A lot of people don't like to be associated with the term socialist. The capitalist wing have given the concept of socialism a stigma! But they're wrong! Pure capitalism is failing in many parts of the world. And that is because pure capitalism means that the means of production are owned by those with the most money! So at the end of the day, the man who can afford to manufacture all the sugar, salt, maggi, indomie and spagghetti will own all these things. He would receive an alert anytime we eat any of these products. If he can afford to manufacture all the cement, rods and building materials, we would also allow him own them all. So that for every hut or sky scraper that is constructed, he would receive an alert! Then finally, chances are that such a pure capitalist would afford to buy up all our refineries and power stations. That is pure capitalism. Its good in its own way but it is failing in most parts of the world already!
However, society only moves forward through a constant friction of ideas between the pure capitalist and the neo socialist. Where one believes in total privatization of all state assets, the other believes that some services must never be privatized! Where one believed people must pay for education to value it, the other believes that basic primary education must be free and compulsory! Where one insists that healthcare can never be free, the other asserverates that it must be free for pregnant women and under 5's. Out lined below are the core beliefs of a neosocialist.
A Neo-Socialists Manifesto
1. All men are equal: No gender is superior to the other. A son is as valuable as a daughter and a man is invariably of the same capacity with a woman if given similar opportunities. So a neo socialist commits his life to the advancement of equal opportunities for all sexes. In this same vein no race is superior to another. We all share a common humanity and our battles against the vissisitudes of life in birth and in death are one and the same. We all have a similar vision of a better life for the greatest number of people. And that is one vision that remains unchanged regardless of the words in which it is phrased. In tandem with this philosophy of life, no profession is superior to another. There is dignity in labor. And all labor is of intrinsic value. Every laborer is worthy of a decent days meal, a home to call his own, a guaranteed future for his offspring and an inalienable right to negotiate and determine their lot in life. This explains the socialists natural appeal to trade unions and professional bodies. This explains the neo socialists dream of having all labor movements from every sector work together with a common realization that we exist for the advancement of society and not the advancement of self. For if society moves we move! Society is always previous. That great el dorado of equality of the classes is a dream- a dream that must be aspired to.
2. Society advances through conflict
Socialists are often branded confrontational. They challenge the system with alternative ideas. This natural tendency is because they believe there can be no motion without friction. Societies that shy away from friction ossify. Sectors that glorify peace may just be glorifying the uneasy peace of the grave. It has been the experience of many that there can be no peace without conflict. Hence every system needs a good conflict resolution mechanism to prevent systemic failures. The conflict between neo socialists and capitalists is as old as man. The conflict between the have's and the have nots is a never ending one. The conlict between the bourgeois and the proletariat may never cease. For those who hold the means of production in their hands do so for their personal gain. The workers who make the wealth of nations do so under conditions that are so far apart from the living conditions of their overlords.
Pure capitalists justify these things as the way things ought to be because not all fingers are equal. But by assuming such positions, they forget that when one finger is plunged deep in oil it must stain every other one if precautionary measures are not taken. It is these precautionary measures which will stop the spread of corruption from the more priviledged to the less privilegded. For when the rich do nothing to guarantee a better life for the poor they have to sleep with one eye open. The wealthy have to protect society from the mounting frustration of the everyday Nigerian. This is a necessity until such a time when there is equitable distribution of wealth.
(To be continued)
Iroko Obasi ND