints of profit and class interests. Only useful labour applied through world cooperation in a system of common ownership can solve the problems of world poverty.

World socialism could stop the dying from hunger immediately, and provide the conditions for good health and material security for all people across the Earth within a short time. It would do this by producing goods and services directly for need.

World socialism will operate with one simple and ordinary human ability which is universal — the ability of every individual to cooperate with others in a world-wide community of interests. For too long has indignation at human suffering been dissipated by useless causes. How much longer must the price of failure be the misery of countless millions?

Socialist Standard

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's the System!

To many the socialist criticism of the capitalist system may seem like a crude act of oversimplification, if not a type of scapegoating.

If social ills are always blamed on the capitalist system, our critics complain, then there is no room for intelligent discussion about the varied reforms, leaders, governments, nations or policies that appear to be meeting people's needs in quite radically distinct ways around the globe or at different times in the same country.

However, what the socialist is attempting to demonstrate is that the varied threads of social experience are intimately woven together in such a manner that they constitute aspects of a vast system that operates by particular laws and so is incapable of adequate reform. To perceive such a web of interrelationships is not at all a bad case of oversimplification. Rather, it represents an attempt to understand social and economic phenomena, much as natural phenomena are comprehended, as interactive parts of a system, which may be observed wherever the system exists, and predicted given certain defined conditions.

To understand social experience in socialist terms is to notice that all humans have certain requirements for food, shelter or safety, and that the varied ways in which they meet such needs produce different systems of relationships among them. This is often a difficult theory for many, especially for those used to comprehending social phenomena the way they were taught history in school, or the way events are reported in the media in terms of distinct leaders, competing economic theories or degrees of corruption.

When material needs were met by ownership of people by other people (slavery), it followed necessarily that laws were required to protect that ownership, and that the fruits of the labor of slaves would be enjoyed by their owners. It also follows from this that with control of many slaves came accumulations of wealth that led some to live in abundance in palaces and others to be coerced to build and maintain these palaces at threat of death. Customs evolved in slave or feudal systems that led most humans to accept the legitimacy of this very unequal distribution of wealth and power. The experience of being dispossessed also inevitably led the majority to feelings of resentment, anger, helplessness, apathy, devotion, revolution, or ambivalent combinations of these at the same time or throughout the course of their lives.

To say that we all live in a system, the present one being capitalist, is in a sense to deconstruct the customs that we were all brought up to accept as normal, and by attempting to understand them, to open up the possibility that we may reject them. To comprehend all social appearances in terms of a system is also to remove the temptation to support another initially promising leader who everyone will hate a few years later, and to blame our problems on one who was found to be lacking intellectually, or morally, or found to be emphasizing inadequate economic priorities.

When socialists seek to blame the capitalist system, they are promoting an important hypothesis that all social problems derive from the fact that a few individuals or states own the means of producing the things we require to live, which implies that the majority of us do not. It is, in the socialist's mind, this fact of ownership that leads to war, to world poverty and hunger, to excessive stress, to murderous wastes of planetary resources and animal habitation destruction, or to our feelings of alienation that are often accorded psychiatric diagnoses.

Is it not obvious to most of you? If the metals were owned and controlled by the community, which of us would truly be mad enough to squander them to make tanks and bombs to blow up innocent children on the other side of the planet because of the industrial need for petroleum? If we all owned the farms together, do you think we would decide it reasonable to produce food packed with artificial preservatives and colorings, or to condemn millions of children to starve? I have never seen a parent of right mind consciously decide to let his or her children get sick have you? Do you see people in your workplace regularly killing each other over a disagreement? Of course not. Wars are very well planned murders by those quite prepared to squander the planet's population, clean air and topsoil to do the government's bidding, and able at least during execution of the plan to tolerate gnawing sentiments that their behaviors may be morally reprehensible but extraordinarily rationalized as "in the national interest".

Even when workers intellectually understand that they are part of a worldwide system, committing themselves to a radical alteration in the means of production guaranteed to provide a more enduring security to their lives has been difficult. This is due to the false perception that the greater possibility of a small change is preferable to the small possibility of a more significant change (even knowing that the small change may not be realized or may not last as long as a structural alteration). This type of cognitive bias has long been known to psychologists under the title of "hyperbolic discounting," which produces a greater preference for an immediate payoff than a later payoff, even when it is not certain that either may be obtainable. In short, it is understandable for workers to put on hold any commitment to such a desirable end as socialism when the latter presents as likely yielding longer-term results (the achievement of a socialist majority). This is in contrast to working crazy hours now to achieve more tangible but lesser results such as saving up for a holiday or paying off the family home's mortgage. Apolitical choices toward somehow improving the here and now likely play their part in competing with political ones toward the betterment of the future.

Scientific thinking over the course of the past few centuries has tended to encourage more systemic thinking. Medicine or ecology are examples of disciplines based on understanding phenomena as part of a holistic system. We use the word "system" all the time when we speak of the solar system, a grouping of planetary bodies and their satellites revolving around a sun. The same applies when we talk about our "computer system," a collection of hardware and software that operate as one unit (and indeed, we become quite indignant when a new program will not be accepted into the system we are expecting it to become a part of).

What socialists are urging people to do seems at times like the impossible. We are asking you to put down preset assumptions about the way the world operates and urging you to do so in order to help create a new global system that will be as vastly preferable to what we have now as modern surgery seems over prayer, or psychology seems over phrenology. But to help realize such a world of freedom and security will require understanding all social phenomena that confront us today as inevitable effects of a capitalist system.

Let us list a handful of social problems that any of you are likely to consider in need of remedy: war, starvation, poverty, excessive stress, ecological destruction, worrying constantly about how we are going to make financial ends meet, the high prevalence of such emotional troubles as depression and anxiety, such medical problems as diabetes and cancer, or such lifestyle problems as addiction or obesity, or subjecting our children to this sickeningly violent and gadgety culture.

Socialists argue that a system of ownership of the means of life by individuals, corporations and states directly causes such problems, and also therefore that your continued political support of such a system will necessarily and inevitably support the continuation of such ills, and the unthinkable suffering that accompanies them. Have you not wondered why your experience of the society you live in, and the news on television about it, tend to repeat with predictable nausea, like a bad dream?

Socialists are not urging you to believe us uncritically, either. We are confident that overwhelming evidence will be found in both the experience of the day-to-day for most working people as well as in a study of history, to support the claim that today's major problems are the results not of efficient versus inefficient politicians or policies, but rather of a worldwide system based on minority ownership of the productive machinery, and on production for sale.

To understand modern society as a system that operates by certain laws (for example, the laws of exploitation and profit-making) is not an academic pursuit but a way of empowering ourselves as members of the employed class. It is easy to feel helpless in our society, to feel that there is nothing we can do to make a better world for ourselves and for our children. But to understand that we live in a system is to give rise to a different behaviour than we have been accustomed to (voting for parties that support the wages system, voting for more progressive politicians, getting more leftwing, voting with our purse, and so on). It is also to generate an unbridled determination to fight for the better world now, for a different system which works in our favour (production for need and an all-inclusive democratic form of decision-making).

Change the system!

DR WHO (World Socialist Party of US)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Ballot Over the Bullet

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. – Author Unknown

Not only does that bit of conventional wisdom prove a damning indictment of those who steadfastly believe that capitalism can be reformed or coerced to serve the interests of the working class, but it also applies to the common view among so many leftist groups that violent, vanguardist revolutions can succeed and someday bring the masses to socialism (or vice versa).

While the romantic image of a heroic great war of proletariat liberation may stir the emotions and mind to action, history has delivered sobering rebukes in the form of totalitarianism and state capitalism. Violent "communist" revolutions, undertaken by the minority vanguard and their supporters, have taken place in the following countries:

China, Vietnam, Russia, Bolivia Angola, Madagascar, Bulgaria, Nepal, South Yemen, Cuba, France, North Korea, Laos, Burkina Faso, and Cambodia.

Not exactly shining examples of the class strugle, and definitely not a one of them socialist!

The World Socialist Movement is, as far as we know, alone in choosing a worldwide referendum of capitalism and property law as the instrument of the revolution. Research the platforms of the other "revolutionary" parties and movements – you will find they will fall into two groups: those who think socialism can be achieved through a succession of reforms and transitions of the existing system, and those who think the vast array of deadly force at the command of the ruling class can be somehow defeated militarily in a workers' uprising. Evidently their image of the working and ruling classes hasn't changed much from the early 20th century! Read their literature - they will tell you that socialism can be instituted from the top; with emancipation either trickling down in little measured rivulets or gushing in a bloody torrent. We recognize that revolutions not actively desired by the majority of the world's population are doomed to turn violent, waste the labor and lives of workers, and in the end, fail. Our plan seeks to do the hard work right from the start, to use education to bring socialist ideas to people who have yet to realize the class nature of economic society.

Even if vanguard tactics were logically sound, we have the sorry track records of these movements to dissuade us from entrusting something as important as the liberation of the working class to anyone other than the working class themselves. No group, no matter how smart they are or sophisticated or violent their methods, can make socialism happen without the consent and participation of the workers on whose behalf the revolution should be taking place. Only the willing, thinking, class-conscious workers of the world can bring about a real socialist future. We don't even take into consideration those revolutions, of any sort, occurring in individual countries, as the increasingly global nature of capitalism will ultimately prevent local socialist experiments from succeeding (and there are plentiful real-world examples of this). Besides, to settle for less than the whole globe is to join the thousands of other reformists and cult-like followers of Great Leaders in hopelessness and failure.

For us, the revolution would, for all practical purposes, end the day the ruling class is stripped of its wealth and power. We need only step into the roles we have mapped out for ourselves beforehand. For the other folks, the first shots fired represent only the beginning of a long, bitter, and for all practical purposes doomed struggle, with huge segments of their beloved proletariat feeling the full effects of global economic chaos - not to mention armed ruling class reaction.

As if this wasn't enough to dissuade a reasonable person from placing any stock in violent revolution, working for the global referendum on capitalism has other advantages.For example, we are freed from the albatross of having to come up with, for what ever reason, predictions of a socialist future because we recognize that the shape of the revolution will be decided by those taking part in it in a democratic fashion. We are not held in thrall to this or that vision of utopia and necessarily forced to direct our activities to achieving goals set so narrow. Instead, we are free to form the necessary associations (technical, professional, philosophical, etc.) before the revolution so that Day 1 is planned according to what is needed and desired, and not what is left for us by a hopefully broken and irrelevant ruling class. We can develop the necessary rules to live by ahead of time and we will all have a say in them.

Furthermore, we attack capitalism and the ruling class by turning their own weapon against them, the law. The law is what provides them with justification for hoarding the world's wealth, and the means to protect that hoard through the use of deadly force or imprisonment. Humanity accepted the rule of law long ago (involuntarily it seems) and like it or not, we are not going to be able to kill it with guns or bombs. However, once lawful ownership of the land and private property is abolished, the ruling class's foundation of existence at once disappears. It is doubtful that an enlightened humanity would ever accept being bound in the chains of class slavery again. Therefore, we as a species are going to have to summarily reject the legitimacy of law and property with one unified voice. The ballot will serve as the most elegant and incontrovertible expression of the interests of the working class.

We are often criticized, sometimes by our own members, that our revolution seems too far in the distant future and is not worth waiting for when many more "practical" things can be done now (i.e. reforms). Thinking this through, one would see that if we are truly sticking to our guns of accomplishing a worldwide revolution, we have so much work to do (just in planning a brand new production and distribution system alone) that a speedy revolution would be counterproductive. The WSM only wants to do the revolution once, and therefore it has to be done right, the way we all want it, the first time; this will only happen when the majority of humanity is on-board and focused on democratically decided goals and the methods to achieve them.

That's why we choose the ballot over the bullet.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Rosa Luxemburg and the National Question

From the WSM website.

Is there some "right of nations to self-determination" which Socialists should support? This was a question debated by Social Democrats before the first world war, especially in Russia and Austria which were then both multi-national empires. Lenin, true to his opportunist view that any slogan was useful if it helped "mobilise the masses", answered yes. Among those who answered no was Rosa Luxemburg.

That this was so has long been known to us, but until the recent publication of a selection of her writings on The National Question (edited by Horace B. Davis, Monthly Review Press, 320pp., £9.25), we have not had the opportunity to judge the worth of the arguments she used. That her writings on this question—as opposed to those on economics and other matters—should have remained unavailable for so long is no accident. Left-wing publishers have just not been interested in publishing a criticism of what has become a dogma in left-wing circles: that Socialists are duty-bound to support struggles for "national liberation".

Rosa Luxemburg was born in 1871 in Zanosc (though she was brought up in Warsaw) which, on today's maps, is a town in eastern Poland near the Russian border. But in 1871 it was part of the Russian empire since Poland had not existed as an independent State since 1795. Over the period 1772 to 1795 in fact Poland had been partitioned amongst Russia, Austria and Prussia. About two-fifths of pre-1772 Poland went to Russia and about one-fifth each to Prussia and Austria.

When the Social Democratic movement grew in Germany and Austria towards the end of the 19th century it also spread to the Polish-speaking areas of these countries. At first Polish-speaking Social Democrats joined the German and Austrian parties, but in 1892 separate Polish parties were formed in both countries. Later that year these amalgamated to form, with representatives from Russian Poland, the Polish Socialist Party (PPS). The PPS made its principal demand the reconstitution of an independent Poland within the pre-1772 boundaries. The following year a number of young Polish exiles in Zurich, including Rosa Luxemburg, split off precisely on this point and set up the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland (SDKP).

The choice of this odd-sounding title was deliberate, for the "Kingdom of Poland" was the official name of Russian Poland. The party's name therefore proclaimed that it was a party operating only in Russia. And in fact when the Russian Social Democratic Party got off the ground the SDKP (or more precisely, after the adhesion of a Lithuanian group in 1899, the SDKPL) was its section in Poland and Lithuania.

The issue of whether or not Polish independence should be supported came up at the 1896 London Congress of the Second International to which the PPS had submitted a resolution which declared "that the independence of Poland represents an imperative political demand both for the Polish proletariat and for the international labour movement as a whole". Rosa Luxemburg was resolutely opposed to this and wrote a series of articles in the international Social Democratic press arguing that workers should organise irrespective of nationality within the frontiers of the capitalist State in which they found themselves and should not seek to re-draw these frontiers, the struggle to achieve which would merely divert workers from the class struggle and Socialism. The PPS motion was not in fact voted on but was replaced by a vague general resolution which nevertheless still referred to "the complete right of all nations to self-determination".

In opposing an independent Poland Luxemburg was going against a demand supported by Marx throughout his political life. She was well aware of this and did not hesitate to describe Marx's views on the Polish Question as "obsolete and mistaken". Since this is a position the Socialist Party of Great Britain has also taken up it will be interesting to examine Luxemburg's arguments on this point.

In 1848, she pointed out, western European democrats, amongst whom Marx must be included, wanted an independent Poland established to act as a buffer between Tsarist Russia and West Europe so as to remove the threat of Tsarist intervention to halt the extension of political democracy there. This, she said, was a tenable position in 1848 but not in the 1890's and 1900's (nor even in 1880 when Marx made a further declaration in favour of Polish independence). For in the meantime, thanks to the introduction of capitalism and with it of an urban industrial proletariat, Russia was no longer the monolithic force for reaction it had been. As capitalism and the working class developed in Russia so did-and had-developed the possibility of overthrowing Tsarism and establishing a political democracy there too. Turning to Poland, she argued that the introduction of capitalism had tied Russian Poland so close to Russia (Polish industry served the Russian market) that the proposal to re-establish an independent Poland was anyway a "utopian fantasy".

Luxemburg went on to point out that the demand for an independent Poland was a demand for the establishment of another capitalist-and inevitably expansionist and oppressive-State. This, she said, was not the task of the workers; what concerned them at that time was winning various elementary democratic freedoms. She thus urged Polish-speaking workers in Russian Poland to struggle, together with the workers of all the other nationalities to be found within the borders of the Russian empire, to overthrow Tsarism and establish political democracy in Russia. (Polish-speaking workers in Germany and the Austrian empire should likewise be struggling with their fellow workers there to establish political democracy). Luxemburg regarded an end to discrimination on national or language grounds-with full provision for the use of minority languages in all aspects of social and political life-as an integral part of the political democracy she was urging to be established under capitalism as a means of facilitating the struggle for Socialism. In fact she went further and argued in some detail, in a series of articles published in 1908–9, that Poland should be given autonomy within any all-Russia democratic republic. Thus the SDKPL countered the PPS demand for the restoration of an independent Poland with a demand for home rule for Russian Poland within a democratic Russia.

We would not deny that in the absolutist political conditions of Tsarist Russia the working class was obliged to struggle for political freedoms such as the vote, freedom of the press and the freedom to form trade unions and parties, but this should-and could-have been done in conjunction with a clear-cut and uncompromising struggle for world socialism. Luxemburg of course knew what Socialism was and did carry out propaganda for it, but as a Social Democrat was committed to the mistaken theory that a socialist party should have a "minimum" programme of political and social reforms to be achieved within capitalism as well as the "maximum" programme of socialism.

Nevertheless it can be said in favour of Luxemburg's formulation-that the workers of Russian Poland should struggle with the other workers in Russia for an all-Russia democratic republic-that it made no concession to nationalism; it appealed to them as workers not as Poles. She knew that a campaign to establish an independent Poland would unleash nationalist passions which would divert the working class in Russian Poland not just from the struggle to establish Socialism but even from the struggle to win elementary democratic freedoms. She was proved right on this point: when Poland got independence in 1919 an authoritarian nationalist dictatorship under former PPS-leader Pilsudski soon came to power.

But events proved her wrong for believing Polish independence to have been a "utopian fantasy". If she had confined herself to saying that an independent Polish State would continue to be dominated by Russia or some other big power she would have been right, but she was suggesting that even formal political independence for Poland was impossible. The fact that Poland got such independence in 1919 makes her arguments on this point quaint reading today, but it still remains true that Poland has never really been independent of one or other imperialist power. Twenty years after being "restored" Poland was again partitioned between Germany and Russia and since the war has been a mere Russian satellite. Indeed parts of pre-1772 Poland are now back in Russia again. Luxemburg's mistake here should be a warning to Socialists not to be dogmatic on issues such as this: capitalism can be very flexible in its political institutions.

The issue of the "right of nations to self-determination" came up again in 1903 when the Russian Social Democrats officially incorporated this demand into their programme. Once again Luxemburg opposed this not only as politically wrong but as theoretically unsound. Her arguments on this last point are the same as ours:

A "right of nations" which is valid for all countries and all times is nothing more than a metaphysical cliche of the type of "rights of man" and "rights of the citizen".

When we speak of the "right of nations to self-determination", we are using the concept of the "nation", as a homogeneous social and political entity… In a class society, "the nation" as a homogeneous sociopolitical entity does not exist. Rather, there exist within each nation, classes with antagonistic interests and "rights".

Included in an appendix to Davis' selection of her writings on this question is a statement published in 1916 by some members of the SDKPL in an obscure Polish-language journal in exile. This shows a remarkable degree of understanding on this issue, especially the following:

The so-called right of self-determination is also used with the proviso that it will become a reality for the first time under socialism and is thus an expression of our striving for socialism. This proposition is open to the following objections. We know that socialism will do away with all national oppression, because it removes the class interests that furnish the driving force of such oppression. We also have no reason to assume that the nation, in socialist society, will form a politicoeconomic unit. By all indications it will have the character of a cultural and linguistic unit; for the territorial division of the socialist cultural unit, insofar as this will survive at all, can only follow the needs of production, and this division would have to be determined, not by individual nations separately, from their own power (as the "right of self-determination" demands), but through the joint action of all interested citizens. The carrying over of the formula of "right of self-determination" into socialism arises from a complete misunderstanding of the nature of socialist society.

We could hardly express it better ourselves. Unfortunately most of those who expressed such views were later diverted by Bolshevism and the Russian revolution and soon disappeared from the scene of history.

Although Luxemburg knew what Socialism was and had an honourable record of opposing the First World War as well as both reformism within Social Democracy and the undemocratic practices of the Bolsheviks, she too made her mistakes. But on the question of nationalism, with her criticism of Marx's position as "obsolete and mistaken" she made an important contribution to socialist theory. The publication in English of her views on this issue will hopefully help towards debunking the slogan of "the right of nations to self-determination".

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Revolution or Reform?

Given all that we have said so far about capitalism, it seems obvious that something must be done. But what? Can capitalism be made to work differently? Or must there be a social revolution to replace capitalism with some other society? This is a debate that has raged for over a century.

The route of trying to change capitalism, or 'reform, ' is the one that has been taken by most people who have wanted to improve society. We do not deny that certain reforms won by the working class have helped to improve our general living and working conditions. Indeed, we see little wrong with people campaigning for reforms that bring essential improvements and enhance the quality of their lives, and some reforms do indeed make a difference to the lives of millions and can be viewed as 'successful'. There are examples of this in such fields as education, housing, child employment, work conditions and social security. However, in this regard we also recognize that such 'successes' have in reality done little more than to keep workers and their families in efficient working order and, while it has taken the edge of the problem, it has rarely managed to remove the problem completely. What we are opposed to is the whole culture of reformism, the idea that capitalism can be made palatable with the right reforms, By that, we mean that we oppose those organizations that promise to deliver a program of reforms on behalf of the working class, often in order that the organization dishing out the promises can gain a position of power. Such groups, especially those of the left-wing, often have real aims quite different to the reform program they peddle. In this, they are being as dishonest as any other politician, from the left or right. The ultimate result of this is disillusionment with the possibility of radical change.

If you are convinced, however, that groups or parties promising reforms deserve your support, we would urge you to consider the following points.

1. The campaign, whether directed at right-wing or left-wing governments, will often only succeed if it can be reconciled with the profit-making needs of the system. In other words, the reform will often be turned to the benefit of the capitalist class at the expense of any working class gain.

2. Any reform can be reversed and eroded later if a government finds it necessary.

3. Reforms rarely, if ever, actually solve the problem they were intended to solve.

This was summed up by William Morris over a century ago: "The palliatives over which many worthy people are busying themselves now are useless because they are but unorganized partial revolts against a vast, wide-spreading, grasping organization which will, with the unconscious instinct of a plant, meet every attempt at bettering the conditions of the people with an attack on a fresh side."

In other words, although individual reforms may be worthy of support, the political strategy of reformism - promising to win reforms on the behalf of others - is a roundabout that leads nowhere. Those wanting to improve society should seriously question whether capitalism offers enough scope for achieving lasting solutions to the vast range of social problems to which it gives rise. Of course, some improvements are made and some problems are alleviated. Yet new kinds of problem also arise in a society which is changing ever more rapidly, seeking new ways to make a profit.

The profit motive of capitalism is a major cause of the problems we face in today's society: ever increasing inequality, poverty, alienation, crime, homelessness, environmental degradation - the list could go on and on. There are countless ways in which the working class (and indeed the capitalist class) suffer as a result of the profit system. Unless we organize for an alternative, the profit system will continue on its blind, unswerving path.