Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
THE WORD REVOLUTION is almost as misused as the word Socialism. If a government is changed, a political leader is replaced, a coup takes place, and the media shout "revolution!" Indeed, if this usage of the word were correct, then revolutions occur every year and sometimes every month!
What is meant by "revolution" and why is this concept so important to the future of the working class? Revolution means a transformation in the object to which the term is being applied. If it is being used about society, then it means a total change in economic relations. The easiest example to understand is the revolution that took place to transform feudalism to capitalism. In feudal society the majority were tied to their superiors. Over and above what they produced for themselves and their families in order to live, the serfs were compelled to produce for their feudal masters and the Church. That form of society was transformed by a revolution into a societycapitalism--where there is no direct ownership of the lives of people by other people in the same way.
Capitalist society is organized on the basis that the worker sells his labour-power voluntarily to an employer for a wage or salary. In theory, no one is compelled to work for another. In practice, the majority must do so. They have no other means of living, since legally they do not own sufficient of the means of wealth production to enable them to live without this form of selling known as wage-labour.
In all forms of society, minorities have owned the means of living, with the result that the other classes have had to submit to the dictates of the minority whilst that particular form of society existed. Feudalism depended on agricultural production and personal subservience by the majority to clearly defined groups. Privilege in capitalism depends not on accidents of birth (though these can be of importance to the individual) but on the ownership of capital. Whilst in feudal society by and large it was birth that determined into which class one fell, in capitalist society it is purely a question of ownership of wealth however obtained.
The revolution that will change capitalism into socialism will involve the replacement of all the relationships of capitalism. Instead of the primary characteristics of, capitalism--production for profit, the buying and selling of all things including labour-power, and private (or state) ownership of wealth, society will be characterised by common ownership and of free access to that wealth. Production will be for human satisfaction only, hence neither money nor all the paraphernalia that goes with it, and will be based upon voluntary co-operation by all in the interests of all. To get to that form of society involves a transformation---a revolution. It is only in Socialism that man will solve the major problems he now faces. That is why the SPGB is a revolutionary party.
Because the next revolution must be the work of the majority consciously co-operating in the work that it will entail, a transformation in men's ideas is the pre-requisite to its successful implementation.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
41 per cent of permanent exclusions were among pupils from the 20 per cent of areas in Scotland with the highest levels of deprivation.
Scotland's suicide rate is higher than that for the UK as a whole, with a figure of 12.6 per 100,000 population compared with 9.51 per 100,000 population. Men are more likely to kill themselves than women, with rates particularly high for men aged 25-34 and those aged 35-44. Men and women living in the most deprived areas are twice as likely to take their own life as those in less deprived areas.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
In a survey, Working Less and Earning More' the Toronto Star reported (4/Sept/2010) that the average wage is $23.10 per hour ($19.93 in 2005) and average hours are 33.24 per week (down from 34.69 in 2000). The largest job increases came in the service sector where hardly anyone is offered a full week to save on benefit payments, and 82% said they would take a pay cut to work at a job that guaranteed a work-life balance.
Continuing from above (the prevailing ideas ) Charles C. Mann in "1491" shows how rulers change history to create allegiance to their cause, "Tlacaelel (ruler of the Mexica in ancient Mexico) insisted that in addition to destroying the codices (picture histories) of their former oppressors, the Mexica should set fire to their own codices. His explanation for this idea can only be described as Orwellian: "It is not fitting that our people/ Should know these pictures/ Our people, our subjects will be lost/ And our land destroyed/ For these pictures are full of lies". The lies were the inconvenient fact that the Mexica past was one of poverty and humiliation. To motivate the people properly, Tlacaelel said, the priesthood should rewrite Mexica history by creating new codices, adding in the great deeds whose lack now seemed embarrassing and adorning their ancestry with ties to the Toltecs and Teotihuacan." i.e. the Ministry of Truth is established to tell lies. Sounds familiar!
Further on, Mann describes how loyalty to the ruling class can be achieved, "In their penchant for ceremonial public slaughter, the Alliance (of Mexican tribes) and Europe were much more alike than either side grasped. In both places the public death was accompanied by the reading of ritual scripts. And in both the goal was to create a cathartic paroxysm of loyalty to the government in the Mexica case, by recalling the spiritual justification for the empire; in the European case, to reassert the sovereign's divine power after it had been injured by a criminal act."
For socialism and meaningful reading, John Ayers
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Iranian government had the audacity to demand a fair share of the profits of their oil, "The idea that leaders of poor countries would stand up and claim control of their own resources was something that Churchill could never grasp or sympathize with. The mere fact that some valuable resource was sitting under the soil of another country instead of British soil did
not mean that Britain shouldn't have it." Sounds just like a dozen other imperialist powers! John Ayers
Friday, October 08, 2010
Those so commemorated are the likes of merchant banker Joseph Rotman, pharmaceutical entrepreneur, Leslie Dan, and businessman, Peter Monk, chairman of Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold mining company. Unfortunately, those without money, even icons such as Tommy Douglas, recently voted the Greatest Canadian of All Time, and considered the
father of Canada's public health care system, do not get their names on walls as a group of professors found out when they proposed naming the Health Studies Program after Douglas. Presumably, being dead, he was unable to contribute hard cash, and didn't meet the requirements for potential fund raising. Peter Monk donated $35 million to help set up the
Monk school of Global Affairs. Linda McQuaig and Neil Brook reveal in their new book, "The Trouble with Billionaires" (reviewed in Toronto Star 12/Sept/2010) that Monk would receive a tax refund of $16 million on the donation, more if he donated the money in the form of shares, reducing his donation to about half. Various levels of government contributed $66million but that didn't count for anything when it came to naming the building. It gets worse. Monk's donation will be spread out over many years and will be subject to his family's approval of the school, i.e. socialist professors need not apply. The school's director will be required to report annually to a board appointed by Munk 'to discuss the programs, activities, and initiatives of the school in greater detail.' Obviously, the school will have to reflect the views of Munk, not those of taxpayer John Ayers, even though I contributed much more (without my consultation, of course.) It is fine to have freedom of speech, but that right to get your ideas and opinions heard depends on how much money you have, as all elections show. John Ayers
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
After going through a year-long strike with its workers, Brazilian mining giant, Vale Inco, is back in the news. They are preparing to dump 400 000 tons of toxic tailings into a Newfoundland Lake known for its prize-winning trout. Apparently, the federal Fisheries Act says that if a lake is re-classified as a 'tailings impoundment area' a company cannot be sued for dumping. Why is there such a loophole anyway, one might ask? Vale thinks it is doing nothing wrong and is complying with the law. The second part may be quite true but this is where we ask, for whom does your government work? And, it is just these companies and this government on whom we must rely to put our polluted planet right! John Ayers
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
every six seconds. Dwyer sees progress in key areas such as literacy, access to clean water, and infant mortality, yet sees a rising population as a barrier to bringing everyone up to Northern Hemisphere standards. Pollution, global warming, and resource depletion would put a halt to any rise in living standards of the Third World. Neither, of course, can think outside the capitalist box and promote a complete reorganization of the economic and social systems under which we live today. To them a shared world of the provision of all needs for all to replace the total madness of capitalist production is not a consideration. It's about time that it
was! John Ayers
Monday, October 04, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
“I’m just a wee person from the east end of Glasgow...They said well we’re just going to grass the site over. I said, listen, do not tell me that in the East End of Glasgow, near the city centre, that all this land is going to be grassed over. It all boils down to money. I know the way everything gets sold, the bricks, everything, the land will get sold"
Later, when Glasgow bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it became clear that the building, like many others around it, stood in the way of the Athlete’s Village. This development of approximately 38 hectares will be adjacent to the new National Indoor Sports Arena and cycling Velodrome. According to the brief to the consortia of companies bidding for the development rights for the Village, the site should ultimately contain around 1,200 homes. The significant majority of these will be sold in the open market after the Games.
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