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Showing posts from February, 2016

Our message to fellow workers

Many people became frightened by the immensity of the task of achieving a socialist society. The thought of creating a whole new stage of history is a daunting one. There will no longer be the need for the state since the state will be replaced with common administration by all of society. Socialism eliminates the anarchy of capitalism and its crises, by collective ownership of the means of production and collective planning of the economy controlled by the working class. Society will be transformed and the community of workers established, a completely classless society. Technology 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 technology will become tools in the hands of the working class to benefit all of society. This will unleash the stored-up knowledge of the working class and inspire people to make new breakthroughs.  Unemployment wil…

The Ways and the Means

The 19thC German socialist Wilhelm Liebknecht wrote of parliaments “…Although the principle of representation cannot be altogether abandoned, it should however be reduced to a strictly indispensable minimum, in particular, the legislative and government functions should be exercised by committees and not by parliament, where, as every experienced person knows, debates are not serious deliberations but mere theatrical performances. Even today the major work of the Reichstag has to be done in committees. Committees elected by the people for specified purposes, which can meet whenever common interests are involved, and which have to submit to plebiscite all laws before they come into force; the people possessing not only the right to reject, but also the right to introduce legislation; in addition, complete freedom of the press and of assembly, and a government which has no power to wield against the people – this is, in rough outline, my idea of the future mode of legislation and govern…

The Time Is Now

You can’t compromise your way to your goal. Putting forth a vision for radical transformation of all we know is scary. We need people who are willing to stand together to build a movement for social change that unites people behind a vision of a world based on socialist principles. So we have a choice, we can stick with the known, what is comfortable, what seems to be pragmatic at this time or we can take a strong, bold stance for our highest values, goals and dreams. We have to unite, communicate, know our strengths and attack the repression and oppression that the state is imposing upon us. There’s just us. Just-us. Justice. It’s up to us to change everything. We have to change the system and we have to be radical about it. We have to have everyone we can, doing what they think best, giving everything they have.
Politicians and economists, more often than not echoing one another, speak of a new regime of higher wages, more consumption, and increased standards of living, which would…

Break the Chains!

In 1920 919,000 American voters wanted Eugene Debs, who ran on a socialist ticket five times, to be president of the United States and the platform on which he ran demanded the ownership of the means of production be transferred from private to public control. Debs demanded the supreme power of the workers ‘as the one class that can and will bring permanent peace to the world.’ He declared that then ‘we shall transfer the title deeds of the railroads, the telegraph lines, the mines, mills and great industries to the people in their collective capacity; we shall take possession of all these social utilities in the name of the people. We shall then have industrial democracy. We shall be a free nation whose government is of and by and for the people.’ Debsian socialism struck a chord in the hearts of the people. Debs preached the Golden Rule, the basic law of social life – ‘Each for all, and all for each.’
If Debs was to rise from the grave would he feel pleased at the progress of his c…

Educate the Educators

The education of the people, not the few alone, but the entire mass in the principles of industrial democracy is the task of the people themselves. The socialist’s is to set them thinking for themselves, and to hold ever before them the ideal based upon mutual interests. A capitalist world can never be a free world and a society based upon warring classes cannot stand secure. Such a world is full of strife and hatred and such a society can exist only by means of repression and domination.
The Left has often advocated state capitalism, sometimes misleadingly designated as “state socialism”. Whenever the state nationalized an industry, whenever the state imposed its control over industry, the Left naively accepted this as an abandonment of capitalism, as a symptom of the growing importance of socialism and the transformation of capitalism into Socialism. State capitalism emphasizes the fact of the state, of government, being an economic agency of the ruling class. State and capitalist …

This is our planet. We want it back

Capitalism can no longer operate in the interests of the majority of humanity. These days people are so suspicious of capitalism that the supporters of it stress more and more upon the necessity of reforming its abuses, until finally they are falling over each other to show that they are really in favour of some sort of “socialism.” Needless to say what they call socialism is only capitalism in disguise, but the trick works. They all in greater or lesser degree adopt as their slogan “We are all socialists now.” Capitalism is a social set up which produces goods for sale. Socialism will be a society which makes things because people need them. Capitalism has competition, the wages system, the state. Socialism will have cooperation, free access to wealth, democratic freedom. Remember this, the next time somebody airily holds forth on a so-called socialist platform or programme.
To talk of a socialist state is to talk in contradictions. For the state is a machine designed to maintain th…

Beyond Protest

Capitalism creates many problems and subjects the working class to all kinds of pressures. What is somewhat puzzling about the whole painful business is that, despite so much experience in protesting and all the accompanying disillusionment, people still persist in trying to deal with individual issues in isolation and make little if any attempt to relate either one problem to another, or to relate all the problems to a common cause. It seems that for every outrage committed by capitalism, and for every inhumanity and frustrated need, there is a group of people ready to mushroom into an organisation and start protesting.
Socialists are not opposed to the idea of protesting as such. There was certainly plenty to protest about — there always is. What concerns us is to get it into its social perspective so as to achieve a more fruitful form of expression. The fact that the horrors of capitalism do produce some response in terms of protest demonstrations is more hopeful than an attitude …

Grass Roots (1968)

Grass Roots (1968) Book Review from the September 1968 issue of the Socialist Standard
Constituency Labour Parties in Britain by Edward G. Janosik (Pall Mall Press, 45s.)
Edward Janosik has produced here a study of the organisational and political nature of constituency Labour Parties. The blurb on the dust jacket claims that the book contains “a body of reliable data from which sound generalisations could be made". Unfortunately, the author, an American who spent a year in Britain, has little or no experience of his subject and his data has been acquired by interviewing what he calls  “key leaders" of thirty six CLPs.
Before joining the Socialist Party of Great Britain I was a CLP secretary—a “key leader”—for some years and my own impressions of the Labour Party are very different from those gained second hand by Janosik. He must really be naive if he thinks that the party machine (Transport House) isn't all that powerful in the selection of parliamentary candidates. True…

Expropriating the Expropriators

Socialism/communism is not about taking away people's personal possessions. That's just a scare story put around by those whose property socialism will take away: those who own and control the means for producing goods and services (farms, mines, factories, etc).
And they won't be bought out, but simply expropriated without compensation when a majority decide democratically to make the means of production the common property of all, so they can be used to provide for the needs of all instead of to make profits for a few. We are merely expropriating the expropriators. All wealth comes from the application of human labour upon the raw materials in conditions of waged slavery and absolute, actual, or relative poverty for the majority, with privileged access to the means and instruments of producing and distributing this wealth by and for the minority capitalist class. The reason for their capital accumulation rather than intelligence and superior or intelligent application o…

Building socialist foundations, not castles in the sky

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”George Orwell
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”George Orwell
Amid a myriad of global, regional and local social crises they say to us “We are in trouble. We all need to pull together on this.” But we have to ask ourselves upon what basis. The experts, the politicians, the intellectuals and academics are unable and unwilling to even touch the surface of the issue and activists remain paralysed and splintered. Fortunately, the Socialism Or Your Money Back blog and this one has the mission to present the inconvenient truths against the mainstream myths and to read between the media-headlines and the politicians sound-bites. To understand our world and its political-economic reality, is far from being easy, yet i…

If you stand for nothing, you will get defeated by anything

“At the parliament of animals, the rabbits demanded equal rights, and the lions replied, ‘But where are your claws?’”
If you thought you were in charge - think again.
“Living in poverty” is one of those phrases that rolls easily off the tongue. We all tend to glaze over the full meaning of the phrase, the grinding day-to-day misery of hunger, insecurity, worry, discomfort, exhaustion, and despair. The grim reality is that people are working hard and yet remain impoverished. Too many of our neighbours are being destroyed by poverty. We must demand better than that. Whatever fear, grief, anger, disbelief, or horror you are feeling in a personal crisis, imagine those feelings expanded to planetary scale. Socialists today give voice to the future generations. Even the most educated have not the slightest inkling of the false history they have learned. The intellectuals have been thoroughly co-opted by the ruling class with university tenure and prestige trinkets. Many activists have addre…

Chin Rōdō to Shōhin Seisan no Haishi

Trans: Abolition of Wage Labour and Commodity Production
The purpose of the Socialist Party is to create a better world than this one. Our goal is a totally new economic system that represents the interests of the majority and we say this change should happen now and not in some far-off distant undetermined future time. Putting an end to the great class divide and its conflicts is at the core for a better world. The current economic system where political leaders only listen to and heed the 1% instead of to the majority is a disaster and is failing the people and planet. Socialism put the interests of the people first on a scale never seen before. It can only happen by a people-powered movement that who shares a commitment to the common good. The Socialist Party chooses to imagine a better world than this and we believe the time has come to fight for it together. Our challenge is to persuade people to eliminate the institutions of capitalism which are a bane upon equality and justice.…

Will you no just go away...

Tommy ‘liar’ Sheridan has announced that he will run for election to the Scottish Parliament in May. His wife Gail is also running for Holyrood, appearing first on the party’s list for the West of Scotland region. He is urging folk to use their second vote to elect him. It is a shameless appeal to Scottish nationalists who are voting for the SNP in the constituency section of the ballot to give their second vote to him.

Sad that he will discredit the terms socialist and socialism yet once more.

The conversation of resistance

We live in an age of crises. Their causes seem complex and diverse and indeed they are, but  capitalism’s contradiction between human needs and the needs of capital leads us to self-destruction. Britain’s best-known economists Adam Smith made the following observation about the capitalist model that ruled the world throughout modern history: “All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”
A century later Britain’s next best known economist, Keynes said: “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”
Today, Britain is the fifth richest country in the world and we have the obscenity that every major city and town possesses a food bank to help the poor.  Capitalism has been around for centuries, and it’s still as monstrous today as it was when the popular anthem Jerusalem refers to “dark satanic mills.”
Ca…

Food Wasted

An article in the Toronto Star, November 28, emphasized the shocking amount of food that is being wasted, "One third of all food produced globally either never makes it to the table or doesn't get eaten". That represents 1.3 billion tonnes of food – the weight ten thousand CN towers-worth and nearly $US1 trillion The energy that goes into the production, harvest, storage, transportation, and packaging of that food – energy that is ultimately wasted – produces more than 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. Food thrown out from North American homes, European restaurants and Asian food markets is contributing to global climate change.  However, it hardly makes sense to throw food away while millions are starving, but where does it say that capitalism makes sense. In a society that does make sense, food would be distributed so there would be no starvation and no waste.  John Ayers