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What is Socialism?

Produced over five years ago, this short pamphlet tries to answer the question “what is socialism?” In doing so, it explains how capitalism developed out of feudalism, how it was a necessary stage in the development of human society, but a stage that has long past its “sell by” date and now threatens to drag us all down with it.

“Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the billionaires have been crowing that their system is the only one that works. And yet today too society is haunted. It is plagued by wars, racism, ethnic cleansing, and terrorism; by violence on an individual and a mass scale, by explosions that are ripping whole societies apart. Beyond that looms the threat of environmental disaster caused by global warming and the decline in energy resources.

In short, what we see is the threat of complete chaos in society – the society the capitalist class has organized and lead and has ruled over for centuries….”

‘Some 75 years ago, Trotsky said: “History says to the working class ‘You must know that unless you cast down the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class), you will perish beneath the ruins of the capitalist civilization. Try, solve this task!”

‘In honor of those who came before and sacrificed and died for us, and bearing in mind the responsibility we bear to those who are still to come – the future generations, our children – we have no choice to but struggle to do this. ‘

Read more for printing: What Is Socialism

To read online: What is socialism online edition

NOTE: This pamphlet is reproduced here in two formats. One is for physical printing and one is for reading online.

2 replies »

  1. You stated that capitalism has survived for centuries. So, you are willing to try Socialism that has no proven track record? There is no utopia on this earth – when it comes to pleasing the masses. Every system has its negatives. I would rather tweaked what we have than to resort to something different altogether.

  2. In the first place, this is like driving a car at 80 miles an hour towards a cliff and saying, “well, nothing terrible has happened so far so why should we change course?” Every day it is clear that capitalism is leading to disaster. Just consider what is happening with the environment. This is not a matter of “tweaking” a few things. Capitalism is determined to burn every last drop of available fossil fuel. It is also clear that to build an alternative to this, a central plan of production and distribution is necessary. But then the question is who will create and control this plan – which class?

    The entire point of the pamphlet is that the development of any means of organizing production – that is, any social system – corresponds to a particular level of development of the means of production. If people are confined to digging in the ground with sticks and gathering birds’ eggs, they will organize into small groups and work collectively. At another stage, feudalism, for instance, will arise. When the newly rising capitalist class moved to lead the overthrow of feudalism, in their own way the feudal aristocracy put forward the same kind of argument as the one above. In their case they claimed that their place in the world was ordained by god. In other words that it was meant to be for all time.

    Just like feudalism, capitalism had its day. It served its purpose, but it has long passed its “sell by” date. Time for it to go.

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