Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blowing the whistle on freedom

BRADLEY MANNING

The Socialist Standard wrote:
"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 and one “young Labour activist based in Scotland.”

Some of those who it was claimed did not know they were members are quoted as having “said they had been asked whether they wanted to join and said they did.” They were in any case not members of Unite, and their membership fees were not paid by Unite.

 Ed Miliband and his advisers specifically led an attack on Unite and Len McCluskey himself telling him to face up to “malpractice” and insisting the union should not be defending “machine politics“.

 Socialist Courier can only say that sooner the unions and the working class ditch their misplaced and misguided allegiance to the Labour Party, the better for us all. The Labour Party (and their leaders) have shown their loyalty is to the ruling class over and over again throughout its miserable existence and it is now time for every trade unionist to cease their political levy and call upon their union to dis-affiliate from the Labour Party forthwith..

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


HOW IT IS AND HOW IT COULD BE

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. Socialists want to replace private property with common ownership. We stand for equality. When we say equality we don’t claim that all men will have the same brain, the same physical attributes: we know that there will always be diversity in intellectual and physical aptitudes.

There will be engineers and labourers: this is obvious but neither will be considered superior to the other, since the work of the engineer is useless without the collaboration of the labourer, and vice versa.

A question often asked is: “What about  the lazy? Those who do not want to work”

Today, the average person works a 8 hour day, 5 day week. Many workers are in jobs that are absolutely useless to society, in particular those in the armed forces and armament factories. Add to this a considerable number who produce nothing and are only necessary in capitalism: cashiers, bank and insurance staff, paper-pushers in the civil service, etc.

Much  useless work can be done by machines, used not as now to cut costs and grind out profit, but to save labour in unnecessary routine work to release people from the monotonous tasks.

We can thus say, without being accused of exaggeration, that when this pool of available workers is re-deployed and redirected away from  socially wasteful labour, the work-day and working week would decrease.  A society where all would work together would have to ask of each of its able-bodied members an effort of only two or three hours a day, a few days a week, perhaps less. Variety of life is as much an aim of socialism as equality of condition, and that nothing but an union of these two will bring about real freedom.
 As Marx wrote as early as 1845 “In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.”


Who would then refuse to give such a small quantity of labour in return for consuming according to his needs, which is to say, as he wishes? Who would want to live with the shame of being held in contempt by all and being considered a parasite? Our system of artificial shortage has engendered a fear of an abundance, filling our minds  with the customs and norms of commercial and competitive society.

Work in itself is not unpleasant. Many will toil in their garden or allotments for leisure. Many will engage in all manner of DIY and handicrafts as a hobby. Many will volunteer their help to charities. Some will offer to risk their lives to serve on a lifeboat or in a mountain rescue team. So even in our sham society most men are not disinclined to work, so long as their work is not that which they are compelled to do. But work under capitalism is inhuman for the workers and is compelled by the threat of deprivation, and the labour is without genuine interest, in  monotonous, repetitive jobs, where men and women are often driven to the point of exhaustion that the body can barely sustain. Therefore it is not unnatural that we witness an aversion amongst workers for their work, and how experts conclude that productive work, by its very nature, is repulsive to people , and must be imposed upon the unwilling by threat and bribery, the stick and the carrot. Yet, saying all this about compulsory labour, the work-place can also become a centre of community and fellowship. Some socialist suggest that the ideal of the future does not point to the lessening of men's energy by the reduction of labour to a minimum, but rather to the reduction of pain in labour to a minimum, so small that it will cease to be a pain.

Socialists assert that the community should hold all wealth in common and that everyone should have free access but their needs are not necessarily determined by the kind or amount of work which each person does. The fact that they are human beings with a capacity for work is enough. It is to be understood that each member of a socialist society is absolutely free to use their share of the communal wealth as they please, without any interference. This will minimise the possibility  of the community falling into bureaucracy, with the multiplication of committees, and all the paraphernalia of official authority, which is a socially wasteful  burden, even when it is exercised by the delegation of the whole people and in accordance with their wishes.

The question then now arises how is it to be done? A political party of the working class is the how. The Socialist Party declares that political power should be in the hands of those who intend to employ it for the overthrow of the present system, understanding by political power not merely the power of voting, but the possession of the whole administrative state system – the complete control of all executive functions. This, then, is the immediate object to be striven for; not mere reforms. Workers shall come together in those countries where elections are permitted and vote the capitalists out and vote ourselves in and with that political power we will take the means of production away from the capitalists control. It may not be all that simple and straight forward a task in all circumstance and thre may indeed be defeats and set-backs but there exists no other  alternatives despite claims to the contrary.

“The Socialist movement is not the coinage of one man, of one body of men, or of one nation; it is the expression at once of a necessary phase of economic evolution, and of a yearning which fills the hearts of the people of all countries and nations throughout the civilised world to-day – a yearning which individuals may formulate, but which no individual can create.” - William Morris

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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 revolution we do not mean violence or bloodshed.  A new socialist  system cannot be created by a minority. It can only function with the approval of an immense majority.  It is this majority that will create from capitalistic chaos, the social property, co-operative and communal. How, then, can a system based on the free collaboration of all be instituted against the will, or even without the will, of the greater number? It can only succeed by the general and almost unanimous desire of the community.  Precisely because socialism is precisely is not the regime of a minority that it cannot, therefore, and ought not, to be imposed by a minority.  The Socialist Revolution will be brought about by the will of all of the majority and by the power of a majority. Mass socialist consciousness and mass participation are essential.

The Socialist Party does not shy away from apportioning some fault with the working class. The capitalist class and the working-class stand openly opposed to each other. The class lines are clearly defined. There is no mistaking who is a capitalist and who is a workman, who is rich and who is poor. We all know that the capitalist class are the 1% and we are the 99%. That is to say, we are in  are in the clear majority yet we suffer the capitalist class to rule us. If that is what workers want, that is what workers will get and as long as they are satisīŦed with the capitalists’ domination they will have to continue to submit to it.

In this current crisis we in the Socialist Party must offer a wider perspective of their problems and articulate the workers anger into a wider view of how to transform society. Unless that is done, their anger can all too easily sink back into apathy. The Socialist Party appeals to our fellows in all lands to work for the interests of themselves and of others, in order to bring about, even in our own day, the Social Revolution which can alone give freedom and happiness to mankind. We appeal  to the working class to come together in one class-conscious solidarity. We present the politics of revolt. We are educating, we are agitating, we are organising, that is to way we are preparing for the revolution.

 As the workers anthem the International says no "saviours from on high" will free us

Monday, July 29, 2013

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 stagnant pay for many workers mean that real wages have now fallen for 40 months, according to calculations by the TUC. It says that is the longest such stretch of financial pain since 1875 to 1878, when the world economy was mired in the so-called long depression.

Economists say there is little prospect of wages outstripping inflation any time soon. TUC senior economist Duncan Weldon said: "At the very, very best it will be mid-2014 and even then it will take lots of time to make up the lost ground."

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 conclusions.

Being a socialist consists not in waiting for its actual realisation, but in striving, here and now for it.  Our theory is a guide to action. Only by deeds can socialism come about. Being a socialist is not merely in recognizing the trend of social evolution from capitalism to socialism endeavouring to help hasten its day. Being a socialist is not only holding a  vision that life will be better under socialism; that human nature, crippled and deformed in the class society, will assert itself and change for the better; and that people in the socialist society will be different and better but requires going beyond just words to achieve it.

Time and again the socialist struggle has been sidetracked by the appearance of a so-called radical leader who held out the promise of immediate victory and salvation. Time and again  people believed in the false prophet only to reap a heavy harvest of bitter disappointment.

The Socialist Party is not a party of patchwork reform, or a party of sham revolutionary phrases but, as a social democratic party, promoting within the working class movement a programme of education in the economic and political struggle. The goal of the Socialist Party is socialism, not  a reformed capitalism. Its tactics must be those that will bring about socialism. The Socialist  Party call on all socialists to fight the political fight on the straight ticket of revolutionary socialism. A reformist programme can be nothing but a reactionary capitalist programme to-day. We of the World Socialist Movement will fight this fight on the principle of the abolition of the private ownership of property. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

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 among many. It is the most reliable, the most probable, and, at the right moment, the most decisive weapon in the workers armoury. But the actual manner in which the revolutionary process will develop and progress cannot be predicted. It may well not be a straight line to the electoral capture of power.  It will be something that people will forge out of the concrete experiences of engaging in the class struggle.

Our vision of socialism see the means of production – the factories, mines, mills, big workshops, offices, agricultural fields, banks, transportation system, media, communications, medical facilities, big retailers, etc.,being  transformed into common property of all. Production  will not be geared to make  profit, but to serve human needs. Rational self-regulating planning will replace the present anarchistic system. The working class must get rid of the ruling class exploiters, and put themselves in possession and control of the means of production. Workers will democratically run their own work places through workers’ councils and elected administrators. In this way workers will be able to make their work places safe and efficient places that can well serve their own interests as well as society’s. Although there will be no overnight miracles when socialism is first established,  the way will be cleared to achieve a decent, meaningful and productive life for all working people. Classes will disappear, the state will “wither” away, we will realise the object of “from each according to one’s ability, to each according to one’s need.”

 A new era of human freedom will arise. The world’s population will have free access to the wealth their labor produces, all of it, and enjoy with their families and friends and neighbors, the fruits of their industry in comfortable and happy homes, and share abundant and wholesome food, proper clothing and all other things necessary to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” How quickly this Earth can be transformed and made to blossom with beauty.

 The Socialist party offers the only remedy to the problems of to-days world, which is socialism and we are pledged to abolish the capitalist system, class-rule and wage-slavery and establish in its place an industrial and social democracy in which the workers shall be in control of industry and the people shall rule. We are pledged not to compromise our objective nor enter into alliance with non-socialist parties. It is simply a question of capitalism or socialism and those who are not wholly with us are wholly against us.

in its place an industrial and social democracy in which the workers shall be in control of industry and the people shall rule.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

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 the present government stance on drilling for oil in the Arctic suggests "its real interests lie in promoting the irresponsible plans" of oil companies.

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 coming back from brain damage.”

 US experts have begun investigating  potential links between depression and suicide in former American Footballers who suffered from concussion, through the ‘Boston Brain Bank’ – the Centre for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University.  In the United States, former NFL players are now suing the league over the use of the powerful anti-inflammatory drug Toradol. They argue that the medication masked the pain of head injuries and led them to play on and suffer concussions as result. Lawsuits have been filed against the league in federal court alleging that the NFL failed to acknowledge and address neurological risks associated with the sport and then deliberately failed to tell players about the risks they faced. The players say that sometimes they were lined up in what they termed a 'cattle call' and injected with the drug whether they were injured or not. Similar concerns have been expressed in NHL, where hockey players are paid to inflict and to absorb pain and can become addicted to painkillers.

Dr Jiri Dvorak found that almost 40% of players at the 2010 World Cup were taking pain medication prior to every game. Experts say that painkilling medication can be particularly dangerous in professional sport. In high-intensity exercise like football, a player's kidneys are continuously working hard, making them more vulnerable to damage from strong drugs. And the risks of using nsaids are not just confined to the kidneys and liver. There are also worries over their impact on hearts. Dr Stuart Warden from the University of Indiana is an expert in the use of these drugs by athletes."There is an elevated risk of cardio vascular side-effects with almost all nsaids and the risk increases with duration of use."

A study published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine reveals that the risk of injury in football may have been played down, at least at the professional level. The Center for Hazard and Risk Management at Loughborough University found that players had a 12 percent risk of injury every game. More significantly, they reported that almost a third of professional players would suffer at least one injury this season.
''The injury rate, is about 1,000 times what you'd find in industry,'' said Dr. Colin Fuller, a lecturer of health and safety management at the center and director of the study. ''It works out to every employee having a reportable injury once every three weeks, which, of course, would be completely unacceptable.'' Only a third of the injuries resulted from fouls. The rest involved legal contact between opposing players.

"Soccer is not a sport. It is a knee killer" said Alwin Jaeger, MD, chairman of orthopedic surgery at the University of Frankfurt in Germany.

According to a 2006 report in the Florida paper St. Petersburg Times, for every season a player spends on an NFL roster, his life expectancy decreases by almost three years.The average American male lives to be almost 75. According to the Times report, an NFL player, whose career lasts roughly four years on average, lives to be 55.

Self-harm for the love of the sport or is it the sporting industry’s love of the profits and the players are only fodder?

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 the class struggle or constructing a new society.  Our form of organisation may not be a model for all movements under all circumstances, but it reflects the democratic non-leadership principle that movements have continuously tried to embrace. We are not trying to lead workers, who will create their own mass organisations to transform society (of which we may the embryo or might simply be a contributory part) , The emancipation of the working class must be their own act.

 We have seen that spontaneous actions alone are insufficient to usher in a new society and that a permanent and structured political party is necessary to act. The entire membership of the Socialist Party is  the highest decision-making body of the organisation. All our policy decisions are made by a vote of the membership, based on the principle of majority rule. The interests of working people as a whole guide our thoughts and actions, as well as our structure and rules. We have no interests separate and apart from these.

Not all “alternatives” to capitalism are genuine alternatives and many of the proposed “solutions” offer a cure worse than the sickness. We must present a socialist future as the most viable option for the working class to choose. People everywhere, today, are looking for a new way of life under which they can be free to guide their own destiny: to determine their own way of living, own conditions of work, and own forms of association with each other. We believe that the working people are the only force in the world today capable of changing present-day society and of evolving the forms and the shape of future society.

Friday, July 26, 2013

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 area of the capital city (Edinburgh) is 64,500 acres.


OWNER
ACRES
Forestry Commission
1,600,000
Duke of Buccleuch
270,000
Scottish Executive - Rural Affairs
260,000
National Trust for Scotland
175,000
Alcan Highlands
135,000
Blair Charitable Trust (Private Trust)
130,000
Captain Alwyn Farquharson
125,000
Duchess of Westminster
120,000
Earl of Seafield
105,000
Crown Estate Commission (MOD)
100,000
Edmund Vestey
100,000
South Uist Estate Ltd.
92,000
Sir Donald Cameron
90,000
Countess of Sutherland
90,000
RSPB (52 estates)
87,000
Paul van Vlissengen
87,000
Scottish Natural Heritage
84,000
Robin Fleming
80,000
Hon. Chas Pearson
77,000
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 $1,000.  They get to start the game with the Rolls-Royce, instead of an old boot-playing piece.  And finally, they get to roll two die, instead of just one. The game was rigged for the player who started out wealthier to win.

While the rich players are determined randomly, by the end of the game, when the richer players are asked whether they deserved to win the game, the answer was unanimously, yes.  They attributed success to themselves, even though it was simply a coin flip that got them on the rich side of the monopoly board.  In a game as simple as this, we see that the richer individual in the game, starts to attribute success more and more to their own character, and less and less to all of the other factors that influenced their success.

It is clear that inequality produces behaviors that rationalize where we fall on the economic ladder.

Those who were on the rich side of the board were more likely to eat from a bowl of pretzels positioned on the table. The talked with their mouths full so they were a little ruder.  But, the psychologically poor become way more generous, charitable, and much more likely to offer help to another person.

See here

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 overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses." A revolution in thought must precede a revolution in deed.

We are now witnessing people around the world becoming more and more aware of their real needs.

"No class of civil society can play this role," Marx says, "without arousing a moment of enthusiasm in itself and in the masses, a moment in which it fraternizes and merges with society in general, becomes confused with it and is perceived and acknowledged as its general representative; a moment in which its demands and rights are truly the rights and demands of society itself; a moment in which it is truly the social head and social heart."

The new day of a full fledged socialist revolution, demanding the abolition of private property, freeing humanity from exploitation and oppression draws closer and we should be minded that it is always darkest before the dawn.

 Hearts of Glory 

I dreamt a dream of ancient times 
when hearts were filled with glory 
and everyone was living in sweeet simplicity 
Pray it's not a fable 
Pray the day will come 
When to live like this in Eden's bliss 
will be reality

 Chuck, the Cliff.











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.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

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 means of production to satisfy all reasonable needs, i.e., to provide a well-being to all. There will no longer be, as is the case today, men condemned to long days of toil and drudgery. Men and women will pass from one job to another, from manual labor to study and artistic recreation. But in working, in studying, in cultivating the fine arts, etc, their goal will always be to make themselves useful to their community.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the task of the socialist movement. We will have in the beginning  to work not only to produce what we consume today, but a hundred times more to remove the suffering and deprivation endured by others across the globe. We have not only to establish local organisations , but also regional and international ones to organise and administer our society. We need only think of situation of cities, whose provisioning depends on countless supply chains with surrounding area and further afield, while the countryside is dependent upon the cities for machinery. We need only think of the current distribution of industries, of the organization of exchange, of the great networks of communication, etc. Without a doubt all this must be changed, but this can’t be done overnight. There will be trial and error, possibly even conflicts before agreement can be reached. Just to determine what must be produced, which needs deserve preference, and what limitations individuals should impose on their desires a certain amount of time will be needed for decision making. We will not immediately fall upon a perfect system. There will be no heavenly inspiration, but experience and experimentation will determine what society has need of at a given moment.

We must prove to the world that socialism isn’t an abstract concept, a scientific dream, or a distant vision, but an immediate possibility and wanting the social revolution,  we will choose the means that seem most apt to bring it closer.

We are all made of a common substance and inhabit a common planet, facing a common threat, and that, as human beings, our individual interests and flourishing are deeply interdependent. In short, no one can be fully human alone. When we hurt another, we hurt ourselves. We are at root social and collective beings.

There are millions of people out there who in some way or another are looking out for something  beyond the present system, even if the words ‘socialism’ or ‘communism’ do not cross their lips. The challenge, the need, then, is to find a way to catch their attention, and to hold it long enough to build something together out of our mutual recognition.

1)  Capitalism itself is a system based on increasingly socialized labor, one that brings people together in new ways and that unleashes productive (and destructive) forces of unprecedented power (and danger);
2) that this system remains fundamentally incapable of satisfying the needs and wants of the vast majority of humanity because of fatal flaws;
3) that human beings are capable of thinking, desiring, wanting, and wishing in ways that point beyond this system’s limits;
4) that among our needs is the need to satisfy the other’s need; that it is within our capacity, even perhaps integral to our nature, that we see in the other a being ultimately very much like ourselves, that we see ourselves reflected in the other.

These points, taken together, imply nothing less than the potential and necessity for a communist, cooperative organization of the world. Socialism can be understood not as with the achievement of some utopian end-state or with the toppling of the capitalist order, the seizing of factories, etc), but a conscious desire to bring about mutual aid.  

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 has deteriorated beyond the point where they could cope and this has resulted in their bankruptcy. Unfortunately, I would not be surprised to see continued increases in personal insolvencies in the months to come. The increase in the number of payday and short-term lenders is indicative of serious financial problems among thousands of Scots whose circumstances will only be exacerbated by such loans."

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 Religious

The 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. Japan was second at 31 percent followed by the Czech Republic at 30 percent. France came in fourth at 29 percent before another significant dropoff found South Korea and Germany tied at 15 percent.

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 financial constraints on activities.”

However the above pales into insignificance when Stephen Schwarzman, the billionaire private equity tycoon and co-founder of the Blackstone Group, with only just 181 people richer than him (of which 56 are Americans) was deluded enough to say “I don’t feel like a wealthy person. Other people think of me as a wealthy person, but I don’t.”

About half of Americans don’t have an emergency fund that’d cover three months of expenses


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

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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 worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. Insofar as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists’ requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

The situation prevailing in an economy based on the private ownership of capital is thus characterized by two main principles: first, means of production (capital) are privately owned and the owners dispose of them as they see fit; second, the labor contract is free. Of course, there is no such thing as a pure capitalist society in this sense. In particular, it should be noted that the workers, through long and bitter political struggles, have succeeded in securing a somewhat improved form of the “free labor contract” for certain categories of workers. But taken as a whole, the present day economy does not differ much from “pure” capitalism.

Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an “army of unemployed” almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers’ goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.

This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?”
1949

Einstein was not clear in his mind about the exact form a new society would take, but his essay suggests his reservations about the "actually existing socialism" of the USSR.

The Socialist Labor Party responded with an open letter to Einstein. The following is an extract

"WHAT KIND OF "PLANNED ECONOMY"?
Now where lies the critical distinction between the type of "planned economy" which totally enslaves a nation and a Socialist economy that will Insure freedom and well-being to everyone? Above all, It lies in the realm of government!
To seek to realize Socialism through the instrumentality of the existing machinery of government, to seek to adapt the present political mechanism to the requirements of Socialist society by even the most radical reforms conceivable -- must fatedly result in a totalitarian "planned economy." Events in Stalin's Russia (as well as elsewhere) speak volumes on this head.
WHAT IS THE "STATE"?
Why is this so? Why cannot the State be bent to Socialist purposes? For the fundamental reason that the political form of government was not designed to serve as the instrument of the popular will. On the contrary, the origin of the political State traces to the desire and the need of a ruling oligarchy to destroy the ancient influence of the people in communal affairs. And down through the centuries of what you aptly term "the predatory phase of human development" -- meaning the period since the advent of so-called civilization, private property and class rule -- the political State has, by a process of adaptation, continued unfailingly to perform its essential function, that of being the organized power through which the majority has been oppressed and a minority's self-interest imposed as the social law. Such has been its role, such will be its role as long as it survives, for such is its central principle.
So much for the State. Socialist society can make no more use of it than of the slavemaster's whip.”


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 has arrived to rethink this policy.” Rob Huebert of the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute explained  , “The militaries of most Arctic states are taking on new and expanded roles in the region that go beyond their traditional responsibilities, which may create friction in the region.”

 In June, the Northern Chiefs of Defence Meeting was held in Greenland. It brought together representatives from the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Gen. Charles Jacoby, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) also attended the event. The second annual gathering was used as an, “opportunity for direct multilateral and bilateral discussions focused on Northern issues. Topics discussed included the sharing of knowledge and expertise about regional operational challenges; responsible stewardship of the North; and the role Northern militaries can play in support of their respective civil authorities.” The Northern Chiefs of Defence meeting has become an essential forum to address common Arctic safety and security concerns.

Ahead of Secretary of State John Kerry's trip to attend the Arctic Council Ministerial Session in May, the White House unveiled a National Strategy for the Arctic Region. It outlined strategic priorities including advancing U.S. security interests, pursuing responsible stewardship and strengthening international cooperation. The document acknowledged competing environmental and economic goals, but in the end sets an aggressive agenda for the exploitation of Arctic oil, gas and mineral reserves. In addition, the strategy recommended enhancing national defense, law enforcement, navigation systems, environmental response, as well as search-and-rescue capabilities in the Arctic. It also builds off of National Security Presidential Directive-66 issued by the Bush administration in 2009. In coordination with the new plan, the U.S. Coast Guard has released their Vision for Operating in the Arctic Region which will work towards improving awareness, modernizing governance and broadening partnerships. According to James Holmes, professor of strategy at the U.S. Naval War College, the Coast Guard and Air Force could become the military's odd couple in defending America's Arctic front.

SEE MORE HERE

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

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 Declaration of Human Rights (1948) (article 3, 21, 23, 25). The Universal Declaration not only asserts the human right to life, but also an adequate standard of living. This standard includes the right to food. Each person is also entitled to public services and social security.

Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).This treaty was drafted to identify and protect the best interests of the child. Article 24 of the treaty that recognizes "the right of the child to the highest attainable standard of health" is immensely important. State parties commit to taking steps toward ending child and infant mortality, and eliminate the circumstances that lead to child death including illness and malnutrition. Governments must provide children with food and water security. This treaty ties the rights of the mother to the well being of the child. Article 24 acknowledges the mother’s right to appropriate pre and post-natal health care, as well as access to information and education regarding child health and nutrition, the advantages of breastfeeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation.

Rome Declaration on World Food Security (1996). This declaration recognized the need to establish world food security. The participating heads of state reaffirmed "the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger." Following this affirmation the heads of state committed "an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015."

World Food Summit Plan of Action (1996).The Plan of Action is comprised of seven commitments made by participating states to begin reducing the number of undernourished people in the world. Objective 7.4 of the plan calls for clarification and implementation of the right to adequate food in the CESCR.

The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food was appointed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2000. It is the Special Rapporteur’s job to receive information on violations of the right to food and identify emerging issues related to the right to food, including the right to clean drinking water. The Special Rapporteur visits countries, and makes reports to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and General Assembly every year. There is a Research Unit on the Right to Food that supports the Special Rapporteur with research and reports.

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990) (article 14).This treaty commits state parties to realizing, to the best of their ability and with all available res ources, the child’s right to health, nutrition and safe water.

European Code of Social Security(1964) (article 42).This article ensures the provision of food to children. Addendum 1 (Division 5) stipulates that states will provide water and sanitary services.

Charter of the Organization of American States (1948) (article 34).This article guarantees access to proper nutrition by increasing production and availability, and diversifying production.
Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the area of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (Protocol of San Salvador) (1988) (article 12) Recognizes the human right to adequate nutrition. States must take steps to increase food supply through improved production and distribution.

Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding (1990). This declaration asserts that women have the right to breastfeed their babies, and infants from birth to 4-6 months have the right to be breastfed. World Declaration and Plan of Action on Nutrition (1992) .This declaration promotes food security and disease prevention for infants through support of breastfeeding.

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II) (1977) (article 14) .This protocol is part of humanitarian law, which protects people in situations of armed conflict. Article 14 prohibits "starvation of civilians as a method of combat".

Even, Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1955) (article 20) recognizes prisoners’ rights to food and water provisions.

In addition to all those well-meaning laws and treaties we have international organisations funded to solve the problem food and water access.

World Health Organization. The World Health Organization (WHO) was established in 1948 as a branch of the UN specifically committed to promote good health. The WHO’s Constitution states the agency's objective as to help "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health." There are 192 states represented in the governing body of the WHO, the World Health Assembly. Since good nutrition is imperative in the attainment of good health, hunger, water and nutrition issues are a large concern of WHO.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was founded in 1945 to raise nutrition standards and the standard of living globally. There are 183 member countries of the FAO, dedicated to providing services such as technical assistance projects; nutrition, food, agriculture, forestry and fishery information; agricultural and development planning. The Committee for Food Security (CFS) is responsible for monitoring member states’ level of commitment of and follow through with the World Food Summit Plan of Action of 1996.

United Nations Children’s Fund. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the UN agency dedicated to protecting the rights of the child. UNICEF has implemented specific programs to improve child nutrition, water quality environment and sanitation. UNICEF works to improve nutrition standards by forming community based programs that supply information and education, as well as emergency care to women and children.

World Food Program. The World Food Program (WFP) was established in 1963. The WFP is the UN agency that provides food aid and relief to victims of natural and manmade disasters.

International Fund for Agricultural Development. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) branch of the UN was established in 1977 as a direct result of the 1974 World Food Conference. IFAD was created to provide the means to implement rural agricultural development projects. The fund provides loans and grants to help small, struggling agriculturists stabilize, develop and help themselves.

International Committee of the Red Cross. The independent and neutral entity of The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a humanitarian organization that assists and protects victims of war. ICRC provides medical care to victims and also arrange exchanges of family messages. The ICRC provides protection and assistance to civilians, supervise visits to detainees, medical assistance, food aid and restoration of family links between persons separated by war.

CARE International. CARE is a non-governmental organization with a mission to reduce world poverty. CARE’s work includes programs that address issues that exacerbate poverty and attempt to identify sustainable solutions. They help families increase food production and proper management of resources, teach techniques and practices that help prevent malnutrition, provide food for relief in emergency situations and build and maintain clean water and sanitation systems.

Save the Children. Save the Children is a non-governmental organization that tries to fix the root causes of food insecurity to prevent hunger and malnutrition through increase in agricultural production, education and distribution of food in emergencies.

Foodfirst Information and Action Network. Foodfirst Information and Action Network (FIAN) is an NGO that works closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. FIAN receives and researches right to food violation claims. FIAN will intervene in cases of violations of the right to food. In doing so, FIAN holds governments accountable for ensuring the violation is rectified, and publicizes the violations.

Then, of course , all those other myriads numbers of charities from Oxfam to WorldVision.

 Plus all those telethon campaigns such as Red-Nose Days and pop concerts like Feed The World .

So it has not been from the lack of trying that society has been unable to end hunger and thirst.Isn’t it time to try a different approach? Isn’t it time for change?

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 of coal! (ever seen a miner?). In China, coal accounts for 70% of its energy production, January -- more than forty times the level deemed safe by The World Health Organization; 1.3 million square kilometers are regularly blanketed in China enveloping 600 million people: 750,000 people die from air pollution each year. Yet the capitalist system cries 'we must expand there'! about as much coal as is used by all other countries combined. As a result, ten billion tons of carbon dioxide are emitted annually; Beijing recorded one thousand micrograms of fine particle pollution
in January -- more than forty times the level deemed safe by The World Health Organization; 1.3 million square kilometers are regularly blanketed in China enveloping 600 million people: 750,000 people die from air pollution each year. Yet the capitalist system cries 'we must expand there'! John Ayers

Lets Forget Differences and Talk of Similarities

World socialism the true cooperative commonwealth

“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 reason that comes to mind is the emergence of the idea of land as private property with clear ownership titles as against the notion of land as belonging to the monarch over which different people had only access for cultivation, grazing of animals or other uses. The modern idea of nation thus became closely tied to the notion of ownership of land and in many ways whether in Europe or the United States or Latin America the new nations that formed were essentially a coalition of many landowners who voluntarily agreed to have a common state apparatus to look after their welfare, security and governance. The fences that marked off private land were applied to language, culture, ethnicity and once fluid identities rendered into rigid, inflexible identities. The national identity, though it superseded all these other identities and helped unite diverse populations.

The process of recognition of new nations in recent times has been quite arbitrary and entirely dependent on the alignment of global or regional geopolitical forces in favor or against the struggle for independence. For example, why should  Kosovo be privileged over Kashmir or  South Sudan over Tamil Eelam in Sr Lanka when it comes to the “right to self-determination”?

 The idea of national sovereignty is a notional fraud. A nation-state is not sovereign in its affairs. In practice it means a mightier or the mightiest nation-state, regardless of law and ethics, may ‘sovereignly’ decide what is good for its own nation and by extension for the international community. In the world we live in today is there any nation that is truly “independent” or sovereign? Or is everyone just “inter-dependent” to varying degrees, with the idea of “sovereignty” just a chip for bargaining better terms and conditions in the world marketplace? The global capital flows determine the fate of even powerful nations. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report in 2010, the total value of the world’s financial stock, comprising equity market capitalization and outstanding bonds and loans, touched US$212 trillion and was more than three times as large as the total output of goods and services produced across the planet that year. The same year cross-border capital flows grew to US$4.4 trillion. Ninety percent of global capital flows run between three regions: the U.S., the United Kingdom and the European countries that use the euro. It is clear that as far as the world of global finance is concerned, outside these regions, the rest of the planet does not really exist at all! However these global capital flows have important consequences for all countries as each of them compete and chase the dream of attracting funds to their shores today. The erosion of sovereignty of nation states has occurred steadily in recent years as country after country brings down protective political and economic walls in their bid to woo global finance.

 When we still use the terms “homeland”, “motherland” or “fatherland” do we still believe that “land” is the primary basis of a nation and its economy? When corporations have become way larger than entire countries why should land and territory alone become synonymous with the idea of a nation?  If Wal-Mart were a country, its revenues would make it on par with the GDP of Norway the 25th largest economy in the world by, surpassing 157 smaller countries. In 2010 while Norway's GDP was $414.46 billion Walmart's revenue stood at $421.89 billion.  Exxon Mobil, with a revenue of $354.67 billion is bigger than Thailand with a GDP of $318.85 billion. Apple computers, with revenues of $65.23 billion, is bigger than Ecuador with a GDP of $58.91 billion. For quite some time now that the giant corporations of the world are on par with, or more powerful, than many countries in the world in terms of economic clout, even political clout in many parts of the world. The management systems they run are often as much or even more efficient than that of any state apparatus. What they lack in order to declare themselves nation-states and join the United Nations are essentially a national flag or an anthem, which any advertising agency can produce for them in a few days although some multi-nationals’ logos and advertising jingles are world recognisable and iconic plus their participation in global NGOs offer diplomatic influence. Security companies  already serve as proxy armies in conflicts. Today nation-states are being subordinated to global capital and the few powerful nations that act as their marketing agents. Corporations are the new empires of the globe and while nation-states are not about to disappear anytime soon they are a much weakened entity, shorn of genuine sovereignty and lacking independence of decision-making.

 An example of how nationalism has become obsolete look at the concept of Special Economic Zones which are common place all over the world today. While  armies are supposed to be jealously guarding every inch of national territory along the borders, the SEZs, created are deemed to be territory inside national borders but outside the jurisdiction of customs officersfor  the purposes of trade operations and duties and tariffs.

What does national identity of a nation really mean in today’s world? Are we not all citizens of the world, holding multiple identities (and in an increasing number of cases even multiple passports)? Our place of birth is accidental, but our duty to our class is worldwide. Socialism recognises no distinction between the various nations comprising the world. Socialism does not recognise national distinctions or the division of  humanity into nations and races. The position of the Socialist Party in every country is one of hostility to the existing political order. The socialist movement is global in sentiment and scope and the name, the World Socialist Movement, was deliberately chosen as an aspiration to be achieved. Capitalist production made giant strides towards internationalisation of the processes of production, distribution and exploitation of labour and this has made it easier for workers everywhere to see the necessity of organising ourselves on a world-wide scale.

Adapted from here