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Showing posts from September, 2013

Aiding the crime

"Foreign assistance is far from charity," J. Brian Atwood, the USAID director under former President Clinton, told Congress in 1995. "It is an investment in American jobs, American business."

The simple task of stopping people from going hungry or falling sick is never a simple task under capitalism.The public image of foreign aid is of Western beneficence. Because it is tied with geo-politics, trade and banking, foreign aid cannot be classified purely as gift-giving. Providing assistance to Africa's poor is a noble cause, but the five decades long campaign of aid has turned out to be what one critic called “a theater of the absurd.” To-date, the record of western aid to Africa has been significant, amounting to more than $500 billion between 1960 and 1997, which is the equivalent of four Marshall Plans being pumped into Sub-Saharan African. And today, the national budgets of most Sub-Saharan African countries are dependent on foreign aid for up to eighty perc…

Politics in Football

The official armed forces celebration day in Britain falls outside the football season. Glasgow Rangers football club, with the full approval of the military, decided to stage its own separate event.

Uniformed soldiers, seamen and air force personnel were filmed dancing, clapping and singing along with the crowd in sectarian songs and chants celebrating the death of the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. Such behaviour is supposed to be banned from all Scottish football grounds under a new law passed by the Scottish parliament.  STV and the Daily Record - make no reference to the soldiers' antics.

Rangers and the British military are pandering to the lowest element of jingoistic sectarianism.

Forgotten Heroes

The recruiting campaigns for the British Army promise an adventurous and exciting career, but the reality is somewhat different for many workers. 'Up to 40,000 military personnel will suffer mental health problems because of their service in Iraq and Afghanistan, the head of Help for Heroes, the military charity said yesterday. Bryan Parry added that at least 2,000 serving soldiers are  coping with physical injury or sickness, with many facing the prospect of relying on charity support and the NHS after they are discharged from the Army.' (Times, 27 September) Far from being "A man's life in the Army" as the adverts promised it often ends in death, disfigurement or living on charity. RD

Scotland's Disgrace

Save the Children’s Scottish leader Neil Mathers said: “Poverty is a scar on Scotland’s society.”

Oxfam’s Our Economy report claimed Scotland’s wealthiest households are 273 times richer than the poorest.

The charity say figures show work is not always a route to a better life in Scotland, as figures show 40 per cent of those living in poverty are in employment.

Judith Robertson, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “The reality for too many Scots is a cocktail of high mortality, economic inactivity, mental and physical ill-health, poor educational attainment, and exclusion from the decisions that affect them.”

John Downie, director of public affairs for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations said that poverty must be a priority. “Scotland is one of the most unequal places in the developed world, with the gap between the richest and poorest growing steadily. It’s shameful that in communities across the country, people are having to choose between heating their homes or putting food…

We are the SPGB

We are the SPGB,
The Socialist Party.
We teach you how you’re robbed and bled;
And show you how to build a workers’ world instead.

Love For Sale

Capitalism with its profit motive distorts every human activity. Snooker players, footballers and cricketers have recently been proven to take bribes to line their pockets in gambling scams. Now it even distorts love and marriage. 'China is moving forwards at an astonishing rate, but it lacks one vital commodity - young women. Men of marriageable age are confronted by a shrinking pool of potential female partners - and the competition to find a bride is fierce.  ..... Peng Tai has a quota of three suitable girls a day. He is what is known as a "love hunter". He works for the Diamond Bachelors' Agency, a Shanghai outfit which has hundreds of wealthy single men looking for wives on its books. The joining fees range from £15,000 to more than £1m ($1.6m) a year depending on the level of service required.' (BBC News, 28 September) The report goes on to show that this facility is beyond the reach of most members of the working class. One young e…

One class - One struggle

As a one-time  member of both the Industrial Workers and the Socialist Party of Great Britain this blogger wants to see one class conscious labour union on the industrial field and one class-conscious labour party on the political field, each the counterpart of the other, and both working together in harmonious cooperation to overthrow the capitalist system and emancipate the workers from wage slavery. The objective of the Party is the establishment of a socialist society and works for the total abolition of the present system of wage slavery through a social revolution, and holds this to be the pre-eminent  task of its existence. It seeks by education  to win the majority to the socialist idea and to spur the workers on towards the Social Revolution.

The aim of socialism is that every human being, white, black, red, or yellow, shall have access to the natural resources which nature has supplied and to the machinery which man has created and then to have the full social product of his …

Don't repeat mistakes

Nationalism serves as a powerful wedge, weakening the workers’ movements and preventing them from uniting against capital. My “nationality” first feeds the sentiment that it is non-natives  rather than the capitalist ruling class which is responsible for exploitation. It  retards the process of building class unity and consciousness.

Our task as socialists is to expose and condemn  nationalist organisations as agents of the capitalists who can lead only to further oppression  of the workers. Marxism views classes and class struggle as the fundamental contradiction of modern society. The struggle between the working class and the employers conditions the whole of social life, and creates the contours for the development and transformation of society from one stage to another. The class war, then, is the most profound dividing line in modern times. As Marxists we never put the rights of nations above the rights and duties of our class. We must always and everywhere advance the class li…

Neither Westminster nor Holyrood but World Socialism

The Socialist Courier once more risks raising the the ire of our nationalist opponents who accuse us of being British unionist enemies of the Scottish people. A lack of confidence in a common socialist  future has caused sections of workers in Scotland to take shelter under a nationalist banner. Some organisations and individuals calling themselves ‘socialist’ have been infected by the disease of nationalism. We fight these “left nationalists" most energetically, because of the fact that they call themselves enemies of capitalism and because they are just as much enemies of the working class movement. Their propoganda threatens to divert the workers from the most important part of their struggle, the conquest of the power of the State and the establishment of socialism. And so it is interests of the practical struggle, that we regard the “left nationalists" as opponents who do not belong to our socialist movement.

 Thomas Johnston wrote in his The History of the Working Cla…

Join the revolution

We live in a world dominated by capitalism, a system which allows a small minority of capitalists to oppress and exploit the great majority of humankind.  It is capitalism that brings about great inequalities in living standards with more poor people now in the world than ever before. Capitalism steals the resources of less developed countries and causes the destruction  of our natural environment.  Either we get rid of this outmoded and  decrepit system or it will devastate humanity.

The only viable way forward is revolutionary struggle to achieve socialism, a classless and stateless society on a world scale where people do not oppress and exploit each other and where we live in harmony with our natural environment.  To create a socialist world it is necessary to overthrow the rule of capitalism and this can be done only through revolution.  The working class and other oppressed people must depose the capitalist ruling class and establish socialism, a system of real, popular democra…

Workers United

The class struggle is not over, the battle of the working class is not finished, the fight to achieve socialism, is not redundant nor ‘old-fashioned.’ But it is not taking place. Only a handful of revolutionary socialists appreciated the tremendous opportunities now opening up and are talking in terms of a total social revolution. They are challenging the view that the class struggle can continue to  remain confined to improvements within the system. The various Trotskyist groups fail to see the tremendous potentialities of the situation because they are mainly preoccuped to establish their leadership over the workers movement. They all say that what is missing is the correct party-line (which they all interpret as their own party’s). None of them have confidence in the ability of the workers to solve their problems without their kind of leadership, steering  the workers’ movement down a blind alley of reformism and nationalism. Concentrating upon building up one’s own party  fiefdom…

Revolutionary politics

The working class has a great responsibility and a great mission: to carry out a revolution which, once victorious, will be like lifting a giant bone-crushing burden off the backs of the people of the whole world. The international working class can emancipate itself only by emancipating all humanity; it can achieve socialism only by eliminating the rule of capital,breaking the chains of exploitation and ending the class-divided society everywhere. The struggle against the capitalist class is a struggle against all who live by the labour of others, and against all exploitation. It can only end in the seizing of power by the working class, and the transferal of all land, instruments, factories, machines and mines to the whole of society for the organization of social production under which all that is produced by the workers and all improvements of production must benefit the working people themselves. The socialist revolution is to create a society where the wealth is produced not fo…

Plutocrats and Paupers

They possess more wealth than ordinary people can ever dream about. They enjoy luxury and privilege and wield enormous power.  They are no better than the common person. They are no wiser, no smarter, nor do they work harder yet they rule over us. We create their wealth and without us they are nothing. Yet we are scared to challenge and topple our oppressor because we fear them and so we remain obedient and compliant to their demands.

To  control us  them they turn against you and me against one another.
They pit us against each other along national and  racial lines. Workers  must be made to feel threatened by competing workers. They take advantage of the obvious differences between the sexes, our sexuality  and  our differences in age, young against old.  They declare the “outsider" to be illegal, job-stealing, free-loading welfare-abusing and crime-perpetrating parasites. Immigrants are made into the “enemy" in the eyes of the native population because of fear of deporta…

From Spark to Flame

We live in a democracy and from time to time you are allowed to cast your vote and by universal suffrage the “sovereign will of the people” is expressed. The truth of the matter is that this is a rich man’s State and a rich man’s government. The State is there to act on behalf of the employers and to protect their interests against the people. The government is the executive committee of the capitalists. Compare your own influence with the influence of the big banker. A common  worker doesn’t count at all when it comes to what they call the seats of power. The State is an instrument of power in the hands of the big industrialists, bankers and landlords, who are the ruling class. The State is there to effect the exploitation and oppression of the workers. The Constitution, the government, its agencies and ministries, its laws and courts, its police and  jails, all backed up the military, are there to enforce the exploitation and oppression of us. They are all the strong arm of entrenc…

The Poor Get Poorer

One in three council tenants affected by a recent cut to housing benefit has fallen behind on rent since the policy took effect, figures suggest. 'The TUC's False Economy campaign made Freedom of Information requests to all of Britain's councils; 114 responded. Data revealed 50,000 tenants had fallen into arrears since 1 April 2013 when the spare room subsidy, dubbed the bedroom tax by critics, was scrapped. ........ None of the 50,000 tenants were in arrears prior to the benefit changes.' (BBC News, 18 September) So tens of thousands poor families are worse off than previously. Well done, capitalism! RD

Right v Wrong

New conceptions of right and wrong must permeate the workers. We must look on conduct and actions that advance the social and economic position of the working class as right, ethically, legally, socially and by every other measurement. That conduct and those actions which aid, helps to maintain and gives comfort to the capitalist class, we must consider as wrong by every standard. The wage system implies the existence of two economic classes. Under it the workers suffer, it means no end of strife, therefore from the standpoint of the workers it is wrong and it is right to get together as a class and abolish the wage system, and in its place build socialism.

 When the warehouses are bulging with foodstuffs you and the like of you have produced while  the hungry are kept from them, how can you live if you do not resist? How can you defend your fundamental interests if you do not defy  restrictions? To resist the attacks of the enemy class is just as natural for the working class as it …

The Rich Get Richer

It seems the rich can heave a collective sigh of relief despite the recent economic downturn. Five years after the financial crisis, America's super-rich have recovered all their losses to see their wealth reach an all-time high. 'According to Forbes magazine the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02 trillion (£1.4tn), up from $1.7tn in 2012, a collective fortune slightly bigger than Russia's economy. ..... Bill Gates has been named as the richest American for the 20th year in a row, with a personal fortune of $72bn.' (Guardian, 16 September) The rich get richer, so what's new about that? RD

A Strange Set of Values

We are reliably informed by such such charities as World Hunger that many millions of people are trying to survive on the equivalent of £2 a day and yet we have examples every day of the madness of the insane conspicuous consumption of wealth inside capitalism. A former rock star Rod Steward's old motor car has sold for a ridiculous sum. 'The 68-year-old rocker bought the yellow, 186mph car for £8,000 in 1972 on the back of hit single Maggie May and No 1 album Every Picture Tells A Story. The supercar sparked a bidding frenzy at the Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale in Chichester, West Sussex, before raising £919,900.' (Daily Express, 16 September) Almost a million quid for an old banger while  millions starve for about a  quid a day. We live in strange times. RD

Self-managed exploitation

In E.P. Thompson’s phrase, workers have “warrened capitalism from end to end” since the industrial revolution with co-operatives and self-help societies. It is not our intention to undermine any initiatives by those who, like ourselves, must often out of necessity search for a way to survive in the least painful way possible. We have no objection to the fact that some workers try to live the way they want and try to make the best of the circumstances in which they find themselves. In certain and appropriate situations, in many (but not all ) cases, workers might  be temporarily better off by forming some kind of co-operative where that is feasible. Many compromises have to be accepted and there is no need in condemning them if that was their choice in these circumstances.

 But what we want to point out is that these escapes are not really escapes at all, but ways of existing within capitalism. They can only be little more than adaptations to the current system and should not seek to …

Now and Then

We live in a world rife with misery and oppression in various forms. Hunger, poverty, unemployment, racial and sexual discrimination, and many forms of repression, from the restriction of the most basic democratic rights like freedom of speech and association to hideous barbarism like torture and genocide, are still the lot of the majority of the people of the world. The domination of the Great Powers, their rivalries, war or the threat of war characterise relations between countries, peoples, and nations. The gulf between the rich and the poor, between the powerful and the dispossessed, is steadily widening despite the progress of science and technology.

The dreams of the past have become real possibilities for a future that can already be foreseen, because the material conditions necessary for achieving them are growing steadily.  We can now aspire to a better life where the living conditions of all would be in keeping with society’s ability to use the wealth of nature, a society …

Wake up, workers

Capitalism knows no law but the law of its own will. It acknowledges but one law — the law of force. Capitalist society, like all class societies, is divided into unequals. So long as one class continues to own the means of production, and another class owns nothing but its ability to work, which it is compelled to sell to the other class in order to live – the best government in the world, composed of the best men and adopting the best laws, cannot possibly establish equality between the two classes.  Capital always seeks to intensify its exploitation of labor. Labour seeks to resist the lowering of its working and living standards, and attempts to improve them. Capital always seeks to strengthen its power in society. Labour defends itself from this growing power and tries to develop its own.  In view of the fact that the capitalists are so few and the workers so many, the workers could impose their will by sheer weight of numbers. The government is the executive committee of capita…

Wage-slaves Rise Up!

Palliatives do not remove the cause of pain, they only temporarily abate its intensity. The great table of nature is a bountiful spread, abundantly overflowing with delicacies as well as necessaries of life. The capitalist class are in possession, we, the other class, possess nothing but our ability to labour, and we spend our lifetime in work producing. We  produce all that exists while you, the capitalists, spend your time gambling on the stock-market to see which of you shall become possessed of a greater share of the results of the workers’ toil, extolling its competition. Capitalism is an ulcer festering upon the body of humanity. Notwithstanding the reform measures to sooth the suffering, the pain is becoming more unbearable. It is the mission of the Socialist Party to excise that festering sore.  We abhor slavery in every form. The Socialist Party in its wider activities argue what is  required is to emancipate ourselves from wage-slavery.

The most inspiring oratory and impres…