Monday, July 16, 2018

Glasgow Branch Meetings (18/7)

Wednesday, 18 July 
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Maryhill Community Central Halls, 
304 Maryhill Road, 
Glasgow G20 7YE

When the Socialist Party of Great Britain was formed in 1904 it laid down one aim—Socialism. It drew up a Declaration of Principles that has solidly withstood all attacks from every quarter. 

The Socialist Party argues that minorities cannot simply take control of movements and mould and wield them to their own ends. Without agreement about what it is and where it is going, leaders and led will invariably split off in different directions. We say that since we are capable, as workers, of understanding and wanting socialism, we cannot see any reason why our fellow workers cannot do likewise. The job of socialists in the here and now is to openly and honestly state the case rather than trying to wheedle and manoeuvre to win a supposed ‘influence’ that is more illusory than real.

As our fellow- workers gain more experience of the class struggle and the workings of capitalism, it would become more consciously socialist and democratically organised by the workers themselves. The emergence of socialist understanding out of the experience of the workers could thus be said to be ‘spontaneous’ in the sense that it would require no intervention by people outside the working class to bring it about. Socialist propaganda and agitation would indeed be necessary but would come to be carried out by workers themselves, whose socialist ideas would have been derived from an interpretation of their class experience of capitalism. The end result would be an independent movement of the socialist-minded and democratically organised working class aimed at winning control of political power in order to abolish capitalism. As Marx and Engels put it in the Communist Manifesto, “The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority.”

One of the great strengths of the Socialist Party is our opposition to leadership and our commitment to democratic practices, so, whatever weaknesses or mistaken views we hold or get accused of, they cannot be imposed upon others with possible worse consequences. Can other groups claim the same for their own political pedigree? The validity of the Socialist Party's ideas will either be accepted or rejected by discussion and debate, verified by actual concrete developments on the ground. The Socialist Party is not going to take the workers to where they neither know where they are going nor, most likely, want to go. This contrasts with those who seek to substitute the party for the class or who see the party as a vanguard which must undertake alone the task of leading the witless masses forward.

The Socialist Party expects any working-class organisation to possess democratic self-organisation, involving formal rules and structures, to prevent the emergence of unaccountable, self-appointed elites, who may become the de facto leaders making decisions; and we endorse Jo Freeman’s Tyranny of Structurelessness. We’re not talking about the sort of structures advocated and practiced by Leninist organisations, which are designed to enshrine control by a self-perpetuating elite. We are talking about structures that place decision-making power in the hands of the group as a whole, along the lines of the seven “principles of democratic structuring” listed by Freeman. Mandating delegates, voting on resolutions and membership referendums are democratic practices for ensuring that the members of an organisation control that organisation and, as such, key procedures in any organisation genuinely seeking socialism. Socialism can only be a fully democratic society in which everybody will have an equal say in the ways things are run. This means that it can only come about democratically, both in the sense of being the expressed will of the working class and in the sense of the working class being organised democratically without leaders - to achieve it.

The crucial part of our socialist case is that understanding is a necessary condition for socialism and we see the our job as to shorten the time, to speed up the process - to act as a catalyst. The Socialist Party views its function to be to make socialists, to propagate socialism, and to point out to the workers that they must achieve their own emancipation. To “make socialism an immediacy” for the working class, something of importance and value to people’s lives now, rather than a singular ‘end’. We await the mass ‘socialist party’. Possibly, the SPGB might be the seed or the embryo of the future mass ‘socialist party’ but there’s no guarantee that we will be (more likely just a contributing element, in my humble opinion). But who cares, as long as such a party does eventually emerge?

At some stage, for whatever reason, socialist consciousness will reach a ‘critical mass’, at which point it will just snowball and carry people along with it. It may even come about without people actually giving it the label of socialism. At the later stage, when more and more people are coming to want socialism, a mass socialist movement will emerge to dwarf all the small groups and grouplets that exist today. When the idea of socialism catches on, we’ll then have our united movement. With the spread of socialist ideas, all organisations will change and take on a participatory-democratic and socialist character, so that the majority organisation for socialism will not be just political and economic, but will also embrace all aspects of social life, as well as inter-personal relationships. We’re talking about a radical social revolution.

We have a knowledge test for membership. The Socialist Party will not allow a person to join until the applicant has convinced the party that s/he understands and accepts the party case for socialism. This does not mean that we have set ourselves up as an intellectual elite into which only those well versed in Marxist scholarship may enter. The SPGB has good reason to ensure that only conscious socialists enter its ranks, for, once admitted, all members are equal and it would clearly not be in the interest of the party to offer equality of power to those who are not able to demonstrate equality of basic socialist understanding. Once a member, s/he have the same rights as the oldest member to sit on any committee, vote, speak and have access to all information. Thanks to the test, all members are conscious socialists and there is genuine internal democracy. And we are fiercely proud of that. Consider what happens when people join other groups which don’t have such a test. The new applicant has to be approved as being ‘an okay comrade’. The individual is therefore judged by the group according to a range of what might be called ‘credential indicators’. Hard work (more often than not, paper selling) and obedience and compliance by new members are the main criteria of trustworthiness in the organisation. In these hierarchical, ‘top-down’ groups the leaders strive at all costs to remain as the leadership, and reward only those with a proven commitment to their ‘party line’ with preferential treatment, more responsibility and more say. New members who present the wrong indicators remain peripheral to the party structure, finding themselves unable to influence decision-making, eventually resigning, often embittered by all the hard work they had put in and the hollowness of the claims of equality and democracy. (Does that sound familiar?)

The longevity of the Socialist Party of Great Britain as a political organisation based on agreed goals, methods and organisational principles and which has produced without interruption a monthly magazine for over a hundred years, through two world wars, is an achievement that most socialist organisations can only aspire towards. The best thing we can accomplish in the SPGB is to carry on campaigning for a world based on the common ownership and democratic control of the Earth’s resources in the interests of all. We will continue to propose that this is established by democratic, majority political action. Other groups will no doubt continue to propose their own way to get there. And, in the end, we’ll see which proposal the majority working class takes up.

For a New Society - Muster under our banner

To those who, while convinced of the soundness of the Socialist Party’s position, yet not taken the step of joining up or contributing to our campaigns, we would point out that every additional member and every additional pound increases the propaganda capacities of the Party and brings nearer the time when the working class will capture the seat of power for the introduction of socialism. The only sound policy for the working class under capitalism is to use whatever strength their economic organisation can give them to press for higher pay from the employers, not to lend themselves to stunt campaigns whose only result will be to make reputations for a few Left-wing leaders. The workers should, however, face up to the limits of trade union action. Socialism is the only remedy for the poverty problem, and trade union action cannot bring about socialism. When the workers acquire an understanding of their position under capitalism, they will not require to be told what to do, either upon the political or the industrial field. They will then be in a position to dispense with leaders with their poisonous doctrines of class conciliation.  

The Socialist Party is very much anti-capitalist and for a different kind of society run by the people in the interests of the people. There is a gulf between the two classes—the capitalist class and the working class—and we are very firmly on the side of the working class where the people would control the means of production right from the workplace up. We encourage class struggle and try to amplify them through political action into electoral challenges to the ruling class. The Socialist Party right from its founding has attacked the policy of political bargaining. We held then, as we do now, that a socialist party must be independent and must be based on the demand for socialism, not on a programme of reforms to be obtained by cooperating with capitalist parties. 

It often happens after an argument, with a fellow member of the working class who was sturdily supporting the master class in all their works and ways, that you are told: “You’re mad.” Socialists are “insane” when we point out that in society to-day there are two classes, the working class, who do all the work and live in poverty and misery, and the capitalist class, who do need to work to live in luxury and debauchery. We are insane when we point out that the workers, being in the great majority, can alter this ridiculous state of affairs when they desire to do so, and that the only thing that stops them desiring socialism is their ignorance of the socialist position. As the condition of the working class under capitalism must inevitably and inexorably get worse, and as socialism is the only remedy if advocating socialism is insanity, sooner or later the majority of the working class have got to go MAD.

 Socialist ideas will never be forgotten so long as there are exploited and oppressed people fighting against the effects of capitalism. You can spot an employers' apologist by what he says about the role of the working-class in society. He will always say, that workers must follow the leadership of somebody else, that the working class not suited for the leadership of society; that they need a clever leader over themselves. These frauds teach the workers NOT to rely on their own class strength, NOT to rely on their own class organisations, NOT to act on their own class interests. “The emancipation of the working class is the work of the working class itself,” said Marx, proven how true this is in a hundred different cases. No social or political movement can advance, can bring the people to an improved position in any respect, and do it in a durable and consistent way, unless it is by the working class itself. The failure of the working class everywhere to follow the guidance of Marx has produced the heavy defeats it has suffered.

The socialist revolution is the necessity of the times, and it is essential to get prepared now. Many things need to be done. We need to overthrow the present tyranny and set up a genuine social democracy. Capitalist austerity and the continuation of class collaboration have both added to working-class disillusionment. In the eyes of many workers, the union organisations have lost their credibility because they failed to resist the capitalist offensive and were unable or even unwilling to maintain the positions already won. Events have clearly highlighted the barrenness of reformism. Capital has always used the reformist organisations for its own ends by involving and implicating them in the reduction of the living standards of the working masses.

The idea that the workers have power over industry is misleading. What conceivable force gives them any such power? That is a question the syndicalists and industrial unionists cannot answer. The most they can do is to come out on strike, which, instead of controlling industry, is a mere cessation of industry. Let them attempt to carry on production against the will of the owners of the means of production and they soon find the power which the workers daily have in their hands while in the workshops is not much of a protection against the State's baton or bullet. That power of the working class” which looms so large in the anarcho-syndicalist's mind is simply the power of the slave over the instruments of his slavery. The sooner you join us the sooner the modern class war will be over. Assist us to uproot the edifice of capitalism. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Something Is Very Wrong,

Chief executives at the biggest U.S. companies got an 8.5 per cent raise last year bringing the average wage for CEOs to $11.7 million according to Standard and Poor's recently released figures.
 For the first time, the American government required companies to show how much more bosses make than their workers. On average they make 164 times as much. At Yum Brands, CEO Greg Creed's pay of $12.3 million was 1,323 times higher than their average workers. 

"High pay ratios send a dispiriting message to the work force'', said Liz Shuler, secretary -treasurer of the AFLCIO.'' 

Companies are asking their employees to do more with less, at the same time that CEO pay is on the rise'' 

Doesn't this suggest something is very wrong in a society where such inequalities exist.

The mind boggles . . .
For socialism, 
Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC.

The future belongs to socialism

Since 1904, when the Socialist Party started out on its task of pointing out to the workers that there is no solution of their problems except socialism, and that there is no way of achieving socialism except through independent organisation in a purely socialist party for the conquest of the powers of the State. The Socialist Party has proclaimed that it makes no essential difference what is the label or programme of the political group which takes on the administration of capitalism. Too many times the workers have placed their trust in one or other of the non-socialist parties, and every time their trust has been repaid with poverty and distress instead of the promised prosperity, with the blood and tears of world conflicts instead of peace, with disillusion and despair instead of hope and progress. The history of general elections is the history of new and ever more cunning methods of catching the votes of the worker by promises of reforms. It is a history of pledges made only to be broken. The only political party which has never promised to solve the problems of the workers for them is the Socialist Party which does not promise to do something for you in return for your trust in us but only assures you that your problems can be solved by you, and by you alone, just as soon as you have the knowledge, the will, and the political organisation to make your will effective. It is your task to understand socialism, and then to join us in the Socialist Party to bring it about. The truth is that capitalism is triumphant everywhere because the working class are blind to their own class position, and are still persuaded that they have an interest in leaving power in capitalist hands. It is the duty of each national section of the working class to struggle against their own capitalist masters, aided to the extent that is possible by the international movement. 

There are so many people who do not understand what is the nature of the class-struggle of which socialists speak and so many others who choose to misrepresent it, that the essential facts cannot be repeated too often. The class-struggle is something which exists owing to capitalism. It is not an idea invented by socialists. It existed before there was any World Socialist Movement. The existing class-struggle is a fact arising from the division of human beings into two social classes. They are not divided into classes by socialists, or by their own ideas and outlook, but by their possession or non-possession of property. The capitalist class is those who own sufficient property to be able to live on the income which flows to them through their ownership. They are the receivers of rent, interest or profit. The working class is those who, because they do not own sufficient property to be able to live on property income, must work for their living. They must sell their physical and mental energies, their labour-power, to the capitalist class and the agents of the capitalist class. In return, they receive wages or salary. The working class includes those who perform practically all of the work necessary for the production and distribution of wealth, from the making of bricks to the task of organising and directing. They are all workers, working to order, producing wealth for the capitalists to own. These are facts, and it is remarkable how rarely the defenders of capitalism even attempt to dispute them. Given this private ownership of the world’s means of producing and distributing wealth, a class struggle is a necessary consequence, expressing itself as a struggle by the propertyless to gain control of the property, or as a struggle over the division of the product of industry—strikes, lockouts, etc. The capitalists assert they are too poor to pay workers a wage that will ensure a comfortable existence. Now surely this seems strange when wealth to the value of thousands of millions of pounds is used up providing battleships, tanks, 'planes, guns and the men to man and use them, and the people to minister to these armies of men. And more extraordinary still, all this wealth is simply wasted because of none of the powers that be have warlike intentions.

The part played by the Socialist Party is not that we have created this struggle, but that we explain it and show how it can be abolished by the abolition of all classes. The part played by some of the defenders of capitalism is to pretend that the struggle has no basis in material conditions but exists only because certain people hold and preach views regarding it. Many working men and women believed that it provided the solution to their economic problems. With all its faults and limitations the early Labour Party was of a distinctly working-class character. It was quite probable in its early days that many of its leaders believed it to be the only party which the worker, in his or her own interests, could support. Time has brought changes.  Today, however, after holding the reins of office, the appearance of the Labour Party to its members has changed considerably. The Labour Party has reached the stage at which it is unwilling to be associated with ideas of destroying the private property rights of the capitalist class. Its chief business more than ever now is to get itself elected. It chooses its programme of social reforms solely with an eye to getting votes. Is this little different from the openly capitalist parties?

The possession of huge funds will not alone create a movement nor will lack of funds destroy one. Outside the ranks of our Party, there are thousands and thousands of workers who feel the pressure of servile conditions and bitterly complain, yet they are deaf to our message. To such our view is the “long view,” but they want “something now." For over a century workers have been struggling for “something now," and how has it left them? Bound tightly to the wheel of capital, faced with the poverty and insecurity, that is their common lot to-day. As we have so often pointed out the problem is a simple one. The insecurity and bondage that is the lot of the working class arise from the private ownership of the means of living. The conversion of these means of living into the common property of society will enable the product of industry to flow wherever needed, instead of only to those who have the money to buy. As the working class performs the work of producing and distributing the wealth to-day nothing can be lost by the changeover, except the privileges of an idle and parasitic class. The simplicity of the Socialist Party position is a guarantee that if it is sufficiently pressed to the attention of workers it must ultimately convince them, and gain their support. The little leisure available to those who are advocating socialist ideas makes the spreading of our views a long job until our membership has reached dimensions which will enable our view to be put everywhere and at all times. There is always the central fact that is both a spur to our efforts is that the abolition of private ownership of the means of production and the establishment of socialism is the only solution to the economic evils of today, and further, that this can be accomplished when the workers understand it and want it. By joining us and helping with voice, pen, funds, and keyboard will speed the birth of a new and much-needed social revolution. That is our message to all our fellow-workers.

Poverty-stricken Scotland

More than half of the most long term deprived areas in the UK are in Scotland.
The 18-month study examined 120,000 neighbourhoods and was one of the biggest ever into British deprivation.
Alarmingly, 59 of the worst-hit 100 housing estates for poverty and inequality were discovered in Scotland.
The survey, which looked at census figures between 1971 and 2011, also found that 47 of the 100 poorest areas in that period were all in Glasgow which also had the ten most deprived districts in Britain.

The study was carried out by a team led by Professor Chris Lloyd at Liverpool University.
They used information on the number of unemployed people, the number of overcrowded households and the number of cars per household in each ward.
Of the 23 worst areas in Britain, 20 were in Glasgow and one each in Greenock, Rutherglen, near Glasgow, and Paisley.
Other neighbourhoods in the worst 100 estates were Craigmillar, Pilton and Granton in Edinburgh and parts of Cumbernauld and Motherwell.
The Castle ward area of Stirling, which includes the Raploch esate, was also included along with a housing estate near the centre of Inverness.
According to the Liverpool research the most deprived area in the UK in the last 40 years was the Canal ward in Glasgow.
It includes Possilpark, Milton, and Ruchill districts and takes its name from the Forth and Clyde Canal that goes through the district. The council ward which featured most often in the research was Calton in the east end of Glasgow which includes Bridgeton and Dalmarnock communities.
Calton had six of the 100 most deprived parts of Britain.
Easterhouse, Pollok, and Springburn also featured in the worst hit 100 areas in Britain.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Hail the coming of socialism!

There is no squaring the circle of the capitalist system and a viable sustainable planet. There is no way for capitalism, resource use for profit, along with all the strife, warfare, and poverty that comes along with it. To continue under the business as usual model that contemporary society operate under. Marx and Engels observed the basic deteriorating nature of advanced agriculture in what they termed “metabolic rift”, where they learned from European scientists of the overwhelming degradation of soil fertility on the continent due to poor farming techniques, razing of forests, and heavy industry. The nation-state and its corporations do not serve human health or well-being. It excludes the majority, cuts them from a connection to their neighbours, their communities and the land for the privilege of an elite class who sponges off us and sucks the marrow out of the bowels of the Earth. Revolutionary activity and political organization are needed. 

After decades of campaigning an legislation, most environmental problems have not substantially improved, and, indeed, some have become much worse. Among people, there is an increasing awareness of the threat of climate change and there now seems to be a genuine interest in searching for the deeper roots of the problem. The ecology movement has called into question many aspects of modern consumerist society that are complicit in the environmental crisis. If a future socio-economic arrangement is to be sustainable it must take these criticisms to heart. Getting to the roots of the problem implies that we examine the socio-economic system under which we live. To do this, however, ecological ideas are not enough. If we seek to adequately explain the reasons for the environmental crisis we must clearly understand the economics of society that lead to environmental destruction.

 Many are convinced that the resources used by humans have already far outstripped the carrying capacity of the planet that expanding population numbers present the greatest ecological crisis. The crude population explosion theory quickly collapses when we focus on the question of how resources are distributed.  The present surplus levels do not account for today's scarcity and hunger. There is more than enough food produced to sustain the current level of world population. Yet food somehow manages to avoid the mouths of those who can't afford to pay the price, being fed to livestock for the affluent to increase profitability yet it is the poor who gets the blame.

What is rarely raised in discussion is an alternative society without a profit-oriented economy. In other words, socialism which produces what people need, not what makes a profit Such a society would, for the first time allow genuine possibilities for ecological sustainability. With democratic control of economic activity, we could realise the potential to recognise and stay within the limits of the ecological carrying capacity of the earth. Without profit-seeking businesses operating in their own interest, we will have eliminated the major social forces which resist environmental safeguards.

Some environmentalists activists lead the call decentralisation and localism. While it is important to pay attention to the question of large-scale concentration of industry, doing so does not solve all of our problems. Certain industries require centralization for efficiency, and economy of scale actually may reduce environmental impact in many of these cases. Each town cannot have its own factory to produce trains, yet the demand for transportation will not simply evaporate. The key is to meet this demand at an ecologically appropriate scale under a system that places a priority on protecting the environment. Under the current system, new technologies will always be implemented in order to create new products to sell and to increase productivity for firms attempting to be more competitive.  Yet the introduction of a new technology does not automatically spell greater exploitation. A vision for a socialist society which functions in a complementary way and in harmony with nature is our goal.

The mainstream environmental organisations seem unable or unwilling to absorb the hard political and economic lessons being taught to them and continue to hope that capitalist institutions can live up to their promises. Such hopes are bound to be disappointed. The relationship between people and our environment is a central question for millions across the world today and has raised the spectre of environmental destruction on a scale previous generations could barely have imagined. The most serious issue is the threat of global warming which seems to be occurring already with many unusual weather patterns and extreme events. To the Socialist Party, the argument is simple enough. It is that the roots of the threat to the environment and to the future of the planet lie in the capitalist system itself and they cannot be solved within the capitalist system. The answer to this terrible threat is to build socialism.

Without the drive to make a profit, wouldn't workers in the vehicle industry assert a right to insist on proper safety and anti-pollution features being built into all cars? Wouldn't workers in the food industry compel thorough standards of hygiene and prevent the introduction of impurities and adulteration of any kind? Wouldn't construction workers in the architect office an the building site to assert their authority over what they demolish and what they build? The problem is not industry or science, but the organisation of production under the control of a minority which lives by the greed of profit before all else. The continuing viability of civilisation itself demands a social revolution that ends the threat of environmental disaster depends on that the class on whose labour the whole system rests upon. The future of society, and the environment, relies on whether the global working class can wrest control of society from the parasitic few and commence production for need and use instead of for profit and capital accumulation.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Arouse, ye slaves!

We declare that the Socialist Party have earned the right to be listened to, for of all sections of the working-class movement we have been true, whilst the concept of socialism has been distorted and used as a cover to march our class from one swamp to another, their labour-power bought and sold like merchandise, their children snobbishly belittled. We still propagate that you, our fellow-workers must abolish the wages system, must fashion a society to your needs, a class-free society, where mankind passes from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom.

 The Left has kept the workers' attention fixed upon questions of taxation, banking reform, nationalisation, and a thousand and one other things in which the remedies proposed would bring no appreciable improvement in the general position of the workers. The idea of a living wage regulation is well over a century old but surely that would be an issue worth fighting on? "Socialism" for the Left is a vast and complicated system of state ownership, in which nationalised banks, money, and other trading impedimenta would flourish in a "step by step" advance to socialism where wealth produced, distributed, and enjoyed communally, without the intervention of money, credit instruments or any of the other rubbish essential to a trading world. First of all we take it that, broadly-speaking, a living wage means a wage on which people could live with a certain amount of comfort: pay the average rent demanded, get a sufficiency of nourishing food, have the small luxuries necessary to make life worth living, be able to give their children the necessary education and leisure, and be able to take an annual holiday to freshen and rebuild a jaded physique. Once such a wage was conceded the employers would immediately receive an extra impetus to look around for ways and means to lower production costs. Machinery that low wages now render unnecessary would be introduced, fresh machinery invented, waste as far as possible eliminated, industries amalgamated to cut out waste connected with competition. The result of this process (a process that is always going on but receives an extra push now and again) would be a reduction in the numbers of workers employed and an increase in the already huge quantity of unemployed. A small group of workers would be more comfortable at the expense of greater misery for the mass. In other words attempts at bettering the conditions of the workers, while retaining the wage system, act, as a rule, as incentives to the capitalists to lower production costs by methods that worsen the general conditions of the workers. The only, and the simple, solution is the introduction of socialism

Many on the Left advocate international co-operation within the framework of capitalism. The Socialist Party knows that such an achievement impossible. The nationalistic capitalism of any particular country is composed of the capitalist activities of individual capitalists or groups of capitalists within that country. The fierce competition between capitalists compels them to secure as great an amount as possible of commodities, and to find ever-increasing markets for the transforming of these commodities into cash. Without such markets, the surplus value produced by the workers could not be converted into profits. Within each capitalist country, the sum total of this production and scrambling for markets is identified as the capitalism of the country from which it emanates.

The whole of the exploiting of labour power and the grabbing of markets by, for example, American, German, or British capitalists, is recognised as American, German, or British capitalism. Thus we see that behind the separate entities of American, German, or British capitalism (or whatever nationalist capitalism it be) are individual capitalists who must ever maintain competitive equality or supremacy—or be ousted from their privileged positions as capitalists.

The expansion of individual capitalism within a country, therefore, brings an expansion of that particular country's capitalism. his law prevails in all capitalist countries with the result that the capitalism of such nations finds itself in fierce competition with the capitalism of other nations. As long as we live in a society wherein there exists commodity production, and the urgent capitalist need to sell widely the commodities produced, there can be no possibility of removing a world-wide scramble for markets. Many may indeed be sincere in seeking of a New Order that has no place for market-grabbing, but they have failed to learn that this can only be done by establishing a social system in which commodity production and commodity selling cannot exist.

Modern nationalism manifests itself as the political expression of a rising capitalist class when it considers itself grown up and able to run its industries, banks, etc., without the aid of "foreign" capitalism. This enables the native capitalists to enjoy all the profits instead of sharing it. For any socialist, it is his or her duty to oppose the wars of the ruling class of one nation with the ruling class of another and to refuse to participate in them. Is the Britain of the ruling class worth defending by the workers? Has the worker to-day – a wage-slave earning but a bare subsistence wage – anything to fight for? As it is the country is being conquered by the operations of the international capitalist. The British worker is to-day the employee of a multinational whose shareholders is global.

Were China to conquer India or France to conquer Britain, we would be ruled by no more alien class than rules us to-day. Our condition is such that we have no guarantee from week to week to earn our livelihood. Millions of us are living in a state of semi-starvation, living in always changing. In the slum districts the conditions are such that crime is at a premium, and virtuous living at a discount, so much so indeed that it is a constant surprise that the results of these conditions are so good. The worker to-day has nothing to fight for. The interests of the master class are not our interests. National prestige is not our prestige but is used to force from other nations commercial treaties and conditions which in the end prove adverse to him.

What the socialist has to realise clearly is that the interests of our fellow workers in other lands are nearer to his than are those of the master in our own country. The bonds which bind worker with worker, irrespective of nationality, are those of class solidarity. From the capitalist-class of every country, the worker is divided by a gulf of class antagonism which can be bridged only by the absorption of the capitalist-class in the working class, the result of the coming social revolution.

When the capitalist-class fully realises that they can no longer depend upon the working-class, when they find that the workers have at last come to understand their class position and that they have no reason for fighting in their master’s interests against those with whom we hold no personal quarrel, he, the capitalist, will see that it is impossible to appeal to nationalist prestige, to patriotism, and all the rest of the phrases used of old, and then it will be impossible to make war in so light a spirit, or to raise questions likely to create a tension between the ruling class of different nations. It is for the worker to see that his or her position demands that he or she should fight only for class emancipation and that nothing, internal reform or national strife, should draw themselves away from the determination to fight for the realisation of the socialist society.


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Can't Cope With Orgy Of Crime

Regular readers of this column will know that Toronto has become a city plagued by gang warfare. In some ways it resembles Chicago of the 1920's. There is a shooting nearly every day; gang warfare is open and blatant; whereas in Chicago it was over alcohol, in Toronto it's narcotics. 

The major difference being that Toronto's police and politicians are not on any mobsters payroll, though since they cannot cope with the prevailing orgy of crime it doesn't mean much. If someone is the target of a killing, anyone in his immediate vicinity could be shot as his enemies spray bullets at random. 

Such was the case on June 16 when two girls ages 5 and 9 were shot and wounded in a playground in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, leaving a whole city shocked and disgusted. 

When a society is in the process of breaking down it makes a lot of sense to replace it with one that won't.

For socialism, 
Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC.

The Spirit of Revolution

 We often hear Parliamentary electoral activity derided and often does not find much favour among the so-called militants of the working-class movement. One of the illusions on which the master class depends for their retention of power is that the State is an independent, neutral body mediating impartially between the different sections of society. The capitalist class are neither all-powerful nor such fools as to be caught napping by minorities. Our weakness is their strength. While but a small proportion of the working-class understand their slave position in society, and are organised for the purpose of ending it, the capitalist class are strong. But when the working class wakes up to the fact that their masters live in riotous luxury on the proceeds of their, the workers', exploitation, and manifest a determination to end the system, the vaunted power of the capitalist class will melt and vanish like margarine in the Summer sun.

Capitalism is a system of society in which goods are produced in the first place solely for profit. A few people, the master class, own and control the land, factories, mines and everything which is used to produce wealth. The mass of the people, the workers, are propertyless and have to work for a master in order to get enough money to buy back from the owners the number of goods which their earnings will cover. They are paid just enough to enable them to live according to the standard of living in which it has pleased God, etc. Thus a clerk’s standard of comfort is different from a manager’s, and from a farm labourer’s; but all are workers, and all must sell their labour power in order to live. Even when the worker is in work he must be constantly fighting against reductions in pay. The “dole” is about the lowest amount that can be paid to a person to keep him alive, and employed workers must always be on the alert against being pushed nearer to that amount. Hence, even when a job is obtained it does not mean freedom from worry and anxiety. Machinery has been developed to such an extent that goods can be produced much faster and in considerably greater quantities than they were years ago when practically every available worker was used. The workers who have jobs have only sufficient to purchase little more than the actual necessities of life, and the unemployed have considerably less, so that their spending power is restricted, and we have the ridiculous position arising of millions of commodities having been produced which cannot be sold because millions of people haven’t sufficient money to buy them. Quantities of goods which people need are destroyed so as not to flood the market. Factories remain idle when there are men and women willing and anxious to work them, and prating fools preach false doctrines ot economy when there is an abundance of everything. The economic evils of to-day are unnecessary, and those who talk of reforms, and expedients for alleviating those evils are either babes or charlatans.

There is not one reform or measure, free trade or protectionism, tariffs or taxes, shorter hours or longer hours, that will get the workers out of their main difficulty or make capitalism a satisfactory system. The conditions are ripe for a change, and all that is lacking is the workers' understanding of the position and their determination to alter it. Socialism, the common ownership of the means and instruments for producing everything we need, is the only solution to the economic ills, and many others which are the outcome of these deeper troubles and which beset us on all sides. Socialism can only be brought about by socialists, and our job in this Party is to make socialists, so that we may put an end to this poverty in the midst of plenty and get the very best out of the few years of life that is our heritage in the aeons of time that have gone and are yet to come.

An endless job for Labour Party historians is the expunging of inconvenient memories, of which their party has more than the most industrious of harlots. Some memories are successfully blamed upon the treachery of its party-leaders and the other villains. Time, and actual experience of nationalisation at work have had a savage revenge on the defeatists who propagated the original theory that the way to get Socialism was to organise and fight for something else. The predominant leaders of the Labour Party know that an electoral campaign seeking a mandate to nationalise all industries would bring them certain defeat. Nationalisation is an irrelevance to capitalists and workers alike; it has little bearing on the actual problems facing British capitalism and none at all on the position of the workers. The personalities of politicians — whether they are clever or stupid, honest of corrupt — are of little account. Capitalism deals with them all in the same way.  Nobody should conclude from this that the answer is another sort of government, composed of more stable personalities or sober sentiments. For capitalism does not discriminate in what or who it destroys; its history is studded with politicians who became discredited in their efforts to deceive the rest of us that this is a benign, caring, humane society. The working class, who at elections vote to continue the experience that life under capitalism is a daily struggle, understand so little of their class position and interests that they turn from one discredited futility to the other—then back again.

Many of them are now deceived into thinking that the Labour Party offers something radically different from the outworn nostrums of the Tory party. What Labour offers is no more than a rehash of the programmes and the personalities. There is no reason to believe that they will succeed where the others have failed; their character is basically the same — a prescription for failure, despair and defeat. Capitalism grinds on.

Rivalry, or competition as it is called, is the keynote of Capitalism. Prosper yourself and ruin your rival is its economic creed. Man struggles with man for job, firm struggles with firm for markets, and nation struggles with nation for commercial influence. When the struggle becomes acute and nation is opposed to nation, then follows war; one competitive nation seeks to impose its will upon another competitive nation. The machinery of murder piled up during the years of peace is then used for the purpose for which it was designed. The Socialist Party remedy is the abolition of competition, national and international, and the substitution of co-operation. We ask all intelligent people to read our literature, study our suggestions for re-organising society, and take a definite hand in the ordering of things. Cease to be led up the blind alleys of reform, cease to be humbugged by superficial thinking, cease to be the plaything of specious appeals to the emotions. Rivalry under capitalism means death and ruin to the weakest. Socialism means the co-operation of all men, without distinction of race or colour, to use this earth as a common store-house, owned in common and worked for the common good. War is the normal outcome of capitalism. In it the workers have nothing to lose but their lives and nothing to gain but a change of masters, a continuance of their slavery, or an intensification of their poverty. If fighting could achieve anything socialism would be the one thing worth fighting for. Has it not been said, you have nothing to lose but your chains, you have a world to win.

 There is no such thing as a good despotism. Who are dubbed good despots are viler than bad ones, for without making for stable or genuine progress, they create a flabby, servile people, devoid of initiative or activity. No permanent progress can be made except by improving the common human material. Democracy is the only possible method of preventing a single “great” man from becoming, by a union of talent and opportunity and ambition, a good or bad despot, a terrible source of oppression. But even despots can only reign long when they correctly represent the interests of a dominant class. Socialism is the only possible method of preventing a class from monopolising the great machinery of wealth production, and perverting science and the arts to their own ends. And socialism would not eliminate genius. It would merely prevent humans of genius and those super-privileged men of talent whom we have often mistaken for such, using any class as a milch cow from which to extract “economic rent." 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Socialist Cause

Let it be said unequivocally that world socialism will not arise naturally “bit-by-bit” through the policies of parties elected on a programme of reforming capitalism. It will only be introduced when the majority of people turn their backs on the inevitably vain attempts of the capitalist parties to tinker with the present system and cast votes for a world of real democracy, real equality and real cooperative human activity. The immediate task of the workers is to study the structure and origin of capitalism, and to learn that there are no shortcuts to emancipation ; that the solution of the problem of poverty in every industry and in every continent is the same—the abolition of the system of society which requires that the great majority shall be poor in order that a favoured few may live idle and luxurious lives.

Interest, dividends, and profits can only be procured by robbing the workers of the wealth they alone have produced. It, therefore, cannot be a question as to whether the robbery is carried out under “good” or “bad” conditions. The workers’ only concern should be how to end the robbery.  With the increasing corporate capitalism there is an increasing economy in the production of wealth by the elimination of waste and useless labour, an introduction of new and larger machinery and the increasing application of scientific discoveries to industry. This results in fewer workers being required to produce a given quantity of wealth, or a larger amount being produced by the same number in the same time as were employed before. The increase in the number of workers rendered relatively redundant by these means will bring home to the workers themselves the absurdity of imagining that the capitalist could—if he would or would if he could—alter things in any material way while allowing the present basis to remain. Only by altering the system, by overthrowing and abolishing the capitalist class and establishing socialism in its stead can the workers get rid of the bad conditions they exist under to-day.

The capitalist or employing class lives by exploiting the workers; this means that out of the whole product of their labour the workers receive only a part, and not a large part. Speaking generally, they get sufficient to enable them to work and to bring children into the world who will carry on when they are worn out—just like horses, with the one great difference that a horse costs money and must be fed and tended even when temporarily not required to work, while men cost nothing and can be stood off when work is slack, because their employer is under no obligation to keep them, and knows that they can be replaced at any time. In any industry, therefore, the employers are primarily interested in the exploitation of their own employees. Their interests are served by having production as high, and wages as low, as possible, even to the extent of injuring the health of the workers. An individual employer does not have to consider the health and fitness of future generations, and in consequence physical deterioration has been the lot of the workers in every land under the present system of society.

As a class, the workers are not concerned with taxation under capitalism. Out of the total wealth, which they produce by applying their labour power to the materials given by nature, they receive on an average about enough to keep them in the working condition that the masters' interests demand. Obviously, they have no margin left over out of which to pay either taxes or economic rent. It is thus clear that it is the masters who must pay these expenses in the form of rates and taxes, and it is they who would obtain any benefit that might result from the application of "economic rent" to these expenses. The method might not please the section of the master class who are solely, or mainly, landholders, but it would undoubtedly be beneficial to the industrial or commercial capitalists and is really the ideal capitalist form of taxation.

The workers suffer when they strike, but this doesn't matter in the least to their employers if it were not for the fact that the latter suffer too. The employers have the State behind them and all the chances are in their favour, but even if they were certain of victory they would still prefer a less expensive way of settling disputes. A stoppage of work means no profits, idle machinery, unfulfilled contracts, and the loss of markets to home and foreign competitors.

The ability of the workers at any given time to get a larger share of what they produce depends, not upon the eloquence of their representatives, but on their powers to demand it. A whole intellectual armoury of moral arguments will fail to convince an employer of the justice of a claim if the labour market is overcrowded. If he knows that there are a dozen men willing to take the place of each of his employees for the same or less wages, he will also know that he can reduce wages with impunity. Well organised workers will take advantage of every favourable opportunity to get higher wages, and will fight to prevent any reduction. 

Where find the remedy, then but in the organisation of productive forces, not privately for profit, but socially, to the sole end of furnishing everything of use and delight which the heart of man can desire? This is Socialism, and within it will be room for all to enter the field of labour. Then every achievement of mind and arm will be a gain to us, and a part in the enjoyment of that rich store will be our common right.

Let each person, therefore, see in every fellow-worker, skilled or unskilled, man or woman, one bound with the same chain; whose emancipation is to be won, not at the price of his or her own, but with and in his or her own. Together let them hasten the inevitable end of capitalism and build in its place the socialist commonwealth.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Most Compassionate Suggestion Of All

Justin Trudeau said recently he will apologize for the Canadian government's refusal in 1939 to allow the Jewish refugees aboard the ship, St.Louis, to enter Canada. 

Trudeau said nothing about why his government won't allow refugees in from Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Myanmar and the Congo, who are also fleeing from Genocide. Canada is a world leader in developing and using methods of keeping refugees out, such as visa requirements, electronic travel authorizations, carrier sanctions migration officers posted abroad, working with other governments to detect and stop migration networks and the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. 

Nor has Trudeau said anything about the laws his government does not abolish that prescribe lengthy prison sentences for transporting asylum seekers into Canada. 

That all this is blatant hypocrisy isn't the point. If it were in the interests of Canadian capitalism to allow refugees in then Trudeau certainly would. 

We Socialists do not say, ''let them in'', or, ''keep them out'', because, and again, that isn't the point. We are not going to be drawn into taking sides in any of the stupid and inhumane problems that capitalism causes. 

Nor do we lack compassion, in fact, we urge the most compassionate suggestion of all which is the abolition of the system that causes refugee crises in the first place.
For socialism, 
Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC.

Summer School 2018 Updates

Summer School 2018 

Capitalism is a society of inequalities, in how both wealth and power are distributed. These inequalities have often affected women more adversely than men, and campaigns for women’s rights have been ongoing for over a century. But the debate around gender equality is no longer just about differences in wages or opportunities. Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in Parliament and the entertainment industry especially have highlighted how some men have exercised their power. Also, the debate has broadened due to increased awareness of issues affecting transgender people, many of whom have felt marginalised.

How should socialists respond to the new prominence given to gender politics? What does gender inequality tell us about capitalist society, especially how it shapes gender roles? And how does the issue impact upon revolutionary politics? The Socialist Party argues that sexism and misogyny are expressions of how capitalism is inherently divisive and unequal. So, the solution is to address these problems at their source, by uniting to replace capitalism with a society based on equality and freedom.

Our weekend of talks and discussion will examine how gender issues relate to wider society and to revolutionary politics.

Full residential cost (including accommodation and meals Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) is £100

The concessionary rate is £50

 Day visitors are welcome, but please book in advance.

Details about the venue:

Fircroft College of Adult Education, 
1018 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, 
Birmingham, B29 6LH

Location and travel ( directions

E-mail enquiries should be sent to To book a place send a cheque (payable to the Socialist Party of Great Britain) with your contact details to

Summer School,
The Socialist Party, 
52 Clapham High Street, 
London, SW4 7UN.

Scheduled talks so far include:

Lorna Stevens and Paddy Shannon present...

This talk will argue against the premise that oppression is simply the product of class struggle and that feminism can be dismissed as identity politics which distract from the real issue. Feminism and socialism are not either/or, positions. An understanding of class, patriarchy and intersectionality is crucial to the challenge of establishing a world based on socialist principles.

Bill Martin will present...

This talk will look at the relevance of value, and the labour theory of value to discussions around the gender pay gap in the workplace. It will look at value as a story told to lay claim to the output of society, and will relate that to Utopian visions of women and womanhood. It will argue that that value is not a value-free idea, but in fact a deliberate move in the class struggle to enforce the power of the capitalist class. Along the way, this talk will take in how the working class is exploited, and how this exploitation contains within itself the end of capitalist values. Finally, it will suggest that the struggle over equal wages contains within itself the drive toward the abolition of the wages system itself.

Film showing: 'Did Gender Egalitarianism Make Us Human?' by Camilla Power (Senior lecturer in Anthropology at the University of East London)

Introduced by Carla Dee and Richard Field, with discussion afterwards.

Mike Foster
will present...


Glasgow's Poverty

Glasgow has suffered the worst poverty in the UK for almost half a century, according to a new study. Through the seventies with power cuts, strikes and three day weeks, the rising unemployment of the eighties under Margaret Thatcher, then the regeneration of Glasgow in the nineties, Labour Governments of Blair and Brown and right through to the Tory austerity of the last decade, Glasgow’s poorest areas have come out consistently the worst for deprivation. Researchers have analysed deprivation statistics across the UK from every census between 1971 and 2011 and found the ten most deprived areas over the period are all in Glasgow.
While the study found large increases in deprivation in large English cities, including London, Liverpool, and Birmingham, specific parts of Glasgow fared worst. The ten most deprived areas, measuring one square kilometre over the period were in seven council wards in Glasgow. Three were in Calton, two in North East, and one each in Govan, Canal, Baillieston, Springburn and Drumchapel/Anniesland.
Latest child poverty statistics for 2016 showed that Glasgow had a much higher rate than the rest of Scotland with 34% of children in poverty, but in the most deprived areas this increased to almost 60% of all children. Other studies show that since 2011 the situation has not improved.
The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation shows 190,000 Glaswegians almost one-third of the population live in the 10% most deprived areas in Scotland.
And almost half of Glasgow’s people, 283,000 people, reside in the 20% of most deprived areas in Scotland.

Summer School

Summer School 2017

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