The Path to Human Development: Capitalism or Socialism?

What do we want?

1. What do we all want? We want to be all that we can be. And we want this not only for ourselves. We want our families and our loved ones to be able to develop all of their potential – that we all get what we need for our development. To each according to her need for development.

What do we need for our development?

2. There are two points, though, that we need to stress. First, if we are going to talk about the possibility of human development, we have to recognize that a precondition for that development is sufficient food, good health, education, and the opportunity to make decisions for ourselves. How can we possibly develop all our potential if we are hungry, in bad health, poorly educated, or dominated by others? Secondly, since we are not identical, what we need for our own self-development obviously differs for everyone.

A society that stresses the opportunity to develop our potential

3. The idea of a society that would allow for the full development of human potential has always been the goal of socialists. In his early draft of the Communist Manifesto, Friedrich Engels asked, “What is the aim of the Communists?” He answered, “To organize society in such a way that every member of it can develop and use all his capabilities and powers in complete freedom and without thereby infringing the basic conditions of this society.” Marx summed it all up in the final version of the Manifesto by saying that the goal is “an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” Our goal, in short, cannot be a society in which some people are able to develop their capabilities and others are not; we are interdependent, we are all members of a human family. The full development of all human potential is our goal.

Download complete PDF (2 formats)

New Socialist Project publication

The financial and economic crisis currently enveloping the world market is causing an enormous amount of social chaos. Workers and families are being dislocated from their communities as factories and workplaces are shutdown. Immigrants already forced to migrate to find work are amongst the first laid-off and pushed into even more exposed social settings.

Women’s work is becoming increasingly precarious, and the pressures on women to undertake unpaid care work increasing. A vulnerable planet is under greater pressures as measures to improve the world’s ecology are sacrificed to the need to restore corporate profits. As Mike Lebowitz notes in the pamphlet below, the logic of capital is opposed to the logic of human development. In an economic crisis, all is sacrificed to the restoration of capitalist profitability.

A new anti-capitalist movement is emerging. This is renewing the popularity of the writings of Karl Marx, and in particular his penetrating analysis in Capital, still the foremost analysis of why capitalist development inevitably leads to economic crises. The ideas of socialism are re-gaining popular resonance. New study groups and activist campaigns are growing daily. The Path to Human Development: Capitalism or Socialism? is a significant contribution to these efforts. Read it. Study it. Debate it. Circulate it among friends and comrades. Take part in the anti-capitalist movement that is emerging across the world.  Alternatives to financial greed, economic chaos and barbarism are not only possible, they have taken on an urgency.

The pamphlet is freely available for download. Printed copies are available at $3 each or $25 for a bundle of 10 copies (postage extra).

Socialist Project

Riding a Revolution to Nowhere By Boris Kagarlitsky

16 April, 2009

Recent political struggles in Eastern Europe remind me of the excellent novel by O. Henry ‘Cabbages and Kings.’ In this work, regimes change and governments are overthrown (or they desperately cling to authority). But in the end, absolutely nothing changes.

No matter who wins, life continues according to the same old rules — government officials continue to steal, the business community cheats both workers, and the state and politicians lie. Now even those who respond to calls by the opposition to take to the streets know in their hearts that this is true. But their dislike of the corrupt officials in power outweighs their distrust of the demagogues among the opposition forces. And if new leaders eventually do come to power, the same scenario can be repeated by just changing the names and places of the characters.

Continue reading

US Aircraft and Elite Navy SEALs Defeat Three Somalis in a Lifeboat By Glen Ford

15 April, 2009 ‘Black Agenda Report

‘An estimated $300 million worth of Somali sea life is pirated by foreigners every year.’

What a weekend for American foreign policy! The United States Navy, backed up by warships from 20 other nations, knocked off three Somali guys crouching with rifles in a lifeboat tied by a rope to a U.S. destroyer. To hear the U.S. corporate media tell it, the Americans had won a huge victory over the forces of evil. The sole surviving Somali was in custody – a 16-year-old who essentially gave himself up, earlier, after being hurt in a scuffle with the American cargo ship captain who is now celebrated as a hero of the seven seas and defender of United States national honor.

There is something obscene about a superpower whose media and population find great satisfaction, and some sick form of national catharsis, every time they manage to overcome a weak and desperate opponent.

Continue reading

Avoiding World Conference on Racism Shows Obama’s Disrespect For Blacks By Glen Ford

15 April, 2009 ‘BAR

President Obama’s ‘fawning, damn near servile behavior when accommodating Zionist demands’ to boycott and sabotage the Durban II conference on racism ‘should have been a deal breaker’ in his relations with African Americans. But what passes for Black leadership accepts any and all insults from Obama, who naturally treats them like the spineless creatures they are. Meanwhile, the White House keeps ‘Jewish leaders’ up to date with conference calls on how Obama is protecting Israel from charges that it is an apartheid state, and also ensuring that the United States is not compelled to make amends for its racist past and present.

‘Blacks get nothing from Obama’s White House except permission to worship him as the ultimate role model.’

Continue reading