The battle of wits between capitalism and socialism

03 May 2019
Author   Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange
These issues are complicated and cannot be dealt with in one article. Therefore I shall only confine myself to some aspects of this subject. I would also like to make it very clear that what is written here are my own views, including those referring to “socialism with Namibian characteristics.”
Firstly, there is a distorted belief propagated by capitalist forces that democracy prevails only in capitalist countries and that in socialist countries there is only dictatorship. If capitalists are ruling the country and have power over the proletariat, it is apparently not regarded as dictatorship.
Secondly, the demise of the former Soviet Union is regarded by capitalist forces as democratisation and political liberation of that great country. In fact, the industrialised capitalist countries were regarded and perceived as proper democracies, while all socialist countries were regarded by capitalists as authoritarian and oppressive regimes which are ruled by vagrant political criminal elements.
However, the truth is that people in socialist countries have also a system of government in which all the citizens of those countries democratically elect their representatives.
In many socialist countries there is what is referred to as scientific socialism. Generally, we have to understand that there are scientific factors which are objectively creating, determining and affecting interrelationships of various forces and classes. For example, historically we talk about evolution of the human species, as well as gradual development of animals and plants over many historical years. Such evolution either makes them adapt to changing environment or they become extinct.
In physics we talk about two vector forces which create another force which is distinct from the other two. Likewise when we talk about class struggle the evolution of capitalism creates capitalist classes which own the means of production and wealth and the class of proletariat who only sell their labour to those who own the means of production. This dichotomy leads to class struggle and such class struggle ends in class confrontation which provokes worker’s revolution.
Every country, being it capitalist or socialist, have structures, bodies and institutions within which all persons of different languages, cultures or traditions can come together and express their views as well as bodies that are used to regulate various issues, problems and relationships. As mentioned above, many societies are made up of sets of opposing forces and classes.  However, various classes have different interests and views on basic issues, for example on how the society should be organised and ruled.
Such interests are antagonistic and may lead to confrontation. Capitalists want a society in which their class owns and control all wealth and means of production. The working class and the rest of the population have to make their living by working for the capitalists’ class which pays them very little for their labour and keep whatever was produced for making profit for themselves. In capitalist society the capitalist class is in power.
The workers on the other hand want a society in which every person is a producer of wealth which can be used to produce more wealth which can be owned by all the people collectively. Therefore this antagonistic situation provokes a battle and fights not only for ownership of means of production but for control of state power. it is therefore clear that the working class, which only sells its labour feels oppressed and exploited by the minority capitalist class. In the long run the working class  would like to fight for its freedom from oppression and exploitation by minority capitalists and ideas than are born to have a socialist state which will be controlled by the working class and peasants and the means of production and wealth which will be collectively owned to benefit all the people.
This situation develops into a class struggle between workers and peasants on one side and the bourgeoisie who own the means of production on the other. In order to get the means of production and produce the wealth the workers and peasants will like also to seize state power to use such power as means and tools to meet and achieve their desires.
That’s what Karl Marx referred to as “dictatorship of proletariat”. In fact the “dictatorship of the proletariat” is meant to describe the determination by working class to fight and defeat the powerful enemy, the bourgeoisie, and take over all means of production by working class which will enable every able-bodied individual work for the benefit and interests of all the people. This is a long process because the class of exploiters, the capitalists and land lords, will not disappear over night under the dictatorship of proletariat. In that sense the dictatorship of proletariat is the necessary transitional tool in the abolition of all classes and creation of a classless society. During this transition those capitalist oppressors who survived the transition process will not continue with their power to exploit others.
The intended “socialism with Namibian characteristic” may be the appropriate socio-economical and political system to achieve this noble cause. 
This new socialist system must empower our country and its leaders to actively lay the necessary foundation which will enable us to remove antagonistic class conflicts and develop productive forces to such level that production can be enlarged so that the society has a constant surplus of consumer goods and boost financial confidence of all our people which will liberate all the people from hunger and poverty.
Those who today own the means of production may also live in peace in the country under this new economic system and continue to produce for their benefit and benefit of the country and its people, provided that they are not going to exploit others and be driven by selfish motives.
The responsibility of bringing about meaningful development for the country and promoting the wellbeing and general happiness of the nation must be the driving factor for all of us. In that sense while individual persons may have right to produce wealth the interests of the country and its people should be of paramount interest and importance under the perceived “socialism with Namibian characteristics.”
These issues need more careful elaboration in order to be explained in a detailed way, but because of limited space I can end by briefly saying that:
1) The process of transformation from capitalism to socialism and finally to communism will take  too long a time;
2) As long as there are classes it will be difficult for a state to be neutral, because state has come into being as an instrument for a class rule;
3) As longs as there are classes in a society, the state will continue to exist;
4) The class struggle will only end when there are no more classes and all people become producers of commodities and services for collective society, and so on;
5) The claim by capitalist class that the capitalist state is there for all people and is a neutral referee between individuals and groups in society is just an empty talk and deliberately misleading claim. In fact the capitalist state protects the interest of bourgeoisie. 


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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