Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What is Money

Money is merely a means of exchange, in a commonly owned world, where production is for use, no means of exchange would be necessary access could be free and, money would be in the museums of antiquity.

The monetary system has evolved gradually and has been in existence as a system for about 250 years in England and for a much shorter period abroad. We make a distinction between the ancient coinage of Greece, Carthage and Rome, which although used to effect the exchange of commodities was at that period incidental to the main stream of an exchange system which was based on surpluses and barter.

As a general social form, money developed alongside the development of commodity production, and at the point in history when all wealth was produced in the form of commodities money became the universal medium or equivalent through which all exchange transactions were carried out.

The first condition for the introduction of a monetary system is when social products become commodities, i.e. articles produced for sale and exchange. It is quite obvious that commodities cannot go to the market on their own. As they are owned by someone or other, he is the person who will take or send them there.

Likewise, there are other owners of commodities carrying out a similar function. Each will recognize the other as a private proprietor — that is, they respect each other’s rights to dispose of the social product to their own immediate advantage. Eventually they embellish their right through a set of legal relations:

"This juridical relation, which thus expresses itself in a contract, whether such contract be part of a developed legal system or not, is a relation between two wills, and is but the reflex of the real economical relation between the two. It is this economical relation that determines the subject matter in each such juridical act." (Marx, Capital Vol. I, p. 96. Kerr ed.)

 Read the chapter on Money on Capital, on how money is transformed into capital. Money by itself is not capital.
 The transformation of Money into Capital

Wealth is torrented upwards to the owners of the means of producing and distributing it. It is created by the wage slaves but rationed out to them in the form of wages and salaries based upon the value of the workers commodity, 'labour power'.

The value of a commodity, even the workers commodity, is dependent upon the amount of 'socially necessary' labour time incorporated within it. (Note value and price are not the same thing.) Exploitation takes place at the point of production. This labour power produces a surplus value for the employer which is realised on the market place. This is so even if the employee is engaged in non-manufacturing, say a service industry as they are a part of supporting the wealth generating sector or a part of its maintainance, say as health workers.

Capitalists are not 'bad’ people, it is not a question of morality, but rather, the necessity of capital to accumulate arises out of its economic class interest, which can only be done so from exploiting the workers disadvantaged economic situation (i.e. non-ownership of the means of production and distribution) for their capacity to produce surplus value, when exploited for waged rations. We are not making a moral argument, but a class one.

Wee Matt

Organise. Organise. Organise.

As anyone can clearly see, the world is heading closer to the brink of environmental disaster brought about by the rapacious and ruthless nature of capitalism. In these disturbing times, it is refreshing to see movements appear and spread globally, saying, in effect, 'There must be something better than capitalism.’ Many are beginning to realize that it is pointless getting rid of a government and putting a new one in power if its intention is to continue to administer the system for the benefit of the ruling class. These revolutionary ideas cannot be stopped at borders and they don't need leaders. So to those people, we say that socialism, common ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth, production for use, not profit, free access to all humanity to the goods our society produces, will solve our major problems. Take a look at our case and act. We are working for a society where there is no such thing as a capitalist class or a working class. The basics of capitalist society are that the working class produces the world's wealth that the capitalist class legally steal and apportion the loot out among themselves in the form of fat-cat dividends, CEO salaries, share options, and bonuses. The only answer is a society where production is for use, where all may freely partake of the world's wealth, and money, in any form, does not exist.

Capitalist society teaches everyone from birth to shun that which is different. It's a case of 'hate him, he's black, or white, or has long hair, or short hair, is a Protestant, a Catholic, a Shiite Muslim, a Sunni Muslim, a Jew, an immigrant, an atheist, and so on.’ The list is endless because there are millions of specific and superficial differences, but they all have one common denominator - that at a given time and place this person or persons is different to the rest and therefore deserves to be attacked in one way or another.

By the above, the capitalist class, whether it be part of the secular or religious authorities, achieves two objectives. They create pressure to conform and give protestors someone to blame when the going gets tough. As socialists, we believe that these differences are superficial and should not divide the working class; that, a member of the working class i.e. anyone who sells their labour-power for a wage or salary, has more in common with the worker anywhere than a capitalist who lives in the same country.

The fact that the reaction to hard times in Pakistan has taken the form of religious differences is further testament (no pun intended) to how the capitalist class everywhere strives to maintain ignorance among the working class. Religion, which is another word for superstition, is something people cling to when it seems all hope has gone. As Marx said, 'Religious suffering is at the same time an expression of real suffering and a protest against suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of men is a demand for their real happiness. The call to abandon their illusions about their condition is a call to abandon a condition which requires illusions."

Socialists, too, are divisive. We divide the nonsense from the truth. Nothing but a socialist society can save the world's population from the disaster it's heading into. We stand on the cusp of financial and environmental collapse and quarreling amongst ourselves prevents organizing to avoid it. Nor can one blame the capitalist class for their lies that perpetuate capitalism. They are driven by economic conditions, just as the working class is so driven.


There is only one answer to intolerance, genocide, destruction of the environment, food and water shortages, preventable diseases, poverty, and war, and that is the establishment of a socialist society. So why not study the case for socialism now and organise for its arrival and a world organisation that is capable of tackling those problems.

Solidarity is our protection

Capitalism is full of social problems but politicians say they don't have the money for all projects and  programmes that would be required to solve them. Because our present society is organised on the basis of the capitalist mode of production. That means the small minority who own the means of producing wealth get to distribute it, too. And they feel they are entitled to the lion's share. That means that money for the benefit of society, in general, is scarce. The more money that goes to society, the less goes to the owners. So, if we accept that the situation is caused by money, the obvious answer would be to abolish money and establish a society of common ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth. That means abolishing capitalism, the system that relies on money, profit and the market system, a system that is designed to meet the needs of the capitalist class at the expense of those who do the work and create all the wealth. As everyone would have free access to the goods and services produced by society, poverty would be a thing of the past. Capitalism will never be able to do that.

The Socialist Party offers a solution and that is to establish a system of common ownership of the means of producing wealth and free access for all to the goods that are produced. This will mean that society as a whole, not a tiny minority, decides where the wealth goes.
"But it can't be done" many say, 'society needs a means of exchange.' Wrong. Capitalist production needs it, a sane society doesn't.

Some may be surprised to learn that for 97% of the time mankind has inhabited the earth, he lived without it, and it has only been in the last two or three hundred years that monetary exchange has dominated.

Some then ask, 'Who will go to work if they are not getting paid?' The answer is that millions do now, as volunteers, time and labour freely given for something they enjoy and/or believe in.

In a socialist society, all would contribute to the common wealth by performing tasks they enjoy or think are important. In the unlikely event, there were tasks that nobody wanted to do, automation could do so. In a socialist society, the problems besetting the planet would not exist because they would be irrelevant. With no money, and hence no problems relating to it, public services could be maintained and improved, including, and especially, those relating to the health and well-being of the citizens. Homeless shelters would not exist because there will be no homeless. Fear of unemployment will not exist because there will be no employment in the accepted sense. All will contribute freely according to their abilities and partake from the common store of wealth according to their needs. The problems around the globe are the natural consequence of the operation of the capitalist mode of production. We need to change that.

Surely by now it is  clearly shown that the competitive nature of capitalism makes any attempts to work out reform solutions are doomed to failure. They are just foolhardy attempts to make capitalism work. It has been clearly shown over the last two hundred years that capitalism can work in one way only - producing profits expropriated by the capitalist class from the surplus-labour of the working class. A life of struggle and uncertainty with poverty, unemployment, war, and pollution a natural and constant condition is the lot of the workers. Furthermore, competing interests of the capitalist class in the various countries of the world will only doom reforms to failure. If anyone wants a pristine environment, fairness, equality, peace, or security, they won't find it under capitalism, which is another good reason to work for socialism and get rid of capitalism - it's way past its 'best before' date.

Socialists have always argued that it makes no fundamental difference which party is elected if it stands for the continuance of the capitalist system. Some will argue that, though this is the case, nevertheless, some parties are more inclined to initiate reform measures beneficial to the working class than others. Certainly, there have been reforms but often their effects are temporary and can, and sometimes are, diluted or canceled when another party takes power. Furthermore, directly or indirectly, reforms are beneficial to the capitalist class or they would have a tougher time getting through the legislatures, e.g. safety legislation in the work-place means the insurance companies don't have to fork out large payments. Reforms to give equal rights to minorities delude these minorities into thinking they have equality with everyone else but, in reality, there is no equality under the capitalist system, nor will there be until that system is swept away and replaced by common ownership of the means of production. One of the great reforms initiated in the twentieth century was the NHS of 1948. Naturally, it was hailed as a wonderful event; the poorer sections of the working class had access to health care that previously was denied to them. Socialists did not oppose it as it benefited the working class but pointed out the class nature of the act. During the Second World War, many conscripts, after a decade of depression and hunger, were found to be in an unhealthy condition and not ready to fight capitalism's war. Enhanced health care took care of that. Nor can it be argued that if reforms don't solve everyone's problems, the quality of elected officials must make some difference. The answer to that is minimal while retaining the system that caused the problem


Capitalism is a market system and nothing can change that. When a market exists for a product, competing capitalists glut that market with far more product than can be bought in the hope of higher profits, supply eventually outstrips demand, resulting in recession, lay-offs and all the accompanying misery for the working class. War is part of the functioning of capitalism as competing sections of the capitalist class clash over resources and trade, sending members of the working class to fight for their interests. Within capitalism, there is no solution. Booms and busts and the unpredictability of the market will continue. The only permanent solution will occur when a class-conscious majority of the working class decide to elect socialist deputies to the state legislatures around the world with the mandate to abolish capitalism in favour of a socialist society.

Co-ops - Self-exploitation

We have nothing against working in a 'workers cooperative' if it means better conditions at work under capitalism and not being treated like shit every single day - though whether it does this long term is open to question. Similarly, we’d all rather work for a boss who at least treats us like a human being rather than a boss who acts like a little Hitler and makes us miserable every day. However, seeing cooperatives as anything other than a localised, immediate, temporary and partial solution for improving your working lifestyle is definitely a big mistake. And if cooperatives were taken as something more than a palliative measure to problems at work, then those involved face failure and demoralization. We do not think that the capitalist system can be gradually changed by the multiplication of cooperatives. The real interests of the working class are served only through the abolition of the wages system.

For those of us brought up in the struggle against the idea that it is possible to build socialism in one country, the conception of ‘mini-socialism’ co-operatives in one factory’ has little attraction. Some defend these and accuse critics of dogmatism and they argue that unless workers gain experience of management before the socialist revolution, they will not be able to learn from one day to the next, upon the transfer of power. The experience of small-scale self-management under capitalism, they explain, is useful education and preparation. Many examples are quoted yet here have been many examples of workers’ cooperatives that went wrong, and where they have ‘succeeded’ – it has been in capitalist terms, transforming themselves into profitable capitalist enterprises, operating in the same way as any other capitalist business. None of the successes could have been achieved without the acquiescence of the banks, of all the economic institutions and above all, the State. Co-ops can only exist to the extent that it is tolerated by the capitalist regime as a whole. For this reason, there is no way in which it can pose any solutions for the working class as a whole.

Our goal is what some have called the “community of goods”; everything is to be made common property, everything will be everybody’s. “The association of free men who work with the means of production and who employ, following a concerted plan, their numerous individual forces as a single force of social labor … the work of freely associated men who act consciously and are masters of their own social activity”; “free and equal association of the producers”; such was for Marx and Engels the form of socialism. Association—this is the key-word of socialism: individuals, instead of acting, as in capitalism, each for himself, associate with one another for the purposes of common labour. This simple definition of socialism already allows it to be distinguished from certain false socialisms. The variety of “self-management socialism” making the workers the owners of the enterprise has no trace in the Marxist conception of any kind of “communitarian social order.” It has changed nothing: the enterprise is still autonomous, and therefore competes with other enterprises in the same sector; for this reason, it is the market rather than a “concerted plan” that regulates production, and is, therefore, subject to all the fluctuations of the market; finally, as in capitalism, there will be enterprises that will be “winners” (the workers in the competitive enterprises) and “losers” (the workers in the less profitable enterprises who will be laid off). This is not socialism: there is no real association of producers that supersedes the limits of the enterprise. If socialism corresponds to management of production by the workers themselves, this “self-management”, if one wants to preserve this phrase at all costs, is utterly without semblance to a truncated vision of this idea that consists in managing “their” enterprise, which would not amount to much and would only reproduce a system of private appropriation.

The argument is often put that it is possible to establish "little islands of socialism—workers co-operatives — within the framework of capitalism, thus making a revolutionary, world-wide change from capitalism to socialism unnecessary. One way to challenge capitalism those “revolutionary” reformists envisage is to build more democratic, egalitarian, participatory economic relations in the spaces and cracks within this complex system wherever possible, and to struggle to expand and defend those spaces. The idea of eroding capitalism imagines that these alternatives have the potential, in the long run, of expanding to the point where capitalism is displaced from this dominant role. The strategic vision of eroding capitalism imagines introducing the most vigorous varieties of emancipatory species of non-capitalist economic activity into the ecosystem of capitalism, nurturing their development by protecting their niches, and figuring out ways of expanding their habitats. The ultimate hope is that eventually these alien species can spill out of their narrow niches and transform the character of the ecosystem as a whole.

But socialism means common ownership and free access to everything that is produced. The rigorous economic law of profitability at all costs imposed by the market must be supported by defenders of co-operatives; if under capitalism, you don’t observe this law you very quickly go out of business.

The fundamental flaw of many proponents of cooperatives is an obsession with workers “self- management" as a solution to working-class problems. They fail to appreciate that in terms of genuine human freedom, how work is managed is a side issue. The important thing is that all work should be entirely voluntary—a condition demanded by Marx's slogan "Abolition of the wages system!"


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Life Under Crapitalism

More than 200,000 Iraqis are expected to be displaced as the Iraqi army advances towards Mosul, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. Camps have been set up to accommodate 60,000 people, so there will soon be overcrowding. Both the Iraqi government and the Kurdish authorities are mired in an economic crisis, (what government isn't?), brought on by low oil prices and say they do not have the resources to care for a large number of displaced people. They have urged everyone to stay put, which, of course ], they're not going to. So more people are fleeing from a war and going into camps. 

One thing about life under 'crapitalism' - it never changes. 

John Ayers

Co-opting cooperatives

COOPERATIVES - JUST LIKE ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Socialism is beginning to show signs of life again. This reawakening of the labour movement is to be welcomed. A political movement which has been in a state of suspended animation never begins again exactly where it stopped. The men and women who take it up afresh are like children repeating their lessons: they must go back to the beginning and run rapidly through the stages already traveled. Many have returned to the early promise of co-operatives or s some re-label “workers self-directed enterprises” and re-wording the vocabulary of the 19th C co-operators. The socialist movement had started with the proponents of co-operatives but these days some view that the economic emancipation of the workers can only be brought about when the workers themselves become owners of the elements of production – raw materials and the instruments of labour which are really as a matter of fact only a version of different capitalist ideas. The co-operators represent the benevolent notions of the philanthropists, who attempt to lull the awakening spirit of the working class by measures not of a very controversial  nature.

In its normal state, capitalism has become an obsolete oppressive system that ought to be binned. A relatively small minority recognise this and are consciously anti-capitalist, but the majority continue trying to satisfy their needs within the system rather than by overthrowing it. There is presently no real possibility of overthrowing that system and attempts to do so degenerate into futile reformism and/or terrorism, whatever the “revolutionary” rhetoric. Reformism is capitalist trickery used to keep the working class under wage slavery. Reformists maintain that we can arrive at a certain “socialism” by winning reforms one after the other. What they don’t say is that whatever the employers has to give up with one hand after a hard struggle, it will just take back with the other. To fight against reformism means not only to stop creating illusions about capitalism but also to break with reformist tactics in our struggles. For workers, there is an urgent need to understand the limitations of the co-operatives before the revolution. The fact that co-operative ideas are demonstrably utopian does not prevent them having a wide following. The ideas are influential because they correspond to certain tendencies in the development of capitalism. To pretend that you can go in for anything but capitalism in a capitalist society is really folly. General laws, born out of the form of property, impose themselves, and those people who want to build oases in the desert cannot escape those laws; the oasis will be swept by the simoom just as the desert is. And the oasis, in this case, is the co-operative, forced to bow before commercial or mercantile necessities. Whatever you do as a co-operative, you cannot help being governed by all the laws which determine and regulate production and exchange in the society of profit of to-day. There is a widespread feeling that co-operatives are enough, that there is no need for strikes, for conflict. Cooperatives are totally incapable of transforming the capitalist mode of production.

Many have heard arguments in favour of workers self-management based on the experience of the factory occupations in Argentina. The occupied factories were factories that had been abandoned by the capitalists precisely because they were not profitable. The desertion of employers from companies ceded space for workers to takeover and begin production. The experience of Argentina shows us that these factories were able to become profitable for the market again by becoming competitive at the price of self-exploitation and operating within the very same entrepreneurial logic that prevailed before the factories were occupied. By calling attention to the mythological nature of these occupations of the workplace we do not intend to discredit the impulse that lies behind them: the people could keep their jobs in order to survive, a collective process was set in motion that could create a common project and, if any profits were forthcoming, they could be socialised. In these cases, we can see that the fact that conflicts took place after these occupations, if the managers of the enterprise quit or were dismissed, it was not because of pressure from the workers but for other reasons—economic recession, economic crimes, etc. Thus, the enterprise under the control of the workers actually means that the latter are under the control of the enterprise, that is, that the logic of competition will continue to regulate production, regardless of who manages production. If self-management causes our material conditions to improve, then we may support this process. If not, all that remains to the field of critique is how to manage capital and therefore to argue that an egalitarian capitalism can exist if the latter is managed correctly. That is, if the expropriation of the capitalist is carried out in order to redirect production towards the satisfaction of needs, then it is self-management that we will defend. Otherwise, if it is a matter of going back to work, producing in the same way and selling commodities, only now without the direction of the employer, then this is self-exploitation. The act of occupying a factory gives room to workers’ control of the labour process and to a more democratic, collective decision-making. But workers’ need to compete in the market reduces the sphere of collective decision, leading to centralisation of power and divisions between directive and productive workers, hampering the possibility for workers to enrich their job and avoid self-exploitation.

One hears arguments that capitalism is only an unjust economic system because it profits a handful of people to the detriment of the rest and so by achieving certain institutional and legislative changes that will lead to a more equitable division of the wealth that is produced by the vast majority, we have a solution to our social ills. The “revolutionary” version would want to overthrow the parasitic minority and organize, on that basis, the economy in a collective and egalitarian way. Both versions believe that the change is brought about by those who make the decisions and who decide how the economy is managed. Both versions are mistaken. Capitalism is not a very small group of rich people, this group exists and they are the ones with the most privileges in this social form, but they are only one part of the problem. We see that capitalism is a social relation that permeates all the aspects that affect us as human beings and which it falsely attempts to present as separate compartments: economics, politics, culture, etc. If we do not confront them in all their forms, capitalism will re-arise. If we do not see that it is not just a relation that is established between the powerful classes and the rest of us but instead that it is a relation that we reproduce among ourselves, horizontally, capitalism will return again once we have thrown the capitalists out of power. We thus see that, if what we are fighting for is a form of society that is not based on either exploitation or oppression, this will inevitably condition the way that every aspect of this society is managed.

We are workers, whether we like it or not. It is not a question of ethics, morality or politics, or because we want to cling to words that some have already abandoned. We are workers due to an objective issue: in the capitalist world, we are condemned to have to pass through the circuit of labour in order to survive. We are disinherited, and the fact that you may have a house or a car does not free us of this scourge. Whether we are looking for work or whether we are doing everything in our power to avoid it by taking from the state in the form of benefits, our condition is that of being exploited. And only the destruction of work and the relations that derive from it will be able to situate us in a new context. We say this it is because, at times we forget this and succumb to the widespread illusion that it is possible to escape from our class condition and transform ourselves into people who are free from capitalist relations without having to pass through the process of an open war against capital, once we have set up our business, once we are working for ourselves. And that is false. Members of co-operatives necessarily live schizophrenic lives. On one hand, they must function as owners of small businesses and contend with all the insidious forces of capitalism. At the same time, they are members of an egalitarian corporate entity working together day-in-and-day-out dealing with all the tensions arising from individual personality quirks. The ability to collectively manage an enterprise in a democratic manner isn’t utopian to us. The problem is that while there would be no external bosses, the co-operative members have to be both bosses and workers themselves. They will still be existing within a capitalist marketplace, and so will still be subjected to competition and the whims of the market. So while their boss may not cut Joe's hours, if market forces dictate it they will have to cut their own hours themselves.

Say, for example, a capitalist chain coffee shop we can call Coffeebucks opens down the road from a co-operative coffee shop. The co-op will have to compete with it in terms of prices if it is to attract customers. Coffeebucks only pay minimum wage, with no sick pay, no pensions, no benefits etc. They are also a large chain, so they can use their purchasing power to drive down suppliers' prices to get cheaper coffee and food. So they sell their products much cheaper than the co-op.  Facing going out of business, the co-op members either internalise the capitalist boss and cut their own wages, conditions or jobs. Or they go bust. In a capitalist economy, we cannot extract ourselves from the market. We cannot self-manage capitalism in our own interests as it is automatically weighted against workers. The only way we can really live without exploitation and bosses is not by internalising them but by abolishing capitalism. Co-ops facing competition do have one option which is to go more niche market: make the co-op part of their brand and market themselves to people for whom that would be a selling point, a campaign based on "Come to our coffee house, where we are still alienated and self-exploiting but y'know got to make a living somehow and it's better than working in Starbucks"

Socialism is a non-property system, and systems which accept and reject property cannot co-exist. However, critics claim that “socialistic” relationships will invade the capitalist economy. The main example of such an invasion which is sometimes presented are co-operatives. It is proposed that as socialist consciousness develops these co-ops will be gradually be gutted of their capitalist content. They will be run eventually upon the basis of “free production” and ultimately they will link together and evolve “towards a totally socialist society.” This projection of social change is incompatible with what capitalism can allow. Relationships are being envisaged as developing within capitalism which the system dooms to failure. Where is the financing of these co-ops to come from? Presumably not from workers’ savings. If capitalist banks are to provide loans to finance these co-ops is it not certain that they will make demands upon them which will undermine their “socialistic” nature? Existing within the cut-throat environment of the world market, is it not inevitable that the economic goodwill of the co-operators will be swamped by the iron laws of the profit system, with all of the exploitative demands which it places upon enterprises? Indeed, far from being able to “demonstrate a better life to workers trapped in the remaining units of capitalism”, the workers making an inevitable failure of running “free production” under capitalism would provide an ideal case study for the anti-socialist propagandists—even more so if such enterprises failed with the backing of the socialists. 

Let us remind ourselves that socialism aims not to establish "workers power" but the abolition of all classes including the working class. In socialist society, there would simply be people, free and equal men and women forming a classless community. That is the goal and co-ops are not a step on the path towards it. While the co-operative form might provide an example of how production ought to be run in a socialist society, this cannot make a meaningful and sustained contribution to the emancipation of the popular classes now. Once we realise socialism, we can call it the co-operative commonwealth, because co-operation is not a means, but the aim of the workers. It will then triumph and gather into the hands of the whole of society all capital and labour so that there shall be no more exploitation, sale, nor profits. And we are bound to say that co-operatives, as they are operated to-day, have is only one means of emancipation, viz., the capturing of the political power, and through the help of it, of the capitalist property, industrial and commercial. The socialist idea, the idea of a society owning its means of production, utilising them socially, and distributing among all its members the products of a common labour.
nothing in common with socialism. Co-ops bring nothing to the socialist movement but the fruits it can contribute when it is a socialist co-operative. Otherwise, it becomes a diversion if not an obstacle to the recruiting and developing of the socialist movement. Workers concentrate upon co-operative, carrying inside their heads nothing but commercial schemes, how to create a market for it, how to secure its prosperity and development, and thus there is no room left in their brains for the socialist idea, no more time for the socialist education, to whom we cannot repeat enough that there


Scottish Shorter Lives

Scottish men and women still die younger on average than people anywhere else in the UK.

Life expectancy at 77.1 years for baby boys born in the past three years, and 81.1 years for girls.
This was two years lower than the UK average for men, and 1.7 years lower than the female average. The gap between Scottish and English life expectancy for both males and females has widened since 1980-1982 by 0.3 years for males and by 0.2 years for females. In Scotland, men and women can expect to live shorter lives, by 2.3 years and 1.9 years respectively, than in England.

In East Dunbartonshire males can expect to live for 80.5 years - 7.1 years longer than in Glasgow City, which has the lowest life expectancy in the UK at 73.4 years.

Females in East Dunbartonshire can expect to live for 83.5 years - 4.8 years longer than in West Dunbartonshire, which also has the lowest in the UK at 78.7 years.

ONLY SOCIALISM CAN CREATE A SUSTAINABLE WORLD


Socialism does not require leaders as this implies followers, but would rather have decisions made in a collegial manner with input from all through elected councils and other methods. Leaders have led the working class into fighting and dying in wars to allow one capitalist group or another to have unfettered control of resources and markets for hundreds of years, and have not advanced the cause of the working class one iota. Better we get rid of such leaders and work for a society that is communally administered and everyone is great.

The Socialist Party do not waste their time protesting the effects of capitalism but point out that all the social evils created by it can only be abolished by the removal of the cause, namely, the ownership of the tools of production by a privileged minority, and the consequential enslavement of the majority, in other words, the capitalist system itself. Furthermore, we advocate clear- cut tactics conducive to its abolition i.e., a socialist minded majority organizing to capture political power so that the whole apparatus of capitalist administration can be removed and socialism established. The only occupation we advocate is that of elected socialist representatives of the people occupying, however briefly, the citadels of power the capitalists now hold. So why not join us and have done with protests that are not reinforced with political action.

No tinkering with the economy has solved the problems of the capitalist system. Many reforms (or, if you will, good laws) have been enacted to make life under capitalism a bit better off for the working class. To a considerable extent, this is a sham. Such laws can later be abolished, diluted, not monitored, ignored by the government, and, in the following examples, ignored by those whose interests they clash with. Throughout the world, we have seen free enterprise, state capitalism, and mixed economies. We've seen wars we were told would secure us a better world. We've seen reforms that promised the earth and still the world is in a mess. This shows clearly that only a society where production is for use can make the population of the world prosperous and secure for all. This does not prove, though, that the great dream is dead. It is fact very much alive - as a nightmare!

Our left-wing critics often say, 'You in the SPGB are correct in your analysis. You show clearly that the problems facing humanity can only be solved by the abolition of capitalism and its replacement by a society based on common ownership and democratic control. However, you show that you do not know how to achieve that goal. When you advocate electing a majority of socialists to parliament with a mandate to strip the capitalist class of its property ownership, you are being idealistic. There is no way the capitalist class is going to sit back and do nothing while you vote them out of existence.

We then ask of our critics how they envisage going about to establish a socialist society and we receive a variety of answers.
One is, to quote a phrase, 'To the barricades!' In other words, an insurrection. Our response is as long as parties committed to the running of capitalism control parliament, then they also control the armed forces who will crush any revolt with the sanction of legality and such rebellion can only lead to disaster.

A second idea is a general strike. By this they generally mean a strike of industrial blue-collar workers, however, today this only comprises a minority of the work-force. The employers would have a lock-out, and starve them back to work.  Another related tactic is that espoused by the Industrial Workers of the World, (or Wobblies) and which is that of industrial unionism that argues you can capture power through industrial action. They are all oblivious to the fact that the capitalists, through control of the parliament, can use the armed forces to disperse workers who are on strike or evict them from their factory occupations. When one views history when industrial unionism was at its height, one can clearly see it failed because the capitalist class, through its control of political power, had the upper hand. When the majority in a factory was IWW members, they functioned the same as pro-capitalist unions, asking for higher wages and shorter working hours. It takes no great feat of analysis to realize that for a union to be effective, it must embrace within its membership workers from every possible school of thought and is, therefore, ineffective as a revolutionary agent to establish socialism. Some suggest co-operatives, islands of socialism in an ocean of capitalism. But if profits, wages, buying and selling still exist it means that instead of a capitalist cracking the whip, the workers were doing it to themselves.

Socialism will not come until the majority understands what socialism is and organise politically and consciously for its establishment. Once a socialist-minded majority has captured political power, it then controls the armed forces and police. That means first that the troops will not be used against the workers, and second, that they will be used against a minority that attempts to overthrow the will of the majority.


Our critics say that if a socialist victory in an election looks likely, the capitalists will suspend the ballot or introduce a law to abolish it. Though this could happen, the working class could very easily set up their own ballot and present it as a fait accompli. The problem all our critics suffer from is they think in terms of minority action. This is the result of believing that the majority of the working class will never become socialists, which we dispute. We have seen many minority actions crushed or wither away ineffectually. What we haven't seen is our critics change their tactical vision or lack thereof. What should be obvious is that when the vast majority says, 'let's have done with capitalism' and translate it into action by voting a majority of socialists to parliament, there will be nothing the capitalist class can do about it. The powers of coercion will have been taken from them. 

The Dark Night Shall End

Opponents of socialism say we will all become slaves of the State and that socialism has been tried many times in various countries and has always proved a “failure.” Yet it has never been possible for socialism to prevail in any modern state, seeing that the state itself as an organised entity is essentially class-controlled – a plutocracy. Every government that can be named has been brought into existence for the express purpose of maintaining the domination of the propertied class, and to keep under subjection the proletariat or propertyless class. So long as individuals belonging to the propertied and dominating class continue to exercise control and ownership of the means of production, and decide the character of the law and the control of the judiciary, no country is ready for socialism. Socialism can only exist when the people collectively own the instruments and agencies of production and distribution untrammeled by sectional monopolistic power, now wielded by a selfish oligarchy. Socialism does not aim at making any, the slaves of governments, but to surely to get rid of all governments other than the self-government of free and intelligent citizens. Socialists desire a free state of society wherein exploitation will be impossible and minus armies of officials or parliamentarians.

Opponents of socialism often declare that there are so many definitions of it that it is well-nigh impossible to know exactly what socialists are after. To do a little towards removing this ground of complaint, first, let’s explain briefly what it is not. Socialism does not seek to destroy individuality but to make it possible for each person to develop his or her faculties up to the highest possible pitch of perfection.  Socialism is the recognition and adoption of the principle and practice of association of co-operation as against competition, of concerted action in the interests of all, instead of “each for himself and devil take the hindmost.” Socialism saddles upon each of us the responsibility of being our “brother’s keeper.” If a child, woman or man is starving, socialism says there is something wrong in our social system, and upon us, all individually and collectively rests the responsibility of righting the wrong. If one street or a dozen streets contain one slum dwelling or a number of such, socialism says raze the slum to the ground and let air and sunshine operate. If men are overworked, and so prevented from fully sharing in the joys of life, socialism bids us to immediately remove the overwork and see to it that every man and every woman shall have a fair share of all that makes life worth living. There can be no real socialism where exploitation obtains, under socialism no person can live idly upon the labour of others by receiving unearned income in the forms of interest, profit or rent. Therefore socialism means the complete supersession of the present capitalist system, of private ownership and control of land, machinery, and money. Therefore those who do not believe in the necessity for and the justice of the common ownership of the means of production should not call themselves socialists. We, therefore, declare that the present capitalist system is based upon the legalised robbery of the wealth producers by the land monopolists, machinery monopolists and financial monopolists, and the undoubted object of socialism is to get rid of these monopolists as speedily as possible.

Capitalism will give place to a federation of communities who will hold all wealth in common and would use that wealth for satisfying the needs of each member, only exacting from each that he should do his best according to his capacity towards the production of the common wealth. Of course, it is to be understood that each member is absolutely free to use his or her share of wealth as he or she pleases, without interference from any, so long it does not turn it into an instrument for the oppression of others. This view intends complete equality of condition for everyone, though life would be, as always, varied by the differences of talent and disposition; and emulation in working for the common good would supply the place of competition as an incentive.

The battle of the working class against capitalist exploitation is necessarily a political battle. The working class cannot carry on its economic battles or develop its economic organisation without political rights. It cannot effect the passing of the means of production into the ownership of the community without acquiring political power. To shape this battle of the working class into a conscious and united effort, and to show it its naturally necessary end is the object of the Socialist Party. The interests of the working class are the same in all lands with capitalistic methods of production. With the expansion of world communications and production for the world market, the workers in any one country become constantly more dependent on the workers in other countries. The emancipation of the working class is thus a task in which the workers of all nations are concerned in a like degree. Conscious of this, the Socialist Party feels and declares itself one with the class-conscious workers of all other lands. The Socialist Party strives on behalf of the whole people without distinction of nation, race or sex for emancipation from the fetters of economic dependence and political oppression. Industrial warfare is fraught with horrors every bit as brutal as military warfare. Until now the workers of each country, in turn, have been gulled that they are a wonderfully superior people to the workers of some other nation. Now we know how absolutely true it is that the interests of the workers of all lands are perfectly identical. Future fights must not be among the workers of one country and the workers of another, that is madness. The fight we are called upon to engage in is a part of a disciplined army of the world’s workers battling against the workers’ exploitation in every country alike. Socialism promotes peace and universal goodwill among all peoples. As socialists, we have no quarrel with the workers of any nation on earth. There is ample room for all in the world, it is only the conduct of industry for profit-making on behalf of the plutocracy that makes it appear each nation must fight every other nation. Stop this, and begin to produce for use and there is room for all and work for all.  Each for all and all for each. But to make this possible the exploiters must be got rid of. We declare a class war to get rid of classes, and ever after to have a people on the basis of economic equality.

Children are dying by the millions because they cannot command life’s necessaries and millions of men and women are barred by unemployment from getting life’s necessaries, this in the midst of an abundance of wealth the like of which the world has never known before. The time is ripe for great change. The future of the world is to be co-operative, and not competitive. There is an alternative: that of adequately supplying the needs of all; there is practically no limit to the population that could be maintained on the planet. To ensure efficiency of production, there must be free access to the raw material and machinery, therefore all private and sectional monopoly of natural resources or technology must disappear.


The present system of production is primarily for the purposes of capitalist profit instead of producing for the use. The object of the Socialist Party is to secure economic freedom for the whole community, ie, that all men and all women shall have equal opportunities in sharing in wealth production and consumption. New technology is constantly increasing and the only possible basis for all to share in these advantages is the co-operative basis. Working hours being regulated according to the efficiency of production and the standard desired by the community there could never be an unemployed problem, and exploitation ceasing as a result of local and global co-operation the existing anomalies of immense wealth for a few and hardships for the many could not obtain.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Machines And Jobless Results

On October 21 Bombardier said it has plans to eliminate 7500 more jobs or 10 percent of its workforce including 2000 in Canada. This comes on top of the 7000 jobs to be eliminated by the end of 2017, which they announced in February. Their spokesperson, Simon Letendre, was pretty blunt about it, ''These are tough actions we need to take to make the business more profitable and succeed in the future''. The main words being "more profitable''

Surprisingly the Prez. of their workers' union, Scott Mcilmoyle doesn't seem too worried,''Right now we don't know for certain, but it appears to be indirect jobs,'' he said, referring to management, administrative and support jobs, instead of direct production ones. 

Well, ''Earth to Scott, these are workers too and will be adversely affected by lay-offs''. 

This is another example, if needed, of how bad things are getting for the working class. Because capitalism is a boom - slump system we know sooner or later things will pick up. Some capitalists will buy stock at dirt cheap prices and the economy, world - wide will pick up. However, this doesn't mean the unemployment figures will go down considerably. 

Automation means machinery will do work previously done by people and globalization means unemployment won't decrease much in the major industrialised countries. So don't expect things to get much better because they won't. 

John Ayers

OUR DAY WILL ARRIVE


Consider a few facts. We all know there is poverty in every country, and all good-intentioned persons are deeply sorry for this. It is known that food, clothes, shelter, and all other commodities are the direct product of labour, spent upon the raw material provided by nature. It is also known that there is an abundance of raw material to adequately supply the wants of the whole world without any concern, and it is further known that the power of men to produce the requirements of life from this raw material is very much greater than ever before, and yet in every country people die of starvation. It is also known that the land and resources are available. It is further known that machinery is sitting idle, and hundreds of thousands of men are unemployed, such incongruities would be unbelievable if we were not in daily contact with the facts. Is there a solution to this? The abolition of poverty and securing good conditions for all without exception should be our guiding principle.

A socialist is one who, having investigated the causes of present-day social discord, decides that these causes are found in the private ownership of the means of wealth production and who therefore endorses the necessity for co-operative ownership in order to eliminate private or sectional monopoly and secure the advantages for the whole people. By co-operative ownership is meant ownership of the whole people, ie the resource and machinery of production become the property of society; otherwise put socialism, or social democracy, or collectivism, (all of which mean the same), working hours would be regulated according to the amount of work to be done, and the number of people to do it, the workers engaged in the less pleasant kinds of work would probably work fewer hours than those in the more agreeable occupations. It is not an uncommon thing to find persons expressing kindly feeling towards those in poverty, but by no means do they endorse the co-operative ownership and control of the land, mines, machinery and transport, without which no one can be a socialist. Once again then, socialism, involves the transference from present day private ownership to ownership of all those agencies of wealth production necessary for the supply of life’s necessaries by and for the whole people. Private ownership of the means of wealth production fails most lamentably to provide all the people with the means of a decent life.

Karl Marx long ago explained, the capitalist is always after the “surplus” ie that the largest possible amount of the total value produced in the establishment shall come to him as profits, and therefore that the least possible should be absorbed as wages, expenses of management and general upkeep of the establishment.

It necessarily follows that each group of capitalists is continually on the lookout to save wages, and therefore every new device in the way of what is termed labour saving, which is really wages saving machinery is made use of and the result is that there is a constantly diminishing proportion of the total produce of labour going in the form of wages to those who perform the total labour and a constantly increasing proportion of output going as profits to the capitalist. Not a trade can he named but confirms this contention. That is not the worst phase of the matter. It will be seen that with the ever increased power to produce commodities the market is stocked with increasing ease, and by men who have been engaged in producing serviceable commodities producing so very much more than they receive in wages and therefore more than they consume, the markets are glutted, and these same men are thrown into the ranks of the unemployed, not because they have failed to work effectively, but because they have produced so abundantly and consumed so little of it, they are therefore discharged and prevented from getting even a sufficiency upon which to live. This is the direct effect of private ownership of the means of production for the purpose of making profits for the capitalists, instead of working co-operatively in the public interest. We socialists declare that the whole world bears witness to the truth of the statement as to the effects of production for profit for capitalists and that being so we declare the present system stands condemned. The degradation of workers dominates the industrial system by which all must live. A more grossly unfair system than the present could not be devised.

On with the Fight

Socialists do not depend upon what Marx said but apply Marxist principles to each set of circumstances as it arises. “So said Marx” is anti-socialist. Socialists constantly examine and re-examine whether we are fighting in the interest of the wage-earning class. We oppose reformism because it leads to a patchwork of palliatives rather than to the class struggle ending in the revolution of the propertyless against the owning class which must inaugurate socialism. The Socialist Party strives for nothing short socialism because we believe that nothing short of that will save the workers. The aim of The Socialist Party is to foster class awareness because we contend that the productive forces of humanity have outstripped the capacity of the current relations of production (their control by a tiny minority of capitalists) to deliver that productive capacity for the benefit of the vast majority of people who do not own the means of production (the working class). The Socialist Party calls upon our fellow-workers to control production and distribution by socially owning the means of production. What the workers have to learn is that the only real practical work for the people is the transformation of capitalism into socialism. We all know that to get mass action and make it effective in the interests of the workers we must have preliminary agitation, education, and organisation.

The Socialist Party insists that economic organisation is subsidiary to political organisation in that the workers here, having the completest basis of unity, are better able at once to form a party representative of the interests of the workers as a whole. We hold that socialisation of wealth-producing property cannot be accomplished by the direct seizure of the factories and the land by the unions or union. This method denies the need for politics and the capture of the State machine. It is our duty, then, to foster confidence in class solidarity, co-operation, and socialism. Essentially, we offer our fellow-workers ample opportunity of voting “class” at every election. The worker who votes for a representative of capitalism can hardly be trusted to sustain the economic struggle. Hence the continual necessity for political action as the best agency for fostering nascent class solidarity. The salvation of society rests not in the hands of a few (leaders or heroes), but in those of masses of mankind when the workers will challenge capitalism to the last fight and win through to the world society of a united human race, producing each for all and all for each.

The world as it exists does not satisfy human needs. We aim at replacing private ownership of the means of life by common ownership. We aim at production solely for use, which means the abolition of rent, interest, and profit. Further, of course, we are international. Socialism is itself an international conception and there can be no such thing as socialism in one country and, incidentally, of course, since we claim that capitalism is the cause of war, we believe that socialism, and socialism only, will get rid of that conflict of interest, that drive for markets, that striving for areas of raw material and strategic points, and so on, which are the causes of war. It is implicit in the position of the Socialist Party that socialism is not state capitalism, that the mere state ownership and control of transport, industries, and so on, is not socialism; it has nothing to do with socialism and will not bring us towards socialism. The only basis for socialism is the common ownership of the means of production and distribution and the production of goods and the operation of services, not for the purpose of making a profit, but solely for the purpose of meeting the needs of the population of the world. Socialism isn’t just a justice movement or environmentalist movement — it’s a movement for the future of humanity.

Protests can bring a city to a halt, even a nation. They can temporarily thwart the actions of a government. But on its own, protests and demonstrations cannot create lasting social transformation and build a new society.

Once workers study economics as expounded by Marx they begin to understand that they are robbed of the major portion of the wealth they play an essential part in producing and distributing, the kernel of which is the labour-time theory of value. That theory states the worker sells on the market his labour-power and is not and never will be paid “by results”; that is to say, by the total wealth or value-equivalent of what he produces. His wage is paid on “the cost of living”, and his cost of living is far less than the wealth or the value he contributes to the world’s stock. Marxian economics stand or fall with the labour-time theory of value.

The goal of the Socialist Party is the common ownership of everything to administered by the chosen delegates of the workers via various elected committees and bodies. The control must be in the hands of the workers only each community and industry sending delegates to district councils and then on to regional and global councils. Only when the world is run by the workers of the world for their own benefit, and not for the benefit of the capitalist class, will security of livelihood be obtained. That is why we are socialists. To convert capitalism into socialism through revolution. We object to the existing form of society, known as capitalist society. Why? Because a few people own the world and the factories and machinery of wealth production. These are the propertied class. Most other people have to sell their brain-power or body-power, in short, their labour-power, to this class for a return in money called wages. This class is the wage-earning or the wage-slave class. Wages are not based on the money value of the goods produced or services rendered by the slave-class, but on the cost of living.


Robbery of the workers is the root of all the workers’ troubles. The only possible hope of the working class is common ownership of the means of production. The clinging to capitalism, the ownership of the world by a small propertied class, is driving the people of this planet swiftly along the path to perdition. Capitalism is crushing workers in competition, strife, and bloodshed. In the wake of its path of destruction hundreds of millions of helpless people are being squeezed by a growing poverty. The hope of humanity and progress lies in the revolt of the wage-earners against the propertied class, the capture of political power from the propertied class, and the appropriation of the land and the means of production from the propertied class. This constitutes the social revolution. This great change means that the people will own the world in common, produce wealth in common, possess in common all wealth produced, and by common agreement distribute that wealth to the common advantage. When this task is carried through the social theft of class from class shall end forever, and with the end of plunder, the militaries no longer shall be required, and social murder or warfare shall vanish forever. This next form of human society is called socialism/communism/anarchy/cooperative commonwealth/industrial democracy.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

We are One

Several hundred people have taken part in an anti-racism march in Glasgow. It was organised by the STUC Black Workers' Committee, with the theme "No Racism: Protecting Rights, Defending Communities".

STUC general secretary Grahame Smith said:
"We are facing an unprecedented challenge from the right, with racist views permeating the mainstream in such a way as we have not seen in a generation. All around we see challenges to liberty and equality, with systemic attacks on employment rights, threats to human rights, question marks around the continuing status of migrant workers and rising hate crime."


At the moment, nationalism and xenophobia are everywhere in the ascendant and its dangers cannot be under-estimated but it is largely in the ascendant because we have been losing the class war.  This has been going on for decades. The Socialist Party is against all nationalist mystifications, a class position which is to oppose all capitalist ideologies of identity.

This is what socialism could mean

That problems exist within our current system is obvious to all by simply observing how people live  around the world and how they could and should live. However, socialism does not need to compare itself to a dysfunctional and insane system to look good. It can stand on its own merits quite well. Let’s examine what socialism can do for the world and its people.

We hold that the establishment of socialism must be done by the will of a majority worldwide. It must be carried out by a class-conscious majority who understand and opt for socialism’s goals. The first job of any elected socialist party would be to legislate the end of the private ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth. In its place would be common ownership, everyone becoming an owner and a producer thus ending the class system that justified a tiny minority owning and controlling wealth and taking a lion’s share while the vast majority only get enough to survive and many not even that much.

Common ownership would necessarily open all the stores of goods and services produced for all humans on earth who could freely take whatever they needed whenever they felt it was necessary. It would be the end of hunger, poverty, and lack of essential human services such as health care and education. Since we would all be owners and producers, money would be superfluous – we would only be selling to ourselves. It also means that the competitive system that capitalism is would be replaced by a co-operative system of managing the world’s resources for the benefit of all.

A world UN-like elected body would be responsible for their fair, safe, and common sense distribution.
At the local level, there would be, perhaps, an elected council charged with organizing production in their region to satisfy local and regional needs with self-sufficiency being a top priority.
No need to send coals to Newcastle or cars from Japan or Germany to North America where the infrastructure to produce their own is already in place if indeed we decide we need cars.
No need to search out the lowest wage areas for cheap production and then send the products thousands of kilometers when they can just as easily be made locally. The savings in resources and environmental destruction would be enormous in that one simple, sane step.

With a cooperative world there would be no need for the arbitrary lines on the globe that mark out competing countries’ territories. We could truly become One World. It would also signal the end of the competition for resources that is the major cause of war in the capitalist system. The jostling for alliances, the secret services, spying, and surveillance techniques, that countries so routinely use today, would no longer be necessary. Instead of sending armies of soldiers and machines to destroy and kill we would send armies of skilled workers and their equipment to teach the latest skills to those who need it. So far, then, we have eliminated the whole infrastructure of the military-industrial complex, the whole financial system (banks, markets, stocks, shares, accounting, etc.), the state border organizations, and a considerable amount of government machinery as be without their current jobs, to be absorbed, on a volunteer basis, into work that is necessary – food and goods production for use, not profit, services, scientific research, (how about a few hundreds of millions of new scientists and technicians to help work out the best solutions the problems left by the capitalist system), and so on. This would greatly reduce the work- load of everyone else and, coupled with the end of the need to produce tremendous amounts of surplus value to satisfy profit, to just a few hours per week.

Most importantly, socialism would bring a common sense approach to organising resources and production to provide the necessities of life – food, shelter, health-care, education, security – to all human beings and to take care of our beautiful and unique planet as we all know we should. The establishment of socialism would end our primitive period of competition and war and usher in a new stage in human development and progress. This idea will sell itself when it gets the widespread attention it deserves.

Many times the World Socialist Movement, has written that socialism is a society based on the common ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth, organised democratically in the interests of all human beings. This would necessarily mean a class-free, money-free, society where necessary goods are produced by all as and when needed, not just when profit might be made. Free access to all goods and services for all is guaranteed based on every individual’s own assessment of their needs. This all sounds well and good, but what does it mean to you in everyday life? Of course, it will be up to the majority who establish socialism to work out the details bearing in mind the impact on others and on the world.

As far as work is concerned, there will be a huge surplus of labour for the necessary jobs as many occupations deemed essential to capitalism will be redundant in a socialist society. As free access and common ownership are integral tenets of socialism, money, trade, and exchange will not be necessary and the work of millions who toil away in banks and financial institutions, advertising, or spending hours collecting money on sales would be obsolete. They would be freed up for useful work.

Socialism is a world cooperative system so the two hundred states competing against each other that we have today will give way to a seamless world eliminating the cause of war – economic competition. Thus the millions involved in the military-industrial complex will also be able to engage in productive work. Personal or property damage would simply be put right as a matter of course, so those working in the insurance industry would be released from that work...and so on, you get the picture. Instead of all this surplus labour sitting idle for months or even years until capital decides it is profitable to hire them again, they would be absorbed usefully into the workforce producing the necessary goods as needed. Thus the hours for each worker would be very much less than today – perhaps just two days a week or one week a month as deemed best by the majority of that society. With the financial restriction on automation and robotics lifted – today it’s a lot less money for capital to employ workers in the ‘Third World’ for a few cents per hour than to spend millions on robots – automation could go full steam ahead and reduce hours even further. Displacing workers would be a societal benefit freeing them for other important work rather than the tragedy of thousands sitting idly unemployed as it is the case today.

Weighed down by large mortgage payments? House poor? Worried about losing your job and not making the payments and losing your investment? In a socialist system, good housing would be a right. Simply choose from the list of available accommodations that suit your needs. Upgrading and repairing damaged homes would be the continuous job of skilled tradesmen. Likewise the improvements in your region's infrastructure. No more electing a council whose hands are tied by the lack of funds and continually doing patch- up jobs instead of the necessary work to the highest standards. We all know it costs less whether you are talking money or labour and materials to do the job right the first time.

All education, of course, would be free and available to all to reach their potential. No more huge student loan debts to pay off for the next twenty years. With the equivalent of five days a week to recreate oneself, there would be ample opportunity to learn new skills. Health care would be available to all, as deemed necessary by the individual. With a huge surplus in labour, more doctors, nurses, and support staff could be trained, more facilities built to eliminate the long wait lines we experience today due, again, to lack of proper funding. Local clinics, health centres, and hospitals with the very latest equipment would be there at the request of society. Research laboratories and workers could be vastly expanded and linked world-wide to share best practices and new information.

This would also be true for science, the expansion of human knowledge. Instead of privately funded research where work is kept secret in order to get a jump on the market and reap extra profit, knowledge and research would be shared for the benefit of humanity. Millions of more scientists could be trained to attain ever greater steps forward to benefit society. And, best of all, those benefits would be available to all mankind, not just those who can afford to pay for them. Thomas Crapper invented the toilet sometime in the nineteenth century but today, 2.4 billion don’t have one! One of the first jobs for science after the revolution would be to tackle the environmental problem of global warming into which we are now heading. The current climate change deniers who do so because of economic interests would be free to admit the truth and there would be no capital interests working to put doubt in the minds of governments and individuals.

Travel would be a matter for the individual to decide, as today, but without the restriction of having adequate money to do what you want. Go wherever you choose, no borders, no passports, no money required. Find a place to stay and then volunteer your labour for your two days a week to help produce the necessary goods for that community.


All of the above would be in place or in the works from day one in a socialist society. After all, we run the system entirely now, and we would have the legacy of capitalism’s means of production and distribution of goods already in place. For the human race to progress fully and fairly, to eliminate most, if not all, the major problems facing mankind today – war, poverty, and hunger, lack of even the basic necessities for many millions – we need to dump capitalism and start a system designed for everyone. If this sounds good, the sooner we start, the sooner we can all reap the benefits. But do not expect us to lay everything on a plate for you. It is up to the vast majority to learn about, understand, and want such a system to make it happen. You can start by joining the Socialist Party and working with us to be strong enough to put forward candidates and the case for socialism.

Is Capitalism a Mad System?

No rational, objective person could look at our world and say that it is perfect. In fact, only a few seconds contemplation would be needed to conclude that we have massive problems such as war, starvation, dire poverty on a large scale, and impending ecological disaster on a global scale. If we were tackling these problems seriously and making progress, we might be satisfied with what we were doing but these very same problems have existed for decades and longer, proving that we are not taking them seriously. That they continue to exist amid plenty and the means to solve them is inexcusable, if not sheer madness.

There is enough wealth in the world to provide everyone with a decent living standard; there is enough food produced in the world to feed everyone adequately; there is enough productive power in the world to provide the required number of hospitals, schools, medical facilities to service everyone.

Capitalism has brought incredible productive power to the human race but we can clearly see that it cannot deliver adequately. Capitalismʼs apologists continue to tell us that we must wait for the ʻtide to raise all boatsʼ but, obviously, some boats ride high while the majority flounder; they tell us that the victims of starvation or poverty are themselves to blame as they have too many children or do not work hard or smart enough. But the deprived world is an integral part of the capitalist system and has been from the beginning – it supplies the natural resources and cheap labour needed to create high profits.

Thousands of manufacturing and technology companies have not left North America and Western Europe for the cheap labour World and abandoned their ʻpatriotic dutyʼ for nothing. It pays well. The operative word is PROFIT. In the capitalist system, a company cannot deliver goods to those who do not have money. They must do without even for necessaries such as food and medical drugs to sustain life. The coercive laws of capitalism mean that one company cannot give an edge to a competitor by giving away product to the needy and foregoing profit. In fact, to operate properly, producers must attempt to balance supply and demand, must manage the flow of goods to the market so there is enough to meet effective (paying) demand but not too much to create a glut. Too much product, i.e. enough for everyone who really needs it, and the price will drop; keep the supply scarce and the price will rise. In manufacturing, lines of production and whole factories are brought into play or shut down at a momentʼs notice to keep this balance.

This means that food is often left to rot, grain locked up in silos, and product is destroyed to prevent flooding the market.  Is this madness, or what?

The futility of reform is phrase is familiar to members of The Socialist Party and our companion parties in The World Socialist Movement. We hold that you can spend an immense amount of time, money, and energy on one issue and if you are successful, you will realize the very next day that there are thousands of other issues to deal with – poverty, minimum wages, workplace safety, pensions, benefits, health-care, unemployment, welfare payments and disabled payments and so on. It is also likely that you will have to settle for something much less than you initially worked for.

In addition, benefits given can, and often are, taken away by the giver. This last fact is very obvious in the present recessionary times. Attacks on wages, benefits, and pensions are on the table everywhere. For those who have lived through it, the loss of our gains from the fifties, sixties,and seventies is most disturbing but for socialists not altogether surprising.

Probably the worst aspect of a reform program, though, is the loss of a socialist consciousness. The goal tends to get lost in the struggle for one issue. This has gone on for so long that many, especially those so-called workers’ organisations, no longer understand what that goal is. The main object of any movement concerned with those issues above should be to remove the root cause of all of them – capitalism and replace it with a society that is controlled by the majority and works for everyone – socialism. All single- issue campaigns attack just one aspect of a vast and complex system of producing and distributing wealth.

The slogan ‘people before profit’ implies that as long as they get a few crumbs thrown their way, the profit system will continue. Can people really come before profit? Will capital really take less or no profit to keep unproductive plants in operation just so that the workers can continue to receive wages and benefits? Of course not!

At the first whiff of higher profits elsewhere, capital flies out the window and the plants shut down. And this is a very necessary action in a profit system driven by the exigencies and competitive laws of capital. Will a few pennies on the minimum wage, more taxes on the rich to fund more health care, pensions, etc. do the trick?  Where’s the long-term gain? The loss is to the promotion of socialism. That the class consciousness and knowledge of socialism is lacking and their thinking and actions flawed is obvious from the fact that they haven’t yet realized that it is the profit system as a whole that is the cause of all woes we have to endure and therefore nothing less than replacing the whole system with one that is controlled democratically by the majority in the interests of all will address the problems.

Of course, we must all speak out, demonstrate, and demand our right to a decent living. At the very least, it brings attention to the worst aspects of capitalism and may win some benefits, however, small and fleeting. But to expect this tactic to make capitalism work for all is like trying to hold back the tide. Capitalism was designed to work for the capitalists and it’s working very well, thank you, very much. The capitalist class will use every excuse and tactic to minimise wages and benefits in order to maximize profits and a recession is a handy excuse to do that.


The only answer is for the world’s workers to take control, through legal, parliamentary methods where possible, and establish a system that works for all humanity, i.e. the common ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth, free access to all to satisfy their needs, and production for use, not profit. Capitalism is an insane system

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A class-conscious majority

(Reprinted from the Western Socialist, Vol. 37 No. 275, 1970)

“…no government can impose its will upon a consciously unwilling majority…”
The above truncated extract from an article by a Socialist writer is here presented in this form since it struck me as being a suitable text for a sermon—as some parson might say or a theme in music which could be developed and presented with a whole series of variations. I shall now try my hand at a transposition or—to use the musician’s term—an inversion. So from the negative to the positive form my transposition might read:
“…no conceivable power could successfully resist a consciously willing and determined class conscious majority…”

I now replace the quotation as given at the head of this article into the context from which it was taken, by giving the whole of a concluding paragraph of an article by Ivan in the Socialist Standard of February, 1969:
“If we say, then, that Socialism will be the society of freedom which will not know such disfigurements as political prisoners we are inviting an obvious question. Why are there no socialists in prison for their opinions? The answer is equally obvious. At the moment Socialism, is not a threat to a capitalist state. But the socialist movement grows through the developing consciousness among workers— and remember no government can impose its will upon a consciously unwilling majority. So when Socialism is a threat, and the ruling class would like to do something about it—it will be too late. (Emph. mine, W. A. P.)

I pursue the line of thought which is herein revealed because, in so many instances throughout the past years —here and in Canada—have I heard well-informed socialists, from the speaker’s platform, answer a question in such fashion as to make the confusion of the interested questioner even more confounded. Following a usually well-presented argument for socialism the speaker gets a question: “You have put up a rather persuasive argument and I am interested but I would like to know ‘How are you going to do it?’ “

The answers I have heard so many times might be brief, bright and brotherly, but decidedly not to the point. “You select your delegate or candidate and send him to Parliament—or Congress, as the case may be.” Put this way—it has so often been put just this way to my knowledge—it becomes a “bald and unconvincing” declaration.

Of course, it is true, insofar as we know the seat of power to be in these institutions, but such overly simplistic statements—granting them to be true—can result only in greater confusion and misunderstanding than had a direct falsehood been uttered.

Cde. Ivan refers to “a consciously unwilling majority.” I use the phrase “consciously willing and determined class conscious majority.” Both phrases carry the same concept. And that is a majority fully aware of its position, as members of a class, and aware of the needs of that class.

The class which today constitutes a majority of the population, in all those countries where the capitalist mode of production obtains, is the working class. But the majority of this class is by no means aware of its place in this society as a subjugated and exploited one, and therefore is also unaware of the cause of unemployment, poverty, war, or any other of the horrible features of the current scene. So we say of these: “They are not class conscious.” Conversely, of that minority within this majority who do understand their status as exploited producers, and realize that this can be abolished through concerted action and clear knowledge, we say: “These are class conscious.”

The reason for these class conscious being organized into a political party, is to engage in well considered and well-presented propaganda directed to their un–class conscious fellow workers. This calls for an analysis of the character of the power which holds the worker in subjugation—the techniques of brain-washing, distorted information concerning events and peoples, the manipulation of “alleged” educational processes, etc., by which the ruling class is able to keep its ideas as the ideas of society. The workers are thus fooled into accepting these ideas of the masters as being the ideas best suited to the promotion of their material interests. “If it were not for the capitalist where would the worker be? The capitalist creates jobs. And where would we be without jobs?” This crude idea is so often expressed by workers when confronted with the socialist case.

The socialist’s task is to work at removing these cobwebs from the mind of the worker; to stress by diligent and simple presentation the contrary idea: “Where would the capitalist be without the worker?” Completely helpless. For all those goods and services required to maintain society are produced by the labor of the working class, and the surplus value created by labor supplies the wealth upon which the idle owner lives and the capital accumulation by which he increases his holdings and his power.

But this power is maintained and protected through the power of the State—that instrument of coercion and administration which has existed, under different forms, in human society since the dawn of civilization and the birth of the property “idea.” And in all highly developed countries the seat, and the source, of this power, today, is the institution of “parliament” whatever name it may carry in whatever country. For the working class to free itself from its present position, it must capture these bastions of power and privilege, and use them as instruments in that endeavor. Because the vast majority of the working class is unaware either of its real status or of the need for doing away with it, as Ivan puts it: “At the moment socialism is not a threat to a capitalist state.” Ivan states, though, “the socialist movement grows through the developing consciousness among workers.” We work in our propaganda to speed this growth.

While we indicate parliament as the seat of capitalist power and defender of capitalist interests, suggesting thereby that the capture of political power by the workers calls for the prior capture of parliament, there is much more involved than “selecting our candidate and sending him to the House, etc.” And it is incumbent, in my opinion, upon our propagandists to explain these things and not be content merely with a bald and off-hand statement such as this article indicates has been used much too often. If it were only used once that would be once too many?

For the present, then, and until that time when as Ivan says: “the developing consciousness among workers“ has produced the resistance to attempted coercion by a “consciously unwilling majority,” or, conversely, when “no conceivable power could successfully resist a consciously willing, and determined class conscious majority,” we carry on the work of education among the workers, opposing and exposing the “ideology” of the ruling class by stressing and elucidating the “ideology” demanded by working class interests.

In short, to make our ideas pervasive; and when these ideas have become sufficiently pervasive then— again making use of Com Ivan’s term— “It will be too late,” for the masters, or calling upon a phrase once used by this writer on another occasion, “With these agents of power (the state forces) in the hands of an enlightened majority, no aggressive minority, no power on earth, can successfully re-establish itself.”

So, for the present, “when socialism is not a threat to a capitalist state,” and until that time when working class ideas “have become sufficiently pervasive,” we make such use of parliamentary elections as we can, for here is a ready to hand situation—and ready to hand machinery—of which socialists can avail themselves. The day will come when class conscious workers through the agency of their organization (political party) will send their delegates to the seats of power, backed by that ideology which has then become “sufficiently pervasive.”

For the present, education is the first priority. An election provides a sounding board for our ideas, and as a barometer to measure our influence. And for those who may be nominated as candidates at such times and for such purposes as I have outlined, I would suggest their campaign promise be given in this wise. We are running in this election to spread socialist education. All political parties make promises. We also make one: “We promise nothing”—and thus be the only party which is able to keep its promise.

Brethren! Here ends this short and simple sermon. Let us then work, for events are moving rapidly.

W. A. Pritchard