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Showing posts from May, 2015

Keir Hardie Debunked

Letter to the Editors from the August 1908 issue of the Socialist Standard
Sir, I have stood by Hardie through the years. I have held him to be a man apart from the motley group of members and fakers of capitalism, to whom he has given political existence, and that he calls his Labour Party. I at one time allowed him to nominate me for membership of the National Branch, deciding that if his party was good enough for Hardie it should be good enough for me, and that if Hardie could do something with such elements I might. So I allowed myself to become a member of the Independent Labour Party, and have remained one up to within a week. I have hit out against the policy and tactics of the Party whenever I have occupied its platform, but I retained my membership simply because of my reverence for Hardie. Again and again I have contended with S.D.F. men: "Hardie is something bigger than these reform fellows. He means more than reform. He is a revolutionist—a kind of eagle among carrion…


From the September 1930 issue of the Socialist Standard "The only time in my life that I have allied myself with the enemies of the workers has been since I came to the House of Commons, and that is by the order of the Labour Government. Almost every time I go into the Division Lobby I join such tried and trusted friends of the Labour Party as Lloyd George, his daughter, Sir Herbert Samuel, etc. They are keeping the Labour Party in office on condition that the workers and the Labour Party programme are deserted." Thus writes the Labour M.P. for Shettleston ("Forward," August 2nd). He was, however, the official Labour candidate, and stood for the official Labour Party Programme. He was attacked during the election by another Labourite, Mr. C. Diamond, who has been on three occasions official Labour candidate, and who stated that he has supported the Labour Party because it is not committed to Socialism.
The Party that the Member for Shettleston—McGovern—stands for, …

We Dare to Dream

What would socialism be like?
In 1912, Daniel De Leon declared that “We of the socialist movement hold that we are the real promoters of individualism, or individuality…We charge modern society, that is, capitalism, with crushing out individuality”.
We live in a world of poverty, war, and environmental devastation. A world where living standards for working people plummet while an elite few enjoy lives of unbelievable wealth and power. Something different—an alternative to capitalism—is desperately needed. But what should replace it? The Socialist Party considering our name, not surprisingly, proposes socialism, a society built from the bottom up through the struggles of ordinary people against exploitation, oppression, and injustice—one in which production is for peoples’ needs and profit. Socialism is the only possible alternative to capitalism, the source of gross inequalities and environmental disasters around the world. A society based on the principles of equality, democracy, an…

Socialism - The future of Humanity.

The term scientific socialism was used to differentiate it from utopian notions of socialism which were rich in imagination but had little roots in social action or the history of social progress. Scientific socialism did not provide any technological blueprint for building socialism, it only provided broad general guidelines for organising a socialist revolution. And these broad guidelines have been proved to be essentially correct even in considerably different circumstances. Socialism as an alternative to the current global order is commonly ignored in advanced Western societies and attacked as ‘outdated’ or even ‘useless’. The idea of working people taking democratic control of all aspects affecting their lives is not a new notion. It lies at the very heart of socialist thought and practice. Workplace democracy is something that our capitalist masters can never deliver because the key to their profits is absolute control over “their” workers. General assemblies in every neighbou…

All change for socialism

Humanity now faces changes in our planet's climate that could not only make socialism a mere dream, but make the Earth itself uninhabitable. There is not a more defining struggle in this century than that. We are approaching tipping points which if reached will give climate change a momentum that human actions will have little or no control over. Global warming will be irreversible.
The basic economic structure of contemporary societies, with no exceptions, is capitalist. Capitalism marks the whole of our society and our way of life globally, regionally and nationally. But what is capitalism? Societies are capitalist, inasmuch as capital production, accumulation and profit dominate economy and society. Socialism is a society in which production, services and their distribution are dominated by the goal of producing the best possible conditions of the unfolding of the individuality of all, so that they may be used by the individuals both for their own well-being as well as for th…

Now That You Know, What Will You Do?

Without a proclaimed socialist vision, radical change becomes too many different things for too many different individuals and groups. The Socialist Party raises the banner of revolution and demands the unconditional surrender of the capitalist class. Having outlived its social usefulness, capitalism must give way to a new social order. We, therefore, call upon the workers to organise to form a class conscious body and to place themselves squarely upon the ground of working-class interests, joining in the work of human emancipation so that we may put an end to the most onerous threat to human existence, the barbaric class conflict. The land and all the means of production, transportation, communication and distribution must be placed in the collective hands of the producers, replacing the present state of unplanned production, industrial rivalry and international wars and social disorder and instead build  a commonwealth in which all workers shall have the free exercise and full bene…

Fact of the Day - education and class

A quarter of all medical students in Scotland attended private schools - despite the fact the independent sector educates just four per cent of all pupils in the country.

The figures have increased pressure on the country's universities to improve access to medicine amid claims the system is unfairly weighted against students educated in state-schools.

The Cooperative Commonwealth of Labour

Capitalist production takes place only if profits can be made. And if that requires firing workers, cutting their wages or off-shoring their jobs to countries where wages are substantially lower, so be it. It isn’t about individual capitalist villainy by unscrupulous corporate executives; it’s about the capitalist system. Labour reform laws rarely are what they appear to be and rarely result in the positive gains they ostensibly are meant to establish. Exceptions that appear to prove the rule may not be the exceptions they seem to be when closely examined. Close inspection will often reveal that the labour legislation established is what the ruling class considers to be in its political or material interests at the time. Times change, however, and when the changes affect capitalist needs, labor reform “victories” of the past can be undermined, circumvented or simply scrapped.
The Socialist Party holds that capitalism is not worth reforming and that, in any case, it cannot be reformed…

We want a socialist future

Socialism is the future. Socialism is a wonderful goal and necessary vision, the promise of a life irresistible in its harmony, workability, naturalness, passion and compassion. We envisage a social order based on the common ownership of the means of production, the elimination of private profit in the means of production, the abolition of the wage system, the abolition of the division of society into classes. Socialism far from being an intolerable bureaucratic tyranny and individual regimentation, will be the means of greater individual liberty and shared abundance. Anything that has any kind of value is made, mined, grown, produced, and processed by working people. So why shouldn't working people collectively own that wealth? Socialism, simply, is non-capitalist living. Wealth is created to satisfy human needs, not inhuman greeds. The present economic arrangement is insatiable in its avarice, unrelenting in its viciousness, rife with contradictions, and veering crazily out of …

One in three in fuel poverty

More than one in three Scottish households are suffering from fuel poverty, a new survey shows. A household is defined as in fuel poverty if more than 10 per cent of the household income is spent on energy. If a household spends more than 20 per cent of its income on energy it is then classed as being in extreme fuel poverty.
Energy, prices in Scotland have risen four times faster than household incomes since 2003, plunging an increasing number of people into difficult situations.
Big Energy Switch campaign director Michael Stewart saidthe survey was a reminder of the “real crisis” which is taking place across the country. He said:  “This survey highlights the huge level of financial strain spiralling energy prices are placing on household budgets in Scotland. The fact that one in three households are now in fuel poverty means much more needs to be done to help families meet the ever-rising cost of energy bills. Sometimes it takes cold hard statistics like these to remind us that com…

Fight for your World, Not your Country

We hear it said from many sides that the nations of the world have interests that are not in harmony with each other, and that each nation has to look to those things that it enjoys to safeguard against the aggression of other countries. This attitude is taken by a vast number of people who make these assertions which the facts of reality entirely dispute. This "Nationalism" which has been injected into the brains of the masses springs from a very reliable source, i.e., its origin in the condition of property in a given country.
To get at the ideas that flow through the institutions that exist and reflect definite interests, we must see who it is that owns property in different nations. By property we mean those things that the nation is dependent upon to make its livelihood.
Mines, forests, mills, mines, railways, waterways, are indispensable to the life of modern society. Around these means to sustain human life, we have a set of relations that correspond to the mode of p…

Utopia: Nowhere or Now Here

Utopia is possible
If you're deaf, dumb, and blind to what's happening in the world, you're under no obligation to do anything. But if you know what's happening and you don't do anything but sit back idly then you are complicit in the exploitation and oppression taking place. It is already clear that business as usual is leading toward catastrophic collapse of the natural eco-systems that billions of people depend upon for their livelihood. Social and environmental problems are not accidental, but are direct consequences of our capitalist system of production and consumption. The logic of profit is to clear-cut every tree and move on to the next forest.  Greenhouse gases will increase as long as our economy depends on fossil fuels, controlled by some of the wealthiest corporations in history. Converting the whole economy to recycle materials and use renewable energy, abandoning fossil fuel investments, would impose huge costs on business budgets. Under capitalism, …