The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 22nd December 2017

What we are fighting for

by Daphne Liddle

AT THIS time of year when days are short, the weather awful and the global political situation dire, we need cheering up by reminding ourselves of the socialist future we are struggling and fighting for as well as the evils and injustices of world economic imperialism that we are fighting against.

Looking forward to a time after a successful socialist revolution in Britain, we will assume that this has probably come when other western powers have also moved forward to socialism and socialism is the predominant system. What will our lives be like?

There will still be big problems to overcome around global warming, rising sea levels and the need to organise the move of towns, cities and settlements from coastal plains, estuaries and large rivers. But with everyone working together on the same side it should be possible to organise, though not easy.

And there will be problems that socialism cannot eradicate: people falling in and out of love, cheating on each other and being mean to each other. People will still grow old and get ill or have accidents.

But we will be living under a system that discourages greed, meanness and selfishness, and encourages cooperation and helping each other rather than one that praises the extremely greedy accumulation of vast wealth.

And some of the greatest causes of misery: poverty, homelessness, joblessness, debt, discrimination, isolation and loneliness will be gone for good. No one will lie awake at night worrying about losing their job or their home or how they are going to pay for household heating.

No one will have to sleep on city pavements or beg for food. No parents will have to go hungry to feed their children and no lonely pensioners will have to freeze to death.

People with disabilities and long-term health problems will no longer be put through humiliating tests or forced to try to look for work under the threat of losing their income.

These people will of course be encouraged and assisted to engage with wider society through the restoration of day centres, lunch clubs and so on — but never coerced. They will be treated with respect.

The NHS will be restored, with large fully comprehensive hospitals in every county or region working with a network of smaller local hospitals and clinics.

Most patients, especially as they get older, have more than one health condition, so when going for a major operation or procedure they need experts on a full range of all possible complications on hand. But once out of high-dependency care they would be transferred by ambulance to their local hospitals and/or convalescent homes.

local hospitals

The post-operative care and monitoring would be done at local hospitals and clinics run by the large teams of consultants at the big hospitals, to reduce unnecessary travel by patients and make it easier for visitors.

Looking further ahead to a more developed stage of socialism, the nature of the human family would change — as it has changed throughout human history according to the predominant modes of production.

This is speculation but I would predict larger households with gardens involving several adults of different ages and some paired, but in a variety of different close relations with each other that could and would change without rocking the stability of the household.

Women would have one or two children as they wished but as there would be more than one mother under the same roof, all children would grow up with brothers and sisters and they would grow up more confident, learning how to be part of a group from the very earliest stages.

Mangyongdae Children's Palace, Pyongyang

Some women might want more children and some none at all, and this would not cause any kind of a problem. Even those who did not want any would probably play some parenting role with the children of the household — as would the men of the household and older children.

Children would grow up with multiple parents and would themselves occasionally be asked to “mind the baby” — so that when they came to have children themselves, looking after them would not be a daunting or terrifying prospect.

The older generation would play an important role in these households, passing on knowledge, helping around the house where they could, reading stories to the children and just being there when they got home from school.

Caring for the children, the elderly and any members with disabilities would not be a burden on one over-stretched middle-aged woman as it is now but would be shared by all household members. Ultimately, all members would be both givers and receivers of care.

Education would be freely available from cradle to grave and be an important part of all lives. But there is a good argument that at about 17 or 18, instead of going straight to college, young people should have an opportunity to travel and see the world — doing different jobs in different places,, and should undertake the first stage of their working lives.

working hours

Weekly working hours would of course be a lot shorter and technology would remove a lot of the burden of work. But there would be still be some manual tasks that would need to be done by people. And this is what people would be doing in their 20s — and at the same time developing personal relationships and settling down into the large households.

Then in their early 30s they would begin the second stage of their formal education — at about the same time as their own children are starting school. University education is far more beneficial to students who have grown up a little, been out in the world and seen things for themselves. Such students do not simply absorb whatever their professors tell them if it does not seem right; based on their life experiences they have the confidence to challenge the professors.

This results in deeper debates, more research and a deeper understanding all round.

After this people would embark on their second careers as highly educated teachers, doctors, technicians and so on. So, everyone would have experience of manual work and professional work.

From their early teens, children would be encouraged to take holidays away from home — starting with overnight stays — of the sort provided now by the Woodcraft Folk. There would be opportunities for adventures, a closer understanding of the natural world, developing hobbies and interests, and the chance of visits to other countries.

No child would feel neglected or bored. There would be less chance of children falling foul of drug and alcohol abuse — but if they did they would be surrounded and supported by many adults they knew and trusted who would help to divert them into happier pursuits.

Teenage groups of friends would no longer be seen as ‘gangs’ or threats but just as young people going through the process of becoming independent thinkers and sexual adults — which could still be a difficult time. But as we see in People’s Korea, a state that takes pride in its young people and constantly praises them reaps the benefit of confident young people who rarely fall into depression or alienation.

They would not be bombarded with marketing campaigns for clothing, cosmetics, gizmos and other things they do not need. But they would still be naturally curious to try all things new and to push themselves and take risks. Some would feel stifled by blanket protection. Hopefully a socialist society would respect this and be able to meet these needs.

Alcohol and recreational drugs would probably not be illegal but abuse of them would be very strongly discouraged. That would give no room for illicit drug dealing and all the crimes that go with that. There would be no crimes driven by poverty or desperation. In the larger households, domestic violence or child abuse would be almost impossible.

Partnerships would not be binding. Responsibility for the care of children would be with the whole household and far more secure than it is today.

Property-related crimes/disputes would be very rare and trivial. Land, factories, the transport system, utilities (water, sewerage, gas, electricity, communications) would all be publicly owned. Household items would be owned by the whole households. The homes and gardens would be owned by the state but permanently available to the occupants. Personal belongings would be cheap and easily replaced using three-dimensional printing technology.

The need for policing, law and order would dwindle. Courts would meet rarely but those who did commit crimes would have no mitigating circumstances to plead. There would probably still be disputes between households, individuals and so on, and a need for local tribunals to settle such cases.

Right now, this is just dreaming and a lot of speculation. But it gives us a reason to keep trudging on and fighting for socialism.