Thursday, May 05, 2005

Marx's birthday

This day, in 1818, Karl Marx was born in Trier in Germany. It is also, this year, the western Christians' "Ascension Day" which, for Catholics, is a "holy day of obligation". It's also voting day, though there are no penalties either in this world or the imaginary next for not voting. Some in fact have already voted, by post, some even, Laborites in Birmingham and Tories in Bradford, seeming to have followed the good old Northern Ireland tradition of "vote early, vote often".
Election days are the occasion when the capitalist class ask the working class to endorse their control of political power which is used to maintain their dominant position in society, and in particular their ownership and control of the means of production. Canvassing returns and opinion polls suggest that, unfortunately, 98 per cent of those who vote will vote to keep capitalism going by voting for one or other of the political parties that represent capitalism in one form or another. The only counter-information we have is the result of a school election in West London where an 11-year old candidate, standing for "a moneyless world community" won.
Except in Vauxhall, those who reject capitalist rule and want to see established a society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of wealth production, with production geared to meeting people's needs and not for profit, and distribution according to the principle of "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs", only have a choice of not voting or (better) going to the polling station and casting a write-in vote for socialism by writing "SOCIALISM" or "WORLD SOCIALISM" or something like that across the ballot paper. Or they can do what one Socialist Party member used to do: take the ballot paper, go into the booth, and then return to ask the polling clerk in a loud voice how to spell "Bastards".
In Vauxhall, those who want socialism don't have to go to this extreme but can show this by putting an X against the name of Danny Lambert, the Socialist Party candidate.

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