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To polar regions waste and wan,
Comes the encroaching race of man,
A puny, feeble, little bubber,
He has no fur, he has no blubber.
The scornful bear sat down at ease
To see the stranger starve and freeze;
But, lo! the stranger slew the bear,
And ate his fat and wore his hair;
These deeds, O Man, which thou committest
Prove the Survival of the Fittest.

In modern times the millionaire
Protects himself as did the bear:
Where Poverty and Hunger are
He counts his bullion by the car:
Where thousands perish still he thrives -
The wealth, O Croesus, thou transmittest
Proves the Survival of the Fittest.

But, lo, some people odd and funny,
Some men without a cent of money -
The simple common human race
Chose to improve their dwelling place;
They had no use for millionaires,
They calmly said the world was theirs,
They were so wise, so strong, so many,
The Millionaires? - there wasn't any.
These deeds, O Man, which thou committest
Prove the Survival of the Fittest.

- Mrs. Charlotte Stetson.




I. SCIENTIFIC SOCIALISM.


The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.
There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among
millions of working people and the few, who make up the employing
class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers
of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and
the machinery of production, and abolish the wage system.

We find that the centering of management of the industries into
fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with
the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions
foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be
pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby
helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions
aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that
the working class have interests in common with their employers.

These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working
class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all
its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary,
cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department
thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair
day's work", we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary
watchword, "Abolition of the wage system".

It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with
capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for
the every-day struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on
production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By
organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new
society within the shell of the old. - Preamble of the Industrial
Workers of the World.

The following Synopsis of Scientific Socialism will serve both as a
summary of and supplement to my little book. It is the introductory part
of a catechism (a series of questions and answers) entitled "Scientific
Socialism Study Course" published by Charles H. Kerr & Company, 341
East Ohio Street, Chicago, and is reprinted here by their consent, with
certain changes in the interests of brevity and perspicuity. As a whole
this short Study Course of only thirty small pages in large type is the
greatest piece of catechetical literature of which I have any knowledge.
Even the synopsis as given here contains more of the education which
makes for the good of the world than all the catechisms of all the
churches. The Catechism was published in 1913.

1. How do you explain the phenomena of History?

Ans.: History, from the capitalist point of view, is a record of
political and intellectual changes and revolutions of so-called great
men, wherein the economic causes for these acts and changes are ignored
or concealed; but, from the socialist view point, history reveals a
series of class struggles between an exploited wealth-producing class
and an exploiting ruling class over the wealth produced.

2. What effect have "great men" had on history?

Ans.: Great men were simply ideal expressions of the hopes of some class
in society that was becoming economically powerful. They formed a
nucleus around which a class gathered itself in attaining economic
conquests in its own interest, and in establishing social institutions
in harmony with, and for the perpetuation of, such class interests.
These men had to embody some vital principles from the economic
conditions of their time and represent some class interest. The same men
with the same ideas would not be great men under a different mode of
production when the time for their ideas was not ripe.

3. What great factor is responsible for the rise of "great men?"

Ans.: The fact that the ideas of these men coincided with the class
interests of some class in society that was becoming economically
powerful. Therefore economic conditions must exist or be developing
which find their highest expression in the ideas of such men.

4. Why do social institutions change and not remain fixed?

Ans.: Because the process of economic evolution will not permit them to
remain fixed. The development and improvement of the means of production
and distribution produce economic changes, therefore social institutions
(the state, church, school and even the family) are forced to change to
conform with changing economic conditions. These are due to evolutionary
and revolutionary processes connected with the means of production and
distribution.

5. What is responsible for the birth of new ideas, and do they occur to
some one individual only?

Ans.: New ideas, theories and discoveries emanate from material
conditions, and such conditions act upon individuals. The same idea or
discovery may be brought out by different individuals independently and
apart from each other. This proves that it is not great men who are
responsible for material conditions, but that material conditions (modes
of production and distribution) produce the men best able to marshal the
facts and express the idea; usually in the interest of some class.

6. What single great idea occurred to both Darwin and Wallace
independently?

Ans.: The theory of "Natural Selection" which showed that the closely
allied ante-type was the parent stock from which the new form had been
derived by variation.

7. What single great idea occurred to both Marx and Engels
independently?

Ans.: The "Materialistic Conception of History."

8. Name the three great ideas developed by Marx and Engels which now
form the bed-rock basis for the socialist philosophy.

Ans.: (1) the Materialistic Conception of History, or, the law of
economic determinism, (2) the Law of Surplus Value, and (3) the Class
Struggle.

9. Explain, briefly, the "materialistic conception of history."

Ans.: "In every historical epoch, the prevailing mode of economic
production and exchange and the social organization necessarily
following from it forms the basis upon which is built up and from which
alone can be explained, the political and intellectual history of that
epoch." The laws, customs, education, religion, public opinion and
morals are in the long run controlled and shaped by economic conditions;
or, in other words, by the dominant ruling class which the economic
system of any given period forces to the front.

10. What is the most important question in life?

Ans.: The problem of securing food and shelter.

11. What bearing does this have on the materialistic conception of
history?

Ans.: It gives us the only key by which we can understand the history of
the past, and within limits, predict the course of future development.

12. What effect does the prevailing mode of production and exchange in
any particular epoch, have on the social organization and political and
intellectual history of that epoch?

Ans.: "Anything that goes to the roots of the economic structure and
modifies it (the food and shelter question in life) will inevitably
modify every other branch and department of human life, political,
ethical, religious and moral. This makes the social question primarily
an economic one and all our thought and effort should be concentrated on
it."

13. Do the ideas of the ruling class, in any given epoch, correspond
with the prevailing mode of economic production?

Ans.: They correspond exactly, as all connective institutions, civil,
religious, legal, educational, political and domestic have been moulded
in the interest of the economically dominant class who control these
institutions in a manner to uphold their class interests where their
ideas find expression.

14. What effect do these ideas of the ruling class have on the interests
of the subject class?

Ans.: The effect is detrimental to the interests of the subject class as
the different class interests conflict. Therefore the ruling class finds
the institutions mentioned very useful in either persuading or forcing
the so-called "lower classes" to submit to the economic conditions that
are absolutely against their interest, even though they are the wealth
producing class.

15. Distinguish natural environment from man-made environment.

Ans.: Natural environment which consisted of the fertility of the soil,
climatic conditions, abundance of fruits, nuts, game and fish was
all-important in the early stage of man's development. With the progress
of civilization this nature-made environment loses its supreme
importance and the man-made economic environment becomes equally
important.

16. Explain, briefly, the law of Surplus Value.

Ans.: It is the difference between what the working class as a whole
gets for its labor power at its value in wages, say an average of five
dollars per day, for producing commodities, and what the employing class
as a whole gets, say an average of twenty-five dollars, for the same
commodities when sold at their value. According to this conservative
estimate capital is upon the whole and in the long run robbing labor of
four-fifths of the value of its productive power. Capitalism is
therefore the great robber, the Beelzebub of robbers.

17. Since the economic factor is the determining factor, what does the
law of Surplus Value furnish us?

Ans.: "Surplus Value is the key to the whole present economic
organization of society. The end and object of capitalist society is the
formation and accumulation of surplus value; or in other words, the
systematic, legal robbery of the subject working class."

18. Define value and state how measured.

Ans.: Value is the average amount of human labor time socially, not
individually, necessary under average, not special, conditions for the
production or reproduction of commodities.

19. What determines the value of labor power?

Ans.: It is determined precisely like the value of every other
commodity, i. e., by the amount of labor time socially necessary for its
production or reproduction by the raising and support of children to
succeed their parents as wage-earning slaves.

20. Since labor power is a commodity, what condition is it subject to?

Ans.: It is subject to the same conditions that all other commodities
are subject to without regard to the fact that it is the source of all
social value. The worker in whom the commodity labor power is embodied,
does not get the value of the product of his labor, but only about
one-fifth of it, enough to keep him in working order and reproduce more
labor power in his children. If the worker received the value of the
product of his labor he would receive much more than enough to keep him
in working order and to raise his family. Such an economic condition
would abolish all forms of surplus value or profit, also the wage
system, by substituting economic and social organization in the interest
of the working class. No other class could remain in existence and the
class struggle would be ended.

21. In what economic system, past or present, does surplus value appear?

Ans.: It is the root of all social systems since the rise of the
institution of private property, but only under the present system
(capitalism) has labor power assumed the commodity form. Labor power is
a commodity with a two fold character: it has a use and an exchange
value. Its use value consists in its being capable of producing values
over and above its own needs for sustenance and reproduction. Its
exchange value consists in the amount of socially necessary labor time
required for its production and reproduction.

The chattel and feudal systems of slavery were not directly concerned
with the production of commodities for the profit of the masters, but
rather with the producing of the necessities of life for all, masters
and slaves, and the luxuries for some, the masters. That which was not
produced for immediate consumption was sold, if opportunities presented
themselves, and occasionally the professional traders developed, for
example, the Phoenicians; but they were an exception to the rule. The
same holds good for feudalism, except that during the latter stages of
that system commercialism arose; but this commercialism was no feature
of feudalism - it was the rising capitalism that began to unfold and
assert itself.

22. Name the three great systems of economic organization upon which the
structure of past history and social institutions have their basis.

Ans.: (1) Chattel slavery, (2) serfdom, or feudal slavery and (3) wage
slavery.

23. Explain, briefly, how the subject class was exploited under each of
these economic systems.

Ans.: 1. Under chattel slavery the laborer was a chattel (possession or
property) the same as a mule or horse, and only received his "keep,"
that is, enough food, clothing and shelter to keep him in working order
and to reproduce labor power by raising children. All he produced (use
values and children) was taken by his master. The body of the slave was
the property of his master. 2. Under serfdom or feudal slavery, the
worker produced what was necessary to keep him in working order and to
raise a family of slaves, and then the balance of his time produced use
values for his feudal lord. The body of the slave was his own, though he
could not go about with it from one place to another; for it was bound
to the land of his master. 3. Under the wage slavery, the worker
receives wages which again equals only the amount necessary to keep him
in working order and to reproduce more labor power in his children. His
entire product belongs to the capitalist, and out of this resource he
pays the wages for the commodity labor, also for other commodities such
as raw materials, and appropriates all of the balance and converts it
into capital with which he not only continues but increases the
exploitation of his workers. The body of the capitalist's slave is
indeed his own as under the feudal system but with this difference, that
if he does not like his master, or he is disliked by him, he can or must
go abroad with it from one place to another looking for a job - a liberty
or necessity which is to the advantage of the owning class and the
disadvantage of the working class. Unemployment is necessary to the
existence of capitalism, but this necessity is a danger to the system
and will ultimately destroy it in all countries as it has in Russia.

24. Define the "Class Struggle."

Ans.: It is the direct clash between two hostile class interests wherein
the employing class makes every effort to appropriate more of the wealth
produced by the working class, and the working class ever struggles to
retain more of the wealth which it produces. The capitalist class
strives to get more surplus value and the working class strives to get
more wages.

The class consciousness of those who live by working has found one of
its best expressions in the following paragraphs:

"The world stands upon the threshold of a new social order. The
capitalist system of production and distribution is doomed;
capitalist appropriation of labor's product forces the bulk of
mankind into wage slavery, throws society into the convulsions of
the class struggle, and momentarily threatens to engulf humanity in
chaos and disaster.

Since the advent of civilization human society has been divided
into classes. Each new form of society has come into being with a
definite purpose to fulfill in the progress of the human race. Each
has been born, has grown, developed, prospered, become old,
outworn, and, has finally been overthrown. Each society has
developed within itself the germs of its own destruction as well
as the germs which went to make up the society of the future.

The capitalist system rose during the seventeenth, eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries by the overthrow of feudalism. Its great and
all-important mission in the development of man was to improve,
develop, and concentrate the means of production and distribution,
thus creating a system of co-operative production. This work was
completed in advanced capitalist countries about the beginning of
the 20th century. That moment capitalism had fulfilled its historic
mission, and from that moment the capitalist class became a class
of parasites.

In the course of human progress mankind has passed (through class
rule, private property, and individualism in production and
exchange) from the enforced and inevitable want, misery, poverty,
and ignorance of savagery and barbarism to the affluence and high
productive capacity of civilization. For all practical purposes,
co-operative production has now superseded individual production.

Capitalism no longer promotes the greatest good of the greatest
number, It no longer spells progress, but reaction. Private
production carries with it private ownership of the products.
Production is carried on, not to supply the needs of humanity, but
for the profit of the individual owner, the company, or the trust.
The worker, not receiving the full product of his labor, can not
buy back all he produces. The capitalist wastes part in riotous
living; the rest must find a foreign market. By the opening of the
twentieth century the capitalist world - England, America, Germany,
France, Japan, China, etc. - was producing at a mad rate for the
world market. A capitalist deadlock of markets brought on in 1914
the capitalist collapse popularly known as the World War. The
capitalist world can not extricate itself out of the debris.
America today is choking under the weight of her own gold and
products.

This situation has brought on the present stage of human
misery - starvation, want, cold, disease, pestilence, and war. This
state is brought about in the midst of plenty, when the earth can
be made to yield a hundredfold, when the machinery of production is
made to multiply human energy and ingenuity by the hundreds. The
present state of misery exists solely because the mode of
production rebels against the mode of exchange. Private property in
the means of life has become a social crime. The land was made by
no man; the modern machines are the result of the combined
ingenuity of the human race from time immemorial; the land can be
made to yield and the machines can be set in motion only by the
collective effort of the workers. Progress demands the collective
ownership of the land on and the tools with which to produce the
necessities of life. The owner of the means of life today partakes
of the nature of a highwayman; he stands with his gun before
society's temple; it depends upon him whether the million mass may
work, earn, eat, and live. The capitalist system of production and
exchange must be supplanted if progress is to continue.

In place of the capitalist system we must substitute a system of
social ownership of the means of production, industrially
administered by the workers, who assume control and direction as
well as operation of their industrial affairs."

25. Define "class consciousness."

Ans.: Class consciousness of the workers means that they are conscious
of the fact that they, as a class, have interests which are in direct
conflict with the interests of the capitalist class.

26. What function does the state perform in the class struggle?

Ans.: "The state is a class instrument, and is the public power of
coercion created and maintained in human societies by their division
into classes, a power which, being clothed with force, makes laws." It
is, therefore, used by the dominant class to keep the subject working
class in subjection in accordance with the interests of the ruling and
owning class. It is also used to prevent the workers from altering the
economic structure of society in the interests of the working class.

As the author of the catechism, of which these twenty-six questions and
answers constitute a small part, says:

"Society is a growth subject to the laws of evolution. When evolution
reaches a certain point, revolution becomes necessary in order to break
the bonds of the old and bring in the new. As the chicken grows through
evolution until it reaches the point where it must break its shell (the
revolution) in order to continue its growth, so do classes of people
come to the point in their evolution where revolution is necessary in
order to continue their growth, bring in the new society and consummate
the next step in civilization."

Since 1913, when the foregoing catechism was published, we have had the
war to end war and to make the world safe for democracy - a fateful and
mournful war in which millions of lives were lost and other millions
wrecked with the result of multiplying wars and increasing imperialism.

It was a war between national groups of capitalists with conflicting
interests for commercial advantages, which is unexpectedly issuing in
three great crises: (1) the imminent bankruptcy of capitalism; (2) the
communist revolution in Russia, and (3) the imminent taking over of the
world by the revolutionary proletariat.

Hitherto, the sons and daughters of capitalism have owned the earth with
all that thereon and therein is. Henceforth, the sons and daughters of
the useful workers shall be the owners.

The future belongs to the workers, but not until they organize
themselves into one big revolutionary union. What ideas and aims are
involved in the faith and endeavor of Revolutionary Unionism will appear
from this passage in Comrade Philip Kurinsky's Industrial Unionism and
Revolution, a brilliant pamphlet, published by The Union Press, Box 205,
Madison Square, New York City:

"Slavery is not abolished. It is merely a change in the struggle
which throws itself hither and thither like the waves of the seas.
In ancient times chattel slavery existed. Feudalism then took its
place. Feudalism in its turn was overthrown by capitalism which at
present reigns supreme. As the immortal Tolstoy explained, 'The
abolition of the old slavery is similar to that which Tartars did
to their captives. After they had cut up their heels they placed
stones and sand in the wounds and then took the chains off. The
Tartars were sure that when the feet of their prisoners were
swollen, that they could not run away and would have to work even
without chains. Such is the slavery of wages'.

Of this slavery does revolutionary unionism speak in the name of
the revolutionary worker. It analyzes the present society and shows
that it is divided into two economic classes. One class, the
capitalist class, is the master class which controls all the
factories, mills, mines, railroads, lands and fields and all the
finished and raw materials. This class possesses all the natural
riches of the world and this economic supremacy gives it control of
the state, of the church, and of all educational institutions. In
short, this class owns everything and controls the whole social and
political life of each country. The other class, the working class,
owns nothing. It produces all and enjoys little. It uses the


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Online LibraryWilliam Montgomery BrownCommunism and Christianism → online text (page 11 of 15)