Saturday, October 31, 2015

Auld Reekie Loses its Charm

The formal recognition of Edinburgh as one of the world’s most beautiful cities is under threat amid a battle for the soul of its most historic quarter. The city was inscribed as a Unesco world heritage site in 1995 for the beauty of its medieval old town and 18th-century new town but, following complaints from the public and architectural experts over a number of new buildings, inspectors from Icomos, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, which advises Unesco, have toured several of the most contentious sites.

David Black, a conservationist and architectural critic, detects a sinister hand in the planned developments and others that have occurred with seemingly indecent haste around Edinburgh. 
“The cataclysmic event as far as I was concerned was the wrecking of St Andrew Square last year and two wonderful, B-listed buildings within it, to build a TK Maxx and offices for Standard Life, all of which was dusted under the carpet,” he said. “Edinburgh is in crisis financially as a result of the tram catastrophe and the losses arising from a property repairs scandal. They’re trying to deal with this with a number of panic measures, like extending parking controls to late night and through Sundays to raise more revenue and doing all sorts of events deals in public spaces like Princes Street, St Andrew Square, and the Meadows. They’re also pimping the city to global investors like TIAA-CREF of North Carolina.” He went on to say, “If you are an international developer there has never been a better time to open up in Edinburgh and to get past planning protections for its built heritage.”

Pacifists aid war

Most people are opposed to war. War is so terrible in its methods and results that only a small number of deviants or professional soldiers or completely ruthless financiers can support it. Even the practical politician, at least, must pretend to themselves that they are against war. But we have seen that wars do not result from what people wish and believe; and that being against war does not prevent people from acting in a way that helps bring war about.

The aim of the pacifist is to bring about a state of affairs in which war will not exist. The goal of pacifism is a warless society BUT under exactly the same form of production and in the same social conditions as at present. War is inseparable from capitalism it follows that the “abolition” of war is possible only through the overthrow of capitalism and the building of socialism. The pacifist would rather we first get rid of war, then talk about socialism. Pacifism spreads illusions about the nature of war and of the fight against war (advocating disarmament, conscientious objection, non-aggression treaties, UN mediation, etc., as solutions), and thus prevents a real struggle against war, which can be based only on a true understanding of the nature and causes of war. The UN will keep peace as long as peace is to the interests of the powers that control the UN. Pacifism turns aside the working class from its struggle for power, the only genuine way to fight war. In this way it redirects the revolutionary struggle against war into “safe” channels. 

The goal of socialists is a society without exploitation, the society in which the demand for the complete abolition of private property in the means of production will be realised. This condition of human society accomplishes the objective of permanent warlessness. War must be made impossible by destroying its deepest and best hidden roots. Socialists are not satisfied with destroying the poisonous fruit - war. Socialist anti-war activity is only part of the general struggle for emancipation of the working class. Pacifists believe that the struggle against war can be carried on independently of the class struggle.

Before being able to combat an evil, one must know its cause. Thus, seeking the primary cause of war is the first step in preventing it. Even a brief study of the nature and causes of modern war proves that war is an essential part of capitalism. The inner conflicts of capitalism lead and must lead to war. The only way actually to get rid of the high fever is to remove the cause of the fever –if it is a diseased appendix then take it out. The same thing is true for war: the only way to get rid of war is to remove the cause of war. War is not the cause of the troubles of society. The opposite is true. War is a symptom and result, of the irreconcilable troubles and conflicts of the present form of society, that is to say, of capitalism. The only way to fight against war is to fight against the causes of war. Since the causes of war are part of the inner nature of capitalism, it follows that the only way to fight, against war is to fight against capitalism. But the only true fight against capitalism is the struggle for socialism. It therefore follows that the only possible struggle AGAINST war is the struggle FOR the socialist revolution.

There is no “separate” or “special” struggle against war. The struggle against war cannot be divorced from the struggles of the workers. No one can uphold capitalism – whether directly, as an open adherent of the capitalists, or indirectly, from any shade of liberal or reformist position – and fight against war, because capitalism means war. To suppose, therefore, that the Socialist Party can work out a common platform “against war” with non-socialists is based on a misunderstanding. Pacifists are not merely powerless to prevent war; in practice it acts to promote war, both because it serves in its own way to uphold the system that breeds war, and because it diverts the attention away from the real fight against war. There is only one policy against war: advocating socialism. By overthrowing capitalist economy and supplanting capitalism with a socialist economy, it will remove the causes of war. With socialism there will no longer exist the basic contradictions that lead to war. The expansion of the means of production, under the common ownership and democratic control of society as a whole, will proceed in accordance with a rational plan adjusted to the needs of the members of society. Socialism will remove the artificial limits on consumption, and hence permit the scientific and controlled development of production. Thus, with socialism, war will disappear because the causes of war will have been removed.

Pacifism aids war by spreading illusions about the nature of war and the fight against it; by shifting the energies of honest opponents of war to a fictitious fight against it; by sugar-coating the realities of capitalist society and thus making them – including war – more palatable; by subordinating the working class to middle class individuals and ideas; by preparing the betrayal of the masses in the next war, when outstanding pacifist leaders will decide in the crisis that, this war is different – is for democracy, culture, God, or what not – and call for support of the government. No, the pacifist way is not the way to fight war. War and militarism must be approached by the working class from a class standpoint. War is a manifestation of capitalist society. War remains as long as capitalism remains.

The Socialist Party is against any and every war undertaken by the capitalist state and is the implacable enemy of the capitalist state – the political representative of the class enemy – on every occasion. We support only one particular kind of war – the class war – since only through the class war can capitalism be overthrown and the causes of war thereby removed.

All across the globe people have always been fighting for peace between nations. However, the preaching of peace does not necessarily further the cause of peace. Pacifism as a policy may look plausible so long as peaceful relations prevail but it collapses like a pricked balloon as soon as hostilities are declared. In previous periods many professional pacifists have turned into fanatical war supporters once the ruling class has plunged the nation into battle.

The Socialist Party is not a pacifist organisation. Indeed, we are opposed to pacifism, the reason being that pacifism is completely ineffective as an instrument for preventing war. This has been shown again and again. Pacifism’s weakness lies in its failure to diagnose the causes of war. Pacifism tends to regard war as simply the product of misguided foreign policies or the ations of aberrant politicians. In reality war has much deeper roots. Its main cause in the modern world is the capitalist system, which subordinates all production, and with it the whole of society, to the struggle for capital accumulation, which by its very nature is competitive. If pacifism succeeded in converting a huge majority to ‘non-violence’ it would still not be able to prevent war. The only way to abolish war is to abolish the system that generates it, and replace competitive production for profit by collective, cooperative, production for need. By counter-posing the struggle for peace to the struggle for socialism pacifism encourages the idea that mere could be a violence-free, war-free capitalism. The pacifists proceed on the utopian premise that the laws of capitalist competition can be nullified by the cooperation of people of goodwill who can prevail upon the capitalist class to refrain from war-making. Pacifists oppose the development of the class struggle in favour of class peace at almost any price. Pacifist ideology disorientates anti-war movements.

The task of the Socialist Party is to direct anti-war protest into class-war. It seeks to promote socialism by the workers.

Friday, October 30, 2015

FFS - For a Free Society

The Socialist Party was founded for the establishment of a free society and the abolition of all forms of exploitation. Every day is demonstrating more clearly the incompetence of our politicians to solve our problems. Many are beginning to realise that this incompetence is not due merely to the stupidity or corruption of individual leaders of industry and the government, but that the system itself cannot work properly any longer, whoever is in charge. More and more people are beginning to understand that the present system of society must itself be done away with and a new system substituted - that we must have a revolutionary change in the whole structure of society. The Socialist Party claims to know the nature of the revolutionary change that can save our society from continuing and increasing disintegration and degradation. The Socialist Party further claims, that with the support of the workers of will be able to assist the movement to bring about this change, and to establish political and economic democracy, guaranteeing peace, security, and the opportunity of individual development for all. The Socialist Party calls upon all who are no longer willing to suffer needless injustice and who have decided not merely to complain at but to change society.

The central contradiction of capitalism is unmistakably clear: it is the contradiction between a productive potential now physically capable of supplying amply all the basic needs of men and women, of freeing them forever from hunger, want, and insecurity, of enabling mankind as a whole thereby to develop creatively as truly human beings--between this and a system of social relations that prevents this productive possibility from manifesting itself, that directs its operations not to the fulfillment of human needs but to the making of profits for private individuals and corporations. Out of this contradiction, and the irreconcilable class division it creates-the division between those who do and those who do not have an interest of ownership in the means of production flow the myriad other contradictions that devastate modern society. It is the struggle of the small owning group to maintain its position of privilege against the just demands of the vast dispossessed majority.  

The aim of the Socialist Party is to join with the revolutionary workers of all other countries in building world socialism. A world socialist society is the only solution for the contradictions in present world society.  Only a socialist society can put to use rationally the natural resources and productive machinery of the earth in the interests of the peoples of the earth.   Only world socialism will remove the causes of hunger, wars and climate change that under capitalism now seriously threaten to send mankind into barbarism or complete destruction. Wage slavery and the profit system must be abolished. Our technology applied to our natural resources can be made the basis of a rich and growing life. The Socialist Party aims to establish a socialist economic system where the resources which nature has provided  and the productive machinery built by people will be owned by them in common and administered in their mutual  interest, without interference by profiteers of the capitalist system. With such conditions abundance for all will be available. Every family could at once have Food and clothing in abundance, a comfortable home, medical care, ample opportunity for education and recreation and the assurance under a true economic democracy that this standard of living would be secure, in fact could be steadily improved. Reforms have been tried before. In the end it always turns out that the masses are fooled and robbed in a new way. We must not be satisfied with half-measures. We will not be.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Against capitalism

In recessions, many people thoroughly and quite rightly resent the blows which fate under the present system has meted out to them. Some people rationalise their interests in utopian plans of harmony and goodwill, trying to work out some system of planning whereby Big Business of the large corporations will not drive the little fellow further into ruin. Unable to fully understand the productive process, they work out their own panaceas in the sphere of the circulation of commodities and the money system. It is not capitalism that is bad, they conclude but the money system, the Federal Reserve becomes the enemy. The problem is viewed as a financial and credit problem of the issue of money. They demand cheaper money. Because they lack money they believe there is a general lack of money, and they call on the State to fill the void. Some will argue that if we returned to the gold standard prosperity will return. Others seeking to be seen as radicals call for a nationalisation of banking for the purpose of ensuring increased credit. These things add to the belief that the ills of society are due to the methods of circulation and finance rather than to the capitalist mode of production. Storekeepers and salesmen, investors and speculators who produce nothing, they live in a world of exchange; naturally they must seek their panaceas there. Many even attack those bastions of capital – Wall St and the City of London. The most militant agitate for the slogan “Share the Wealth” – the universal basic income – that is to be handed out to “revive the market” Taxation will be focused upon the fortunes of the wealthy and the stashed away profits of the multinationals. Yet those appealing for a drastic redistribution of wealth, has never stopped to consider that the laws of distribution are intimately connected with the mode of production.

Read any newspaper. The misery of the people is growing. The ruling class tells workers that while maybe a long time ago they were really oppressed, now it doesn’t make that much sense to talk of classes anymore. But workers have never bought into it. Workers live a life of deep economic insecurity. Automation and new technology has led to an intensification of the class struggle, not its lessening. The working class knows these developments are costing them jobs. Automation and robotics must be looked at from a class viewpoint. With socialism, machinery will be advanced and developed. They can serve the people, make life easier for them. But under capitalism they are used against the interests of the people. Hence, no matter how many times the bosses tell us not to, workers are going to wage a struggle to see to it that we don’t get screwed by them. And this is true also of many who work to build, programme, and operate the new machines, because except for a very few of the most skilled and educated, they too are cheated.

It is pure fantasy to pretend that the struggle over wages does not challenge the power of the capitalist class. Such a theory ignores the clear facts of daily life in which the fight over the distribution of surplus value forms the heart of the class struggle. To maintain otherwise is to say that capitalism no longer thrives on the exploitation of workers; it is to be blind to the increasingly sharp struggles between boss and worker. A ruling class will go to great lengths to devise ingenious schemes pretending to offer workers an opportunity to “make decisions affecting their lives” rather than concede the main point–money. Though the struggle for higher wages and better working conditions is not a revolutionary one it is one in which socialists must participate. But while we fight with the workers we must also offer the message that only the capture of the state machine by the working class can put an end to exploitation. It is of great importance and fundamental to create socialist consciousness. The only thing fatal to capitalism the revolutionary actions of the people. The Socialist Party base ourselves firmly in the working class, to whom the future belongs. The future of the workers’ movement, the future of socialism, depends upon the quickest divorcement of the labour movement from the cancerous influence of reformism and vanguardism– that enemies of the free society of world socialism. The future lies in a reorganisation of the worldwide socialist movement based on the teachings and the spirit of Marx and Engels.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The struggle for socialism

Hunger is the daily lot of millions of individuals, yet tons of food are thrown out with the garbage. Anger is growing everywhere. Today, many people are conscious that capitalism is not paradise on earth. In fact, the material conditions of the masses are constantly deteriorating. The working class must assume its historic mission and fight for the abolition of class society and the complete elimination of the exploitation of man by man.

Capitalist production is characterised by the greatest chaos. Each capitalist and every enterprise, does not seek the well-being of society in general: it seeks its own profit. It thus produces what is profitable; and that, only when it is profitable. When market conditions are favourable all the capitalists and all the enterprises, without exception, go full swing into production so as to be the one who will profit the most, the fastest…until such time as the market can no longer absorb such an influx of products. Businesses must temporarily, and perhaps permanently, close their doors, and workers by the thousands and tens of thousands are reduced to unemployment.

The working class must guard against these sleight-of-hand artists who claim to want to do away with capitalist exploitation but who adhere to a policy of collaboration with the class whose very reason for existence resides in the continued existence of capitalism. There has been a steady growth of nationalism in all regions of the world in recent years; the working class must be remain on its guard against it. Nationalism is always a reactionary ideology. It is a dangerous weapon in the hands of the capitalists who make regular use of it. The result? The peoples of the world have shed their blood repeatedly in the many so-called liberation struggles. It does not take much reflection to realise that so-called the anti-imperialist line is nothing but a mask to cover up clear nationalist aims. We can say that these national liberation struggles have, by and large, succeeded in deflecting the struggles of peoples away from the revolutionary path of socialism. This nationalist conception furnishes the pretext for ignoring the socialist revolution as an immediate question everywhere in the world, in favour of the struggle against the “imperialist superpower” . The “struggles-to-be-waged-while-we’re-waiting” provide a justification for the support of the “positive actions” of “their” national bourgeoisie and of all the other native bourgeoisies except for “the most dangerous one”, all in the name of national sovereignty. Only the working class can carry the revolution through to the end, to the abolition of capitalist exploitation. It is the only class that has a fundamental interest in putting an end to capitalism.

The struggle for socialism has stagnated because the working class and peoples have remained dominated by the opportunism of reformists and nationalists. They give the working class no inspiring goal beyond the ceaseless, bitter and exhausting struggle for economic reforms whose benefits are cancelled out by the system of commodity production. Consequently they do not tell the working class of the necessity for a socialist system nor how to achieve socialism. It is part of a deliberate and well-organised attempt to compel the majority of the population, to deny their socialist destiny – in a world where the natural resources, the productive capacity and the social forces needed to reach this goal of liberation are present in the greatest abundance.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Contradictions of Capitalism

Archaeologists and anthropologists have discovered much about early pre-class societies. We know that when people lived co-operatively and there was no division into classes. The end of these egalitarian societies came because of the division of society into classes – one class in which the overwhelming majority of people, women and men, work to produce everything and the other, ruling, class which steals from us the wealth we produce. This transformation did not come about overnight. It was the result of the development of society’s productive forces, and the production of much greater material wealth than had been possible in earlier societies. As human beings worked to control the world in which they lived, they developed tools like the wheel, the plough and irrigation channels, which allowed them to settle in one place, and to produce a surplus to put by for the next season’s planting and for times of scarcity. But the surplus produced was small. It was not enough to be divided out and had to be ‘protected’ by a small minority on behalf of the rest of the group. Gradually this minority grew to have different interests to the rest of their group and started to treat the surplus as ‘theirs’ rather than everyone’s. They employed bands of armed men to protect the surplus from the majority and used metal tools to develop a monopoly on the best weaponry. The emergence of private property and of embryo states.

Profits are the heart of capitalism, markets its circulating system but it is the working class that is its muscles which transforms nature into saleable goods. Capitalist production needs propertyless workers to work for wages anywhere, and this was accomplished by expropriating peasants, driving them from the land. 

Capitalism is full of inherent contradictions:
(a) the contradiction between use value and exchange value; between production for use and production for the market, for profit.
(b) the contradiction between social production and individual appropriation.
(c) the contradiction between increased use of science in production and the tremendous waste (of the soil, of labour-power, and of materials and means of production).
(d) the contradiction between the rational planning in the factory and the chaos and anarchy in the market.
(e) The contradiction between the unlimited possibility for scientific and technological advancement with increased output and the imposition of artificial rationing.
(f) The contradiction between the falling tendency of the rate of profit and the rising proportion of constant to variable capital resulting the increasing hold of dead labour over living labor.
(g) The growth of the unemployed with the growth in strength and energy of capitalism.
(h) The development of private property contradicted by the expropriation of the direct producer from the means of production and the separation of the owner from the productive process. (i) The contradiction between city and country, between industry and agriculture.
(j) The rise of monopolies concurrently with the intensification of competition.
(k) The ruin of ‘middle classes’ and the consolidation of the rentier class.
(l) The development of nationalism with the further internationalisation of markets and division of labour.

The social system is made up of a net of social relations, the most decisive of which are the economic, that is, those productive relations which result in the satisfaction of our basic needs, food, clothing, shelter. In the close to 300 years since the beginning of the industrial revolution, modern capitalism has greatly developed the productive powers of society. But more and more capitalism is now choking these productive powers. The last world war and the present great economic crisis are two outstanding proofs of the fact that capitalism is played out and is hindering the development of humanity.

Again, the contradictions of capitalism:
1. Capitalism is tremendously wasteful and destructive of men, goods, power, land. The ultimate destiny of all useful goods is to be consumed. Yet under capitalism goods are not produced to be consumed, but for profit, and if a greater profit can be made by destroying the goods, the destruction takes place.

2. While production is a social act, the appropriation of the product, under the present system, is individual. As capitalism develops, larger and larger factories are built, thousands of workers co-operate in the production of a single article, yet the article does not belong to them but to the owner of the means of production. The workers are merely paid wages for the use of their labour power, wages which constantly grow less and less an aliquot part of the total product as the total product ever increases. Simultaneously the owner of the industries becomes progressively more divorced from the productive process. As small partnerships become big corporations or are driven out of business by the trusts and monopolies, the original entrepreneurs become mere rentiers. The corporation also develops, becomes more and more a public utility. The state begins to take a hand, and to run the industry. The former individual owner now becomes a purely parasitic hanger-on, his dividends paid regularly by the state apparatus which he controls.

3. While the productivity of man is unlimited and increases in geometric ratio, the markets are limited, increase in arithmetic ratio, later do not increase at all and even decrease. The greater the productivity of labour, and the greater the amount of production, the greater becomes the surplus product in the hands of the owners, the greater the need for markets, the greater, therefore, the competition among the capitalists, and the greater the tendency to lower the rate of profit, the greater the lowering of the wages of the workers, the larger the army of unemployed and paupers, the more vigorous the drive for foreign markets and colonies for exploitation, and the more violent the military struggles to control the world.

4. The greater the internationalisation of markets, the greater the need to have a military machine to defend the market interests, the greater grow the oppressive burdens of the state apparatus, the greater grows the necessity to transform the whole nation into an armed, economically self-sufficient, ruthless, chauvinistic state.

Thus is it not clear that although in the beginning capitalism developed the productive forces, as capitalism reached its maturity, capitalist relations throttle and destroy these productive forces. With what a system are the products we need and want produced? Within the factory a rigid dictatorship, a terrible “rationalization” where the dead machine rules living labour, where the man is transformed into a cog of the machine, where labour becomes wage-slavery. Outside the factory dictatorship is replaced by economic chaos, man is ruled by prices which he cannot control, by the wild forces of the market of which he can be only the victim. It is only through the hectic fluctuations of supply and demand, it is only through the frantic rush of “successes” and bankruptcies that society “decides” and “plans” the division of its labour.

What is the way out of these contradictions? The present economic relations breed different classes, the capitalist class and the working class, with opposing interests. Inasmuch as our ideas rationalize our interests, the ideas of the ruling, capitalist class will be along the line of preserving their property and their right to exploit laborers, while the ideas of the working class will follow their interests and go along the path of solving the contradictions by removing their causes. The capitalists and their agents in the seats of government are blinded by their self-interest, by the profits which they make as beneficiaries of the present system. The workers, on the other hand, having nothing to lose, are free to see that the present society must evolve into a new one; they see that nothing can free society from its convulsions save the change in the mode of production from a capitalist one, of private ownership of the means of production, to a socialist one, where the means of production are socialised and classes are no more.

Who can provide the way out? Certainly, not the capitalist class, the beneficiaries of the present system. But rather the working class who bear the full weight of capitalism upon their backs and who are in a position to see that capitalism is redundant. As the working class fights against its increasingly worsened position it comes to the realisation that the only way out is for they to take what it has produced for itself. To take over the means of production, the mines, mills, factories, resources, utilities and run them for their own benefit. Then we will have production for use and not for profit. Then we will end both despotism in the factory and anarchy in the market. Then society will allocate its resources according to a social plan that will benefit all.

The interest of the workers are diametrically opposed to the interest of the capitalists and exploiters of the workers who, controlling the government strive to keep the workers down. The productive forces have created capitalist relations, capitalist relations have created classes which have opposite economic and thus opposite political interests. The capitalists want to keep the old relations of exploitation. They fight the rise of the workers. But their only alternative is to plunge society into one crisis and one war after another. The victory of the workers cannot be forever delayed. The old relations must be burst asunder. And if the capitalists, blinded by their interests, try to stop the wheels of progress they are ruthlessly pushed aside by the workers just as in the past they themselves pushed aside the feudal lords. When the workers of the world unite to take  power then the rule over persons will begin to give way to an administration over things. The state, along with religion, will begin to wither away. There will be no exploitation. There will be no classes. Each will receive according to needs, giving according to ability and as the productivity of labour will greatly increase. Humanity will have reached a rational system of society where development of mankind will no longer be choked by social relations, where, therefore, society will be a free one and mankind emancipated.

Fuel Poverty Continues

Fuel poverty in Scotland has witnessed a steep rise with more people seeking help for energy bills from consumer advice charities.  Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has published new evidence showing the extent of fuel poverty over the last few years, with the number of energy cases recorded by the service increasing by 130% since 2011. The report blames government austerity policies, low pay and changes to the social security system for the increase.

CAS consumer spokeswoman Sarah Beattie-Smith said the report clearly showed Scots are struggling to pay their energy bills as well as the increase on the charity's workload.  “Our case evidence highlights the key issues that have affected peoples’ ability to heat their homes over this period," she said.  "These include; low pay, under-employment, increased living costs and rising debt, in addition to the impact of austerity policies such as below-inflation benefit payments, the bedroom tax, benefit sanctions and long waits for benefit assessments… The levels of fuel poverty in Scotland are higher than ever, and all over the country there are families who yet again this winter will face the devastating choice of whether to heat their home or put food on the table.” 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Free your imagination and then use it

Capitalism is based on wage slavery. The capitalists hire wage workers to produce wealth, give them part of that wealth in the form of wages and keep the rest. We do not sell our labour to the capitalists; we sell our labour power which is the mental and physical capabilities of man or woman exercises when he or she produces wealth.

As an illustration of what a wage slave is, suppose you owned a nice automobile and someone should say to you, "I want to use your car until it is all worn out. I will give it gas and oil enough to keep it running until it can’t run anymore." Surely you would not agree to that. You wouldn’t allow anybody to use your car until it was all worn out just for gas and oil. But that is exactly what you are doing with your body. The capitalists use you until you are all worn out and all they aim to give you is what the chattel slaves got, what the serfs got, what a horse gets, a bare living, and you are not even sure of that.
How about your children? You parents spend many happy hours teaching your children how to walk and how to talk. Long years are spent upon their education. When they get to be wonderful young men and women with their eyes brightly shining like the headlights on a new car, and with their veins and arteries like the wiring on a new car, and their hearts beating without a murmur, like the smooth running of new engines, then the capitalists say to the proud parents, "We want to use your children to produce wealth for us and for our children. Just as we have used you to produce wealth for us, so our children want to use your children to produce wealth for them when we are gone."
The parents ask, "What are our children to get for the use of their bodies during the precious years of their lives?" Answer, "Gas and oil". A mere living wage. The endless chain that starts and ends with work. Work to get money, to buy food, to get strength to work. Every increase in the productivity of labor, every invention, every victory of science and triumph of genius in the line of industrial progress, only goes to increase the wealth of a parasite class while the workers are only supposed to get what slave classes always got, a bare living and often not even that. This is wage slavery, the foundation of capitalism.

But some workers want to escape from wage slavery. Class systems are not eternal. Everything in the universe, from atoms to solar systems, is continually moving, changing, transforming, developing; likewise the history of the human race is nothing but a ceaseless change, a continuous development. In the course of its history classes are formed; these classes continually struggle for supremacy and, after prolonged struggle, one class succeeds another in the dominating position. The struggle continues until class divisions themselves are dissolved and a new, classless society results. The slave owning patrician gave way to the feudal nobility; the feudal nobility in turn was overthrown by the capitalists. The working class are now challenging the capitalists for control of the economic structure and we now advocate that the entire human family own and control of the means of life as the solution to all social problems—an industrial democracy. Production has been socialised. It remains only to socialise control.

Production under capitalism is anti-social. It is anti-social because it operates against the interests of the producing class. It refuses to act without profits. Capitalism is synonymous with violence, and it is the handmaiden of chaos. We, the workers, are many, but divided because of ignorance. They, the capitalists, are, few, but strongly organised, ruthless and determined to increase their power and to perpetuate their dictatorship over the class they rob. We have reached an era where action may not much longer be delayed if we are to escape the mounting threat of ecological destruction. Our species have built a world that has at last brought us within reach of the creation of universal abundance. The genius and energy of humanity have shown that there need be no want, no hunger, no famine. All that stands in the way is capitalism. It will fall and with it will go slavery, crime, war, ignorance, poverty and waste. What will rise will be the Co-operative Socialist Commonwealth, the hope of martyred workers, the dream of generations of workers. 

Glasgow Street Scene (1943)

From the October 1943 issue of The Western Socialist

[The following are extracts from a personal letter from the organizer, Glasgow Branch, Socialist Party of Great Britain, describing a street meeting recently held at Glasgow.]
Picture one thousand people at the corner of Blythswood and Sauchiehall Streets. There was a large sprinkling of American soldiers and N. C. O's. Two looked like generals . . . they looked as if they were going to shout "Fall in," at any minute. They were amazed at the crowd and their troops (they came when the meeting was well on). In a few minutes they, too, were just members of the audience 

Now to some of the questions after Tony (Comrade Tony Turner) had exposed the war, he pleted into American capitalism and, of course, all capitalists.

Turner knew the Americans were going to have a go and that's what he was angling for.

An American officer asked this question: "I agree with what you say but is it not possible that you may sell yourself to a Government and smother your ideas."

Here is Tony's answer: "Yes. I may sell myself, but I am not trying to sell myself to you. I am trying to sell an idea, etc. etc. Are you satisfied with the answer?"

"Yes," says the officer.

"Do you wish a supplementary question?" says Tony.

"Yes. Have you ever been in America?"

Tony repeats the question and says, "The answer is a brief one — NO! Now what is the implication?" 

"Well. I don't think that you are entitled to claim a superior knowledge of America when you've never been there."

Tricky Tony hesitated for about one minute (long time at a meeting), pretending to be lost. All of a sudden he pointed to the officer and said, "Brother, I take a long shot. I know more about America than you do, and you have just come from there. To test this I will begin by an examination of the Constitution, important events in American history, the domestic scene, statistics relating to wealth production and distribution, etc. etc." Tony did all this and more. The officer remained silent for the rest of the meeting.

He handled drunks in a masterly fashion. One of the beer-sodden hooligan type got the spanking of his life. Tony pointed to him and said, "Look at the poor little fellow — his wee belly full of beer and he wants to fight. Should you see him tomorrow morning, he will make a mad gallop to the factory and start saluting, saying, "Yes sir! Yes sir! Three bags full." And Tony kept saluting as he was saying this.

He tanned the Scottish Nationalists, the Labour Party, the Independent Labour Party and the Communist Party.

Three husky CPers were crushed like mice before his devastating attack and exposure. How the people laughed when he said, regarding the present friendship of Stalin and Winston, "Churchill's song today is: 'You made me love you and I didn't want to do it, Joe'."

Literature sales were £4-13 — a record; collection £3. Turner was publicly thanked by members of the audience for his brilliant address. Tony got a smashing write-up in the (Glasgow) Evening Times by a special correspondent . . . I will try to get you a copy and send it on.

Angus McPhail

Black Lives Matter

“I caught up with Sheku at his house and I tried to calm him and he lashed out at me. It appeared as if he was scared or upset. He punched me a few times but I did not hit him once and am extremely angry at any suggestion or inference that I did. It is an attempt to plant a seed in people’s minds that the main injuries found on Sheku’s face, head and body could have been caused by something other than his contact with the police.” explains Zahid Saeed.

Sheku Bayoh was restrained by up to nine officers using CS spray, batons, wrist and ankle restraints and was pronounced dead two hours after coming into contact with police. A post-mortem examination revealed he had cuts and bruises all over his body, including more than 20 facial injuries.

Police tried to have the body of Sheku Bayoh returned to Sierra Leone two days after his death in custody, it has emerged. They contacted the country’s embassy to discuss repatriating his body but officials in London were alarmed and contacted the father-of-two’s family. Sheku’s brother-in-law Ade Johnson said: “That is not the action of a police force with nothing to hide.” He goes on to say, “It stinks. Mr MacAskill thinks the police have nothing to hide. Why then were Police Scotland looking to send Shek’s body out of the country without consulting his family? And how convenient that Sierra Leone is a country with Ebola and there would have been no returning the body to the UK, helping the cause of death to stay hidden? “Police Scotland knew that Shek lived in Scotland and his next of kin was in Scotland… Then you learn the police are trying to have the body quietly removed from the country. What kind of faith can we have in the police after that? ”  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fact of the Day

A government grant of £150,000 was given to DF Concerts, the organisers of T in the Park, despite it achieving record profits of £6.2 million.

Capitalism is based on robbery

Socialism is a conscious endeavour to substitute for the chaotic competition of to-day the organised co-operation of to-morrow which may not cover the whole of the ground by any means; but comes as near to satisfying the request for a brief and clear statement of the aims and objects of Socialist Party. In history, people have believed that the social forms under which they lived were permanent; even when changes were taking place around them. The ideas and outlook of the capitalists which have ruled society have become deeply entrenched in society, and have largely acquired the “force of habit.” The bourgeoisie takes advantage of this to promote the so-called “theory of human nature,” which says that people are basically selfish and will never change, so socialism is bound to fail and is a hopeless Utopia.

There is no short-cut to the social revolution. The revolts of impatience with insufficient organisation only plays into the hands of the ruling class, as all experience has shown. Thorough education and understanding among the people, combined with economic development which renders socialism practically attainable, are indispensable conditions for success. The wages system will remain until workers themselves are prepared to undertake administration and distribution, on communal lines, for the benefit of the entire population. The first step is to overthrow the dictatorship of the capitalist class.

When all of society has been transformed and the community of workers has been established, then a completely classless society, will have been achieved, and humanity will enter a whole new stage of history. There will no longer be the need for the state, since there will no longer be any class to suppress, and the state will be replaced with common administration by all of society. The nature of work itself will change completely, because the labour of the workers will no longer go to enrich capital to further enslave the working class, but to improve life today, while providing for the future, according to the conscious plan of the working class itself. The pride that workers have in their work will be unhindered by any sense that they are working themselves, or someone else, out of a job, or that they are being driven to produce for the benefit of some investor, under the orders of his or her bosses and the constant threat of being fired. Machines will no longer be weapons in the hands of the capitalists to grind down the working class, and workers will no longer be a mere extension of the machine, as they are under capitalism. Instead machines will become weapons in the hands of the working class in its own struggle to revolutionise society. The organisation of work will be the province of the working class itself. All this will unleash the stored-up knowledge of the working class, based on its direct experience in production, and inspire workers to make new breakthroughs in improving production. Work itself will become a joy and enrichment of the worker’s life, instead of a miserable means to sustain existence, as it is under capitalism.

Socialism will make possible the building of well-constructed housing. Under capitalism, it is more profitable to speculate in land, maintain slum housing and put capital into buildings for big business than to build decent housing. The housing construction will be part of its overall rational plan, so that homes are built near work-places, with easy access to stores, clinics, nurseries, schools and other social services. If all this seems like a mere dream now, it is only because the rule of capital has so greatly distorted development, and brought such decay of the inner cities.

Health care under capitalism is a nightmare for the people and big business for the drug companies, insurance corporations and others who make billions from the butchery of the people. Socialist health care and hospitals will no longer be a means to make profit, but a means for the working class to prevent disease and to preserve the health of the people.

Education in capitalism promotes the interests of the ruling class and instills the values and outlook of this class. Under capitalism this means that education is geared to maintain the division of society into classes, the conditions of capitalist exploitation and the rule of the capitalists over the working class and masses of people. Capitalist education prepares the youth only for existence as wage-slaves and as a key part of perpetuating the capitalist system of wage-slavery distorts history to make it revolve around the “brilliant ideas” and individual heroism of great “geniuses,” Kings and presidents and other representatives of the exploiting classes throughout history. Reality is stood on its head, so that it seems that capital, not labour, is the source of all progress and that the workers live by the grace of the capitalists. Education in socialist society will serve the interests of the people. It will put reality back on its feet and expose ruling class propaganda. It will promote cooperation in place of competition. Socialist education will stress the living link between theory and practice, between knowing and doing, and will help develop workers who are capable of combining mental and manual labour. In place of the view of history that presents it as a jumble of unrelated events, stemming from the personalities of “great men,” it will teach the materialist conception of history.

 In capitalist society many people are drawn to religion because it represents their hopes and aspirations for a better life–projected, however, into the future and into another realm completely beyond man’s ability to understand. The ruling class promotes religion to convince people that since life is miserable on this earth–and it cannot be denied that this is so under capitalism–the answer is to hope for a better life “beyond this one.” Further, religion serves capitalism by telling people that they are basically helpless before the forces of nature-and the rulers of society–and they should put their faith not in the ability of the masses of people to change the world, but in a supreme, supernatural being, or beings. And if that isn’t enough, religion can call up the image of fire and brimstone to threaten people. More, those who control organised religions make huge fortunes from collecting large sums from their members, investing much of these sums and exploiting labor. While telling the people to wait for “pie in the sky,” these hypocritical leeches live like kings, right here and now, from the sweat and blood, hopes and fears, of the people. At the same time, in every community, hustlers of all kinds–calling themselves “men of god, prophets,” etc.– prey on workers and other poor people, promising them all kinds of miracles to ease their misery – for a nice fee (donation), of course. Socialist society will eliminate the need for religion.

Socialism will mean all this, and much more.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Down with RISE

Rather than the slogan “Workers of the World Unite!” Left nationalists seek to replace it by: “Nations divide!” Nationalism is a curse. It leads to chauvinism and to national aggression. It leads to a patriotism for the soil, for the particular bit of the Earth’s surface on which a particular person has been born. It leads to bigotry, to national jealousy and petty pride. Nationalism is the best of cloaks for the intrigues and machinations of politicians and capitalists.

The exploitation of wage labour, competition, the suppression of competitors among the capitalists themselves, the resorting to war, the utilisation of all means to secure a monopoly position in its own country and throughout the world - such is the inherent character of the profit-seeking employing class. This is the class basis of nationalism. At home, the capitalist subordinates the interests of the nation as a whole to its own class interests. It places its class interests or the interests of a certain top stratum of society above the interests of the whole people. Moreover, the bosses pose as the spokespersons of the nation and the defender of national interests in order to deceive the people. Abroad, at the same time, it counterposes the interests of its own nation (in essence, of its bourgeois top stratum) to the interests of other nations. The bourgeoisie strives to place its own nation above other nations and, whenever possible, to oppress and exploit other nations, completely disregarding their interests. Oppressor nations may become oppressed nations and vice versa.

The victorious working class will have neither to keep its ancient nationalities nor to constitute new ones, because by becoming free it will abolish classes: the world will be its father/mother/homeland. The peoples of the globe will fraternise and they will stretch out their hands to one another. Mankind will continue to set itself new tasks and their accomplishment will lead to a stage of cultural development which will not know national hatred, wars, religions strife and similar remnants of the past. It is the duty of the socialist party of every country to combat patriotism and nationalism at home, i.e., from within, at every turn.  In these times when the poisonous fumes of nationalism are corroding society, we ought to do all in our power to keep alive the spirit of internationalism.

Left nationalists such as those in RISE pretend to be revolutionaries. There are no shortcuts to the socialist revolution, and those who enter the nationalist paths divert the coming of a socialist movement by chasing illusions. They want to rally the working class behind the nationalist cause. But nationalism disarms the workers. Shall we fight only to have a Scots-born bosses instead of English one? Shall we unite with these small Scottish homeland exploiters in order to defend “their” nation against the bad, bad English? That is pure folly.  Nationalism is a vain attempt to rally the working class behind the cause of our home-grown capitalists seeking a better place in the sun. Nationalism does not oppose capitalism. The social revolution is an immense task and Left nationalists are intent upon making it more difficult. Independence (now) and socialism (oh, we’ll see, perhaps sometime later...). The socialist revolution is clearly not a task on the Left nationalists’ agenda. No one is going to hand workers socialism on a silver platter...least of all nationalists.

The capitalist class is international – state borders do not divide them. The working class, on the other hand, are separated by these borders. They prevent us from travelling freely, they restrict us to where we live and work. Borders hinder workers unity in resisting employers.  The capitalist class organises internationally. And it wants to obstruct our class from doing the same. The Scottish working class is exploited in the same way as the English working class, the same way as the German or French worker: by the Scottish, English, British , European and international capitalists and in many cases, by the very same multi-national corporation. The social evils experienced by the Scottish people are the very same miseries shared by workers of all nations. Austerity doesn’t stop at the border. An independent government in Scotland would make all the same cuts to working class living standards if the capitalist ruling class demanded it, and it would put corporations and profits before the needs of the people. And to counter the ensuing class conflict and to prevent the rapid disillusionment of many men and women workers, an independent Scottish government would exploit nationalistic feelings to the hilt. It would strongly encourage narrow-nationalism, pushing for “national unity”, extolling sacrifice for the “pride of the nation.”

Our goal is a society without classes. In a classless society where man's exploitation of man is abolished, there will not be some kind of oppression of the smaller ethnic groups, but each people group’s free development is prerequisite for all people’s free development. Our political object is universalist: It is for all human beings.

“In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” - Communist Manifesto

A new society

Many people wonder what the future holds for them, their family and their friends. They want to know if it is possible to see a future free from poverty for millions and the homelessness. They seek to learn if there will there be peace in the world or nuclear annihilation? People ask if there is a future at all. They fear the destruction of civilization as they know it from the ravaging effects of climate change. They ask if this is all because of mankind’s “human nature” and its “in-born” greed. It is not “human nature” that is the cause of the problems people face today. It is the way society is organised, with a minority of people owning and controlling the wealt and the industry of our world, excluding the vast majority of the people from any real say in the running of society. This is what lies at the root of the problems that we face. It is this system, which we call capitalism that cannot guarantee security, cannot provide the good things of life for all, cannot give a constantly improving standard of living for the millions and cannot guarantee peace in the world. It is this that must be changed. The working people who have produced all the wealth around us must come into ownership and control of what is their own by right, so that they can then build the society and produce the things they want. The vast majority of the people gain nothing from capitalism and would lose nothing with its passing. With the ending of capitalism the people would also decide how this planet will be run. To be put the need for change into practice, to become reality, ideas must be adopted by the people. To bring about change, therefore, demands explanation of the facts and in a way that can be understood by the people. No progress will be brought about without the struggle of the people. Decisions can never be left to others.

To win fundamental change for the better for the vast majority of the population, the question of the ownership and control of the means of production is crucial. Democratic control must be brought into the economic world. This means that the land, minerals and factories must be made the property of all. All for all. Political power must be taken out of the grasp of the capitalists. Capturing the state machine and using it to build a socialist society is what the Socialist Party mean by the revolution. All the reforms that have carried out to date, taken in their entirety, have not shifted us one inch along the road to people’s rule, to socialism, so no continuation of the reforms will end in socialism. For sure, some workers can defend and improve living standards but they cannot solve the problem of wage slavery or win the struggle for economic democracy while capitalism continues. This capitalist society demands, not patching up and a few blood transfusions of reformism, but the death blow to enable the introduction of socialism, an order of society that can manage the technological revolution to the benefit of the working people.

No individual, no political party can do the job for the people of ending capitalism and building socialism. This can only come about when the people themselves engage in action and learn the need for the fundamental change that the revolution that will end capitalism will be able to succeed. Against the dominance of the ruling class, the working class has the potential weapons of unity and organisation. The working class make up the overwhelming majority. No power on earth can stop their advance if they are united and have the understanding of how a socialism can be achieved. The tremendous force that the workers’ movement will have when opens the possibility of forcing through the social transformation of society, the revolution, without civil war or violence. This is in no way to suggest that things will be smooth and easy, everywhere. We can see what vehemence the ruling class resists reforms in their system that go against their interests. How much more will they have to prevent their means of exploitation and power being taken away and transferred to the people. None the less, it is to close one’s eyes to reality not to appreciate that at least in our country the working class could prevent the capitalists resisting by armed methods and foisting civil war on the people. To do everything to make this possibility more real requires the building, cementing and strengthening of the movement of the people. The Socialist Party road to revolution is based on a careful study of the actual conditions, not wishful thinking.

From the present day organisation of production for profit, the aim will be changed to production for use, production of what is wanted and needed by the people. Work will become more interesting and more meaningful as its results will go entirely into benefits for the people. As more goods are produced, so working hours will be shortened. Production will be planned by those who own it, the people, and as much as feasible at a local level through the factory committees of workers.  Industry will have a completely different purpose inside socialism - to serve the people. Priority will be given to improving working conditions, expanding the social services, education and the care for the sick, the aged and the young. The present enormous wastage by which the same goods are sold by different competing companies, which spend millions on advertising to convince you that their product is best, will be replaced by real choice in goods, more real and less of an illusion. Removal of wastage will protect the environment and to improve life. Democracy will be extended in a way not possible under capitalism. Life for the people will become secure, with the knowledge that there will be new freedoms added to those already won. There will be the freedom to work and with the harnessing of science and technology to industry, boring and repetitive work will be eliminated. Work for all will become as it is today for only a very small minority—interesting and satisfying where we will each enjoy the freedom to have extended holidays and enhanced leisure-time. We will have the proper facilities to bring up a family. To have increased opportunity for education, training and the like. We can share the freedom to live in peace and friendship with other peoples, to the freedom to develop one’s abilities and talents.

Socialism will enable us to overcome the brakes on progress of capitalism. It will release the creative energies of the people, making it possible to meet their needs in food, clothing and shelter, and will open vast horizons of cultural and educational possibilities for millions. Mankind will be freed from worry about basic material needs as we know them today, and will be able to meet new ones of which we as yet have no conception. Classes will cease to exist, as all people make their contribution to the productive life of society. The oppressive functions of the state as we know them will become redundant, and will wither away as they fall out of use. What will remain will be only a democratic administration of production in the hands of the people. The separation between urban towns and countryside will end, as housing, travel and become available to all people. The separation between mental and physical labour will be removed as all people receive the freedom and means by which to exercise their potential, their talents and abilities. When problems arise they become worthy of our time and attention. Life for all will be plentiful, secure, happy and interesting. It will not mean the end of every problems but the end of those worries about wages, housing, poverty, peace that dominate our lives today.

The building of this new society is the aim of the Socialist Party.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Production for Use instead of for Profit

Socialism can be described as the transformation of the socialised process of production into socialised ownership. Products socially produced by the workers must be owned by those workers and ordinary people. Then there is no barrier to restrict production. Production is no longer guided by profit of the handful of owners but by the requirements of the workers, who now own the means of production, and the other sections of the people around the workers. This is production for use and not for profit. The market is ever expanding; the productive forces are released to serve its requirements. Economic crisis is abolished because its cause is destroyed. This is the basis for socialism. Commonly the word “socialism” is mis-used.  Various “workers” parties are called “socialist”. It is also suggested that countries with large welfare state programmes are socialist and that nationalised industries are socialist. These have nothing to do with the socialism dealt with here where the collective producers become the social owners. The working class alone is interested in the removal of social inequality, and that can only be accomplished by a revolution. The workers must take over and operate all the means of production and distribution for the well-being of all of humanity.

Bloody wars, untold misery and dire poverty are the living facts that prove that capitalism doesn’t work – not for the working class, anyway. If the present system cannot give peace and plenty to its people, socialism will. Socialism means production for use and not for profit. The criteria for production under socialism would be – how much is needed?  A demand for production for use and not for profit has distinctly revolutionary implications and presupposes revolutionary action for its realisation. Today capitalist ownership of the means of production and its legal right to exploitation of labour stands in the final analysis determines all political relations; which is another way of saying that those who own and control the means of production are those who rule. The mere change to government ownership or public ownership, so long as these capitalist relations remain in effect, would therefore not suffice. It is nonsense to assume that production for use, which pre-supposes the expropriation of the means of production and the transfer of the ownership thereof to the producers, can find its realisation without the overthrow of capitalist rule. In other words it can find its realisation only through the socialist revolution.

Capitalism distorts human individuality, subordinates men and women to the needs of the profit system and sets them against one another. In capitalist production everyone produces blindly for a market whose laws are unfathomable. Mankind has lost control of his and her social relationships. Capitalist society does not function to achieve social goals the community as a whole regards as desirable, but rather operates to achieve the goals considered desirable by a small part of society, the ruling capitalist class, which places its profits as the paramount concern of society. Society does not exist to satisfy the requirements of the community but the profit needs of the capitalist class. The government, no matter whether conservative or liberal, remains a social organization whose purpose is to insure the rule of the capitalist class, and by its policies to assure the receipt of profits, which is considered the first claim on society. When the needs of the great majority of society come into conflict with the capitalist system and the capitalist class, the government’s role is to ascertain that the latter triumphs. Capitalist class parties may differ and sometimes do differ deeply on how to achieve the purpose of the state, but despite these differences all capitalist parties serve , poorly or well, the interests of the capitalist class.

To repeat, production in capitalist society depends upon profit, upon the accumulation of capital and increasing opportunities for profitable capital investments. Profits are realized surplus value produced by labor; these are converted into capital and provide the basis for further accumulation. Expansion or contraction of production is determined primarily by profit possibilities and not by social needs; nor is production carried on for the benefit of the society of producers. It is the capitalist rulers who are unwilling to grant the workers the right to a job that affords them a decent living. They are callously indifferent to the needs of the people arising out of the calamities generated by their own system. Only the capitalist ownership and control of the means of production stands in the way of the economic well-being that this world can and should provide.

Socialism aims to develop individuality by creating a society in which exploitation and poverty are ended, and the resources of science and technology used to reduce the time spent in monotonous and mechanical jobs to a minimum, and vastly increase the amount devoted to leisure and creative work. Because in socialism the industries and means of production would be owned in common, all the wealth they produced would be available for the use of the people as a whole. The economic nightmare of this crazy world can only be straightened out through socialist production for USE instead of capitalist production for profit!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Labour versus Capital

All great strikes prove that the government is under the control of the bosses and that the politicians are as subservient to their capitalist masters as is the army of wage-workers that depends upon them for employment.

Employers and employees are locked in a life-and-death class struggle; there can be no identity of interests between masters and slaves-between exploiters and exploited and there can be no peace until the working class is triumphant in this struggle and the wage system is forever wiped from the Earth. The Socialist Party stands uncompromisingly for the working class and its emancipation. There is but one issue: Labour versus Capital. For the present the ignorance of our fellow workers stands in the way of achieving victory but this can and will be overcome. Capitalism has become an obsolete oppressive system that we ought to get rid off but many continue trying to satisfy their needs within the system rather than by overthrowing it. So for the time being, there is no real possibility of overthrowing that system and attempts to do so degenerate into futile reformism and/or terrorism, whatever the “revolutionary” rhetoric.

It has been said often enough that there can be no blueprints for the future because the people themselves will decide how to build the new society as they are building it so we should refrain from attempting to present any blueprints. Nevertheless, it is appropriate to put forward a few ideas for discussion about what socialism is. We need to go beyond denouncing what the existing regime is doing and start offering constructive alternatives, even though any such proposals are bound not to be fully-developed at this stage. We need to develop a clear statement of the type of world we aim to make, so people can decide whether or not they want to fight for a revolution. Too many left parties talk about “revolution” in the abstract. Socialist ideas are widely discredited by the sterility of their apparent supporters of supposed “socialist” parties. It is more than odd that the usual left discussions is of how to make capitalism work better. “Revolution” does not mean that we would “control” the corporations and “demand” that the multinationals do this or that. It means that we, the working class take over the running of industry and make the decisions ourselves. If a revolutionary party does not propose a better world built upon social justice then why should anyone support a revolution?

The social revolution required to transform capitalist enterprises into cooperative associations of producers obviously involves far more than just government decrees transferring ownership. The revolution itself would have produced workers’ councils in many enterprises which would have taken over responsibility for management. Some anarcho-syndicalists imagine that if everybody democratically discusses everything, production units will be able to exchange their products to supply each other’s needs, and to supply consumer goods for the workers, with no more than ’co-ordination” by higher level councils of delegates from the lower level establishments. Actually things are not so simple, and any attempt to realise that vision would only mean preserving market relations between independent enterprises, still not working to a common social plan. The concept involves a sort of “parliamentary cretinism” of the workplace. No amount of elections from below will change the fact that these people will be doing the job currently done by capitalists “bosses” and be responsible for the policy decisions in industry which provide ample scope to develop into new capitalist bosses themselves (and bosses with wider and more totalitarian powers). Electing new bosses does not abolish the boss system. Elected workers’ councils would be in exactly the same position of having to lay off staff, if there is no market for the goods they produce. For sure, a lot of production management has become a fairly routine function which could be readily taken over and transformed by workers’ councils. Workers should have no difficulty rapidly improving productivity over what can be achieved under a basically antagonistic system of bossing. Workers councils will unleash workers’ intelligence and initiatives in production, so that organizing the work process would cease to be restricted to an elite that excludes the contributions of the vast majority. Research and Development would become much more widespread, be much closer to production, and require much less “management”.

 The question of centralisation and decentralisation of enterprise management, is quite separate from the question of abolishing commodity production. The capitalist ruling class allocates investments. It does this rather blindly, and with colossal waste, but it does do it and whatever is wasted, is often a loss to the particular capitalists concerned, as well as to society as a whole (The capitalist parasites are not even very good at keeping track of their own wealth, as is shown by the various multi-million dollar frauds that have been coming to light). If the new socialist society has no criteria for planning production there would be general chaos as each workers’ council decides what it thinks should be produced and only finds out later that it lacks the necessary inputs or there is no market for the outputs. As long as capitalism production and wage labour exists, even the complete suppression of the old bosses and its replacement by worker-owned and managed cooperatives cannot prevent capitalism continuing. 

The cold kills

Last winter's numbers of winter deaths in Scotland were the highest recorded since 1999/2000, when there was a high level of flu activity.

The National Records of Scotland revealed that 22,011 deaths were registered between December 2014 and March 2015.

While excess winter deaths are linked to low temperatures, hypothermia is not the main cause. Experience shows that the majority of such deaths are due to heart disease, stroke and respiratory illness.

Chief executive of the National Records of Scotland, Tim Ellis, said: "There are always more deaths in the winter in Scotland than in any other season…The underlying causes of most of the additional deaths include respiratory and circulatory diseases, dementia, and Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases." 

Excess winter deaths are preventable and today's figures are a damning indictment of our failure to address the scandal of cold homes in this country.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Wealthy in Scotland

Here’s a rundown of some of the wealthiest people to call Scotland home.


Topping Scotland’s rich list are the Grant/Gordon family, who head the business that produce the single malt whisky Glenfiddich. Descendants of founder William Grant run the family-owned business (William Grant and sons) to this day, which has amassed the sum of £1.9bn in this year’s list.


Emirati businessman Mahdi al-Tajir, who can can count Highland Spring as one of his many business interests, is Scotland’s second wealthiest business person with reserves of £1.67bn. The ex-UAE ambassador to the UK currently owns Perthshire’s Keir House, which dates from the 16th century and was sold to him in 1975.


Sir Ian Wood, a native of Aberdeen who built his £1.385bn fortune in fishing and latterly North Sea oil and gas, takes the third spot. He, like al-Tajir, also owns a residence in Perth and stepped down from the forefront of his company’s operations in 2012.


Former Harrods owner Mohammad Al-Fayed owns the Balnagown Estate in Kildary, having spent part of his £1.3bn fortune on renovating and redesigning the ruins into a popular tourist getaway.


The Thomson family, who still own publishing colossus DC Thomson to this day have banked £1.27bn.


Trond and Marit Mohn have built a £1.2bn Norwegian pump firm out of Buckie in Moray.


Jim McColl, an ex-employee of Clyde Blowers who then bought out the company on the way to his £1.06bn fortune, holds seventh place in the list.


Brother and sister duo Sir Brian Souter and Ann Gloag from Perth established the foundations of their £1.04bn Stagecoach empire during the 1980s using their father’s redundancy money.


Taking the final spot on the list is Christian Salvesen, whose eponymous whaling-cum-shipping network has left him with £1bn fortune as Scotland’s ninth richest business person.

This year’s Rich List topper is Len Blavatnik, whose portfolio includes the Warner Music Group and an estimated fortune of £13.17bn, making him Britain’s richest man.

Union Benefit

A report published in the Toronto Star (Sept. 5) on work place safety found that unionized workers reported twenty-three per cent less accidents than their non-unionized counterparts. This shows that unions certainly play an important part in counteracting capitalist tendencies such as neglecting safety of the worker in the interests of profit. However, in a socialist society they would not be necessary as ownership would be in the hands of all and common sense would prevail over profit madness. John Ayers

Class Interests

Socialism is a class-free society where the people as a whole own the means of production (factories, mines, etc.). Production is for people’s use, not for private profit. The principle of the operation of socialism is “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. Production is of such a high level that there are abundant commodities for every member of the community and each member helps himself or herself according to needs. When we speak of the Socialist Party as “revolutionary” we mean, on the one hand, that its aim is revolutionary and on the other hand that we believe in the revolutionary method. We do not believe that the people can be delivered from poverty, unemployment, degradation, war, by any reform of the capitalist system under which we live. That system must be abolished, wage slavery must be done away with altogether. The workers must own and control the machinery of production. There is always someone who promises the workers to fix things up. Isn’t it about time that the workers realised that it does not make any difference how well-meaning these reformist saviours may be, there is no way out under capitalism?

Capitalists make their profits by paying the worker in wages a smaller value than he or she creates by labouring. The capitalist thus gets what Marx calls surplus value. It is the only way profit can be created. Under modern conditions expensive plants and equipment are increased, but the work is done with fewer workers. Thus they must be exploited ever more fiercely in order that surplus value – profit – may be squeezed out of their labour, the only possible source of profit. The only function of the modern capitalist is to own. Capitalism is founded upon production for profit. Socialism is based upon production for use. The worker is interested in production primarily in so far as it is production for use, that is, in so far as it makes it possible for him to have the things needed to preserve and expand life – food, clothing, shelter, comforts. The capitalist is interested only in production for profit. He will produce bombs as readily as he produces shoes, and more readily if it yields a greater profit. However, if he cannot realize a profit for himself on the market, he will produce neither bombs nor shoes. The fact that people always need shoes and food and shelter is of absolutely no concern to him, unless he can realize a profit for himself in producing these articles. If he cannot, he suspends production. He closes down his plant, sending workers out of work.

The capitalists give every explanation possible for their profits, except the real one. They talk about the “risks of capital,” about the “legitimate yield of enterprise,” about their own “hard work,” and a thousand other things. But if they were a million times more enterprising than they are, and took a million more risks than they do, and if they cheated each other and everyone else a million times as much as they do – there would still be no other way of making profit under capitalism than by exploiting labor, by forcing employees to create a surplus-value above that which is represented by wages. And the means they employ to reduce workers to the position of a wage-slave rests in the private ownership of the means of production and exchange. That is why capitalists always seek to reduce wages. The lower the wages paid, the higher the profits made. That is why they seek to lengthen the working day. The longer the working day, the more hours the worker devotes to producing surplus-value. That is why they always seek to speed up the worker, to intensify his production, to have one worker operate more and more machines and do the work of more and more workers. The more intensely the worker labors, the more value he creates; therefore, the more surplus-value; therefore, the more profit. This greed for profits knows no limit. If capital makes five per cent profit, it is not content until it makes ten; when it makes ten, it seeks every possible way of making twenty. Profits can be obtained and increased only by a constant intensification of the exploitation of labor, by reducing labor’s share of the national income, by lowering people’s standard of living.

The Socialist Party make no pretense of attempting to serve both capitalists and workers and appeals to our fellow workers around the world upon the lines of their class interests. The worker has naught but his or her labour power, of hand or brain, to sell, and he or she must sell it upon terms dictated by another, and so we are, indeed, slaves. Who controls my bread controls my head, and so the contest between modern capitalism and socialism resolves itself into the age-old question of human slavery. The issues which divide the capitalists are merely quarrels between rival groups of capitalists over the division of the spoils which they have expropriated from the workers. We are no more interested in the outcome of these political squabbles than we would be in the falling-out of two hold-up men who had robbed us as they split the proceeds of the crime.