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Showing posts from March, 2014

Of the people, by the people, for the people

The idea of socialism is simple. By socialism, the Socialist Party understands the realisation of a condition of an all-embracing true society. Present day society is that of the capitalist and wage-earner, of rich and poor. Socialism stands for social or community property. Capitalism stands for private property. Socialism is a society without classes. Capitalism is divided into classes—the class owning property and the propertyless working class. The basic principles of socialist society are diametrically opposite to those of capitalist society in which we live. War between the proletariat and the capitalist for their respective shares in the produce; on one side, wages, on the other, profits; each side exerting itself to carry off a maximum.

We can easily understand, therefore, why the great majority of landlords, employers of labour, financiers and the like are opposed to socialism. Their very existence is at stake. They do not merely reject the theory of socialism, but actively …

William Morris and Socialism

The Socialist Party’s vision of a stateless, wageless, moneyless society is very close to anarchists like Peter Kropotkin in terms of both principles and practice, in the matter of how to organise and maintain a decentralised, collectivised, steady state, ecological society, in which both social responsibility and personal freedom are given equal emphasis, and guaranteed. It is also closely akin to the aspirations of William Morris.

The steady state economy forms a complete contrast to the capitalist economy in which, as Marx wrote, accumulation is Moses and all the prophets. The accumulative logic of capital ensures an endless ‘growth for growth’s sake’, turning finite needs into infinite wants to keep human beings trapped on a ceaseless treadmill. Once human needs are understood as finite, then the absurdity of the capital system is exposed.  In a steady-state economy, production is geared towards the satisfaction of needs rather than making profits through the inflation of wants. …

Big Bucks for Big Bangs

The international capitalist class may lament a world-wide recession, but it does not curb their lavish military spending.'The U.S. Air Force is "holding tight" to a target of $550 million for each new long-range bomber in a fleet of up to 100 aircraft, excluding research and development costs, an Air Force official said on Tuesday. ...... The Air Force planned to spend nearly $12 billion on the bomber program over the next five years, said spokesman Ed Gulick.' (Reuter, 11 March) Some members of the capitalists class in US may regret the state spending on welfare or health programmes but their is not much reluctance when it comes to armament expenditure.

The Socialist Party Approach

The immediate goal of the Socialist Party is the social revolution: agitation and education are our principal means. We clearly separate ourselves from reformism. Socialists want to remove the cause of all iniquities, all exploitation, all poverty and crime and the root cause is private property. We know that all the promised reforms will not be realised, and that they mostly only ameliorate the lot of one group of workers usually at the expense of other workers. The new names with which socialism such as ‘21st Century’are being baptised merely serve as pretexts for reform within the framework of capitalism. Social reforms, no matter however profound they may be, are not enough for the building of socialism. When the workers demand improvements,wage rises, cuts in working hours, better working conditions; when they go on strike to defend their dignity or to affirm their solidarity with a companion fired or mistreated by bosses, we have to say to them that none of this resolves the re…

Who Needs Leaders

Originally posted at the Countercurrents website.
For Ourselves Alone
In 1916, in Everett, Washington State, USA, a ferry filled with Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) free-speech activists attempted to dock and was met by the local sheriff, along with armed deputies. According to lore, when the sheriff asked, “Who are your leaders?” the response from the ferry was a shout from everyone aboard, declaring, “We are all leaders here.”
Visitors to the Countercurrents website will always come across interesting articles but they will also encounter many posts that call for correct leadership and make demands for better leaders. People tend to accept as true the things they hear over and over again. But repetition doesn't make things true. Because the truth and the facts often contradict "common knowledge", socialists have to show that "common knowledge" is wrong. 
Marx believed that, as the workers gained more experience of the class struggle and the workings of…

Ourselves Alone

“Without the conscious will and the conscious action of the Proletariat there can be no socialism” - Rosa Luxemburg, November 1918, in Die Rote Fahne

There is an Eastern saying that a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step and for the workers that first step is socialist knowledge. Another ancient sage said do not put your trust in princes and today the Socialist Party extol our fellow workers to trust in yourself and your class, no matter what the “militant" self-appointed cadres may say to the contrary. We say study socialism for yourselves. Having acquired the requisite socialist understanding, the working class can emancipate themselves rather than rely on the befuddled humanitarian liberals and those leftist political clowns who claim the mantle of leaders over the people. Workers can be so easily fooled if they do not comprehend their class position in society because in  not understanding they fall for the lures and bait set to trap the unwary. People genuinely s…

Seven Million Die for Profit

In the desperate struggle to obtain bigger and bigger profits capitalism is polluting the atmosphere at an alarming rate. 'On Tuesday, the World Health Organization announced that air pollution, both indoors and outdoors, contributed to seven million deaths worldwide in 2012. More than one-third of those deaths occurred in fast-developing nations in Asia, including China and India.' (New York Times, 27 March) Seven million causalities and this is supposed to be peacetime! RD

The Rejectionists

Unlike other political parties we do not just want your vote but to gain your intelligent support for socialism. Knowledge is essential to political action. Socialists have a different way of looking at things.

The World Socialist Movement  rejects any conception of socialism which implies rule by an elite, a clique, a minority or a dictator. We reject any leader, good or bad. Leadership and hierarchies flourish only where there is ignorance.

The WSM rejects anything short of socialism - a classless, worldwide, fully democratic society based on common ownership of the means of production and distribution, with production for use and the principle of from each according to ability, to each according to need.

The WSM rejects the theory of the “lesser evil” or that “half a loaf is better than no bread” which leads to reformism and compromise.

The WSM rejects the idea that means and ends can be separated, that trickery and political scheming can be used to achieve socialism. Without mutu…

The Break-up of Scotland?

Lerwick, the capital of Shetland is 18 hours by road and boat from Edinburgh – more than double the journey time from the Scottish capital to Westminster. Now Shetland, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides demand independence referendums of their own if Scotland votes 'Yes'.

 A petition currently before the Scottish Parliament is seeking referendums to be held on all three islands exactly a week after the rest of the nation votes on the future of the union with Westminster. In the event it should get the go-ahead, the 70,000 inhabitants will be given the choice of either staying in Scotland or seeking independence of their own. A third question following a successful yes vote will offer the possibility of staying within the UK while seceding from control of Holyrood.

It is estimated that up to 67 per cent of Scotland’s oil and gas reserves lie within the waters off Shetland and Orkney. All the islands have lucrative off shore renewable energy potential.

Steve Heddle, Convenor of the…

Another Working Class Tragedy

The way a woman was assessed for benefits led to her suicide less than a month later, according to a mental health watchdog. The woman had a history of depression and was on significant medication, but scored zero points in a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), carried out by Atos. 'A Mental Welfare Commission report said it could see no other factor "in her decision to end her life". The Department for Work and Pensions said correct procedures were followed.The woman, who is identified only as Miss DE, was in her early 50s and had been out of work for just under two years due to stress-related depression when she was assessed for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).' (BBC News, 26 March) When a welfare rights officer informed Miss DE that this would mean her £94.25 per week incapacity benefit would be reduced to a Jobseekers Allowance of £67.50 per week she became very upset and said she did not know how she was going to pay her mortgage. Sh…

Kilmarnock Discussion Group

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Venue:- 
7:00pm - 9:00pm
The Wheatsheaf Pub,
70 Portland Street,
 Kilmarnock 
(About three minutes walk from the rail station and five minutes from the bus station)

For more information contact: 
Paul Edwards.
Tel: 01563 541138

Upper Class Arrogance

In an effort to show that it is trendy and up-to-date the Times recently produced a property supplement entitled "30 most glamorous places to live". 'There are "bargain" one-bed flats for £1 million, up to luxury living at One Hyde Park, where a penthouse sold for £140 million. Knight Frank is selling a four-bed flat in Eaton Square for £24.5 million.' (Times, 24 March) It is yet another example of the arrogance of the owning class that such conspicuous consumption can be boasted about in a country where millions struggle to meet rent and mortgage payments and indeed many are homeless and strive to exist in pathetic bed and breakfast accommodation.

The Socialist Party for Revolution

The capitalist system has lowered enormously the standard and quality of living of the world’s population. Nevertheless, the working class of the entire world remain content to better its condition, if it possibly can, within the capitalist system. This unbearable situation for the exploited classes can only be altered by the destruction of the capitalist system and the establishment of a socialist system of production and distribution.

The Socialist Party stands alone in this country as the standard-bearer of socialism. Other parties professing to be genuine workers’ parties make opportunistic vote-catching the key to their programme and platform, relegating socialism out of sight and out of mind. They have sacrificed   purpose, method and aim to secure the spoils of office or gain that ever elusive popularity. Whilst policies of social reform were once a necessity in past times to raise the condition of the working class, as a preparation for undertaking the final struggle for poli…

A Polluted Society

In its relentless pursuit of profit capitalism not only exploits the working class it befouls the very air we breathe. 'According to new estimates from the World Health Organisation, seven million people around the world died in 2012 as a result of air pollution. "The evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we breathe, Maria Neira, of the WHO, said.' (Times, 25 March) Ms Neira is misguided in imagining that some sort of "concerted action" to deal with pollution is possible within capitalism.

Our War Is The Class War

We know our enemies – it’s those who are exploiting us. The Labour party has been a great disappointment for many of us and such a complete failure that its consequence has thrown discredit upon all political action.  This is very regrettable as it has destroyed the confidence of the workers in their ability to build a really independent working-class party as a force against the vast economic and political power ranged against them. The Socialist Party have told the working class, year in, year out, that, even if all the palliatives which they themselves hope to achieve, were put into effect, no permanent good could result to the workers as a whole until the power of one class to employ and pay wages to another class should be finally put an end to. Surely now, having exhausted all the other possibilities they must be now coming to the conclusion that we may be right, and the course of events is helping to move forward the realisation of socialism.

Working men and women see an incre…

Nationalists - No Grouse with Capitalism

The independence debate is a dispute between sections of the capitalist class over what constitutional arrangement produces the better commercial benefits. Deluded left nationalists hang on to the shirt-tails of Alex Salmond, as desperately as the witch in Tam O’ Shanter clutches to the tail of the horse, in a belief that somehow the arrival of ‘socialism’ is brought closer by a sovereign parliament being installed in Edinburgh. However the reality is as we have always said - Scottish independence is of no concern to the working class, for an independent Scotland would continue to represent the interests of the corporations and employers.

This is confirmed when Blackrock, the world's biggest investment fund manager, said that fears an independent Scotland would become a "bastion of anti-business sentiment are unfounded, in our view".

It said: "The Scottish government would likely go out of its way to accommodate the oil industry in particular. Why risk killing the …

The Unhealthy Society

GP services are under "severe threat of extinction" because of a "toxic mix" of increasing workloads and smaller budgets, family doctors have warned. 'The Royal College of General Practitioners (RGCP) said the critical state of general practice is already affecting patient care Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, urged the Government to set aside more funding and that without it there would be a severe knock-on effect on the rest of the NHS. "General practice as we know it is now under severe threat of extinction," she said.' (Independent, 23 March) When capitalism experiences its inevitable downturns it is always the working class that suffer from the resultant welfare cuts. RD

The Workers Struggle

All over the world the working class, defined as those who sell their own labour power to the owners of capital, is growing in size and gaining in economic, social, and political importance. At the same time many members of the working class are backward in political and social outlook, and unaware of their class identity, holding racist-minded conservative views.  Many of today’s radicals emphasise the undeniable shortcomings of the labour movement rather than its positive accomplishments. Sometimes they appear to deny it any progressive features. They neglect the working conditions before unionisation, the fourteen- to sixteen-hour day, the exploitation of child labour, the early mortality rate for all workers; and they neglect to study what happens when unions are weak and fragmented or subordinated to totalitarian states. Thus according to some of these radical ideologues, workers will never become a force ready, willing, and able to transform society. They view the present chara…

Make Socialism a Mass Movement

Tory and Labour rule the same
The only difference is in the name

The current recession has depression have been teaching the  people of the world that something is basically wrong with  the present system, driving home the utter  senselessness of unemployment, hunger, and misery existing side by side with the most marvelous industrial and agricultural productive plant yet built by man, fully able to fulfill  every normal need of everybody in the world.  Every day is  demonstrating more clearly the inability of our politicians,business leaders and their economic advisers to solve our problems. Many are beginning to understand realize that this incompetence is not due merely to the stupidity or corruption of individual leaders of industry and the government, but that the system itself cannot work properly any longer, whoever is in charge. These persons are beginning to realize that the present system of society must itself be done away with and a new system substituted - that it is not m…

Explaining the OBU

Jack Houston was in the Socialist Party of Canada and was editor of the editor of the OBU Bulletin. The following are adaptations of his editorials from 1919 to 1921. He was S.P. of C. Candidate in the Dominion election of 1908The S.P. of C. placed him in the field as a general organizer in 1909 In 1914, Comrade Houston, still carrying on organization work for the S.P. of C., transferred his activities to eastern Canada. He spent considerable time lecturing in Toronto, afterwards taking up his residence in Montreal. Born at Lanark, Ontario, he came to Winnipeg in 1905. During the First World War, he made munitions at Montreal. In August 1919, he was the founding editor of the OBU Bulletin (One Big Union Bulletin), which he remained until forced to step down in poor health prior to his death at St. Boniface on 11 March 1921. He was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.

The following is based on his editorials found here. 

The O.B.U. was not created  out of pure thought, but from the objective i…