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Showing posts from August, 2012

A WORLD WITHOUT NATIONALISM

During two world wars millions of workers died, often because they imagined they had a country. Today we find all over the world the same nonsense of nationalism. A hatred of people who do not speak the same language , behave differently or have a different life style. Here are some dreadful examples. "A French police were yesterday breaking up gipsy camps and deporting illegal immigrants found in them. .... One hundred people were evicted from a site in Lyon, with similar round-ups happening in other major cities including Marseille. deportations were aimed at ridding France of 'illegal' communities. ..... Greece has also begun a crackdown on immigrants, with Athens claiming the country faced an 'invasion'." (Daily Mail, 9 August) We are human beings we have no country. We are humans! RD

Thai Class

Numbers don't lie and show the social disparity in Thailand.

80% of land in the country is in the hands of only 10% of land owners. Economist used an indicator called the Gini index to measure the disparity. In the range of 0 to 1, the closer the index is to 1, the greater the disparity. On land ownership, the national disparity is .941, meaning the country is mired in a deep, deep problem with land ownership inequity. The biggest land owner has more than 2.8 million rai, the study found. For individuals, the top 20% own an average of 62.5 rai, which is 729 times higher than the lowest 20% who own an average of less than one rai.

The richest 20% own more than half of the value of all household assets ( which include houses, lands, cars and cash worth about 18 trillion baht.)

Stocks and shares are owned by only a handful of powerful business families.

Thai politicians are big landlords themselves. According to their declared assets with the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the MP…

THE HAVES AND THE HAVENOTS

Capitalism is a world-wide system and its basic set up applies everywhere so recent figures about wealth distribution should come as no surprise. "A study by the United Nations suggests the gap between the rich and the poor in much of Latin America is widening. The report by the UN Agency for Human Settlements says that the richest 20% of the population on average earn 20 times more than the poorest 20%." (BBC News, 22 August) RD

FUTURE PROSPECTS?

A constant theme pursued by supporters of capitalism is that modern society provides great opportunities for the youth of today, but recent statistics show that this is far from true. "One in six 16 to 24-year-olds in England were not in education, employment or training at the end of June this year, new figures show. .....With 968,000 young people out of education and employment or Neet, it is the second highest June rate for more than a decade." (BBC News, 22 August) RD

The Gravy Train

Malcolm Rifkind, former Cabinet minister takes home £246,359.27 per year on top of his Westminster salary. He is a director of asset management and farming companies, does consultancy work and makes media appearances, reportedly working on non-Westminster duties for an average of 15 hours a month. 

However, Gordon Brown was the top-earning MP, with £900,000 a year from work as an academic, author and speechmaker. 

Labour’s David Miliband earns £410,176.60 from speeches and consultancy work.

WHAT ARE THE OWNING CLASS UP TO?

Have you ever wondered what the owning class do in their spare time? After they have eaten the best possible meal, drunk the best possible wine and shagged the best possible film star they must get a bit fed up moving from one of their mansions in France or California - oops here is something to do. "An 1873 dime from Carson City, Nevada, is displayed on Friday, August 10, 2012, in Philadelphia. The dime sold at auction for $1.84 million. The rare coin was minted in Carson City, Nev., during a one-day run of dimes. An anonymous bidder won the pristine coin, said Chris Napolitano, president of Stack's Bowers Galleries, which auctioned it during an American Numismatic Association convention. ... "Generally speaking, in the coin auction business, you might get a couple of people fighting each other" as they bid, he said Friday. "On this one, we had four or five buyers over a million dollars. We had a fair amount of buyers pursuing it."…

THE CURSE OF NATIONALISM

The majority of people in China and Japan own little or nothing but their ability to work. They are members of the working class. This does not stop them from falling into the stupid nonsense of nationalism. "Anti-Japanese protests have taken place in cities across China after Japanese nationalists raised their country's flag on disputed islands.Thousands of people took to the streets in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and a number of other cities demanding that Japan leave the islands in the East China Sea. In Shenzhen, some demonstrators attacked Japanese restaurants and smashed Japanese-made cars." (BBC News, 19 August) With world socialism there will be no countries and none of this nonsense. RD

THE NATIONALIST ILLUSION

We live in a class-divided society, wherein a small minority own the means of producing and distributing wealth while the vast majority have to work for wages and salaries and produce the surplus value that the owning class live on. How do the owning class manage this con trick? One of their ploys is religion. You may be poor in this world but when you die you will go to paradise. Another diversion is nationalism. In the recent Olympic games the media played on this prejudice all over the world. "From table tennis and shooting to diving and swimming, the gold medals have poured in, and hundreds of millions of Chinese have been glued to the wall-to-wall coverage of the Games on state TV. ...."With each gold medal that China wins, I feel my heart leap," said saleswoman Huang Weiwei as she ate lunch in a Beijing fast-food restaurant, her eyes fixed on a wall-mounted TV showing the Games." (Yahoo News, 4 August) Nationalism is a wonderful illusi…

BAGS OF TROUBLE

The difference between the wealth enjoyed by the owning class and the working class is immense, but a recent example of how clueless the privileged elite are about this grotesque gap was recently exposed. "Marie Claire fashion director Nina Garcia sparked some shock yesterday, when she recommended that her Twitter followers spend 'a few weeks' salary' on an Hermes Birkin. The tweet read: 'This is the bag that you can spend a few weeks' salary on and not feel guilty. It is going to last you a lifetime.' Given that the accompanying link directed fans to the Moda Operandi website, where the luxury bags cost between $14,500 and $74,000, the statement revealed her to be vastly out-of-touch with the average American's earnings, which ring in at a more modest $26,364." (Daily Mail, 3 August)

IN PRAISE OF CAPITALISM

Every day in the press and on the TV we get the same message. That capitalism is a wonderful system and the only possible one, but it is doubtful if anyone has ever beaten the writer Charles Murray in his blatant support of the profit system. "From the dawn of history until the 18th century, every society in the world was impoverished, with only the the thinnest film of wealth on top. Then came capitalism and the Industrial evolution. Everywhere that capitalism took hold, national wealth began to increase and poverty began to fall." (Sunday Times, 12 August) This defence of capitalism makes no reference to its inevitable economic conflicts that lead to wars, to its world hunger in a world capable of feeding everyone and its staggering differences in wealth distribution. RD

The Pix and Mix Race

The last ice age ended relatively very quickly and by 9,000BC and possibly even earlier, the ice had gone. Between  8,500BC and 4,500BC, it was possible to walk to Scotland across the lost sub-continent of Doggerland, now submerged under the North Sea, and it looks as though that was when family bands of men, women and children reached the farthest north-west of Europe. Lying at the farthest north-western point of the vast Eurasian landmass, a place on the edge of beyond, Scotland had to be the end of many journeys, the narrowing or point of a huge funnel. Until the 16th century, it was not possible to go any further.

Tiny variations in our DNA can tell geneticists a great deal about our ancestry. These markers or lineages can be both dated and located in the part of the world where they arose. There are no fewer than 100 different male and female lineages present in the modern population. Scotland turns out to be a tremendously diverse nation. There is no Scots pedegree, just anothe…

SOCIALIST IDEAS

When did you first hear of the notion of a world without money or ownership? I think in my case it was about 1951 but this author had heard of it much later "Ken MacLeod, the well-known Scottish science fiction writer, has featured the Socialist Party of Great Britain in his novel The Stone Canal where an SPGBer answering the charge of sectarianism from a follower of Trotsky exclaims: "How can a member of a split from a split from a split from the Fourth International call us sectarian?" Every one should read The Stone Canal better still every one should read Anti-Duhring. What a beautiful new world is possible. RD

As Others See Us

Ken MacLeod, the well-known Scottish science fiction writer, has featured the Socialist Party of Great Britain in his novel The Stone Canal where an SPGBer answering the charge of sectarianism from a follower of Trotsky exclaims: "How can a member of a split from a split from a split from the Fourth International call us sectarian?"

He has made number of internet postings in defence of the Socialist Party against what he considered inaccurate criticisms and where he eloquently put the the Party's case although he has his own reservations about the SPGB.

1)"World Socialist Party are honest-to-goodness pre-World War I Second International-type "Maximalists." "

Ken MacLeod: They themselves don't identify with any current in the pre-WW1 Social Democracy, apart from the original Socialist Party of Canada, which had an 'impossibilist' majority. They acknowledge some commonality of analysis with present-day 'Left Communists', the situationis…

Over-worked footballers

Footballers play an increasing number of matches every season. Some teams are involved in two or even three competitions at the same time, leaving players with inadequate recovery time between matches. There is much information about how long it takes to replenish glycogen, the primary energy fuel for muscles during intense physical exertion, such as match play. Players’ glycogen levels can return to normal pre-match levels within 36 hours if they follow a proper dietary regimen, take the proper supplements, and get adequate rest. But glycogen replenishment is only one piece of the puzzle. Multiple physiological mechanisms play a vital role in a full recovery, and some of these parameters may actually take a week or longer to be normalized, depending on the load of physical exertion. For example, following exhaustive exercise, the immune system is depressed and several neurological mechanisms suffer changes. These changes are not fully understood, but they take time to be fully resto…

world capitalism

The Olympics has been a frenzy of patriotism for Team GB. No doubt when the Commonwealth Games arrive in Glasgow a similar outpouring of nationalism for the Scottish athletes can be expected. In the independence referendum we will also meet those illusory phrases “national economic interest,” “national security,” and “national unity.”  In the patriotic fog we will be urged to ignore class divisions and join with the bankers and bosses, sacrificing our own worker interests for the “good of the nation.”  The capitalist economy can never work for all of us, because it’s designed for the wealthy. To be patriotic, workers are told they must nobly sacrifice to save the economy and the nation. A load of Bull.
 Nationalists pit Scottish workers against their class allies in other countries. It’s a way of diverting workers’ anger toward other countries’ labourers and away from the real cause of the economic crisis — the profit system. We have much more in common with sweat-shop workers in Ind…
August branch meeting in the COMMUNITY  CENTRAL HALLS304 MARYHILL ROAD, 8.30pm“The Curse of Religion”Speaker John Cumming
Religious superstitions are not just silly outmoded belief systems, like astrology, fortune- telling and other stupid pastimes. They are dangerous delusions which can prevent understanding of the world as it really is. Whether it is the Voodoo Mumbo-jumbo coming from Rome, Mecca, or any other “holy” place, all religions are quite good at keeping workers appropriately deferential, docile, and slavish…Religions assert unreasonable and unreasoning certainty based upon no evidence whatever. Consequently, socialists cannot be believers in any form of religious superstition. John Cumming.

Food for thought

The development of drones is making war too easy to wage. David Kepes writing in the Toronto Star reports that drones are appealing because they save the lives that would otherwise be committed to action, it's easier to expend dollars than human lives and easier to get funding, and because if we can go to war for less, we will. Bright prospect to look forward to in the future!
On that topic, the American 'War from Above' touted to be so clean and accurate that it's almost anti-septic, was taken to task in The Toronto Star, June 23, 2012. According to the drone database compiled by the New American Foundation, the non-military fatality rate for Pakistan is seventeen per cent, not counting missile attacks such as the Majalah tragedy. The true count of civilian bodies will never be reported or known but it is heavy, even under Peace Nobelist Obama!
The Ontario budget finally passed. The ruling Liberals are in a minority position and so have had to …

A DISABLED SOCIETY

Capitalism is a cruel unfeeling society wherein profit is much more important than human compassion. "A private care home for severely disabled people put its own profits before basic humanity, a scathing inquiry into abuse has found. Regulators, police, social services and the NHS are all heavily criticised in an official report for failing to pick up warning signs about the treatment of patients at the Winterbourne View home in Gloucestershire. It was published after 11 members of staff at the home pleaded guilty to almost 40 charges of neglect and ill treatment of people with severe learning difficulties in their care." (Daily Telegraph, 7 August) The scandal only came to light after an undercover reporter for the BBC's Panorama programme filmed abuse taking place after being tipped off by Terry Bryan, a former senior nurse. The footage showed frail and confused residents being forcibly pinned to the ground by groups of staff, beaten, soaked wi…

Food for thought

The development of drones is making war too easy to wage. David Kepes writing in the Toronto Star reports that drones are appealing because they save the lives that would otherwise be committed to action, it's easier to expend dollars than human lives and easier to get funding, and because if we can go to war for less, we will. Bright prospect to look forward to in the future!
On that topic, the American 'War from Above' touted to be so clean and accurate that it's almost anti-septic, was taken to task in The Toronto Star, June 23, 2012. According to the drone database compiled by the New American Foundation, the non-military fatality rate for Pakistan is seventeen per cent, not counting missile attacks such as the Majalah tragedy. The true count of civilian bodies will never be reported or known but it is heavy, even under Peace Nobelist Obama!
The Ontario budget finally passed. The ruling Liberals are in a minority position and so have had to re…

THE ECONOMICS OF THE MAD HOUSE

There are many reasons why we should abolish the capitalist system of society and introduce world socialism, but surely there is no greater reason than this. "An unparalleled number of severe food shortages has added 43 million to the number of people going hungry worldwide this year. And millions of children are now at risk of acute malnutrition, charities are warning. ...... For the first time in recent history, humanitarian organisations have had to respond to three serious food crises – in West Africa, Yemen and East Africa – in the past 12 months, according to Oxfam. Almost a billion people are now hungry – one in seven of the global population – and the number of acutely malnourished children has risen for the first time this decade." (Independent, 5 August) While millions starve food is destroyed to keep up prices. Capitalism is a mad house. RD

Food for thought 2

In Britain, thieves are ripping up railway and telephone cables, stealing lead of church roofs, prying off manhole covers, blatantly carting away ramps for the disabled, and causing children to shiver in schools by stealing heating pipes. This is in response to a soaring demand for copper and lead as developing countries race to build skyscrapers, factories and other infrastructure. It's pointless to blame greed when it's endemic to the capitalist system.

Well, Egypt finally got its democracy -- you can choose who you like for President as long as we, the army aristocracy, get to vet all the
candidates and reject whoever we don't like, and as long as, when you have chosen a president, we get to suspend the elected assembly and make up our own constitution. That's what will happen until the working class realizes that only a socialist revolution will do the trick. John Ayers

Food for thought

In "Rich-Poor Divide in Toronto Hospitals", (Toronto Star, June 13) reporter, Carol Goar, highlights the findings of a recent survey. There are two -- "The first is that very low income people are using the parts of the health care system that are in its greatest crisis; the second is that to reduce hospital use, people need the ability to pay for healthy food, buy medicine, and live in a healthy place where they can receive home care." In other words, if you do not have the money you will not get the health care you need. Another example of capitalism's sickness!

Actress Halle Berry has been ordered to pay ex-husband, Gabriel Aubrey $240 000 a year to support their four-year old daughter..."in the comfortable surroundings she has become accustomed to." How many starving children would that feed. It makes one wonder if there isn't something wrong with the system under which we live!

A snippet in The Toronto Star recently fo…

SUB-STANDARD CARE

Many workers suffer awful social problems inside capitalism but undoubtedly the group that most feel the effects of its unfeeling cruelty are the old and the sick who have to rely on the state for treatment. "Complaints over care provision have risen by nearly a quarter in a year, a report said yesterday. The biggest complaint was the quality of care, with the poor attitude of some care staff also a common grievance, according to the Local Government Ombudsman for England. .... The Ombudsman said it had received more than 1,000 complaints about adult social care in the 2011/12 financial year – a 22 per cent rise on the previous year." (Daily Mail, 1 August) RD