Socialism is the Alternative to Monopoly Capitalism

Capitalism has created the economic conditions for socialism in Aotearoa. Today the whole system of production is socially interdependent, but it is controlled by private hands. In place of private control of social production there must be social ownership if society's problems are to be addressed.

The problems of capitalism - exploitation, anarchy of production, speculation and crisis, oppression of nationalities and women, and the whole system of injustice - arise from the self interest of the tiny group of monopoly capitalists.

Socialism will be won through the revolutionary overthrow of monopoly capitalism - the seizure of political power by the working class. Having overthrown the capitalist class, the working people will take over the economic forces developed by capitalism and operate them in the interests in society. Socialism will be a better society, one which will present unprecedented possibilities for the improvement of common peoples' lives.

Because working people will control the great wealth they produce, they will be fundamentally able to determine their own futures. The end of exploitation of one person by another will be a resounding liberating and transforming force.

Socialism will not mean more government control. Today we often hear of government control of the railways or post office as "creeping socialism". But under capitalism the state serves the interests of the ruling monopoly capitalist class. When the government intervene in the present economy, it does so to help, not hurt, capitalism.

The exact features of socialism in Aotearoa will emerge as our struggle against monopoly capitalism develops. But based on study of Aotearoa society and experiences of socialism in other countries we can visualise some features.

The main means of production - the large factories, mines, forests, big farms, offices, banks, transport systems, media, communications, big shopping chains will be taken into owner-ship by the new workers' state. Private ownership of large enterprises will end. The property of working people, the middle class and even medium sized capitalists will be left alone.

The economy will be planned to serve human needs rather than simply profit and luxury consumption by the rich. This will release the productive capacity of the economy from the limitations of profit maximisation. A great expansion in useful production and the wealth of society will become useful.

Rational planning will replace anarchy. Coordination and planning of the broad outlines of production by public agencies will aim at building an economy that will be stable, benefit the people and steadily advance.

Redirecting the productive capacity to human needs will require a variety of economic methods and experiments. There could be a combination of central planning, local coordination, strict price control or use of the market mechanism to set prices. Various policies might be used with changing conditions. But no matter what means are chosen, a socialist economy must uphold the basic principles of social ownership, production for the people's needs, and the elimination of exploitation.

Factories and other productive facilities will be modernised to eliminate backbreaking labour and ecological damage. Regional disparities will be addressed. No longer will Auckland mushroom while the South Island stagnates. Productivity gains will be used to shorten the working day and improve living standards, rather than create unemployment. Construction of housing, schools, medical, cultural and sporting facilities for working people will be a priority.

With socialism, goods and services will be distributed on the basis of from each according to their ability, to each according to their work. No longer will monopolists, landlords and speculators live off the labour of others. Every person will get the opportunity to contribute to society as much as they are able. Those who work more will receive more income. Those who retired or are unable to work would be supported from the social fund, while encouraging them to contribute what they can to socialist construction.

Transforming the main productive enterprises from private to social ownership will allow workers to manage democratically their own work places through workers' councils and elected administrators, in place of the myriad of supervisors and consultants today. In this way workers will be able to make their work places safe and efficient places that can serve their own interests as well as society's. Small owners, like farmers, fishing people and small retailers will be encouraged to form cooperatives and work together to raise their standard of living and improve efficiency.

Socialist Peoples' Democracy

Because the capitalist class profits from the oppression of the national minorities and women, the development of bourgeois democracy in Aotearoa is incomplete and will not be carried through by the capitalist class. Because of the remaining need to win democratic equality for the national minorities and women, the new government established by the socialist revolution in Aotearoa will have the form of a Socialist Peoples' Democracy.

To protect and govern socialism, the people will establish a socialist people's democracy, a genuine democracy for the masses of people. The people will elect officials and representatives at all levels of government and the economy. There will be the right of recall and referendum. Officials would be paid an average worker's salary. The media would be under democratic control and could be used in a much broader way to involve people in government. Socialist democracy would be far broader than what is possible today because the voices of the people would be heard, not simply those of the rich.

The working class through its own political party or parties will direct the government and play a leading role in society through education, persuasion and by example in the construction of socialism. Political parties which do not belong to the monopoly capitalist class and which uphold socialism may function. All revolutionary parties that participated in the struggle for socialism will enjoy all political rights and responsibilities.

Basic civil and individual rights such as freedom of speech, press and assembly would be given real content with the removal of the domination of capital. More extensive and explicit rights for the working class, oppressed nationalities, women and other social groups would also be guaranteed. The right to be free of exploitation would be primary over any property rights. The right to a job, today denied for thousands of people, would be guaranteed. The right to education and health care would be raised as basic human rights and resources concentrated in these areas to make this a reality. The rights of workers to strike, organise, stand for political office, criticise the government, freedom of religion would be written into law.

There will be no overnight miracles under socialism, but the way cleared to achieve a decent meaningful and productive life for all working people.

Particular attention would be given to raising the economic, social and cultural level of people who especially suffered under monopoly capitalism, such as the national minorities, women and ghetto areas.

Recognition would be given to the sovereignty of the Maori over Aotearoa and the Treaty of Waitangi honoured. The socialist government would work for the equality of all nationalities, the revival the languages and cultures of the national minorities. White chauvinism and racism would be actively fought.

Socialism will also permit the liberation of women by ending obstacles to their equal participation in society. Comprehensive public child care would be established. Paid matemity leave, flexible working hours and a shorter working day would be legislated, as would the right to free contraception and safe legal abortion. Male supremacy would be vigorously combated. Cultural life would blossom outside the shadow of the dollar. A socialist society could give a great deal more attention to arts, sports, education, and popular entertainment. The sciences and humanities would also develop more fully with more resources.

What will not be developed under socialism are the massive government bureaucracy and repressive state apparatus (police, prisons) which are used to control the people and defend the monopolists. A socialist society would have no such needs. The socialist state, however, would take ruthless measures to eliminate organised crime and attempts by the defeated capitalist class or foreign reactionaries to return to the old order. The professional armed forces and police will be largely replaced by a peoples' militia organised in factories and communities.

A socialist Aotearoa will trade with other countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. Foreign policy will be based on the principles of equality, respect for national independence, non-aggression, peace and support the freedom struggles of workers in other countries and the struggles of oppressed nations, and will unite with other socialist countries around the world in order to defeat imperialism.

There will still be struggle, conflict and problems under socialism, since human progress always advances through overcoming obstacles and contradictions. There may even be reactionary attempts to restore capitalism. But the destruction of the power of the dollar over society will open the way forward for the common people of Aotearoa. They will have unprecedented possibilities for the improvement of their lives.

The socialist people's democracy will be the form of the political rule of the working class in Aotearoa, the specific form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Democracy will be ensured for the vast majority and the national minorities and dictatorship exercised over a particular class - the former and would-be oppressors. As such, socialism will be the first stage of the development towards communism, a truly classless society. Communism is a long time off. it will be possible when worldwide economic, ideological and social development will allow the gradual amalgamation of peoples into one, making states themselves unnecessary. Communism will realise the ideal "from each according to one's ability, to each according to one's need." Classes will have largely disappeared, the state will "wither" away, and an exciting new era of human freedom and prosperity will arise.

The immediate step in this direction is the struggle to end the monopoly capitalist system in Aotearoa.

Excerpt from 'Towards A Socialist Peoples Republic of Aotearoa', Programme of the Communist Party of Aotearoa (NZ)