Thursday, November 15, 2018

This world is our world


In the welter of initials, we should not be misled into thinking that the SPGB, the Socialist Party of Great Britain, is just another left-wing group. Its goal is a class-free society and rejects all reformist and opportunist methods of struggle. It takes the political and economic education of the workers seriously.

As Marxists, the Socialist Party maintains that our society is divided into classes based on groups of people standing in the same relationship to the means of production. Under the capitalist mode of production the principal classes in society are the capitalist class and the working class. Their historically-determined production relations form the basis, the economic structure of capitalist society. The capitalist class owns the means of production, the workers work for this class for wages; having no means of production of their own, they are forced to sell their labour power for what they can get. They are thus an exploited class. 

As Marxists, we hold that the interests of these classes are antagonistic and irreconcilable and that a constant struggle goes on between them over the division of the wealth that. society produces.  The exploiting class,  the capitalists of today, have their economic basis in the private ownership of the means of production. It is this ownership which determines the distribution of social wealth; the exploiters are rich, the exploited are poor.

 As Marxists, we view the ability of the present ruling class, the capitalists, to maintain their power is due to their control the government and use it in their own interests against the rest of society. No one can understand the main political questions of our time without an understanding of the state, and of its connection with classes and class struggle. The government protects the capitalist class by protecting the source of its economic strength, private property. It uses its control of government to write down its will and call it law. It uses its control of government to enforce its will, the law. The law is the voice of the ruling class.

So the basic premise of the Socialist Party is that we live in a class society.  Our aim is to abolish exploitation and therefore to abolish classes. Socialism is a system based on global solidarity and cooperation. If the people ran society, providing a decent life – housing, health care, education and so on – would be no problem. If instead of the idea that society should be run to maximise business profits society was run collectively and democratically by workers, it’s clear the economy would be vastly more productive than it is today. At present the processes of government by which the capitalist class rules is called the democratic form of government. Democracy literally means “rule of the people”. Since the capitalist class is a small minority but the majority of people support the present system and therefore the capitalist class controls the government only as long as the majority of the voters permit them to. The right to vote for the propertyless was one of a number of concessions which a confident capitalist class made during an earlier period. Nevertheless, the essence of the state is that it is an instrument for the oppression of one class by another.

Capitalism inevitably produces exploitation and poverty, war, national oppression, the oppression of women, poisonous pollution, environmental destruction and waste of human and natural resources, none of which can be consistently eliminated without the socialist transformation of society.  But how can the apologists for the status quo claim that capitalism promotes innovation when the majority of the world’s population are condemned to a life of mind and body destroying toil?  The idea that the 1% gained all their wealth through hard work or an “entrepreneurial spirit” is rubbish. They gained it from exploiting the labour of workers. If workers ran society, all that vast wealth could be used to improve society. Socialism is an economic system in which society’s resources are controlled democratically by the people.

Most people who call themselves socialists are still dominated by the idea that socialism is about expanding the sphere of activity of the state. For them, the key criterion of socialism is the nationalisation of property. The more militant their socialism, they assume, the more they must favour state property. A distinguishing mark of the Labour Left is its advocacy of some sort of nationalisation.  Judgements about the ‘socialist’ character of various regimes are based on the degree of state ownership. A travesty of ideas appears passes for socialism today because  Marx and Engels did not identify socialism with nationalisation of property. Like them, the Socialist Party's attitude to the state is one of unremitting hostility. Far from wishing to epand the State's activities, we seek to do away with it, in its entirety.  Those who oppose class exploitation must, necessarily, oppose the state. This is not simply because the state supports exploitation, but because it is itself directly a form of exploitation. The main task of all governments is the suppression and exploitation of the toiling masses. Socialists who wish to maintain the existing state are simply not serious. Like Engels, the Socialist Party looks forward to the time when the state will end its life ‘in the Museum of Antiquities, by the side of the spinning wheel and the bronze axe’. What an appealing vision.

Socialism abolishes the chaos of capitalist production and social organisation; it does away with the dog-eat-dog competition of capitalism, the breeder of poverty, racism and war. Socialism marks the birth of an era of prosperity for the workers. Under capitalism, wealth piles up in the hands of the parasitic owners of the industries, while the actual producers live at barely subsistence level. There will be no artificial limits placed upon production by the need to sell in a flooded market but production will be carried on for the benefit of all the people. There cannot possibly be “exploited” when there is no ruling, owning class, no class to get a rake-off from the worker’s production.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

For a New World

Capitalism is a system that can never work in the interest of the wage and salary earning majority. Certainly, in its periods of expansion, workers can expect rising wages (even if this is offset by having to work more and more intensively) but such periods of expansion are only one side of the coin. Capitalism does not, and cannot, expand in a smooth and continuous way; its growth pattern is one of fits and starts, of alternating periods of expansion and contraction (booms and slumps). The other side of a period of expansion and rising wages is the period of contraction and falling wages which inevitably follows it. Since trade unions exist to try to defend workers’ wages and conditions, it is only natural that the trade unions should have tried to resist governments intention to reduce real wages.

 Wages—real wages, that is, what they can buy—tend to fall in a recession because the increased unemployment or in modern times, underemployment, such as zero-hour contracts in the gig economy and increasing part-time work turns labour market conditions more in favour of employers. Supply of labour power comes to exceed demand so, as always happens in such circumstances, its price (wages and salaries) tends to fall. Workers can, by trade union organisation and action, slow down this tendency but they can’t reverse or even halt it. Thus in Britain over the past few years trade unions have been forced to settle for “increases” below the level of inflation and the rise of the cost of living. Trade unions should resist such a blatant, frontal attack on their members living standards. However, they should have no illusions. Under capitalism, even in times of expan­sion and boom, the cards are stacked in favour of the employers who are in the dominant bargaining position because they own the means of wealth production. In these circumstances, the most that unions can achieve is to slow down the fall in real wages, to limit the damage. One thing, however, is clear: if workers sit back and do nothing they may well lose more than if they stand up and strike.

Society today is characterised by a growing awareness of the widening gap between rich and poor. Outrage at the massive salaries and share option schemes awarded to those who run various industries has become commonplace. The question of CEO pay and bonuses has not only enraged thousands of people – it has also exposed how the market is rigged to deliver huge pay increases for those at the top and how governments have failed to curb those boardroom excesses.  The issue of CEO pay has exposed the existence of huge wealth in society, which exists independently of the policies of any particular government. The extent of the personal wealth of the rich is unimaginable to most people.

 The people who own the wealth in society are not, however, just a collection of individuals – they form a ruling class - the capitalists. Capitalism is a system which is constantly evolving. In the early 19th century an individual capitalist, or family group, would own a business. Modern corporations have broken the link between capital and its individual owner. Control of capitalism has outgrown the limitations of individual ownership and become institutionalised. Complex hierarchies of management are a product of these changes. The structure of management is parallel to that of production – management functions are carried out by workers, controlled by supervisors (senior management) and CEOs proper.

People know that capitalism is no good but few can see a way forward to a better type of society.  It is essential to generate interest in the idea of socialism. To achieve this aim we are spreading knowledge of the revolutionary outlook of Marxism among the working class. It is through political action that we reach out to people with our socialist message that socialism is rule by the working people. They will decide how socialism is to work. This was how Marx and Engels defined socialism. To use the word “socialism” for anything but working people’s power is to misuse the term. Nationalisation of mines, railways, steel, etc. is not socialism, nor does this constitutes the socialist sector of a mixed economy. Such nationalisation is simply state capitalism, with no relation to socialism. Nor is the “Welfare State” socialist. “Welfare”, in capitalist terms, is to improve the efficiency of that state as a profit-maker, is not socialism but another form of state capitalism. It can be an improvement on capitalism with no welfare, just as a 40-hour week is an improvement on a 60-hour week. But it is not socialism. (A “Welfare State” also inevitably turns into the "Means Test State".) We live in a world dominated by capitalism, a system which allows a small minority of capitalists to oppress and exploit the great majority of humankind.  It is capitalism that brings about great inequalities in living standards with more poor people now in the world than ever before, starts murderous imperialist wars to steal the resources of less developed countries and causes the growing devastation of our natural environment.  Either we get rid of this outmoded and increasingly decrepit system or it will devastate humanity.  The hour is late and urgent action is necessary.

The only viable way forward to achieve socialism, a class-free and state-free society on a world scale where people do not oppress and exploit each other and where we live in harmony with our natural environment.  To create socialism it is necessary to overthrow the rule of capitalism and this can be done only through a social revolution.  The working class depose the capitalist ruling class and establish socialism and the reconstruction of society. There are many unanswered questions concerning the correct road toward No one set of ideas, including our own have resolved the problem of a lack of class consciousness among our fellow-workers. But many of the Socialist Party's ideas form the basis of the solution needed in the development of a class-free society. The source of men and women’s oppression lies in the private ownership of the means of production. The capitalist system is the enemy of men and women, and it is only through a socialist revolution and the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production and the building of socialism, that the exploitation of the working class can disappear. The complete emancipation of humanity is only possible in a classless society – socialism. It is principally the task of men and women to take their fate into their own hands since their liberation can only be won through their own efforts.

For all the weaknesses of the working class, and of the socialist movement, there is the element of realism to socialism that is absent in what its critics say. Take the learned men of academia who speak so disdainfully of socialism’s past and contemptuously of its future, telling us that  Socialism is irrelevant! It is utopian!"  But politics is concerned with alternatives so what do they have to propose instead? In nine out of ten cases, it boils down to what we now have: an administration run by the alternating corrupt pro-capitalist parties, more utopian, absurd and irrelevant as even a beginning of a solution to the world's problems.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Workers are wage slaves!

Many people are worried about the welfare state–and so they should be. Governments around the world are cutting back on social spending because the capitalist class can no longer afford to pay for it at its previous levels. In times of economic difficulty, welfare spending is always the first element of state expenditure for governments to look to reduce. The reality for many of the working class who are unemployed, disabled, or a single parent (in other words, a huge swathe of the population) it is difficult for them to sleep easy in their beds. This is indeed a class issue. For the capitalists and their mouthpieces try to divide us – employed against unemployed, the fit against the sick. A united class struggle within capitalism but against it is our only answer.
The fact that a privileged few can make decisions in secret that affect the lives of thousands gives the lie to the notion of democracy under capitalism. There is a name for the sort of system where a privileged few can decide what information is fit for public consumption. It is, effectively, a dictatorship. Science and technology present itself to many in present-day society as a hostile force to be opposed, when it could so easily be turned to the task of satisfying human needs? These conflicting calls for secrecy and openness can reflect the conflicts of interest between different sections of the capitalist class, as well as between the capitalist and working classes. But technology and the products of our own hands do not just appear as a hostile force. Under capitalism, they are in fact a hostile force. Modern farming technology provides us with the means to feed the world. Forget the hypocritical cant of the politicians when they tell us that things are changing. Everything will stay the same until we organise to change it. When our own food system threatens to destroy us and appears to us as a force beyond our control, then there is a danger of doubting the ability of our thinking to distinguish the truth. In a period of social declines, such as that we are now in, men and women are faced with two options: accept that there is no way out and resign themselves to their fate, or confront reality and fight to change it. We in the Socialist Party have taken the latter course of action. As members of the working class aiming to come to a materialist understanding of the society we live in so that we can begin to change it, we look forward to the day when our “crackpot” position is vindicated.
A vote for the lesser evil is a vote against the greater evil. But it is also a vote for the system of lesser evil politics that basically gives voters no say in policy, handing all power over to Party pundits. For lesser evil voting to remain legitimate, there has to be a difference between the two parties. It’s in the interest of both parties to show a difference from the other because then someone who is politically inclined will choose the option they like best. If they were the same, why would anybody vote for either of them?
Workers, it matters not to you under whose rule you are, nor whether empires rise or fall or what dynasties may topple and “democracies” arise, because if wage-slavery continues, these changes leave your position absolutely unaltered as a class! To abolish poverty and unemployment, wage-slavery and war, and a thousand evils of the capitalist system is within your power. It is you alone who can affect your emancipation. Organise to capture the powers of government and completely control the destiny of your class - the wealth-producers of the world. Your only enemy is the international capitalist class. You alone can achieve the greatest purpose the mind of man has evolved—International Socialism! Under that system alone can come about the brotherhood of man, liberty, comfort, and peace for all. Hail the “socialist commonwealth of the World." So long, therefore, as capitalism survives must we endure class warfare. Socialisation of the means and instruments of production and distribution in the interest of the whole people is the only possible solution. When the workers become educated enough to realise the possibilities behind our proposals, the doom of capitalism will most assuredly be at hand.
The stupendous crime of the international capitalists will come fully home to their victims when they find that all their sacrifices have left them simply where they were, facing the old familiar evils. Capitalist politics and politicians prosperously reeking in their treachery will be ripe for utter discredit. Our day will come—our harvest will be ready for the garnering The place, therefore, of all those who are with us in mind, more now than ever before, is in our party. Let us have every ounce of our strength organised for the coming struggle. The working class will gather understanding from history, ancient and modern, and not be led astray by sentimental talk about the rich and the poor being of one mind and one spirit. Beware of men who talk about reconciliation between the working class and the master class. That is impossible. The only firm ground upon which the working class can successfully stand is the full recognition of the class war and the determination to fight on to the end—the social revolution; the inauguration of socialism.
We in the Socialist Party are often told by those to whom we expound our political and economic principles and beliefs: "Yes, no doubt socialism would be a very fine thing if it could only be brought about, but it cannot—it is only a beautiful dream." We accept such statements as a challenge from all those who hold those ideas.
The vast majority of the people in every capitalist country in the world belong to a class who have to work for their living. But a proportionately very small class are free from such necessity. Why? Simply because they can obtain all they need without work—from the labour of the workers. These fortunate individuals who are not under the necessity of working for their living amass wealth in ever-increasing accumulation. In contradistinction the position of the wealth producers generally does not improve, in fact, it tends to become worse. Each year finds them, in spite of wise expenditure, frugality, temperance, and all the enforced wisdom of economic stress, no better off.  they live and die in poverty after a toiling existence of a beast of burden. They are looked upon by the owning and ruling capitalist class simply as wealth producers, to be exploited in every sphere of labour. Their very lives are owned and controlled by this small but extremely powerful and dominant group of non-producers whom we call the capitalist class. They possess the land and all the means and instruments of wealth production, distribution, and exchange. Not only that—they sit in the “seats of the mighty," completely control the making of the laws—which, of course, are always enacted to conserve their own class interests—and thus economically and politically are, in every sense of the word, the Master Class. The masses have to live, and having nothing to operate in their own interests, owning no means of production, possessing only their power to labour, they are compelled to sell that labour-power to those who possess the means through which alone it can be productively used. So they must work under the terms and conditions dictated by their masters.
 Financiers, share-holders, industrialists, all who live on the labour of others, exist on the wealth they themselves have no share in producing. The consequence is this system of wage slavery produces a host of social evils of the most appalling type, such as unemployment, sweating, prostitution, poverty, starvation, disease, and untimely death.
Consider all the marvelous technological production that exist to-day—means that enable the wealth of all kinds to be produced in prolific abundance—have been made by and are operated by the workers. Yet we continue to see the damning indictment of the present system daily— hunger in the midst of plenty; overwork for those who starve, ennui through unbroken idleness for those who possess the world; unemployment side by side with sweating; abundant opportunities for all-round development for the favoured class, and deprivation of access to all that life should give them for the workers, whose lives are compulsorily wasted by the all-compelling exigencies of a vicious system. All the channels of knowledge, the wisdom of the ages, the finest triumphs of man in the domain of art, literature, music, and science should by right be available to them, for it is they who produce the material foundation from which all these spring.
 The wealth stolen from them has been the means of their enslavement. The capital which is used against them to produce wealth and also yet more capital they alone produced. Now they are slaves of the machine. They are poor because they are continually robbed; they are continually robbed because this social system, founded upon their robbery, continues to exist. They are only sellers of their labour-power, enriching others at their own expense, forever sacrificing their own desires, interests, aye, existence, that the exploiters may exploit them, and the plutocrat continue to plunder them! 
We claim that we are the only political party who show the workers that they hold the key of their emancipation in their own hands, that they alone can set themselves free. The present system will be its own undoing. The rich as a class grow richer, the poor ever poorer. and so capital is concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, making ever more uneven the ratio between the exploited and the exploiters. As capital wields greater power the conflict of class interests grows ever stronger, and labour consolidates its forces and the struggle becomes more class-conscious and bitter. Now it will be seen that this system automatically produces it own opponents—the proletariat or propertyless working class—and also the incentive for the latter to wrest from the capitalists the power to exploit and oppress.

Now here is the crux of the whole question: how are the master class to be stripped of their terrible and oppressive power? Other things being equal, the men who succeed best in accomplishing their purpose are those who know exactly what they want to do and how best to do it. First of all, then, the victims of the present social system must find the answer to the question, how are they to emancipate themselves from their servile position?

Clearly, since that position arises from the private ownership of the means of production, the first thing that emerges is that such private ownership must go. The only alternative to the private ownership of the means of production by the few possible to-day, with the present stage of development of those means, is social ownership—ownership by the whole community. With the means and instruments for the production and distribution of wealth owned and controlled by the whole community there can be no other object in operating them but to produce wealth FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE COMMUNITY. The means of living belonging to the whole of the people, none is outside their ownership, nor, on the other hand, can any person have ownership in these things as an individual, but only as a cell in the social body.

As a consequence of this, the whole social fabric must reshape itself. The only means of productively applying it belonging to the community, labour-power must come under communal control. No person can purchase it because, in the first place, he or she has no means of exploiting it, in the second place, no worker would desire to sell his or her labour-power to another since we have the opportunity of exercising it through the communal means, and thirdly, since the whole of the wealth produced under such a system belongs to the community, there is no exchange within the community, and therefore money— the means of exchange—loses its function and its value, and becomes useless for the purchase of labour-power or anything else. The sale of labour-power for wages, then, must disappear with the abolition of private property in the instruments of labour. The whole wages system, in fact, must collapse with the change in the property condition, and a new set of relations must arise between social units, in which the relations of master and man can find no place. The class division, by which the people of every country are divided into exploiters and exploited, employers and employed, masters and slaves, rich and poor, according as they are propertied or propertyless, must vanish with the rest, giving place to a unified community of workers, socially equal because equal possessors in the economic basis of society—the means and instruments of producing the social wealth.

How can the workers accomplish this splendid end? We claim that the fundamental means to achieve this is to capture the political machine. Capture and control that, and we capture and control the governing machinery of the State. The armed forces of the oppressing class will then no longer be a menace to the workers, but an instrument for their emancipation. The whole of the people will be ruled by the will of the people. Democracy will have become a reality at last.

Wealth will be produced for the use and enjoyment of ALL by the marvelous modern means of production, and with the minimum of effort. Thus abundance of opportunity for all-around culture and development will be accessible to all. Art will have an undreamed of renaissance. Science will no longer be a slave to death-dealing purposes, but put to living, helpful uses for humanity.

Socialism is inevitable. Capitalist, exploitation forces the workers on the road toward it, and is itself a mighty means of education. But nevertheless, the need is imperative upon all who desire socialism, to do all that they can to educate their fellow workers and to awaken in them a like desire.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Reading the direction of the signposts

No one can understand the main political questions of our time without an understanding of the state, and of its connection with classes and the class struggle.
The people who run this world are a small handful of industrialists, financiers who are multimillionaires and billionaires. They own the vast productive forces–the factories, the mines, the mills, the transportation and communication systems, and these people exploit the working class, the majority of the population, for their own private profit. The State–the police, army, courts, bureaucracy and similar institutions–is controlled by this capitalist class. Big Business consistently uses the police and the courts to break strikes and generally to put restrict the resistance of the oppressed who own little or no means of production. In short, the State is the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. We do not mean there is a dictatorship in this country of one or several men. It does mean there is a class dictatorship, usually concealed, where a tiny handful of profit-makers rules society and uses the State as their weapon to suppress working people. The capitalists do not openly admit their rule. Instead, they claim that this is a democracy where every voter takes part in running the government. The ruling class goes to great lengths to cover up their dictatorship under the mask of democracy, for it is extremely difficult for a minority of exploiters to rule by force alone. In fact, the employing owning class is no more willing to “share” power with the majority of people than it is to share the ownership of the means of production and wealth. For them to function as a capitalist class, they must exploit the working class; and to exploit the workers, who constantly resist this exploitation and oppression, they must use the state to suppress the workers.
Under the capitalist mode of production, the principal classes in society are the capitalist class and the working class, or proletariat. Their historically-determined production relations form the basis, the economic structure of capitalist society. The capitalist class owns the means of production, the workers work for this class for wages; having no means of production of their own, they are forced to sell their labour power for what they can get. They are thus an exploited class. The state is part of the superstructure (the most important part) erected on the basis of capitalist production relations to reinforce the power of the capitalists to exploit the workers.
Of course, the working class has been granted some democratic rights such as the right to vote, free speech, free press, etc. But these liberties, like everything else in capitalist society, mean one thing to the ruling class and quite another for the workers. For the capitalists, freedom of the press and free speech, as examples, mean the right to fill media with their propaganda and lies and to use them freely to debate with each other. For the capitalists, elections are a way to settle differences among themselves, while making it look like everybody has equal say. For the workers, democratic rights are the fruits of previous struggles, and we fight to preserve them for they make it easier to organise and mobilise for the day when the capitalists will be overthrown. Nevertheless,  civil and human rights for the masses are primarily a sham, a mask, to cover the despotism of the capitalists. This is especially clear when democratic rights come into conflict with the most basic “freedom” of bourgeois society–the right of the capitalists to their “private property” and to exploit the labour of the workers. The ruling class decides by struggle and compromise within its own ranks, and among its paid politicians, how it will maintain its system of exploitation over the people. And, as our capitalist rulers have extended their markets overseas and the wage system of exploitation throughout the world, they have ruined and impoverished the masses of people in every other country. The capitalist state is an instrument of the minority to suppress the exploited majority.
This situation can only be reversed by socialist revolution to overthrow capitalist rule.  The political bourgeois state–and all its rules and regulations aimed at enslaving the people–are abolished. The State as such will be replaced by the common administration of society by all its members. Once in power, the working class moves to socialise the ownership of the means of production-making them the common property of society–to resolve the basic contradiction of capitalism, to break down the obstacles capitalism puts in the way of progress and makes possible the rapid development of society. Socialism is a higher form of society than capitalism and is bound to replace it all over the world, just as capitalism replaced the feudal system of nobility and serfs. Since the working class and the socialist society built represent the interests of the great majority of society, the workers openly proclaim their rule and openly dictate to their former exploiters and tormentors. The majority rule of the working class cannot be exercised by deceiving the masses of people, but only by their active involvement in every part of the political life of society and raising their political consciousness. Socialism replaces capitalism where there will no longer be any classes, and, therefore, there will no longer be any need for any State. Socialism subverts the old order of dog-eat-dog,  and looking out for number one philosophy. Everyone in society will share equally in mental and manual work, in producing goods and services and managing the affairs of society and the outlook of the working class places the common good above narrow, individual interests. Goods and services can be produced so abundantly that money is no longer needed to exchange them and they can be distributed to people solely according to their needs. Socialism will show that people can do away completely and forever capitalism and all other forms of class society.
The capitalists like to pretend that capitalism is eternal. The fact is, however, that for the greater part of human history mankind lived in tribal society under a system of primitive communism, a system without classes, in which acceptance of the authority of the elders did not require a special coercive force but was freely given, and questions of paramount importance were decided by the tribal assembly. In those times there was no state. Nor did the notion of male superiority exist. Women took part in decision-making on terms of full equality with men.
The immediate goal of the Socialist Party is to overthrow the capitalist class and create a new social system where we, the people, will for the first time be our own masters. Socialism is a new system and is built on the ruins of the old capitalist system. Without private property – no economic classes; without classes – no state, no special elite with an armed force at its disposal to coerce and impose its rule and will upon others in society. Socialism is when the different social classes have disappeared and a free association of equals has emerged in which association the free development of individua1 character will be the necessary condition of the free development of all. As soon as capitalist domination has been put an end to we will have disarmed bourgeoisie opposing the expropriations.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

What Makes People Want The Deadly Effects Of Fentanyl?

In an October 13th article the Toronto Star focused on the deadly effects of the powerful effects of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in Downtown Eastside, a Vancouver neighborhood where many residents struggle with poverty, addiction and health problems, both mental and physical. 

A woman, Sarah Blyth, was determined to slow down the spread of fentanyl, which has tainted nearly all illicit drugs in British Columbia and is now spreading all over Canada, so she started the first overdose prevention site in Downtown Eastside. She knew if she trained volunteers to administer the reversal drug naloxone it would save lives, but the major problem was it illegal. Blyth persevered until the authorities in Vancouver and B.C. decided to act by opening more overdose prevention sites.

 It sounds like a great story, but the trouble is that the efforts of Ms. Blyth and her fellow volunteers, however commendable they are, is like someone trying to stop the tide coming in with only a bucket. In 2017 there were 1,450 deaths from fentanyl in B.C. and this year the best month so far has yielded 133. At the end of the year they are expecting a record 1,750. 

The question should not be, " how can we prevent the spread of this drug'', but, '' What makes people want to take it?''
For socialism, 

Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC

THE MUTED MOCKERY OF POPPY (COCK) DAY



THE MUTED MOCKERY OF POPPY (COCK) DAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(J. Boyle 1971)


SOCIALLY ORGANISED PRODUCTION


The Socialist Party propose that all resources, all land and buildings, all factories and manufacturing, mines and mills, all means of transportation and communication, should be, not private property, but the common property of all.

We propose that production be made to serve the needs of the people rather than to serve the needs of a few parasites. We hold with science that production and distribution of goods can be planned. Planned economy on the basis of common ownership without any class division is called socialism.

When the Socialist Party speak of a society organised on the basis of planned production and distribution we mean something entirely different. What we have in mind is very simple, to do away with production for profit and distribute the fruits of increased production among all the members of society, to enrich the economic and cultural life of everyone and to ease their toil with the further improvement of technology and working methods, according to the latest advances of science which have shown what immense possibilities for the satisfaction of human wants are contained in the potential achievements of automation and robotics in its future growth. It reduces human labour to the easy task of a few hours a day. 
Let everybody work according to ability; let everybody receive from the common stock of goods according to needs. In socialism, there is no exploitation, no oppression, no insecurity, no poverty.  Life is made humane. With this begins the great ascent of mankind. This is capable of fulfillment. Socialists are the only realists.  Socialists are not against dreaming, but our dreams are real. We are practical dreamers. The socialist revolution, a socialist society, involves of necessity the self-administration of production and of society by the citizens and the producers of their own behalf and not by any self-appointed clique claiming to rule in their place. In the words of Rosa Luxemburg “Socialism by its very nature cannot be built by decree... Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly... public life gradually falls asleep, a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy and boundless experience direct and rule... a dictatorship to be sure; not the dictatorship of the proletariat, however, but only the dictatorship of a handful of politicians, that is the dictatorship in the bourgeois sense…”

 Once class-free society is established, the State – by definition having as its purpose class exploitation and hence by now without function – “withers away.” There exists an “administration of things.” Engels wrote to August Bebel:
“As soon as there is no longer a class of society to be held in subjection; as soon as, along with class domination and the struggle for individual existence based on the former anarchy of production, the collisions and excesses arising from them have also been removed, there is nothing more to repress which would make a special repressive force, a state, necessary.”

Capitalism is a system of commodity production (that is, the production of goods for sale and not for direct use by the producer) which is distinguished by the fact that labour power itself becomes a commodity. The major means of production and exchange which make up the capital of society are owned privately by a small minority, the capitalist class (the bourgeoisie), while the great majority of the population consists of proletarians or semi-proletarians. Because of their economic position this majority can only exist by permanently or periodically selling their labour power to the capitalists and thus creating through their work the incomes of the upper classes. Thus, fundamentally, capitalism is a system of exploitation of the working class (the proletariat) by the capitalist class.

Economic crises are due to the basic features of the capitalist system. One feature is the anarchy of production. Businessmen decide what kind of things to produce and how many to produce either individually or in small groups. Production is not planned by any coordination or cooperation. Over time, disproportions between the activities of various firms and different industries eventually occur. Disproportions in the economy affect the capitalists’ profits. When businessmen do not make the expected level of profits, they shut down production. Shutdowns, order cancellations, and bankruptcies can cause a chain reaction leading to economic paralysis, which is called a crisis. The effect of this unplanned method of production under capitalism causes either too many products or too few products on the market. No matter what the level of technology, how high the unemployment level, or how gorged the stocks of raw materials, the capitalist will sabotage production in order to make a higher profit. The level of production is determined by how much profit is to be made, not by the needs of the people who live under the capitalist system. Part of the chain reaction of the economic contraction is a falling level of working-class consumption. Another reaction is growing unemployment. However, it is the economic contraction which causes a decline in wages and working-class consumption and growing unemployment, not under-consumption by the working class that causes capitalist economic crises. If an organisation supports the line that under-consumptionism is the reason for capitalist economic crises then there is no need for revolution. All the working class has to do to solve its problems is to demand some tax relief and extra spending on the part of the capitalist state. As long as the capitalists are in control, production is based on profits, not social needs, and workers will never have cheap, abundant medical care, food, education,
leisure activities, and so on. Just having higher wages or less taxes does not make capitalists produce more. Total production may remain the same while prices rise even more–the old supply and demand trick. The underconsumptionist theory channels the working class away from class struggle and into dead-end reformism. Struggle is confined to making appeals through the system to this or that politician. It helps the capitalists to foster reformist illusions in the working class. Instead of arming the working class with the knowledge to fight the capitalist politicians who are always trying to lead us into the swamp of reformism, those Leftist groups offers an economic ideology for us to join the reformists.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

You Must First Eliminate The Cause.


That racist feelings are on the rise in Ontario cannot be doubted by anyone who lives there. So it was surprising that the Ford government disbanded 4 sub-committees of the Anti-Racism Directorate, these being the ones concerning racism directed against Jews, black people, Muslims and indigenous people. Also, they downgraded the minister to a part-time minister. 

Nevertheless, the poor downgraded guy, Michel Tibollo, said it wouldn't make any difference in the work of the directorate, which is hard to believe. Any government can spend a fortune on trying to eliminate racism, not that it would be so generous, but it would still be a case of fighting cancer with band-aids and aspirin. 

We Socialists know that to eliminate the symptom you must first eliminate the cause.

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

Will It Be COOL MAN?


On October 17 the Federal Government honored their election promise and legalized the sale of Marijuana in Canada. The beneficiaries of this will surely be the big tobacco and Pharma companies. This whole deal is about is shifting production from small illegal businesses to big legal ones, who are taxable. 

As the tobacco and alcohol industries have shown mood-altering substances are very profitable and taxes come from profits. 

At the time of writing we don’t know exactly how it will play out. Will it be COOL MAN or just another crazy-capitalist cock up? -- we'll keep you informed. 

What we do know is society would be better off without a need for narcotics, booze, nicotine barbiturates and gambling.
For socialism,
 Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC.




The UN Inspects Scotland

Philip Alston, the United Nations rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights squeezed onto a school bench alongside a dozen children in one of Glasgow’s most deprived neighbourhoods and posed a question: “Who should help poor people?”
“The rich people,” Soroush, one of the children, shot back. “It’s unfair to have people earning billions of pounds and have other people living on benefits.”
After an itinerary dominated by meetings with politicians and charities, the world-leading human rights expert ended his week at Avenue End school, which serves some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Scotland. In places like Craigend and Ruchazie about 30% of adults are on benefits and life expectancy for men is about a decade less than in the affluent south of the city.
The children were asked to jot down what being poor might mean for a person. John Adebola-Samuel, 12, quietly penned: “He cannot afford meals. He cannot buy trainers. He cannot watch TV.” John’s family relied on food banks for two years and for a long time he only took bread and butter to school for lunch. “I got hungry because I was smelling the other food,” he said. “I had to take my eyes away from it. The most unfair thing is the government knows families are going through hard times but they decide not to do anything about it.”
“When you see how austerity has panned out in this country and you see people in crisis far more often, that for me is a fundamental human rights issue,” said Judith Robertson, chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, who is backing a change in the law. “At this moment in the UK we have lost the idea that all human beings are equal and should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Alex Thornburn, a disabled man who has lived in poverty, told Alston at a meeting in Edinburgh that austerity policies “have sanctioned, stigmatised and de-humanised millions”. Extending human rights protections to welfare could change that, its advocates hope. Objectors say it could give rise to costly new obligations, which would require big changes to public finances and that it would give sovereignty over key policy issues to an international body.
The Citizens Advice Bureau provided Alston with unpublished figures suggesting 21% of 2,700 people who responded to an unweighted open survey had gone a whole day without eating and 40% admitted running out of food.
Bill Scott, the policy director for Inclusion Scotland, a group for disabled people, told him about a woman who had chronic physical and mental health problems who said she had sex for money after her benefit was stopped following a work capability assessment. She hadn’t eaten for nearly a week but was deeply ashamed. “She couldn’t live with herself,” he said.
Karen Reid, 35, a single mother of four in the deprived Pilton neighbourhood - close to affluent Stockbridge and the elite Fettes College public school - told the Guardian how she last worked nine years ago, struggled with depression and once drank so heavily she suffered permanent nerve damage to her hands and feet. Her disability allowance has been stopped, costing her family £600 a month.
“Things are going wrong and they are getting worse,” she said.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/09/its-unfair-un-envoy-meets-children-living-in-poverty-in-scotland

WAKE UP AND LIVE.


If one looks at the history of the socialist movement, there is not a lot of useful literature which shows how to build a socialist society. Rather there is a long record of what not to do. The question of vital concern to every worker is what will happen to the capitalist society if it is not replaced by socialism. We already see the trend of capitalism that political and economic power becomes concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer hands. Every country is now ruled by a tiny handful of enormously powerful capitalists. They dominate and dictate all economic life. They rule the lives of the workers. The capitalist class, those holders of stocks and bonds, receivers of profits are unproductive and superfluous to society - a parasitic class. They act as a leech which systematically drains the life-blood of the economy.

Competition for the market in which profit is realised has always been the hallmark of capitalism. Competition means the absence of organisation and planning in production. It means blind production for the blind market – what socialists call “the anarchy of production.” Businesses compete with each other not only on a national scale but all over the world. The growth of capitalism does not eliminate competition or its evils. It intensifies them at home, and above all on a world scale. The competition is fierce and ruthless. It is all the fiercer and more ruthless because the area in which it takes place grows smaller and smaller.

The government is the executive committee of the capitalist class as a whole. If it fixes wages and prices, it fixes them in the interests of the most powerful economic class in the country, the capitalists. That, is why, every time an economic balance sheet of government intervention in the economy is drawn up, it is found that the capitalists are stronger and richer, and working people are weaker and poorer. The growing regimentation and oppression, the violation and elimination of democratic rights and institutions, affects all the population, outside the ranks of capitalists themselves. The unemployed and others on benefits are maintained by the government and are at the government’s mercy. They are ordered to take any job, regardless of wages or working conditions, which it instructs them to take. The results for all mankind are appalling.

The conquest of capitalism, the rule of the working class, the inauguration of socialism - that is the aim of the Socialist Party. That is the task of the working class. That is the road to human freedom. In the hands of the working class rests the greatest responsibility in history, the greatest possibility for human advancement ever known. we alone can restore progress to society. We alone can bestow all humanity with freedom, equality, and abundance. We alone can give labour respect and dignity. We alone can release science from the fetters hobbling innovation. Almost the entire world stands ready for the emancipation of the working class. The working class is the only consistently revolutionary class. It is, therefore, the only consistently democratic class. Democracy is inseparably linked up with the struggle for socialism. Upon socialism, depends the happy future of humanity and of civilisation. The working class is called upon to save society from barbarism, the only alternative to socialism.

Socialism is being abandoned and its validity challenged primarily on the ground of the viability of capitalism. That capitalism is doomed due to climate change is now perhaps more widely acknowledged today than before but the socialist alternative is still not being accepted. This rejection of socialism in our day takes place not so much on the ground that capitalism is viable as that the socialist perspective is not. Members of the Socialist Party are frequently asked “Prove to me that socialism is inevitable and I will join.” What is asked of us, an answer cannot be given? Precisely because it represents a new stage in human history, despite capitalism bears within itself the seeds of its own destruction, socialism can only be established only by conscious, deliberate, efforts by the working class which must make its own history. Capitalism creates all the conditions which make the advance to socialism possible; and in the sense that the advance to socialism is a necessity for the further progress of society itself, the only way in which to preserve civilisation. 

The end of capitalism may be inevitable, but the advent of socialism isn’t. We may speak of the historical necessity of socialism since without it human society cannot continue to develop. If society is to continue to develop, socialism will inevitably come. The choice is not one between capitalism and socialism. The foundations of capitalism threaten to collapse. The choice to be made is between socialism and barbarism. 


Friday, November 09, 2018

Scottish Poverty

Campaigners have called for more action to be taken to help the one million people in Scotland living in poverty.

The Poverty Alliance said that 230,000 children are included in the one-million figure
Tracy Gilmour, a former social worker and mental health officer, said: “I’ve been living on income support since I had to stop working because of my mental health 18 months ago.

“The benefits I receive aren’t enough to meet my family’s basic needs and I carry around guilt at not being able to provide them with everything they deserve. The pressure and demands of daily life are a constant battle. It’s exhausting having to hide it from my two daughters and to constantly make excuses for why we can’t do things.
 A simple request for a school trip payment is enough to make me feel like we’re sinking and losing our grip.”
https://www.careappointments.co.uk/care-news/scotland/item/45500-more-needs-to-be-done-to-help-million-people-in-scotland-living-in-poverty

Please remember this: the rich are our enemy

Reformists never learn. Despite all the evidence to the contrary. They still hold faith that societies can shape capitalism that can regulate itself better, to produce a kinder, more tolerable society. But if this is possible, why has it never happened up to now, at least not for any length of time? The fact is that capitalism can’t be reshaped so as to put human values before market values. It has to put profits first and its economic mechanisms impose this on any government which may have other thoughts. In order to retain power, the possessing class teaches the idea that capital and capitalism have always existed. They seek to convey the idea that capitalist class society and capitalist exploitation will continue to exist forever. In other words, it is a system of society which is natural and eternal, and there is no use, anyone, thinking of making fundamental changes in it or replacing it with any other social system. This idea is false and has been developed only to maintain the capitalist class economic and political control. It is a system of hideous absurdity, a destroyer of social wealth, the eliminator of human happiness, security and life itself. The wondrous productive machine which capitalism helped to create, if rationally organised, could easily supply the needs and comforts of all, proves to be a mechanism that degrades the people to poverty, wretchedness, suffering, and iniquity.
Capitalism robs us of those things which make us truly human: socialism is the re-appropriation of those powers alienated from us under class society. The worker whether the business which employs him or her is owned by foreign shareholders or not. He or she can live only by persuading some firm or other to buy the person's working ability and wherever he or she works they will receive, on a broad average, the same wage. Perhaps, at times, a glimmering of the facts gets through to the workers and sets them realising that "their" nation does not belong to them. That a very small minority in the world own almost anything that is worth owning, whilst the rest spend their waking lives in work to keep things that way. That the majority scrape along with the shabby and tawdry whilst the few can have—literally—the best. The best clothes, houses, food, holidays. The best chance of living a worthwhile life. And—final irony—they can have all this without needing to work for it. They can leave that part to the lazy, loyal working class. Why are they loyal? Because they think that they have some stake in the country of their living, which gives them a common cause with the capitalist class. And what does this stake amount to. About the biggest and most valuable thing that most workers are ever likely to own is a house. And what agonies they must go through, to get it! Every capitalist concern, whatever the nationality of its shareholders, is in business to make profit. It is, indeed, to make more profit that they invest overseas.
The Socialist Pary seeks a better world founded on common ownership, equality, and democracy, to meet all mankind’s material needs, to raise his or her personal and individual development to the greatest possible height. The Second International or the Third International traditions have come to dominate what passes for socialist thinking that they are now regarded as a refutation of the principles of socialism and cause for redefining socialism. The Socialist Party was well aware of the dangers of a concentration of economic and political power within the hands of an all-powerful state. It claimed that state ownership could only end in some form of bureaucratic despotism. State property is administered by ministerial officers, and these are, by the nature of things, a hierarchy and chain of command. State ownership is a means of controlling and regimenting workers. These officials involved in the administration of the state do so as representatives of those who control the State. So we need to remember that the State and social ownership are not the same thing. One cannot equate the state with society. The change from the one social system to the other will be the social revolution. The political state throughout history has meant the government of a few over the majority. 
 Socialism will administered by the whole community, a true democracy. Socialism will require no political state because there will be neither a privileged property class nor a downtrodden property-less class: there will be no social disorder as a result, because there will be no clash of economic interests; there will be no need to create a power to make law and maintain order. As Engels wrote, the state will wither away. Engels states that ‘man...has become master of his own social organisation’.

Summer School

Summer School 2017

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