Thursday, November 30, 2006

Noam Chomsky

Love him or loathe him , Noam Chomsky , the political commentator discusses his new book in an interview with Z-Net . It is called Perilous Power , co-authored by Gilbert Achcar and written in the form of a dialogue between them, and is all about the United States diplomatic manouverings in the Middle East . Chomsky certainly understands the motives of competing nations when it comes to foreign policies and their raison d'etre.

"Shalom:.. a lot of people in the antiwar movement were sort of cheering on France and Germany and Russia, and other governments that opposed the war. How reliable are these governments in their antiwar stances?
Chomsky: Their reliability is approximately zero. Sensible antiwar activists don't ally themselves with governments... Tomorrow they'll do the opposite, because they're acting out of pure cynicism -- power interests -- anyway"

And later:-

" Rulers like Chirac, Putin, or Schröder should definitely not be regarded as allies by the antiwar movement, especially since they are themselves hawkish warmongers when their interests are at stake. Russian forces are waging a terrible quasi-genocidal war in Chechnya. The French government still considers itself a colonial power in Africa, and behaves as such. Not to mention the fact that both France and Germany are involved in Afghanistan, along with the U.S. troops. To that we should add that although Paris and Berlin did not support the invasion of Iraq politically, technically speaking they did everything they could to facilitate it: the Germans, of course, by letting the whole U.S. military infrastructure on their territory be used for that purpose, the French by opening their airspace to U.S. warplanes. So we should not be fooled by such governments. "

Achcar points out :-

"The United States and British refusal to lift the embargo -- that is, to allow the lifting of the embargo if and when UN inspectors determined that Iraq had disarmed -- was rightly perceived by Paris and Moscow as a refusal to permit them to take advantage of the oil concessions they had been granted. And they very much saw the dedication of Washington and London to invade Iraq as a desire to snatch the prize from them. Actually one of the first proclamations after the invasion was that all contracts granted by Saddam Hussein were to be considered null and void. So that's the main reason why Paris and Moscow opposed that war."

And Chomsky's observations upon American lip-service to democracy can be biting .

"He [ Paul Wolfowitz] berated the Turkish military for not intervening to compel the government to overrule 95 percent of the population; he basically ordered them to apologize to the United States..."

The Socialist Party often find much merit in what Chomsky says but we do have our reservations , needless to say . Analysis of his ideas can be found in this article and reviews of two of his books here and here .

Free and Impartial and Balanced

...the US has said.

A US military statement said ...

It said...

...the statement said.

The US soldiers say...

... the statement said

It said...

Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Salas said ...

Yup , it is nice to see some independent reporting from the BBC News in Iraq when it comes to investigating the slaughter of one man and five girls by American Marines tanks .
The youngest dead girl was just six-months-old and the eldest was aged only 10 -years- old .

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

One World , One People , One Solution

Pakistan , they claim , like many other Asian countries , is having a boom time . Growth has soared, foreign debt has been cut, and the nation's consumers have gone on one of history's greatest shopping sprees, splashing out in record numbers on anything from fridges and flats, to luxury cars. The World Bank has given the programme a big thumb's up, and foreign investors show signs of renewed interest.

But reported by the BBC , Kaiser Bengali , a Professor of economics at Szabist University, says many have gained nothing from all the reforms. Pakistan's Government insist the poor have gained under the new economic regime, but Professor Bengali does not agree .

Instead, he says, there has been an alarming growth in inequality.

"Try to imagine," he says, "a man who sees the expensive cars in the street, but comes home unable to feed his children, because he can't find work. He is angry."

"Or an educated man who cannot support his own parents. He becomes ashamed of himself."

"Anger may lead people into crime, or self harm. Suicide rates are going up," he says. "But people also turn to religious radicalism. We see this in Pakistan every day."

It is a great pity that all this anger and rage is not turned against the cause of their poverty , the capitalist system , and the solution being sought in the socialist alternative , rather than seeking it in the dead-end political cul-de-sacs of reformism and religion .

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Howard Zinn Interview

Although we in the Socialist Party may have our differences with Howard Zinn , we aren't that sectarian that we do not find many of his observations and views insightful and educational . His book A Peoples History of the United States can be found on the book shelves of many members .

Here he is in a recent interview that can be seen on the radical news outlet Democracy News .

"...Well, do you get the feeling sometime that you’re living in an occupied country? Very often that’s a feeling I get when I wake up in the morning. I think, “I’m living in an occupied country. A small group of aliens have taken over the country and are trying to do with it what they will, you know, and really are.” I mean, they are alien to me. I mean, those people who are coming across the border from Mexico, they are not alien to me, you see. You know, Muslims who come to this country to live, they are not alien to me, you see. These demonstrations, these wonderful demonstrations that we have seen very recently on behalf of immigrant rights, say, and you’ve seen those signs saying, you know, “No human being is alien.” And I think that’s true. Except for the people in Washington, you see.

They’ve taken over the country. They’ve taken over the policy. They’ve driven us into two disastrous wars, disastrous for our country and even more disastrous for people in the Middle East. And they have sucked up the wealth of this country and given it to the rich, and given it to the multinationals, given it to Halliburton, given it to the makers of weapons. They’re ruining the environment. And they’re holding on to 10,000 nuclear weapons, while they want us to worry about the fact that Iran may, in ten years, get one nuclear weapon. You see, really, how mad can you be?

And the question is, how has this been allowed to happen? How have they gotten away with it? They’re not following the will of the people. I mean, they manufactured a will of the people for a very short time right after the war started, as governments are able to do right after the beginning of an armed conflict, in order to able to create an atmosphere of war hysteria. And so for a short time, they captivated the minds of the American people. That’s not true anymore. The American people have begun to understand what is going on and have turned against the policies in Washington, but of course they are still there. They are still in power. The question is, you know, how did they get away with that?

So, in trying to answer the question, I looked a little at the history of Nazi Germany. No, it’s not that we are Nazi Germany, but you can learn lessons from everybody and from anybody’s history. In this case, I was interested in the ideas of Hermann Göring, who, you may know, was second in command to Hitler, head of the Luftwaffe. And at the end of World War II, when the Nazi leaders were put on trial in Nuremberg, Hermann Göring was in prison along with other of the leaders of the Nazi regime. And he was visited in prison by a psychologist who was given the job of interviewing the defendants at Nuremberg.

And this psychologist took notes and, in fact, a couple of years after the war, wrote a book called Nuremberg Diary, in which he recorded -- put his notes in that book, and he recorded his conversation with Hermann Göring. And he asked Göring, how come that Hitler, the Nazis were able to get the German people to go along with such absurd and ruinous policies of war and aggression?” And I happen to have those notes with me. We always say, “We happen to have these things just, you know, by chance.”

And Göring said, “Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war? But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism. It works the same way in any country.”

I was interested in that last line: “It works the same way in any country.” I mean, here, these are the Nazis. That’s the fascist regime. We are a democracy. But it works the same way in any country, whatever you call yourself. Whether you call yourself a totalitarian state or you call yourself a democracy, it works the same way, and that is, the leaders of the country are able to cajole or coerce and entice the people into war by scaring them, telling them they’re in danger, and threatening them and coercing them, that if they don’t go along, they will be considered unpatriotic. And this is what really happened in this country right after 9/11. And this is happened right after Bush raised the specter of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and got for a while the American people to go along with this...."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Rich benefactors and Poor benefactors!

SCOTLAND'S wealthiest man has pledged to give away his personal fortune of more than £600m to deserving causes.
Irvine Laidlaw, 63, the multi-millionaire businessman, philanthropist and the man who effectively finances the Scottish Conservatives single-handedly, made the promise as he was honoured at an awards ceremony for his lifetime of achievement in business.

Anyone who has attempted to save to be a millionaire, using the calculator in our article,
‘Think you are going to be a millionaire’ will surely agree with us this wealthy man didn’t save £600m; I think it’s undisputable, the working class, the creators of wealth, get a raw deal.
Will the working class be a deserving cause? I don’t think so. The money will be used for budding entrepreneurs who can continue the exploitation.
The accumulation of capital out of the profits produced by those who operate the means of production is what capitalism is all about. You can get rid of philanthropists, capitalist and worker varieties, by owning the means of production in common and producing for need not profit. Socialism is worth some thought.

Think you are going to be a millionaire ??

So you think you can save enough and become a millionaire in your life-time , do you ?

Then why not take the test .

This calculator will show you how long it will take you to become a millionaire.

Fill in the boxes and click Calculate to see how rich you'll be in the future and what you need to save to reach millionaire status.

Which , of course , all depends on your future . No redundancy . No ill health .

And , of course , the other economic factors . Mortgage increases . And any possible inflation . So what if you are a millionaire if it has worthless purchasing value .

Friday, November 24, 2006

Orwellian Newspeak

For the first time, the US Department of Agriculture's report on Americans' access to food, published last week, has omitted the word "hunger" in describing the condition of 11 million people who at times cannot afford to feed themselves in the US.

These people, among a group of 35 million who had trouble keeping food on the table at least part of last year, shall heretofore, according to the government, be described as experiencing "very low food security".

Justifying this shameless terminological sophistry , Mark Nord, a department sociologist and the lead author of the report, repeated this week that "hunger" is not a scientifically quantifiable term.

Representative Jim McGovern (Democrat, Massachusetts) , co-chairman of the Congressional Hunger Caucus - "hunger is a political condition".

And don't we Socialists damn well know it !!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

George Galloway and Memories

For my first blog in Socialist Courier i would like to dedicate this song and video to that so-called socialist , George Galloway , the ex-Labour Party and now Respect MP , who said this :-

"... If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union , yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life..."

Read here and also here for our answer to Galloway's mis-placed and mis-guided regrets .

Monday, November 20, 2006


Sunday Mail 2006-11-20
Elaine C Smith asks, “Why are prawns caught by our fishermen on our shores flown across the world to Thailand for shelling then brought back here to be packaged?”

It’s a good question and I believe the answer could be in the contractual nature of the global capitalist system. The boss contracts the workers to do a job that makes him a profit, if the boss can sub the work out to someone else who thinks he can get workers to do the job even cheaper, well the boss does just that, no need to employ so many and still increase his profits. The sub-contractor makes a profit as well. That’s how the system works.

It reminded me of a firm I was working with in East Kilbride called Sakura Auto Parts
They were buying a lot of goods from China and packaging them in EK. They found it more profitable to get the goods packaged in China and of course that is just what was done. Who knows, maybe the Chinese bosses will contract out work just like the American bosses and British bosses are doing in other countries.

For the workers of no matter what country, finding a job (contract) will remain their global quest. A Global system needs a Global solution; the above is only one of the problems that require workers to THINK GLOBALLY, ACT GLOBALLY.


The news that Scotland has now one of the highest prison populations in Europe, with 7,000 people locked up which is almost double what it was 20 years ago, caused a flurry of verbal activity amongst members of the Scottish Parliament. The SSP leader Colin Fox raised the question of new measures to deal with the problem at First Minister's Questions. The Labour leader Jack McConnell hit back at the SSP by pointing out that Rosie Kane of the SSP had served 7 days in nick because she wouldn't pay her fine just like her colleagues Carolyn Leckie and Tommy Sheridan. “If members of the Scottish Socialist Party would pay their fines, we would have had three less people who have been in prison in Scotland over the past few years”, Mr McConnell said. (Metro, 10 November) What neither the Scottish Socialist Party nor the Labour Party will ever state amidst their political mud-slinging is that a private property society must inevitably lead to crime and prisons. As supporters of the buying and selling system they can never attack the real cause of crime. RD

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Madness of Capitalism

...plans by Young's Seafood to ship hundreds of tonnes of langoustines caught in UK waters to a facility 6000 miles away in Thailand where they will be peeled by hand before going back to Annan in Dumfries and Galloway to be made into breaded scampi...
...It is estimated that shipping the scampi on a return journey to Thailand could stack up to as much as 50,000 tonnes a year more carbon dioxide emissions...

....Young's Seafood's factory at Annan is the largest breaded scampi facility in the UK, employing around 250 workers.
The process of shelling langoustine has been mechanised since the 1980s but scampi will now be peeled by hand at Young's sister company Findus in Thailand.
It will result in 120 redundancies in Annan and will mean that the scampi will make a 12,000-mile round trip before it goes on sale in in Scotland...
...In September, Dawnfresh , of Uddingston Lanarkshire, said it would begin sending its scampi to a processing plant in China. Around 70 Scots jobs were lost

alan johnstone

Oil keep going well , breaking heads till you break the spell

Green Oil Friendly BP
BP's US arm,after its tie-up with Amoco, is becoming America's most accident-prone business.

Federal regulators have accused BP of price gouging. Its corroded pipelines have been leaking in Alaska. A BP oil spill has polluted the coast of California. Civil rights activists are picketing its petrol stations.Not only this, but aftershocking safety lapses that caused its Texas City oil refinery to explode last year, killing 15 people BP's yellow sunburst logo and its eco-friendly "Beyond Petroleum" slogan, which once won cautious admiration even from the green lobby, now leave a sour taste in the mouths of many Americans. BP's public image is at rock bottom and the company is seen by some as a rogue foreign interloper.

Meanwhile in Ireland Shelling out the violence :

The Gardaí do what cops do worldwide
in the service of the capitalist class and start breaking heads.

A sit-down protest by environmental activists trying to stop Shell building a gas terminal in County Mayo was broken up by truncheon wielding police thugs yesterday in the latest clash over the future of Ireland's Corrib gas field.

Campaigners, supported by many local residents, are demanding that the Anglo-Dutch oil company and its Norwegian partner, Statoil, build an offshore treatment plant instead of one at Bellanaboy, near Erris, in the far west of Ireland. Work on the site restarted earlier this month after an independent mediator failed to resolve the dispute.

It should come as no surpise that the industry which enlisted the thugs of the Nigerian government to have Ken Saro Wiwa executed for similar environmental protests should resort to using the forces of the state wherever it is confronted and checked in its quest for profits.
It is of course in the nature of capitalism Global as it is, to resort to any means fair or foul to deter a brake on its activities.Prepared to go to war if neccessity provides,it will hardly balk at breaking workers heads and hearts.
The solution of course is a removal of the ownership and control of all the planets' resources from the hands of an elite group whether constituted in the state or individual capitalist enterprises and the establishment of a new society of, free access, common ownership and democratic control.In a word socialism.
Complied from a report by A. Ramsay.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Xmas every day for some!

Usually after Xmas, the problems of debt are the subject of discussion and advice in the newspapers. This year, result of the Farepak collapse, the discussion and advice is much earlier.

Scotland on Sunday report, that organisations such as Farepak are odious. They offer commission to someone in difficult circumstances, who then signs up all her friends, relatives and neighbours. They join because they know she needs the money.

The pressure for some to withdraw their money is resisted,
‘People like the idea that their money is ring-fenced
‘People living on a very tight budget, perhaps who are disabled or have a disabled child, find it helps them to put away just a small amount each week for Christmas, and know they can't touch it. Otherwise when money gets tight, they say they would dip into it.’

They had entrusted small weekly amounts to some 25,000 agents around Britain, who were often relatives, neighbours and friends. This collapse has left 150,000 families facing a miserable festive season.
The Farepak Response Fund has been set up by the Family Fund charity. This fund closes 25th November and if funds were divided among the families concerned, each would receive £30,provided no administrations expenses are included.
Scottish money advisers and charities are calling for the establishment of a properly regulated not-for-profit savings club as a solution.

Socialists say it’s not members of the capitalist class who join savings clubs. Santa knows where to deliver the quality presents. He visits those homes regularly.

Socialism does not have a money system, it is a not for profit system; it has a distribution system. People will take according to their needs; Production will be reduced as needs are reduced. No need to save. Consider the benefits.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

No Capitalism, No Debt!

Debt, a big problem? One could be deceived by the East Kilbride Mail November 1st
Which ran a heading, As town’s debt tops £6M; £6M doesn’t look a lot of debt for a town the size of EK, however, the Citizens Advice Bureau ( CAB) identified Greenhills as an area with money problems and won funding from the government to launch a debt service.

CAB manager for EK, Michelle Campbell: "As elsewhere in Scotland, consumer debt is now the biggest single issue we deal with at East Kilbride CAB.
"Debt is not just a question of people being feckless. Often we find that people can afford debt when they first take it on. "But then perhaps six months later they lose their job, fall pregnant or their relationship breaks down, disrupting their finances.
Poverty is also a major factor.
"If you're on a low income, you can often only access credit on the most expensive terms. A seemingly modest loan amount can soon spiral into an unmanageable debt.
"We are dealing with nearly 400 debt cases, with the sums owed totalling f.6,289,712.
"That's why we want to target those parts of the community which often need advice most.
"Earlier in the year our bureau identified Greenhills as an area that had no free cash-dispensing machines.

So we are not dealing with the town of East Kilbride, we have 400 people with an average debt about £16,000 resulting from some of the factors described above and little chance of a free cash-point dispensing machine according to
Metro November 2nd 06
Plans for cash machines in poor areas to be made free by Christmas have been rejected. The proposal by ATM operator Bank Machine would have made cashpoints free to use in deprived regions, with a capped charge for using the machines refunded by financial institutions. But Link, which runs the cash machine network, rejected the idea, saying it did not offer the best deal for bank and building society users. Critics also said it would push the cost of expensive fee charging-operators on to bank customers.

Debt collecting is a business and the working class will be hassled and hounded relentlessly should they lose employment, all the more reason to think about a change.

There can be no debt in a socialist world, the working class, i.e. the majority of the world’s population could eliminate this problem of capitalism overnight by establishing socialism

Friday, November 03, 2006

Breaking News

Oh what a lovely war

Abu Ghraib Offender Heads Back to Iraq

Torture indispensible.

--A military dog handler convicted for his role in the prisoner abuse scandal has been ordered back to help train the country's police. 02 Nov 2006 One of the men [Sgt. Santos Cardona] implicated in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal is returning to the scene of the crime. The U.S. military tells TIME that one of the soldiers convicted for his role in Abu Ghraib, having served his sentence, has just been sent back to serve in Iraq. His 23rd MP Company has been selected to train [!?!] Iraqi police.

Lest it be thought that we are singling out this individual who has been brutalised in the service of his masters,let us be clear what our position is on this state of armed intervention,whether it is a war in any conventional sense of the word.

The Declaration of Principles of the Socialist Party state that the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists to conserve the monopoly of the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, and that in order to stop this robbery the workers must capture the powers of government, including the armed forces, so as to turn them into an agent of emancipation. That is unquestionably the Socialist position as it was expounded by Marx and Engels, the founders of scientific Socialism

The Socialist position is as follows: In society to-day there are two classes – the propertyless or working class and an idle class who own and control the means of producing and distributing wealth. The latter use this ownership and control to force the workers to work for them, and to submit to being robbed of the greater part of the produce of their labour. The master class, being but a tenth of the population, can only keep possession of the means of production by their control (through the political machinery) of the armed forces. While the master class have that control it is hopeless for the workers to attempt to seize capitalist property. It is sheer madness, therefore, to expect that the capitalist class would, because the workers demand it, either abolish the armed forces or hand their control over to the working class. That would be to abolish themselves as a ruling class. Further, the interests of the capitalists of one country clash with those of the capitalists of other lands, especially in the matter of obtaining markets, and so long as capitalism lasts there will be this clash of interests, necessitating ever-increasing armaments and the inevitable appeal to arms. It is absurd then to waste time and energy in an endeavour to convince the capitalists that wars are superfluous and a curse under capitalism.
( The above is an extract from a 1910 Anti-war document)

All the outcry about Iraq,Lebanon and so on just wont change anything until is is expedient for the powerful global elite who run capitalism to cut and run on this issue.One thing we can be sure about is the capitalist solution will give us more of the same .

We need to begin the process of at least thinking about how to get rid of the cause of war, and make the capitalist system redundant.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Affordable Homes and Carbon emissions

East Kilbride Mail November 1st 2006
Buy new and save thousands on energy bills.
The last week in October was Energy Savings Week and to mark this event, Bryant Homes compared the fuel costs of similar sized brand new and second hand properties.
To shorten things, this resulted in savings of £776 a year, the average stay in any one property is eight years, so we are told, therefore a staggering £6,208 is saved.

I checked the cost of this new house, which was a detached family house, four bedrooms, double-glazing, cavity wall insulation and energy efficient appliances as standard. The range was from 350K to 400K. the interest per month would be between £1.896 and £2,166 if a figure of 6.5 per cent is used.
Well above what some workers could afford.

Cutting carbon emissions are urged on us as a means of saving the planet. People are concerned at the forecasted effects of global warming on “our planet”. We are urged to fill our kettle with just the water we need, not to leave TVs on standby and recycle etc.
Lots of people assist by doing as requested, in spite of the fact it’s not their planet. The planet Earth is owned and controlled by a small capitalist class and for the vast majority of the working class, carbon emissions depend on the wages they receive, e.g. if you are living in what is described as affordable housing, the quality means it could require more heating because it lacks proper insulation, is draughty etc.
That affordable house will be ready for recycling a lot sooner than a house built for a member of the capitalist class.

However don’t feel to guilty about putting more coal on the fire or switching on the gas fire.
The capitalist consumes vast amounts of energy in the profit system, a capitalist will not do anything to reduce carbon emissions unless his competitors do likewise.
The planet Earth owned in common, operating with no money, no wages, Socialism, would build various homes; the word affordable homes would be a relic of the past as all homes would be quality homes.