Socialism, Goal of the Working Class and its Political Party

January 15, 2018

By substantiating the materialist understanding of history and by applying it to the apprehension of contemporary bourgeois society, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels disclosed the objective laws of transition from capitalism to socialism. By doing so, they equipped the working-class movement with a program of revolutionary activity, with the strategy and tactics of the class struggle, and created the scientific theory of socialism.

With the emergence of the first proletarian political parties in Europe and with the publication, in 1847, of the Communist Manifesto (written by Marx and Engels on behalf of the Communist League) the working class came on the historical scene as a class for itself, independent of and in opposition to the bourgeoisie, as a class with its own political program and historical mission – to overthrow capitalist wage-slavery and establish the socialist society without the exploitation of man-by-man. The great contribution of Marx and Engels is that they not only illuminated the basis of the exploitation and oppression of the working people in the capitalist ownership of the means of production but also showed that the working class, through struggle and revolution, would inevitably overthrow the capitalist class and organize society along radically new lines. 

Marx and Engels uncovered the embryo of the new socialist society in the very conditions of existence of the workers under capitalism. Marx and Engels showed how the workers – deprived of all private property in the means of production and brought together through cooperative, socialized labor – had “nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property.” Marxism, the theory of scientific socialism, showed the workers the economic and social conditions necessary for their emancipation; and rallied and organized them as a class, inspiring the workers to fight not only in defense of their immediate interests but for the political supremacy of the working class and the reconstruction of society on the socialist basis. Thus, from the time of its birth, the proletarian movement and the proletarian parties have marched forward under the banner of scientific socialism, the banner which alone declares the revolutionary historical mission and political program of the working class.

Today a great campaign is being waged to attack and denigrate Marxism-Leninism and socialism. Under the pretext that present-day capitalism is no longer that of the time of Marx and Lenin, that it has undergone major economic, social and political and other changes, the bourgeois ideologists claim that the Marxist theory has become outdated and is no longer applicable, that the socialist revolution of the proletariat has become unnecessary in the face of the progressive evolution of the bourgeois society, and that the present-day technological-scientific revolution is creating a new supra-capitalist and supra-socialist society. They deliberately identify Marxism with modern revisionism and try to present the crises and defeats of the latter as crises and defeats of Marxism-Leninism and socialism. 

According to the morbid world view of the capitalists, the very nature of human beings is to exploit other human beings. The capitalist class is a class which lives at the expense of the society as a whole. Thus, bourgeois ideology and culture extol anti-social values all along the line. Today, bourgeois ideologists insist that there are no social, collective or human values which must be upheld but only the individualism of the bourgeoisie, an individualism that thrives only at the expense of others. The capitalists push ultra-fascist theories extolling war and racism. 

Of course, this is no surprise. For 170 years, the capitalist class has waged one battle after another to suppress the workers’ movement for socialism and communism. The capitalists have commissioned and paid for countless books and articles to “refute” and to distort the theory of Karl Marx and scientific socialism. The classic books of Marxism-Leninism have been burned and millions of workers imprisoned and killed for the “crime” of studying and espousing these ideas. Anti-communism has long been the official state ideology in the U.S. where communists have been systematically persecuted.

In the countries where the workers established the new shoots of communist society – first in the Soviet Union and later in Albania – international capitalism used every weapon in its arsenal – from economic blockade, ideological subversion and all-out war – to defeat the workers and restore the system of capitalist exploitation. In every country, the capitalists suppressed, imprisoned, and continue to try to destroy the genuine Communist and Workers Parties.

Bourgeois ideology seeks to obscure the basis of every problem and in particular, to cover up the capitalist social order as the source of the oppression and exploitation of the people. Having no answer to any of the burning social problems, the bourgeoisie can only assert its arbitrary dictatorial ideology through the power of its state and insist that anyone who recognizes the necessity for fundamental social change is “immoral” and “unpatriotic.” The bourgeoisie want the workers to resign themselves to the “fate” of being exploited and oppressed. By distorting and attacking communism, the bourgeoisie are saying that social development has come to an end, that history has stopped and that capitalism will last forever.

Above all, the bourgeoisie want to deprive the workers of the consciousness 1) that the class struggle of the workers and oppressed people is the motive force of social development; 2) that in the course of their struggle the workers become conscious of the laws of social development and use this consciousness to 3) conquer the political power and carry through the social revolution which overthrows capitalism and build the new socialist and communist society. 

Early on after the the emergence of the modern working class as a class-for-itself Karl Marx and Frederick Engels studied the problem of why changes take place in the life of society, and why it should develop in a certain direction and not in any other. They also showed that the real creators of history are the working masses who, in turn, create all material wealth, i.e. all things whereby society lives. The driving force in the development of all class (slave-owning, feudal and capitalist) societies is the struggle of working people against their exploiters. 

The founders of Marxism made a detailed study of capitalism and exposed its basic contradictions. They carefully studied the process of how the material conditions for the disintegration and collapse of capitalist society are created within this society. They saw the proletariat as a force capable of disrupting the old system and substantiated the role the proletariat would play in the building of a socialist society.

Why is the proletariat, and not any other social class, destined to scuttle capitalism and create a socialist society?

First, the proletariat in capitalist society is not attached to any form of property: proletarians do not own anything except their hands. The burden of private property does not encumber them and does not dampen their revolutionary aspirations. This is why in a socialist revolution the proletariat has nothing to lose but its chains. Second, the proletariat is subjected to cruel exploitation. The bourgeoisie gets most of its wealth by robbing the proletariat. This position of the working class in society makes it the most resolute fighter for socialism. Third, the working class is linked with machine production which is the most progressive and at the same time constantly developing form of production. The growth of capitalist production proceeds side by side with the growth and consolidation of the proletariat – the principal productive force of society. Fourth, the development of capitalist production inevitably creates a situation in which the working class fuses into one single revolutionary army opposed to the bourgeoisie. The working class is the most organised political force of our time. It is equipped with the most advanced revolutionary theory and is headed by the communist and workers’ parties.

It is the conviction of the Workers Party, USA, that the test of any and every political party and group is how they are fighting today to advance the cause of the proletarian revolution. A good organizer, a good theoretician is one who, on the basis of the general aims and fundamental interests of the proletariat, and with sound, concrete facts and arguments can show the people what steps have to be taken today to advance along the road of struggle and victory. Today, the Workers Party, along with the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties throughout the world, carries on continuous investigation of present-day conditions in order to find solutions to contemporary economic, political and social problems and imbue the working class with scientific theory. Contemporary Marxist-Leninist theory provides the working class with conciousness of its own aims and empowers it to work out the strategy and tactics of its struggle for emancipation. 

Today, when on a world scale capitalism is trying to escape its all-sided crisis by imposing a thoroughly counter-revolutionary, anti-social agenda on humanity, modern communism not only calls on the people to rise in the fight for their economic and human rights, but insists on the necessity to overthrow the capitalist system based on private property in the means of production. 

Today, when all over the world people are excluded from political power and when the capitalist social order stands for reaction, national oppression and fascism all along the line, contemporary Marxist-Leninist theory opens the way for the workers to come into the political arena as an independent force, as a class-for-themselves. The Marxist-Leninist theory shows that the first and decisive task facing the workers is to defeat the state power of the capitalists and create a new political power which genuinely vests sovereignty in the people. 

The new political power organized by the workers will genuinely vest sovereignty in the people and empower all human beings to participate in shaping their social environment.  With political power in its hands, the working class will carry through the socialist transformation of society. 

Socialism, at once, resolves the basic contradiction of capitalism, liberating the working class from capitalist wage-slavery and opening the way for the unfettered, continuous development of the productive forces on the basis of constantly improving the well-being of the people.

Socialism recognizes the real social character of the means of production. It eliminates capitalist private ownership of the factories, mines, and other means of production, and recognizes these as the common property of the entire society. Under socialism the livelihoods of the workers will no longer be dependent on the capitalists or the ups and downs of the business cycle. Economic insecurity will become a thing of the past as a socialist America will guarantee everyone a job or an income commensurate with our country’s high level of development. No longer will the workers be exploited and their surplus labor appropriated by the capitalists as profit. Rather, in a socialist America, the entire surplus over and above what is returned to workers directly in the form of wages, will be at the disposal of society as a whole and used, on the basis of a democratically worked out plan, to guarantee both the further development of the economy as well as such inalienable rights of the people as the right to universal and free medical care, to the best possible education, to secure pensions and so forth. It is obvious that our country has at its disposal all the means necessary to insure the unprecedented economic development and the well-being of the people.

All that is required is for the social relations of society to be brought into harmony with the existing level of development of productive forces, for the people to recognize the social character of economic and social life and carry through the reorganization of society on that basis.

Socialism will insure uninterrupted economic development. Socialism will eliminate the anarchy of capitalism and insure planned economic development with the aim of constantly increasing the material and cultural well-being of the people. By placing the people, with the working class in the forefront, in control of the productive forces, socialism will truly humanize society, putting people at the center, not only as producers but as decision-makers and conscious creators of society. Socialism will create the basis for realizing the age-old aspirations of the masses to create a society without class privilege or class oppression, a society which genuinely guarantees equal economic, political and social rights for all human beings. At the same time, socialism will enable human society to harmonize its relationship with nature and protect and enhance the natural environment which is necessary for the continued development of human society. With the people as decision-makers and conscious creators of society, socialism will constantly improve the living standard and create increasingly favourable conditions for the all-round development of the human personality.