Tuesday, February 27, 2007


A few years ago I attended two meetings of the Glasgow Marxist Club. Its members were, university lecturers, graduates or students and nearly all were members of the SSP, SLP, etc. At one point a club member said that these meetings were important because they prepared members to better explain Marxism to workers.

This was really rich because that’s something their various parties NEVER do.

Listen to their speakers, read their newspapers and election manifestoes, there’s never a mention of Marxism. All you’ll hear or read are their multitude of proposals for tinkering with the capitalist system, and many of these proposals aren’t even aimed at getting gains for workers but only about preventing the loss of already existing gains. These people are Marxist in name only. V.V.


Four members of Glasgow branch attended the SCND Rally in George Square to distribute our leaflet Protest Without End explaining why the rally was yet another waste of time and effort.

There were many other leaflets being distributed and we have singled out three, one each from the SSP, SWP and Solidarity.

The SSP’s contained the usual demands all of which, if achieved, would still leave us living in capitalism. As usual, they described this reformist nonsense as “socialism”, a concept they know nothing about.

The SWP’s seemed to be claiming that the Anti War Movement ( AWM ) is responsible for some British troops being withdrawn from Iraq when the real reason is that the government has decided that their withdrawal is in the best interests of British capitalism. The AWM is simply ignored.

Solidarity’s claimed that the war in Iraq if all down to Bush and Blair. Genuine socialists know that capitalism is responsible for ALL modern wars. The leaflet includes a “Please sign up for Solidarity” slip.
Anyone can join this “socialist” organisation and no questions asked. V.V.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Scottish Poverty Report

A report was written by a host of academics from The Open University, Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of Paisley and the University of Strathclyde. Experts on health, childcare, economics, community development, education, law and social policy also helped compile the report. The most damning data used came from Holyrood own official statistics.

One-fifth of the Scottish population, 910,000 people, live in poverty.

One in four Scottish children, 240,000 boys and girls, live in poverty.

Nearly a quarter of all children living in poverty are in households where an adult is working full-time.

77,000 children officially recognised as living in poverty don't get a free school meal.

One in 10 of Scotland's rural population is officially poor.

30% of "poverty pay" - wages which leave the employee below the poverty line - come from the public sector: jobs which are paid for by the government.

60% of low-income families believe they will never have enough to live on.

However , instead of laying the blame on what causes poverty - capitalism - and demanding the real revolutionary change - its abolition , this report The Poverty Alliance by the Child Poverty Action Group, the Scottish Poverty Information Unit and the Scottish Drugs Forum repeats the usual bleating demand from time immemorial - an appeal to political parties to make things all better with parliamentary policies and reforms , a forlorn hope .

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Socialism and capitalism are probably the most misused and misunderstood terms in the English language. The newspapers and television are probably the guiltiest of this confusion but here is a recent example from someone who declares himself to be a socialist.
The SSP, and the breakaway Tommy Sheridan has formed, Solidarity, look as if they will be punished for their mutual antagonism, although he doesn't think so.
“They can fight over the 3 per cent of voters if they want”, he said of his former colleagues. “Solidarity will be chasing 53 per cent to join Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and the People's Republic of Cuba in a new international socialist alliance” (Observer, 18 February)
In Cuba and Venezuela they have capitalism not socialism, and in Cuba they have a ruthless dictatorship that imprisons all who would dare oppose them. Sheridan's dream of a socialist future is in fact a state capitalist nightmare. R.D.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Labour Party and the Atom Bomb

Another video to watch .

Socialist Party member Richard Headicar can be viewed giving a talk on the Labour Party and the Atom Bomb . Richard , a veteran of the CND protests who has also served jail time due to this activism brings to bear his great knowledge to describe the deceit shown by Attlee and the other Labour Party leaders when it came to the development of Britain's atomic bomb .

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


A recent posting was urging
Either oppose capitalism in all its forms
Or settle down to a life of protests…
I know this is not November the 11th, however
For war protesters who protest at this war or that war
Read a socialist’s poem


The ribbons arrayed the honours displayed
The medals jingling on parade
Echo of battles long ago
But they’re picking sides for another go.

The martial air, the vacant stare
The oft-repeated pointless prayer
“Peace oh’ Lord on earth below”
Yet they’re picking sides for another go.

The clasped hands, the pious stance
The hackneyed phrase “Somewhere in France”
The eyes downcast as bugles blow
Still they’re picking sides for another go.

Symbol of death the cross-shaped wreath
The sword is restless in the sheath
As children pluck where poppies grow
They’re picking sides for another go.

Have not the slain but died in vain?
The hoardings point, “Prepare again”
The former friend a future foe?
They’re picking sides for another go.

I hear Mars laugh at the cenotaph
Says he, as statesmen blow the gaff
“Let the Unknown Warriors flame still glow”
For they’re picking sides for another go.

A socialist plan the world would span
Then man would live in peace with man
Then wealth to all would freely flow
And want and war we would never know.

(J. Boyle 1971)

Saturday, February 10, 2007


One year on since the invasion of Iraq by US and British led forces, people across the World have joined together to protest against the war policies of Bush and Blair.

Most believe the sickness of war can be sorted out within the usual channels offered - either a UN force moves in or the troops come home. The former will only compound the problem. The latter can only leave the region further unstable, with warlords and-the varying shades of the region's religions vying for political power.

As on previous demonstrations, placards and banners will carry a myriad of messages, some demanding, "Bush Must Go" and "Bring the Troops Home", with others screaming in assorted bright colours "No War for Oil" and "End the Occupation. "

We need to address the root of the problem - the capitalist system itself and vicious competition for profits - and how the problems capitalism creates can only be solved when we abolish the capitalist system itself.

While it is important that workers oppose war, we need to recognize in whose interests wars are waged. It's hard to think of a single war that did not have its roots in the need of small elite to make profits. All wars, even small-scale conflicts tend to be fought over resources, foreign markets and areas of influence, trade routes or the strategic points.

To end war - and the need to demonstrate- capitalism has to be ended. It needs to be replaced by a global system where the resources of the Earth are common to everyone. Competition and conflict between elites over resources must give way to cooperation for the benefit of all the world's inhabitants.

If you lend your support to a political party or organization that fails to oppose the real nature of capitalist society, how our world is organized for production and how power is distributed, then you are, in effect, supporting a system that breeds wars.

The Socialist Party asks: Do you want to protest endlessly against each new war as it arises? Or work for a new world of common ownership, democratic control, peace and human welfare.
Either oppose capitalism in all its forms
Or settle down to a life of protests…
“The World for the Workers”

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Blair and the SSP are not so different.

The Scottish Socialist Party are lucky that there isn’t a political equivalent of the Trades Description Act or they could be prosecuted for fraudulently describing what they are trying to sell as “socialism”.

Historically, socialism was generally seen as a worldwide system of common ownership and democratic control in which the watchword would be “From each according to ability, to each according to need”. It would mean the end of the wages system along with money, buying and selling and the capital/labour relationship.
This has been watered down over the years until even Tony Blair calls himself a socialist. Compare what socialism originally meant with the SSP’s programme of reforms of the capitalist system. The difference between Blair and the SSP is only in the detail – both are all for patching-up capitalism but cannot agree on how this should be done. V.V.

Scottish Malnutrition Numbers Increases Again

The BBC reports the number of malnutrition cases recorded by Scottish hospitals has risen for the fourth year in a row.

A total of 1,900 patients, almost all of them adults, were diagnosed with the condition last year, a fifth more than in 2002. NHS Lothian saw the sharpest rise, with more than 500 cases recorded in 2006.
Ministers admitted that some cases, where malnutrition was a secondary concern, would still be missed from the statistics.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The Scottish Socialist Party claims that if only Scotland was politically independent then this would lead to universal “social justice, environmental sustainability and an end to war”.
All over the world there are independent nations and yet we still have the very opposite of what the SSP thinks political independence will bring.
Many of these independent nations have had leftist governments, which all claimed they could solve capitalism’s problems but failed because the system’s problems are inseparable from it. The SSP simply hasn’t noticed that we live in a global economy over which they could have no control. Capitalism’s problems are global so their solution can only be global.
This means world socialism and not the narrow, nationalist proposals of the SSP. V.V.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Don't mention the War!

The elections cause all types of vote seekers to promise you benefits by voting for them: a lot of the benefits are directed at people on the poverty line. Page 12 of the February Socialist Standard is worth your attention.

It’s not quite election time and a copy of the EK Labour News has been delivered informing constituents we live in a time of record levels of employment, [i.e. capitalists are benefiting from the efforts of more workers] low inflation, [i.e. capitalists are managing to keep their prices down, a great benefit when in competition with other capitalists] low mortgage rates and increasing investment in schools and hospitals. [i.e. great for builders selling houses, hospitals and schools]
Ten years ago it was all in reverse: what changed it all? The answer is Politics.
“Some people would have you believe it’s a dirty word but politics and politicians make a difference”.
We are assured New Labour has demonstrated that in creating a strong UK economy [i.e. capitalist economy] you can deliver on the principles of social justice and fairness.
If we have any lingering doubts we must look inside the leaflet, because, as the proverb says, “A picture is worth a thousand words”
Inside the leaflet there are pictures of new schools, hospitals and housing developments but no contrasting pictures of Iraq, the devastation to housing, the weak economy and levels of unemployment, no reference to the lack of social justice and fairness, however, it could be the East Kilbride Labour Party is very disciplined and only obeying their leaders. The following article, Labour told: Don’t mention the war is an example of give us your vote and leave it all to us. Think only of what we tell you and we say things can only get better. [But for whom?] More promises in four or five years. No doubt!

Why I Fight

I often get asked, generally by people who know me, why I keep fighting to change the world.
I will tell you what I tell them, because it is the right thing to do.

The world we live in kills, or allows to die, so many people unnecessarily. People who die for lack of food, in a world which can give each of 6 billion people on the planet an adequate supply of nutrition.
A world which has the capacity to give clean water and sanitation to all but does not.

A world which can give medicines and cures to so many people, but does not. Are you a relative of someone who has been denied medication for cancer, Alzheimer's, M.S. or a miriad of other diseases because of cost? well I fight for you. I argue the case where these medicines should be given.

I argue the case against spending so much money and using so many resources, (both material and mental) on killing people, when if, we used these resources to create the cures for the diseases that afflict us and put the minds of those especially capable of providing these cures, to these ends, rather than their antithesis, (taking lives),our lives could be enhanced beyond measure and our pain and grief at losing loved ones prematurely, ended, or at least eased. Knowing that the world we live in, had done its utmost to prevent the above.

But we do not live in that world. But that world is a possiblity. It is only a possiblity however, when the world and everything in and on it, is owned by us all collectively. When we all have a collective say in how this world is run, (real democracy) . Without recourse to leaders or minority interests, as is the case today.

You have the vote! Change the world.

I am trying to, what are you doing about it?

Yours Sincerely,
Steve Colborn
Written by a member of the Socialist Party from the N.E. of England to his local paper

Sunday, February 04, 2007


On occasion, a newspaper article or letter prompts a response from me. Immediately prior to the 2005 G.8 Summit, "Metro" featured in its "60 Second Interview" one, Norrie MacQueen, Head of Politics at Dundee University - "a published expert on international peacekeeping" and "noted for his writings on African politics".This latter interest stemmed from his days as a radical student, when, "realising that revolution wasn't going to happen in the 'First World'", he perceived that,"Africa seemed to offer a blank sheet that a genuine socialist future could be written on".(!!)
Identifying, correctly, the G.8 as a "self-selecting elite", he nonetheless hoped that despite previous rhetoric,they would this time somehow arrange and honour an agreement of sorts, however flawed this might prove to be! His dearest wish for Africa was for an "international agency to be established to manage its resource relations and ensure fairer distribution of its wealth". He conceded, however, that multitudinous vested interests rendered this impossible!
Ever the cock-eyed optimist, I posted off a copy of our "Africa" booklet, the current "Socialist Standard" plus other assorted leaflets and duly received a courteous acknowledgement that he was looking forward to reading it all. In a frenzy of excitement therefore I awaited his profound responses------and awaited------and awaited------.
Clearly, the learned professor hadn't a clue what the word "socialism" meant, but if he did actually read our material, would rapidly have found out. Why then the failure to engage and why the advocation of strategies that, by his own admission, were doomed from the outset?
Is this guy simply one more of those dinosaurs we all encounter, impervious to reason, seemingly hard-wired to trudging the dreary old leftist/ reformist highway that (genuine) socialists for the past century have pointed out leads nowhere? Or, is he cute enough to know that the nice little career he has carved out for himself depends upon the perpetuation of the GREAT DEBATE? The last thing the GREAT DEBATE needs is the GREAT SOLUTION - which is of course the universal replacement of Capitalism with Socialism.It is an obscenity that human beings across this planet, including the highly-developed "First World", die annually in their millions for want of food, medication, sanitation, etc. etc. Production solely for need; not profit can end this at a stroke. And you don't have to be a sodding academic to work that out!
Andy Armitage.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Sick Society

The Independent has a report from The Samaritans about the mental well-being of the British population .

Money worries, long hours at work and family pressures are driving up stress levels across the country .

Half the population say they feel more stressed now than five years ago and more than 10 per cent say they have felt suicidal, twice the level in 2003.

One in five Britons felt their life was out of control .

70% of 16-to-24 year-olds saying they felt more stressed than five years ago. 16% had contemplated taking their own life.

And the Samaritans response to this - a Stress Down Day .

Sad that those who are sincere in doing some good can never see further than gesture politics and never try to deal with the root cause of why most people suffer from the stress of life - Capitalism .

Summer School

Summer School 2017

Summer School 2017  21st – 23rd July Fircroft College, Birmingham   These days, con...