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Showing posts from February, 2015

Socialism: Emancipatory and Liberatory

If survival as a human species is our primary long-term goal, then deep changes are necessary to the way we organise ourselves socially. Socialism seeks the end to artificial scarcity of all essential commodities.  Promoting the common good is the only way to create a sustainable future that ends deprivation of the poor and the profit-seeking of the upper-classes. Socialism replaces failed capitalism.
How has capitalism failed? The current situation is that capitalism has failed to provide the basic needs of society; even the “social welfare” state only manages to mitigate the misery and suffering of people. The rich are seen as successful by virtue of being rich and the poor are seen as unsuccessful by virtue of their poverty. This is a “Social Darwinist” view of human achievement which makes implicit that having money with little regard to how the money is made. Socialism begins with the assumption that lack of money should not be associated with lack of nutrition, health care, cl…

Who Owns the North Pole (part 85)

The United Kingdom should select an ambassador for the Arctic or risk being left out of key decisions in the region, a House of Lords report says. It advised the UK should follow the example of nations including France, Singapore and Japan in appointing an ambassador for the Arctic.
Experts have said the Arctic will be free of sea ice in the summer as soon as 2020, which will give way to extract resources, open up a northern sea trade route and opportunities to “take advantage of the expansion of shipping” on Arctic routes. The committee suggests the interests of British companies need better representation.

Make Everything Owned by Everybody

Everywhere one turns, the bad news just seems to be getting worse. There are times when social and economic problems become so bad that people are forced to choose between the system that makes their lives difficult and a new one that will make their lives better. Times like that are called revolutionary times. They don’t come often, but when they do the question of HOW to make the change that’s needed becomes as important as WHAT that change should be. We face that kind of choice today. Capitalism—the social system we live under—no longer serves the interests of the people. It creates countless problems that it cannot solve. It uses technology to throw people out of work and to make those who keep their jobs work harder. It creates hardship and poverty for millions, while the few who own and control the economy grow rich off the labor of those allowed to keep their jobs. It destroys the cities that we built up. It is destroying the natural environment that is the source of the food …

Who Owns the North Pole Part 84

Russia may consider protecting its national interests in the Arctic with military means if necessary, the country’s defense minister said, pointing to the increasing interest in the region’s resources by countries with no direct access to the Arctic.
“The constant military presence in the Arctic and a possibility to protect the state’s interests by the military means are regarded as an integral part of the general policy to guarantee national security,” Sergei Shoigu said at a Ministry of Defense meeting. “It’s not a secret that the Arctic is turning into one of the world centers for producing hydrocarbons and is an important junction for transport communications,” he said. “Some developed countries that don’t have direct access to the polar regions obstinately strive for the Arctic, taking certain political and military steps in that direction.” Shoigu said, “To secure the safety of navigation on the Northern Sea Route and of the response to possible threats in the Arctic region, a …

Tell no lies – claim no easy victories

Language is powerful. Let's use it wisely. For many centuries people have fought for freedom and fairness. From olden days, the red flag was the emblem of the slave rebellions. It symbolised the red blood that flows in the veins of all humanity, with no distinction as to race or nationality, sex or social position. The red flag has been pulled down many, many times, only to be hoisted again. Why? Because it is the flag of the exploited and the oppressed, the flag of those deprived of their freedom, their labour, who are forced into slavery and eventually into revolution. It will be raised again in a thousand places as the workers' struggle for socialist emancipation revives.
If we keep our economic system it will eventually destroy us all. The more of the same will only speed up our demise regardless of technological abilities. It’s necessary to be aware that the 1% has about the same wealth as the rest of us, that’s due to legal robbery; that unfairness dates back to the fir…

Poverty is Child Abuse

The Child Poverty Action Group calculates that 220,000 children live in poverty in Scotland. That’s one in five children, but we know that in some areas, that figure is one in three. We know that in some areas out of a class of 30 children, ten of them can be living in poverty.
Living in poverty puts health, wellness and the ability to do well at school at risk. It’s not just a case of not having nice clothes and not being able to go on holidays. We are dealing with families who rely on food banks and emergency grants, not to get over a difficult time, but to survive. We are living in a society now where GPs routinely ask people, when they can find no other cause for their pain or illness, if they have enough to eat.
Living in poverty creates long-term difficulties for these children, who grow up at greater risk of mental ill health, chronic illness, unemployment and homelessness; and so the cycle continues.
 The Institute of Fiscals studies acknowledges that poverty increased quickl…

Turning the screw

From the February 1984 issue of the Socialist Standard
Three years ago the company I worked for announced it was closing. It was part of an ailing industrial giant which was itself finally sunk soon after when the banks withdrew their support. During the three month run-down period rumours that a "consortium" of managerial staff was trying to buy the place kept our hopes alive. Those of us who had been kept on to finish outstanding work knew that if the consortium didn't employ us then we would have little chance of a job anywhere else so we worked like we've never worked before. That deal fell through but an American multi-national moved in and bought the company. We soon learned that not everyone still working there would be employed by the new owners so each of us redoubled his efforts in the hope of being offered one of the available jobs.
A week after the old company finally closed some of us, the lucky ones, started work for the new company. A few days earlier …

Understand the world to change it (2)

The Socialist Party believe that in order to save humanity from the economic chaos, social injustice, and environmental destruction caused by global capitalism, it is necessary to abolish the capitalist system altogether and replace it with a humane, democratically-run planned socialist economy. It will be necessary for people, worldwide, to adopt the principle of socialist revolution. There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about what “socialism” means. A big barrier to building the alternative to capitalism is confusion about what socialism actually is. This is not accidental. For those who are not familiar with it, let’s get one misconception out of the way right at the start. Socialism is not what existed in Soviet Russia, even before Stalin, or in China, even under Mao. No totalitarian or autocratic system can be considered socialist. Socialism also is not the same as the “social-democratic” capitalism that exists in Scandinavia and some other countries with welfare-sta…

'Against state and capital – for the revolution'

One in five Germans believe that revolution, not reform, is the only way for living standards in Germany to be improved, a new study by the Free University of Berlin suggests. Nearly a third of Germans believe that capitalism is the cause of poverty and hunger and a majority think true democracy is not possible under that economic system.
The report authors noted overall that a sizeable proportion of the German population are moving increasingly towards the left of the political spectrum, and are more likely to hold both anti-fascist and anti-capitalist views.
They may not mean what we mean but it is a promising sign that ideas are changing for the better

Understand the world to change it

The notion of socialism can be traced back centuries in various forms, notably among the earliest Christians (Acts 4:34-5:11); and the model of “gospel” communism as in the Anabaptist and other religious movements, with individuals owning nothing except what they collectively shared. But the roots of modern socialism lie in the period of the industrial revolution. The goals and ideals of socialism had their beginnings in 19th-century pre-industrial movements and organisations, which cultivated in workers a keen sense of common identity. The Industrial Revolution had many profound effects on European civilization. It rendered much of the old aristocracy irrelevant, boosted the capitalists to economic and political power, and drafted much of the old peasant class into its factories. The result was naturally a shift in attitude toward wealth. Capitalist wealth seemed to have no natural limits. Partly because the new industrial modes of production had no pre-assigned place in feudal orde…

The Dole Changes People

New research suggests long stints of unemployment can have long-term effects on personality traits, changes that may become near-permanent.
It's accepted knowledge that unemployment can have negative psychological consequences. Not only is a person's job status is not only often tied inextricably to a person's self-worth, but it's the life jacket that keeps the rising tides of poverty at bay. But how does unemployment affect the psyche long-term?
researchers found that men who spent several years looking unsuccessfully for work tended to demonstrate higher levels of "agreeableness" during their first two years of unemployment. Agreeableness is one of the Big Five personality traits identified by psychology's five-factor model (FFM) -- along with openness, conscientiousness, extroversion and neuroticism. The testing showed after an uptick in agreeableness during the first two years, men's agreeableness levels began to quickly slump, with long-term ag…

Our Goal Is Socialism

Working people around the world have always sought a future without war, exploitation, inequality, and poverty. They strive to build a brighter future, one based on democracy, peace, justice, equality, cooperation, and meeting human needs. That future is socialism, a system in which working people control their own lives and destinies, and together build a better world. The Socialist Party is in existence to build this authentic social revolution. Socialism will usher in a new epoch. The great wealth of our planet will for the first time be for the benefit of all the people. Socialism is not a dream, but a necessity to working peoples’ lives. Only socialism has the solutions to the problems of capitalism.
Anyone who thinks even for a moment about the enormous productive capacity of our world cannot but ask: why it with such sophisticated means of technology that we are unable to guarantee the well-being of people? Why is the curse of unemployment and the plague of falling wages and l…

Snouts in the trough

BONUSES paid out to financial sector workers since the start of the 2007 crisis are likely to break through the £100 billion barrier this year, campaigners said today. The revised total from the Robin Hood Tax campaign comes as the big banks gear up to report their 2014 full-year results, triggering fresh bonus payouts and stoking public anger. Today’s report is based on analysis of Office for National Statistics data which shows that bonuses paid out in the financial sector – including insurers – since the start of the crisis in October 2007 have already reached £91bn. By the end of the 2014-15 financial year, this figure is likely to have surpassed the £100bn mark, the campaign noted.

The Socialist Path

The path of the socialist revolution is not an easy one and the history of the working class movement proves this as it has been full of false shortcuts and wrong turnings, leading to class collaboration and compromise. Humanity has gone through the two most savage and bloody wars of its history. For a hundred years the world has known no rest or respite as poverty, hunger and war has continued to wreak destruction. Tens of millions of men women and children perish needlessly. The threat of a new world war hangs over our heads permanently as the crisis over Ukraine brings back the Cold War and this time there can be no debate of its cause, it is a battle not of ideology but a war for economic advantages. Humanity’s resources are wasted in senseless adventures while people’s basic needs remain unsatisfied and our environment is spoiled. There is an increasingly imbalance between civilisation’s capacity for progress and the wretched misery that hundreds of millions of people must live …

We Are Many, They Are Few

What is the place of socialism in the world and what is its future? These questions are inseparably tied to the more relevant question, “What is our view of socialism?” If socialism is being advocated what kind of socialism is it? Are we being utopian in the sense of advancing a pleasant but impossible dream?
Apologists for capitalism have long devoted enormous efforts to arguing against socialism. They argue that it is a completely utopian exercise that flies in the face of human nature but more seriously some on the left suggest that talk by the Socialist Party of a peaceful transition to socialism is nothing but naiveté, a denial of history’s lessons. But is this true? While there are examples of ruling classes using force to block social change, there are also instances where corrupt and discredited regimes have been swept away without mass blood-letting. The brutal South African apartheid regime gave way to the forces of freedom without the country being thrown into civil war; R…

Power to the Workers?

Words take on less meaning every new day. Historically, the demand for workers’ control was a socialist demand because it was seen as a way of rationalising the production process, allowing the development of workers’ creative capacities, and creating the means for realising the socialist ideal of equality in power and wealth. Genuine worker self-management is only possible in a socialist society. Worker self-management models adopted by many co-operatives are a local and defensive tactic. These coops exist and are part of a capitalist economy that they do not control. Consequently, the workers’ self-directed activity remains fundamentally constrained by capitalist competition and the market. There have been many examples of workers’ cooperatives that went wrong, there have even been some that have ‘succeeded’ – in capitalist terms that is! All that they have succeeded in, however, has been to transform themselves into profitable capitalist enterprises, operating in the same way as o…