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Showing posts from April, 2014

The Value Of Our Participation!

The debate in Canada now is about the value of our participation in the Afghani war. 168 soldiers died in the twelve years of the war and many more injured or damaged through post- traumatic stress disorder and other mental disorders. In the capital, Kabul, where one would expect the most security, the Toronto Star reports that business is conducted from behind blast barriers, razor wire, and thick steel doors. At the shopping centre, mall cops in camouflage carry AK-47s and even the grocery store is a bunker shielded behind steel doors thick enough to withstand a hit from a rocket-launched grenade and bag boys pack assault weapons. What a tragedy that Afghanistan and Iraq have been reduced to such horror only to make things worse. We all know that the real reason for the two wars was nothing to do with security or democracy but it is still a tragedy that need not have happened. John Ayers.

More People Have HIV Than Have Electricity!

Reading the World Section of the newspaper is always a horror story. On March 1 The Star reported, "In Malawi, more people have HIV than have electricity, and many of them are girls who are encouraged to have sex and marry when still barely adolescent. It means when life should be beginning, it is already ending." And, " North Korea: The Atrocity Guide – extermination, murder, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions…" Our critics on the Left will say how terrible, we need to eliminate this awful situation now, along with a thousand other awful situations and thus never get to solve one of them entirely. That's because they quite happily leave the cause of the problem, capitalism, in place. The bitter, ironic, truth is that if the working class want it, socialism could be established immediately and end this and most other 'ills' of the present system. John Ayers.

Peoples Power

People feel the impact of the changing world on their daily lives and search for an answer to their problems. Socialism is not merely a means of improving the immediate conditions of people but has a greater object than that; it aims at controlling the means of wealth production on behalf of the workers. Socialism may be most quickly defined as the complete democratisation of society. There is a difference between hollow rhetoric about “ freedom and liberty” and real democracy. The fact is that Big Business and the giant corporations dictate policy to the government. By ending the political, economic and financial domination by the clique of millionaire CEOs, socialism, for the first time, creates the conditions for the free expression of the people’s will. The only “liberty” which Socialism ends is the liberty of the privileged class to own industry and amass wealth at the expense of the majority. Socialism ends the “freedom" to exploit and oppress the producers by a class of …

Food for Thought

The Toronto Star reported (March 15 2014) that the cost to taxpayers of the 2008 financial collapse in the US was $12.6 TRILLION in the form of bailouts to prop up the financial sector. More than 8 million workers lost their jobs and as the malaise spread to Europe, the cost was in the high rates of unemployment – 10.2% in France, 12.9% in Italy, and almost Great Depression levels in Spain (26%) and Greece (27.5%). Last year, "The Dallas Federal Reserve estimated that, even assuming the US climbs out of the economic doldrums, the financial crisis will cost that country as much as $14 trillion – or about 90% of GDP – to cover increased spending on social assistance." The article speculates how many of the culprits will be prosecuted as the statute of limitations is fast running out. To date – none, because the relaxation of laws and controls was all part of the scheme to rake in big profits and that's what the system was designed to do.In Montreal,…

Capitalism and Working Class Hero

Socialism ·         The planet earth and its resources are the common heritage of all humankind ·         Society is capable of producing an abundance of all the things we need so we need not be restricted by the  size of our wages ·         Capitalism has brought us to the threshold of a permanent golden age for our species, where the individual needs of each and every one of us can be met by existing technology ·         We  have at our disposal the potential to live truly fulfilling lives according to our inclinations. ·         For the working class, in the present age of potential plenty, rationing by the money system is an outdated way of distributing goods. ·         In an age when we could produce for use without anyone going short, producing for sale and profit is an obstacle to the real satisfaction of human needs and desires. ·         Socialism would mean the earth and its resources owned in common by the entire global community. ·         With the natural and technical resources …

Don’t just break the link - Break the chains!

Many on the Left are deluded into thinking that the Labour Party could be the vehicle for revolutionary social change. The Socialist Party did not fall into the trap of portraying the Labour Party as in some way less capitalist than the Tories. We exposed the Labour Party as an essential part of a double act, as much as a theatrical performance as those of Laurel and Hardy. It works like this: The Tories try legislative means to curb incomes and conditions; this leads to confrontation, i.e. intensified class struggle. Labour then comes on the stage to bail out the Tories by securing trade union cooperation, thus bringing the country back from the brink. Cooperation with the unions, however, has its limits, as the union leadership, no matter how much they collaborate themselves, do not have limitless power over their members, so Labour in turn reaches a dead end. The Tories then have to return with their customary coercion again. This in turn leads back to confrontation, and so on ...…

Full Circle

Capitalism has created a global race to the bottom of misery for workers.  A BBC business report sounded almost celebratory about the fact that Britain, the US and other Western countries were now said to be “cost competitive” with China and Brazil. The upshot is that many businesses and companies are now re-setting up in Western countries because of the “competitive” wages of workers, according to the BBC.  Workers in Western countries are now paid so badly that businesses are reportedly finding it profitable to return – having relocated to Asia in the first place to exploit cheap labour there.

The competitiveness, said the BBC, stemmed from workers’ wages in the West being “held steady” and because they have “become more productive”. This is Orwellian language to obscure the conditions of systematic poverty and exploitation that exist for many workers in Western countries – the scale of which is so appalling that companies are finding Western countries more profitable than other de…

Sham Returns

The National Retail Federation recently complained bitterly that many shoppers were ripping them off, especially in the area of returns. Sham returns involving stolen merchandise, items bought with fake money, and doctored E-receipts cost the industry $8.8 billion. Another trick was spending a minimum of $50 for a free gift then returning everything but the gift. Senior retail analyst, (now there's a job that will disappear in a socialist world!) Matthew Ong, said, " Consumers are savvier and smarter than they have ever been before. There's so much more information available. They're talking to hundreds, thousands of other people." So after years of legal theft, a section of the capitalist class is experiencing some illegal theft or, at least, some gray areas. Doesn't your heart bleed for them. Better a society where there is no theft of any kind. John Ayers.

Food for Thought

One effect of the Crimean crisis is the fear of the Russian elite. The Star reported that the country's nineteen richest people have lost $18.3 billion in the wake of the crisis…and we wonder why there is not enough money for health care! John Ayers

Euro Election Leaflet

Recession and Revolution

The Marxist theorist, Hal Draper remarked: "To engage in class struggle it is not necessary to 'believe in' the class struggle any more than it is necessary to believe in Newton to fall from an airplane. There is no evidence that workers like to struggle any more than anyone else; the evidence is that capitalism compels and accustoms them to do so."

How do we unite in a way where we keep the diversity of multiple movements but still work together in solidarity?  The answer is a common vision.

For socialists it is largely the question of whether we can engage the union at our workplaces and social movements in our communities to challenge capitalism. We have to be able to argue that capitalism is bad even when its working well, that capitalism is now a barrier to human development. We need people to recognise that we're fighting the capitalist system. What socialists have to offer is making connections between people across different workplaces, bringing in a cla…

New Decision-making Structures ?

This is from the Production for Use Committee Report 2002 

New Decision-making Structures ?

The purpose of discussing socialism as a practical alternative is - in my view - to help elucidate just how simple and straightforward the revolutionary transformation can be. We need to take positive steps to convince sympathisers that the mechanics of the revolution and administration inside socialism are simply not that important in the scheme of things: they should present no psychological barrier to someone becoming a socialist.

The approach that this member of the committee takes is that we should keep whatever we can of capitalist structures, unless there is a very good reason for changing it. First of all we must take care to distinguish between the democratic structures for getting rid of capitalism, and those needed for making socialism. Certainly, the socialist transformation will require to (or at least set out to with the intent to) capture political power across the globe. But develo…

Everything is Possible

“Unite the many to defeat the few”

What is it people want? A more fulfilling life and happiness. People not only want change, they want a vision of a better society. The aspiration of every person consists, in the first instance, in safeguarding his or her life, and then in improving it. We want to live for as long and as well as possible. We want to ward off all that can degrade us but we are under great pressure from capitalism.

Mankind will only be able to act usefully when it has managed to destroy all lies, freed itself from all the superstitions and found the truth in the jumble of knowledge and observations. Much of the time of socialists has been spent in merely re-establishing what Marx and Engels said and stood for, to counter various new forms of age-old distortions. Much of what is being passed off for revolutionary theory in our movement is really just dogma which is of no use to anyone, especially the working class. Many on the Left pretend to see further than anyone els…

Arise ye slaves!

Slavery is not yet abolished. So long as the worker is deprived of property in the instruments of production, so long as his labour-power is a commodity which he is obliged to sell to another, he is not a free being, be he white or black. He is simply a slave to a master and from morning until night is as much a bondsman as any plantation slave ever was. Slaves are cheaper now and do more
work than at any time in the world’s history. The same principle of subjection that ruled in the chattel system rules in the wage system. slavery consist?

It consists in the compulsory using of men for the benefit of the user. One who is forced to yield to another a part of the product of his toil is a slave, no matter where he resides or what may be the colour of his skin. This was the condition of the African-Americans before the Civil War, and it is his or her condition today, but also the condition of all propertyless workers. That the worker
can today change masters does not alter the fact. Tod…

"Go And Eat Cake"

On February 24, we were treated with the delightful photographs of Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe cutting one of his birthday cakes. Residents were compelled to wave flags and cheer in his honor of his 90th celebration. This is quite a contrast considering that 2.2 million Zimbabweans are in need of food assistance according to the UN Food Program. Though the official unemployment rate for the country of thirteen million is officially eleven per cent, unofficial estimates peg it at eighty per cent. The economy hasn't been helped by Mugabe's seizure of privately owned farms and giving them to his political cronies who lack agricultural experience. Meanwhile, Mugabe is renovating his suburban mansion, in readiness for his daughter's upcoming wedding. Nor are there any political opponents. As one commentator said, " I think people are no longer much interested in politics. They are interested in getting relief." This, however, is the tim…

Insane

The death toll in Syria has now reached 4,110 in three years and has been rising at the rate of 170 per day, every day, for the past year. This is just one of the many conflicts around the world – insane! John Ayers.

The Need To Act Now

Lake Cachuma in California, a lake created in 1953 by the damming of the Santa Ynez river to provide water for 200,000 people has completely dried up in California's worst drought. Usually, it's 15 metres deep and not long ago spilled over the top. This is just another indicator of our changing climate and the need to act now. John Ayers

Just Another Tragedy

It was just another working class tragedy and only made a few lines in the national press. 'A pensioner died after waiting for an ambulance for two hours. William Goulburn, 73, collapsed at home in Hartlepool but an ambulance did not reach him until he had gone into cardiac arrest, an inquiry was told.' (Times, 23 April) The coroner ruled that he died of natural causes but that his death was aggravated by a "lack of timely medical intervention". What the coroner did not add was that Mr Goulburn had the misfortune to be born a member of the working class, had worked all his life and was too poor to afford adequate medical attention. RD

Nationalism or Freedom

Although we speak of Scotland as “our” country, and millions have died or have been mutilated in defence of what they called “their” country over the ceturies, as a matter of fact, Scotland does not belong to the whole of the Scottish people, but only to a small few. How many of us can point to a particular place on the map and say “This is mine”? And of those who can claim title the greater number own just small plots after a lifetime of paying off the bank mortgage. But the truth is that greatest part of Scotland belongs to a few great land-owners.

The SNP speak of Scotland as a wealthy country. Does that mean that the Scots as a whole are well off or will be better off? By no means. Some Scots are immensely rich, most of us though barely get by and many of us are degradingly poor. The great majority of the people own nothing except their muscles and brains, that is, their power and capacity to work.

In capitalist Scotland, production is carried on not for the purpose of supplying …

A Grim Future

Many workers imagine that come retirement age they will be able to enjoy a sort of rocking-chair type of retirement but a recent report shows that to be a complete illusion. 'Millions of retirees face a pensions shock with most having to live on less than the minimum wage. The average Briton will see their annual income plummet by two-thirds from £25,480 to £8,774 - including state pension - when they stop working. Researchers have found that men will receive £10,967 a year, or £211 a week on average, but women will have to get by on just £6,580, or £126 a week.' (Daily Express, 22 April) According to the grim report by savings and investment firm LV, a fifth of women and 12 per cent of men who are within five years of retiring have no private pension and will rely solely on the state. These people will see their income fall by three-quarters on average to around £110 a week. Hardly an idyllic future, is it? RD

The National Ill -Health Service.

From time to time politicians engage in debates about the efficiency or otherwise of the National Health Service but they seldom mention that at least 1,000 hospital patients are dying needlessly each month from  dehydration and poor care by doctors and nurses, according to an NHS study.  'The deaths from acute kidney injury could be prevented by simple steps such as nurses ensuring patients have enough to drink and doctors reviewing their medication, the researchers say. Between 15,000 and 40,000 patients die annually because hospital staff fail to diagnose the treatable kidney problem, a figure that dwarfs the death toll from superbugs like MRSA.' (Daily Telegraph, 22 April) The reality is that the NHS is under-staffed and under-funded and being a service that is wholly used by the working class is unlikely to be improved. RD

The Crisis and Reformism

With the system’s profits declining, some corporations moved to take advantage of cheaper labour abroad, re-locating a great deal of their own industrial production. Other capitalists turned to speculative financial deals that boosted their income on paper without significantly expanding production or productivity. The long-term result of speculation and unprecedented state and corporate borrowing was the bubble of fictitious capital (as Marx termed it) which inevitably had to pop at some time or other. Working-class people have no cause to take joy in such an event. We have to prepare for the worse, which is no sustained capitalist recovery is possible without pay cuts and increased productivity.

Capitalism has historically made use of recessions to rescue profits—by pushing down workers’ wages and forcing weaker capitalists to sell their assets at bargain prices. When the bottom dropped out of the stock exchange in 2007, the capitalist class felt a paralysing shock. The working cla…