Socialism can and must be established before capitalism brings our world into a second Dark Age. But how should it be established? Socialists believe that the only way to estabish socialism is by a combination of economic and political organization.
Currently, the working class is not class conscious, and most are members of the Democratic or Republican political parties, both of which support the capitalist class and its sranglehold on the economy (as do most other political parties in the U.S.). Thus, the working class is miseducated into playing the capitalist class' game for it. In our education we are taught to support the government, to believe that the President and the rest of the politicians are looking out for our needs and that we live in a truly democratic society. We are taught this in the capitalist controlled media, schools, television and other sources of information. Most people never even consider questioning such tactics...we simply believe the propaganda that we have been fed all of our lives, and never think to question it. We may dislike certain politicians and policies, we may hate the crime, poverty and environmental destruction that capitalism creates, but never do we actually blame capitalism itself or even consider capitalism as the problem. Always do we consider "solutions" to the problems within the framework of capitalism, and never do we oppose the politcians and the capitalist class that controls them.
We are encouraged to work our jobs, grind our noses and ignore the daily exploitation that we suffer. We believe that the capitalists are necessary for production, that at least some of them deserve their wealth, that they earned their vast wealth through "hard work" (that we've never seen them do) and that all the social evils of capitalism are "necessary" for a democratic society.
We dismiss socialism out of hand as that thing that Russia used to have, never knowing that this is a lie crafted by the politicians so that we will never question the power that they and the capitalists hold over us. We have had the technological capability for socialism for about 120 years now, and socialists will always recognize the 20th century as the "wasted century," as capitalism endured throughout the entire hundred years. The only time capitalism came close to being challenged was during the Great Depression of the 1930's, and President Roosevelt defeated the protests by giving us the elaborate but ineffective series of social reforms known as the New Deal. The New Deal saved capitalism and made it somewhat easier to live with for the working class, but it was never intended to replace capitalism with another system, least of all socialism. We have continually been thrown crumbs to distract us from our revolutionary mission, and at least in the 20th century, it has always worked. How can we obtain socialism?
For starters, we must become classconscious. We must recognize ourselves as members of the working class, regardless of our occupations, income or employment status. Anyone who must work for a living is a member of the working class. Anyone who owns enough property to live off of the labor of others, yet never needs to work themselves, is a member of the capitalist class. It's that simple. We must cast off social mythology that casts us into fictitious classes such as the "middle class." In 21st century America, you are either a worker or a capitalist (yes, there are independent contractors and others who straddle classes and may be considered part of a "middle class," but such individuals are relatively rare and are exceptions which prove the rule). We must recognize this fact and unite. We must form our own political party separate from the "Demopublicans" and which will be organized solely on the basis of fighting for socialism. Not for reforms, not for "nationalization" of the industries, but for genuine socialism only.
Also, we must organize on the economic field. The Socialist Labor Party has stated a great way to do this in its Socialist Industrial Union program, as formulated by the great American Marxist Daniel De Leon. The SIU program explains that we must create a new form of union, not like the current trade unions that are merely bulwarks of capitalism and accept the status quo, serve as vehicles for careerists and opportunists and even spread social myths such as the absurd assertion about capitalists and workers being "brothers" with mutual interests. The SIU program recognizes that these new unions will be based on the fact that capital and labor have nothing in common, have absolutely conflicting interests and are class enemies. These new unions will unite every worker, employed or not, regardless of occupation, into a powerful economic organization who's ultimate goal is not a "fair day's wage for a fair day's work", but the abolition of capitalist social relations altogether.
In short, the socialist political party will present us with the revolutionary ballot, quoting Article V of the U.S. Constitution that decrees, by our Founding Fathers, that this system of government may be legally overthrown at any time that such a majority declares it so. The economic organization will serve as the force to back up that right. With all of the workers firmly in possession of the industries and services, the political party will capture the state with the express purpose of dismantling it. The political party will then vote itself out of existence, and all power will be advocated to the Socialist Indusrial Unions, which will then become the new government, the Socialist Republic of Labor.
Every person on the continent will have an equal vote in how the new economy is run. Private ownership of the industries will be eliminated, in favor of social, or common, ownership. We will have a society of free access to the goods we produce in direct exchange for our services rendered, and we shall all be given useful and rewarding occupations that we have a personal aptitude for, each of us working a fraction of the amount of time we have to work in capitalist society. Poverty, hunger, racism, sexism, environmental destruction, unemployment, rampant crime and war will become things of the past. Education will be given to anyone who has the desire to learn and the ability to master the lessons, all free of "charge." Health care shall be free to all who need it, as will be housing and mass transportation. Recreational facilities will now be open to all as well, and we will now have plenty of leisure time to enjoy it. Magazines, the television stations, radio stations and the Internet will be in the hands of everyone collectively, so we will no longer have our means of communications in the hands of the few, deciding what we can publish or which ideas we can express. Those who are physically or mentally incapable of work, or those who are too old and infirm to work, will share in this abundance.
The SIU representatives will have the sole purpose of determining what goods and services the workers want and need, and what resources are needed to supply them, and to make plans to fulfill these needs and wants in the most efficient manner possible. These industrial representatives will receive no compensation above that of the rest of the workers, they will be fully recallable at any time that a simple majority of the workers deem it necessary to replace them, and they will have no special powers above the rest of society, or professional police force or military to enforce rules or laws upon us; manintaining order by brute force, as is done by the political state today, will be completely unnecessary in a classless society where no one lives in want or deprivation, and where everyone has satisfying jobs and a large amount of leisure time, as well as an equal voice in running society.
These representatives will be elected in ascending order, from administrators of a particular factory, hospital, school, restaurant, mines, etc., to local industrial council representing their interests on a local level, to a national industrial council to represent their industry on a national level, to an all Industrial Congress that will represent all the industries and services. All of these delegate councils will be run from bottom to top, unlike the government of today, which is run from top to bottom. Thus, these industrial representatives will have the privilege to serve society, but never the power to rule it, and they will in no way resemble the nearly all powerful politicians who run capitalist society in the interests of the wealthy and who have enormous governing power over every aspect of our lives.
This new society will herald a Golden Age for humanity, and it is within our grasp as soon as we organize to establish it. Greater details on De Leonism can be found on the section on The Union Question elsewhere on this site, where you will also find greater clarification on how the SIU program will work. For regular details on the Socialist Industrial Union program, you may subscribe to the Socialist Labor Party's offical newspaper, The People, which can be found on the SLP's web site, a link to which can be found in my section on Socialist Links, where you can also find a link to the New Union Party website, who also upholds the principles of De Leonism, but has a few new ideas on the program. The World Socialist Parties do not advocate the SIU program (though I certainly do), and you can find out why on their website, also on the Links section.