Why I believe in socialism

Seventeen year old Matt, a new member of York Socialist Party, gave a speech on ‘why socialism’ at his school. Below we print excerpts.

I would like to see the return of class politics to Britain. Some of our country’s greatest political achievements have been socialist in nature- the NHS, the general strike, the welfare system. I believe the presence of socialism in our political scene would be in the interest of every ordinary person.

There are socialists across the world, and workers from all cultures must join together in the struggle against oppression. In Britain we live in a country devastated by a financial crisis which has rocked the world and a catastrophic financial crash has shaken the very foundations of society.

1.6 million children are growing up in poverty in Britain with the Red Cross distributing food packages for the first time since World War Two, while the super-rich have had it easy.

Our attentions are directed towards the “scroungers”- an imaginary underclass of benefit layabouts – while those who caused this crash, the real scroungers, the tax-dodging bankers get off scot-free, subsidised for their mistakes through cuts to our services.

This attack on ordinary people is overseen by an Eton-educated political elite which cares not for workers, but for the interests of corporations and their own greed. How can we expect them to strive for ordinary people, when they receive their own campaign funds from big business?

Throughout the history of capitalism, we have seen horror stories such as this – booms and busts (an inevitable symptom), poor-houses, starvation, illness, corruption and above all- exploitation. Today, the average shopfloor worker makes 100 times less than the average chief executive. A lust for profit and greed has created a system in which some have it all, while others have none.

Food and water have been turned into profitable industries, commodities, for the benefit of those in charge, but to the detriment of the people who require them to survive.

Unjust system

It’s time we stood up for the rights of ordinary people. Our current system is unsustainable, unfair and unjust, and it’s time for change. We need to value and appreciate the hard work of every member of our society- the important role which every worker plays in keeping society running.

Through socialism, I believe it would be possible to fix a myriad of problems which face our society today. The nationalisation of basic services would give every person a proper standard of living. Eliminate the profit system, and it would be possible for services to be delivered at the minimal cost to both the individual and the environment.

There would be no need to charge extortionate amounts for fuel and energy. The need to cut corners on environmental policies, in order to generate surplus value, would be eliminated.

As profit is done away with, we would see a noticeable decrease in income disparity. Money previously directed towards ultra-rich bosses would instead be invested in wages, with workers seeing noticeable increases in salary, and advancement in working conditions. From here, we may choose to go further; to give the people shared ownership of most, if not all industries.

We should look towards politics, and tackle the increasing alienation which people feel towards it. We should work to establish a democracy free from private interest and profit. In which politicians’ wages reflect those of ordinary people, and their interests reflect those of the workers around them.

As well as the immediate benefits of the return of socialist ideas, we would hope to see even more advancements over time, as the idea of profit and exploitation fades, we would see an end to recessions and depressions- a symptom of capitalist greed, an end to conflict over money and land, an end to poverty, to starvation, to thirst. We could build a better world. I believe in socialism, because we should value people over profit.