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Showing posts from January, 2014

A Brutal Society

We are constantly confronted with awful statistics about capitalism, but it is doubtful if anything beats the following example of the system's brutality. 'The world's 85 wealthiest people have as much money as the 3.5 billion poorest people on the planet - half the Earth's population. That's according to Oxfam's latest report on the risks of the widening gap between the super-rich and the poor. The report, titled "Working for the Few," was released Monday,  and was compiled by Oxfam - an international organization looking  for solutions against poverty and injustice.' (RT News, 21 January). Oxfam of  course is completely powerless when it comes to changing the nature of capitalism. Only a revolution in the basis of society can bring about a change in this insane ownership gap. RD

Old or New - it is still Marxism

Prometheus says: “I shall never exchange my fetters for slavish servility. ’Tis better to be chained to the rock than bound to the service of Zeus.”(Quoted by Marx)

Workers are confronted by a hodge-podge of ideas, a mish-mash of movements every one of basically saying “we” will bring salvation to the people and lead them to the promised land. In contrast the Communist Manifesto’s message is that “The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority.”

The classic formulation of the self-emancipation principle is in 1864 Rules of the First International – “CONSIDERING, That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves....”

It proclaims that we no longer want deliverers, that we no longer wished to serve as instruments of others , and that we have knowledge to understand our interests as much as any other.

Marx went further explaining in an address to the Nati…

Motoring In Style

At a time when many workers may be thinking of trading in their old banger of a car for a less clapped out model it is worth reflecting on this news item. 'A classic Ferrari has become the most expensive car ever sold in Britain after it was bought for more than £24 million.  The Ferrari Testa Rossa, a 1957 model and the second prototype ever built, was sold by Derbyshire dealer Tom Hartley Jounior who has described it as "the   greatest car in the world," to an anonymous buyer.' (Daily Telegraph, 30 January) We are pretty sure that the anonymous buyer won't be a member of the working class. RD

The Bosses Game

In all capitalist societies, a tiny class of people owns the means of production and profits by exploiting the workers’ labour. United, the overwhelming tendency of the working class would be to fight for a decent life for all, which is incompatible with capitalism. Powerful united struggles of the working class would inevitably demonstrate the need to overthrow capitalism altogether. If a party does not want to abolish capitalist exploitation, it can only serve capitalism. Since the working class is the only class with the power to overturn capitalism, the capitalists use every possible divide-and-conquer tactic to prevent this development. Racism and nationalism has been major tools of the ruling class. Capitalism is the source of national oppression and only socialist revolution can put an end to this oppression and to all forms of oppression.  The Scottish  ‘nation’ is by no means homogeneous. It is made up of classes. The present referendum rivalry between the sections of the ru…

Business as Usual

Every year the president of the USA gives a State of the Union speech. It is usually the same old guff about how marvellous everything is inside capitalism, but this year there was a slight difference. "Those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by - let alone get ahead.  And too many still aren't working at all." (Independent, 29 January) It is indicative of how awful capitalism has become that even the president of the USA has to acknowledge it. Needless to say however he will carry on running capitalism the only way it can be run - in the interests of the owning class based on the exploitation of the working class. RD

Crime and Punishment

Prime time television is full of police dramas where highly trained policemen track down and arrest cunning criminals. It is doubtful whether Londoner Peter May's activities will be the basis of a new TV series though. 'May, 35, along with Jason Chan and William James, all residents of a squat in north London, were arrested on 25 October, just before midnight, after a member of the public called the police to report three men climbing over a wall at the back of Iceland in Kentish Town . Police arrested the men as they left the area with a holdall and trolley containing food.' (Guardian, 29 January) The total value of the items taken allegedly amounted to £33 and they were of low value, consisting of tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and Mr Kipling cakes. Initially arrested for burglary, the three men were charged under an obscure section of the 1824 Vagrancy Act, after being discovered in "an enclosed area, namely Iceland, for an unlawful purpose, na…

The State is No Saviour

The state as Engels described it, is “the ideal personification of the total national capital.” (Socialism: Utopian and Scientific) and he recognised “The more productive forces it (the state) takes ever into its possession, the more it becomes a real aggregate capitalist, the more citizens it exploits. The workers remain wage-workers, proletarians. The capitalist relationship is not abolished, rather it is pushed to the limit. (Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific)

 The nature of capitalism is distorted by those who draw their model of capitalism from its early competitive stage and describe its essence as the competition among individual capitals within a nation-state. Marx himself did not confine his analysis to a description of the stage of competitive capitalism, but grasped the basic laws of development leading to greater concentration and centralization of capital. Even in speaking of stock companies, he refers to this form of ownership as being “social capital” which rep…

An Unheathy Society

The Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend is the centre of a major police investigation. Three nurses have been arrested on suspicion of falsifying records and earlier this month a 58-year-old man died after being forced to wait more than four hours in an ambulance. 'Now relatives of other patients who have died at the hospital and a nurse who worked there for eight years have come forward to voice their concerns about the standards of care. Lillian Williams, 82, an amputee, died at the hospital in August 2012. Her son, Gareth told ITV news: "Lillian was left Nil by Mouth on one   occasion for two days, without assessment, because it was a weekend and the   assessment teams didn't work on the weekends. It was nothing short of   torture."' (Daily Telegraph, 27 January) Needless to say all these victims of the NHS are members of the working class, if they were rich they could afford the best of health treatment. RD

Socialism - Will it happen?

The likelihood of achieving socialism in the next decade or two is remote; and many of us (albeit very reluctantly) accept that the fundamental changes we are working for will not come about in our lifetimes. The missing factor seems to be the absence of socialist consciousness which can create the revolutionary desire for change.

 Socialists hate capitalism with our heads and with our hearts, that is,  on rational, theoretical, but also on emotional grounds, because we see in it an out-dated social system, an anomaly, holding back those wonderful developments of technology and material resources that our knowledge could turn to providing the well-being of the people. We see in it a social system that carries within itself slumps and wars, poverty amidst plenty, oppression and repression. Socialists want to end it as soon as possible. We aim at replacing the present capitalist system by socialism, understood as a system where there will be social ownership of the means of production …

Tightening the purse strings

53 percent of Britons said they will have to curb their spending in 2014 in a struggle to pay rising household bills in the UK.

About 58 percent of those surveyed also expressed worries over the effect of higher bills on their finances.

59 percent said they would reduce the amount spent on food, 37 percent said they would reduce the amount spent on gas and electricity, and 66 percent the costs of socialisng with family and friends.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said the research shows that “The soaring cost of living will force millions of people to cut back on basic necessities,”

Superior Intelligence?

One of the crazy notions that is currently held  by defenders of capitalism is that the owning class are wealthy because of their superior intelligence. So how do they explain a hyper-wealthy billionaire venture capitalist who has  compared the treatment of super-rich Americans to the Holocaust? Thomas Perkins, who is thought to be worth around $8bn, made the startling comparison in a letter to The Wall Street Journal in which he wrote of 'parallels' between the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany and what he describes as the "progressive war on the American one per cent". 'The letter, which was published by the WSJ earlier this week, begins: "Writing from the epicentre of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one per cent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one per cent, namely the "rich."' (Independent, 26 Ja…

Too Poor? Well Die Then

Bayer's CEO has caused a furore in the press by an undiplomatic remark. 'The CEO of pharmaceutical giant Bayer has sparked fury after announcing one of the firm's drugs was for 'western patients who can afford it'. Marijn Dekkers made the inflammatory comments after the Indian company Natco Pharma Ltd. were granted a government licence to produce a copy of Bayer's cancer drug Nexavar which they will sell for 97 per cent less than the original product.' (Daily Mail, 24 January) What should be really "sparking a fury" is not Mr Dekkers comment but the whole system that allows a company to withhold treatment of life saving treatment because the patient is too poor to afford it.  RD

Revolutionary Socialism

It doesn’t matter how a dictionary defines the actual word when the word “revolution” is used people tend to think of violence and bloodshed. Without explaining ourselves and our case we risk being seriously misunderstood. Socialists should be clear by what is meant by the expression “revolutionary socialism.” Socialists use the term “revolutionary.” to distinguish themselves from “gradualists” and “reformers”. We mean by “revolutionary socialism” the capture of the political power by the working class as opposed to the capitalist class. This is the essence of revolutionary socialism. So, then, by “revolutionary socialism” we do not mean an appeal to arms and insurrection.

The Revolution has a positive goal, that the workers take possession of all the tools of production. No serious-minded person would venture to predict exactly how the Revolution will come about. Revolution is not the act of a few persons; it does not take place according to a preconceived plan but is produced by u…

Religious Intolerance

A severely mentally ill British pensioner sentenced to death in Pakistan after being found guilty of breaching the country’s blasphemy laws is being denied independent legal advice to help him appeal against the threat of execution.  The retired grocery shop owner was found guilty by a judge after state-appointed counsel failed to raise vital expert medical evidence proving he was unfit to stand trial for allegedly claiming to be the Prophet Mohammed in a series of unsent letters which were handed in to police by a man with whom he was embroiled in a property dispute. He had travelled to his birth country when he was released from hospital after being sectioned in Edinburgh. Among his grandiose symptoms, which included claiming to be a holy man, were delusions that he was being bugged by the British, Pakistan and United States secret services.

Lawyers representing Muhammad Asghar, 69, from Edinburgh, were told they could not see him in prison this weekend in defiance of his constitut…

Polluted Scotland

Friends of the Earth Scotland has published league tables which they claimed identify Scotland's most polluted streets.

Hope Street in central Glasgow is named as the area with the most serious nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution problem in the country. High levels of NO2 are linked to asthma and other respiratory problems.

Market Street in Aberdeen is claimed to be the worst in Scotland for particulate matter pollution (PM10). Health experts say long-term exposure to air pollution caused by particulates is linked to a higher risk of heart attack.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of FOE Scotland, said the research showed that air pollution was also a threat to health in smaller towns and villages. "We have air pollution problems in all of our big urban areas. Action is long overdue. We still haven't met health protection targets which we were supposed to meet in 2005 and 2010. But there are some surprising places in the results as well. For example, we're missing health targe…

Football and Finance

Sport according to the dictionary should be "a pleasant pastime, amusement, diversion" - but this is capitalism wherein everything is distorted by profit. The extent of the risks faced by migrant construction workers building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been laid bare by official documents revealing that 185 Nepalese men died last year alone. 'According to the documents the total number of verified deaths among workers from Nepal just one of several countries that supply hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to the gas-rich state is now at least 382 in two years alone.' (Guardian, 24 January) In their desperate efforts to make the world cup a financial success the Qatar owning class care little about the health and safety of the working class. RD

Living On A Pittance

The basic state pension will rise by £2.97 a week this year to be worth £113.12 a week.  But despite a fall in inflation in December, prices are still rising more than   twice as fast as the rate of pay.  And although there was a slowdown in the increase of fruit and meat prices, hikes in gas and electricity bills as well as rising petrol prices mean householders will continue to feel the squeeze. There are more than five million UK households living in fuel poverty, with people spending more than ten per cent of their income on energy to keep   warm. 'Members of fuel poverty alliance Energy Bill Revolution have written to Prime Minister David Cameron demanding that party leaders act on the "national scandal".  Age UK said least three million older people were worried about staying warm  indoors this winter, with six million anxious about rising fuel bills.' (Daily Telegraph, 24 January) RD

Dare to Be Free

The Wall Street and City of London money-sharks are riding high these days. The masters of capital, drunk with power, threaten and terrorise the people of the world. Capitalist society is built upon our sweat and blood, our misery and want. All our victories on the economic field are turned against us, and our economic slavery is reinforced by an absolute political dictatorship of capitalism. Thus our economic struggle must of necessity become a political one. The chain holding us down in wage slavery is our submissiveness.

There is a war raging between  the capitalist class and the working class.The war between the capitalist class and the working class is due to the system of wage slavery. The capitalist class is easy to identify. They are the handful of billionaires who own or control the factories, mines, fields and the banks. They are the class that owns and sells the products that we make and often cannot even afford to buy. We sell our labour to this class for a wage, and some…

A Cancerous System

Capitalism is a ruthless social system wherein profit is more important than human life. 'Older cancer patients are being "written off" because of their age, a leading charity has warned. Macmillan Cancer Support said some patients were being deemed as too old for treatment and were not assessed on their overall fitness.' (Guardian, 24 January) The figures showed more than 130,000 people in the UK have survived for at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 65 or above, so why this lack of care? The answer is simple. Young workers produce the surplus value that the owning class depend on, so when they are productive they get health care but as they age they no longer produce wealth. Goodnight, granddad!

A Good Year for Some

Last year was another tough one for members of the working class. Welfare cuts, wage freezes and homes re-possessed was the order of the day. For members of the owning class though it wasn't all doom and gloom. Christie's, the world's largest auction house announced that it had made £4.54 billion from auctions and private deals around the world last year, up by 16 per cent on 2012. 'The auctioneer sold 58 works for more than £10 million each and more than 731 works for more than £1 million apiece last year. Chinese buyers fuelled the boom, spending nearly two thirds more on art than they did in 2012, as sales of Asian art rocketed by 44 per cent to £600 million.' (Times, 23 January) RD

Muster under our Banner

"A uneducated worker in revolt is infinitely wiser than the learned philosopher who tries to forge an apology for his chains."

Blessed will be the day that we do away with wage labour. Wage-slavery is the fact. They who buy and  sell on the labour market are alike in that they are brutalised by its inhuman traffic in  human beings. Without this commerce in human life the capitalists of all lands  would  perish from the Earth.

The union movement has proven itself to be a powerful instrument of a defensive character and as a force that poses the possibility of a fundamental transformation in socio-economic relations  from wage labour to a free association of labor and common ownership of its product socialism.  labor has won through battles on the picket lines and through the enforcement of the contractual But what benefit have been gained has often been lost, due, not only to the operation of the laws governing the capitalist system itself, inflation for instance, but to coun…

Profits Before the Planet

For years, European governments have tried to set the global standard for climate-change regulation, creating tough rules on emissions, mandating more use of renewable energy sources and arguably sacrificing some economic growth in the name of saving the planet. But now  European politicians seems to be hitting their environmentalist limits. 'High energy costs, declining industrial competitiveness and a recognition that the economy is unlikely to rebound strongly any time soon are leading policy makers to begin easing up in their drive for more aggressive climate regulation. On Wednesday, the European Union proposed an end to binding national targets for renewable energy production after 2020. Instead, it substituted an overall European goal that is likely to be much harder to enforce.' (New York Times, 22 January) After all the fine words and political posturing the representatives of the owning class are putting the profit motive as their priority an…

Donations Gratefully Received

Great play is made by defenders of British capitalism about how democratic the system is even though we learn that members of a dining club with private access to David Cameron and other Cabinet ministers have given £43 million to the Conservatives in just two years. 'The details were revealed following criticism over Downing Street's refusal this week to say how many "secret" guests David Cameron has hosted at his grace-and-favour country home, Chequers. The Leaders Group is made up of donors who each give at least £50,000 to the Conservative party ever year and are rewarded with private dinners, lunches and drinks parties with the Prime Minister and other influential ministers.' (Daily Telegraph, 23 January) So the whole thing is quite democratic - if you are an unemployed worker all you need to do is fork out 50 grand and you can have a word in the ear of the policy makers. RD

The Socialist Object

There is a real question of confidence. The confidence of the organised labour movement and of the working class in socialism, producing for themselves and for the needs of the people. The only solution for the working class, the only way they can attain all their political and economic objectives is by the overthrow of the rule class and not by palliatives. Our aim is to rally workers who aspire to socialism. The day for social reform has passed, if it ever actually arrived. The capitalist class are far more thoroughly organised and far too powerfully entrenched not to be able to yield the few concessions demanded of them. The language of the Socialist Party dwells expressly and uncompromisingly, on revolution. Socialism is not a reform, it is a revolution. Therein is the difference between the Socialist Party and all others. Or principles declare our object to be the formation of a working class party; the abolition of wage slavery; severance with all capitalist and reform parties;…

Making profits and leaving folk cold

Energy giant and Perth-based SSE, has revealed it expects profits to soar to £1.5 billion this year and that it will increase payouts to shareholders.

Just two months after a major price rise came into effect for its nine million customers, the Perth-based firm said it was on course to deliver a pre-tax profit increase of 8.8 per cent for the year to the end of March and would be likely to increase dividends handed out to its shareholders by 3 per cent. A price increase of £104.48 for SSE’s dual-fuel customers came into effect in November. The typical annual bill for SSE customers will be £1,304 by March, £13 higher than the UK average, according to comparison website Across the board, industry experts have calculated that the typical household utility bill has gone up by 168 per cent in the past decade.

MP John Robertson, who sits on Westminster’s energy select committee, said: “This is a disgrace. How can SSE possibly have another boost to their profits after losing so…

Fantastic? For Some Maybe

Many members of the capitalist class weep salt tears about the plight of the working class but here is one who more accurately reveals their real view about the gap between rich and poor in capitalism. Kevin O'Leary, an investor on the US version of Dragons' Den, Shark Tank, was shockingly upbeat about the world's poor during a TV interview this week.'Acceptable responses to an Oxfam report stating that the world's 85 richest people hold the same amount of wealth as it's 3.5 billion poorest include 'shocking', 'despicable' and 'probably ought to do something about that'.But not for businessman O'Leary, who responded during US show The Lang and O'Leary Exchange: "It's fantastic, and this is a great thing because it inspires everybody, gets them motivation to look up to the one per cent and say, 'I want to become one of those people, I'm going to fight hard to get up to the top.' (Indep…

Everything is possible

We live in a world controlled by a system which allows a small minority to oppress the great majority. This is capitalism which brings about great inequalities in living standards with more poor people now in the world than ever before, starts murderous wars and steals the resources of less developed countries while all the time causing perhaps the irreversible devastation of our natural environment. Either we get rid of this outmoded and decrepit system or it will destroy humanity. People know that capitalism is now useless  but few can see a way forward to a better type of society. The only viable solution is to achieve socialism, a classless and stateless society on a world scale where people do not exploit each other and where we live in harmony with our  environment. To create a socialist world it is necessary to overthrow the rule of capitalism and this can be done only through revolution.

All the capitalist parties, even those who call themselves socialist or workers’ or left-…