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Showing posts from August, 2016

Deprived districts in Scotland

Ferguslie Park in Paisley has been identified as the area of Scotland with the greatest level of deprivation. It is the second successive time the area has been at the bottom of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), which is published every four years. Lower Whitecraigs in East Renfrewshire is classed as the least deprived.
Statisticians rate almost 7,000 areas in Scotland by standards including income, employability and health. The statisticians say "deprived" does not just mean "poor" or "low income". It can also mean people have fewer resources and opportunities, for example in health and education.
Glasgow has 56 of the 100 most deprived areas. Edinburgh has six.
The 10 most deprived areas in Scotland: 1. Ferguslie Park, Paisley 2. Carntyne West and Haghill, Glasgow City 3. North Barlanark and Easterhouse South (Area 1), Glasgow City 4. Old Shettleston and Parkhead North, Glasgow City 5. Nitsh…

Poverty begets poverty

Poorer people in Scotland are paying more than others for essential services, according to research from the Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS). Those on low incomes often paid above average for energy, telecoms and financial services. Bigger bills makes their financial situation worse which further affects health and relationships, CAS said.
Researchers found that lower income Scots were more likely to use expensive pre-payment meters. Less than a quarter of those who used the meters had switched their energy supplier in the last three years. Those living in the most deprived areas of the country were even less likely to switch suppliers, according to the report.
They were also more likely to use mobile phones on pricier pay-as-you-go plans, researchers said. In addition, poorer people in Scotland were less likely to switch phone suppliers and more likely to be without a mobile at all - and so were hardest hit by the rise in landline costs.
CAS said low income consumers would often take…

Capitalism cannot be reformed

We are offended by applying the description of 'socialism' to any of the Trotskyite parties, or even to the Labour Party. The Labour party has never been a socialist party. “The Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it – a bit like Christians in the Church of England.” (Tony Benn)
It is grossly unjust also to smear people who have joined the Labour Party in this way, some of them might be, a small minority, not significant in respect of numbers and those will be practising 'entry-ism' but can easily be expelled later.
Supporting either the top-down machinations of Leninist control freaks who would only establish a state-capitalist dictatorship over the workers ,or the 'business friendly Labour party, or any parties of the left, right, centre of capitalism, who would govern over the workers, is a deluded choice. Leftist, rightist, centrist, are all manifestations of types of capitalism and that the term 'lef…

Digest August 2016

Why we need a socialist revolution

For years the Socialist Party has strived to be the expression of the class-conscious workers. Years of dedicated work has not had the desired result we expected. We took our stand upon the fundamental antagonism of interests between the two classes in society, and we have kept ourselves clear of the crushing influences of both reformism and nationalism. Our vision has always been to fundamentally change the system. We offer a clear class analysis. The world today is a class society, and there is a basic contradiction between the working class and the capitalist class. The social forces which can bring about revolution can be clearly defined. The main social forces capable of creating fundamental social change is the working class. Who are the one class that no society can do without? Those who work. For the working class to assume this crucial role it must be organised, it must have its own political party for the struggle for its empowerment, just as other classes have theirs to en…

To Atheists, Secularists, Rationalists, Humanists and Freethinkers (4/4)

The only reasonable position to adopt towards any religion is one of atheism: unbelief. There is a presumption in favour of not believing fantastic claims. It is up to the believer to present proof for the existence of God or life after death. After all, few are agnostic about Father Christmas, fairies or unicorns; we know they don't exist. The same scepticism should also apply to the extraordinary beliefs of religion. With religious believers, however, there is a willingness to believe despite the lack of evidence. And it is this gullibility which socialists find to be dangerous and objectionable. Faith is the last refuge of a believer. Religious faith, however, would only make sense if what was believed in were plausible. Neither the existence of a God nor life after death are plausible, though faith in them undoubtedly offers solace to many. It can make the unbearable seem bearable. But why should an all-loving God allow so much suffering, so much pain in this world – includin…

To Atheists, Secularists, Rationalists, Humanists and Freethinkers (3/4)

The Preacher and the Slave Long-haired preachers come out ev’ry night, Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right: But when asked about something to eat, They will answer with voices so sweet; You will eat (you will eat) bye and bye (bye and bye) In that glorious land above the sky (way up high) Work and pray (work and pray), live on hay (live on hay), You’ll get pie in the sky when you die (that’s a lie) Joe Hill
Jared Diamond in his ‘The World Until Yesterday’: 'A set of traits distinguishing a human social group sharing those traits from other groups not sharing those traits in identical form. Included among those shared traits is one or more, often all three, out of three traits: supernatural explanation, defusing anxiety about uncontrollable dangers through ritual, and offering comfort for life's pains and the prospect of death. Religions other than early ones became co-opted to promote standardized organization, political obedience, tolerance of strangers belonging to one'…

To Atheists, Secularists, Rationalists, Humanists and Freethinkers (2/4)

Religion inherently anti-working-class because: A. It offers salvation from externally B. Its 'truths' are illusory C. It teaches discredited non-scientific methods of inquiry D. It pretends to piety E. It divides the working-class
As a belief, religion is a manifestation of man’s ignorance of Nature’s workings. Today the spread of atheism is inexorable but much slower in some parts of the world than to be expected. The working class, although not as yet hostile to religion, are nevertheless becoming increasingly indifferent to it. It appears there has been a recent proliferation of books published on the subject of defending or promoting atheism or giving the case against religion and an even greater number of words written about them in reviews, newspaper articles, and journals. It is not the case that men and women first stopped believing in God and in the authority of the church, and then subsequently started behaving differently. It seems clear that people, first of all, lost…

To Atheists, Secularists, Rationalists, Humanists and Freethinkers (1/4)

The socialist point of view rests solidly on the materialist conception of history, a way of looking at things that focus on how human communities meet their actual survival needs by producing what they need to live (their economic systems, in other words). Out of this process, the human brain weaves its ideas, which eventually exert their own influence on the cycle, causing it to become more and more complex as society evolves. This approach, known as historical materialism, is a scientific method for helping us understand how and why capitalism does what it does. Armed with this understanding, socialists realise that capitalism can never deliver the goods for the vast majority of people. Other approaches, lacking this focus and overlooking the basis of capitalist society, can easily miss this point, so that their advocates get bogged down in vain efforts to make capitalism work for the majority.
The Socialist Party takes a non-theistic, materialist approach to things, in particular…

The Socialist Party’s Social Revolution

The Socialist Party is a political organisation whose mission is to carry forth the social revolution. No one person, no leader, can alone accomplish what must be done. We all must do our part. The Socialist Party’s role is to inspire other people to want to stand up and have a voice of their own. That’s basically what the World Socialist Movement – to just get people to fight for what’s right. Don’t be afraid to come out and have your voices heard. We work so hard, just to live and survive, yet we can’t even have a decent life because we’re struggling so much.
The Socialist Party since it was established has consistently held aloft the banner of socialism. For the first time in the history of this country a party of working men and women has put forward a delegate for parliament on one issue alone—to capture the powers of government for the sole purpose of dispossessing the capitalist class of their ownership of the means of production and establishing Socialism in place of the pres…

Common Ownership and the Commons

Common ownership is not merely the sharing of “goods,” but a social practice beyond simply communal possessions. It is about living as one humanity. Capitalists maximize their own benefit do so at other people’s expense, and those other people have to bear the burden. Maximizing exchange value is a virtue. Whatever doesn’t make a profit and money is disregarded and discarded.
Although markets are products of human action, they are not controlled by people but directed by market influences themselves. It is no coincidence that markets are spoken of as if they were active subjects. We can read about what the markets are “doing” every day in the business pages. Markets decide, prefer and punish. They are nervous, lose trust or react cautiously. Our actions take place under the motivation of the markets, not the other way around. Even governments recognise the rule of the market and rather guide the effects of the markets in one direction or the other, they respond to market forces as th…

Capitalism's golden rule, those with the gold rule!

"If money, according to Augier, ‘comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek,’ capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt."Marx
The working class betray themselves if they support a 'business friendly' party of capitalism, such as the Labour Party. They are opting for more of the same. The system the Labour Party inherits each election runs them.
Exploitation takes place at the point of production. This rate is accelerated. Many thought the introduction of robots and so on would lead to reductions in working hours and have since been disabused of this notion, as jobs were shed, hours increased and minimum waged conditions became normalised within expanded service sections.

 I don't have the space to begin to write of conditions, as part of global capitalism, where fellow workers, some very young, are exposed to harmful conditions to put food on our table, while starved of nourishment from theirs. Or the depl…

The Govanhill Slums (2)

In the Govanhill area of Glasgow, poverty is high and worker exploitation is commonplace. Parts of Govanhill are ranked among the most deprived in the country, according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. Local agencies highlight overcrowding, poor housing and rogue landlords as the key problem.
Figures obtained by the BBC show that of a study of 310 local Roma people, most were working but that more than a third were receiving less than the minimum wage. Govanhill has one of the largest concentrations of Roma people in the UK. There are 42 different languages spoken in Govanhill, but a glance at social media would suggest that all the migrants in the area are Roma. They are often blamed for what goes wrong in the community.
Ch Insp Graham McInarlin, the area commander, said Govanhill did not merit its reputation "There are a number of myths in the area. If we are to believe everything we read then the Roma are responsible for all crime in the area. In actual fact we…

The Govanhill slums (1)

Vulnerable families are being exploited by "rogue landlords" and are living in substandard homes in the Govanhill area of Glasgow with many too afraid to speak out. An investigation found a number of de-registered landlords are continuing to work in the area despite being officially struck off. It also revealed public money is being used to buy up slum housing. Over the past seven years, Glasgow City Council has spent £25m on "common repairs" to properties in the area. The council has been given the power to purchase and improve properties in four tenement blocks in the area. The £9.3m scheme funded by both the Scottish government and the council itself, is a two-year pilot and the first of its kind in Scotland. The tenement blocks have also been designated an Enhanced Enforcement Area (EEA), meaning the council will have more powers to tackle rogue landlords and improve conditions. It gives the local authority right of entry to rented properties where there have …

Educate! Agitate! Organise!

"The emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves. We cannot, therefore, co-operate with people who openly state that the workers are too uneducated to emancipate themselves and must be freed from above by philanthropic big bourgeois and petty bourgeois.”Marx and Engels
Marx got his socialism from the working class. He provided a scientific critique of capitalism aided by Engels, but so what if his background was originally a bourgeois one. His analysis still stands the test of time. It has led to an advanced capitalist society which is run from top to bottom by the working class. The only thing he got wrong, easily done given capitalism was in its infancy at the time, was the duration of capitalism. The ideological apparatus which served it via education systems, the misrepresentation by political parties utilising working class voting on the promise of reforms. A Citizens Income is being tried out yet it only to be a subsidy for employ…