Thursday, August 06, 2020

Killing Sea Lions. Profits Legal and illegal.

Dozens of headless sea lions are washed up on the coast of British Columbia every year, about 80 of them, so far, in 2020. Fishermen say its because some people are taking advantage of the growing market for sea lion skulls, for which their is no legal supply as the Canadian government have banned hunting for sea lions. Furthermore a male sea lion with all its parts intact goes for about $4,000 in the underground market and a pelt would fetch $500. A set of whiskers which could be used in native ceremonies would go for $700 and oil from sea lion blubber, rich in omega-3 fatty acids is worth $100 a gallon to the pharmaceutical industry. One native Canadian said he has recently received 120 emails from taxidermy enthusiasts interested in buying sea lion skulls. Some seal and sea lion meat could be sold for human consumption or to the pet food industry. The fact is they are being killed for a profit and whether a profit is made legally or not it is still a fundamental of capitalism, which can only be abolished by abolishing the cause.

S.P.C. Members.

Capitalism Is The Oppressing Foe, Not Fellow Workers!

An article in the Toronto Star of July 11 focused on the abuse many Canadian's of Chinese decent had been subjected to since the COVID began. The Star said 8 per cent of their respondents had been physically attacked by strangers. Another poll conducted by the University of Alberta, said 29 per cent of their respondents had. One may add to this those who have been verbally attacked, which according to the latter poll was 43 per cent. All this because they happen to be of Chinese decent. It is disgusting that at a time where their should be some working class solidarity, workers turn on innocent members of their own class. Shades of Nazi Germany. Workers of the World “Wake-Up” – Capitalism is the oppressing foe, not fellow workers!

S.P.C. Members.

We Demand the Earth for All

The capitalist system continues to produce miseries for many and prosperity for the few

Wage-labour is wage-slavery. Socialism is the release from servitude to employers. When the production of all the material necessities of life and means of culture will be taken over by automation and robotics, requiring the minimum of superintendence, humanity will be freed to develop its distinctively human capacities and relations to the full on a truly human basis. Wealth of all kinds will flow as freely as water and is as abundant as air and compulsory labour is supplanted by free time. Free-time enjoyed by all will be the measure of wealth, the guarantee of equality and harmony. This is the goal of socialism, the promise of communism.

There has never been a free people, a civilised nation, a real republic on this earth. Human society has always consisted of masters and slaves. We all need to unite – rather than thinking as a country, we need to think planetary. The world would be better for billions of dispossessed people if we did. Socialism is not government ownership or control of industry. Socialism struggles for the dismantling of the State, not the enlargement of its functions. Socialism, in the words of Engels, is not the government of persons, but the administration of things. Socialism adopts a policy of unrelenting antagonism toward nationalism. State capitalism is not an abandonment of capitalism: it is a variation of capitalism. Socialism rejects the state ownership as a phase of socialism. State capitalism is not socialism and never can become socialism. 

Under chattel-slavery the slave was bought and sold and became the property of the buyer. Men, women, and children were sold by auction like cattle. Traders in search for wealth did not hesitate in capturing people from Africa to be sold like cattle to plantation owners in the Americas. This odious traffic in human beings was of course a most profitable one. Consideration and compassion for the unfortunate slaves was of no importance. Father, mother and children were offered for sale individually and sold to different slave masters. Husband and wife, parents and children were offered for sale individually and sold to different slave masters. Separated, husband and wife, parents and children would never see each other again. That is how the “civilised” gentlemen who hailed from “Christian” Europe treated the “backward” peoples.

Under the system of wage-slavery, the LABOUR POWER of the individual worker is bought, a wage is paid to the worker by the employer, and the employer only takes an interest in the welfare of his workers in so far as it helps him to make profits out of them. This is THE NEW FORM OF SLAVERY and its menace in reality is to a great measure by far more serious and abominable than this slavery abolished. Under chattel-slavery the slave was oppressed by the slave master and slave rebellions took place time and again led by the instinctive urge for freedom. The wage-slave workers of today are exploited by the capitalist employers. As under the system of wage-slavery, so under capitalist slavery, workers are constantly struggling for better conditions and for the ABOLISHMENT OF CAPITALIST SLAVERY. The struggles of the industrial workers takes on more and more a bitterly conscious fight for the OVERTHROW of this FINAL slave system and for the establishment of a society controlled by all toilers. This shows that the fight for freedom, economic, and political is yet to be continued.  THE SOCIALIST PARTY’S AIM IS THE BUILDING OF SOCIALISM — OF A CLASS-FREE SOCIETY. Our goal is the emancipation of humanity from all forms of slavery and oppression and FREEDOM FROM CAPITALIST EXPLOITATION. The capitalist class freed the chattel-slaves in order to transform them into wage-slaves; the WAGE-SLAVES WILL FREE THEMSELVES, IN ORDER TO FREE HUMANITY.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Who Do You Work For? $200 million Lawsuit.

Amazon Canada is facing a multi-million dollar law suit which claims that its huge network of subcontracted delivery drivers are Amazon employees who have not received the wages owing them. 

The lawsuit seeks $200 million in damages and was filed on June 26 on behalf of more than 2,500 drivers employed by courier companies contracted by Amazon to deliver their parcels. The suit says that despite the use of intermediaries, Amazon retains effective control over those drivers and is their true employer. The class, (no pun intended), action alleges the drivers routinely failed to receive payment for their hours worked, overtime pay, vacation pay and meal breaks. A spokesperson for the company said, ''We disagree with the allegations and expect to fully disprove them.'' 

Of course, how can 2,500 drivers be right?, how ridiculous can it get? 

It isn't the first time a company has tried to cheat sub-contracted workers on the basis of them, ''Not really being our employees.'' Wonder why Amazon are being so chintzy?, maybe they ain't making much of o’profit!

S.P.C. Members.

Capitalist Swindling Terms.

Stats-Canada recently released the gloomy news that household debt rose in the first quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact the economy. There was $1.77 in credit market debt for every dollar of household disposable income.

 Stats-Canada added that annual trends show that lower income households tend to have higher debts, which in capitalist swindling terms is pure genius! Wonder how they figured that out? Overall it said credit market debt totalled $2.33 trillion at the end of the first quarter including $1.53 trillion in mortgage debt and $802.1 billion in consumer credit and non-mortgage loans. And that, folks is the first quarter. 

At the time of writing we don't know what the figures for the second quarter will be, but you can bet they'll stack up, as usual, not in favour of workers’ interests.

S.P.C. Members. 

Toward A New Society

The Socialist Party, part of the World Socialist Movement, appeals to you to join it to engage in the fight for working-class emancipation and socialist freedom. We have the right to call upon you to enter our Party, for we have never flinched from the struggle against capitalism and never forsaken the principles of socialism. There is a comradely place for you in the Socialist Party. We present ourselves as a friend and a comrade to the exploited and oppressed peoples all over the world. We wants no slaves anywhere. We have no other interests save those of the working class itself. We seek nothing more than to be part and parcel of tomorrow’s political movement to build world socialism. We are convinced that the working class will soon start to take mighty strides along the road of independent political action in its own name and under its own flag. The very idea of the workers breaking away from the capitalist parties and forming their own class party is so revolutionary that it terrifies the owning class.

The plundering and enslavement of working people is open and shameless. To all those who refuse to resign themselves in helplessness and hopelessness to the barbarism of capitalism, to capitalist tyranny, to the horrors of the capitalist system, to all those who have confidence in the working-class and the future of mankind - the Socialist Party is your organisation and we extend the welcoming hand of comradeship. Peace, security and freedom are yours to take. We prepare ourselves now for the coming years with the conviction that the working class will fight against the conditions of its existence, that it will win its way to the principles of our party because we will win our way to its heart and mind by our participation in the fight, until we achieve our ultimate vindication in the triumph of socialist freedom.

The world today is in a sorry mess. This is the condition society will inevitably take so long as capitalism exists. These social evils are not bred in the heart of man; they are bred by capitalism, and by nothing else. Capitalism always seeks to intensify exploitation. As democratic socialists, we reject completely as incompatible with our principles and our aims any and all regimes, even if they proclaim themselves as “socialist” that are in actuality totalitarian and state-capitalist. The Socialist Party alone told the truth. Our party stands vindicated by world events. The capitalist system came into being only after a number of revolutions and half-revolutions. The period of its birth lasted for decades, The change from the feudal system to capitalism was not as drastic as will be the change from capitalism to socialism, for the latter implies not the change of one system of exploitation for another, but the elimination of all exploitation and class rule.

But just suppose you do not join in the fight for socialism. Suppose you do not organise and work for its victory. Will the society we live in remain just as it is, will it move forward, or will it slip backward? This question is of vital concern to everyone. It is most important to understand what will happen to capitalist society if it is not replaced by socialism. Capitalism drives society to a new barbarism. From the builder and producer, it has become the great destroyer. From the bearer of civilization and culture, it has become the relentless devastation of civilisation. It has become the seed-bed of regimentation, and totalitarianism rather than the bearer of democracy. From the liberator of the feudal serfs, capitalism has created of tens of millions of modern wage-slaves.  Upon socialism, depends the happy future of humanity and of civilisation. Working people are called upon to save the world from barbarism, the only alternative to socialism. That is the road to human freedom.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Capitalism - A Crime Against Humanity

Wherever there is a class society, wherein one class exploits other classes, there you have racism and xenophobia. So long as capitalism rules, the ruling minority will always seek, by terror and by prejudice, by legal and by extralegal means, to divide the exploited, to set one group of slaves against the others, to keep alive and nurture the vilest conspiracies and the meanest superstitions. Such beliefs will disappear not from being exposed and shamed, not from liberal indignation, but from a more potent medicine – prosperity. When there is almost enough to go around for everybody, when all are eating, being housed, and have jobs, prejudice and bigotry cannot thrive. This, is why the Socialist Party hold that in a socialist society that will provide an abundance for all, such irrational behaviour, will cease.

The rich and wealthy are not going to help you. Working people make a mistake in choosing their friends. The ones who will help you people to any lasting benefit are not the rich, they are the poor every time. They may not be able to give you big donations, but after all, the cause of the poor is a common cause the world over, and when your case is won it will be by uniting your cause with the cause of the mankind all over the world: you cannot do it any other way.

The rich have been using working people, setting one section against another, dividing the union movement. You ought to go and help fight the common battle of the poor against the strong. The worker, the dispossessed, the displaced, all seek a way out. But the future seems black to many. The government that protects the wealthy in their robbery, snarl at the workers when we demand decent wages and conditions. But people are now increasingly weary of being treated like animals and not like human beings. The security that capitalism promised was just a dream and now we have to face reality. Working people have to try to fix a better future for our children and their children’s children. We have a lot to fight for.

There are a hundred signs to show that the capitalist system is headed for an economic crisis. Not all the capitalists understand this. Indeed, few of them do. It is a fact that the capitalists and their front men – the editors and economists – do not understand their own system. Are these people trying to fool themselves, or are they trying to fool us. Cannot they see what is occurring: The unprecedented mountainous swollen profits of the rich (and the other half of the picture, the low wages of working people) The servants of capitalism see not any clearer than their masters. Out of capitalism grows depression and war, mass misery and death. So long as the people permit capitalism to endure, new depressions and wars are inescapable. The mad dance of the profiteers continues. The capitalists may fool themselves. Do not let them fool us.

What do you think of a social system whose rulers deliberately cheapen and worsen their goods so that they will wear out, all to the end that the profits may be larger? Automobiles that will only last a few years, houses that begin to subside with settlement before their occupants hardly get in the door, shoddy clothes and shoes that come apart, adulterated foods and drinks. The list of capitalist crimes against its consumers are endless. A socialist society would have no such incentive for cheating the people. On the contrary, it would have every reason to make everything of top quality, with an abundance for everyone.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Dick Gaughan - Stand Up For Judas (music video)

Stand in solidarity for socialism

What we need is socialism. First and foremost it is necessary that our fellow-workers realise that Bolshevism and socialism have nothing whatsoever in common. We are sometimes told that we have made no progress, that we have lived through years of futility of effort. Socialism is a great and inspiring idea, and I am sure that if we get to work instead of hankering after props and leaning-posts we can achieve that idea. Nothing less than the fate of humanity hinges upon the establishment of a socialist society. Socialism is a word that has been so misused for so long that it is worth re-stating its basic principles. Socialism means that the means of production are owned and controlled by society so that what is produced can be shared out according to people’s needs. Socialism is founded on the idea of equality.  Socialists say that we are on the verge of a world of plenty. All around us are the signs that we can produce more than enough for everyone. If production is planned rationally and its products shared fairly, there is no reason why anyone should be short of anything – nor why the environment should be polluted and destroyed in the process. Socialism is  production for need, not profit. Socialism is a vision of a new economy, democratically structured to answer people’s needs instead of the capitalism’s profit imperative. If you like that idea, then welcome to the movement for socialism.

In the earliest period of mankind society was based on the clan or tribe. Everything was pretty much owned and shared in common. There was no privately-owned property, no government, no rulers and ruled, no laws in the sense in which we know them today. Capitalism means a small section of the population controls production and is not answerable to the rest of the community. This small capitalist class hangs on to power only because they control the armed forces, the police and the means of mass “persuasion.” The capitalist system must be overthrown, class rule abolished and wage-slavery supplanted by cooperative industry. It is therefore a question, not of “reform, the mask of fraud, but of revolution.

Socialism is rule by the working people. They will decide how socialism is to work. As working people, socialists have and will continue to have the duty both to initiate working people’s power. The Socialist Party is an organisation of convinced socialists, who hold that socialism can come only through the conscious and determined action of the working-class movement in this and other countries. Socialism is the name given to that form of society in which there is no such thing as a propertyless class, but in which the whole community owns the means of production—the land, factories, mills, mines, transport and all the means whereby wealth is created and distributed to the community. The basic principles of socialist society are diametrically opposite to those of capitalist society in which we live. Socialism stands for social or community property. Capitalism stands for private property. Socialism is a society without classes. Capitalism is divided into classes—the class owning property and the propertyless working class. From this the Socialist Party draws the conclusion, therefore, that the class primarily interested in the change from private property to social property is the working class. The goal of socialism as the class-free society has its starting point in the propertyless condition of the working class. The Socialist Party’s goal represents the consummation of the struggle of the working class — its emancipation from the system which gives rise to that struggle.

We, in the Socialist Party, who do have a broad blueprint for raising humanity to a higher collective and individual existence, are wary about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. We know that the mess that capitalism have made of all the aspects of life and they cannot be seriously tackled without first establishing a more favourable social, economic and political milieu. So we say socialism will relieve men and women of the tediousness of long tiring hours of employment and the wage-slavery of a shabby income. Thus, we say that the place NOW for all men and women is in the revolutionary world socialist movement.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Nationalist nonsense exposed (Book Review)

Book Review from the August 2000 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Origins of Scottish Nationhood by Neil Davidson. Pluto Press 2000.

This book’s thesis is that Scotland as a nation-state does not stretch back into the very deepest dawn of time and only came into existence with the advent of the Union with England, and the rise to dominance of a Scottish capitalist class. As such it presents a fundamental challenge, from a Marxian perspective, to the totems and myths of the Scottish nationalists and their intellectual cheerleaders.

Davidson gives a clear account of the way in which Scotland did not come to the same situation of having a national absolutist government that England did (starting with Henry VIII), and thus entered the union as the junior partner, creating most of the national institutions (law, education and Kirk) that are traditionally listed as the reasons for Scotland’s “continued national identity”. Further, he demonstrates that the real divide was within Scotland, between Lowlanders and Highlanders, as the lowlands developed an urbanised √©lite. The idea that Scotland was a colonial subaltern of England also comes under withering assault, as Davidson shows how Scotland was not just a willing partner, but also a major force in promoting the British empire; and how the experience of Empire further helped shape Scotland as a “national identity”.

As such the book serves a worthy enough purpose, and on one level it achieves most of its ends; however its assiduity and worthiness is undermined by a number of failings. The book has a disturbing tendency towards arguing by assertion: in a discussion of the Declaration of Arbroath, Davidson simply says that its authors had a different meaning when they used the word nation (i.e. as a people/race) from the meaning it has in modern discourse. Considering this point was so important to the book’s case, this constitutes a serious weakness.

Quite often the theoretical expositions fail to adequately express their own application. Davidson’s definition of a nation simply as an “imaginary community” does not capture any notion of the relationship between nation and class interests, nor of its relationship to power. Yet, in his historical analysis, he often refers to national consciousness almost entirely in terms of it being the consciousness of the rising Scottish capitalist class. At other times this concept of national identity being tied to √©lite consciousness becomes confused, as when he attempts to engage with the arguments of contemporary Nationalists and tries to disprove mass consciousness of nationhood.

The desire to engage with the Nationalists further leads Davidson to make some elementary errors in analysis—in assessing the core/periphery thesis regarding Scotland and England he ends up reifying these supposed imaginary communities in order to show how an aggregate Scotland compares strongly with an aggregate England, none of which takes into account the unevenness within both territorial units, and the core/periphery relationships of provinces to the metropoles within each. In engaging closely with the Nationalists’ nonsense he accepts their flawed presuppositions in order to disprove the conclusions they base upon them.

A central theoretical point of the book is to make a distinction between nationalism and national consciousness—the former being a politics based upon national aims/structures, the latter simply being the knowledge of a common nationality. This distinction seems weak, since any dominant form of consciousness must surely find expression in social being. Thus if people denote their consciousness of subjectivity in terms of nationhood, then, surely, their politics will necessarily be guided by such national consciousness.

None of this, however, stops the book being right at a basic level, rather, it merely makes it weak for use in polemical terms. It often makes excellent points that expose the nonsense nationalists talk, and it builds a very strong case about the historical origins of the birth of “the Scottish nation”. This book is useful, in the main then, as a part of a much wider reading of the subject.
Pik Smeet

Socialists in Edinburgh. (1930)

Party News from the August 1930 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Edinburgh comrades are holding good meetings at the Mound several nights a week. A large part of the time is devoted to answering questions on Socialist policy, in view of the confusion spread here by the I.L.P. and Communist organisations, as well as direct action elements. The decline of Communists is seen in the poorly attended meetings conducted by them in this town, where once they had a large following.

Good sales of literature are being made, considering the uphill work of pushing scientific literature against the sensational and so-called practical rubbish which passes for working class education. All those interested in our work should attend our meetings.

There was no branch or group in Edinburgh at the time this post appeared in the Standard, and there's no contact listing for the Edinburgh comrades in the August 1930 Socialist Standard.

However, there was a notice in the August issue indicating that there SPGB speakers at The Mound - the well-known outdoor speaking pitch in Edinburgh - Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays at 8pm, and on Sundays at 7pm.

Let us re-make the world

All the recent figures highlighting wealth inequality are merely by way of underscoring the tendency that exists in capitalist society, the polarising more and more wealth at one end into the hands of fewer and fewer persons, and at the other, misery, oppression, poverty and degradation as the lot of more and more. This was discovered long ago by Karl Marx and no matter how often it his attacked by the apologists for capitalism, it still remains an inescapable fact.

Under private ownership, production is undertaken to satisfy not the needs of the people as a whole, but to satisfy private profit. If profit cannot be obtained, production shuts down. Businesses compete against each other, not out of a desire to satisfy the needs of the people for clothing, cars or refrigerators but in order to capture the market and outsell their competitors to make more profits. Alternating bubbles and recessions are the only too well known characteristics of capitalist society. The socialist movement has long since rendered its verdict on the capitalist class. They’re all guilty.
The Socialist Party is the only party are prepared to sacrifice their time and efforts for the ideas it holds to be true. At this point the skeptics ask:
“But how many are there of you? Isn’t it true that your Socialist Party consists of only a handful of people? How can such a small party get anywhere?”
The last thing that the Workers Party seeks to do is to conceal the fact that its numbers are small. It has no need to engage in wild exaggerations of its size, as so many left-wing parties do, because it does not regard its present size to be the decisive factor in its ability to achieve its goal. If the achievement of socialism depended upon the strength of the party today then the question of whether the Socialist Party had five hundred or five thousand members would surely make no difference, for one figure would be as inadequate as the other. We therefore see that the question is not one of how we “expect to get anywhere with such a small party.” The real question is this: Are the ideas of the Socialist Party sowing the seeds of socialism which workers will rally to tomorrow?
The fact that socialism is now possible does not mean that workers will strive for it, no matter how alluring a socialist society appears. Socialism is possible but we have to await the time when workers realise that capitalism is proving itself increasingly impossible and those who considers socialism to be a daydream are driven to consider capitalism a nightmare. Socialism represents the economic salvation of our times. Every every worker will come to recognize that capitalism is the common enemy,
The worker is the heart of all wealth. When workers stop production there is paralysis. Compare this indispensability of the workers with the other class in society. Not all the gold in the treasury of the United States could smelt steel in the furnaces. Not all the stocks and shares in Wall Street – certificates of ownership of the means of production – can mine one lump of ore. Not a capitalist – for all their so-called risk-taking and so-called management and who are supposed to be essential – could produce a nut or bolt for a car. When a corporation shuts down one of its factories and stops production, it is no proof of the indispensability of capitalists in the production processes. It only points up the folly of the workers in allowing capitalism to stand between them and the factory of which labour is the heart.
Such a demonstration of labour’s might as we have seen in recent strikes also makes clear the relation between engineers, scientists, technicians and the masses of workers. Absolutely necessary as these brain-workers are, without the mass of workers all the engineering, scientific and technical know-how would be wasted. It is toil that makes reality of new ideas. Even if scientists conceive an automated civilization, it will still be labour that will manufacture the buttons to push. Therefore, both by their all-controlling position in production and by their overwhelming numbers the workers are the mightiest class in modern society.

This mighty class is by no means numbered by industrial, mining and transport workers only. The agricultural and dairy workers, without whom we would all starve, are part of the working class. So are the various categories of white collar and wage-earning “middle-class” professional workers, all necessary in our complex intricate society. By its key position in production, by its vast numbers and by its relation to other elements in society whose security has vanished under capitalism, the working class should be up on top, controlling production in the interest of all the people. However, the working class is not in a command. While strikes show so clearly that without labour there is nothing, the same strikes have shown the limitation the workers can make of their power. The workers have struck for wage increases, shorter hours and improved conditions. Their militancy and solidarity have the had bosses and politicians frightened stiff. Then what happens? Our fellow-workers put away their strength in storage. Production is returned back to the capitalists to direct once more. The government remains in the hands of the capitalist politicians of the major parties. The government, anxious to relieve the capitalists of every “hardship” and mindful of the “risks” of profit-making, grants the employers concessions and passes anti-union laws.
The Socialist Party asks “Why do workers not make full use of their strength to break the vicious circle of capitalism and end the exploitation and oppression?”
Strikes are necessary weapons for definite objectives and for limited periods. But permanently, the affairs of the country are settled by political action to take control the State so as to build a socialist society and be able to plan and control production in the interest of the people. This is the way to break the crazy capitalist control. If workers makes up its mind to do this, nothing can stop it.