Saturday, May 30, 2009


"Suicide is rising in Japan as the economic crisis bites, with more than 100 people a day taking their lives in April. "It's the end of the financial year, so I think the effect of the economy is a trigger," said Yasuyuki Shimizu, head of Lifelink, a group that campaigns to prevent suicide. In a recession, the end of the financial year tends to spark bankruptcies and layoffs. Japan's suicide rate is already one of the highest in the developed world, with about 24 cases per 100,000 population in recent years, compared with 11 in the United States. The April figure was up 6 percent from the same month last year, police statistics showed on Wednesday."
(Yahoo News, 28 May) RD


"The Catholic orders responsible for abusing Ireland's poorest children say they're struggling to come up with money to help their victims. Yet investigations into their net worth paint a very different picture — that of nuns and brothers with billions' worth of carefully sheltered assets worldwide. Irish government leaders said Wednesday they expect the 18 religious orders involved in abusing children in workhouse-style schools to pay a much greater share of compensation to 14,000 state-recognized victims. They also demanded that the secretive orders reveal the true scope of their wealth for the first time in face-to-face negotiations with the government." (Yahoo News, 27 May) RD

Friday, May 29, 2009


"The world is sitting on a "powder keg" of social unrest, which risks exploding as human rights are eroded by the global economic slowdown, Amnesty International warned. But its annual report -- detailing abuses from China to Guantanamo Bay and from Sri Lanka to the ex-Soviet Union -- said the global meltdown also offers a chance to rebuild an economic framework putting human rights at its heart. "There are growing signs of political unrest and violence, adding to the global insecurity that already exists because of deadly conflicts which the international community seems unable or unwilling to resolve. "In other words: we are sitting on a powder keg of inequality, injustice and insecurity, and it is about to explode," said Amnesty chief Irene Khan." (Yahoo News, 28 May) RD

Thursday, May 28, 2009


"Hundreds of jobs are to be axed after it was confirmed today that Hewlett-Packard is to cease manufacturing at a computer plant in Scotland. The work is to be transferred abroad from the factory in Erskine, Renfrewshire. As many as 850 jobs are feared to be at risk out of the 1,300-strong workforce employed by the US-based firm at Erskine." (Guardian, 28 May) RD

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


"Anyone who's living off less than 60% of the median household income is defined by the E.U. and the German government as living in poverty. In Germany, that's around $1,066 per month for a single person or $2,240 for a couple with one child. Some of the hardest hit by Germany's increasing poverty levels are children. It's estimated that there are more than 3 million German children living in poverty; in Berlin alone, up to 36% of all children are poor. "The gap between the rich and poor is wider than ever and more children have been plunged into poverty," says Bernd Siggelkow, a pastor who runs the Arche project in Berlin to help children in need. "People who claim state benefits are stigmatized by society and in the past children were simply forgotten by politicians." (Yahoo News, 25 May) RD

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


"Food safety inspectors say a California plant at the center of a salmonella scare knew some of its pistachios were tainted but continued shipping nuts for another six months. The Food and Drug Administration issued a sweeping national warning in March for consumers to avoid eating pistachios after concerns surfaced about nuts from Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. In an inspection report released this week, FDA officials said Setton first got results in October showing some of its roasted nuts tested positive for salmonella. But, officials say, it didn't make proper adjustments to its processing procedures and kept shipping out nuts."
(Yahoo News, 23 May) RD

Saturday, May 23, 2009


"Diminishing supplies of oil and natural gas will push countries into violent competition, the Kremlin predicted in a long-awaited national security strategy paper released this week. The document foresees these struggles playing out in the Arctic as well as the Middle East, the Barents Sea, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia - and states that Russia is prepared to fight for its share of the world's resources. "In the face of competition for resources, the use of military force to solve emerging problems cannot be excluded," reads the strategy paper, which was signed by President Dmitri Medvedev on Wednesday." (Yahoo News, 17 May) RD


Politicians are fond of pretending that they are concerned about ethical matters and would deny that their primary function is to concern themselves with the economic interests of their masters. So it comes as no great surprise to learn that the EU spokesmen prattle on about "the political rights of small nations" whilst in reality having sordid economic interests in mind.
"Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned the European Union not to turn a proposed partnership with former Soviet countries against Russia. He was speaking at the end of a Russia-EU summit held against a background of deep divisions over security, trade and energy supplies. A BBC correspondent in Moscow says the biggest concern at the summit was over Russian gas supplies to Europe. Deliveries were halted in January due to Moscow's price dispute with Ukraine. ... A year ago - when Mr Medvedev became Russia's new leader - there was hope that relations with the EU might gradually improve, the BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow says. Instead, he says, they have got steadily worse. Relations plummeted after last year's brief war between Russia and Georgia. Since then there has been another gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine which led to gas supplies to many European countries being cut off for two weeks in mid-winter. There is also a growing battle over energy pipelines as the EU tries to find alternatives to its growing dependency on Russian gas." (BBC News, 21May) RD

Friday, May 22, 2009


It is fashionable for every capitalist politician to say that they are "green" - it is a good vote-catcher, but the realities of capitalism are the production of more and more profits. So when it comes to the crunch, profit -making is going to be a bigger priority than the environment. "US Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the US will not be able to cut greenhouse emissions as much as it should due to domestic political opposition. Prof Chu told BBC News he feared the world might be heading towards a tipping point on climate change. This meant the US had to cut emissions urgently - even if compromises were needed to get new laws approved. ... President Barack Obama says he wants cuts in greenhouse gases but has left it to Congress to make the political running. The House of Representatives is debating a climate and energy bill but even if it passes it may be rejected by senators, many of whom are funded by the energy industry." (BBC News, 21 May)
Politicians are deeply concerned about "green" issues - the issue of green-back dollars! RD

Thursday, May 21, 2009


"A suspected illegal immigrant was arrested after being found on the outside of a Eurostar train – which had been travelling through Kent at 186mph. The man was detained by British Transport Police officers after being discovered at Ebbsfleet International Station near Gravesend in Kent. He was intercepted at the station on a Brussels to London service just before 7pm last Thursday. Eurostar trains can reach speeds of up to 186mph while in service." (Independent, 27 April) RD


"The number of potential nuclear weapons states could more than double in the next few years unless major powers take radical steps toward disarmament, the head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog was quoted saying on Friday. Mohamed ElBaradei said the threat of proliferation was particularly great in the Middle East and the international regime designed to limit the spread of nuclear weapons was at risk of falling apart, the Guardian newspaper reported. "Any regime ... has to have a sense of fairness and equity and it is not there," ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in an interview with the paper. He predicted the next wave of proliferation would involve "virtual nuclear states" which could produce plutonium or highly enriched uranium and would have the know-how to make warheads, but would stop just short of assembling a weapon. Such states would remain technically compliant with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) while being within a couple of months of deploying and using a weapon, he said." (Yahoo News, 12 May) RD

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


"The number of homes repossessed in the UK rose to 12,800 in the first three months of the year, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has said. This was up 23% from the 10,400 in the previous three months and 50% up on the 8,500 in the same period last year. The CML has predicted that 75,000 homes will be repossessed in 2009, almost double the 40,000 of last year." (BBC News, 16 May) RD


The US Government, like every government in world capitalism spends billions of dollars in weapons of war and research into more and more deadly ways to kill and maim, but when it comes to spending two cents to save a child's life they remain strangely reluctant.
"Americans pretty much take vitamin A for granted, but many of the world’s poorest people lack it. And as a result, it is estimated that more than half-a-million children die or go blind each year. There’s a simple fix: vitamin A capsules that cost about 2 cents each."
(New York Times, 13 May) RD

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No candidate ? Vote for yourself.

Only vote for socialism if you are in agreement with our Object and Declaration of Principles.

You might have heard of the Euro elections, the biggest in history, 500
million people, 27 countries, June 4th? You’re supposed to choose which
of your local crème-de-la-crème get to go on free holidays to Brussels
and Strasbourg, and the powers that be are a bit worried that you won’t
take it seriously enough to bother voting. Shame on you!...Read more>

Français (French)

Italiano (Italian)

Svenska (Swedish)


Polska (Polish)

Türkçe (Turkish)

Nederland (Dutch)

Download our election leaflets.

1, Manifesto for London Region (where we're contesting) (PDF)

2. Manifesto for outside London (where we're running a write-in
campaign) (PDF)

3. London manifesto in Bengali (PDF)

( If anyone wants copies of these leaflets to distribute they should
send an email to )

Monday, May 18, 2009


"Tens of thousands of landlords are struggling to meet their mortgage repayments as the economic downturn devastates the buy-to-rent market, according to a new report. Moody's, the rating agency, released figures yesterday showing that 3.55 per cent of landlords were at least three months behind with mortgage payments in the first quarter of the year - compared with 0.95 per cent in the same period a year ago. Repossession of buy-to-let loans had also risen marginally, to 0.18 per cent in the first three months of this year from 0.13 per cent in the first three months of last year. There are about a million buy-to-let landlords in the UK, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders." (Times, 13 May) RD


"Talk about kicking a man when he's down. Moody's ( the rating agency)yesterday downgraded the credit rating of L'Aquila, the Italian city, from A1 to Ba1 and placed it on review for possible further downgrades after last month's devastating earthquake. The agency said: "Moody's views these developments as affecting the city's ability to meet its financial obligations on a timely basis." Well, it's an accurate assessment, albeit a rather cold and clinical one."
(Times, 13 May) RD

Sunday, May 17, 2009


It surely sums up the insanity of modern capitalism wherein millions of people are trying to survive on about a dollar a day and this happens. "A flawless vivid blue diamond weighing 7.03 carats sold Tuesday for a record 10.5 million Swiss francs ($9.49 million), the highest price paid per carat for any gemstone at auction, Sotheby's said. The rectangular-shaped blue stone, the rarest to enter the international market this year, went to an anonymous buyer bidding by telephone after hectic bidding see-sawed between two callers for 15 minutes." (Yahoo News, 12 May)
We have an "anonymous buyer" spending millions of dollars on an object that in any sane society would be used for some worthwhile purpose like cutting glass or something and we have millions of starving kids. Which one grabs the headlines? Rare jewels are more important than human beings - that's capitalism for you. RD


Genae Girard, 39, is suing Myriad Genetics and the Patent Office over the
granting of a patent on a gene. Myriad also has patented the only test that
measures the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Anyone who looks at modern society must be staggered by how much private ownership dominates it. All the land of this planet is owned by a small group of owners - about 5 per cent. All the factories and workshops are owned by the same 5 per cent. All the airlines and all other means of transport are in the possession of the same small group. Now it seems that even the genes that are the basis of human existence are owned too. An unfortunate worker who was suffering from cancer went to a specialists for tests. "The test came back positive, so she wanted a second opinion from another test. But there can be no second opinion. A decision by the government more than 10 years ago allowed a single company, Myriad Genetics, to own the patent on two genes that are closely associated with increased risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and on the testing that measures that risk." (New York Times, 12 May)
There is money to be made out of ownership so bugger the poor worker who needs information. Sorry, they own the patent on the gene. Your mother or your daughter dies, so what. Money and profit are much more important. RD

Friday, May 15, 2009

European Elections 2009

European Elections

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We are contesting in London but urging a write in vote elsewhere.
Our election Blog
Download our election leaflets.

1, Manifesto for London Region (where we're contesting) (PDF)
2. Manifesto for outside London (where we're running a write-in campaign) (PDF)


Dannny Lambert, Tristan Miller, Janet Carter, Bill Martin, Adam Buick, Simon Wigley, Frederick Allen, Patricia Deutz.


Flying pigs and the Euro elections

Click image for more info.

Français (French) Italiano (Italian) Svenska (Swedish) Español(Spanish) Polska (Polish)

Download our election leaflets.

1, Manifesto for London Region (where we're contesting) (PDF)
2. Manifesto for outside London (where we're running a write-in campaign) (PDF)
3. London manifesto in Bengali (PDF)

( If anyone wants copies of these leaflets to distribute they should send an email to )


One of the illusions fostered by the Labour Party is that for all its shortcomings at least it is better than the Tories, but recent evidence seems to point out that even this modesty claim is erroneous.
"That relative poverty – the gap between rich and poor rather than the absolute availability of basic necessities – should be higher than it was when Harold Macmillan was prime minister is a galling discovery. The Institute for Fiscal Studies, a sort of non-partisan unofficial opposition party equipped with massive brainpower, tells us that the distance between our richest and our least fortunate citizens is as high as it has been since their data starts, in 1961. Which leaves open the possibility that Brown's Britain may be more unequal than we were before the creation of the NHS and the modern welfare state." (Independent, 8 May) RD

Reading Notes

- From Germinal, a novel about a French miners’strike of the 1890s, by Emile Zola,
“ Who could say that the workers had had their reasonable share in the extraordinary increase in wealth and comfort during the last one hundred years? They (the bourgoisie) had made fun of them by declaring them free. Yes, free to starve, a freedom of which they fully availed themselves.”
- Re how capitalism works, “ Ah! There we are!” cried M. Hennebeau.(mine owner) “I was expecting that – the accusation of starving the people and living by their sweat. How can you talk such folly, you ought to know the enormous risks which capital runs in industry – in the mines, for example?…Can you believe that the company has not as much to lose as you have in the present crisis? It does not govern wages; it obeys competition under pain of ruin.”- i.e. blame the system, not the capitalist.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


"BT has said it will cut about 15,000 jobs this year, mostly in the UK, and has reported an annual loss of £134m. The firm also said it had cut 15,000 jobs in the past year, which was 5,000 more than had been expected." (BBC News, 14 April) RD


Every year billions of dollars are spent on the research and production of more and more powerful weapons. Inside capitalism it is essential to keep ahead of your trade rivals. Research into diseases or even the simple production of medicine is of a very low priority compared to arms production. "Pneumonia gets very little attention from donors or the public health community, yet it kills more than two million children a year, according to Unicef and the World Health Organization. To put it another way, if you spend five minutes reading this column, at least 19 kids will die of pneumonia in that time. That’s more than will die of AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Yet pneumonia goes ignored. It is the orphan of global health, attracting negligible investment." (New York Times, 9 May) RD


Socialists are often annoyed at the disparaging, dismissive fashion of speaking adopted by the capitalist class when dealing with members of the working class, but something that annoys us even more than that is members of the working class sneering at other members of the working class less fortunate than themselves. Perhaps the worst example of this we have come across recently is the following.
" Wealthy Celebes queued up this week to condemn the new 50% tax rate for high earners, warning that it could lead to an exodus of talent. Monday's Daily Mail quoted Sir Michael Caine saying that "if it goes to 51%, I will be back in America... We've got 3.5 million layabouts on benefits, and I'm 76, getting up at 6am to go to work to keep them." (Guardian, 2 May)
Excuse us Sir Michael (formerly known as Mr Michaelwaite) if we wish you bon voyage - preferably in a very leaky ocean liner. RD

Who Owns the North Pole Part 16

See our companion blog Socialism or your Money Back for the most latest development on Russian expansionist policy statement

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


" Home values in the United States extended their fall in the first quarter, with more than one in five homeowners now owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, real estate website said on Wednesday. U.S. home values posted a year-over-year decline of 14.2 percent to a Zillow Home Value Index of $182,378, resulting in a total 21.8 percent drop since the market peaked in 2006, according to Zillow's first-quarter Real Estate Market Reports, which encompass 161 metropolitan areas and cover the value changes in all homes, not just homes that have recently sold. U.S. homes lost $704 billion in value during the first quarter and have depreciated $3.8 trillion in the past 12 months, according to analysis of the reports. Declining home values left 21.9 percent of all American homeowners with negative equity by the end of the first quarter, Zillow said. By comparison, 17.6 percent of all homeowners owed more on their mortgage than their property was worth in the fourth quarter of 2008, and 14.3 percent were underwater in the third quarter of last year, the reports showed." (Yahoo News, 6 May) RD

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Not so many years ago it used to be the boast of industrialists and politicians alike "What is good for General Motors is good for America". This simplistic mantra was always trotted out in defence of capitalism during the post war boom of US industry and trade but supporters of US capitalism will have to look elsewhere for consolation today.
"General Motors, North America’s biggest carmaker, reported a $6bn first-quarter net loss and an accelerating cash drain on Thursday, underlining the pressure it faces to gain concessions from stakeholders or face bankruptcy. The troubled automaker warned that prolonged uncertainty over its financial condition risks creating a vicious circle of shaky consumer confidence and falling production and sales." (Financial Times, 7 May)
It is no sense in a "told you so" mood that socialists note the boom and slump nature of capitalism has asserted itself once more. After all it is our fellow workers in the US and elsewhere who will have to bear the prospect of unemployment, re-possession and insecurity. What we ask the working class to do is to consider the socialist alternative to this mad market system. We asked you to do so during the boom we continue to ask you to do so during the slump. RD

Monday, May 11, 2009


In the same day's newspaper we can read of the contrasting life styles of people inside capitalism. About 140,000 people died in the storms that raged through Burma. The poverty stricken survivors were at first denied aid from Unicef and Save the Children by the Burmese government. Eventually these organisations were admitted and attempted to give aid to the survivors including thousands of orphans. The begging bowl was passed round by charities desperate to aid these kids. Contrast that with another item on the same day. The champagne industry was concerned that some of its customers were finding it difficult to uncork their bottles, so no expense was spared in dealing with this problem. "Bruno de Saizieui, Alcan's commercial director, said: "At first we tried a screwtop but found that a symbolic noise was not there. It was our priority to keep this specific and evocative sound of champagne opening." After three years and 1 million euros (£885,000) in research, they came up with an aluminium device like that on beer bottles." (Times, 6 May)
The cry of starving orphans was drowned out by the "specific and evocative sound of champagne opening." Another tragic example of capitalism's priorities. RD


When the G20 leaders met in London to discuss the current economic crisis one of the theories about dealing with crisis they must have discussed would have been that of J.M. Keynes. He had argued that in the event of a downturn in the capitalist economy governments should spend more in order to boost confidence and spending power. Judging from recent reports they seem to have taken his advice to heart, though not in the way that Keynes meant.
"Taxpayers were left with a bill of around £500,000 for wining and dining the G20 leaders, their spouses and aides, it was reported today. The cost of a series of dinners laid on for dignitaries ahead of the 2 April summit in London added up to more than £66,000, with VIP guests drinking 136 bottles of wine worth £6,000, according to figures obtained by the Independent under the Freedom of Information Act." (Guardian, 7 May) RD

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Food for Thought 3

- Are workers better off than ever today? A moot point. It’s a fact that much of our wealth is derived from credit. Canada’s credit cards doubledto 68 million, 1998 to 2008, with 682 000 considered delinquent. Eventhough the present crisis is attributed to bad credit, the card offers arrive every week. The credit card is the golden goose that fueled massiveconsumer spending regardless of the consequences.
- We have no money for hospitals that are cramped by artificial budgets that constantly mean lay-offs, even for nurses. We have no money for education – can’t keep the swimming pools open that have been built into practically every Toronto school. We have no money to eradicate poverty,homelessness etc., but at the G20 meeting in London, one trillion dollars was found to fund IMF loans to countries in trouble, which means they will be in even greater trouble should they accept the loans. Generally, forevery dollar that is loaned to developing countries, $7 comes back, whichis why they will always be ‘developing’.
- Auto workers continue to take criticism, even from other workers, as the cause of their own demise, even though they, like all workers, have absolutely no say in what is produced, or how much. Their hourly wages are continually quoted by the capitalist press including their benefit package, although this is never done in any other case. The facts, of course, that they earn an average of $34/hour, are ignored. Consider this,in 1992, GM produced 4.4 million cars with a workforce of just under 300000. In 2007, GM produced 4.5 million vehicles with approximately one third of that work force. That kind of productivity must have brought massive profits from the workers’ efforts that should have resulted in a very financially strong company.
What happened?
John Ayers

Friday, May 08, 2009

May Dayschool 2009

Saturday 9 May 1.00pm till 5.00pm

Banks:Who needs them?

Capitalism in Crisis:

1.00 - 2.15pm 2009: The Year of Economic Crisis.

Speaker Brian Gardner
Glasgow Branch.

This year has seen the collapse of banks, of building societies and the closure of factories and retail outlets. As millions of workers throughout the world face the re-possessions of their homes and the grow-ing fear of unemployment we ask why the economic bubble has burst. We look at the various "solutions" that are offered to alleviate the problems and analyse what can be learned from previous eco-nomic slumps. Previously abandoned by political econo-mists the old ideas of Keynes have made a startling come-back to the extent that many politicians are now espousing his ideas as a solution to the present economic woes. We look at the problem from a Marxist viewpoint and con-sider whether these ideas have value in today’s context.

2.15 - 3.30pm The Environment in Meltdown?

Speaker, John Cumming
Glasgow Branch

How serious is the threat to the global environment? Is the melting of the polar ice pack a product of global warming caused by natural causes or the over production of carbon gases? Is the growing water shortage as serious as depicted and is there any possible solution? Is man-made pollution the cause of the threat to the world's oceans and the possible destruction of the marine food chain? All these inter-related pollution problems are examined from a socialist analysis and some of the proposed solutions are examined.

3.30 - 3.45pm Tea break

3.45 - 5pm Can Socialism Solve the problems?

Speaker Paul Bennett
Manchester Branch

Modern society has produced immense social problems. We have millions of people existing on less than a $1 a day in-side a system that could produce enough food, clothing and shelter to satisfy all human needs. We have magnificent ad-vances in human knowledge but seem incapable of solving problems like world hunger, poverty and war. Wealth today takes the form of commodities - articles produced for sale with a view to making a profit. The Socialist Party is unique in that its only aim is world socialism - a society where everything is produced solely to satisfy need not make a profit. How would this new society based on common ownership operate? Could it solve the problems of capitalism?

Looking forward to seeing you all there.


"Loss of control in nuclear-armed Pakistan threatened the world with the worst global crisis since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war, a senior former US diplomat warned on Tuesday. The stark warning comes as US President Barack Obama meets the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan at the White House on Wednesday to discuss efforts to stabilise their countries in the face of Islamist insurgencies. It also comes as the international community fears a possible breakdown in the security surrounding Pakistan’s 100 warhead nuclear arsenal and their capture by religious extremists."
(Financial Times, 5 May) RD


Richard Laing, CDC's chief executive, saw his income rise to £970,000 in 2007
"As the boss of the publicly owned company which invests billions of pounds of taxpayers' money to alleviate global poverty, Richard Laing is one of many dedicated to improving the finances of the poorest of the poor. But few engaged in the battle to relieve the suffering of the developing world can count on a pay package of nearly £1m as their reward. The "extraordinary" remuneration received by Mr Laing as chief executive of CDC Group Plc, a little-known investment body that is wholly owned by the Department for International Development and controls assets worth £2.7bn, is revealed today in a stinging report by the Westminster spending watchdog. Between 2003 and 2007, Mr Laing, a 55-year-old Cambridge engineering graduate, saw his income rise from £383,000 to £970,000 as investments in projects from a Nigerian shopping mall to a Chinese egg producer reaped handsome returns." (Independent, 30 April) RD

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Washington – More than 100 protesters upset with the way world leaders have handled the economic crisis clashed with police Saturday outside the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings. Authorities used batons and pepper spray when activists tried to march onto a prohibited street, and several people were pushed to the ground by police. The protesters swarmed officers unexpectedly, and police had to respond, said D.C. police Capt. Jeffrey Herold. ...Earlier, demonstrators tried to block three intersections, including an area near hotels where they said meeting delegates were staying. But in each case, the protesters were steered back to the sidewalk by police. Nicole Davis, 22, of Washington, who participated in one of the morning blockades outside a hotel, said police physically lifted her and nine other protesters and moved them from the street to the sidewalk. Davis said IMF and World Bank policies are hurting the poor."Capitalism clearly is not working," Davis said. "I think there needs to be a different system." (Yahoo News, 25 April) RD


The Socialist Party have always argued that a policy of reforming capitalism by a series of legislative acts while leaving intact the basis of this class divided society is doomed to failure. The Labour Party and other reformist organisations have maintained that this is the only way to deal with social problems. So what do these reformers make of the following report?
"Millions of people have been condemned to live under "social apartheid" by 30 years of poor housing policies, a damning report on council estates will say this week. The 107-page report, to be published on Friday, condemns successive governments for pushing poorer people into what it condemns as "social concentration camps" set away from private housing, jobs and shops. Children born on such estates are more likely to end up unemployed, suffer mental health problems and die younger than their counterparts in private housing, says the study by the Fabian Society. ... According to the Fabians, children bought up in social housing now have far fewer life chances than half a century ago, because they are concentrated on increasingly ghettoised estates. Those born after 1970 in council homes are twice as likely to suffer from mental health problems than those born in 1946 in public housing, 11 times more likely to be unemployed and not in training or education, and nine times more likely to live in a household where nobody has a job." (Independent, 3 May)
It is somewhat ironic that this report has been prepared by the Fabian - an organisation whose very basis is one of a policy of reformism! RD

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Food for Thought 2

- How is the War on Poverty going? Carol Goar’s column in the Star is titled “So Much Patience and Hope, So Little Momentum”.
The provincial government is long on talk, slow to act. The cabinet committee on poverty reduction was disbanded in December and its ‘commitments’ farmed out toother agencies, probably to be buried. As social assistance case loads spiked due to the recession, the Liberals began to back off and a split appeared between those who supported public hearings and those who didn’t want the public to hear more welfare recipients describing their lives.Goar writes, “There is a large gap between the government’s intentions and anti-poverty activists’ expectations.
Basically, nothing is happening,then.
- Pensioners, mainly auto workers, worried about their pensions, rallied at Queen’s Park recently to make a statement re pension guarantees that seem to be disappearing rapidly with the health of the auto companies. - Some employers are apparently taking advantage of the recession to fire pregnant women and disabled or injured workers on light duties. As the CBCradio parody went :
Boss: Come into the office for a conference.
Pregnant woman: Is there a problem?
Boss: We are terminating you.
Pregnant woman: You can’t do that, it’s against the law unless you are downsizing.
Boss: We’re downsizing now, starting with you!
- Reforms get us nowhere, like running on a treadmill. Time for theRevolution!
- Examples of how crapitalism functions
– 1. Bringing forward a malariaVaccine – for decades, malaria sufferers have been ignored and have died by the millions because the large pharmaceutical companies (just a few dominate the market) have ignored the problem because it’s not profitableto make drugs that poor people cannot afford to pay for. John Cohen, head biologist at Glaxo-Smith-Kline, is getting close, after 22 years of research (Toronto Star, 25/04/09). The question is, will it be availableto all sufferers, or just those who can pay? The article admits, “It also wasn’t a priority because a vaccine geared to Africa just isn’t amoney-maker for drug companies.” Could anything be more stupid?
2. A Toronto Star article (26/04/09) documents the demise of Toronto’s industrial area and lists the many factories that have closed there. A picture shows an older lady standing beside an electric stove, still operational and looking good, that she helped to build in the 1950s.Today, manufacturers give a one-year warranty and have a life expectancyof five to ten years. Two of the five new appliances I bought four years ago have broken down with major problems. The tendency to cheaper quality goods to enhance profits and damage the environment is plain for all to see.
3. The modern trend in almost every industrial sector, and, frighteningly, this includes prescription drugs, is to let the producer be the inspector of health and safety. A Toronto Star article (24/04/09)begins, “A senior federal veterinarian says Canada’s Food Safety Agency is compromising public health by putting slaughterhouse workers in charge of deciding when poultry is too diseased or contaminated for human consumption.” The proper veterinary training includes in-depth knowledgeof animal pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, virology and pathogeny.By contrast, meat plant workers assigned to reject potentially dangerous poultry are trained for four weeks, at most.
Works well for profit! Capital trumps common sense again!
John Ayers

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


There is a popular concept of the medical professions as being above sordid commercialism and being motivated only by care for human suffering. However, we live inside a capitalist society where the profit motive pervades every field of human activity. This news item is an example of how this lust for profit can lead to unnecessary suffering, even death.
"Stocks of hundreds of medicines are running low as British pharmacies export UK supplies to profit from the weakness of the pound. Evidence has emerged that pharmacists are over-ordering drugs, a practice known as "skimming", with a view to selling the stock overseas and profiting from higher prices in foreign currencies. ...The wholesalers fear that the exports, which have led to temporary shortages, could potentially keep some patients from receiving the medicines they need in time and result in death." (Times, 4 May) RD

Monday, May 04, 2009


"Norway's foreign minister on Tuesday called for peaceful cooperation in the Arctic as the region's five bordering countries vie for potentially lucrative natural resources. "High North, low tension," Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said prior to the opening of an international conference in the northern Norwegian town of Tromsoe on the Arctic's melting ice. "We will as responsible governments and coastal states be able to manage the challenges and opportunities of this region without gliding into conflict and negative competition," he told reporters. The US Geological Survey says the Arctic region could hold 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas.The resources are expected to become increasingly accessible as the Arctic ice cap melts.The race for the riches -- which are still technically difficult to exploit -- has been accompanied by rising militarisation in the region. NATO has announced plans to play a growing role in the region, and Russia also plans to deploy military units there.Territorial claims in the Arctic came to the fore in 2007 when Russia planted its flag on the seabed some 4,000 meters (13,100 feet) beneath the North Pole."
(Yahoo News, 28 April) RD


Australia will spend more than 70 billion US dollars boosting its defences over the next 20 years in response to a regional military build-up and global shifts in power, the government said. A long-term strategic blueprint for the future of Australia's armed forces warned that war could be possible in the Asia-Pacific region in the next two decades, as emerging powers such as China flexed their military might." (Yahoo News, 2 May) RD

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Food for Thought

The futility of Reform. --The auto workers are finding out with avengeance what a recession means to wages and benefits. What has been gained over decades has been tossed out of the window in a heartbeat. In a deal with GM, the union was forced to accept the loss of semi-private hospital coverage, tuition programs, some bonuses, savings on vehicle purchases, drug dispensing costs, financial protection during layoffs, relief time in plants, and allow more ‘flexibility’ in the use of part time workers. Chrysler, asked for even more – a reduction in labour costs of $19 per hour, among other things. John Ayers

Saturday, May 02, 2009

May Day School

May Day School

Banks:Who needs them?

More info? Click image or here

Saturday 9 May 1.00pm till 5.00pm
Capitalism in Crisis:

1.00 - 2.15pm 2009: The Year of Economic Crisis.
Brian Gardner (Glasgow Branch)

2.15 - 3.30pm The Environment in Meltdown?
John Cumming (Glasgow Branch)

3.30 - 3.45pm Tea break

3.45 - 5pm Can Socialism Solve the problems?
Paul Bennett (Manchester Branch)
Community Central Hall 304 Maryhill Road Glasgow

Today Edinburgh tomorrow..

SPGB members and sympathisers will be out and about at the Mayday rallies in Edinburgh and Glasgow this coming weekend, distributing Socialist Standards and leaflets .

Mayday belongs to the workers – we have a world to win, and we can win it.



The World Bank recently estimated that 2.8 million children could die by 2015 if the global financial crisis is not checked. Commenting on this the Prime Minister Gordon Brown commented: "It is as if the entire population of Rome were to die in the next five years." (Times, 21 February) This from the leader of the Labour Party who vigorously defend the killer society that is the buying and selling of capitalism. Hypocrisy cannot go further surely when Gordon Brown suspends parliament debate because of the death of the child of one of his opponents in a vote catching move. He will not of course suspend the running of capitalism or its parliament about the possible death of 2.8 million kids.

Friday, May 01, 2009


Stoked by the relentless drive for profits every developed capitalist nation in the world is armed to the teeth in preparation for possible armed conflict with its rivals. Now it transpires that it is not only its rivals that should fear this growing arms race. Radioactive waste from the Faslane base is polluting the Clyde near the large city of Glasgow.
"Britain's nuclear submarine fleet has been hit by a series of serious safety breaches involving repeated leaks of radioactive waste, broken pipes and waste tanks at its home base on the Clyde, the Ministry of Defence has disclosed. In a confidential report released under the Freedom of Information Act, the MoD has admitted that safety failings at the UK's main nuclear submarine base at Faslane, near Glasgow, are a "recurring theme" and ingrained in the base's culture. The worst breaches include three leaks of radioactive coolant from nuclear submarines in 2004, 2007 and 2008 into the Firth of Clyde, while last year a radioactive waste plant manager was replaced. It emerged he had no qualifications in radioactive waste management."
(Guardian, 27 April) Truly, capitalism is a dangerous society. RD