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Showing posts from October, 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 financiall…

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 agains…

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 …

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 …

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 p…

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 o…

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 fo…

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? Y…

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 your…

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 f…

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…

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 stratu…

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 constan…

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 collecti…

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…

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.

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.

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.…