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Showing posts from 2016

Gustav's Gems

Usually we have a section called, ''Karl's Quotes'', but why not give him a rest for a while and quote from one of his most brilliant students, Gustav Bang? This gent, (1871-1915), was a Professor of history at Copenhagen University and in 1901 gave a series of lectures about famous historical events, all of which he analysed in relation to economic conditions. It is to be regretted that only a few were translated into English, one of which was about the French Revolution, which is still relevant. Professor Bang showed how the emerging capitalist class used the lower classes to break the political power of the nobility, and once firmly in the saddle, did nothing for them. However these lower classes, for they were not yet an industrialized working class, were smart enough to realize they had been used.''The sentiment in the lower classes grew more and more bitter through these acts of treachery. What the meaning of it all was began…

Merry Marxmas

On this day a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton who arrived in this world on December 25, 1642.
The signs of the Festive season are all around us. We are exhorted to join in the Christmas spirit (more often than not by the makers of the alcoholic spirits.) Christmas is a time for rejoicing yet for many it is merely another grim day in the struggle for survival. Just how can a rapacious system such as capitalism bring about that peace and good will so ardently desired by humanity? Socialists appreciate the significance of the ritual and symbolism and acknowledge the value that people attach to holidays, acts of remembrance and commemoration. We no more wanted to abolish Christmas than we do Hogmanay. Christmas possesses within it the solidarity principle of mutual aid. Friends exchange gifts. Fellow-workers share in a dinner. Grown-ups become children at the fun of the pantomine. 
 But most of all, we socialists want to extend that on…

Everything is possible

The dominant capitalist interests are not concerned primarily with the development or the welfare of people. The opposition to the dominion of capitalism is confronted by its global power.  When the industrial crisis was raging throughout the world, when factories and plant were standing idle, when machines rusting, when the wholesale destruction of “superfluous” foodstuffs was taking place while millions of people were starving, it becomes plain that capitalist development had led humanity to the brink of a precipice. Is there an alternative? Either we have change or we have barbarism, economic collapse and moral decay where climate change and war may well destroy civilisation. This then is the alternative which the ruling classes may bring about. The mission of building society on a basis of social justice to-day rests with the labour movement. Fundamental change is imperative. Our vision is of a better, socialist society and to end the days where the poor and needy – the billions …

Pricey Streets

A street which leads to the first tee of the Old Course at St
Andrews has been named the most expensive in Scotland. The Scores knocked addresses in Edinburgh off the top spot, with an average house price of £2,179,000.
Ten of Scotland's most expensive streets are in Edinburgh. Aberdeen has five streets in the top 20, while Glasgow has three. Balmoral Court in Auchterarder, Perthshire, is the only other location in the top 20 outside the main cities. House prices there average £1,298,000.
Edinburgh's most expensive residential street is Ettrick Road in Merchiston, where homes are a mixture of late Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian villas and Victorian tenements which command an average price of £1,899,000. At more than £500,000 less, Northumberland Street and Heriot Row in New Town are Edinburgh's next most expensive streets, with average prices of £1,390,000 and £1,374,000 respectively.
In Aberdeen, streets in the AB15 postcode area are the most expensive. Researchers sa…

Now Let's Think A Moment.

In October, continuing an 800 year old tradition, the city of London paid Queen Elizabeth rent owed on two pieces of property. these transactions are so old the exact locations of the properties are unclear. The payments called, ''Quit Rents'', once had a meaning, but are now ceremonial. In other words they pay our beloved Britannic Majesty rent on property that doesn't exist.  This is perfectly logical, in fact just as logical as the gilded coach she rides in, the horse guards, the life guards, the beefeaters, orb and sceptres and all the other trappings of pomp and circumcision. Just as logical as the intellectual giants who line the route and wave and cheer for her. This nitwit wonders what pearls of wisdom they could enlighten us with. They should all be singing, ''Rule Brittania, Marmalade and Jam, three Chinese crackers up your rear end, wham, wham, wham, wham, wham wham.''  And just to think some people want to abolish t…

Socialism is not dead

The coming year ahead is very promising for socialists and very challenging for the whole working class. People not only want change, they want a vision of a better society. Many people these days will tell you ‘Socialism is dead’. For many, the issue of socialism is now closed: you can’t beat the system and for proof, they point to the demise of the Soviet Union and the creation of Chinese billionaires. Intellectuals tell us there is now no longer a way out for us and present dystopian futures of catastrophe and apocalypses, while the life-style gurus offer up spiritual strategies of how best to cope with the ‘real’ world.  However, if you looked at the problems of the world, whether from a factory floor or from a university lecture hall, the alternative to capitalism other than socialism is a phantasm. 
The Socialist Party’s central aim is the emancipation of humanity and we endeavour to find a path to a world without exploitation or oppression, in which men and women developed the…

Training torturers and executioners

Scottish Police provided training to senior officers from the Saudi and Bahraini police forces without carrying out any human rights checks international human rights organisation Reprieve and BBC Scotland have revealed. Under UK Government policy, a formal assessment is meant to be carried out before justice or security assistance is provided to states where it could contribute to the death penalty.  However, Police Scotland and the UK College of Policing, who provided the Saudi and Bahraini training, found that no information was held on such assessments.
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain both use the death penalty and torture against people accused of involvement in protests.  The Saudi authorities have also sentenced significant numbers of children to death – at least three of whom are currently on death row and could face execution at any time.
When asked for a full list of overseas assistance delivered in or by Scotland, both Police Scotland and the UK College of Policing omitted the tr…

Socialists – Makers of a New World

People know that capitalism is no good but few can see a way forward to a better type of society. Peace and prosperity is the common aspiration of humanity. Socialists seek the unity of the people throughout the world and cooperation among them for the victory of their common cause of creating a new world. Today, the Socialist Party is working hard to build a genuine society for the people in which men and women’s complete independence will be realised. But we live in a world dominated by capitalism, a system which allows a small minority of capitalists to oppress and exploit the great majority of humankind.  It is capitalism that brings about great inequalities in living standards with more poor people now in the world than ever before, starts murderous wars to steal the resources and causes the devastation of our natural environment.  Either we get rid of this outmoded system or it will destroy humanity.  The only way forward is a revolutionary struggle to achieve socialism, a clas…

Life Is Getting More Dangerous And Disgusting Every Day

An article in the Toronto Star of November 11 reported on the high levels of pollution in New Delhi. Levels of the most dangerous particles, called PM 2.5, reached 700 micrograms per cubic metre on November 7, but on the previous weekend reached 1000 which is 16 times the limit the federal government considers safe. One resident said, ''You can literally see smoke in the air and when you breathe you can smell it too.'' The problem for environmentalists is that decisions to be made for dealing with it fall under the authority of several city, state and federal government bodies which are at odds with each other politically.  This is just another example of how life under capitalism gets more dangerous and disgusting every day.  John Ayers.

No Forced Lay-offs

On November 18 Volkswagen said it will cut 30,000 jobs globally as it tries to claw back from the emission - cheating scandal. The company agreed to hold off from forced lay-offs till 2025. The job cuts will come from early retirements and not replacing workers that leave voluntarily.  So you won't see newspaper headlines blaring, ''Volkswagen Lay-Offs Thousands'', but it still means the same thing - some poor schnook who needs a job remains unemployed.  John Ayers.

The Invergordon Mutiny

On the morning of Tuesday 15 September, 1931, the Cromarty Firth rang to cheers from the Royal Navy ships lying off Invergordon. This was the sound of thousands of sailors coming out on strike - the Invergordon Mutiny had begun. It's called a mutiny, but it's more accurate to call it an industrial dispute carried out by servicemen.
In 1931, the Great Depression was two years old and had eight yet to run. Britain's new National Government was making massive austerity-driven cuts to public sector pay. Some of the worst hit of all were the older ratings of the Royal Navy. They faced a 25% pay cut at a time when they barely earned more than men on the dole.
The cuts spelled ruin for them and their families. They had only one weapon - to strike - but that would be called mutiny, and mutiny could mean death. But with no alternative, they went ahead. Planning their action in canteen meetings ashore, the men decided to strike. When four ships were set to sail, HMS Valiant, the f…

Revolution Will Surely Triumph

The socialist revolution is the most radical break with oppression and exploitation in history. Exploitation and oppression will not exist in a socialist society. Commodity production, that is, production for sale or exchange on the market, will not exist. The system of wage labour will be abolished and the guiding principle of labour will be “from each according to ability, to each according to need.” The means of production will be held communally and private property will be eliminated. With the abolition of classes and class distinctions, all social and political inequality arising from them will disappear. The conflicts of interest between workers and farmers, town and country, manual and intellectual labour will disappear. As classes will not exist, the state will not be necessary as an instrument of class rule and will gradually have withered away. We believe that people will not be free until we are able to determine our destiny. The goal of the Socialist Party is to abolish …

Welcome to socialism (video animation)

No Job? How Long Will Your Money Last?

A new survey by the Financial Planning Standards Council found that 40 per cent of Canadians would only have enough money to live on for four weeks if they lost their job, whereas 19 per cent said they would be broke in one week. One respondent said she graduated from University with $20,000 in student debt. It took her two years to pay it off, working two jobs.  Insecurity creates fear and no one likes to live in fear, so why not get rid of its cause?  John Ayers.

Which Way ForThe Driverless Car

On November 5th an article in the Toronto Star dealt with the reality of driverless cars. Computer scientists and economists say the threat is no longer theoretical. Automated cars pose a threat to many Americans who drive for a living which are 2.9 million truckers and delivery drivers, 674,000 bus drivers and 181,000 cab drivers and chauffeurs. Already, in Pittsburg, there are driverless Uber taxis. Conversely, the self-driving Tesla car crashed in May as it failed to detect a tractor-trailer crossing its path. Frank Levy of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said, ''Truck drivers are safe because a machine couldn't negotiate rush hour traffic without a helping hand.'' Some say driverless vehicles will not create much unemployment overall because a vehicle that is on the road 24 hours a day will need a lot of maintenance.  This writer thinks they may have computer operators on them, initially, instead of drivers. At present no one knows exactly what will ha…

Scots still struggle with low pay

Scottish employers must start paying their staff better poverty campaigners have said after a report showed almost half a million Scots are paid less than the real living wage. The real living wage is a voluntary pay rate, calculated annually according to the basic cost of living in the UK. It currently sits at £8.45 an hour, while the UK Government’s mandatory National Living Wage is £7.20 an hour for those aged 25 and over.
The report, from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), revealed that 467,000 workers received under £8.45 an hour in 2016 – more than 20% of the total workforce. That number has risen from 395,000 in 2013, meaning there has been an 18% increase in those with jobs that pay less than the real living wage. The flat-lining economy and stagnant rates of pay has resulted in an increase of 70,000 workers getting less than the real living wage over the past three years.  
Hospitality and retail staff were the most likely to be paid less than the recommended…

Liberation not enslavement

We are facing escalating crises and our political leaders are unable to seriously address the threats to the human family and the world we all live in. The climate crisis is spinning out of control, and the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow unabated. When everything points to even more assaults upon people and our planet optimism is not a virtue but a sign of irrationality. Facing climate change, species extinction, global conflicts, and poverty, allowing ourselves to be disturbed by them, moved by them and yet remaining sane, is no easy thing. Anxiety and worry are healthy symptoms. Instead of hiding from this anguish we can confront them, not as isolated individuals but collectively as a class. The disenfranchised, the poor, and the working class need to collectively band together to restructure the system, which has created our discontent in the first place. The hope that comes from facing the worst is enduring because it is not built upon illusion and wishful thinki…

Treating The Symptoms

The November issue of the Anglican Journal includes an article reeking of self-congratulation. The Trinity Anglican Church in Edmonton recently inaugurated a new ministry which is an outreach program serving the mental health needs of the South Alberta Light Horse, a reserve regiment of the Canadian army. With the brilliance and clarity of genius, Arch-Deacon Chris Pappas said, ''You can't go out and be asked to kill, or see the atrocities of war and not come back changed, or hurt and hurting. these inner wounds can harm the reservists relationships with their spouses and children or may result in increased alcohol use, for example. Their effects can also disrupt the reservists finances.''  Great going Chris baby, you mean there's such a thing as PTSD/?, who'da thunk it?  Nor are the Anglicans alone helping with counselling, pastoral visits, financial advice, ad nauseum; no Sir - the Lutherans, the University chaplaincy at the U of Alberta and the Edmont…

A Revengeful Jam

On November 4th Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, former aides to New Jersey Governer Chris Christie, were found guilty of creating an epic traffic jam, to seek revenge on Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie for re-election in 2013. The jam was on the George Washington Bridge, which is America's busiest, connecting New Jersey to New York City. Their excuse was that the closing was due to a legitimate traffic study.  Christie has denied all knowledge of it, but whether he was aware of it or not, the whole thing was extremely childish and clearly shows how ridiculous life is becoming under capitalism.  John Ayers.

In defence of the people and the planet

There has never been a more pressing time to rethink politics. We don’t need calls for moral uplift or personal responsibility. We need calls for economic democracy and equality. We don’t need calls for fixing the terminally broken system; instead, we need to build socialism. Such a politics must be rooted in collective struggles. We need a radical imagination infused with the spirit of class-war for an independent politics that regards a radical democracy as part of a never-ending struggle. The future of the human species - if there is to be a future - must be a socialist one. If we really care about whether there will be a human future - each one of us who claims to care has to be prepared to radically challenge the capitalist order. An economic system that magnifies human greed and encourages short-term thinking, while pretending there are no physical limits on human consumption, must be opposed. 
Capitalism is not the system through which we will craft a sustainable future. We mu…

Seize the Moment

Demagogues and dictators thrive on fear and insecurity. People are hurting and disillusioned with mainstream politics and increasingly angry at the austerity policies and the economic system destroying lives and the planet. Many believe that it's only a matter of time before a new crisis hits. Yet in today’s world, anyone who fails blame themselves and feels ashamed. People see themselves, not society, as the problem. Even when primary blame is placed upon the global elite, it says that the primary problem is not the system; but the beneficiaries of the system and things would be better if they were not too greedy. That is, of course, not to say that there aren't powerful people in the world that do tremendous damage, or that these people should not be held to account. These people, however, are produced and given power by a system that runs deeper than anyone's capacity to design. It is the money/profit system that has taken on a life of its own. We have a potential abund…

A Better World

There has been discontent, unrest, protest and movements for democracy and against austerity across the globe. These movements have been a strong expression of anger and address concerns about the lack of democracy, social justice, and dignity. Modern society is a system based on private property and dominated by the capitalist mode of production with the aim to create surplus-value. People are being socialised into passive producers and consumers. Today’s democracy has broken all its promises and the progressive liberal political parties have been reduced to piecemeal reform of capitalism. But even this palliative policy has become problematic as capitalism has developed into a more global system where state interventionism becomes more and more difficult. International free trade agreements and institutions such as the IMF restrict what an individual nation can do and not do. Transnational corporations are powerful players in domestic and international politics.
Unless humanity bre…

Towards real socialism

Did you ever ask yourself why capitalism continues to exist in spite of all the problems it is causing in the world? The simple answer is because the people support capitalism and that they support it because they believe in it. As long as most people believe in the ideas of capitalism it will remain unassailable. A battle of ideas is required, not street battles at the barricades. A popular movement if it is able to ideologically defeat the ruling class then civil servants and police will defect, making a non-violent peaceful revolution possible. Armed insurrection usually gives cause to adversaries to be savage and ruthless, and the State is very much better organized and equipped for any such militarised confrontation. The outcome is inevitably tragic for the workers’ side. The ruling class is increasingly nervous because they know that if revolutionary ideas that question their legitimacy prevail and if their own propaganda to justify their privilege and power fails, they are fin…

Children Exposed To Poverty

As child poverty in British Columbia increases, kids are reaching school age more vulnerable than at any time in the last fifteen years, a new University of BC report has found. Teachers were asked to rate each child based on their physical health, social skills, emotional maturity, language development and communication abilities. The results showed 32.2 per cent were below par. According to Joanne Shroeder, director of the Comox Valley Child Development Association,''High levels of poverty in BC are a major factor in children's well-being. The stress of living in poverty is not good for children. Many families with young children are working long hours to balance child care and shift work.'' It is one of the most damning indictments of capitalism imaginable that children should be exposed to poverty with all the social ills it creates and alarming that child poverty is increasing. 

Ms. Shroeders suggestion is increased public investment in early childhood developme…

Not So Compassionate

Jarley Silva is an illegal immigrant from Brazil, whom, after living in Canada for nine years, was hit by a car, in 2011, and still bears the scars including 23 screws in his shattered leg. The accident, in Toronto's west end, was a hit and run as he was crossing the street. Since no one took the licence number the driver was never identified. Though Silva has tried hard he hasn't been able to collect a cent owing to his illegal residency. Under Provincial law the government doesn't give payouts from its Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund to anyone in Ontario illegally.  That's what so great about capitalism - it's so compassionate.  John Ayers

It's Time to Imagine a New Society

We live in the beginning of a global technological revolution which will turn society’s conditions upside down. We cannot stop this transformation, but we can influence where it will go. Capitalism has corroded the social fabric of societies around the world, destroyed solidarity among people and established a climate of fierce competition and struggle for survival. People are left without any positive prospect or hope for the future. People feel cheated by something or someone that they cannot properly identify yet there exists an immense anger. There have been endless mass protests. The position of the Socialist Party, however, is that the irrationalities of capitalism can only be countered by an organised social movement rather than any individualist and anti-technology politics that permeates the so-called anti-capitalist current. There are libraries of books that analyse what is wrong with society, the majority of which are trying to advocate the impossible – which is to propose…