Saturday, August 31, 2013

Unity for Socialism

“Compromisers and schemers will still erect parties to serve their personal ends and satiate their lust for being worshipped; intellectual mannikins will still perch themselves upon the shoulders of the workers and imagining their high altitude is the result of transcendent ability on their part will call the world to witness how great they are; but they will be deprived of their power to delude the real revolutionist by the simple fact of the existence of a political party of Socialists dominated by and resting upon the economic movement of the working class.” James Connolly

A worker does not live alone on a desert island but is a member of a social community. We  cannot do without food, clothing and shelter.  In the earliest period of history society was based on the clan or tribe. Everything was pretty much owned and shared in common. There was no privately-owned property, no government, no rulers and ruled, no laws in the sense in which we know them today.

A feature of the present economic recession is that workers are beginning to once again take their first determined steps in independent political action. Workers are being driven to this course by the ever-growing oppression of the employers and the increased use of the  governmental powers against them in their struggles. Many on th Left are now thinking and asking: How can the left-wing in this country be unified and strengthened? For many members of the working class it is a sincere aspiration.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain is for the unity. But it must be a unity of socialism and socialists. The unity with opponents – with people who have other aims and other interests, is not socialist unity. To accept into our party or to merge with another that possesses objectives entirely opposite to our own would indeed be foolish would be party suicide. We cannot trade our principles, we cannot  compromise, we cannot make any agreement with the ruling system. We must  fight it to a finish so that socialism may arise.

The socialist does not lower its struggle to the level of potential allies but instead it urges those possible allies to raise the level of their struggle. The socialist does not fight for the half-hearted demands to “improve” capitalism, but demands that others abandon their timidity and fight resolutely to abolish capitalism. The strength and power of socialism rests in the fact that that the labouring class is exploited and oppressed by the capitalist class, and that within capitalist society effective reforms, which will put an end to class rule and class exploitation, are impossible. The socialist must not simply seek unity, but create unity on its own terms.

The existence of a class-conscious working class is an essential precondition for a socialist revolution. Class consciousness embraces a range of perceptions and commitments including an understanding that there is a distinct working class that one is part of, whose interests are counterposed to the capitalist class; a sense of solidarity with other members of one’s class; a belief in the need for and the possibility of successful struggles—political as well as economic—to advance the interests of one’s class; a conviction that the working-class majority can and should become the dominant political force in society (“winning the battle of democracy,” as Marx and Engels put it), reconstructing the economy so that it is collectively owned by all, democratically controlled by all, and operated in the interests of all—making possible the dignity and free development of each person in society.

It involves an understanding of the insight that was contained in the preamble of the American Federation of Labor from 1886 to 1955:
“A struggle is going on in all the nations of the civilized world, between the oppressors and the oppressed of all countries, a struggle between the capitalist and the laborer, which grows in intensity from year to year, and will work disastrous results to the toiling millions, if they are not combined for mutual protection and benefit.”

 Not all workers have absorbed this insight into their consciousness, but those who have done so can be said to possess at least an elementary form of class consciousness. Such consciousness does not exist automatically in one’s brain simply because one sells his or her labour power for wages or a salary. The working class are going to unite, economically and politically, for their emancipation. A united, class-conscious working class on the economic field has long been needed — needed by the workers, needed by the Socialist Party, and needed, above all, as an essential part of the labor movement.

The socialist task is not to deny democracy, but to expand it and make it more complete. That is the true socialist tradition. The socialists, throughout the history of our movement, have always valued and defended bourgeois democratic rights, restricted as they were; and have utilised them for the education and organisation of the workers in the struggle to establish full democracy by abolishing the capitalist rule altogether. The Socialist Party declares that the workers will free themselves from the exploitation and oppression which is their lot under the existing system of industries through their use of political power. The struggle of the proletariat for emancipation must be fought along political lines. Poverty starts with plunder; it is man-made and a political issue. Poverty will begin to end the moment poor people organise themselves and act politically to better their situation.”

Although a Trotskyist, James Cannon made this important observation:
“The surest way to lose one’s fighting faith is to succumb to one’s immediate environment; to see things only as they are and not as they are changing and must change; to see only what is before one’s eyes and imagine that it is permanent.” 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Against Capitalism, Against Reformism

Making profits is shrouded in great mystery by the capitalists. They seek to make the workers believe that it is through some occult power that they make the processes of production yield them profits and build up great fortunes for them. There is no mystery about the source of profits.

The capitalists do not create wealth out of the aid in juggling with industry. They make profits because they purchase the labour-power of the workers for less than the value of the goods the workers produce, that is, they do not pay the workers the full value of their labour. There is not other way of making profits out of industry. When the workers are educated to the real nature of the profit system they lose all respect for the masters and their property. They see the capitalists in their true colours as thieves and parasites, and their "sacred" property as plunder. They see state, church,media and educational establishments  as tools of the exploiters and they look on these institutions with contempt. They understand the identity of interests of all wage workers and realize the truth of the slogan: "An injury to one is an injury to all."

The capitalist system is based upon the production of commodities for profit — for the profit of a
small group who own the means of production, and who do no socially useful work. This means exploitation, wage-slavery, and misery for the masses who do all the useful and necessary work. The capitalist’s prosperity depends upon the making of profits and their conversion into capital. The higher the profits and the lower the wages, the greater is the accumulation of capital.Capitalist governments protects the rich and assists them to rob the workers. The only fight that you as a worker should be interested in, the struggle between the capitalist class and the working class for political power and the ownership of the machinery of production. It is the age-long class war. The only way out is to introduce a system of society in which production is carried on for use, for the benefit of all.

The desire for profits is the motive force which drives the capitalist class to use its capital in the production of wealth. In order to secure profits the workers must be exploited. The plain fact is that a numerically small group of people, the capitalists, who own the machinery of production and the natural resources of the country, have the majority at their mercy. The opposite of low wages are big profits. The present industrial system divides the people into two classes. Anyone with a grain of common sense will admit that. There are people who work for wages and those who employ the wage workers. There are the people who own the industries and those who must go to the owners of industry or their representatives to plead for the chance to earn a living.

The ownership of industry is the source of the power of the profit-seeking class. It gives them control of the opportunities of people to secure the necessities of life. The millions of men and women in this country who are dependent upon the wages they earn for a living are economic serfs. They have not won the “inalienable right of life, liberty, and happiness” as the American Constitution puts it because their ability to earn the necessities of “life, liberty, and happiness” can be taken from them by the owners of industry, and is taken from them whenever the owners of industry are unable to make profits for themselves from the labour of the workers.

The power to hire and fire the workers, to give and take away the opportunity to earn a living, carries with it the power to compel the workers to work for such wages as will leave the capitalists a profit from their labour. The lower the wages for which the capitalists can purchase the labor-power of the workers and the longer their hours of labour, the greater will be the capitalists’ profits. Naturally, the capitalists pay the lowest wages at which they can induce the workers to work. Since they are in a position to deny the workers an earning if the workers do not accept their terms, they have been able to keep the wages at little more than a subsistence level.

The workers naturally seek to increase their wages and reduce their hours of labour. They endeavor to secure for themselves more of the wealth they produce and better working conditions. The capitalists resist. for they can see their profits being menaced by the workers’ demands. The workers organise their power and refuse to work unless their demands are granted, and we have a strike with all its accompaniments of stoppage of production, misery and suffering for the workers, and rioting and bloodshed when the capitalists bring in their strikebreakers, or call in the government to assist them in forcing the workers into submission

Capitalism has become an obsolete oppressive system that ought to be got rid off. A relatively small minority recognise this and are consciously anti-capitalist, while most seek an accommodation with capitalism  to try  to satisfy their needs within the system rather than by overthrowing it. Reformists will make proposals as to how the present regime should deal with problems without ant fundamental change. Reformists talk about government policy because they seek to govern. When capitalism was in its boom-days, there was some hope that capitalism could grant, and reformists could wrest concessions for the workers. Since capitalism has been in recession and it cannot grant substantial concessions. Trade union leaders have found they are unable to gain concessions through negotiations and  compromises. Declining profits hampered the capitalists and they could not give in easily to the economic demands made on them.

 Reform politics is to accept capitalism; to work within its limits. What is needed is unity of thought and action. Far better no organisation at all than a fake form which divides the workers against themselves and misleads them in the interests of the employers.

Desperate to work

 Morrisons, the supermarket chain, advertised 250 vacancies at a new store in Kirkcaldy. Jobseekers were charged 21p a supermarket jobs hotline with more than 10,000 calls in an hour - an incredible rate of almost three calls every second. Jobseekers were charged 21p every time they left a message on the hotline. One applicant ended up with a £40 telephone bill.

The desperate job seeking has mirrored the opening of Asda in Glenrothes when nearly 7000 people were said to have expressed interest in positions and 400 people secured part and full-time jobs at the store.

Fife has the third-highest unemployment rate in Scotland, 7.8% of residents are unable to find work.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Who Are the Freeloaders?

During the present downturn of the economy the National Press is even more eager than usual to cut government expenditure and to them that means welfare benefit cuts. 'At last somebody from the Labour Party has admitted the truth. Our welfare system really does support a lot of people who choose consciously not to work. That somebody is Lord Hutton, a former Work and Pensions Secretary, so he should know what he is talking about. ....... Politicians of all parties should have the guts to put the contributory principle back at the heart of the welfare state and ignore the squeals of outrage from all the freeloaders. This newspaper has been making these points for years.' (Daily Express, 28 August) Those they  refer to as "people who choose consciously not to work" are of course unemployed members of the working class. They would never refer to the owning class as "freeloaders", although that of course is what they are. RD

Nothing stays the still

Life moves and changes. Marxist philosophy holds that the material world – matter – is primary. Ideas – consciousness – are the reflection of this objective reality. Marxism is a guide to action, based on practice. It recognises all things in nature and society as constantly coming into being and passing away. One social system grows into another. A new social order is in the making. We put Marx's concept of the association of free and equal producers to the forefront of our conception of socialism and the administration  of economic life. This is the  basic standpoint the Socialist Party of Great Britain.  Our aim is a world where every region may have its own particular and distinct customs, but are still a part of a world-wide system, based upon a society where everyone owns and  everyone has the equal right to control the natural wealth, the factories and plants in which this natural wealth is processed, and the transportation networks (such as roads and railways) and store-house and outlets centres where this wealth is distributed freely on the principle of to each according to needs.

 The essence of the capitalist system is the ownership and control of the materials and machinery of production and distribution by a small class whose legal title to the industrial and commercial utilities and plants gives them control over the lives of the working majority. The workers suffer in a new form of slavery, wherein their labour power is paid for by wages, and their lives are dependent upon employment by some capitalist master. capitalist society characterised by production for profit. Profit is derived from unpaid labour time. Workers’ labour power is purchased on the market by the owners of capital and employment depends upon the production by the worker of a margin of value over and above what received for the labour power. The commodities produced by workers’ socialised labour are privately appropriated by the capitalists so long as they can be sold for profit on the market. The capitalist employer has no responsibility the wage-worker, except that of paying for the labour-power.

In capitalist society the state is sometimes democratic in appearance. The workers are permitted to take part in elections and seemingly the government is the expression of “the will of the people.” The capitalist government is none the less a class government, the organ of the capitalists for the control and coercion of the workers. Capitalist democracy with all its pretensions to equality, is merely a disguise for the rule of an oligarchy. So long as the capitalists dominates the power of the media, the pulpit, the schools and colleges; so long as millions of workers are subject to their propaganda, the capitalists can well afford to allow the workers the empty privilege of periodically voting to confirm their rule. It is the control of the state power where lies the strength of the capitalist class. This control places at its command the military, the police and the judges for the protection of its class interests. While this power remains in the hands of the capitalists the working class cannot achieve its emancipation.

The Socialist Party proposes to secure control of the capitalist state through electing a majority of the legislative and constitution-making bodies, to use the position thus achieved to transform capitalism. It proposes to capture political power through the popular suffrage, the power of the vote. Socialist delegates to Parliament will not introduce reform measures. They will make clear that such measures are of no fundamental significance to the working class. At best they are belated parliamentary acknowledgments of defensive gains won by the workers in their industrial struggles.

The Socialist Party rejects the conception, as advocated by the IWW and other syndicalists, that it is only by the industrial struggle in itself that are the means through which power can be transferred from the capitalists to the workers. The socialist revolution cannot be achieved by direct seizure of industry by the workers, without the workers first having conquered and captured the power of the State. We maintain that the class struggle is essentially a political struggle. (We, however, do acknowledge that industrial unionism offers more efficient methods of struggle than conventional trade unionism.)

The workers can become emancipated only when capitalist economic relationships are broken
and production is controlled by the workers and the community. The technology invented to serve humanity has become the instruments for enslavement of the producers. Socialism will release all the productive energies for the common welfare of all the people. Instead of profit for a few being the driving force of production the needs and enjoyments of the vast majority of people will be the motivation. The working class will have at its disposal all that civilisation can offer for the enhancement of individual and social life.

There is but one solution for the ills of capitalist society, but one way for the workers to achieve freedom and human life — the way of the Socialist Revolution.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The National Ill-Health Service

When the National health Service was introduced in 1948 it was greeted as a wonderful aid for workers who could not afford basic health care, but with the passage of time it has been exposed as a cheap substitute for worthwhile medical assistance. 'Tens of thousands of patients are dying needlessly in hospital every year from kidney failure linked to dehydration, NHS  officials have revealed. They calculate that up to 42,000 deaths a year would be avoided if staff ensured patients had enough to drink and carried out simple tests. NICE, the NHS watchdog, is today issuing guidelines to staff to help them prevent deaths from the condition " known as acute kidney injury" which is common in the  elderly and patients with  heart disease,  diabetes and blood infections.' (Daily Mail, 28 August) Is even a glass of water too much to ask for an ailing worker. RD

Fight War Not Wars

The monster of war has raised its ugly head again, or at least the escalation of a civil war by the threatened intervention of the UK/US. The American, British and French governments, on the hollow pretext of stopping the use of chemical weapons will  launched a massive air attack on Syria. The victims of similar past campaigns in Serbia, in Iraq and in Libya are forgotten. It again exposes the futility of the United Nations to avert war.

Many people's gut reaction is simply that war is crazy. Socialists share this anti-war sentiment. but like a voice crying in the wilderness, we also maintain that capitalism and war are inseparable.The weakness of the anti-war movement is that the majority want nothing more than a return to capitalist "peace" rather than the overthrow of the system that causes war. Speaker after speaker sees the immediate situation of open conflict as the problem, the simple solution of which is to simply pull back the troops. It doesn't go beyond that to examine the fact that if states have weapons and armies, they are there to be used. It fails to look at how conflict is actually continuous in the present world. It simply adopts a simple moralist position, "War is bad”. Capitalist states are not moral entities, and their ruling classes do not react to attempts at moral persuasion.

Anti-war protesters lose sight of the fact that we live in an economic system which drives its actors to battle against one another, in order to secure trade routes, natural resources and capital investments. This conflict is continual, the only variation being in the intensity of the conflict and the badges on the uniforms. Whether a war in society is within a nation or between nations, the causes of these wars are of a similar nature. While the circumstances surrounding each war may remain peculiar to the time and place (the extent of dictatorship/democracy or ideas on religions etc), the pattern seems to be repeated all over the world.  The owning class of one nation possesses something which that of another nation, or groups within a nation would like to possess. These could be land,  markets, or a natural resources like oil and gas.  And where a conflict occurs within a country, outside influences are often brought to bear. If resources are up for grabs, the capitalist grabbing class join the fray to see what share of the spoils they can win.

 Some on the Left focus on the role of American imperialism as if the American government had some choice in pursuing an imperialist policy, that its actions result from some mysteriously gung-ho national characteristic, rather than from the dictates of capitalist economy. If the US declines as an imperialist power, others will readily and gladly take its place.

The Socialist Party  loudly proclaim our adherence to "no war, but the class war" as a means for bringing this ongoing horror to an end. The consent of the ruled (us!) is essential to the continued functioning of capitalism (in both its state-capitalist and private-capitalist forms). Our consent, or our resistance, is part of our rulers’ profit-and-loss estimates. We can make this particular militaristic adventure too difficult or too expensive for our rulers.

 But as long as we, all of us, consent to the capitalist system as a whole, in other words, so long as we resist only this particular imperialist intervention, then there will be more and more bloodshed. We must deal with causes, not just symptoms. The socialist does not take sides in ruling class quarrels.

Let the workers unite to control of the machinery of government, including the armed forces. In that way alone will they be able to usher in a system of society wherein universal solidarity of interests will abolish all war, be it between classes or nations. Only socialists can claim to be the true anti-war campaigners. Our fellow workers around the world participate in anti-war campaigns, which call for the end of military wars, but few make that connection, as socialists do, to the wider society and particularly, to its mode of production and guiding ideology which promote competition among all sections of society. In campaigning solely for an end to military wars, which are but a bloody climax to the wider commercial war, there can be no hope of addressing the problems of human society today as a whole. Our message as always is that workers have the choice of roads, a choice which all humanity must make. One road is the road of blood and tears, of capitalism and war. The other is the road to socialism  and by ending the exploitation of man by man can we strike at the roots of war.

Dare To Dream


 Fifty years since the dream Martin Luther King shared with a nation
 Of equality for all and an end to discrimination
 As we reflect fifty years later the question we must now ask
 Is what progress have we really made in the half century that’s passed?

 I have a dream of no poverty or deprivation
 An end to prejudice, injustice and discrimination
 No abuse or harassment causing devastation
 Where challenges to these are not met with confrontation

 I have a dream that we’ll rise up in unity
 Act like one strong and determined community
 Live in a world of equal opportunity
 Where progress is anticipated eagerly

 I have a dream of access to jobs and employment
 Where we are assessed on our achievement
 Where those with the power to decide don’t cast judgment
 Based on class or gender or age or skin pigment

 I have a dream that every one of us each and every day
 Will rise up to those blocking us from progressing on our way
 That we’ll expose the hypocrites and end the moral decay
 Be unrelenting in our pursuit of truth, do not just say

 I have a dream that the evil of fascism will be no more
 That peace will come and there’ll be an end to illegal war
 That the pursuit of justice is not blocked by biased law
 And in all we strive for, equality is at the core

 I have a dream that our children will be judged on merit
 Where irrespective of colour or class they’re given credit
 For their skills, ideas and talent, not broken in spirit
 That we create a legacy that they’re proud to inherit

 I have a dream of free access to education
 Where knowledge is not barred due to financial situation
 Where we can build a firm and secure foundation
 For ourselves, our kin and the next generation

 I have a dream of sufficient welfare
 Free and accessible healthcare
 Of a world that’s equal and fair
 Where those who hold the power hear

 I have a dream where we’re free to embrace
 Our colour, gender, sexuality and race
 Where we’re not made to feel out of place
 Because of disability, status or face

 I have a dream where instead of judging by skin
 We live side by side, not like enemies, but kin
 Where faith and hope, not hatred and ignorance, win
 Where we never stop believing or dreaming

 I have a dream that we will always dare
 To aspire to and dream of a better world where
 The quest for liberty outweighs the fear
 Of those who are not brave enough to share
 Our dream


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Who owns the North Pole 63

Cashing in on climate change 

 In preparation for Arctic routes, shipyards in South Korea, Singapore and India are building ice-strengthened cargo ships and tankers. Some of these are equipped with dual-directional technology that enables them to use a high efficiency bow on open seas, and an icebreaking stern when moving backwards through ice.

 The Chinese media refer to the Northern Sea Route as the "Arctic Golden Waterway". Professor Bin Yang of Shanghai Maritime University estimates the route could save his country $60bn to $120bn per year. The "Malacca dilemma" results from China's dependence on the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia for over 80 percent of its oil imports. This leaves the country's energy supply vulnerable to interruption. Another major chokepoint is the Suez Canal, which is controlled by politically unstable Egypt. Ships wishing to use it must also transit the pirate-infested Arabian Sea. Then there is the Panama Canal, controlled by Panama, which is heavily influenced by the United States. The passage is also too narrow for many large vessels. Ships can avoid these chokepoints by looping around Africa or South America, but the extra distance costs time, fuel and wages.

 China, along with other Asian trading nations, are looking towards the north for alternate shipping lanes. The Bering Strait is a deep, wide, pirate-free channel between Russia and Alaska that connects the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Eastward from there, Canada's Northwest Passage offers a 7,000-kilometre shortcut to the US' Atlantic Seaboard. Westward, Russia's Northern Sea Route offers a 10,000-kilometre shortcut to Europe. With time, a third route will open across the centre of the Arctic Ocean.

 In September 2011, President Vladimir Putin told the media, "I want to stress the importance of the Northern Sea Route as an international transport artery that will rival traditional trade lanes in service fees, security and quality". Russia already uses icebreakers to escort commercial vessels, and charges for the service. In 2007, it launched the Fifty Years of Victory, a nuclear-powered behemoth able to break through 2.5 metres of ice at speed. Other projects designed to increase the viability of the Northern Sea Route include ten new search-and-rescue stations, renovations to rundown Arctic ports, easier-to-obtain shipping permits, and a new central office in Moscow to provide improved weather and ice forecasting in English.

 In just four years, shipping along the Northern Sea Route has increased ten-fold. In 2012, more than 40 ships sailed through, most of them bulk carriers or tankers carrying iron ore, oil and liquefied natural gas from Northwest Russia to China, South Korea or Japan. As a sign of things to come, one transit involved a load of coal being shipped from Vancouver, Canada, to Hamburg, Germany. This year, 55 ships have already received permission to sail through, during a season that now extends from July through November.

 Shipping through the Northwest Passage has also increased, but at a slower rate. In 2012, there were a total of 30 transits, none of which involved large cargo ships or tankers sailing to other countries. This is at least partly due to the Canadian government's lack of investment in its northern infrastructure, and its failure to provide icebreaking services for commercial vessels. Further complicating the situation, the US opposes Canada's claim that the Northwest Passage constitutes "internal waters" which foreign ships require permission to enter. Instead, the US insists the waterway is an "international strait" through which foreign ships may pass without constraint.

 Russia takes the same position as Canada with respect to the Northern Sea Route, insisting that the narrowest stretches of the waterway constitute Russian internal waters. But while the US protests the Russian position, it has so far never physically challenged it.

Syria, war and the class war

There is nothing clear about anything at this point in time of what actually took place in Syria. We have only the conveniently supplied rebel footage, which when viewed objectively, tells us nothing much at all, except that many appear to have been killed but not how they died. More importantly, they do no indicate which side was responsible. The entire event conveniently happened on the same day as the UN inspection team arrived? Is that a coincidence?

An expanded war in Syria could become regional or global with uncontrollable consequences.  Syria, Lebanon, Iran, the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, the United States and the NATO countries. Just creating a “no fly zone” would involve bombing urban areas and unavoidably killing large numbers of people.  Both sides in Syria have used horrible weapons and committed horrible atrocities. It is just as insane to arm one side in a conflict that involves similar abuses by both? An escalation in the war making the Syrian people worse off is not a way to help them.

On the 20th March 2003 Tony Blair addressed the nation to let them know that in spite of the fact that a million people had marched through the streets of London to say they did not support his war with Iraq, he had just ordered the British military to go to war anyway.

The British people were deceived by its trusted leaders, leaders with many centuries of experience practising deceit and treachery. No matter whether or not these great leaders actually believed their lies; the simple fact was they were lies. Were the lies of Blair’s government aberrations? Were they rare and exceptional deviations from otherwise benevolent and honest systems of government? Of course they weren’t. Politicians deliberately misinforming and lying to the people is as old as the hills.

One of the most powerful controlling illusions that our trusted leaders use is the illusion that they can be trusted. We’re conditioned from birth to trust those who control our lives – not only trust them, but hero-worship and emulate them. We all trust our leaders so much that we all obediently join the army to risk our lives fighting a war that cannot be won and, which is even worse, kill for a war that cannot be won. A very few do see an alternative path towards social justice, and tried to encourage others to follow it; but as is invariably the case when this happens, their numbers are too small and they are widely viewed as cranks and traitors.

All countries have histories that extol the virtues of kings and queens, with monuments and paintings all suggesting greatness. People from all over the world are encouraged to gawp at the vast palaces, castles and country houses of these “great” leaders – and never learn about the massive campaigns of murder, plundering and looting that that always  paid for each and every one of these monstrosities.

This is how we are all conditioned to trust our leaders, to believe that no matter what, they are really on our side; and will defend us with just as much loyalty as we’re expected to show them. It’s a total lie. When things go wrong the first people out the door are always, always, our trusted leaders, trampling over those who supported them, clutching as much of their ill-gotten loot as they can carry.

The capitalist class plunder for all they are  worth whatever part of the planet they have at their control. The steal all the natural resources they can get their greedy hands on, and sell at extortionate prices water and energy to people who can barely afford to feed themselves. They keep for themselves as much of the loot they make from all this as they possibly can. The capitalists control the political and legal system such that no annoying bureaucratic obstacles appear – such as currency controls or paying taxes. They exploit the labour market, importing desperate immigrants to ensure a permanent supply of impoverished people prepared to sell their labour in whatever conditions for whatever pittance you’re prepared to pay them. They prevent people from joining trade unions or combining for improved conditions. They collude with their 1% accomplices in the media to ensure that all of this is sold as virtuous and even benevolent actions, and get them to make movies and TV shows where real-life captains of commerce and industry are portrayed as heroic role-models whose ruthless practices should be admired and copied by all young people. And most important of all, they make off with their treasure buried in tax-haven Caribbean islands like the pirates of old and assure themselves immunity from prosecution for their war crimes.

The 1% using rules invented, written, controlled and policed by the 1%, to benefit the 1%. The time for re-writing the rules is here and now.

Adapted from this article


Organise, agitate, and educate


“The social revolution...cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future...” Karl Marx

It is impossible to provide more than a basic picture now of what the new society will look like or even what the struggle that will bring it will be like. We can assume general principles but particular details will depend on the actual conditions at the time. We can say that within the old society's forms the forms of a new society are incubated.

We can improve our lives and society by overturning the capitalist system. We can eliminate exploitation and injustice by replacing capitalism with a rational and humane system – socialism. Hunger in the midst of plenty is the distinguishing mark of the capitalist system of production.Socialism is a social system where social wealth is genuinely controlled by society and for the benefit of society; where the common good, not profits, becomes the chief concern; where the everyday working people become the rightful masters of society. There is no other choice today but for the working people to organize to struggle to win socialism and  bury capitalism. Today we must look ahead to the future where socialism will be built on the powerful productive capacities now stifled by capitalism. Socialism will qualitatively improve the lives of the working and oppressed people.

The socialist revolution has become a real feasible possibility. Each person  is faced with the choice of either enduring the suffering of unemployment, inflation, brutalisation and war; or taking the path of struggle – joining with the millions of others who are dissatisfied and know that a better society is possible. Women and men, young and old, and people of all nationalities are realizing we must unite and struggle to survive, to be able to work, eat and live as decent human beings. If the working people controlled the great resources of our society, we could improve all our lives. Standing in the way of social progress and socialism is the capitalist class. In opposition to this minority is the vast majority of the rest of the population. In the final analysis, the conditions of life for the 99% cannot fundamentally improve without the overthrow of the1%. Through struggle and education, workers will realise that their interest lies in the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of socialism.

But such a revolution will require the global unity of the workers of all nationalities who share the common identity that they are all exploited by the capitalist class.  With the development of world commerce and the production for the world market will the position of the working class in one country become dependent of the positions in all other countries. The nation becomes a fetter upon production, and equally a fetter upon the emancipation of the proletariat. The emancipation of the working class is thus an achievement, in which every people must take part.

 Socialism is not the conquest of the state by a political party, rather, it is the conquest of society by the working class through industrial and political action. Socialism is not government ownership or control of industry, two things that are purely a capitalist expression. Socialism struggles for the abolition of the state, not the enlarging of its functions. Some reformists are seduced by the idea of a beneficial state and fail to recognise its powers for shackling the workers. Socialism is the struggle to place the management and control of industry directly in the workers and community through the overthrow of capitalism and its governmental agents in the State. Those advocating nationalisation has been developing state capitalism, not socialism. Socialists  rejects the policy of state ownership, rejects the notion that state capitalism is progressive and a phase of socialism.

The working class would like to attain socialism without violence. It will utilise all legal possibilities and legislative approaches in the struggle for socialism. It, however, cannot chain itself to the rules established by the ruling class if they will not relinquish power peacefully. The main activity of the Socialist Party will be through the various avenues available under democracy to organise, agitate, and educate our fellow workers. Democracy can’t be strengthened if we discredit the entire process of democracy and permit the supremacy of the be non-elected. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Capitalism: the enemy of the people

The Four Pillars of Capitalism
People are hungry in their hearts for new ideas. They know our present path can’t last. It’s produced a world of want, while a tiny handful have the vast majority of the cash, resources, and our politician’s ears.  A failed past, is offered as the way forward  with too few to remind us we’ve already been there.  Issues and fights we long ago believed we had won have returned with a vengence. Workers are once more struggling to maintain a “livable” wage against company policies of pay-cuts. We fought for pensions now we fight to protect them being increasingy  taken away.  Again, the struggle is for a eight hours day - eight hours work for the unemployed, the part-time temps and casual workers on zero-hour contracts and a eight hours for obliged  to perform unpaid overtime to keep their jobs. The struggle has returned for decent affordable housing for those foreclosed on and unable to pay the rising rents due to the housing crisis. The struggle for workers health and safety is now global when sweatshops supplying High St stores kill workers with fires and collapsing building.  It’s a world-wide race to the bottom regarding hours, wages and safety. The bosses have never done the proper thing on their own without pressure from workers.

The companies and government fought, but haven’t destroyed the unions. For all their flaws  and mistakes workers built  a sustainable movement in unions and  all our lives are worse without effective union struggles. Strikes and picket lines, wildcat walk-outs and factory occupations have been our weapons of choice.

Workers are lectured by activists (particularly Trotskyists) who can’t define or agree on where they want to lead us. To be a socialist is to recognise the urgent need to begin the process of creating a new system, a system that promotes unity and collective action while maintaining individuality and independence; a system that challenges us to think for ourselves and about others; a system that understands the connection between humanity and the eco-system. Workers  must have the power to democratically direct their social labour time. The old merry-go-round offers less and less and revolution becomes more and more obviously the solution.

The essence of capitalism is to turn nature into commodities and commodities into capital. Capitalism is the predatory pursuit of profit and requires humans to dominate humans and humans to dominate Nature. Capitalism is an economic system based on perpetual growth and the relentless exploitation of natural resources. It requires constant consumption. To be capitalist is to ignore reality. By definition, capitalism is unsustainable, cannot be reformed.

Capitalism play lip-service to the theory the competitive individuals of free market theory. Olipolies dominate markets. They patent products, technologies, and processes. They buy up the most profitable sources of supply, control marketing networks, and spend millions on advertising to tie consumers to existing brands. Whenever possible, they introduce technologies that reduce employment. They outsource  work. The fewer people employed, the less paid for labor, the more profits for shareholders, the more money for executive bonuses.

As capital’s share of total income rises, the share going to labor and the needy falls. As most markets decline, capitalists turn to speculation, betting on price changes in real estate, futures or derivatives. Casino capitalism adds nothing to real means of livelihood; winners merely gain at the expense of losers. Financial bubbles are followed by crashes. As more businesses fail, capitalists hold on to what they can by demanding that debtors be punished for the sins of creditors. Austerity leads to further declines in working-class income and markets.

Some capitalists promote war because they believe that military action can give them access to new resources and markets. Others profit from the purchase of drones, missiles, airplanes, fuel, and the provisioning of armed forces. Governments favor capitalists and act as the agencies of militarism.

Because existing profits depend on cheap energy, capitalists refuse to believe that the burning of fossil fuels leads to climate change. Capitalists have convinced themselves that global temperatures will not rise; ice caps will not melt; oceans will not become more acidic; extreme weather events will not become more frequent.  Capitalism increases investments in tar sands and fracking, while cutting investments in solar, wind, tidal, and bio-thermal energy.

To be a capitalist is to prize shareholders over sharing.
To be a capitalist is to value commodities over communities.
To be a capitalist is to look towards the next fiscal quarter.
To be a capitalist is to pretend humans can "control" nature.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More Political Bombast

We should be used by now to politicians making ridiculous claims, but the following takes a bit of beating. It comes from the Liberal Democrat pension minister Steve Webb. 'He makes the claim, which he admits "will shock or offend some" in the introduction to a new book titled, "Liberal Democrats Do God". "The most fundamental reason why Christians should feel at home in the Liberal Democrats is that the character of God, as revealed in the Christian Gospel, would suggest that God must be a liberal," Mr Webb write.' (Sunday Telegraph, 25 August) So be careful, fellow workers where you put your cross on the ballot paper on election day. God has got his eye on you. RD

The Workers Song

The Workers Song

Yeah, this one's for the workers who toil night and day
By hand and by brain to earn your pay
Who for centuries long past for no more than your bread
Have bled for your countries and counted your dead

In the factories and mills, in the shipyards and mines
We've often been told to keep up with the times
For our skills are not needed, they've streamlined the job
And with slide-rule and stop-watch our pride they have robbed

We're the first ones to starve, we're the first ones to die
The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky
And we're always the last when the cream is shared out
For the worker is working when the fat cat's about

And when the sky darkens and the prospect is war
Who's given a gun and then pushed to the fore
And expected to die for the land of our birth
Though we've never owned one  handful of earth?

All of these things the worker has done
From tilling the fields to carrying the gun
We've been yoked to the plough since time first began
And always expected to carry the can

Labour Conquers All

There are but only two “nations”. To which nation do you belong? Do you belong to the nation that lives by working, or to the “nation” that lives by working the workers. One ”nation‘s” motto is “Workers of the world, unite.” That means Scots, English, Pole and Romanian, Asian or African or American, black and white and brown. The other “nation” stands for elitism and  inequality.

Bill Gates, Richard Branson, The Queen do not belong to our “nation”, no matter where they are born or where they live; no matter where you were born or where you live. Our country is the world. Those who perform useful labour are our compatriots. The “foreigners” are the class enslaving and grinding down the lives of our brothers and sisters for profits.

 Every plutocrat, every profiteer, every exploiter, every oppressor will tell you that you must be loyal and patriotic to their particular “nation". Are you their ally or is your allegiance to your class, your own “nation”?  Workers must be united and act together. Solidarity must be the watchword.

Political unity and industrial unity will give us the power to conquer capitalism and  emancipate the workers of the world. As individual wage slaves we are helpless and our condition hopeless. As a class, we are the greatest power on Earth. The individual wage slave must recognise the power of class unity and do all to bring it about. That is what is called class consciousness.  Class conscious workers recognise who their “nation” is. They join the union  and the party of their class and gives their time and energy to the work  for the emancipation of their “nation.”  We do battle against the “nation” of the bankers and the bosses who applaud their  own "patriotism" and who glory in  robbery and plunder.  The object of nationalism is the transference of political power from London  to the upper classes of Scotland. The SNP are hostile to the very idea of classes and class-struggle. The Scottish nationalist wants to exploit working-class in the name of “Freedom”, which when realised, will mean the freedom of the native bourgeoisie. The nationalists leaders decry any movement which gives predominance to class-interest over national interest.

The reformists within the nationalist camp promise that independence will  alleviate the sufferings of the Scottish  toiling masses.  As a Marxist party, we know that any efforts made with such an object will be only gilding the chains of slavery. The economic freedom of the producing class can be conquered only through a revolutionary struggle from beginning to end! This fact should be clearly and unequivocally expressed without any ambiguity. Workers should not be taken in the reformist and utopian slogans of the nationalists.

The Socialist Party as the party of the working class makes its appeal to the workers of our  “nation”. It is not begging for votes, nor seeking for votes, nor bargaining for votes for the political spoils office.  But we want all the votes we can get only as a means of advancing  the political power of the working class in the struggle for industrial freedom and as a means of wresting the control of government and of industry from the capitalists. The Socialist Party knows neither sex, colour nor nationality. It knows no foreigners among the oppressed and down-trodden. For us there are no nations, but only workers and comrades, whose mutual sympathies are  perverted by the capitalist class whose interest it is to stir up rivalries and hatreds between the dwellers in different lands. The Socialist Party will only fight to bring about a social organisation superior to the others not only in its political form, but in the mode of production and distribution of wealth. Therefore we will not fight to defend existing countries, nor to create new ones; but we will fight when we need to bring about a socialist society (or to defend it as soon as we have succeeded in establishing it.) A revolutionary working class will neither keep its ancient nationalities nor create new ones because by becoming free it will abolish classes: the world will be its country.

As the Socialist Party said in 1911, workers are bound together by the shared ties of our class position. On the other hand, we have nothing in common with the master class, whose interests are everywhere opposed to our own. Therefore, it is the capitalist class who are the undesirable aliens. They are not part of our “nation” and are the real outsiders.

To be a socialist is to look beyond national boundaries.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Oh my Darling Party Line

Crazy Capitalism

Few visitors to the Socialist Courier blog will need to be told of the great frequency and seriousness of mental and emotional disturbances which afflict large masses of the working population, including not only those who receive psychiatric treatment but also the members of the families living in the same household.

Marxists approach the topic of illness as a whole in society, rather than dividing it along the traditional line between body and soul. It means recognising the unity of the physical and mental sides of a person, and talking about whole ranges of different types of ‘illness’ which may be neither particularly physical nor psychological. This approach would reveals how mental and physical health stems more from the economic demands of the system of production. Mental illness is always a sign that basic human needs are not being satisfied; that there is a lack of love, a lack of reason for being, a lack of justice; that something important is missing and, because of this, pathological trends are developing.

For a long time, the hell of mental illness was regarded as arising primarily from an ‘illness’ at all but seen as caused by “moral weakness” The stigma of mental illness still operates very powerfully, even in these allegedly enlightened days. Mental stress and breakdown, whether psychiatrically treated or not, is one of the most grievous hidden costs of life in this type of society. There is no way of gauging how many thousands of individuals have the lives poisoned or wrecked in the secrecy of their own dwelling, while maintaining an apparently cheerful public ‘front’ outside the home.

The care and treatment of mentally ill persons has undergone a revolution. The Victorian lunatic asylums have disappeared. The concept of the voluntary patient has replaced it. Only those who are so disturbed to be a danger to themselves or others are sectioned and hospitalised compulsory and only the criminal insane are detained in a non-hospital environment.

Some radical commentators have claimed that since life in our society is repressive and exploiting, mental illness is one more form of protest which deserves our sympathy and solidarity. And the psychiatric treatment of mental illness is seen as a part, perhaps an essential part, of the brainwashing, head-fixing, mind-dulling apparatus of modern capitalism. This message is in many respects true but not wholly true and leads to the conclusion that if there is no such thing as mental illness, we can have no use for the idea of mental health. We can therefore make no demands on the system to provide better facilities, material and personnel, for the treatment of the mentally ill,  no need for arguing  for a greatly improved psychiatric service within the NHS or demand more and better mental hospitals and clinics, more and better doctors and nurses. The burden of mental illness is thrown back on to the working class, to be dealt with in the isolated, behind the walls of the home-situation.

The working class and socialist movement must make it clear that society as a whole must accept responsibility for the care of the mentally ill – not on the cheap, by impersonal mass-produced treatment in overcrowded hospitals, but as expertly as we would wish to be treated ourselves.  There is nothing shameful about seeking medical help during a time of emotional distress. Sadly the existing NHS facilities can only discourage and frighten them. We know, (still need to be told), that many mental hospitals are bad, that many psychiatrists are incompetent (and reactionary). The same, of course, applies to hospitals, doctors and nurses dealing with physical medicine, only nobody thinks of using this to attack the very existence of public amenities for treating physical illnesses.

 Erich Fromm wrote “If parents really wish that their children be not only successful but also to be mentally healthy, they must consider as essential those norms and values that lead to mental health and not only those that lead to success.”

Helen Caldecott winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a world renowned campaigner against nuclear weapons says that our species is “mentally sick… The whole society is sick”. We are in the grip of a death wish. She points out that 1 in 25 people are sociopaths with “no moral conscience” and these are the people who rise to the top; who are in charge.

Sociopaths and psychopaths are characterised by their lack of empathy; the ability to experience the feelings and emotions of others. Guilt and remorse are a foreign to politicians (Blair is a prime example). Those character types are both irresponsible and have an overblown sense of entitlement. Nothing is ever their fault. All these are traits which we can readily recognise among the power elites of our mad world such as in banking, with the expectation of bail-outs at the expense of the poor and vulnerable. More than 10 million people across the US have been evicted from their homes in the last six years, foreclosed on by the banks.

We all know, scum rises to the top. We all know that bosses are like smoking dope - the more you suck the higher you get. Psychologist Robert Hare, a researcher on corporate psychopaths puts the numbers between 3 and 12 percent of managers.

 There are seventeen thousand nuclear weapons in existence; enough to incinerate everyone on the planet many times over as well as destroying most of the other nine million species we share the planet with. Is this sane?  Nevertheless, Obama has recently allotted $537 million to upgrade 180 aging nuclear bombs to make them more accurate! Each bomb can destroy a major city the size of London or New York. Is this sane? Each year, around $45-60 billion worth of arms sales are traded. The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, France, United Kingdom and China), together with Germany and Italy, account for around 85% of the arms sold between 2004 and 20115 and most arms sales (something like 75%) are to developing countries. It is justified  by saying if we didn’t do it someone else would. Is this sane?  Global military spending is over $1.7 trillion dollars mostly by  powers purported to be peace-loving and law-abiding. Despite hundreds of years of experience to the contrary, political leaders still behave as though the best way of solving a dispute is invasion. Making war to stop war is like pouring petrol on fires to put them out. Is this sane?

Contamination from a single failure at Chernobyl spread right across Europe. 27 years later at Fukushima three complete meltdowns of reactor cores have been emitting radioactive material for over two years and nobody knows how to stop it. Capitalism is refusing to abandon a technology which can, through a single accident, pollute countries and continents. Is this sane?  Kyoto, the only international binding treaty on emissions cuts, has failed to slow global carbon emissions. The extreme weather of recent years, which has caused countless deaths is believed, by most meteorologists and climate scientists to be an indicator of what is to come from climate change. Excessive increase in global temperature will result in famine, floods, water shortages, large population movements, and land and resource wars. Yet there is a lack of political will to implement policies in governments, their state of denial and lack of urgency encouraged by powerful economic interests. Is this sane?

Capitalism is insane. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Your Choice - Mending or Ending Capitalism

In America Obamacare, reforms to the health system of that coutry has been called “creeping socialism” by the free-marketeers and the American public has been barraged by propaganda against any form of “socialized medicine”. The problem of medical costs for people in the United States is a severe and often tragic one. In the UK we possess the much acclaimed National Health Service. The NHS is very far from perfect, but it works far better than the health system in the US, where almost all care is bought and sold in the market place. The NHS is the centrepiece of the welfare state. For over 90 percent of the population it provides their only access to health care. It is immensely popular, despite its inadequacies. The well being of workers concerns the ruling class and, for sure,  this is reflected in the priorities of the NHS. Acute medicine for the able bodied of working age is better funded and includes the most prestigious areas of medicine. Those caring for the elderly and the physically and mentally handicapped remain the “Cinderella” services.

The National Health Insurance Scheme started in 1912, it was decided to pay the money to the different health insurance agencies already in existence. Some were cooperative undertakings, some were run by trade unions, and some by insurance companies, so that there arose the anomaly of a national, compulsory insurance scheme being administered through separate, private insurance organizations. The benefits tended to vary. Employed workers were covered by but not their wives, children and other dependents. A sick insured worker had the care of a doctor and free medicine, but none of the ancillary necessities were provided – X-ray, hospitalization, surgery, etc. Low wages and recurring unemployment made even care by a doctor and free medicine a doubtful blessing for the average worker. While the sickness benefit remained fixed by law, some of the wealthier organizations gave additional services, dental care, eyeglasses and so on, while the poorer ones gave only the minimum. There were also local health authorities which were responsible for certain aspects of public health These included clinics, midwifery, maternity and child welfare, water supplies, sewage and refuse disposal, control of epidemics and the provision of domestic help for families unable because of illness to look after themselves. The main difficulty lay in the fact that there were over 400 authorities, many of them too small and too poor to carry out their functions. As a general rule, medical help received by this means was not of a high standard.

In 1942, Sir William Beveridge, a Liberal member of Parliament, proposed a comprehensive health service which would “ensure that for every citizen there is available whatever medical treatment he requires in whatever form he requires it...”
The Labour party steered the necessary legislation through parliament and in November 1946 the National Health Service Act became law and came into effect on July 5, 1948.

The National Health Service is available to every man, woman and child in the country without any qualification. Everyone is free to choose his or her own doctor and the doctor is free to accept or reject a prospective patient.

The NHS was regarded as a charge on national income in the same way as education and the armed services. It is recognized that it is as necessary to spend money on healthy bodies and minds as it is to provide education for the people. Welfare provision is contradictory. On the one hand it benefits workers but on the other it also reflects capital’s interest in the reproduction of labour power. The state represents capital’s interest in maintaining the conditions for the reproduction of labour power, but this imposes a cost on capital. There is a constant tension between the desire for healthy, well trained workers and the costs of such provision. In 1951 the Labour government, introduced legislation imposing charges on dental treatment. The following year the Conservatives added additional charges to the service. Pricing  has been expanded over the decades by both parties but  nevertheless remains largely a “free” service available to all. The priorities of the NHS have no bearing on what patients can pay – only to what they need.

“The National Health Service is the envy of the world.”  said Enoch Powell, minister for health in 1962.
“The National Health Service is safe with us.” said  Margaret Thatcher, prime minister in 1983.

The attack on the NHS today takes two forms. The first is the outright demand for privatisation of the entire health service and a full return to the market where people who can’t afford medical fees don’t get treated.  The other attack pretends to favour the principles of the NHS but then argues for the gradual erosion of those principles by moving towards a two-tier system, a private insurance model for wealthier patients while leaving the NHS the unprofitable areas of care, for the chronically sick, the mentally handicapped and the like.

The NHS is a very good example of a past reform vigorously opposed by conservative forces such as the doctors lobby, the BMA, at the time. It was very much in the interests of the great mass of the people, and especially of working class people. It was also, from the beginning, something of a compromise, but a compromise more in our favour than otherwise. Despite all its faults the principles the NHS incorporates are socialist ones. There will always be some system of priority and how is the NHS rations is on the basis of need. He or she who needs more, gets priority over him or her who needs less. It is not rationing by the size of a person’s wallet or purse.

With the deepening crisis of capitalism it is now the National Health Service is fighting for its life. “Saving” money is seen as important, however, reducing the profit level of the multinational drug companies is no part of plans. The NHS continue to allow brand name drugs to be prescribed when generic prescriptions would lower costs. While pharmaceutical company profits have risen enormously the original conception of the NHS has been quietly abandoned.

 Attacks on the health service are deeply unpopular. One of the easiest ways of dismantling the NHS is to impose strict budgets and  make the working conditions and pay so unattractive and unrewarding that it literally becomes impossible to staff it. Closing a ward here and a ward there, or shutting this or that local hospital and no-one notices that it is gone until it is too late.

As critics of reformism, the Socialist Party are not, of course, opposed to particular reforms. But it has to be understood that no gain is permanently guaranteed so long as the means of production  remain in the hands of the capitalist minority. The never ending struggle to protect the benefits of the National Heath Service is proof of the pudding. To permanently achieve a decent society we must break the power of the capitalist class.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The SPGB and the Unions

The object of the Socialist Party is to achieve socialism. The purpose of a trade union is to make the best terms for its members with employers.

There are those who hold that the working class are in a constant state of latent revolt, seething to go forward to revolution and these people imagine it is only the timidity or corruption of leaders, or perhaps the defects of organisation that keeps them subdued. The truth is the opposite, of course. The working class may be discontented but they are far from the next step of making a change to their existence. How absurd to suppose that they are in a state of incipient revolt, and would fight, much less go on general strike for, if they will not even vote for their principles! Even more absurd is  to suggest that the indifference of the workers, their apathy and their reluctance to do anything for their emancipation, would all be removed simply by disbanding the existing trade union organisation and forming others with new names. A thing is not changed simply by giving it a new name. Existing trade unions are the outcome of existing economic conditions; they have survived because they have been the fittest to survive, the organisations best adapted to their conditions. These new workers’ organisations  would only have the same material to work with, and nothing but the same conditions to work in. Dual unionism saps the strength of the trade unions.

Syndicalists tell us political action of itself, no matter how revolutionary it may be, can accomplish but little if not backed by real economic power. But we say syndicalist unions by themselves cannot accomplish the “miracle” of overthrowing capitalism and must be assisted by the Socialist Party.

Nevertheless, trade unionism is steadily progressing towards the realisation of that One Big Union industrial organisation. For sure, the progress is slow; and can easily be understood, and excused. But let us not fall into the error, through impatience at the slowness of progress, of casting them aside. Suffice it to say here that the trade union movement is on right lines. The trade unions have their defects, undoubtedly, and it would be wrong to ignore them or not to try to remedy them. Socialists within the unions cannot and must not be servants of the bureaucracy.  and  a socialist party should not interfere in the internal affairs of the trade unions. But socialists working in the same union to can organise themselves together and strive to make of the union more democratic, but we’ll do that as trade unionists.

 It is for socialists to sympathise with and support trade unionists in every struggle in which the class war involves them until they recognise that their work is futile unless its object is emancipation.  The transition from one system to another is by no means a mechanical process. However “inevitable” the change may be, the time necessary to effect it can never be measured. Nor can the amount of human suffering and conflict involved before the change is carried through be estimated. So uncertain is the “inevitability” that there the  possibility of the disintegration of civilisation which cannot be ruled out.

Everything depends upon the development of the socialist ideas in people and the growth of the will-power on the part of the workers for the purpose of socialism. Such changes can come only with the change in ownership of the means of production and that means going beyond the immediate “bread and butter” questions which occupy the continual attention of trade unions. Many “practical” trade unionists criticise  socialism as visionary, unattainable, and without any immediate social value yet within trade unionism there is no change in the wage-slave position of the workers. They fail to perceive that socialism is the only  political force of modern times. Rosa Luxemburg said that “only the working class, by itself actively, can bring about socialism . . .” The primary organisations of the working class, the unions, have re-started the fight. Union members need to take control of their unions to make them into democratic, accountable organisations which will back the activities of the working class and win the struggles.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quote of the Day

“you are a cash cow for a big label and they want you to make them more money”  KT Tunstall describing when she signed to one of the major record companies. 

Give socialism and peace a chance

Modern wars as a rule have been caused by the commercial and financial rivalry and intrigues of the capitalist interest in the different countries. Whether they have been waged as wars of aggression or they have been hypocritically represented as wars of “defence,” they always have been made by the ruling classes and fought by the masses.

War is not the cause of the troubles of society. War is an essential part of capitalism. War is a symptom.

The conflicts of capitalism lead to war and the only way to get rid of war is to remove the cause of war. The only possible struggle against war is the struggle for the socialist revolution. No one who upholds capitalism – whether directly, as an open adherent of the capitalists, or indirectly, from an reformist position – can fight against war, because capitalism means war.

 War breed a sinister spirit of unreason, race hatred, and  patriotism. They obscure the struggles of the workers for life, liberty, and social justice. They cut the bonds of solidarity between workers here and in other countries, it destroys their organisations and curtails their civil and political rights and liberties.

In every country workers are oppressed and exploited. They produced enormous wealth and the  capitalist class of each country is forced to look for foreign markets to sell its wealth or to seek th sources of raw material to feed production. The geographical boundaries of modern capitalist country have become too narrow for the industrial and commercial operations of its capitalist class. The efforts of the capitalists of all leading nations are therefore centered upon the domination of the world markets. The acquisition of spheres of commercial and political influence results diplomatic intrigues and the cause of constant clashes between nations. The acute competition between the capitalist powers of the earth, their jealousies and distrusts of one another forces each of them to arm to the teeth.

Socialism will eliminate war because by overthrowing capitalist economy and supplanting capitalism with a socialist system, it will remove the causes of war. In socialism there will no longer exist the basic contradictions that lead to war. Artificial barriers based on national boundaries will be removed. The expansion of the means of production, under the ownership and control of society as a whole, will proceed in accordance with a rational plan adjusted to the needs of the members of society. Thus, under socialism, war will disappear because the causes of war will be done away. Every step on the path to socialism is a blow at war.

There is only one war which is worthy of men and women, that is class war, the social revolution. It is of little use to cry out against war while we tolerate a social system that breeds war. Capitalism makes war inevitable. Capitalist nations not only exploit their workers but ruthlessly invade, plunder, and ravage one another. The profit system is responsible for it all. Abolish that, establish industrial democracy, produce for use, and the incentive to war vanishes. Until then people may talk about “Peace on earth” but it will be a myth.

 The Socialist Party is unalterably opposed to the system of exploitation and class rule which is upheld and strengthened by military power and national patriotism.The Socialist Party does indeed  take sides in wars, but it’s the side of the workers, against the owning class that exploits them now, as well as against any other  owning class that WANTS to exploit them. It is not people against people, but instead, class against class. The Socialist Party has no sympathies for the ruling class of any country. The only struggle which would justify the workers in taking up arms is the great struggle of the working class of the world to free itself from economic exploitation and political oppression. In support of capitalism, we will not willingly give a single life but in support of the struggle of the workers for freedom we pledge our all. The working class of this country has no quarrel with the working class of any other country. Workers are never consulted and have no part in declaring war.  Our first business is to hate the capitalist system that means the continued robbery of the workers.  Our duty as socialists is to develop a “class patriotism,” refusing to murder one another for a sordid world capitalism. Let the rich go defend their own  property. We wish to  live for socialism.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Something To Look Forward To?

Record numbers of care homes have been issued with official warnings after inspectors found "unacceptable"and illegal failings which left the most vulnerable at risk. More than 900 notices have been issued by the health watchdog in the past year, indicating that institutions could be closed or prosecuted without urgent action to improve standards. 'Inspectors found staff falsifying medical records and failing to investigate claims of abuse, while residents were put at risk from scalding water, and left in filthy and unheated rooms. The figures from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) show that the number of official warnings issued has risen by 43 per cent, from just over 600, in just one year.' (Daily Telegraph, 19 August) RD

The Rise Of Foodbanks

While politicians praise themselves for the wonderful job they are doing the harsh realities of capitalism tell another story. 'The number of people seeking help from foodbanks has risen by 78 per cent over the the past six months, Citizen Advice said.' (Times, 19 August) RD

What is crime? What is law?

 Crime is an inevitable outgrowth of capitalism. The ideology of the cash nexus between man and man are the prime social incentives to crime.

A criminal is literally a person accused and convicted of being harmful to society. But is he really harmful to society than the old gent in the wig who pronounces sentence upon him? A crime is an act forbidden by the law of the land all laws devised by the strongest force in a community, and in the last analysis, made for the protection of the dominant class. This means that law has not been evolved to protect society but rather a tool developed through the class struggle used to protect that class which dominates the State. Within propertied society the law’s most important task is to protect the right of possession; that is why by far the largest class of crimes may be called crimes against property. One of the first rules of capitalist society is that where people offend against the laws of property the solution is to punish them into submission.

 Criminality continues to grow, and the punishments inflicted, though they can neither protect nor indemnify the honest, only succeed in corrupting and degrading. Crime is mounting, bred by the miseries of  capitalism and the great majority of crimes are motivated by inferior economic position, by elementary need. Crime policy has little to do with reducing crime or protecting the public, and much more to do with controlling economically deprived sections of the population, providing an ideological diversion from more serious problems.

There are criminals and there are criminals. Society rests on private property. Go to the county estate owner and listen and you will soon think the poacher is the embodiment of all diabolical vices while the poacher invariably and rightly regards the land-owner as the emissary of the evil one!  In the  past the land was held in common and there is abundant evidence that all early human communities were communistic in character. The man who attempted to retain for himself land or goods, or who fenced off a portion of the common ground was a criminal of the deepest dye.  Nevertheless these criminals have clawed their way to the top and have become the respectable members of modern society. The poacher asserting a right  belonging to a past time is condemned as anti-social! A poacher may be an outside the law but he preserves the mentality of honest people.

The gangsters of the Al Capone type merely expresses the dominant  power, afflicted with the drives of the capitalist but without the sanction of social superiority and acceptance. Anti-social behavior remains anti-social, whether it be called the individual initiative of the millionaire or the racketeering of a mobster. “This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it”  Al Capone has been quoted as saying and elsewhere he said “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class” Al Capone

It cannot be denied, of course, that the causes of crime are many and varied. But to lump all possible factors together indiscriminately is to obscure an elementary truth. Broken homes, family tensions, slum areas, gang activities, unemployment and insufficient income, lack of recreational facilities, poor educational methods and opportunities – all these things are indubitably involved in the creation of the criminal.  This is just another way of saying: Capitalism causes crime. For what are all these “complex” factors but aspects of our bourgeois culture? What are they but  illustrations of an outmoded system of private property?

The materialist viewpoint is invaluable because it shows us the interrelation of causes; it makes clear which factors are primary, which derivative; it explains how various elements are intertwined in a dynamic cultural pattern. The Marxist does not insist that all crimes are economic in character (although the evidence indicates that the great majority of crimes are such) ; we do, however, make it plain that the economic structure of society determines the cultural facts which orthodox theorists hold are non-economic in essence. Is the broken home a contributing factor in the origin of crime? Very well, but is not the broken home a manifestation of the conflict of capitalist culture, particularly prevalent in those unprivileged areas where unemployment, etc., inevitably disrupt normal family relations? Are slum clearance and housing projects important? Quite so: but the slum is an inevitable product of capitalist development, and the utopianism of hoping to achieve adequate housing under an outmoded system of private property is evident from what has come out of the none-too-laudable housing schemes. Poor educational opportunities, lack of recreational facilities – what are these but proof-by-example of class oppression? Mere enumeration of possible causes is not enough; what is necessary is a social theory which indicates which factors are basic, which of a reflex or secondary nature. The Marxian analysis, which relates cultural factors to the economic bedrock of society, makes it clear that the social scientists who enumerate multitudinous factors as isolated causes are guilty of the therapeutic error of symptom treatment: they are attempting to cope with factors (education, housing, unemployment, etc.) which are on the periphery of social reality. The primary fact is capitalist class society, organised on the basis of private property and private profit; from this basic economic fact flow the surface evils with which muddled sociologists are preoccupied.

The socialist recognises that in our class society, with the controlling social stratum enabled through its monopoly of the means of production to exploit the non-owning groups in the interests of its own material profit, there exists a fundamental clash of interests, which takes overt form in such phenomena as strikes, revolutions – and criminal acts. All of these expressions of class conflict represent, more or less directly, an attack upon the right of private property by the non-owning, or working class. Individual criminal acts are products of direct economic oppression, or of attitudes and sentiments engendered by class divisions, or of both.  Crime and organised revolt, then, are but two expressions, the former primitive and futile, the latter conscious and purposeful, of the same fundamental class conflict. This conflict grows out of the the competitive principle of private property, exercised in the interests of a minority.  The development o capitalism has produced the widest extremes of wealth and poverty; created enormous slum districts and underprivileged areas; wars in every generation; and formulated a most elaborate system of checks and restraints upon individual and social conduct and all the time while lawlessness and crime have been ever increasing because the sacred interests of private profit is leaving people in a condition of insecurity which sooner or later resolve themselves in revolt, or assert themselves in criminal behavior. More and more repressive laws have been created, more and more agencies of enforcement established. Criminal threats upon property rights must be prevented by the principle of deterrence through fear. Capitalist society  necessitates an ever-increasing degree the policing of the lower class by the agents of the ruling class.

 The socialist movement has the  power to put an end to the system responsible for the deprivation and poverty which give rise to crime in the first place. Socialists seek to abolish the present machinery of so-called justice, with all its painful and inhuman aspects, but we do not want to replace it with either total individual liberty to do as one wishes or the crowd’s summary justice of the lynch-mob. Socialists  are usually blamed for the vagueness  of our proposals to solve the most painful social problem as soon as it comes to dealing with the problem of reconstruction and practical life in the future society. However, it is not up to the Socialist Party to fix the future beforehand, but rather to simply guarantee the conditions of freedom necessary for the social evolution to eventually secure the greatest well-being and the greatest material, spiritual and intellectual development for all. We do not boast that we possess absolute truth, good for all times, universally applicable, or determinable in advance, but that instead, once freedom has been secured, mankind will go forward discovering and acting gradually with the least number of upheavals and with a minimum of friction. Thus our solutions always leave the door open to different and, one hopes, better solutions. In the interest of public safety it is useful that railwaymen, for instance, specialise in their job and doctors for example  entirely devote themselves to their skills. But we need not permit  someone to be a  judge by profession. Everybody should take care of social defence, in the same way in which everybody promptly helps when disaster strikes. If people do not feel sufficiently protected by the public, no doubt they immediately call for the policeman. Therefore, the only way of preventing the policeman from existing is to make him useless by replacing him in those functions that constitute a real protection for the public.

Let people remember that among the most hideous crimes are the millions of deaths by slow starvation during the first years of a child life.