Thursday, May 13, 2021

Understanding socialist understanding

The World Socialist Movement is not going to do anything for our fellow-workers other than to arouse their fervour, determination and enthusiasm for the socialist objective.  Only the workers can emancipate themselves. The only factor in all the material conditions of today that we can see standing in the way of socialism is the political ignorance of the workers. It is not how scholarly they may be in Marxism. A worker may never have read a word of Marx to be a socialist.  A socialist is one who has come to understand that capitalism can no longer be reformed or administered in the best interests of society or its peoples; that capitalism is unable to end poverty and war; and that the time has arrived to convince others to become socialists so to bring about a new stage in social evolution.

The great majority of workers are not exposed to socialist principlesDespite the discouragements and disappointments our best  ally we have is capitalism itself. The greatest teacher of all is experience. Eventually, all the mistaken diversions into futile efforts of reforming and administering capitalism will run their course because people learn from mistakes. Necessity is the latent strength of socialism. Truth and science are on the side of socialism. It is easy to be cynical of socialist efforts and their apparent failure but, with the world facing the choice of socialism or chaos, you don’t have to be an optimist to recognise that we are approaching significant social changes. Indications of the direction people are thinking are everywhere. Our task is to be a sort of catalyst, triggering the processes that transform ideas into revolutionary ones.

 The World Socialist Movement is an organisation made up of class-conscious socialists; it is the party of the class. Our small membership merely reflects the small number of class-conscious socialists. Today, working-class understanding is at a very low ebb, therefore the membership in the WSM is puny. To know whether the World Socialist Movement is the party of the working class can be found in examining the political positions we hold are a  correct reflection of the workers’ needs. So, again, it boils down to the question of its understanding. Socialists welcome critical and searching questions. Thinking is not and never has been a violation of socialist discipline. Socialists are not dogmatic sectarians who are blindly and religiously faithful to socialist conclusions despite the lessons of unfolding experience. That is why socialists are open-minded, in contrast to being broad-minded. They do not tolerate exploded myths and superstitions.  A real socialist party cannot be apart and distinct from the working class; it has to be comprised of the whole human community. That is the general nature of any socialist party. 

The World Socialist Movement is made up of socialists who share a unity of agreement on simple generalisations. When the workers become socialists, they will not need a vanguard party to lead them. They will organise consciously and politically to emancipate themselves. Its bond of comradeship and unity is rooted in the barest minimum of socialist principles which may be summarised as: socialism is a product of social evolution; the socialist revolution is inherently democratic because of its nature of being conscious, majority, and political; and that socialism is based on the social relations of a community of interests between all the members of society and society as a whole. 

Consciousness must comprise, first of all, a knowledge of their class position. They must realise that, while they produce all wealth, their share of it will not, under the present system, be more than sufficient to enable them to reproduce their efficiency as wealth producers. They must realise that also, under the system they will remain subject to all the misery of unemployment, the anxiety of the threat of unemployment, and the deprivations of poverty. They must understand the implications of their position – that the only hope of any real betterment lies in abolishing the social system which reduces them to mere sellers of their labour power, exploited by the capitalists. A class which understands all this is class-conscious. It has only to find the means and methods by which to proceed, in order to become the instrument of revolution and of change.  

Class-conscious people need no leaders. The single, simple fact which all working people have to learn is that capitalism causes capitalism's problems, so that the remedy – the only remedy – is to abolish capitalism. In that knowledge they must take hold of the powers of government – for one purpose only: that the rule of class by class shall end. Socialism is not a benevolently-administered capitalism: it is a different social system. 

To bring about consciousness involves understanding socialism which means talking about it, sharing ideas about it - in short educating ourselves and our fellow workers about it. Our main task is to find better ways of expressing our message to as many workers as possible, to evolve a strategy so that we use our resources to most effect.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Workers House Debt Problems.

The latest figures released by Stats-Canada on Canadian household debt, may be disturbing to some. These include a record amount of mortgage debt, $34.9 billion, in the last quarter of 2020, which beat the previous high of $28.7 billion set in the third quarter. Household debt as a proportion of income rose to 175 per cent, as debt grew while incomes went down. 

In other words, Canadians owed $1.75 for every dollar of household disposable income. 

This should make Canadian capitalists very happy; a worker who is up to his eyes in debt is less likely to make waves.

S.P.C. Members.

Abolish All Forms of Slavery.

Since 2018, there have been nearly 400 shipments to Canadian businesses from Chinese companies accused of serious human rights violations. This was recently made public by a joint investigation by the Toronto Star (of course) and the Guelph Mercury Tribune. They allege that these products were manufactured at a concentration camp, called by the Chinese government, a re-education camp, in China's Xinjiang region. Chinese authorities are accused of human rights abuses, including torture, sterilization and forced labour.

 In other words, Canadian shoppers are sometimes buying products made by chattel slaves instead of wage slaves. 

We in the SPC want to abolish all forms of slavery.

S.P.C, Members.

Masters and Servants


These two types of people, masters and workers. They form two distinct classes, one of whom depends for a living upon working, and the other upon owning what is produced. The workers, then, are wage-slaves. The masters are capitalists because they own capital—wealth (tools and so forth) which they advance with the object of getting back more wealth than was originally advanced or laid out. History will tell you that the wealth the capitalist advances was originally obtained by robbing the mass of the people of their land and liberty. The land was stolen from the people and passed into the hands of a few individuals; how the people were ruthlessly driven off the land and herded into factories; how finally, after many trials and troubles, the one-time member of a peasant commune, owning his land and tools in common, became the wage-slave of to-day, owning nothing but his power to labour, and compelled for his living to sell this power to the present master class, the descendants of those who robbed his forefathers. The extra wealth they obtain over and above that laid out is due to the fact that you produce a quantity of wealth to-day that suffices to pay your wages, make, good what is necessary for further production, and still leave a substantial amount over on which the master and his family and those that minister to the enjoyment of him and his family, live upon. You thus produce surplus wealth—wealth that keeps an idle class in luxury. You keep parasites.

You are living in a society to-day in which the things produced, and the tools by means of which they are produced (in other words, the wealth of society), are privately owned: that is, owned by one individual or by a small group of individuals—either a single capitalist or a small group of shareholders. The aim of the Socialist Party is to make these things social property: to convert these privately owned goods and tools into goods and tools commonly owned by the whole of society. When we say it is socially owned, then we mean it belongs equally to the whole of those forming the society.

Owing to the private ownership of wealth the majority of the people of this country are unable to obtain the things they need except by working for those that own them; and these wealth owners can employ whom they please and discharge whom they please, so that the mass of the people depend for their existence upon the desires or fancies of a comparatively few masters. The majority of people are therefore slaves of the wealth owners, because unless they act as the latter wish they are liable to be sacked and lose the wages upon which they depend for getting the necessaries of life.

The masters, in their fight to keep their privileged position, employ any weapon that they think will assist them. The all-powerful weapon is the machinery of Parliament, which gives them control. This power you give to your master at election time when you vote them into Parliament.

The workers’ organisation, political and economic, must be upon the basis of their class with the object of ending the capitalist system and establishing the socialist commonwealth. Any efforts on their part to resist the encroachments of the master class deserve our sympathy and support. But whilst encouraging this resistance, we should fail in our duty did we not point out to the resisters the limits of their power. The basis of the action of the trade unions must be a clear recognition of the position of the workers under capitalism, and the class struggle necessarily arising therefrom; in other words they must adopt the socialist position, if they are going to justify their existence at all. Does this mean that the existing unions are to be smashed? That will depend upon the unions themselves. All action of the unions in support of capitalism, or tending to side-track the workers from the only path that can lead to their emancipation should be strongly opposed, but on the other hand, trade unions being a necessity under capitalism, any action on their part upon sound lines should be heartily supported.

Whenever the workers have taken action on the economic field, either by way of attempting to increase wages, or resist their reduction, we have not hesitated to support their action. True, we have denounced certain trade union leaders when they, contrary to the wishes and interests of the workers, have entered into compromises with the master class. True, we have exposed the absurd ideas of many of these union leaders concerning the so-called identity of interests between capital and labour. It is also true that we have criticised the great bulk of the trade unionists, who, whilst they are prepared to strike against their masters, at every election vote their masters or their representatives into political power. But all this in no way alters the fact that whenever the workers have attempted to resist the encroachments of capital, the position of the Socialist Party has been one of supporting them. 

 Right up to the time when the workers are ready to take over the control of the means of wealth production and distribution, the struggle of the workers over wages, hours, and the general conditions of employment, will have to be made, even as the workers become socialists in larger and larger numbers. The duty of the socialist is to make the non-socialist worker, inside and outside the trade union, acquainted with the actual position of the working class in capitalist society. For the workers to continue their struggle on the economic field, whilst in ignorance of the fact that they are slaves to the capitalist class, is to prolong the system by which they are sufferers. The adverse conditions in which the workers find themselves are inseparable from the capitalist system, and can only be removed when the workers awaken to a recognition of the necessity for the removal of the system, and the establishment of the socialist form of society. Whether wages be called high or low the general position of the workers is one of a struggle against starvation throughout the whole of their lifetime. Trade unionism will not alter this, nor, in fact, will any form of economic organisation. The abolition of the wages system and the conditions that are engendered in that system, will only become an accomplished fact when a majority of the workers become acquainted with a knowledge of their slave position, and then organising politically and economically for the overthrow of capitalist society and the establishment of socialism.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

When Is Brainwashing O.K.?

According to Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney, his government, ''Are sick of being a punching bag for all kinds of environmental groups,'' over their oil and gas policies.

 Well now they're even more upset, because a movie called, ''Bigfoot Family,'' launched on Netflix in February, portrays them as a real bunch of jerks.

 It tells the story of an environmentally-driven father who goes missing after launching a protest against a ''fictional'' oil company that plans to drop a bomb on a nearby valley. It was the number one movie on the site in many countries when it debuted. 

One spokesperson for the Alberta Government, frothed, ''Brainwashing our kids with anti-oil and gas propaganda is just wrong.'' 

So, I guess it’s OK to brainwash our kids to go to war to kill and maim for our country. So much for capitalism's cock-eyed values!

S. P. C. Members.

Solutions Come In The Form Of A New Economic System.

Seaton House, Toronto's largest homeless shelter, is unable to cope with the covid crisis, but who can? It has been forced to cut its capacity from 500 to 200, with one person to a bunkbed and six-foot gaps between them. 

In mid-February Toronto Public Health confirmed 27 covid cases among the staff and residents within Seaton House and that tests for the virus were due to being conducted on floors that hadn't been swabbed. 

David Reycraft, the director of Dixon Hall Housing Services, said, ''This housing ecosystem has been neglected for 30-plus years, and all of a sudden now, we're faced with this sort of health crisis; we've got to find solutions, and those solutions come in the form of housing.''

 No, Mr. Reycraft they come in the form of a new economic system, cos' this one sure as hell ain’t working.

S.P.C. Members.

More Than Shades of Grapes of Wrath.

This summer 20,000 migrant workers are due to work on Ontario farms. Last year 3 of them died from COVID-19 and 1,700 got sick. Behind closed doors the Office of the Chief Coroner is examining these deaths in a confidential review that is proceeding without representatives of the temporary foreign workers, many of them Mexican. To quote Syed Hussan, executive director of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, ''This is not a process that ensures that migrant workers voices or concerns are adequately heard.'' 

What really sucks is the fact that the guy who heads the coroner’s office in this matter, Dr. Dirk Huyer, is also in a lead COVID response role for the provincial government which has been criticized for its inadequate response to the farm outbreaks. 

Boy! they're all heart. More than shades of Grapes of Wrath, or in this case, tomatoes.

S.P.C. Members.

Scottish Sovereignty or Socialism?

 Nationalists are once again on the march in Scotland and their battle cry is “freedom and Independence.”  The SNP is demanding that full political power be turned over to them and they will set about fixing the problems of inequality and poverty. Offering this as the main reason for their nationalism, they attract a lot of support and sympathy. What many people forget is that this newly won political power will be used to administer capitalism—with all the problems which workers are already faced with.

The Socialist Party does not take sides in the contest between local Scottish capitalism, the wider British capitalism nor global capitalism. We are against capitalism in all its various forms. The Socialist Party is opposed to the exploitation of our fellow-workers either by foreign or native-born exploiters. As that exploitation can be ended only by the achievement of socialism, through international working-class action, we are opposed to the Scottish nationalists which has capitalist aims and is not deserving of working-class support. We will not associate with non-socialist political parties. 

The fact that we are opposed to the the Scottish nationalist movement does not mean that we acquiesce to the politics of the union. We are opposed to the capitalist system wherever it raises its ugly head, as we know that the solution to the workers’  position under it is the same everywhere. The only road for workers in Scotland is the road to socialism, and they must travel along that road in solidarity and harmony with other members of their class throughout the world. The Socialist Party has never supported nationalist movements, knowing well that the propertied interests which financed and controlled them were only concerned with making sovereignty safe for  capitalism. 

Some Scottish capitalists want to have the profits of the prospect of Scottish capitalism for themselves. They wish to be able to control the system of taxation, and the system of tariffs, and use them to further their own interests.  They do not object to the exploitation of Scotland’s workers, but they do object to British investors getting the lion’s share. The Scottish nationalists  represents the interests of local capitalists. It is naturally supported by the well-educated elites, who see the promise of lucrative jobs in the devolved  civil service and the professions. Already when a Scottish ruling class gets hold of the reins of government, we find that there is little to choose between Westminster or Holyrood rule.

We are working for socialism, and for that alone. We claim that only the establishment of socialism can solve Scotland’s many social problems. The only sound policy for the workers, the only policy in line with their class interests, is to keep clear of the nationalists, and carry on steadily with the task of organising themselves on the economic field for the defence of their interests against their employers, and organising on the political field for the achievement of socialism in co-operation with the rest of the world’s workers. There is nothing in the programme of Sturgeon and the SNP deserving of working class support. Our watchword is not “Scotland for the Scots”  but “the World for the Workers."

Socialism as a democratic class-free society based on common (as opposed to State) ownership in which the wage relation has been abolished and all citizens have an equal claim upon the provision of goods and services.   Anything that falls short of abolishing the wage relation has no claim to be described as socialism. When asked why we do not support struggles for Independence by fellow workers in other parts of the world, we point out that, at best, they will simply be exchanging one lot of masters for another. They may win or be allowed a little more freedom within the system but while it remains they must depend on the capitalists — state or private — for their subsistence. For workers, independence is merely a change of rulers. Nevertheless, our rejection of nationalist delusions ought never to show insensitivity to the often valid concerns of oppressed peoples. Moreover, it strengthens the appeal of socialism to show that in contrast to the imposed uniformity and centralisation of commodity production we aim for a way of life which fosters cultural freedom and diversity.