Monday, February 21, 2005

"Abolish Money Now"

The London Election Committee has just received a letter from Ernest Reynolds, of Swindon, saying that he was be contesting a seat in Swindon in the coming general election as an independent on an "Abolish Money Now" platform and inviting us to look at his website at
In a sense we could be said to stand for this, but indirectly. What we stand for is the immediate establishment of the common ownership and democratic control of the means of wealth production, which would have as its consequence making money redundant. But we do concede that "Establish common ownership now (and money will become redundant)", though more correct from the point of view of theory, is rather less snappy as a political slogan.
The argument is that, if the means of producing wealth are held in common, then what is produced will also be commonly owned. The "economic" problem will then be, not as it is under capitalism, how to sell what has been produced, but how to distribute it, how to, if you like, share it out.
We would envisage this being done very rapidly on the basis of free access: people getting the food, clothes and other articles they need for their personal consumption by going into a distribution centre and taking what they need without having to hand over either money or plastic or ration cards of any sort. Houses and flats rent-free, with heating, lighting and water supplied free of charge. Transport, communications, health care, education, restaurants and laundries organised as free public services. No admission charge to theatres, cinemas, museums, parks, libraries and other places of entertainment and recreation. Collective needs (schools, hospitals, theatres, libraries and the like) decided democratically by local councils and the like. So, production in socialism would be the production of free goods to meet people's self-defined needs, both individual and collective. Money would not be needed; in fact it wouldn't make sense.
On his site E. W. Reynolds makes some good points and develops one or two good arguments, but the big drawback is that he thinks that a moneyless society could be established just in Britain. But you can't separate what happens in Britain (or any other single country) from what happens in the rest of the world, as successive governments here have found out the hard way(financial crises, balance of payments crises, oil price rises, etc, etc.). Not even capitalism exists in one country. It is a world system. So, therefore, must the system that will replace it. So when we talk about socialism we are talking about world socialism, of all the resources of the planet becoming the common heritage of all humanity to be used for the benefit of the whole population of the world.
Still, it will be interesting, on election night, to see how many votes Ernest Reynolds gets in Swindon.


Gian Maria said...

Nice post! Thanks.

ewr said...

you would think the socialist workers party would be engaging deeper thinkers