Sunday, April 12, 2009

Global steel industry awaits auto turnaround as layoffs on the Iron Range mount and MN DFL twiddles thumbs

Statement of the Iron Range Club of the Communist Party, USA

Barack Obama in an Easter Sunday holiday message had the nerve to lie to the American people about the nature of the economic depression we are in. Obama said he sees "glimmers of hope."

We ask: Where are the "glimmers of hope?"

Obama has not been to the Iron Range.

We ask: Where's the change?

Here on the Iron Range there are no "glimmers of hope;" only the despair that accompanies growing growing joblessness and dire poverty making the Iron Range, what Alan Maki has referred to "the Appalachia of the North with the same pits, pollution and poverty."

The economic situation and social conditions are worsening by the day on the Iron Range as working class families are now experiencing dire economic straits our grand parents tell us they have not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930's.

We and our grand parents were assured such conditions would never come about again.

We were told that Karl Marx was wrong. We were told that the capitalist system could be managed by flaky, weirdos like John Maynard Keynes and Alan Greenspan.

This generation was assured by the best paid economists Wall Street could buy that this generation would never live through an economic depression where the capitalist system collapses.

Yet, today, all economic indicators--- contrary to Barack Obama seeing "glimmers of hope," are pointing to the worst depression ever along with all the misery for working people such a catastrophe will most certainly entail as this "ball continues to drop" if we don't push back against Wall Street, and push back hard.

Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council--- Barack Obama's chief economic adviser--- describes the economy like a "ball dropping from the table that has not stopped falling."

Something is terribly wrong with this entire scenario. We are being played for suckers and fools as if we do not have the brains or capacity to reason and think.

Vice-president Joe Biden stated months ago that he and Obama are trying to "dropkick the ball." Here we are, months later, with Larry Summers telling us "the ball is still dropping" and hasn't even touched the ground yet.

Key to Obama's lies is that he continues to state economic troubles were caused by the "crisis in the housing market." This is an outright lie. The housing market, sabotaged by a bunch of greedy crooks not of which one has been prosecuted to date as millions of people lose their homes, is part of the problem; part of the problem contributing to the main problem. But not the primary source of the problem that Barack Obama and his over-paid economic advisers are well aware of but refuse to acknowledge because to do so would expose the capitalist system for what it has become: rotten to the core.

The present crises the capitalist economic system is experiencing is the direct result of the corporate assault on the standard-of-living of the working class that has been well underway in this country for over thirty years, and Wall Street has intensified this assault on the working class over the last eight years of Republican domination over our lives while Democrats sat back like cowards and did nothing.

The problem is one from which the capitalist economic system cannot escape:

Workers not being paid enough to purchase back what they have produced. Most working people in the United States have been receiving poverty wages; unable to purchase even the minimal basic necessities required to live decent lives.

Capitalist exploitation is THE PROBLEM. Capitalists stealing the wealth created by the working class is the source of this economic mess.

Common sense tells us that if the wealth created by the many is being constantly stolen by the rich few there is going to be severe economic problems down the road; we are now at the end of that road.

High-paid corrupt union leaders like Leo Gerard, Ron Gettelfinger and John Sweeney have worked in cahoots with big-business in forcing concession after concession from the very workers whose dues are paying their big fat salaries when they should have been putting the unions' resources into organizing the unorganized. Instead, they plowed union dues into supporting Barack Obama and the Democrats who are now kicking workers in the head while down on the ground.

How else can one explain taking away the homes of working people who are jobless and going hungry?

A moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions should have been and still is the NUMBER ONE requirement needed by hard-hit workers. This is so basic to common human decency we Communists should not even have to be stating this.

Minnesota Senator David Tomassoni could not even get the vote of one single Democrat in support of "the Minnesota People's Bailout." And the United Steel Workers and United Auto Workers unions are pumping money into getting these servants of the Chamber of Commerce, the mining, auto, banking and power industries elected!

If Senator Tomassoni and any other DFL'ers who consider themselves "progressive" don't see the need to leave the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party after this (first it was betrayal and sell-out on saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant) now these same rotten Democrats have defeated "the Minnesota People's Bailout" which would have halted foreclosures and evictions so widespread across the Iron Range and the rest of the state and the entire country.

Now these same Democrats are kicking the living daylights out of the working class at every opportunity; not missing an opportunity to kick workers in the head. Case in point: the auto workers; and miners right here on the Iron Range.

No two unions did more to help elect Barack Obama and the Democrats than the United Steel Workers union (USW) and the United Auto Workers union (UAW).

Steel workers and auto workers are now getting kicked in the head by Barack Obama and the Democrats without any help from the Republicans.

What does this tell us about the two-party system?

It should tell us what Communist Party leaders William Z. Foster and Gus Hall said over and over again:

Labor needs its own political party.

The time has come for working people to get up off the ground and fight back.

Since the labor "leadership" is not willing to fight back; the rank-and-file is going to have to stand up and slug it out with these corrupt and wholly incompetent labor leaders, the Democratic Party and Wall Street.

Military recruiters are not shy about walking into our public schools trying convince our children to go fight Barack Obama's dirty imperialist wars.

A third of the ore that has been taken from the ground on the Range has gone into wars and militarism as our children die in these senseless wars that Barack Obama said were "stupid" when he wanted our votes.

Barack Obama and the Democrats are not as eager to solve our problems as they are to ship our kids off to war.

In fact, to a large extent the social and economic problems we are experiencing are directly related to these dirty imperialist wars.

As Alan Maki has pointed out, we need "800 public health care centers spread out across the United States instead of over 800 U.S. military bases dotting the globe."

On this Easter Sunday, we on the Iron Range don't see Barack Obama's "glimmers of hope."

The steel and auto industries need to be nationalized and brought under public ownership and the democratic control of the people.

We will not get a "people's bailout" until we organize some kind of "people's lobby" as part of a "massive people's front" in the struggle for an end to foreclosures and evictions and a legislated minimum wage that is a real living wage directly based upon and tied to all cost-of-living factors.

Polls now show the American people have completely lost confidence in capitalism.

The same polls demonstrate that the time is now to place socialism on the table; socialism is the only way working people are ever going to get out of this economic mess.

The time has come for working people to create a people's political party to challenge the monopolies for power, and put us on the high road to peace and jobs through socialism.

We ask Barack Obama and the lying, warmongering Democrats: Where's the change?

As the article below points out, the steel and auto industries are the key to any healthy economy.

We ask: Does anyone see any indication of these two industries ever recovering again under capitalism?

China bailed is out and saved thousands of jobs for us here on the Iron Range.

Now that Chinese "leaders" have betrayed their people like union "leaders" here and jumped in bed with Wall Street after having been sold a bill of goods by Alan Greenspan, the CATO Institute and the Heritage Foundation that capitalist markets could provide a "quick fix" to their problems there is no place else for us to look other than to our own strength which comes through our own working class unity in getting out from under this mess.

Make no mistake, this economic mess was made by Wall Street capitalists in their never-ending drive for profits; there is no reason for the working class to have to shoulder the burden by way of being driven into poverty to get these vultures and parasites out of this mess that they created.

The corporate CEO's and bankers who created this mess are walking away with multi-million dollar "unemployment checks"--- our tax-dollars; and Barack Obama and the Democrats who expect our votes can't even come up with unemployment checks for workers from time of unemployment until time of re-employment as part of a "people's bailout." This is a disgrace.

We ask: Where's the change?

Since working people are called upon to solve the problems we had no part in creating, we need to resolve these problems in a way that benefits the working class by improving the lives of working class families and not Wall Street pigs gorging themselves at the public trough provided courtesy of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party at our expense.

Again, we ask Barack Obama and the Democrats: Where's the change?

In response to those still saying: "Give Obama a chance;" we say:

Join the Communist Party.

Join the fight for peace and jobs through socialism.

Iron Range Club, CPUSA

Global steel industry awaits auto turnaround

PARIS (AFP) – Steel is on edge and the global industry is cutting back hard, hanging on for either a budget blast from China, new credit for vast Middle Eastern building schemes or resurrection of the US auto industry.

Demand has dwindled and steelmakers, notably the giant of them all, ArcelorMittal, are damping down surplus furnace capacity while waiting for credit to flow, construction cranes to turn and factories to roll.

A decision by ArcelorMittal last week to pursue temporary production cutbacks, slashing European output by more than half from the end of April according to a union source, dramatises the extraordinary ride and role of steel in the last few years.

In just months the global industry has gone from a boom driven largely by China, emerging markets and a property extravaganza in the Middle East to a narrow line between excess capacity and the costs of waiting for recovery.

"Over the past six months, demand for steel has dropped dramatically and, as a result, producers have been cutting production," analysts at Barclays Capital said in a study last week.

In another report, Morgan Stanley predicted "the current demand shock to lead to excess steel capacity."

Consequently, the bank said, steel plants should operate at rates below 75 percent of capacity until 2012.

"The steel market is not very different from base metals as a whole, but steel has reacted more rapidly and dramatically since September," said commodities analyst Perrine Faye of London-based FastMarkets.

She said the future of the steel industry depended on three factors -- the impact of Chinese economic stimulus efforts, a pick-up in the Middle East construction sector and a revival of the once mighty US auto industry.

"Chinese imports and exports are at a standstill. Everyone is waiting for the Chinese stimulus package to see if it will revive demand."

The Chinese government last month announced a four-trillion-yuan (580-billion-dollar) package of measures that it said could contribute 1.5 to 1.9 percent to the country's economic growth.

Industry experts have meanwhile spoken optimistically of China's prospects.

Thomas Albanese, chief executive at steel maker Rio Tinto, said earlier this year that the company foresaw "a short, sharp slowdown in China, with demand rebounding over the course of 2009, as the fundamentals of Chinese economic growth remain sound."

Analysts have said steel inventories are falling in China in anticipation of projects expected to emerge from the country's huge stimulus package.

"It is encouraging that the inventory of steel products, especially long products, which are mostly used in construction projects, have started to fall (since the end of March), likely suggesting that end-demand is gathering momentum," Frank Gong, a Hong Kong-based economist for JPMorgan, wrote in a research note.

On-the-ground evidence suggested that the Chinese industry had been re-stocking in the first two months of the year, followed by a pause in March before major infrastructure projects were expected to start in the second quarter, Gong wrote.

In the Middle East, according to Faye, the big problem is a shortage of credit, notably for real estate developers and builders.

Construction planners had "counted on a higher price for oil and on credit to finance their huge projects."

In addition, demand for such facilities, especially in the Gulf, has died.

"They were hoping that Americans and Europeans would buy apartments. But property prices have collapsed in the Middle East as well."

In the United Arab Emirates more than half the building projects, worth 582 billion dollars or 45 per cent of the total value of the construction sector, have been put on hold, a study by Dubai-based market research group Proleads found in February.

In Dubai, one of the states of the UAE, prices in the real estate sector have slumped by an average of 25 percent from their peak in September after rallying 79 percent in the 18 months to July 2008, according to Morgan Stanley.

Faye said the fate of the steel sector was in addition tied to that of the struggling US auto industry, once a thriving steel market but one in which two of its giant players, General Motors and Chrysler, are staring at bankruptcy.

The two companies are currently limping along thanks to billions of dollars in government aid.

"We are waiting to see if the auto sector in the US will get out of the crisis intact," she said.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Poll: Just 53% Favor Capitalism Over Socialism

This poll (see article below) is very important because it demonstrates there is a very large existing and even greater potential base for socialist activities ranging from initiating “socialist study/action clubs” of one kind or another to creating voting constituencies capable of determining the outcomes of elections to the possibility of electing socialists to public office to creating a widespread dialogue capable of setting our country on the road to socialism.

With capitalism in deep crises and no end in sight, we are living in a “Marxist moment” and as socialists we have a responsibility to take full advantage of capitalism being on the skids to oblivion while dragging all of humanity down the rough, bumpy road to perdition… now is the time like never before to start encouraging a we make a “left turn.”

This poll sheds a new light on the needed urgency to take advantage of the “moment” to advance a socialist agenda which includes real solutions to the problems of working people and the racially and nationally oppressed peoples who for the most part are working class and are suffering the greatest brunt of this crisis.

This proves that “socialism is on the table;” not withstanding objections from the pseudo socialists who project socialism for consideration in the far distant future, or those who think that socialist ideas should be limited to discussions among those in the “ivory towers.”

Socialism is a working class idea that workers need to be talking about where they live, work, recreate and go to school.

One only has use the imagination to figure out how powerful a force might be developed should an organized campaign for socialism combined with socialist oriented alternatives together with a socialist critique of the Obama/Wall Street agenda.

After years of lie after lie about socialism coming from the business, schools and the mainstream media, that there remains this kind of support for socialism proves we have been way too timid in advocating the socialist.

Now, more than ever, we need to find creative ways to get socialist ideas into the hands of working people.

I find it interesting that the number of people who describe themselves as “Democrats” are for socialism when the Democratic Party is an anti-socialist, pro-capitalist party. This must cause the leaders and Democratic Party hacks reason to be worried should a socialist/socialist oriented, non-sectarian political party with a sensible program calling for radical reforms with an anti-capitalist, pro-socialist agenda entering the political scene as an alternative to the two-party trap.

Keep in mind that where there might be three, four or five candidates in a race such as in many areas of Minneapolis; a socialist could win with 15% to 20% of the vote. In other areas, 15% to 20% of the vote would make socialist candidates “deal makers” to be contended with when it comes to struggling and fighting for reforms.

The time has come for the Obama/Wall Street agenda to be critiqued and challenged by socialists.

With a well-organized campaign networked in states like North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio socialism can make a big impact and become an integral part of the political process. People need to put their heads together to figure out how this can be done… most important is to ignore that part of the sectarian left and those who try to manipulate and control, while taking a campaign for socialism and radical reforms directly into the workplaces, schools and working class communities.

Obviously socialist ideas are more established and supported than what many on the left have thought.

Once people start thinking more deeply about capitalism vs. socialism after reading socialist ideas there shouldn’t be a problem with getting a solid one-third of the population talking knowledgeably about the need for socialism.

I would encourage the widespread distribution of Albert Einstein’s important essay:

Why Socialism?

We need to boldly proclaim that capitalism is the bankers’ system and socialism is the workers’ system… people and Mother Nature before corporate profits.

Is there some kind of socialist study/action club in your community? If not, now is the time to initiate one.

Alan L. Maki

04.09.09 - 12:01 PM

Poll: Just 53% Favor Capitalism Over Socialism

by Craig Brown

Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

Investors by a 5-to-1 margin choose capitalism. As for those who do not invest, 40% say capitalism is better while 25% prefer socialism.

There is a partisan gap as well. Republicans - by an 11-to-1 margin - favor capitalism. Democrats are much more closely divided: Just 39% say capitalism is better while 30% prefer socialism. As for those not affiliated with either major political party, 48% say capitalism is best, and 21% opt for socialism.

The question posed by Rasmussen Reports did not define either capitalism or socialism

It is interesting to compare the new results to an earlier survey in which 70% of Americans prefer a free-market economy. The fact that a "free-market economy" attracts substantially more support than "capitalism" may suggest some skepticism about whether capitalism in the United States today relies on free markets.

Other survey data supports that notion. Rather than seeing large corporations as committed to free markets, two-out-of-three Americans believe that big government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors.

Fifteen percent (15%) of Americans say they prefer a government-managed economy, similar to the 20% support for socialism. Just 14% believe the federal government would do a better job running auto companies, and even fewer believe government would do a better job running financial firms.

Most Americans today hold views that can generally be defined as populist while only seven percent (7%) share the elitist views of the Political Class.

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541


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Thoughts From Podunk

Friday, April 3, 2009

Why Socialism?

Why Socialism?

by Albert Einstein

[This essay was originally published in May 1949.]

Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.

Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological differences do exist. The discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstance that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. In addition, the experience which has accumulated since the beginning of the so-called civilized period of human history has—as is well known—been largely influenced and limited by causes which are by no means exclusively economic in nature. For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country. They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior.

But historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called "the predatory phase" of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases. Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future.

Second, socialism is directed towards a social-ethical end. Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends. But the ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals and—if these ends are not stillborn, but vital and vigorous—are adopted and carried forward by those many human beings who, half unconsciously, determine the slow evolution of society.

For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.

Innumerable voices have been asserting for some time now that human society is passing through a crisis, that its stability has been gravely shattered. It is characteristic of such a situation that individuals feel indifferent or even hostile toward the group, small or large, to which they belong. In order to illustrate my meaning, let me record here a personal experience. I recently discussed with an intelligent and well-disposed man the threat of another war, which in my opinion would seriously endanger the existence of mankind, and I remarked that only a supra-national organization would offer protection from that danger. Thereupon my visitor, very calmly and coolly, said to me: "Why are you so deeply opposed to the disappearance of the human race?"

I am sure that as little as a century ago no one would have so lightly made a statement of this kind. It is the statement of a man who has striven in vain to attain an equilibrium within himself and has more or less lost hope of succeeding. It is the expression of a painful solitude and isolation from which so many people are suffering in these days. What is the cause? Is there a way out?

It is easy to raise such questions, but difficult to answer them with any degree of assurance. I must try, however, as best I can, although I am very conscious of the fact that our feelings and strivings are often contradictory and obscure and that they cannot be expressed in easy and simple formulas.

Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting, strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society. It is quite possible that the relative strength of these two drives is, in the main, fixed by inheritance. But the personality that finally emerges is largely formed by the environment in which a man happens to find himself during his development, by the structure of the society in which he grows up, by the tradition of that society, and by its appraisal of particular types of behavior. The abstract concept "society" means to the individual human being the sum total of his direct and indirect relations to his contemporaries and to all the people of earlier generations. The individual is able to think, feel, strive, and work by himself; but he depends so much upon society—in his physical, intellectual, and emotional existence—that it is impossible to think of him, or to understand him, outside the framework of society. It is "society" which provides man with food, clothing, a home, the tools of work, language, the forms of thought, and most of the content of thought; his life is made possible through the labor and the accomplishments of the many millions past and present who are all hidden behind the small word “society.”

It is evident, therefore, that the dependence of the individual upon society is a fact of nature which cannot be abolished—just as in the case of ants and bees. However, while the whole life process of ants and bees is fixed down to the smallest detail by rigid, hereditary instincts, the social pattern and interrelationships of human beings are very variable and susceptible to change. Memory, the capacity to make new combinations, the gift of oral communication have made possible developments among human being which are not dictated by biological necessities. Such developments manifest themselves in traditions, institutions, and organizations; in literature; in scientific and engineering accomplishments; in works of art. This explains how it happens that, in a certain sense, man can influence his life through his own conduct, and that in this process conscious thinking and wanting can play a part.

Man acquires at birth, through heredity, a biological constitution which we must consider fixed and unalterable, including the natural urges which are characteristic of the human species. In addition, during his lifetime, he acquires a cultural constitution which he adopts from society through communication and through many other types of influences. It is this cultural constitution which, with the passage of time, is subject to change and which determines to a very large extent the relationship between the individual and society. Modern anthropology has taught us, through comparative investigation of so-called primitive cultures, that the social behavior of human beings may differ greatly, depending upon prevailing cultural patterns and the types of organization which predominate in society. It is on this that those who are striving to improve the lot of man may ground their hopes: human beings are not condemned, because of their biological constitution, to annihilate each other or to be at the mercy of a cruel, self-inflicted fate.

If we ask ourselves how the structure of society and the cultural attitude of man should be changed in order to make human life as satisfying as possible, we should constantly be conscious of the fact that there are certain conditions which we are unable to modify. As mentioned before, the biological nature of man is, for all practical purposes, not subject to change. Furthermore, technological and demographic developments of the last few centuries have created conditions which are here to stay. In relatively densely settled populations with the goods which are indispensable to their continued existence, an extreme division of labor and a highly-centralized productive apparatus are absolutely necessary. The time—which, looking back, seems so idyllic—is gone forever when individuals or relatively small groups could be completely self-sufficient. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that mankind constitutes even now a planetary community of production and consumption.

I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production—that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods—may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.

For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call “workers” all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production—although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. Insofar as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists' requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

The situation prevailing in an economy based on the private ownership of capital is thus characterized by two main principles: first, means of production (capital) are privately owned and the owners dispose of them as they see fit; second, the labor contract is free. Of course, there is no such thing as a pure capitalist society in this sense. In particular, it should be noted that the workers, through long and bitter political struggles, have succeeded in securing a somewhat improved form of the “free labor contract” for certain categories of workers. But taken as a whole, the present day economy does not differ much from “pure” capitalism.

Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an “army of unemployed” almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers' goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.

This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?

Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition. Since, under present circumstances, free and unhindered discussion of these problems has come under a powerful taboo, I consider the foundation of this magazine to be an important public service.