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Showing posts from September, 2015

Our Common Future

We are not a party like other parties. We retain an unshakable confidence in the socialist future of humanity. We in the Socialist Party conceive of socialism, not as model society constructed from a preconceived plan, but as the next stage of social evolution which will grow out of the class struggle. The architects and builders of the socialist society of the future will be the socialist generations themselves. The people in the future society will be wiser than we are. We can only anticipate and point out the general direction of development, and we should not try to do more. The future belongs to the Socialist Party. It needs only to be true to itself, hold firm, dig in and prepare the future. The road we travel has many twists and turns; we will see and experience many things, but the goal is clearer than ever in our vision; but we haven’t found a smoother or more direct road yet. The Socialist Party has always believed in the primacy of ideas and taught others to believe it. We…

We Can Transform The World

The peoples of the world are confronted today with enormous problems which include the poverty, malnutrition, disease, war and the threat of environmental destruction. This need not be so for we possess advances in science and technology that provide such opportunities for the full development of every human being. The wealth, effort and ingenuity which could be used to improve the living conditions of working people are, instead, used to expand the profits of the giant corporations and banks that dominate the economy and society. The Socialist Party aims to replace the insecurity, profiteering, inequality and social conflict of capitalist society with socialism. A socialist world would be run by and for the people, not for private capitalist profit. Production for use would be socially controlled and planned to guarantee everyone comfort and dignity. For over a century, the Socialist Party of Great Britain have had this aspiration to create a fundamentally humane, democratic and jus…

Tenners for fivers (1990)

From the April 1990 issue of the Socialist Standard
The privatisation of the water industry has seen "tens of thousands" of individual buyers cashing in by selling their shares at the first opportunity. This merely repeats what has happened in every previous privitisation. When British Gas was sold off in 1986 there were 4.2 million shareholders. That figure is now 2.6 million. Of the original 650,000 who bought British Steel shares in 1988 only 400,000 remained six months later. British Airways can boast the most spectacular fall—from 1.2 million shareholders down to just 420,000 in only months. And it's the same story with British Telecom, TSB, Jaguar and the others. Research shows that between one quarter and one third of all investors in previous privitisation issue have pulled out within the first six weeks. (Guardian, 20 December, 1989.) Why, then, do these sellers buy shares in the first place? Simply to make some easy money. After all, the government is so anxiou…

LABOUR IS ALSO THE BOSSES’ PARTY

The Socialist Party objective is the social revolution – the abolition of capitalism and wage slavery – and the emancipation of the working class. In countries with parliamentary democracy we use elections, because it is there to use; but in doing so the immediate is to win the people to socialism – to make socialists, in short – and to organise the working class for the social revolution. The winning of seats in the Commons, at this moment of time, is of quite secondary importance. What is important is to win votes – not merely as votes, but as evidence of the growing strength of the socialist movement. And to our anti-parliamentary rivals we say it is vital that we count heads instead of heads getting broken. The Socialist Party enters into politics hostile to all other parties and to the existing regime. It regards the present class society as only a passing phase in social development, and works to hasten its destruction. Its objective is not the maintenance or the palliation of …

Against Labourism - For Socialism

All around us are the signs of a world in crisis, yet men and women seem unable to do anything about it. Resources that should be used to feed the hungry are squandered in the name of commerce and profits towards the few. Of course, the greatest threat comes from the threat of climate change. In the past many loyal Labour supporters have found it difficult to distinguish the policies of Labour governments from those of their Tory rivals. Jeremy Corbyn as the new party leader has infused fresh hope and a new anticipation of for a ‘radical’ Labour Party. But the new influx of activists are not homogeneous in ideological and political terms.
The continuing hold of Labourism over the working class is an issue which confronts all socialists. The Labour Party, not being socialist, is useless. Facts show that the Labour Party opposes socialism. The Labour Party is a party of capitalism, a party of liberal reformers on to which have been grafted some features and language of social democracy.…

Are elections important?

We use elections to place before the workers the demand of the Socialist Party in sharp contrast to those of the capitalist parties. We take advantage at election times on the greater readiness of the workers to read political literature, attend political meetings and take part in political discussions to familiarise the worker with the socialist case. We use the election to teach workers the the connection between their employer and the state, the connection between their status and the economic system. We use elections as the time to rally all our support.  We also closely analyse election results to read from them the shifts in the moods and sentiments of our class. The purpose is of the Socialist Party is to bring together, to organise into an effective force, all supporters of its principles who seek to win others to the socialist objective. The first requirement for the workers in all countries of the world is to break cleanly from the capitalist class and their political parti…

The Socialist Party Choice

The Socialist Party is the party of the workers organised to express in political terms their determination to break their fetters. Socialists are no better, cleverer or sharper than anyone else but when we act together we have far more influence than we would have as isolated individuals. Socialists come together in an organisation committed to campaign against capitalist society in whatever guise it appears. Socialists seek a cooperative society where we pool our abilities and resources to create more for everyone, and to share it out fairly. The rich and powerful for their part combine with their own class consciousness to confound our aspirations. There is a crying need is for socialist organisation, in which socialists unite to produce their own media and organise solidarity for those who have taken the bosses on. There will be the people who have no truck with the bosses’ attacks upon workers’ living standards; no truck with wage cuts; no truck with cuts in welfare benefits or …

Prods vs Papes in Glasgow (1982)

From the May 1982 issue of the Socialist Standard
In 1878 the City of Glasgow Bank crashed to financial ruin. In the same year the Scottish Roman Catholic Hierarchy was restored by the Pope and Charles Eyre became Archbishop of Glasgow. Protestant extremists, such as members of the Orange Lodges (who even today see almost every calamity as part of a global papist conspiracy), probably saw some connection between the two events. Whatever they thought they were certain of one thing: the restoration of Catholic Hierarchy was nothing less than "papal aggression". In response they protested in Glasgow Green. The Army was sent to prevent rioting but fortunately, for Glaswegian working-class skulls, the troops were not called into action.
The main factor leading to both the restoration of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy and the religious intolerance in Glasgow was the vast influx of Irish immigrants who, since the 1840s, had been entering the industrial areas of Britain to escape the …

Nothing changes unless we make them change

Why is it so many people who belong to the left cling to the Labour Party, notwithstanding all their disappointments and disillusionments. Change does not just happen, and it certainly doesn’t just come because one day Jeremy Corbyn might be prime minister at the head of a left-wing Labour government. It comes when people fight for it. And that is why we with our few hundred members determined and a steadfast monthly journal, are still optimistic and confident than all the Left with their resolutions and intrigues masking their self- doubts and internal dilemmas. There is only one possible way in which we and the Left can come together: for them to come to us. The left-wingers consistently fall into the trap of portraying the Labour Party as in some way less capitalist than the Tories. This lesser-evilism strengthens the misconception that the private sector alone constitutes the capitalist enemy, and that the state sector is not really capitalist at all, a myth which many class-cons…

Increasing Poverty Statistics

In June, Statistics Canada released the following figures – In 1975, the minimum wage, expressed in today's dollars, was $10.14. In 2013, it was $10.15, an increase of one cent in thirty-eight years! The number of workers on minimum wage more than doubled between 2003 and 2011, due mainly to free trade agreements killing mostly well-paid manufacturing jobs. Close to one million have lost their jobs since the mid-80s, forcing them into part-time, low-paying, and sometimes dangerous, jobs. More people are living in poverty today, in Canada, than at any time since World War II. There is only one way that workers can feel secure, and it surely is not under capitalism. John Ayers.

What Will They Say?

Climate scientists say that January to May this year were the earth's warmest five months ever recorded. This follows 2014 that was also the warmest year ever. They issued the following statistics, all in Celsius – 0.09 degrees that this January to May surpassed the same period in 2010; 3.1 degrees, the number that Alaska's average temperature for May surpassed the average from 1981 to 2010; 1976 was the last year that was cooler than the global long-term average; Twenty-one years have passed since a month was last cooler than its long-term average (February 1994); 45 degrees was the temperature in Pakistan in the last week of June – the heat killed hundreds. Still, the apologists for capitalism insist that global warming is a problem secondary to the economy. What will they say when the economy no longer exists? John Ayers.

NEITHER RIGHT NOR LEFT BUT WORLD SOCIALISM

Socialism is a worldwide stateless society where money and markets have been abolished and production is collectively planned by all. It is the abolition of all exploitation and oppression, where the divisions of human beings into classes, nationalities and genders has been transcended. Skin colour which function unevenly today as markers of racial and ethnic distinction will carry no more significance than differences of eye colour. Rather than mere worker ownership of factories or state-control of resources, socialist society is one within which “value” as we know it has been abolished and free access to goods has replaced markets and rationing.
 Also abolished is the mental/manual division of labour where there is a great reduction of the social working day, allowing for a maximisation of leisure time and fluidity between different forms of socially necessary labour. Socialism can only be achieved through the revolutionary struggle of the workers, a class whose self-emancipation i…

To the workers belongs the future.

The Socialist Party is organised to assist the working-class movement by a dissemination of its literature, to educate into a knowledge of socialist principles.  It affirms its belief that political and social freedom are not two separate and unrelated ideas, but are two sides of the one great principle, each being incomplete without the other. The Socialist Party is organised because we are face to face with conditions that require united action of our class at the ballot box.
Today’s society rests on ownership of the land and the machinery of production. The owners of most of the land and the tools of production constitute what is the capitalist class. Ownership divides society into two distinct classes. One is the class of employers, and the other is the class of wage-workers (the working class). The working class, by their labour, produce the wealth that sustains society, they lack economic and industrial security, suffer from over-work, enforced unemployment, and their attendan…

Edinburgh: Working Class Housing (1961)

From the September 1961 issue of the Socialist Standard
How many boxes of shortbread have caught the customer's eye with a gaudy picture of Edinburgh Castle? And very nice, too: they would not sell much shortbread by showing Edinburgh's slums, although there are enough of them.
Yes, Edinburgh has a slum problem, just like any other great city. Panorama went there a few months back, showing up the damp and rotting houses around Arthur Street, where the workers pay rent to live with the rats and broken sewer pipes.
And like a lot of other places, Edinburgh also has dwellings which are not classified as slums, but which are not much better; it has its prefabs. These, as the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch said recently, are " . . . the relics of the immediate post-war housing crisis . . . " which are " . . . still with us, although when they were built they were intended to be only temporary makeshifts."
Are the prefabs likely to come down soon? The Edinburgh City …

This is what socialism is

Often in explaining our case for socialism it is set in a series of rejections, no division into classes, no capitalism, no private property, no exploitation, no wages,  no money, no nation-state, no leaders…etc  Frequently we fail to provide examples of meaningful action, positive strategy, and prescriptive examples.
What socialists seek to establish is a modern, highly organised society where the use of technology will save labour time and enhance leisure time. Re-designing work and getting rid of hazardous or polluting technology will be priorities in a social transformation that aims at human liberation and environmental sustainability. A high standard of material life. Good food, comfortable spacious housing, good quality clothes, furniture etc. Things will be made to last. There will be a welcomed acceptance of the differences between us and a willingness to help those that need it and to be guided by those with particular skills or knowledge. The culture will have an emphasis …