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Showing posts from January, 2007

Industrial War!

In this blog we have demonstrated that the capitalist class see planet Earth is their arena for total exploitation of the working class. Not only do they invite workers into the various countries they control in order that they compete with each other for jobs, they can in many cases also move their factories into other parts of the planet if the wage rates are lower there.

As a consequence socialist say we, (the working class providers of the world’s wealth, can extricate ourselves from the abundant problems caused by this system of production) must replace world capitalism by world socialism.

An article in the BBC news today carries an excellent example of some members of the Indian capitalist class’s thinking about replacing possible deficiencies that may arise should the supply of skilled labour in the computing market cause a global war for talent.

I pick and emphasize this part of the article, which shows the class thinking we should be made aware of.

"But industry analysts won…

Just a Reminder if you are in Edinburgh tonight, Glasgow tomorrow.

Well if you are in Edinburgh tonight or Glasgow tomorrow Tristan Millar is giving an interesting alternative talk to Bill Gates one.
About the speaker: Tristan Miller is a research scientist in the field of computer science and digital information
management. He has been an active developer of free software since 1999.
http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/Edinburgh/posters.html

Free Software
dot.communism..?A socialist analysis of the Free Software and Open Source movements.Tuesday 30 January 2007 at 20:00
Quakers Hall
Victoria Terrace (above Victoria Street) Edinburgh
--------------------------------------------------------------
Glasgow
Wednesday
31 January 2007
at 20:00
Maryhill Community Centre
304 Maryhill Road Glasgow
I hope some of you can make it through.

When Profits disappoint.

In a previous posting it was pointed out that making a profit was a class thing, no profit no employment. That is why socialists want the working class to recognise that while we have a capitalist system, the profit motive will always create for them insecurity and crisis.

There is some interest in this recent report for me. I’ll comment in brackets

US manufacturer NCR has been criticised for cutting 650 jobs in Dundee, after its quarterly profits rose 16%.
[ I don’t think the criticism will be from the shareholders ]

The Amicus union said Dundee's "loyal" workforce helped NCR achieve a £88m net income towards the end of last year.
Amicus officer Gillian McKay said: "Amicus and the Dundee staff are vindicated in their view that NCR's only motivation in switching production to Hungary and closing its Scottish plant is to add to their already huge profits."
[ I agree with officer McKay, the profit motive is the reason although NCR shareholders probably think the…

Social mobility

From The Scotsman :-

Alan Milburn, the former Labour cabinet minister who grew up in a single-parent family on a council estate, yesterday said it would be harder today for someone from a similar background to get ahead in society than it was a generation ago. Mr Milburn, a close friend of Tony Blair, said that "shamefully", Britain has become a less socially mobile society in recent years, questioning whether today's deprived children will be able to break out of poverty in adulthood.
A London School of Economics report in 2005 showed declining social mobility in Britain, with more poor children becoming poor adults, and more rich children staying rich in later life. The LSE team found that 31 per cent of boys born in 1958 in the lowest-earning group stayed there in adulthood. But that rose to 38 per cent of boys born in 1970. Also according to the LSE data, 27 per cent of British boys born in 1970 ended up in the same earnings group as their parents.

How to Make Socialists: Lenin’s View

This article below from the Socialist Standard February 1933  is a timely reminder to workers and others that some of the tactics and methods which left -wing parties claim are orthodox,"boring from within" workers struggles,concentrating upon," immediate demands", and so on,do not always stem directly from Lenin ,but may indeed be distortions of his own writing on the matter.There are of course different interpretations and Lenin himself often contradicted in action his own previous statements as events dictated to him.The links in the text allow you to make up your own mind as they take you to the work in question.
M.C.
How to Make Socialists: Lenin's View

Most of the Communists who say that the way to make Socialists is not to theorise, but to concentrate on "immediate demands" in the day to day struggle against the employers are quite unaware of Lenin's view on the subject. He set it out at some length in an article, "The Working Class as C…

Mental health and redundancy

In a previous blog and in another Socialist Courier discussed redundancies and the inhumanity of employers and their business plans when it comes to discarding workers .

The psychological effects upon workers made redundant has been well documented but new research reveals that even amongst those workers who escape dismissal , the continual fear and threat of redundancy increases the stress and anxieties .

Researchers found that men made redundant during downsizing were 64% more likely than those in completely unaffected workplaces to receive prescriptions for drugs such as antidepressants and sleeping pills. However, their former colleagues still working were not far behind, with men having a 50% increased chance of being prescribed the such same drugs.

The researchers said that it was clear that downsizing could increase the workload and reduce job security of those who stay in their jobs and may pose mental health risks among employees.

"The trouble is that employees don't te…

Not such a taxing year for some

My , isn't the State generous to certain capitalists .

The Aberdeen -based oil and gas company Venture Productions have had a boom-time in 2006 with a 50% increase in output helped by bringing fields onstream and strengthened by acquisitions. It averaged a net production for 2006 of 44,706 barrels oil equivalent daily and conducted a £153m takeover of CH4 Energy .

"2006 was a record year for Venture and we have continued to make great progress in increasing both production and reserves," said chief executive, Mike Wagstaff.

In September it announced a profit of £97.7million in the six months ended June 30 .

YET:-

Venture said it probably would not have to pay any tax on its 2006 profits after claiming 100% tax relief .

THE ROAD TO HELL- Revisited

Vic Vanni’s posting on this site has generated a lot of comment at the Socialist Standard MySpace blog

Vic doesn’t have a computer so he apologises for the delay of this response.
(Could Darren post this on his MySpace blog?)


Sorry, but I can’t reply to all of the responses to “ The Road to Hell” but there are some that I must comment on.

First, I want to make clear how much I admire Michael Moore. I’ve watched all his TV programmes, his movies and read some of his books. Many others criticise some of what capitalism does – we have John Pilger, Mark Thomas and others, but, like Michael Moore, they have nothing to put in its place, but Michael Moore is special.

He’s special because of his originality, humour and, above all, his courage. I would never have the nerve to beard the lions in their dens as he does, but it still isn’t enough.

I’ll begin with you,Hollywoodartchick.
I can agree with much of what you said but I’m a tad wary of “the coalition” you want to see built. The trouble with coa…

Iraq denies UN casualty report

Iraq has dismissed a United Nations report that put the number of killings across the country last year at 34,400, saying it did not correspond with reality.
Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for Prime Minister Nuri al-Malaki, said Thursday that the report, released Tuesday, "does not reflect the reality on the ground. It is based on individual stories."
The United Nations based its findings on data provided by the Iraqi health ministry, which collated figures from hospitals around the country as well as from the Baghdad morgue.

But Dabbagh said: "Unfortunately the report is not based on official sources."

When asked if the Iraqi government could provide its own casualty figures,The spokesman said:-

"We do not have casualty figures because we have been unable to gather them due to security reasons."

ERRRRRRRRMMMMMM , WHAT'S ZAT !!!

A Bit of Light Relief

A joke Courtesy of Wee Matt

This little boy goes to his dad and asks, "What is politics?"

Dad says,"Well son, let me try to explain it this way. I'm the bread-winner of the family, so let's call me Capitalism. Your mom, she's the administrator of the money, so we'll call her the Government. We're here to take care of your needs, so we'll call you Human Needs. The nanny, we'll consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we'll call him the Future. Now, think about that and see if that makes sense."

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said. Later that night he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nann…

Meeting..Free software..dot . communism ? In Edinburgh-Glasgow

Tuesday 30 January 2007 at 20.00
Quakers Hall
Victoria terace (above Victoria street)
Edinburgh
----------
Wednesday 31 January 2007 at 20:00
Maryhill Community Centre
304 Maryhill Road
Glasgow
Click on image above or text image below to enlarge.
Tuesday 30 January 2007 at 20.00
Quakers Hall
Victoria terace (above Victoria street)
Edinburgh
---------
Wednesday 31 January 2007 at 20:00
Maryhill Community Centre
304 Maryhill Road
Glasgow

Click on text image above to enlarge.

The Insecure Society

In Dundee after the Second World War the NCR Company in Dundee employed over 7,000 workers, but over the years this has fallen to less than 1,500. So when Bill Nuti, the company's chief executive announced 14 months ago that he was "one million per cent committed to the Dundee operation" the remaining workers felt relieved, but capitalism doesn't work that way.
Their American employer dismissed a total of 650 factory workers in Dundee via transatlantic video link yesterday after being told that production was to be switched to cheaper plants overseas.Employees at NCR, which makes automatic teller machines, were summoned to a meeting at midday yesterday where amidst angry scenes, the job loses were announced by video-link by Bill Nuti, the company's chief executive." (The Times, 12 January) R.D.

THE UNEMPLOYMENT WEAPON

If anyone has any doubt your unemployment (poverty) is a concern for the bosses maybe this will change your mind.

More than three quarters of UK bosses think their companies would benefit from an annual quota of staff dismissals, a report has found.


The survey by recruitment consultancy Hudson UK spoke to 562 senior managers.
It found that one in six executives thought their company could target up to 20% of its workforce each year for dismissal without damaging productivity and morale. Less severely, 43% of bosses agreed that dismissing up to 5% of staff each year would be healthy.

"Sometimes the best career direction for an employee is out of the company."

Notice the use of healthy and benefit, would you like the benefit of healthy dismissal?

I think the best direction would be towards common ownership of the means of production, that’s the healthy beneficial career direction the working class could arrive at.

CARING REFORM?

Almost six million workers throughout the UK - more than 500,000 of them in Scotland - will receive extra four days holidays this year.
I certainly won’t refuse this, but are the bosses being generous?

The deal, which was thrashed out before the 2005 General Election by the government and the trade unions, will bring UK workers closer to their European counterparts, who enjoy a more generous holiday entitlement.

The government has wrestled with holiday entitlement, wanting to introduce it in a way that will not alienate the business community.

The changes are expected to cost business around £4bn a year which the DTI said amounted to 0.4% of the total wages bill. The department also pointed out the cost of absenteeism in the workplace, which the new measures are expected to reduce, was estimated at around £11.6bn.

Well I think saving the business community £7.6bn must have been the arm lock the government used. Like a lot of other welfare reforms, its not caring and sharing that motivates …

Downward pressures on wages

American and Japanese firms are welcomed into Britain. They provide earnings for unemployed workers, can’t be bad? However, when they decide to move their business to another part of the world, questions get asked, we have dealt with some of them on this site. Sprawling Prawns and THE ROAD TO HELL are worth a read.

Workers may not have noticed that overseas capitalists maybe think the lower wages paid in Britain were the attraction, even if they were aware of this, a wage is a must have and certainly better than social insecurity.

The dismissal of 650 workers by NCR means The fall-out could put as many as 1000 out of work as smaller companies dependent on the American firm shed staff.

Attempts will be made by some to blame the foreign worker and use nationalistic propaganda as a solution, however. I’m sure you will be aware of local bosses doing the same sort of thing when they are not making a profit; it’s a class thing, no profit, no employment.
The bosses struggle against each other, …

Paid too Much

The name Martin Gilbert cropped up in a previous blog on Socialist Courier for being an over-paid fat cat parasite . Seems as if we aren't the only ones who question his worthiness .

Pirc, which advises largely public sector pension funds has singled out Aberdeen Asset Management for criticism in its latest review, branding as "excessive" last year's £4m pay package for chief executive Martin Gilbert. The company's annual report revealed at the end of December that Gilbert was paid a £2.6m bonus during the year, on top of a basic salary of £435,000, and also received pension contributions of £890,000. The total of £3.95m compared with £1.2m the previous year.

Pirc is urging its members to vote against Aberdeeen's remuneration report at the annual meeting next week claiming that its chief executive annual bonus equivalent of 656% of salary and an LTIP (long-term incentive plan) award of 312% of salary is indeed extravagent .

Pirc is very welcome to contact the…

The State of the Welfare State

Councils in England are restricting access to social services such as home care, day services and respite care. The Commission for Social Care Inspection warned this was happening by default, and without debate.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection chairman Dame Denise Platt said many people were being left to make their own arrangements because access to services was being tightened to include only those deemed to be in the most serious need.

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said the system was in crisis, and accused the government of being unwilling to provide sufficient funds to help people with serious medical conditions.

Age Concern's director general Gordon Lishman said: "This is a damning indictment of a social care system that is failing older people. Not providing services for people with so-called moderate needs causes much anguish for the individual - but can also result in much higher and more expensive care needs in the future."

Da…

THE ROAD TO HELL

Michael Moore, American TV programme and movie maker, is a compassionate guy who hates what capitalism does to people and strives to right what he sees as wrongs. Sadly, he hasn’t a clue about how capitalism works and is a prime example of the idealist who fights effects but leaves causes untouched.

He thinks that corporations and the filthy-rich should be content with less wealth and should share profits with their workers. What a hope, but here in Scotland we have our own version of Michael Moore in showbiz personality in Elaine C. Smith.

In her column in the SUNDAY MAIL (December 31st) Elaine, having applauded “the risk-takers” and endorsed the capital-labour relationship, lambastes business fat cats who pocket huge sums of money and asks, “Do they really need all that money? Couldn’t they have just put a couple of hundred quid in the pay packets of their workers?”

What Elaine doesn’t realise that those fat cats get their wealth by trying to ensure that their business MAXIMISE their p…

Burnt out at 50

Scotland's ageing population does not represent a "crisis" according to a Holyrood think tank.
A year-long study by the Scottish Parliament's Futures Forum says the nation can afford to grow old, if it rethinks its approach to retirement.

"An awful lot of people are peeling out of the workforce at 50, burned out," said Lord Sutherland "That shouldn't happen. There's something wrong with the way that we're operating in society if that's the case."

Indeed there is something wrong with this society - it's called capitalism . A social system that does indeed use and abuse people , prematurely sending them to the poverty of Invalidity , Incapacity and Sickness Benefits , then on to an early grave .
That is the real crisis - we aren't able to age long enough and enjoy it long enough .

Just some local news

The second 'Social Atlas' of the Borders just published by Scottish Borders Council.
Earnings in the Scottish Borders are about £80 a week below the national average .

Average income is just over £355 a week compared to £436 across Scotland.

SCOTTISH Executive defines households being in fuel poverty when they have to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on all household fuel, and while there are varying degrees of fuel poverty across the Borders it is generally widespread across the region.

The percentage of the population suffering chronic mental health problems continues to increase and over a twelve year period between 1992 and 2004 the percentage of the population taking prescribed anti-depressant drugs increased from 1.9% to 8.3%."According to Scottish Executive statistics, the Scottish Borders has the second highest rate of the population prescribed drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis in Scotland, after Dundee City.

And talking of Dundee , data from the Ta…

Gates and Profits

Mailstrom , has posted an interesting blog concerning Bill Gates and his charitable foundation based on a recent article in the L.A. Times . How the hunt for profits is often the primary motivation for the fund managers investment policy . And how the need to protect Microsoft profits leads to the defence of the drug companies monopolies over medicines by use of patent rights .

It is of interest because at the end of the month Edinburgh Branch of the Socialist Party will be hosting a public meeting later in the month that is in many ways directly related to this subject .

SSP tames Capitalism!

Reformist political parties in opposition always claim how much better everything would be if only they were in power and the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) is no exception.

One of their policy documents tells us they would provide free public transport and that this, on it’s own, would bring fabulous benefits in just about every area of life.

Everything would be better: the NHS, the environment, the economy, business efficiency, productivity, road safety, more tourists, etc. On top of all this there would be savings of many millions, even billions, of pounds, giving us all more spending power as well as big savings for businesses.

And how is all this to be achieved? By two old leftist illusions; taxing the rich and nationalisation (disguised as public or social ownership). Apparently, nationalisation would be more efficient and cheaper, despite the evidence of past experience, and taxing the rich must mean that we’ll still have them. The source of their riches is the surplus value wrung…

Unpaid overtime

Workers put in £23bn of unpaid overtime last year, losing out an average of £4800 each, according to a study which highlights Britain's long-hours culture.

Scottish employees who do unpaid overtime lose £79.82 a week for the extra six-and-a-half hours they work. This is the equivalent of £4151 a year in lost earnings.According to figures released yesterday by the Scottish TUC, Scots worked £1728m worth of unpaid overtime last year.

A survey by the TUC found employees work an average of seven hours and six minutes extra every week and if they did all their unpaid work at the start of the year, the earliest they would be paid would be February 23.

On February 23, employees will be encouraged to take a proper lunch break and go home on time. Employers will be asked to use the day to thank their staff by buying them lunch or taking them out after work.

Is this really going to be the response of the STUC ? To request a free meal from management for us working for our bosses for nothing ?

FUNNY SOLUTIONS FOR NOT SO CHEERY PROBLEMS

Elaine C Smith is an entertaining woman; she has a full page in the Sunday Mail
(31st December 2006).
Among her solutions for the alcoholic problems that are filling the accident and emergency departments are dearer prices in supermarkets for alcoholic drinks. I agree drunkenness at time leads to anti-social behaviour but does this apply to old age pensioners? Not the pensioners that write to her complaining their quiet pint is to dear, because they are the ones who don’t arrive at the A&E on Saturday and Sunday she thinks they should get their pint at a cheaper rate.
Well I did say she was an entertaining woman; I was thinking of asking her if raising the price of food with cheaper rates for slim people could solve the obesity problems plaguing the NHS.

Social problems need a lot more thought than that expressed in the Sunday Mail. Pensioner’s poverty and anti-social behaviour are an expression of an anti-social system called capitalism; I think socialism is worth a thought.

Hypocrisy Over the Death of a President

" The nation honoured Gerald R. Ford ...a man whose name was a synonym for integrity..." eulogised one newspaper -

The President of the United States of America , who in 1975 gave Indonesia and the dictator Suharto the green light to invade East Timor that has left perhaps 200,000 dead . Ex-President Gerald Ford can rightly be held partly responsible for the death of one-third of the population of East Timor . General Suharto briefed US president Gerald Ford and his secretary of state Henry Kissinger on his plans for the former Portuguese colony hours before the invasion .

"We want your understanding if we deem it necessary to take rapid or drastic action," Suharto told his visitors

Ford replied: "We will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem you have and the intentions you have."

While some may pay homage to Gerald Ford , we in the Socialist Party will remember and mourn his victims .

Inside the Bolshevik Cul-de-sac

Another article from the Socialist Standard archives which once again ( but in a slightly more theoretical depth ) demonstrates the bankruptcy of the Socialist Workers Party ( then the International Socialists ) and their kindred Trotskyists. Although dated from 1970 and discusses a Russia that has now changed , not too much has actually changed .

Inside the Bolshevik Cul-de-sac

Those who still cling to the basic Bolshevik premise - that the Russian insurrection of October 1917 amounted to a Socialist Revolution - are caught inside a trap of their own making . Whichever way they turn , they are landed with an uneasy antagonism between their theory and reality …

IS Group

However most of the people who have recently come round to the view that Russia is capitalist have not adjusted all of their political views accordingly , but have merely corrected this one point, failing to notice the inconsistencies which then emerge in the remainder of their ideas. For example the group known as Intern…