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Showing posts from July, 2013

Blowing the whistle on freedom

The Socialist Standardwrote:
"Your brain is the greatest weapon you possess; your ability to communicate is your tool of liberation; thinking, speaking and organising democratically and intelligently you are a force that cannot be defeated."

Falkirk - Labour Party Attacking the Unions

After all the headlines about the Falkirk MP-selection rigging by the Unite union have  Radio Scotland described the row as “much ado about nothing”, reflecting the view of the police who said they would not investigate the allegations due to lack of evidence.

Investigative reporter Hannah Barnes said: “There was, as far as we can see, no major vote rigging scandal in Falkirk. And there will be no police prosecutions. The selection debacle there was much ado about nothing. But it was the catalyst – some might say excuse – for a historic shift in Labour’s financial relationship with the unions. The battle for Falkirk will soon be forgotten but the consequences for Labour will be felt for many years to come.”

Apart from Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman (and a handful of senior party staff), almost no-one involved in the key decisions about Falkirk, have been allowed to read the full report of the party’s secret investigation that was conducted by one member of the party compliance unit a…

The gravy train

Former Glasgow Govan Labour MP Mohammad Sarwar is to be appointed governor of Punjab, the largest state in Pakistan. Its governor is considered to the the third most senior figure in the government of Pakistan. 

Sarwar's son, Anas Sarwar, went on to win the Westminster seat vacated by his father in the May 2010 general election. He was appointed deputy leader of the Scottish Labour party in 2011.

Socialist Work

The basis of all societies is the production of goods necessary to life. In the present time, production is dominated by the capitalist, possessor of money, owner the factory and the machines, buyer of the raw materials, the hirer of the workers who  produce the goods which then can be sold and provide the capitalist with profit and privilege. Labour relations under capitalism is a system of squeezing, workers must be driven to the utmost exertion of their powers, either by punitive powers or by the more gentler arts of persuasion. So long as we have wage slavery it matters not in the least how debasing and degrading a task may be, it is easy to find people to perform it. Under capitalism the majority of human beings are not human beings at all, but simply machines of flesh for the creating of wealth for others.

Private property is the enemy of human happiness, for it creates inequality and established authority serves no other purpose than the sanctioning of property property. Socia…

Expoloitation In Action

Apple likes to portray itself as an ultra-modern progressive firm but its exploitation of workers can beat anything from the 19th century. It uses Pegatron factories in China to manufacture iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. 'An undercover investigation of three Pegatron factories employing 70,000 workers found 76 legal and ethical breaches, including poor conditions, withheld pay, forced illegal overtime and safety and environmental abuses, according to China Labor Watch, a leading workers' rights group.' (Times, 30 July) The report  goes on to say that the average hourly wage of Pegatron factory workers is 97p per hour and that Apple's weekly revenue at the end of last year was £2.7bn. RD

No American Dream

Social mobility in America is practically non-existent. The New York Times reveals that American children have very little chance of climbing out of the social and economic class that they’re born into.

According to the NYT study, a third of Americans studied who grew up in the top 1 percent made $100,000 by the age of 30. Only 1 out of every 25 Americans who grew up in the bottom half of America’s income distribution was making the same amount at the same age.

Income inequality has increased in nearly every state in the country over the past three decades.

The incomes for the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans are eight times greater than those at the bottom 20 percent.

Real wages have been falling for decades. What the corporations want is a surplus of labor supply. With surplus labor, wages generally do not rise and therefore all the gains from productivity increase will go to profit, not wages. With profit as the goal – workers and services will be reduced to increase profit.

We are the People

"The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority" - The Communist Manifesto

"The emancipation of the working class is the task of the workers themselves" - The First International

Socialism is not a reform, it is a revolution. Socialists say plainly that mere reform of existing society is impossible, or if possible, useless. The Socialist Party is not concerned whether this revolution  comes next year or next century that is not a question that matters to us. It is bound to come sometime and the party’s task is to do all it can to hasten its coming (although we all personally want to be there to celebrate its coming and its triumph)

For the first time since the beginning of human history, a great upheaval will have for its aim, not the substitution of one class for another, but the destruction of classes with the common good as its object. Let it be clearly understood that by revol…

More pay restraint ahead

CBI Scotland has urged the Scottish Parliament not to support a living wage.

CBI Scotland's senior policy executive Lauren Paterson said: "Pay restraint has played an important role in supporting current levels of employment...Pay restraint is set to continue with containing labour costs cited as the second-highest workforce priority for businesses in the next 12 months...decisions on pay must be left at the discretion of the individual business, taking into account their wider business strategy, including affordability."

Dave Watson, Scottish organiser of Unison, said: "One of the primary causes of the longest and deepest recession for a generation has been the shift from wages into profits...It's the fat-cat pay of the CBI bosses that is out of control."

Britain's workers are suffering the most protracted squeeze on their incomes since the long depression of the 1870s and are now well into their fourth year of falling real wages. High inflation and s…

money goes to money

The names of more than 19,000 landowners and farmers who annually receive public subsidies totalling more than £500 million are to be kept secret. It follows a ruling in November 2010 by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg that publishing the information breached people's rights to privacy.

The last time the subsidy information was released in 2010, four farmers in Scotland were given record handouts of more than £1m each. Other big landowners given hundreds of thousands of pounds included the Duke of Buccleuch, Lord Morton, the Earl of Moray, the Earl of Rosebery and the Earl of Seafield.

www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/under-wraps-500m-of-public-cash-given-to-landowners.21721630

The Only Solution

Many people will say “socialism is a good idea but it cannot be realised in practice.”

No blueprint can be given but socialists must at least present various scenarios as well as what is possible and not possible. Socialism is the organization of production for use by means of the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production, is the abolition of all classes and class differences.

Socialism offers a vision of a new society — a society of men and women living in mutual helpfulness and good will; a free, equal, and happy society of peace and abundance.  Socialism is the overthrow of the capitalist system, and the establishing in its place of a Co-operative Commonwealth.  Capitalism has only known how to cause humanity unhappiness; socialism will establish peace and happiness among men.

We cannot present what a socialist utopia would look like. This decision is not ours to make. All we can do is to help provide that spark that will help people to arrive at their own…

For a new future

No sane person  can be satisfied with the present system. It is a question of human freedom versus human slavery and it is only the rich and powerful who are happy by right.

Socialism is not some utopian scheme. Capitalism has created the economic conditions for socialism. Today there is social production but no social ownership. Socialism will bring social ownership of social production. Socialism will be won through the overthrow of capitalism and the capture of political power by the working class.  In socialism, the working people will take over the economic forces developed by capitalism and operate them in the interests of society.  Because the workers will control the great wealth they produce, they will be fundamentally able to determine their own futures.

 It is a question not of reform, the mask of fraud,  but of revolution that the propagandists and apologists for the status quo have falsely associated with “anarchy and bloodshed.” Electoral struggle will  be one tactic am…

Who owns the North Pole Part 61

The UK is "complacently standing by" as firms start drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic, a group of MPs has said. The Environmental Audit Committee said this was despite oil companies being unable to prove "they could clean up an oil spill in such harsh conditions". It called for a halt to new drilling, saying it was risky for the climate and the environment. Exploring for new reserves in the Arctic is therefore "needlessly risky", the MPs argued. "What happens in the Arctic will affect the UK, impacting our weather systems and biodiversity," committee chairwoman Joan Walley said. "Yet this government is complacently standing by and watching new oil and gas drilling in the region." She added: "The rapidly-disappearing Arctic sea ice should be a wake-up call for this government to tackle climate change, not pave the way for a corporate carve-up of the region's resources." Greenpeace UK political director Ruth Davis said th…

Blood Sports

Former Scotland internationalist Rory Lamont has lifted the lid on rugby players “cheating” concussion protocols and insisted many well-known figures are knowingly taking the field with head injuries. When Lamont started pro rugby concussion brought a mandatory three-week lay-off, but that was argued, largely by coaches, to be over-prescriptive in cases of minor concussion. Coaches flouted it in any case by pretending concussion had not occurred.

The 30-year-old retired last month after a succession of injuries, undergoing 16 operations and suffering “at least six or seven clean knock-outs” in games, and many more what he terms “minor concussions”. He explained “... there is a high risk of me developing neurological issues associated with the early stages of ‘Parkinson’s Disease’. But what’s done is done...Once you start losing your mind there’s no coming back from it. You can be an alcoholic and have cirrhosis of the liver, and get a new liver and come off the booze, but there’s no …

The Ideas of the Socialist Party

An alternative to capitalism means ending production for profit and establishing a new non-state form of administration and decision-making and building free associations of producers.

Since the fall of state-capitalism in Russia that falsely called itself “socialism” advocating this  alternative to capitalism has become even more urgent. We oppose capitalism regardless of its particular property form and regardless of whether the economy is a “market” or “planned” one. We expose the misconception that state-capitalism is or can become socialism.

We have to give shape to what is possible in a new, post-capitalist society and provide the vision of a new society in which every man and woman control their own lives. The necessity for a new society is clear.  It falls upon socialists to prove that a libertarian alternative to capitalism exists and is possible by showing that socialism can be achieved.

We reject the concept of the elitist, vanguard party-form of organisation for fighting …

Whose Scotland?

The Top 20 Landowners in Scotland: 

www.highlandclearances.co.uk/clearances/postclearances_whoownsscotland.htm


To put these figures into some perspective, the land areaof the capital city (Edinburgh) is 64,500 acres.


OWNERACRES Forestry Commission 1,600,000 Duke of Buccleuch270,000 Scottish Executive - Rural Affairs260,000 National Trust for Scotland175,000 Alcan Highlands135,000 Blair Charitable Trust (Private Trust)130,000 Captain Alwyn Farquharson125,000 Duchess of Westminster120,000 Earl of Seafield105,000 Crown Estate Commission (MOD)100,000 Edmund Vestey100,000 South Uist Estate Ltd.92,000 Sir Donald Cameron90,000 Countess of Sutherland90,000 RSPB (52 estates)87,000 Paul van Vlissengen87,000 Scottish Natural Heritage84,000 Robin Fleming80,000 Hon. Chas Pearson77,000 Lord Margadale
73,000

Stealing candy from children

University of California’s Paul Piff led a series of experiments that delved into the behavior associated with inequality in the United States.

 In one experiment, Piff placed an individual in a room with a bowl of candy on the table. He said the candy was intended for a study being done with children later, but they were welcome to have a few pieces, but not very much. Wealthier participants took two times as much candy from children as the poorer participants.

Piff then tested honesty in reporting dice rolls, when a cash prize was on the line.  They found that people in the upper income brackets, that were making $150,000-$200,000 were four times more likely to cheat than people in lower income brackets just to win credits for a $50 cash prize.

Piff led another experiment where he simply made people feel rich in the office.  He did this through a simple game of monopoly, played with two people. One person begins the game more well off.  They get $2,000 to the poorer person’s $1,0…

To Dream Of A New World

The Socialist Party gives the people the shocking facts about capitalism and calls upon them to take action to abolish it. The Socialist Party describes the kind of world we are working for and show how it can be achieved. We sound the alarm at the new horrors, we denounce the latest outrages and expose the pervasive scandals.  And we wonder: Why don’t people listen? Perhaps because it is the same old song we sing, our lyrics might change but the music is still the usual old lament.

The world as we wish it to be is no mere fantasy. We have been offered science fiction-like descriptions of technology that can create a clean, sustainable environment for the whole biosphere that can satisfy the reasonable needs of all.  This isn’t simply a fantasy: the technology already exists.

 We won’t stop shouting from the rooftops about everything that’s is wrong.

"The weapon of criticism cannot, of course," Marx wrote in 1844, "replace criticism by weapons, material force must be o…

Fact of the Day

Today's Jungle

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly one in three slaughterhouse workers suffers from illness or injury, compared to one in 10 workers in other manufacturing jobs. Slaughterhouse workers are also 35 times more likely to suffer from repetitive stress injuries than their counterparts in other manufacturing jobs.

The Socialist Challenge

We rebel against capitalism not in the name of an abstract principle of justice, but to displace the capitalist class, privileged minority. To put it another way, we stand for the expropriation of the bourgeoisie.

The social revolution we conceive of can only be made by and for the people, without any false representatives offering themselves up as leaders. We believe that socialist society will be organised from the bottom up and not from top down, by a central authority served by an army of functionaries. The workers have no need of chiefs and are quite capable of delegating  one of our own with a particular task. This being understood, the revolution obviously cannot be the work of a vanguard  it demands the participation of  the entire working class. Without that, it would be little more than a doomed coup d’etat or putsch, not a social revolution. We witnessed how the Lenin and the Bolshevik Party kill the revolution for its own domination.

We possess, even today, sufficient mea…

Bankrupt Scots

The recent downward trend in the number of individuals and companies going bankrupt in Scotland has reversed dramatically in recent months, official figures show.

In the first quarter of 2013-14 (April to June) personal insolvencies were up 14.7 per cent and corporate insolvencies were up 28.7 per cent.

Bryan Jackson, business restructuring partner with BDO LLP, said the rise in payday and short-term lenders points to "serious financial problems among thousands of Scots".

Mr Jackson said: "Following recent falls, the increase in the number of personal insolvencies in the second quarter suggests that the pent-up indebtedness of many individuals has burst through.There is little doubt that many individuals have been living from month to month, or week to week, simply feeding the interest on their debts rather than reducing the debt itself. Until now, this has delayed some from falling into insolvency, but this quarter's figures suggest that their financial situation …

Facts of the Day

A global poll on religion and atheism has found that 59 percent of the people in the world think of themselves as religious and 13 percent see themselves as convinced atheists. The study found that worldwide the number of atheistsincreased by 3 percent in the same time period that the number who said they were religious dropped off by 9 percent.

Poor People More ReligiousThe bottom income groups are 17 percent more religious than those in the top income groups. Ghana leads the way among religious people with 96 percent of its respondents saying they think of themselves as religious. Nigeria was second at 93 percent, followed by Armenia and Fiji, which both came in at 92 percent. Macedonia rounded out the top five at 90 percent. 60 percent of the United States population considers itself to be religious, while 5 percent think of themselves as atheists. China leads the way among atheist countries by far as 47 percent of the nation’s respondents think of themselves as convinced atheists. J…

Who Are the Rich?

The rich don’t really think they’re rich. In a new survey, the vast majority of investors in America with $1 million in assets don’t consider themselves wealthy.

A new report from UBS surveyed 4,450 participants, half had $1 million or more in investable assets, and  had at least $250,000 in investments. Compared with the huge portion of the population that barely has any savings. But do these people think they’re rich? For the most part, the answer is no. Of those with investable assets worth $1 million to $5 million, only 28% answered yes to the question “Do you consider yourself wealthy?”

 Just 60% answered yes to the question.of investors surveyed with $5 million or more in investable assets consider themselves wealthy. In other words, 4 in 10 Americans with assets of $5 million or more think they’re not truly rich.

The UBS asked what would have to happen for these individuals to consider themselves rich?  The most popular answer, selected by half of those surveyed, was “no financ…

Going Dutch

Netherlands based international humanitarian aid foundation Cordaid which is active in places such as Africa and Afghanistan, stated  they have now started to support the projects to fight against poverty in Netherlands. In last 20 years, the poverty rate in the country increased to 10% from 4%.

Another institution, which fights the poverty in the country are 'food allowance banks'. Throughout the country 140 'food allowance banks' are active,  which serves more than 70 thousand families

Food for thought

On June 10th it was announced that the executive hired to fix health Ontario, after a spending scandal, is leaving with a golden handshake of over $400,000. Another reason why patients can't get beds, why hospitals are struggling for cash, why nurses are being let go. Somehow, money must be found to pay the thousands of chiefs in the system.
A June 1st article in The Toronto Star bemoaned the fact that, with the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, many locals are being left jobless. The military occupation has been 'good' for the Afghan workforce, providing thousands of jobs for interpreters, mechanics etc. Now they face an uncertain future that offers unemployment, under-employment or work for considerable less money. If war is the only measure to provide a reasonable measure of prosperity, then those looking around for another job should be looking for another economic system! For socialism, John Ayers

The Socialist Scientist

An extract from Albert Einstein’s “Why Socialism?”

“The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production—that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods—may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.

For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call “workers” all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production—although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the …

Who owns the North Pole - Part 60

US  Congressman Don Young testified in front of Armed Services Committee in support of Alaska national defense priorities.“We must be able to project power into the Arctic environment and extensive Arctic training is needed to do that.”

Canada recently took over the leadership of the Arctic Council and will be succeeded by the U.S. in 2015. There are fears that the Arctic could become an arena for political and military competition. With potential new shipping routes and countries further staking their claims to the vast untapped natural resources, defending strategic and economic interests may lead to rivalries in the region. There is also the possibility that conflicts which originate in other parts of the world could spillover and affect the stability of the Arctic.

 “One issue that has not received much attention is the need to discuss the growing militarization of the Arctic. While the Arctic Council is formally forbidden from discussing military security in the Arctic, the time…

Food for thought

The shenanigans of Toronto mayor -- Another Day, Another Scandal --Ford are, for the most part, unworthy of comment by socialists and are best left for the tabloid press to deal with. An exception, though, is his dismissal from the Executive Committee of councillors who challenged him to be honest about his alleged substance abuse. Ford fired one councillor and demoted another, clearly indicating that democracy within capitalism is a sham and the only real
democracy is an administration of things by the peoples' representatives who are recallable, Socialism. John Ayers

In Memoriam Trayvon Martin

Trayvon was just the latest victim.

Quote of the Day

The journalist Edward R Murrow shocked Americans with Harvest Of Shame, a television documentary about the bleak and underpaid lives of the workers who put food on their tables, famously stated in 1960

 "We used to own our slaves but now we just rent them,"

The Royal Brat

The Countess of Strathearn, The Duchess of Cambridge,  has given birth to a sprog, aka the Master of Strathearn, who is now third in line to the throne.

There is not the slightest doubt that he will live a pampered life of privilege. He certainly will not be one of the  2.3 million children in Britain (17 percent of the total) living in homes whose incomes fell substantially below the average for the country. When the data accounts for the payment of housing costs, the number climbs to 3.5 million children. Using the latter figure  in just one year alone, 300,000 children slipped into the ranks of poverty.

There are an estimated 4 in 10 children living in poverty in London

Government statistics indicate that at least one in six British children live in poverty – and this rate could reach one in five by the end of the decade.

Enough is enough

We have within the United Nations:

General Comment 12 clarifies the rights related to food in the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights similar obligations are stated in General Comment 15 in relation to the right to water.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) (article 1,3,11,12). This treaty recognizes that "in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.It requires states to take all steps within their ability to realize the rights set forth in the treaty”. The treaty asserts that men and women should have equal realization of all rights. The treaty defines the right of all people to an adequate standard of living, including food, and the right to be free from hunger. The treaty commits states to developing specific programs and obligations to the people to ensure these rights. In the treaty, states are obligated to work toward reducing infant and child mortality and disease control.

Universal Declarat…

Food for thought

Why capitalism will never be able to be green -- "When an American replaces the battery in a car, likely as not the old battery will be shipped to Mexico rather than to a modern US recycling plant. The reason? Its lead emissions standards are one tenth as stringent as US standards." (Toronto star, June 1, 2013). By the numbers – the number of tractor trailers that the dead batteries would have filled in 2011 = 17, 952; estimated increase in dead batteries to Mexico, 2004-2011 = 525%; lead smelting and refining plants in the US forty years ago = 154, today = 14; tons of lead emitted into the air by a single Mexican plant = 6 or 33 times expected for a cleaner plant in US. Capital beats all, don't it?
And here's another piece of environmental information that beggars belief -- The world's economy is being powered by China, and China is being powered by coal, a nineteenth century technology despite ads from Big Coal that tout the cleanliness o…

Lets Forget Differences and Talk of Similarities

“I look upon the whole world as my fatherland...I look upon true patriotism as the brotherhood of man and the service of all to all...National independence? That means the masters' independence...The flag? Does it wave over a country where you are free and have a home, or does it rather symbolize a country that meets you with clenched fists when you strike for better wages and shorter hours?" - Helen Keller

The modern nation state is defined as the product of merger of two concepts, namely the ‘nation’, which is a cultural and/or ethnic entity and the ‘state’, which is a political and geopolitical entity with jurisdiction or ‘sovereignty’ over a bounded territory. The state in its modern form is a relatively new institution emerging through the democratic revolutions that overthrew monarchies in England and France. There are many reasons for the rise of the modern nation-state, which has become the dominant form of state formation around the world today. One very important re…