Thursday, June 19, 2008


At our discussion group last night, among the many subjects raised were parties posing as socialist. Here are some of the comments from members last night.

The Scottish Socialist Party is 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.

The example of the attempt of the present Scottish government, to curtail the present provisions of the bus pass for pensioners and SSP policy of free transport for all of Scotland, prompted this retort from one of the members

Reformist political parties in opposition always claim how much better everything would be if only they were in power and the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) is no exception.One of their policy documents tells us they would provide free public transport and that this, on it’s own, would bring fabulous benefits in just about every area of life.Everything would be better: the NHS, the environment, the economy, business efficiency, productivity, road safety, more tourists, etc. On top of all this there would be savings of many millions, even billions, of pounds, giving us all more spending power as well as big savings for businesses.And how is all this to be achieved? By two old leftist illusions; taxing the rich and nationalisation (disguised as public or social ownership). Apparently, nationalisation would be more efficient and cheaper, despite the evidence of past experience, and taxing the rich must mean that we’ll still have them. The source of their riches is the surplus value wrung from the working class but the SSP seem not to have noticed this.We are grateful that the word “socialism” isn’t mentioned once in this document because its contents have nothing whatever to do with socialism. The SSP’s aim is really just the same as all the other reformist parties – they try to solve capitalism’s problems by merely re-organising it. If all their proposed reforms were adopted – nationalisation, the multitude of changes in the tax system, defence budget cuts, etc., we’d still be living in a money-driven, buying and selling economy, still working for wages and salaries, still insecure, being hired and fired, in short, in capitalism.Free transport for all can really only be achieved in a worldwide, moneyless, production for use society in which ALL goods and services would be freely available to everyone. That’s what genuine socialists campaign for and what the SSP NEVER does.

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