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Showing posts from April, 2015

Liberate the Election

The Socialist Party has always emphasised the importance and need for political democracy to secure the transition to socialism, the importance of a representative institution to demonstrate a majority for socialism and to ensure the abolition of capitalism is done in as peaceable and co-ordinated manner as possible. Once a mass socialist movement has come into existence capitalism's days are numbered and there is nothing supporters of capitalism can then do to stop socialism coming. Even if they were to try armed resistance they would lose and, after a period of chaos and bloodshed, socialism would still end up being established. If this mass socialist movement so chose, it could simply go ahead and seize power. This, too, however, would result in a period of chaos and perhaps bloodshed and it would give the opponents of socialism a perfect excuse to resist but the end result would still be the establishment of socialism. We concede that this is theoretically possible but we do …

Who needs Polls?

The old believe that the grass is greener on the other side certainly appears to apply to the vast majority of voters. They think that if the party of their choice is elected then they would be spared the many problems created by the capitalist system. And they haven't noticed that despite the promises of the politicians down the years the problems remain and may even get worse.The recent referendum revealed that a great many people in Scotland think that a nationalist government would be the solution but nationalist governments all over the world have shown that they are powerless to avoid the problems, the plain fact is that governments of all kinds cannot dictate what the capitalist system does, it is the system which determines what governments do, and whatever the result of this election this will be demonstrated once again.

Shouldn't elections be about real choice

By now some of you will have grown weary of listening to the mainstream candidates in this General Election. They have waffled on and on about public spending, public services, jobs, crime, and how things will get better, if only we put them into power. They all talk about money – spend more, spend less, tax it, borrow it, lend it, find it - but they never talk about where it comes from. They never talk about the basic rules by which it is used. They just assume that money is being made, and that they can adapt their policies to the rules of the money-making game. That is, they assume capitalism. They defend a society in which the majority of the population must sell their capacity to work to the tiny handful who own most of the wealth. They defend a society in which things can only happen if there is a profit to be made. In short, they subscribe to the law of no profit, no production. The Socialist Party is the only party whose sole object is the replacement of the present social, e…

Blowing Up Balloons

In Zimbabwe, the Independent Lawyers for Human Rights said an unidentified man was arrested in a bar on Feb 22 while watching the 88th birthday celebration for President Mugabe. The lawyer group claimed he has been charged under laws making it an offence to insult the president. He is accused of asking whether or not Mugabe had the strength to blow up any balloons at his party. The accused is to appear in court, March 12, and if found guilty will be fined. Well-meaning people have fought for civil rights for two hundred years and the struggle continues. Why not remove the cause? 
John Ayer.

Where Are Those Jobs Coming From?

Grey Power surprise – The Toronto Star reported on the economic resurgence of 2009. Nobody could figure out who was getting all these new jobs, not unions, not the unemployed. Now we know – seniors. Since July 2009, Canadians over 60 have accounted for 30% of the country's job gains although they make up just 8% of the labour force. Most gains were in the low paid retail sector. Three cheers for Walmart!  John Ayers.

BBC News - Longer Version

We are not alone, or are we?

We are not the only group calling ourselves socialist. Anyone seeking to understand what is wrong with present-day society will come across others, all having some such word in their names as “socialist”, “workers”, “revolutionary” or “communist”. Most of these will be of Leninist or Trotskyist origin and have aims, theories and methods which have nothing in common with ours. People cannot be led into socialism or coerced into it. They cannot be forced into cooperating and participating; this is something they must want to do for themselves and which they must decide to do of their own accord. Socialist society can function on no other basis. This is the basic principle that underlines the whole political activity of the Socialist Party. It commits us to a policy of making sure that hearing the case for socialism becomes part of the experience of as many people as possible. It commits us to treating other workers as adults who are capable of being influenced by open public debate and…

The landlords raking it in

Private rented accommodation accounts for around 4.2 million households – and in more than a third of these, the rent is paid in part or in full by the state. Private landlords were paid a total of £9.2bn in housing benefit in 2013-14.
Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: “This research lifts the lid on the mainly secret payments to landlords who are the real winners from Britain’s welfare system. We see taxpayers’ cash subsidising buy-to-let empires with £9.2bn paid into private landlords’ bank accounts – much of it ending up in tax havens.”
Mohammed Tanveer Taj in Watford came out as the landlord making the most from housing benefit, with an income of more than £3.2m. Second on the list was an estate agency while third was the King family, who run Thorney Bay Park, a caravan site in Canvey Island, Essex, who received £1,924,226. The caravans were “like an igloo” in winter and local councillors dubbed them unsuitable for year-round use. UKIP’s housing spokesman Andrew Charalambo…

The SPGB on the BBC

No to ReformISM

Reformers want to use the electoral process as a means of gathering as many votes as possible. Reform manifestos display the small changes advocated as attractively as possible, with little concern for educating the voters. Priority is given to winning elections and electing leaders. Reforms are to be pursued today, tomorrow the revolution - and tomorrow never comes. The Socialist Party is also prepared to use the electoral process, but with a view to challenging capitalist control of political power. The first task is to educate people and make socialists. The success of socialist candidates will measure the extent to which this activity achieves its aim. The Socialist Party no stake in how capitalism is run. Socialists are opposed to capitalism however it is organised. We do not enter into the debate about whether free market capitalism is better or worse than nationalisation. We oppose the profit system in all its forms and work only for its replacement by socialism.
The nature an…

Be Reasonable – Demand the Impossible

A long time ago parties that now call themselves Labour Party or Social Democratic Party used to subscribe to different versions of what we describe as socialism but they have abandoned this over the last hundred years. They have accepted capitalism and now concern themselves with putting forward various ideas for modifying the system, to promote fairness  -  most of them completely impracticable. Ed Miliband is now on record as promising to “make capitalism work for the people”. Oh no, he won’t – because that’s not possible. Currently under capitalism although we can vote for parties in elections, huge chunks of our lives are beyond our influence. The politicians have no control over the economy and so neither have we.  We can’t decide on our standard of living or our level of prosperity.
With the electoral circus in full swing the parties have been competing with one another in a seemingly endless round of pledges, promises, scare stories and counter claims. The media openly spends…

The richest get richer

The collective wealth of Britain’s richest people has more than doubled in the last 10 years. The 1,000 wealthiest people in the UK are now worth £547bn, not counting what’s in their bank accounts, according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List. A fortune of £100m is what it takes to make it into the top 1,000.
London-based Ukrainian businessman Len Blavatnik, whose empire includes the Warner Music Group, came top of the list thanks to his estimated fortune of £13.17bn. He rose from fourth to first after his wealth rose by more than £3bn.
Galen and George Weston and family, who run a retail empire including Selfridges and Primark, enjoyed a particularly prosperous year – with their wealth soaring by £3.7bn to £11bn.
Meanwhile, the the Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed at new record highs after US tech firms reported strong first quarter profits. Amazon shares by more than 14%, in the wake of revelations about its cloud computing services on Thursday. The company's value now stands at…

General Election – Fast Forward to the Past

In many areas affecting their lives people realise that there is no real choice, only an illusion of choice, a choice between unwanted and unwelcomed options presented as the only alternatives. Throughout the ages humanity has sought and achieved advancement motivated by desire, passion and a will to produce something better, to succeed in their aspirations. Lack of meaningful choice in national elections and the realization that politicians of all persuasions are failing to represent voters has resulted in steadily declining numbers presenting themselves at polling booths. In the present electoral system not voting is both making a choice and not making a choice. It's clear that the reason voters are not turning out is because they think it's pointless. This is an inherent flaw of representative democracy: voters are infrequently called upon to cast a vote, which seems to be far removed from any action or result; there is no immediate reward for the vote. The voters thus fee…

Fight for your planet, not your country

The Socialist Party insist the working class is the only social force capable of putting an end to capitalism—the root cause of economic chaos, poverty and war.
Workers everywhere are becoming aware that they are being exploited for the benefit of others. They are industrial slaves. The foundation of capitalist society is laid upon a basis of individualism, conquest and exploitation, with a total disregard of the good of the whole. As civilization has grown more complex the workers have become more and more enslaved, until today they are little more than parts of the machines they operate. A society built upon such wrong basic principles is bound to retard the development of all. The result is a false standard of values. Trade and material prosperity are held to be the main objects of pursuit and conquest, the lowest instincts in human nature — love of gain, cunning and selfishness — are fostered. What is the cause of malnutrition in some of our wealthy countries? And what is the cau…

The Wealth Dividen Is Massive

UNICEF's recent report, "State of the World's Children 2012" reveals that poverty affects children everywhere. According to Davis Morley, CEO of UNICEF Canada, "We often think of poverty-stricken rural areas in Africa, Latin America, Asia, but you can be in cities almost like middle-class Toronto, and hidden in valleys there are people living in shacks made of tin. We recognize this is where economic and population growth is going to happen and how do you make sure that children don't get squeezed out in the process? It is often thought that opportunity abounds in cities. Families may be closer to schools or health services, but that doesn't mean that all have the same access. The wealth divide between rich and poor is massive. Many can't afford the cost of uniforms and books or pay the fees for schools."  Well said Mr. Morley but why waste your talent dealing with effects when it could be better used tackling the cause. …

Sorry....(video)

Apologies for the lifestyle reformism offered at the end as some sort of remedy but a good video otherwise.

Against the anti-electoral purists

With the general election now fast approaching and the media reporting on it daily, this blogger has decided to concentrate the themes of his posts on democracy and elections until after polling day. Apologies if this adds to your feelings of a general world-weary ennui and apologies if the separate posts tend to repeat similar arguments although there was an endeavor to focus on different issues.
 The series begins with a defence of the Socialist Party against those who are anti-parliamentarians who have had a strong influence in the Scottish workers’ movement in the past.
Against the anti-electoral purists
The SPGB of today are not the socialist "party" that its founding members envisaged it becoming i.e. the mass of the working class organised politically for socialism. At the moment the SPGB are not much more than a socialist propagandist educational club and can't be anything else (and nor should we try to be, on principle). Possibly we might be the embryo of the fut…

Partners In Crime, No Change.

On March 14, Greg Smith quit his job as a director of Goldwyn-Sachs (GS). He said, "It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off." GS was rescued as part of the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street in 2008-9. If the executives at GS and their partners in crime won't change, there's no hope for the financial system and every reason to believe the experts who say it will crash again soon. There is every reason to work for its abolition.

Simpler is Better

Why are capitalists so obsessed with making more money than they started with? This isn’t just due to their greedy personalities, but because of competition. Competition forces capitalists to "accumulate capital"– they have to buy more and more labour power and more and faster machines to stay ahead of their commercial rivals. Thus, the driving goal for the capitalist is not production for use, or production simply as a means to increase his personal consumption. It is production for the sake of money, as a means to further accumulation–every capitalist must accumulate capital or go under. As an executive at U.S. Steel once famously declared, "we’re not in the business of making steel. We’re in the business of making money."
Under capitalism the economic organisation of society is determined by the requirements of profit accumulation. Work, the essential relationship between human energy and the natural environment, is transformed into a commodity. To work within …

Technology Can't Solve Poverty

Russell Hancock, whose Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Group produces an annual State of the Valley report said, "Something has changed here, something fundamental, because the technology we've invented here in Silicon Valley has rendered a whole class of jobs obsolete." In other words, technology can't solve poverty and unemployment. John Ayers.

The Lord Will Protect?

Not even 'the lord's work' is free from lay-offs. The Billy Graham organization, that only brought in $91.6 million in 2011, announced job cuts owing to a need to emphasize its 'airline ministry and other priorities'. Fifty-five were let go in February but the company said that the move, "…in now way reflects the financial health of the organization…and the Lord will protect."

Wealthy People Are More Likely To Steal!

A new study shows that rich people are more likely to engage in unethical behaviour than poor folk – like cutting off motorists, lying in negotiations, and cheating to win a prize (really!). These were the findings from researchers at the universities of California and Toronto that were published in the proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of the USA. They also found wealthy people were more likely to steal valued items than poor people. Another good reason to abolish a system that creates rich and poor. John Ayers.

Don’t blame newcomers

Capitalism is a system based on divide and rule, male versus female, young against old, employed pitted against unemployed and successive governments in Britain have played the race card (in Northern Ireland it was religion) or resorted to xenophobia to try to set workers against one another. The slogan of “British jobs for British workers” deflects from the possibility of solidarity and reflects a “divide and rule” situation in which fearful workers turn on “foreigners”. One section of the ruling class does not benefit from migrant workers and therefore does not want to bear the costs, while another section has been keen to defend the benefits of immigration. Political parties in Britain have once more begun to talk about immigration during this 2015 general election campaign. Unfortunately the debate is usually an ill-informed one and typically just a cover to introduce nationalist notions about the impact of immigration.
Migrant workers play a distinct role in capitalism as a “res…

Soup Kitchen Scotland

The number of people using food banks in Scotland has risen by two-thirds. A total of 117, 689 people - including more than 36,000 children - received a three-day supply of emergency food from the organisation last year. That was a 65% increase on the figures for the previous year.
In 2011, there was one food bank in Scotland operated in partnership with the Trussell Trust. The charity said that as of April 2015, it had 50 food banks in 27 Scottish local authorities. The main reasons behind people being referred to its food banks were due to a benefit delay, low income or a benefit change.
18,000 people in Glasgow using one of its food banks in the financial year from 2014/2015, In Edinburgh, the figure was about 14,000 people and in Fife more than 10,000 required an emergency food supply.
Low income showed the biggest numerical rise, with 24,609 people referred for this reason in 2014/15 compared with 13,552 the previous year, an increase of more than 80%.
Ewan Gurr, Scotland networ…