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Showing posts from May, 2013

The ILP Poodle

The Independent Labour Party in 1922 returned several MPs, among them James Maxton, David Kirkwood, John Wheatley and John McGovern, who had provided Clydeside with the nick-name “Red Clydeside”. They were sent to Westminster in a wave of left-wing enthusiasm. Some had been imprisoned either, like Maxton, for sedition (interfering with army recruitment in wartime) or for involvement what became known as “The Battle of George’s Square”. They had taken part in some of the most bitter class struggles experienced by Britain in the early20th century and they had garnered a credible working class following.

However, they were dominated by ideas of the reform of capitalism rather than by the determination to destroy capitalism. We need not accept Engels overly enthusiastic optimism of the founding of the ILP that it was “the very party which the old members of the International desired to see formed” (Workmans Times, 25 March 1893)

The I.L.P. may have used the language of radicals but inste…

A Greek Tragedy

David Smith in an otherwise critical review of the book The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills praises the authors for this piece of information.'Take Greece, the worst-hit of Europe's crisis economies, which is now in its sixth year of recession. With unemployment at 27%, the suicide rate has soared. Deep cuts in health spending have led to not only to a severe rationing of basic treatments and medicines, but also to an increase in malaria and HIV.' (Sunday Times, 26 May) An increase in suicides, malaria and HIV - isn't capitalism wonderful. RD

Back in the Olden Days

Scene: Museum
Young child
Old person

Child pointing at display case exhibiting coins and currency notes.

"What's these?"

"Well, that was money?"

"What did it do?"

"Money was to buy and sell things. A means of exchange"

"What does buying and selling mean?"
" It'll take a lot of time to explain it all so for the time being, try to understand just this difference. Nowadays, as and when we feel hungry, what do we do? We just take what we need from where it is stored; and that's all, simply because we all have free access to them, we all collectively own and control them. But in those days when only a few people privately owned and controlled all means of production and distribution, the vast majority of us had little or nothing to own or control but our ability to work, which we were obliged to sell for a wage or a salary which was always less in terms of value than what we produced, and then we had to spend the money thu…

Hard labour, labouring in vain

The Labour Representation Committee was born in 1900. At its founding conference the leadership of the ILP had specifically opposed a motion from the SDF that the LRC be an organisation of “class war”. In 1905/6 the LRC was re-formed as the Labour Party. At party gatherings and conferences, the socialists as such played no part whatever; in the deliberations and councils of Labour their voices were scarcely heard. Labour Party conferences were little more than second supplementary trades union congresses. In 1918 it adopted a new constitution that included what was to become Clause 4, a commitment to nationalisation. The concept of “the nation” owning anything is meaningless, little more than a constitutional justification for control by a State bureaucracy.

A Heartless System

Another example of Asian outsourcing in order to boost profits was revealed recently. Cambodian police used cattle prods to stun workers protesting over pay at a a factory that makes clothing for US sportswear company Nike - injuring at least 23 women and causing one to miscarry her baby. 'Police dressed in riot gear were deployed to move around 3,000 predominately female workers who had blocked a road outside their factory owned by Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing in Kampong Speu province, west of the capital, Phnom Peuh, in Cambodia today.' (Daily Mail, 27 May) According to the International Monetary Fund, garments account for 75 per cent of Cambodia's total exports of $5.22 billion in 2011. When the international capitalist class are raking in profits like that who cares about an unborn child? RD

Not so confidential

A leading Scots GP claims the NHS is profiting from allowing pregnant women's details to be sold to commercial companies, often without their full knowledge or consent. Glasgow GP Dr Margaret McCartney also warns that the NHS and professional bodies such as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) are guilty of a conflict of interest by collaborating in the advertising of thousands of products to pregnant women and new mothers.

She also criticises Bounty, a promotions company which supplies 2.6 million Bounty bags a year to new mothers, including 812,000 newborn packs distributed through NHS maternity wards. Many of the mothers who sign up to receive Bounty Bags while in hospital are not aware they are agreeing to their email address and telephone number being used by commercial companies, she argues. In some cases they do not even realise the person collecting the information is not an NHS employee, while …

The "Genuine" Independence Fantasy

According to Jim and Margaret Cuthbert, leading economists whose work on the Scottish economy has been regularly cited by the SNP, it is “not feasible that anything approaching independence can emerge from the current referendum”.

They argue “genuine” independence is required to challenge “vested interests” – from the world of finance, land-owners and the European Union – which they argue have been “flattered and reassured, and...protected” by the SNP.

We shouldn’t really be surprised by this statement. After all, part of the socialist case against nationalism is that the State, regardless of who forms the government, represents the ruling class.

We would take issue with the economists' forlorn and doomed hope that through “genuine” independence Scotland would have the power to take on those vested interests. The Cuthberts argue that any reform has to “threaten, and probably displace, some or all of the vested interests which currently hold sway”

Just what is “genuine” independ…

Dictatorship of the Proletariat Versus Dictatorship of the Party

Marx and Engels visualised socialism as the highest stage of human society not for the few, but for the benefit of humanity as a whole. The socialist commonwealth would liberate the individual from all economic, political and social oppression, and would provide the basis, for real liberty and for the full and harmonious development of the personality, giving full scope for the growth of the creative faculties of the mind.

Marx said: “The proletarian movement is the self-conscious independent movement of the immense majority in the interest of the immense majority.” And further: “The first step of the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class and to win the battle of democracy.”

If the dictatorship of the proletariat is the dictatorship of the immense majority of the people, why should this majority desire to destroy democracy? For Marx the dictatorship of the proletariat meant the democratic rule of the proletarian majority.
Marx and…

One Law for the rich, another for the poor

Both the Faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland have criticised the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill. The Faculty of Advocates warned that the reform will create a system where those who can afford it receive the best legal representation, while those on legal aid will suffer.

People relying on legal aid would automatically be represented by an advocate in the Court of Session, but in the sheriff court that would only happen in “exceptional” cases, it claimed. The faculty said in a statement:
“The effect of these combined measures will, in the view of the faculty, fundamentally undermine both access to justice and equality of representation...The proposal would in effect deprive individuals on low and moderate incomes and SMEs [small and medium sized businesses] with serious cases, of the right and ability to instruct an advocate. This aspect of the proposal would favour wealthy and corporate litigants, who can afford to instruct counsel, over ordinary people and would cr…

The State of Capitalism

The State is the coercive public power of society and is bound up with the existence of classes. Before classes came into being there was no State. When classes cease to exist there will be no State. Some societies without States have continued to exist right up to our own times such as among the Indians of the Amazon. We find a social organisation, but nothing corresponding to the State. Order in these communities is maintained spontaneously without any system or apparatus of coercion, notwithstanding the number of common affairs to be adjusted, because their institutions did, not give rise to any antagonism between categories of individuals, for all were free and equal. However socialists do not aspire to return back to this way of life. It is simply mentioned to demonstrate the existence of organised societies without a State.

As soon as there are in a society a possessing class and a dispossessed class there exists in that society constant conflict. The owning class to ensure th…

A Dog's Life?

The abject poverty suffered by many workers in Asia is made even more indefensible by the immense wealth of the owning class. It is doubtful if you find a worse example of the flouting of extraordinary wealth than the following. 'The richest client at the Scooby Scrub pet salon in affluent south Delhi is a long-haired pekinese. Owned by a wealthy family, the dog has an air-conditioned bedroom, a car and three uniformed servants to carry it and stop its paws touching the ground.' (Sunday Times, 26 May) RD

The Worker's Lot

You are an employee, a diligent worker, and have served the company loyally for a number of years. Your pay was not particularly high, but you managed to survive and raise a family. You are a decent and law-abiding citizen.

Then one fine day you are informed your services are no longer needed. In plain words: you are redundant. There is a recession, they say. “Nobody is to blame. Business is bad,” they say.
The employer has no more work for you. He scaling back production or closing down the plant altogether. While you remain without a livelihood, the CEO goes to his country estate or abroad to his villa in the Sun to have a good time. He is still well-off, recession or no recession. These hard times has not made a single chairman of the board or director of the large corporations homeless to beg in the streets. Your ex-boss does not care what will happens to you. You no longer are employed by the company and therefore no longer exist for it. The company has no obligations towards t…

Good health, but at what price?

A woman awaiting a transplant for a rare condition, atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS), an inherited condition that has destroyed her kidneys had her operation cancelled at the 11th hour because the Government refused to pay for the drug she needs to prevent the organ being rejected. Up to 70 patients are in the same position. They have been forced to put their lives on hold, and risk their condition deteriorating, while ministers and officials argue over whether the NHS can afford the drug, Eculizumab, which costs more than £300,000 per patient per year. The health minister, Earl Howe, rejected a recommendation from an expert committee that the drug be "routinely provided nationally".

Instead, Earl Howe referred the drug for further investigation by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which took over responsibility for treatments for rare diseases. Nice has yet to explain how it is going to assess drugs for rare diseases. Nice's verdi…

Reformism - On the right track?

The immediate goal of reformists is legislative palliatives . The immediate goal of the Socialist Party is the social revolution. We rebel against capitalist society not in the name of abstract principles of justice or equality but for the effective emancipation of humanity where workers will take possession of the means of life without paying tribute and without serving anyone. We believe that the organisation of society should be from the bottom up and that workers must organise it themselves. The workers have no need of chiefs and are quite capable of delegating one of their own with a particular task.

Reformism is the politics of here and now, of concessions and compromise, of collaboration and accommodation. As the politics of here and now, reformism shapes those who pursue it, it shapes their organisations, and shapes their relations with the working class. People place their hope in their representatives in Parliament. They believe that hoped-for successes require only their …

The Unions and Political Parties

The Socialist Party claims that the wealth of society is created by the workers. The working class alone does the world’s work, has created its wealth, constructed its mills and factories, made its roads, laid its rails, spanned the rivers with bridges and tunnelled through mountains. The workers alone by the labour of their brawn or the effort of their brains are essential to society.

The Socialist Party claims that the workers, through their work-place committees, industrial unions, and federated communes or whatever other means of decision-making and administration society chooses to use, will organise and control all the processes of wealth production. The Socialist Party carry the struggle to achieve this on the political field in order to challenge the power which the present ruling class wields through its domination of the State which it wins at the ballot box. By its victory at the ballot box, and its consequent political domination, the capitalists are able to subjugate lab…

A Grave Injustice

The Church of Scotland is to investigate the issue of so-called “funeral poverty” caused by the sharp rise in the cost of burial plots and other associated charges.

Rev Sarah Ross, minister of Forth St Paul’s Parish Church in South Lanarkshire said that her local authority demanded £1,883 up front to carry out a burial, a 183 per cent rise in South Lanarkshire over the cost of burial in 2009, and compares to a cost of a cremation in a council-run crematorium of just £565. Ms Ross accused the council of acting in a “mercenary” way. She said. “In my area, I believe that the council is targeting vulnerable people at the most vulnerable time to make money the easiest possible way.”
Depute Clerk of Lanark Presbytery, Rev Bryan Kerr backed Ms Ross. “We are concerned that local authorities are charging what seems to us to be exorbitant fees for burials,” he said. He said some families may put off burying their loved ones because they cannot raise up-front costs of burial.

How to Stop War

The SNP has announced its future programme to commemorate the First World War.

Alex Salmond said :
"By reflecting on these devastating events, and the consequences they had for communities the length and breadth of Scotland, we will help people of all ages in this country understand more about the futility of war and strengthen our resolve to never let a tragedy like the Great War happen again."

The most common mistake made in the attempt to explain war comes from the belief that this exists somehow independent of capitalism and that it is an aberration or even accidental. War is not the cause of the troubles of society. The opposite is true. War is a symptom and result of the irreconcilable troubles and conflicts of the present form of society, that is to say, of capitalism. The supposed moral, religious, racial and ideological disguises that war garbs itself with should not be allowed to hide the the true cause of modern war.

The only way to fight against war is to fight…

Growing Consciousness

Capitalism has become an obsolete oppressive system that ought to be got rid off but the old social order won’t simply disappear of its own accord. Its removal is dependent upon its replacement by socialism. Capitalism itself created the possibility and the necessity of socialism as well as creating the class capable of introducing socialism, the working class. There was no doubt in the minds of pioneers of socialism as to the future. They recognised the slave condition of the workers in capitalism and had faith in the worker’s power and capacity to abolish the slavery and build a new society of free people in a classless society. A relatively small minority recognise this as most people continued trying to satisfy their needs within the system rather than by overthrowing it.
"The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority," Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto.


A Bleak Future

There is a popular image of old age painted by press, TV and advertising companies of elderly people surrounded by adoring grandchildren in rocking chair contentment, but according to a recent study by Prudential it is far from the truth. One in five people retiring in Britain in 2013 will fall below the income poverty line , and nearly a quarter of women will enter retirement entirely dependent on the basic state pension. 'One in seven (14%) people planning to retire in 2013 will depend on the state pension, currently a maximum of £110.15 a week, as they have no other pension arranged. Among women the figure rises to 23% compared to 8% of men. Even those with a small private pension may still be below the poverty line, which the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates to be £8,254 a year for a single pensioner in the UK. Prudential found that 18% of people retiring this year would have an income below that level.' (Guardian, 22 May) RD

Ye are many-- they are few

We were sold a dream of a fictitious caring, sharing Welfare State. We were told that if we studied and worked hard we would be promised a well-paid job which would be enough to pay for a comfortable home to raise a family. Workers have been finding out that this was all a lie. The question now is what happens next.

We have had all the failed palliatives meant to patch up the flaws and faults of the system. We have had New Deals, Old Deals and Raw Deals in abundance. But although things could get worse, we shouldn’t completely despair. Social change is happening. The stories of the poor and the nearly poor, and the hardships they endure, are now being told. The anti-austerity and Occupy protests have introduced (or more accurately re-introduced) resistance, challenging the centres of power and calling for the re-building of society. Trade unions are once again discovering their back-bone and asserting their industrial muscle. Everything is in motion and we ourselves are that movemen…

Two Different Americas

Larry Ellison, the Oracle Corp. chief executive has bought nearly two dozen properties in the Malibu beach area. 'Ellison has spent an estimated $200 million to $250 million through at least nine purchases, in one case of multiple homes, on coveted Carbon Beach.' (Los Angeles Times, 5 May) 'The US may be the richest country in the world but 44m of its citizens rely on food stamps. One in every two children receive federal food assistance. And when stamps give you food buying power of just $3 a day, practically the only groceries you can buy are processed junk.' (Guardian, 8 May) This contrast of wealth and poverty is only possible in a production for profit society and surely needs to be abolished now. RD

Who are the revolutionaries?

Maximising profit and maintaining social control are the two priority tasks of the ruling class. Centuries of struggle and sacrifice were required to wrest the vote from the clutches of the landed gentry and the big business bosses and to place it in the hands of workers. It has now become fashionable amongst so-called socialists to denounce democracy, parliamentarism and democratic forms of government as obsolete. All manner of schemes for the“reform” of the democratic machine has been devised to not simply supplement but instead to supersede Parliament. Yet it has been the abuse and not the use of its power that has been responsible for the faults of parliamentarianism. The political ignorance of working men and women forged their own chains and they have been the unconscious authors of their own misery.

Workers fall victim of the false promises of the capitalist parties and their campaign publicists and lobbyists who snare the votes of deluded and unthinking workers. Professional …

Empty Rhetoric

Tremendous press coverage always follows parliamentary debates and legislation. Politicians always emphasise its importance and of course their own importance. 'The Child Poverty Act of 2010 holds the government accountable for reducing child poverty. On Wednesday, new figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies show that not only are they failing to do so, the numbers of children living in poverty will actually rise, from 2.4 million to 3.4 million by 2020 – the date that was set for the elimination of child poverty in the UK.' (Guardian, 8 May) So after all that pompous talk and so-called erudition what is the result? More kids are living in poverty than before the brilliant legislation. RD

Understanding class

There are two classes in society - the one possessing wealth and owning the means of its production, the other making the wealth by using those tools and technology but only with the permission and only for the benefit of the possessors. These two classes are necessarily in opposition to one another. We have before us today, in capitalist society, masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited but to put it more bluntly, robbers and the robbed. Two economic forces whose interests ceaselessly clash, are pitted against each other. These two classes can never be reconciled and it is this that we call the class struggle. Workers, be they “white” or “blue” collar, skilled or unskilled, because they are workers, cannot survive except by selling their labouring power. Yet were it not for the working class, the whole social fabric would collapse in an instant. It is they who do the useful work. It is they who produce the wealth.

UCS - A Brave Defence

“We don't only build ships on the Clyde, we build men. They have taken on the wrong people and we will fight." - Jimmy Reid

Occupations and sit-ins in Britain have been primarily used as a defensive method in union struggles as a means to oppose redundancies in a more determined manner. Occupying work-places are seen as a tactical improvement on conventional striking. After all, It’s warmer sitting-in, rather than standing outside picketing .

The Upper Clyde Shipyards Shipyards (UCS) work-in of 1971–72 posed, implicitly if not explicitly, the question of workers’ control of industry. Sit-in strikes challenges property rights and no matter how temporary, it does represent a seizure of ‘company property’ which is held ransom until the workers’ demands are hopefully met. No employer likes the idea of having their property seized, or having their plant used as bargaining power. But if the occupation is peaceful and unlikely to spread, why risk confrontation by management instiga…

Barriers To Socialism

There are many barriers to the ideas of socialism but at least one of them seems to be weakening. 'One in four people no longer believes in any religion, official analysis of national census returns found yesterday. It revealed Christianity is in decline and Christians are increasingly likely to be older or retired people. Many young people, young men in particular, appear to be rejecting religious belief altogether. Nearly one in three under-25s – 32 per cent – say they do not have a religion.' (Daily Mail, 17 May) Now we have to get rid of some of the other barriers - patriotism, racialism, sexism before we can get rid of the worst ism. Capitalism! RD

The Real Union Question

Have no illusions about the role of governments, the police or the law - the defence of capitalism and exploitation is the main function of the capitalist state.

Both Marx and Engels advised the workers to unite in trade unions and fight for improved wages and shorter hours. In these struggles, victories would be won. The workers could wring concessions out of the capitalists. “Now and then”, the Communist Manifesto explained “the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever-expanding union of the workers.”

The hand-to-mouth existence of the workers has never made it easy to strike for higher wages and better working conditions. The employers can recuperate lost profits, the workers’ lost wages cannot. As long as the capitalist system exists, the bosses will always try to take back what they have been forced to concede. They will continually try to step up the exploitation of the working class in orde…

Young and without a future

A report for the Scotland Institute – The Changing Face Of Youth Unemployment In Scotland 1992 To 2012 – found that over the past two decades, youth employment has gone from being characterised as consisting of stable, relatively well-paid work with career prospects to short-term, part-time, poorly paid work with limited long-term prospects.

Report author Dr Roger Cook, the research director at the institute, said: “Twenty years of sustained removal of employment protection and the casualisation of work has created a situation where young people are becoming trapped in low-paid work with limited longer-term opportunities... This is the conscious outcome of an approach to the labour market over 20 years that has stressed flexibility and ignored the impact of this on people’s working lives or standard of living. Those who are relatively well educated are finding jobs but those jobs are less likely to offer a career, progression, security or a decent wage than was the case even in the de…

Cricket And Capitalism

Capitalism distorts everything it touches including sport. 'Legendary Indian batsman Rahul Dravid has spoken of his anguish after three players from the team he captains in the Indian Premier league were arrested over allegations of spot-fixing. The Rajasthan Royals captain said he was "shocked" at S. Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila's arrests. On Thursday, a court sent the players into police custody for five days.' (BBC News, 17 May)Dravid may well be in anquish but he can't be that surprised, for last year Indian cricket officials suspended five players after a sting by undercover TV reporters purported to show cricketers agreeing to bowl no-balls and spot-fix matches. And in 2011, three top Pakistani players - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - were banned after they were found guilty of involvement in a betting scam. RD

Two Different Worlds

Socialism is a society wherein every human being capable of it works according to their ability and in return takes according to their needs. Capitalism is a society wherein a small minority own the means of production and distribution and where the majority must work for a wage or a salary and produce a surplus value enjoyed by the small minority. So how is capitalism faring today? 'The unemployment rate in Britain has risen for the third successive quarter, with 15,000 more people jobless and looking for work in the three months to March. The total rose to 2.75 million, pushing the official unemployment rate up to 7.8 per cent of the workforce.' (Times, 16 May) Nearly 3 million people are stopped from producing wealth today in Britain. Think of a world socialist society and how much more productive it could be than a production for profit society like capitalism. RD

La Belle Sansculotte


She is coming, O my masters, she is coming in her might,
With the red flag o’er her legions and her sword sharp, clean and bright;
She is breaking through your dungeons, she is tearing off your chain,
She is coming to take vengeance without mercy once again!

She is coming, O my masters, with a new might in her arms,
Her vision clear, unclouded by a dying Satan’s charms;
She is coming in hate’s beauty, with love’s fierceness in her eye,
Like a maddened mother hast’ning where your tortured child-slaves die!

She is coming, O my masters, with her strong, steel-muscled hands,
She is reaching for your factories, your gardens and your lands;
She is calling to her standard all the sons of grief and toil,
She is promising your soldiers all your stolen wealth for spoil.

She is coming, O my masters! ’Neath her red, triumphal arch,
Lo! the guards that now surround you in her rebel ranks shall march!
She is coming as forever and forever she has come,
Arm in arm with Hope and F…

Our Benevolent Masters

The owning class and all their "experts" are always trying to improve the health of the working class, so the following report should come as no surprise to anyone. 'Research by the the Institute of Economic Affairs found that both mental and physical health can suffer, and that the Government should help people work longer and raise the state pension ages. The study - Work Longer, Live Healthier: The Relationship Between Economic Activity, Health And Government Policy - shows there is a small boost in health immediately after retirement but that, over the longer term, there is a significant deterioration. It suggests retirement increases the likelihood of suffering from clinical depression by 40 per cent and the chance of having at least one diagnosed physical condition by about 60 per cent.' (Daily Telegraph, 16 May) Despite this touching concern for the health of the working class the owning class seem to live long and healthy lives without…

Life Is Cheap In Capitalism

The recent loss of over 1,000 worker's lives in a Bangladesh factory is not peculiar to that country. 'Cambodian clothing industry workers have been killed in the partial collapse of the shoe factory where they worked, adding to the loss of life in the Asian industry of making garments for the west. ...........Authorities told the Associated Press that two bodies had been pulled from the wreckage and at least seven people were injured, while a union official speaking to the Reuters news agency put the death toll at six or more. There were estimates of up to 50 people trapped in the wreckage.' (Guardian, 16 May) Reports say it is unclear how many people remain trapped. Capitalism in its drive for greater and greater profits roves the world and Asia is an attractive source of cheap unprotected labour. The garment industry is Cambodia's biggest export earner. In 2012 more than $4bn worth of products were shipped to the United States and Europe. R…

Man from the Pru

Chief executive Tidjane Thiam remuneration for last year totalled £7.8 million.

He was censured by the Financial Services Authority in March after Prudential was fined £30m for two regulatory breaches relating to its aborted £23 billion acquisition of Asia-based AIA three years ago.

Shareholder Ian Michel told Prudential's annual shareholder meeting in London: "It seems to me that the executive pay is very high. I have no doubt everybody works very hard but the word 'greedy' is not entirely removed from my mind."

Another described Mr Thiam's pay as "obscene".

Steve O'Donnell, a representative of staff union Unite at Prudential UK, which has a large site at Craigforth, Stirling, questioned the bonus payout to Mr Thiam in light of the FSA fine.

State ownership or common ownership

The term “State capitalism” (sometimes misleadingly designated as State Socialism) is an economic form in which the state performs the role of the capitalist employer, for instance the Post Office(at least for the moment). Under State ownership or State control of industry, the exploitation of wage workers continues. Surplus-values are appropriated by the capitalist class just the same. The government now functions as the exploiting agent of the capitalists who receive their incomes in the form of interest on government bonds or on loans to the government. Although the exploitation may be less direct, the profits go to the capitalists as formerly. The workers are not any better off. That is what Engels meant when he said, “State ownership does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces.” Millions of employees are now in the State sector and the capitalist class are just as rich while the working class are just as insecure and just as poor, as before. But state …

The Madness Of Capotalism

We are constantly being told that we are living in a time of economic recession and must learn to tighten our belts. That advice is not paid much attention to by the owning class.'An enormous Gerhard Richter painting of Milan's Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) that was commissioned to cheer up the offices of the electronics conglomerate Siemens sold for $37m (£24m) on Tuesday, setting a new auction record for a living artist. .........It was bought by a Napa Valley vineyard owner, Donald Bryant, who punched his fist in the air after successfully buying the Richter at Sotheby's big contemporary art sale in New York.' (Guardian, 15 May) In case you think the owning class are mad to pay such prices for a painting it should be pointed out that the Milan painting was sold by the Hyatt hotel group achieving a price 10 times higher than they paid for it in 1998. It is not the art buyers that are mad - it is the capitalist system. RD

Transcending the trade union struggle

The working class are as our Chartist forefathers were not afraid to call it, a class of wages slaves. Yet today we are less preoccupied with the abolition of the wages system than ever. Reformists attempt to mollify inhuman social relations whilst preserving them intact. The old cry for a fair day’s pay echoes repeatedly time and time again. The essence of working-class enslavement is not impoverishment. Whether a worker’s wages be high or low his existence is imposed. It is necessary to abolish the basic condition of modern exploitation, wage slavery.

The old conceptions in the labour movement have become faulty and inadequate and working class organisations offer indecision and confusion, and are reduced to impotence.

Karl Marx counseled the working class many years ago that “they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, ‘abolition of the wages system.’ ”

When we fight for a demand like a wage increase, we are merely fighting against the effects of capitali…

The poor once again pay the rich

The Duke of Roxburghe could net £1.5 million a year from a wind farm on the Lammermuir Hills. The Earl of Moray is estimated to receive £2 million a year from a wind farm near Stirling. The Earl of Glasgow could be earning upwards of £300,000 a year from turbines on his Kelburn estate. These hang-overs from our feudal past earn large sums by renting their land to wind-turbine energy firms whose wind farms are in turn subsidised by extra levies on ordinary electricity consumers.

Alison Elliot, chair of the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), said the issue would be investigated amid concerns that aristocrats are benefiting from the renewables revolution while the poor grapple with fuel­poverty. Dr Elliot told Sir Robert Clerk of Penicuik, a consultant for Smith Gore and a landowner at the centre of a storm over plans for wind turbines on his estate: “Land is implicated in providing food, space for housing and in overcoming fuel poverty.“We are an energy rich country so why do we have fu…

A taxing question

Amazon paid less in UK corporation tax last year than it received in government grants, its official company accounts show.
Its corporation tax bill was just £2.44m – less than the £2.5m it received from the Scottish Government in inducements to build a new distribution warehouse in Dunfermline.

Its corporation tax bill was just £2.44m – less than the £2.5m it received from the Scottish Government in inducements to build a new distribution warehouse in Dunfermline.

Alex Salmond has previously spoken of what he described as an “historic” deal that saw Amazon set up a distribution centre in Dunfermline, alongside its customer call centre in Edinburgh.
Peter Walsh, Scottish spokesman for union Unite, warned the latest Amazon tax payments were a “drop in the ocean” compared to its vast UK sales figures. “We desperately need to look at tax reform and how to achieve tax justice,” he said. “The taxes they pay, combined with the fact they are a low-wage, low-skills employer, poses the quest…

Sunday Morning Hypocrisy

On a Sunday morning throughout England the man of God in the pulpit will attack those who place reliance on material gains. 'Thirst not after the material things of life. Blessed are the poor.' he will declaim. That's all very well for lecturing his gullible flock but in real life the church is less unworldly. 'The Church of England will announce some of its best financial results in recent years today, with a 9.7 per cent return on investments for 2012. ........... The Church commissioners manage £5.5 billion in assets for the Church of England. (Times, 15 May) RD

who owns the north pole - part 58

China, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Singapore have been permanent observer status on the Arctic Council.

The Arctic Council has until now been an organisation for the environmental sectors of government but you are moving into real politics and that's a different game explained Leiv Lunde , a former special envoy on energy and climate change at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Socialism = Communism

The Socialist Party repudiates any differentiation between socialism and communism. Socialism is communism, and vice versa. The words socialism and communism have the same meaning. Both entail the total abolition of money, buying and selling, and the wages system, a complete breach, both in practice and in ideas, with capitalism. They indicate a condition of society in which the wealth of the community: the land and the means of production and distribution are held in common, production being for use and not for profit. The community will ascertain what are the requirements of the people in food, clothing, housing, transport, educational and cultural facilities. Food, clothing, housing, transport, sanitation — these come first. Then will follow the luxuries.

It means the community must set itself the task of providing rather more than the people can use of all the things that the people need and desire, and of supplying these when and as the people require them. Socialism shall satis…