Rights

September 17, 2013

The Workers Party says that rights are something that arise from the very social being of humans and assert themselves as claims made by individuals and groups on society. The very act of being born into society gives the individual a claim.  Especially in the modern world, when human existence has become completely socialized, no individual can assert even such elementary human rights as the right to a livelihood without making definite claims on the society.  In our view, the very starting point of the social organization of human beings must be to guarantee the rights of the humans who make it up.

Die-hard defenders of the status quo often vehemently object to our conception of rights.  They insist that "society doesn't owe anyone a living," and they replace the demand for equal, human rights with the slogan of "equality of opportunity."

But in contemporary America, what gives an individual the "opportunity" to receive health care or infant care or a university education? Money. Indeed, the rich can afford the best of all these things and enjoy the freedom to develop their individual personalities.  But what about the rest of us?  Are our children meant to go without vital nutrition or health care?  Should working class women simply bow their heads and toil 25 hours a day – on the job, in the house and as mothers – without demanding that society provide them with the conditions necessary for their all-around development?

Nor do we have the "equal opportunity" to get the money. On the contrary, the present system arose to defend and strengthen the monopoly of the capitalist class over the means of production.  And today, the anti-social offensive of the government is simply robbing the public treasury in order to turn more and more of our country's social capital and infrastructure over to the capitalist class.  In other words, at every moment the rich are given the "opportunities" while the majority are denied their rights.

For tens of thousands of years, human beings have worked to equip themselves with the means necessary to secure their material existence and to open the path for the blossoming of the human personality. Today, when all these means have been created, it is only the forms of social organization which are blocking the people from realizing, in practice, all their inalienable human and economic rights.  This is what the people must change in the course of claiming their rights.