Wednesday, August 31, 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. Nitshill, Glasgow City
6. Muirhouse, City of Edinburgh
7. Possil Park, Glasgow City
8. Cliftonville, North Lanarkshire
9. Drumchapel North, Glasgow City
10. North Barlanark and Easterhouse South (Area 2), Glasgow City

The 10 least deprived areas in Scotland:
1. Lower Whitecraigs and South Giffnock, East Renfrewshire
2. Midstocket, Aberdeen City
3. Marchmont West (Area 1), City of Edinburgh
4. St Andrews South West, Fife
5. Comely Bank, City of Edinburgh
6. Joppa, City of Edinburgh
7. Marchmont West (Area 2),City of Edinburgh
8. Hilton, Aberdeen City
9. Kilmardinny East, East Dunbartonshire

10. Bruntsfield, City of Edinburgh

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 out credit or loans without understanding the full costs involved.

The poor had no home contents insurance because they found it unaffordable.

CAS spokesman Patrick Hogan said: "Our new research today shows that many individuals' financial situations are made even worse because poverty levels limit their choices when it comes to accessing consumer services. So, if you are poor in Scotland today you pay more for basic services, and so become even poorer.” Mr Hogan added: " Poverty should not breed even more poverty."

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 'leftist' is devoid of any particular significance.

Capitalism cannot be reformed despite the well-meaning intentions of decent people in any of those political parties and has to be replaced by a new system of; production for use; democratic delegation, free access; and common ownership of all the means and instruments for creating and distributing wealth run by ourselves. Socialism is a post-capitalist society which will need to be established by the workers of the world, by themselves and for themselves.

Labour's infamous Clause 4 reflected their confused understanding of what socialism is, entails and constitutes. First, it equates common ownership with state ownership. i.e. Nationalisation. State intervention is not socialism. The state exists to help manage the affairs of the ruling class and may indeed intervene in their general interests, nationalising, welfare, to keep the workers fit for future exploitation etc. Secondly it calls for the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. (our emphasis.) But a real commonly owned society would not require a means of rationing access to commonly owned wealth. It is a free access society.

No, the emancipation of the working class is freedom from waged slavery, common ownership of all the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth, production for use, utilising technological and informational infrastructure to provide self-regulation stock control systems and free access for all within a delegatory democratic administration over resources and not people by the people themselves and not a government.

We have a world to make and win and the organising societal ethos which will percolate through this, which proceeds from the organising tenet, "From each according to their ability to each according to their needs" will provide the social framework which will shape human behaviour, self-determinedly.

Capitalism cannot be reformed. However, well-intentioned politicians may be it is not in their gift to bestow upon us more “humble mortals”.
"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.’ (1879 Marx and Engels)

It is a post-capitalist society and damn all to do with nationalisation or the state-capitalism imposed by the feudal conditions of Russian experience or the state management over people and resources envisaged by the Labour Party.

The whole point of capitalism is to keep a relatively impoverished class of workers toiling away to produce an immense accumulated source of wealth for the parasite capitalist class and banks are just a money changing part of this.

"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)

Dissolve the governments and politicians, elect yourselves into building a socialist world.

Wee Matt

Digest August 2016

Tuesday, August 30, 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 enable them to wage political struggle. We must strive to empower the working class because it represents the revolutionary class in society. It is the motor for change in the real world because of its size, its position in society and its relation to the productive process. Today it is those who work who have the responsibility together with the opportunity to reorganise our world. It is going to be difficult, but it is essential. Therefore it must be done. We believe that the clear target of our revolution is the capitalist class.  The Socialist Party states forthrightly that we are fighting for socialism and to fundamentally alter property relations. Revolution means changing property relations. Our socialism will be democratic where the wealth of society will go primarily to those who produce it.

The world is going through some important and momentous changes. The world about us is falling to pieces. Despite the gloating about the failure to bring about socialism, the planet is in deep trouble. All the evils of capitalism have been allowed to flourish openly. The need for some sort of change or in other words, a revolution, is widely realised. The gap between rich and poor is the greatest since the 1930’s. The welfare state and social services created to help the poor are being all but eliminated. Education is failing millions. Racism and hate crime is on the rise. Our environment is being pillaged and plundered for profit. People understand that the world seems to be collapsing, but they do not know what to do about it. We think that we have a clear and more accurate analysis of capitalist society, and an explanation for the tremendous social problems it inflicts upon us. The Socialist Party proposes a clear objective to the people. Being an openly socialist organisation enables us to make more rapid progress in our work. We present a clear view of socialism and advocate a social change which is in the best interest of all people. We explain WHAT we are trying to build, WHERE it is we wish to head and HOW we seek to go. We proudly advocate people not profits. We offer a viable alternative for achieving peace, justice and equality. We advocate peace, justice, equality and socialism.

Socialism is rule by the working people. They will decide how socialism is to work. This was how Marx and Engels defined socialism. They made no attempt to proclaim in advance how a socialist society is to be developed. From the days of the Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels proclaimed on the contrary that the makers of a socialist society will be the workers (proletarians) and that it is the task of socialists (or communists) to help the workers to power but not to decide for them or to lead them. To use the word “socialism” for anything but working people’s power is to misuse the term. State ownership of mines, railways, steel, etc. is not socialism, nor does this constitutes “the socialist sector of a mixed economy”. Such nationalisation is simply a degree of state capitalism, with no relation to socialism. The task of the Socialist Party, therefore, is to help and guide the transfer of power from capitalists to working people. Nor is the “Welfare State” socialist. A socialism will certainly give high priority to health, education, art, science, and the social well-being of all its members. That is why it exists, that is the purpose of its economy. But “welfare” in a capitalist state, to improve the efficiency of that state as a profit-maker, is not socialism but another form of state capitalism. It can be an improvement on capitalism with no welfare, just as a 40-hour week is an improvement on a 60-hour week. But it is not socialism. (A “Welfare State” also inevitably turns into the means tested state, as we have seen.)

The organised workers have been for the past century or more, in a position to capture the machinery of the state, on the one condition that they themselves wish to do so, i.e. that they understand that this is both necessary and possible. The political lessons are clear as could be to anyone who understands the threat and consequences of leaving capitalist in the dominant position of the state. Capitalism is maintained by class power and will only be displaced by other class power. We do not think it any longer necessary to attempt proof of the need for revolution if we are to achieve socialism, i.e. to develop an increasingly classless society. If the working people want power they will have to take it. It will not be given to them. The time is ripe for a worldwide liberation movement that defends and promotes the freedoms of all humanity from the ravaging of the 1%.

“In every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the People.” Eugene Victor Debs

Monday, August 29, 2016

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 – including the so-called "Acts of God" – earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and the rest? If God really did exist, we have no reason for supposing that he cares for us. For some in recent years, religion has combined with New Age beliefs, largely at the expense of the traditional religions whose emphasis on personal guilt, sexual repression and the inferiority of women have become unacceptable. This pick and mix approach can combine elements from the New Testament, Buddhism, psychoanalysis, paganism, astrology and various other bits of the occult. So why, the persistence of religious belief?

The socialist analysis of religion derives from our basic materialism (not in the acquisitive sense, but how we view the production of wealth in society and the sort of ideas it gives rise to). Historical materialism traces how religions have evolved, from their beginnings in ancestor worship and private property in primitive societies, to established social institutions. For the materialist, in other words, society is not really under human control and humans really are at the mercy of blind, impersonal forces – in ancient times the forces of nature, in the modern world the economic forces of capitalism. Under capitalism people feel, rightly, that they are governed by forces they can't control but attribute this, wrongly, to forces operating from outside the world of experience. Churches of all types are then at hand for the sustaining of fear and superstition. For the socialist alternative to our lives being controlled by impersonal forces, we must bring about a society in which humans consciously control the forces of production. It is on this basis that we can say, rather than being abolished, religion can be expected to (as Engels put it in another context) "wither away". And it can be seen that the socialist case against religion differs from the usual humanist position: there are rationalist superstitions as well as religious. For humanists, criticism of religion is a process towards the eventual "triumph of reason". But they ignore the material circumstances which give rise to superstition.

Some folk claim that it cannot be said that it is a scientific fact that “God does not exist”, on the grounds that it cannot be proved that a non-interventionist god does not exist. Maybe but this depends on what is meant by “exist”.  A non-interventionist god, precisely because it did not intervene in the world of observable phenomena, could not be detected and so to all intents and purposes does not exist in any meaningful sense of the word. As to an interventionist god, science does not need that hypothesis to explain the world of phenomena. Socialists try to operate in the same way that scientists do, by looking dispassionately at the evidence without prejudging the conclusions, by testing theories with prediction, and by challenging assumptions, including their own. It’s not always easy to do, but it’s not that hard either. Socialists are not on an anti-religious crusade but campaign to see the world through our eyes rather than someone else's. Religion is a class issue. We must understand our world as it is, make our own generalisations about it, come to our own conclusions. Religions are not deserving of respect just because they are religions; they must be subject to the same scrutiny as any other belief and cannot hide behind the notion that they are personal beliefs.

Atheists see themselves as defenders of the Enlightenment tradition of respect for reason and evidence against its traditional foe, religion. But they see nothing wrong about capitalism. Socialists share in the Enlightenment inheritance but recognise that the main source of irrationality in the modern world is to be found in the capitalist system of society. For socialists, therefore, the struggle against religion cannot be separated from the struggle for socialism. We fight religious superstition wherever it is an obstacle to socialism, but we are opposed to religion only insofar as it is an obstacle to socialism. Capitalism has many opiates to offer the unwary. Reject the pedlars, reject the product, but above all, reject a society which can create such an unhealthy psychological dependency. We need people that realise that the way society is structured is the result of people’s actions as they come together to produce the material things they need to exist, nothing more and nothing less. Belief in some super-natural force that steers it all would be counterproductive, to say the least. We need people who can critically understand the world and not get led along by conmen with their own agendas.

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's own religion, and justification of wars against groups holding other religions.'
Religion, then, involves belief in supernatural forces (gods, saints, and so on) but also serves functions such as providing consolation against the harshness of class society and justifying particular political views.

A frustration shared by socialists and atheists is the persistence of belief in a god to explain the world. This is partly because ‘god’ is such a quick and easy answer to so many important questions: How did we get here? Why should I behave morally? Why am I here? While science has provided a comprehensive explanation of how and when we got here, and what we are made of, it is less certain when answering the question, why? Human beings seem to have a need for religion, maybe it's a kind of security blanket in a troubled world. Socialists don't seek to ban religion since it would do little good and would probably be counter-productive. Why create martyrs?

There are two ways of opposing religion. One is to refute it as untrue, to show that there are no rational grounds, because there is no convincing evidence, for believing either in “the persistence of life after death” or in “the existence of supernatural beings”. This is the approach of the Secularists and Freethinkers and of course what they say, is true, but this leaves the impression that religion is merely an erroneous belief It leads to concentrating on refuting religious beliefs as such in a purely ideological battle while leaving everything else, including class society and capitalist relations of production, unchanged.

The second way to oppose religion is to explain its origins, development and role in materialist terms as an ideological product of the changing material economic and social conditions under which people have lived. This approach reveals religion to be a reflection of people’s lack of control over the conditions governing the production of their material means of survival and that it survives precisely because people lack this control. On this analysis, opposition to religion cannot be separated from opposition to the economic and social conditions that give rise to it. Religion won’t disappear simply because secularists and freethinkers, or for that matter socialists, refute it as untrue. It will only disappear when people are in a position to control the production of their means of life. This requires the end of the class ownership of the means of production and the end of production for the market with a view to profit and their replacement by common ownership and production directly and exclusively for use. In other words, religion cannot disappear until the conditions of which it is an ideological reflection disappear.

Belief in religion – any religion – warps and hampers the ability to think objectively, particularly about social and political issues such as those now filling the newspapers (Islam, immigration, cultural clashes, etc.). In order to grasp the urgent need for and the possibility of achieving major social change one must first be able to think clearly and to understand just how capitalism works – or, quite often, doesn't. This is something men and women are much less able to do if their heads are full of religious fantasy and their thinking is correspondingly irrational. The disappearance of all religious beliefs, whether “We poor sinners here below” or “Allah's will be done!” should be seen as an essential part of our struggle for socialism and not just as a fringe irrelevance. The first phase in the struggle to end the political and economic exploitation of our class is to learn to question the thoughts we inherit from well-intentioned parents and teachers; to challenge the strictures of the priests, parsons, rabbis and mullahs

Richard Dawkins’ approach to the question of religion is, like religion itself, an idealist one: religion is false, rationally unsustainable; morally enfeebling and a basis for hatred and division. Presumably Dawkins sees the death or meaningful diminution of religion by means of secularist persuasion just as religion hopes to resist secularisation by what it sees as ethical persuasion. Unlike Dawkins, the pioneers of scientific socialism sought to show religion as a reflex of the social organisation of society. It wasn’t simply a question of religion being false, or brutal or divisive; it was a weapon of the ruling class, a bulwark in the way of the emancipation of the working class, a hurdle to be overcome in the progress to socialism nor could it be overcome while the conditions that nourished it continued to exist. Thus, the socialist sees religion as an integral part of the class struggle while the secularist sees it simply as a harmful, false premise on which to base a system of moral rectitude. Dawkins sings the praises of science and in a general sense socialists join in the
chorus. But science, possibly more than most other disciplines, is a prisoner of capitalism. The scientists have to beg at the table of the system for funding to pursue their projects; their sponsors are usually largely mammoth capitalist enterprises bent on discerning means of further enriching their directors and shareholders or capitalist governments dedicated to the overall concerns of national capitalism. Just like the rest of us, the scientist is a prisoner of the crazy logic of the system and just like the rest of us if his or her dedicated function does not hold promise of profit for those who directly or indirectly employ them, irrespective of the potential social benefits of their work, it will be denied funding.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

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 any overall social agreement as to the right ways to live together, and so ceased to be able to make sense of any claims to moral authority. Social change happened prior to the loss of religious belief. The atomisation and shattering of community (and the education) which result from capitalism forbid the existence of any widely-accepted and consistent view of the world in terms of human values.  Thus, the staying-power of religion can be attributed to the lack of any alternative. Some religions are providing a retreat from the harsh conditions of secular life. Religion is the ideological expression of a long-gone world and its ancient social conditions, a world of superstition, slavery and little education. Far from providing an answer to today’s problems, it tells us to put our faith in the supernatural hopes of a past age. The history of religion is a deeply interesting subject, for the association of certain phases of religion with certain political interests is by no means accidental.

Socialism traces all the phenomena with which it concerns itself to natural causes, and relies on purely secular forces for its realization, while religion cannot combine with any system in which the belief in God does not rank as an essential feature. Socialism is the application of science to the relations among mankind. Socialism, as the science of society, is an essential part of a scientific view of all phenomena regarded as an interdependent whole; and such a Monistic view of the universe, with each part in inseparable causal relation to the rest, can leave no nook or cranny for God. The consistent socialist, therefore, cannot be religious and socialism implies the rejection of superstition cannot be disputed. Those whose standpoint is that of the welfare of the working class can make no appeal on the grounds of religion; for religion is an instrument of domination which cannot be used as an agent of emancipation at this stage of social development. The great theoretic weapon of the workers in their fight for emancipation is science, not religion; and religion and science are as incompatible as oil and water. Religion tends to live on through newer conditions in so far as it serves some interest. So the successive modifications of religion have been the response to changed conditions and interests.

Atheism is gaining in popularity and that their criticism of religion has struck a chord with so many people becoming converts. Atheists have been coming out of the closet in recent years. Atheists have pointed out the ill effects of religion on society and exposed the errors and outright stupidity of religious thought. But will these freethinkers also embrace the “heresy” of criticizing capitalism? Many atheists extend their criticism to the point that religion seems to be the fundamental cause of many—if not most—of the society’s ills, effectively detaching religion (evil) and science (good) from the society in which they exist and function. They overlook capitalism and the role that religion and science play within this system of production for profit. Neither religion nor science exists in a vacuum, isolated from society at large. The pursuit of science, for instance, is hardly exempt from the life-or-death struggle to accumulate capital that is all around us. Indeed, the main force that is narrowing the directions that scientific research can take is not religion but the capitalist system of production itself. Under capitalism, the development of science and technology is driven forward by the unceasing competition to raise the productivity of labour as a means of augmenting profit—not a desire to better satisfy human needs—so the potential of science to improve the quality of our lives is severely curtailed. Atheists thus do science no great favour in letting capitalism off the hook and presenting religion as the primary obstacle to the free development of science. To abolish religion is not to end exploitation. The supreme aim of the workers must be their emancipation from wage-slavery, and the fight against superstition is but one phase of this great fight.

Rather than pointing out for the thousand-and-first time that religion is bunk, or describing its negative impact on society, socialists would pose the more interesting question: Why does religious thought continue to exist (and even flourish) in modern capitalist society? That is to say: Why does “God”—who has been declared dead on so many occasions—keep cropping up in people’s imaginations? To answer that question we need to consider the relationship between religion and society. More specifically: What is the usefulness of religion as far as capitalism is concerned, and what aspects of life in capitalist society make religious thought appealing to individuals?

In a class-divided society, religious thought comes in handy for those in positions of wealth and power. It promises workers—who happen to form the bulk of the population—that we will get some pie in the sky (after we die), as a reward for our suffering here on earth. Religious leaders encourage their working class “flock” to stoically accept their existence as wage slaves, going on about how “the meek shall inherit the earth.” The benefits to the ruling class of inculcating workers with such a masochistic outlook goes without saying. Granted, the rich are lambasted in most “Holy Books” and told that they should give up their wealth if they hope to enter heaven. In reality, the religious criticism of the rich and powerful, far from threatening their social position, only serves to reinforce their rule. Religion may promise that the filthy rich will be punished but the court date is in the hereafter, not the here-and-now. While religious ideology is no doubt a useful means of dampening social discontent it would seem safe to say that the key ideology propagated by capitalists is not religion, but nationalism, which is more effective in blinding workers to their class interests and chaining them to a system that turns their blood and sweat into profits. Capitalists, however, do not have to choose between religion and nationalism. Both come in handy as far as distorting the nature of the problems we face and offering false solutions. They also complement each other nicely: religion encouraging patient suffering, while nationalism offers a way to channel frustrations. The point to note here is simply that one important reason why religion continues to exist and to be enthusiastically propagated, is that a religious outlook—particularly its focus on a better life after death instead of here on earth—serves the interests of the minority ruling class.

Explaining the benefits of religious ideology for the capitalist class, however, does not account for why individuals actually believe in religion. Religion can diminish the frustrations we experience in class society, offering the hope (illusion) of divine reward and retribution in an afterlife. Perhaps some souls do invest in religious faith in the hope of later gain, or out of fear of eternal damnation, but that does not adequately explain the stubborn charms of religion in modern-day capitalism. More than the temptation of immortality it offers, much of religion’s power seems to come from its view of the real world in which we live and the answers it provides to baffled and worried minds. By offering a criticism of the status quo, and suggestions for social improvements, religion is able to attract some of the vast majority of people who are frustrated with life under capitalism. But the superficial criticism that religion offers only serves to bolster capitalism, suggesting that the problem is our “sinful” behaviour rather than a social system that encourages and rewards such behaviour. Religion holds out the hope that life on earth could be better.

As long as its social foundation remains intact, religion will continue to exist—no matter how many times it has been refuted. Atheists who only fight against religion—turning a blind eye to the hell of capitalism—thus ironically end up prolonging the life of their bĂȘte noire.

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 to society and social change. Religious people believe in the existence of at least one supernatural entity that intervenes in nature and human affairs. Socialists hold that we only live once. Religious people believe in some afterlife. Clearly, the two are incompatible. In short, the belief in a creator stands in direct opposition to the materialist conception of history. The Socialist Party is a materialist party, grounded in an approach that says humans make history and create their own institutions.  Essentially the materialist conception of history suggests that any historical period is to be understood by the way in which men set about satisfying their needs at that time – in other words by the mode of production in operation. It also goes further than this and it suggests that the superstructure of society (that is its culture, its conception of legality, its religious and scientific ideas and so on) is rooted in the mode of production. It follows, of course, that in a period of social revolution, when one mode of production is being replaced by another (feudalism by capitalism, for example) there will be a correspondingly massive upheaval in men’s ideas and in the ways in which they interpret the world. It is in this sort of way that Marxists explain a phenomenon such as the Reformation. We point out that the protestant ethic is brilliantly adapted to the needs of the rising capitalist class, in the same way that the ideology of the Catholic church formed one of the mainstays of feudal society. Thus Reformation and Catholic backlash represented the struggle between feudalism and capitalism being fought out on the battlefield of ideas, with religious interpretation and dogma as the weapons.

This approach as a matter of course precludes any approach to the world that involves intervention by transcendent entities, be they God, D'jinn or Faeries. If all human ideas emerge from material conditions, then that is where the idea of god originated too. Remove the "supernatural" and there is no religion. What is religion without the idea of a god that intervenes in the lives of human beings? The Epicureans didn't contest that the gods existed somewhere in the ether but denied that they had any influence on human affairs and so didn't need worshipping or placating. Were they religious? Religions exist that do not believe in higher powers, or afterlives, or are personal, or are organised so I think these are all red herrings of a definition. What characterises all religion is that the process that it makes assertions (generally not restricted to metaphysics) is not strictly through reason, rationalisation, deduction, observation or testing.

Socialists hold that materialist explanations of human society and the rest of nature supersede supernatural ones. A religious perspective won't necessarily prevent anyone from striving to abolish capitalism and its evils, and the ethical elements of religious teachings may even be what first make many people aware of the injustices of a class-divided society. But they don't in themselves lead to an understanding of the causes of such injustices. (More often than not, religious institutions themselves justify and commit them.) The world socialist perspective is in any case essentially post-religious because the case for socialism hinges on the scientific use of evidence. Socialists, therefore, look on supernatural explanations as obsolete.

Socialists see it as pointless to demolish religion with rational and logical criticism. The kind of change in society that the socialist party is proposing then mere atheism is not enough. All members of the socialist party are "atheists" (we do not permit people with religious viewpoints to join) though they may not self-describe as such. But mere atheism on its own is not enough. Prominent "new atheists" such as Sam Harris are just an apologist for the present order. It is said that Unitarian Christians is the last step before atheism.

Putting aside organised religion or "life after death", atheists realise any religion is essentially by definition irrational reasoning but don't necessarily say it is harmful to society. What atheists fail to effectively explain is why irrational ideas arise and become powerful at holding back society. Socialists avoid taking up absolute or, as you might say, supra-historical positions. We do not argue that religion has always been reactionary. Over long periods it did represent a progressive force. We must try to look at religion in terms of the social function it fulfils. One important reason why we cannot afford to lower our guard towards religion is that not all peoples have reached a similar level of religious understanding and scepticism. Around the world,  religion is still very much a weapon wielded by the present ruling class and since we are world socialists and do not just restrict our vision tour own shores, we must actively confront religion in these areas – as far as we can. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

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 present social order.

 Despite the wiles of the pro-capitalist class politicians and anti-socialists, the Socialist Party has not deviated from the Socialist principles or changed its policy. Our case is clear, direct and simple and is the only one in the interests of the workers. The only thing that matters is the development of a consciousness of working-class solidarity. Socialism is the answer to every social question importance. Socialism knows no frontier. It matters nothing that the UK may be peopled by any or all nationalities on the capitalist globe. That would make no difference to the movement of the working class towards the world-embracing co-operative commonwealth. The workers of all nations make common cause against the common capitalist exploiter.

At our public meetings, we stressed the fact that voters who are not in favour of sweeping revolution should not vote for our delegate. We also stress our opposition to reform policies and point out that we could do nothing for the workers: that socialism was something the workers must accomplish themselves. Over the years we have been told that if we wait until the workers understand socialism we would have to wait hundreds of years. As workers, we repudiated this smear at the intelligence of our class. We have at our disposal, the best of all weapons, the only solution to working class poverty and misery, and working class brains, energy and enthusiasm with which to put it forward. Workers are at last turning away from the sterile policies that have befogged them and are now willing to listen to the case for socialism.

Marx talked about alienation as a separation from the fruits of one's labour. While that is certainly truer than ever, the separation and isolation now is more extensive and governs the entirety of social life in a consumer-based society run by the demands of commerce and the financialisation of everything which has created a new kind of social formation and social order in which it becomes difficult to form communal bonds, deep connections, a sense of intimacy, and long-term commitments. Rather than suffering alone individuals need to be able to identify -- see themselves and their daily lives -- collectively. The Socialist Party is working to change consciousness, making education central to politics itself, exposing the cheerleaders for the capitalist elite and the corporations who destroy every vestige of solidarity in the interest of amassing huge amounts of wealth and power.  Humans count for little more than machines.

Friday, August 26, 2016

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 the market determines. Even in the extreme of state-capitalism, a centrally planned command economy turned out to be nothing more than changing and modifying those so-called Five-Year Plans, planning in retrospect. A common feature of mainstream economic thought and their standard text-books is that they never question markets themselves. That is why markets are at times described as a manifestation of natural laws.  

The fundamental principle of the commons is that the people who create the commons also create the laws (rules) for themselves. With common ownership, people are connected to one another. They use common resources, devise rules to sustain or increase them, and find the social forms that fit best. The starting point is always the needs of the people involved, and those needs are not necessarily the same. In socialism, it is not about individuals’ abstract equality, but rather their concrete uniqueness. Socialism is as explained in the Communist Manifesto “an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” The Ubuntu philosophy of the Zulu and Xhosa puts it in these words: “I am because you are, and I can be only if you are.”

We witness rules of open-access usage which make sense for things s that are non-rival and not consumed or “used up” (such as collaborative websites like Wikipedia or free software programs); such rules help avoid underuse of the resource and the danger that they might be abandoned. In contrast, for those things that are consumptive, such as land, water or fisheries, require other sorts of rules because in such cases the problem is overuse, not underuse. We have learned from Elinor Ostrom that drawing such boundaries is important. What is decisive is these rules are recognized by the community as reasonable or necessary. Here, the primary issue is not whether something immediately pays off, but that it is sustainable so that everyone involved can benefit in the long term.

 Conflicts of interest or opinion are to be resolved in such a way that everyone feels that the process and its results are fair. We should always expect and indeed encourage amicable and comradely disagreements. With socialism, people are participants in running the affairs of society and are in charge of shaping and steering the social relationships involved; therefore, they can take responsibility for their actions. It is possible to deal with conflicting goals and varying needs before taking action. In the capitalist market, however, it is action that comes first, and then the consequences are faced later because maximum profits are the touchstone for choice. We want to drive on a good road network without congestion but object to having major roads pass in front of our front doors. We want environmentally friendly energy to replace nuclear power, but we object to windmills marring the landscape. We object to fish stocks being depleted but want to purchase fresh and cheap fish. Different needs and goals conflict with one another, and the one that can mobilize the most market and political power will prevail. Whichever option earns money prevails.  First, we create a fait accompli, then we have to suffer the consequences.

 In socialism, people are capable of mediating between different needs and desires from the outset. Farmers can come to an understanding about the joint usage of pastures in advance, and can do so time and again to avoid over-exploitation of the common resource; fisher-folk can arrange for sustainable fishing quotas, in contrast to nation-states, each of which wants maximum usage for itself; free software projects can agree on programming priorities. Filmmaker Kevin Hansen explains that common ownership cultivates a sense of overarching responsibility: “A commons approach innately presumes responsibility and rights for all. No one is left out. It is the responsibility of all commons trustees (effectively, this means everyone) to be responsible – even for those who do not speak…. This includes not only the young, elderly or disabled people who cannot speak for themselves. It also means the disenfranchised, the poor, the indigenous and other humans who have traditionally not had a significant voice in politics and economics.”

Self-organized common ownership works if it is, in fact, self-determined. The rules of common ownership will be made by the various communities themselves in light of their particular circumstances. With countless collectives engaged in production and distribution, successful best practice will easily be identified and taken into account elsewhere. The different decision-making processes involve understanding and accepting people’s different needs and requirements so may be it in form of consensus or compromise but it is certain people will experience a sense of fairness and will not feel aggrieved. Socialism works only if everybody is included in the community and nobody is excluded. It is based on cooperation, and will generate cooperation. Socialism enables responsible action, and, in fact, require it. People can live as what they have actually always been: societal beings who jointly create their living conditions. In contrast to the logic of the capitalist market, individuals have nothing to gain from competition and gaining at other people’s expense.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

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 depletion of raw earth minerals to produce clones of other commodities, to compete and sell. Or the wasteful overproduction arising out of competition leading to gluts and economic crises and depressions when inevitably prices and profits fall before human needs can be satisfied, as this is not the criteria for capitalist production but profit alone is.

 Capitalism is not amenable to reform. The free market system requires a majority to be exploited of their surplus value. It is but one of the many paradoxes of capitalism that it has shrunk the world only to divide society into smaller and smaller fragments. That it has progressed at breakneck speed in the fields of travel and communication yet it has divided and alienated us from our true humanity.

Distribution is rationed by wages (wage rations only entitle one to so much food clothing, shelter something to bring up the next generation of wage slaves, and are only sufficient to compel attendance for further exploitation) and prices, according to what the market can bear in order to make a profit. No profit no production. Regardless of needs. Human needs are unsatisfied. To resolve human needs, capitalism would need to cease exploiting workers for their surplus value, (profit) competing with other capitalists (overproduction leading to unsellable gluts) and have production for use.

 In most ecological problems, capitalism prevents a solution, because of competition, until it is forced upon them. Capitalism manufactures wants, such as those created by the car industry, which can't be laid at the door of workers. Capitalism also manifests a reluctance to produce more environmentally friendly transportation. Change only came about as a consequence of political action. Remember when Ralph Nader highlighted how the car corporations made deathtraps. It is an argument for socialism. An end to wasteful competition and production.

 The post war housing booms were a part of the 'homes for hero's' promises to win power over us, post -war and a necessary requisite for capitalism. Slum conditions were the norm for swathes of Glasgow, up to 1950's and 60's. The Socialist Party of Great Britain speaker Dick Donnelly, down at Glasgow's flea market, 'The Barras' often joked, "They don't need to pull them down now they fall down", pointing to a dilapidated building, until one Sunday, to his bemusement, it was no longer there, having fallen down.

 The solution of council housing, was welcome enough at the time, inside bathrooms, hot water and so on, a luxury initially, to build new flats and some houses in the peripheries of the city, in places like Easterhouse, Drumchapel, Castlemilk, but these we came with fewer social amenities, the building of them provided employment for many, but when the council housing boom ended the dole queue beckoned for those unfortunate enough to have not secured a place in the light engineering factories sprung up, but soon to vanish with the Thatcherite wind of change.

  Capitalism's profit requirements will place severe constraints on what any government can achieve and that, like their predecessors, they will have to compromise and run the economic system in favour of the capitalist elites which he currently rails against.

If you have waged labour, an employing class, a state, a coercive state apparatus, production for sale, elite control, a war machine, buying and selling, you have capitalism, whether corporate, state, or private or some mix of those, despite the 'socialistic' labels the scoundrels or good intentioned guys hang upon their electoral pitches, for power over the people.

 Socialists of our ilk pointed out that the Russian revolution was a post feudal one as early as 1918. The Socialist Party welcomed the ending of the Russian involvement in the “Great” War in January 1918, "...Whatever may be the final outcome... they have stopped the slaughter, for the time being, at all events, on their front".
In August 1918 it said, ".. .and equipped with the knowledge requisite, for the establishment of the social ownership of the means of life? Unless a mental revolution such as the world has never seen before has taken place, or an economic change has occurred immensely more rapidly than history has recorded, the answer is “No!”

 Socialism does not require everyone, only the majority. In any case it is in their self-interest and the perception of this by the majority, prior to the social revolution is surely something educationally sine qua non. The needs of capitalism creates the potential for the grave-diggers of capitalism to acquire the skills to run the post-capitalist society. Just as its bourgeois democracy is its Achilles heel.  The capitalist class recognise this but the working class has yet to do so.

 There is nothing in the make-up of human beings that would prevent their freely working together and then freely taking from the common store what they need. The human nature argument to counter socialist ideas is one the worst ones to make. It is one of slaves justifying their waged slavery.
 “Oh woe is me 'twas ever thus.”… “The poor shall always be with us” - Crap. 

 Human behaviour, on the other hand, is socially conditioned. People, unfortunately, persist in extrapolating that behaviour from an intensive dog-eat-dog competitive society, will be carried through into the new one and forget that volunteerism even in capitalism exists, despite pressure to work all hours with an accelerated rate of exploitation for most workers. Isn’t there the contradiction that human behaviour is social.

 That there have been societies based on voluntary work and free co-operation.  That some work today, for example the dangerous work of manning lifeboats, is done voluntarily.  There have been societies where there has been free access to some of the necessities of life.  Those things, such as water from a public drinking tap, that are more or less freely available today are not grabbed or hoarded.

 It is workers who design build and innovate things. The capitalist class don't, (with some exceptions, perhaps, of Dyson.) They are superfluous, except in a capitalist economy when their capital is required, but the working class are essential. It is workers who are the scientists, engineers, techno freaks, many of the parasite class don't even make investment decisions now, they hire workers to do so.

Although politicians have on occasion declared that “we are all middle class now” a survey shows that Britons have clung to working-class values even when they have moved up in the income scale. Nearly half of people in managerial and professional occupations identify as working class. The former middle class became the dominant capitalist class once they had overthrown, then absorbed the aristocracy, landowners etc.  All class societies are based on the separation of the producers from the means of production.

 Under capitalism the means of production and distribution monopolised by a minority function as “capital”, as wealth used to produce other wealth with a view to profit. The source of this profit is the unpaid labour of the working class. Being excluded from the ownership and control of the means of production, the working class can only get a living by selling their ability to work, mental and physical, to a capitalist employer for a wage or salary.

 But this wage or salary, representing the value of the labour power they have sold, is less than the value of what they produce. The difference is surplus value and belongs to the capitalists who have bought the labour power. It is the source of their profits and of all other property and privilege incomes.

Socialism means no private, state or corporate, ownership. We will in effect need to assume responsibility for the management of resources we commonly own. The people who make this revolution will be committed to making it work. In Animal Farm Orwell was parodying a dictatorship over the proletariat. Not a commonly owned and democratically controlled world. There will be plenty of volunteers when the money economy does not exist. History has vindicated Marx.

 All previous societies have been scarcity ones. Capitalism's function was to usher in the capability of producing an abundance, but it cannot resolve the problem of distribution and the fact that it has to put a brake on production as its intense competition leads overproduction, a glut on the markets, war over raw materials, trade routes and spheres of geopolitical interest, wasteful war production, and wasteful use of planetary resources. It depends who owns and controls the machines.

“One man with an idea in his head is in danger of being considered a madman: two men with the same idea in common may be foolish, but can hardly be mad; ten men sharing an idea begin to act, a hundred draw attention as fanatics, a thousand and society begins to tremble, a hundred thousand and there is war abroad, and the cause has victories tangible and real; and why only a hundred thousand? Why not a hundred million and peace upon the earth? You and I who agree together, it is we who have to answer that question.” William Morris

Wee Matt

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 know that is not the case. We do know that a number of Eastern Europeans in the area are very reluctant to report crime."

Marek Balog, originally from Slovakia said: "People are coming to Scotland to work, not live off benefits. They are willing to work for less than the minimum wage. About 30-40% work for less than the minimum wage. Some have to do it to survive.” Calina Toqer, from Romania said some women were so poor they raked through the charity clothes bins.

Jim Monaghan, head of the Govanhill Baths Community Trust,
said: "Poverty is the main problem in the area and has been for a long time. The problems came here before the Roma. Sometimes it's exacerbated by the amount of people and lack of housing but that's not about who the people are. There's a lot of one-bedroom flats. They're easy to get without references and so people gravitate here. People that already have problems gravitate here. There's far too many people living here. Years ago it was 8,500. Now it's 14,000."

 A study found that local Roma were fed-up with the rubbish on the streets and in the closes. New figures show that since January the council has collected 900 tonnes of waste and recyclable material from domestic and commercial premises in the area. In addition, they've collected 485 tonnes of illegally fly-tipped material from pavements and lanes.

In the past four years there have been 1,428 incidences of mites such as bed bugs and fleas, and 1,864 incidences of cockroaches. Rachel Moon, of Govanhill Law Centre, said: "Govanhill has the highest concentration of cockroaches in Scotland. Quite often they just travel up and down the flats and it is really difficult to eradicate them. It is made so much worse by fly-tipping by private landlords. Rather than buying new mattresses they just take them from the street and it goes round in a circle. We have had clients with pock marks all over their arms and their children have pock marks all over their arms and they are sitting scratching because of all the lice and bed bugs. Often people don't want to have anything to do with public authority. They don't want to give evidence or take a case. They just want somewhere to live. Many clients are getting paid less than the minimum wage but they say they are happy to have a job."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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 been complaints, as well as the ability to carry out disclosure checks on problem landlords. To date, no compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) have been used to force their hand. Jim Monaghan, head of the Govanhill Baths Community Trust, has criticised the "light touch" of the project. He said: "The idea was to attack rogue landlords, the people that were bringing the area down if you like. Without CPOs to reach the targets they need they're just buying houses from people who want to move out. There's advantages of it coming back into public ownership but it certainly wasn't the plan. The EEA was designed to tackle the worst landlords and I don't believe that's happened at all."

"The worst cases are the ones with newborn babies in flats that don't have running water," said Rachel Moon, of Govanhill Law Centre. The centre sees hundreds of new clients every week who are living in substandard homes or who have had their deposits stolen. And she said the landlords are often at the root of the problem. "The audacity of some of the landlords is totally remarkable," she said. "We must have had 12 cases in five weeks of slum landlords moving into property that was being demolished. They were changing locks, making up fake tenancy agreements and putting signs in the window saying the property was for rent. People were phoning the number, paying the deposit and the first month's rent. But obviously this was not a legal tenancy so the clients were then losing their property."

Ch. Insp Graham McInarlin, of Police Scotland, said they were investigating reports of landlords who have been struck off but remain in business. He said: "They take over a derelict property, take several months of rent up front and in actual fact they don't own the flat in the first place." One landlord has 17 trading standards cases against him.

Shaban Rehman, was de-registered as a landlord in May after taking £7,000 of deposits from tenants. His Better Homes letting agency was dissolved earlier this year, but BBC Scotland has learned that the business in Govanhill has remained open. He has now being reported to prosecutors for alleged fraud, theft and for acting as a landlord while unregistered.

Mohammed Nawaz has been described as one of Scotland's most notorious landlords. Mr Nawaz, who owned a host of flats in Govanhill, was banned in 2012 from acting as a private landlord and letting agent. Local agencies say he has continued to practice through relatives and friends. He faces two trials in the next six months for charges including threats of violence, aggressive behaviour, approaching tenants outside of property and threatening to return to evict them, embezzlement, theft, fraud, forcing entry and changing locks.

Johar Mirza, wanted by the FBI in connection with alleged fraud, is under investigation by Police Scotland for his practices as a landlord. He is currently serving a prison sentence for attacking a woman but he is still registered as a landlord. Officers say his properties are still being let to tenants and some fall below tolerable standards.

Mohammed Adam Hussain was sequestrated for outstanding debts to the council. He is also under investigation for breaching landlord registration rules in the area.
Mohammed Aslam was de-registered by Glasgow City Council in 2008 following an investigation which concluded he was "not a fit and proper person" to be a landlord. But Mr Aslam is the currently back on trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court and faces charges against him: that he acted as a landlord without the required registration with Glasgow City Council.

The SPGB says it is no use to approach the problem with just another slum clearance scheme. It needs a world in which society's first concern is for the security and happiness of the human race. It is said you can recognizse a landlord from his girth, gained from high rents on slum dwellings inhabited by poor people. It is a strange thing how all these well-intentioned people overlook one thing. The investigators have all commented on the fact that these homeless families all live on low wages so it is the families with low incomes who are liable to be homeless. The rent is too high, the income is too low. Poverty is the word, and the present increase in the number of homeless is due to just that. The whole question of housing or lack of it throughout the world, is part of the problem of poverty.

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 employers who will eventually cut wages.

Capitalism in Britain exists in the context of political democracy, which means that political parties openly supporting capitalism have to be able to command a wide degree of popular support. The Tory Party, which in Britain is the party of Big Business and the rich, cannot just baldly proclaim that it exists to act in the interest of the few before everyone else's. They have to convince people that capitalism is in the general interest. Similarly, the Labour party have to resort to persuasive subterfuge to profess 'socialistic' intentions while actually being a business friendly, capitalism supporting party, to gain the power to govern over workers. Governments don't cause or cure recessions. It is an inevitable part of capitalism. Banks don't cause or cure recessions either. When trade is in a slump they may speculate more (gamble) to keep the pot boiling, in the hope trade picks up, but eventually, it bites them in the ass.

No, the emancipation of the working class is freedom from waged slavery, common ownership of all the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth, production for use, utilising technological and informational infrastructure to provide self-regulation stock control systems and free access for all within a delegatory democratic administration over resources and not people. A post-capitalist society and damn all to do with, nationalisation, or the state capitalism imposed by the feudal conditions of the , Russian experience.

Socialism cannot be given to -down, nor imposed by some putsch. It is then possible for it to be a peaceful one using the Achilles heel of capitalist democracy, in those countries where the ballot box is the norm.

This time, it won’t be a minority-led revolution like all previous ones, but the last great emancipation of the wage-slaves, by themselves and for themselves against the iniquitous minority ownership. Socialism/Communism are interchangeable terms for a post-capitalist society, where the means of production and distribution are owned in common, by us all and not the state. There are NO means of exchange, as it is a free access society and the absence of a leading economic elite, renders the state also, obsolete. Socialism is a majority led, post-capitalist, production for use, commonly owned, free access, society. Socialism can only be built upon the technological advances of capitalism. It has nothing to do with state ownership, dictatorial or otherwise, but is a commonly owned, production for use, free access, a democratic society run by us all. The only way that the working class – can protect themselves from the adverse effects of globalisation is to get together with their counterparts in other countries to replace global capitalism with global socialism where the Earth’s productive resources will have become the common heritage of all humanity.

Sanders’ or Corbyn's ‘socialist’ revolution is not on offer, nor in their power to gift to us. They are offering reform of capitalism, quite a different proposition. The task of making a socialist revolution is in the hands of the immense majority imbued with the knowledge that capitalism cannot be reformed and it needs to be replaced. For workers everywhere, the solution to their problems lies not in choosing a charismatic populist leader, but in collectively organising to get rid of capitalism and establish socialism. Capitalism is not made any nicer by voting for its continuation under a new government over you. Regardless of it being Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Purple or Tartan. Relegate capitalism to the 'Museum of Antiquity' along with money, nation states, wage slavery and war, by explaining what socialism is, rather than what apologists of capitalism say it is.

"I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition; as it is now the capitalists use your heads and your hands" Eugene Debs

Wee Matt