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PHILOSOPHY > THE MIND OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Socialism
No man should have more land than he needs for dignified sustenance. Who can dispute the fact that the grinding poverty of the masses is due to their having no land that they can call their own?
Socialism was not born with the discovery of the misuse of capital by capitalists. As I have contended, socialism, even communism, is explicit in the first verse of Ishopanishad. What is true is that when some reformers lost faith in the method of conversion, the technique of what is known as scientific socialism was born. I am engaged in solving the same problem that faces scientific socialists.
It is true, however, that my approach is always and only through unadulterated non-violence. I may fail. If it does, it will be because of my ignorance of the technique of non-violence. I may be a bad exponent of the doctrine in which my faith is daily increasing. (H, 20-2-1937, p. 12)
I have always held that social justice, even unto the least and the lowliest, is impossible of attainment by force. I have further believed that it is possible by proper training of the lowliest by non-violent means to secure redress of the wrongs suffered by them. That means non-violent non-co-operation.
Whilst I have the greatest admiration for the self-denial and spirit of sacrifice of our Socialists friends, I have never concealed the sharp difference between their method and mine. They frankly believe in violence and all that is in its bosom. I believe in non-violence through and through .
My socialism means even unto this last. I do not want to rise on the ashes of the blind, the deaf and the dumb. In their (i.e., Indian) socialism, probably these have no place. Their one aim is material progress.
For instance, America aims at having a car for every citizen. I do not. I want freedom for full expression of my personality. I must be free to build a staircase to Sirius if I want to. That does not mean that I want to do any such thing. Under the other socialism, there is no individual freedom. You own nothing, not even your body. (H, 4-8-1946, p. 246)
Equality in Socialism
In it the prince and the peasant, the wealthy and the poor, the employer and employee are all on the same level. In terms of religion there is no duality in socialism. It is all unity.
In order to reach this state we may not look on things philosophically and say that we need not make a move until all are converted to socialism. Without changing our life, we may go on giving addresses, forming parties and, hawk-like, seize the game when it comes our way. This is no socialism. The more we treat it as game to be seized, the further it must recede from us.
This socialism is as pure as crystal. It, therefore, requires crystal-like means to achieve it. Impure means result in an impure end. Hence the prince and the peasant will not be equalized by cutting off the princes head, nor can the process of cutting off equalize the employer and the employed.
One cannot reach truth by untruthfulness. Truthful conduct alone can reach truth. Are not non-violence and truth twins? The answer is an emphatic no. Non-violence is embedded in truth and vice versa. Hence has it been said that they are faces of the same coin. Either is inseparable from the other. Read the coin either way. The spelling of words will be different. The value is the same.
This blessed state is unattainable without perfect purity. Harbour impurity of mind or body and you have untruth and violence in you.
Therefore, only truthful, non-violent and pure-hearted socialists will be able to establish a socialistic society in India and the world. To my knowledge there is no country in the world, which is purely socialistic. Without the means described above, the existence of such a society is impossible.
The Socialists and Communists say they can do nothing to bring about economic equality today. They will just carry on propaganda in its favour and to that end they believe in generating and accentuating hatred. They say, When they get control over the State, they will enforce equality.
I claim to be a foremost Communist although I make use of cars and other facilities offered to me by the rich. They have no hold on me and I can shed them at a moments notice, if the interests of the masses demand it. (H, 31-3-1946, p. 64)
If the end in view is to be achieved, the education I have adumbrated has to be commenced now. An atmosphere of mutual respect and trust has to be established as the preliminary step. There can then be no violent conflict between the classes and the masses. (H, 20-4-1940, p. 97)
Faith in God
This God is a living Force. Our life is of that Force. That Force resides in but is not the body. He who denies the existence of that great Force denies to himself the use of that inexhaustible Power and thus remains impotent. He is like a rudderless ship which, tossed about here and there, perishes without making any headway. The socialism of such takes them nowhere, what to say of the society in which they live.
Superstitions have flourished in world in spite of godly men and women. In Hinduism itself untouchability has, till of late, held undoubted sway.
The fact is that it has always been a matter of strenuous research to know this great Force and its hidden possibilities.
Satyagraha Sure Method
I believe in private enterprise and also in planned production. If you have only State production, men will become moral and intellectual paupers. They will forget their responsibilities. I would therefore allow the capitalist and zamindar to keep their factory and their land, but I would make them consider themselves trustees of their property. (ibid, p. 12)
I believe in private enterprise and also in planned production. If you have only State production, men will become moral and intellectual paupers. They will forget their responsibilities. I would therefore allow the capitalist and the zamindar to keep their factory and their land, but I would make them consider themselves trustees of their property.
Even without control of the State there can be nationalization. I can start a mill for the benefit of the workers. (ibid, p.13)