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Labor Action, 31 December 1945


Atomic Energy:

For Barbarism or Socialism?

A Series by the Editors of Labor Action


From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 53, 31 December 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.



Socialism, and only socialism, will create a true world state, a world without national barriers, without international rivalries, without master and slave nations and, hence, a world without war.

This world government will not be a government of a dominant economic class but will be a government of all the peoples that inhabit the globe. Its primary duty will be to conduct the affairs of the world with the aim of eliminating poverty, joblessness, hunger and general insecurity. Its sole criterion would be the needs of the people.

This development, is imperative because the world faces: socialism or death!

But why will socialism guarantee peace, security and freedom and prevent the destruction of mankind?

Socialism will destroy tile root evil of modern society, i.e., the private ownership of the means of production, the factories, mines, mills, machinery and land, which produce the necessities of life.

Under socialism, these instruments of production will become the property of society, owned in common, producing for use, for the general welfare of the people as a whole. With the abolition of the private ownership of the means of life and with it the factor of profit as the prime mover of production, the sharp divisions of society between nations and classes will disappear. Then, and only then, will society be in a position to become a social order of abundance and plenty for all, for socialism will create a new world of genuine cooperation and collaboration between the peoples of the earth.

In abolishing classes in society, socialism will change the form and type of governments which exist today. Governments will become administrative bodies regulating production and consumption. They will not be the instruments of the capitalist class, i.e., capitalist governments whose main reason for existence is to guarantee the political as well as the economic rule of big business, their profits, their private ownership of the instruments of production, and the conduct of war in the economic and political interests of this class.

For the Interests of Mankind

The preoccupation of government under socialism will be to assist in the elevation of society, to improve continually the living standards of the people, to extend their leisure time and thus make it possible to heighten the cultural level of the whole world.

In abolishing classes, class government and war, socialism will at the same time destroy all forms of dictatorship, political as well as economic. The socialist world state will be the freest, most democratic society the world has ever known, with the world government truly representing the majority of the population and subject to its recall. A citizen of a socialist society will look back upon the capitalist era with its wars, destruction and bloody and cruel dictatorships as we now look back upon the dawn of written history.

The socialist world state will assess the industrial potential of the world, determine its resources, the needs of the people and plan production with the aim of increasing the standards of living of a free people, creating abundance, increasing leisure and opportunity for cultural enjoyment.

Socialism will not concern itself with profits and war, but with providing decent housing for all the people.

Socialism will provide for a multitude of schools for all the people. Socialism will eliminate illiteracy, which is one of the hallmarks of capitalism, and cease to regard schools primarily as institutions to produce skilled labor to help operate the profit economy.

Socialism will create a system of health preservation and insurance in which the needs of the people and the improvement of the human race would be the paramount consideration,

Above all, socialism will provide jobs for all. But this will be work without exploitation. For the aim of socialism is not the increased exploitation and intensification of labor, but the utilization of machinery, technology, science and invention to diminish toil, to create time in which to permit all the people to enjoy the benefits of social progress.

Toward the New Freedom

The modern world contains all the pre-conditions necessary for socialism. All about us we observe gigantic industrial establishments containing machinery which could produce the goods of life in abundance. Man has developed a marvelous technology. The discovery and control of atomic energy has not only made it more possible for man to control his natural and social environment to create a fruitful life of abundance, but has made it imperative.

Socialism will place at the disposal of science and the scientists all the material means to help create an ever-improving social life for mankind.

Under capitalism, scientists are mere wage workers hiring out their skills to private industry. The fruits of their intelligence, learning arid research become the exclusive property of the capitalists who profit from the labors of these scientists. Thus, science has become subordinated to profits rather than to the common good of all mankind. Yet the future society depends in large measure on changing this relation of science to society.

Only socialism can place science where it properly belongs: in the service of the people

Man is at a crossroads. He can travel the road of capitalism, i.e., he can travel the road of chaos, war, poverty and barbarism, or he can take the socialist road toward true freedom, peace and security, the road toward a society of plenty for all which would end the exploitation of man by man for all time.

As Leon Trotsky, the great socialist leader of the international working class, once wrote:

“It is difficult to predict the extent of self-government which the man of the future may reach or the heights to which he may carry his technique ... The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise, to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe or a Marx. And above this ridge new peaks will rise.”

Socialism or death!

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