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Showing posts from March, 2017

Who owns Scotland?

Scotland’s most expensive sporting estate has been bought by a Russian vodka billionaire after it was put on the market with an asking price of more than £25 million.
The new owner of Tulchan Estate on Speyside, which boasts some of the best salmon fishing in Europe, is Yuri Schefler, who according to Forbes magazine is worth £1.34 billion. Schefler,  is said to divide his time between the UK and Switzerland, owns SPI Group, which produces and sells alcohol under 380 brands in 160 countries, including Stolichnaya vodka. Schefler is understood to have left the Russian army in September 1987 before starting a business career which has included running one of Moscow`s leading shopping malls and heading Vnukovo Airlines. His new 21,000-acred property was described by the selling agents Savills as the “ultimate utopia for the passionate sportsman” when it was put on the market last year. It has eight miles of double bank salmon fishing on the River Spey as well as exceptional stalking and sh…


Fellow-Workers, the spirit of our time is revolutionary and growing more so every day. The message of socialism, which, a few years ago was spurned by these people, falls today upon eager ears and receptive minds. Their prejudice has melted away.
A new social system is struggling to surface.  The new system that is to succeed the old is clearly revealed in its spirit of mutualism and its co-operative manifestations. The old economic foundation of society is breaking up and its social fabric is beginning to totter. The capitalist system is doomed. The signs of change confront us everywhere.Social changes are preceded by agitation and unrest among the masses.So long as the present system of capitalism prevails and the few are allowed to own the nation’s industries, the toiling masses will be struggling in the hell of poverty as they are today.Private ownership and competition have had their day. The Socialist Party stands for social ownership and co-operation.We demand the machinery of p…

The Miners' last stand (1972)

From the March 1972 issue of the Socialist StandardA coalface worker from Scotland writes about the strike. The present struggle of the miners has been a long and complicated one eventually forcing them to strike work. It began as far back as the end of the second world war, when in Britain, as elsewhere in the world, there was a shortage of fuel. There had been no large investments into plant and machinery; coal was still being hewn and drawn by hand. Vast amounts of capital were required to modernise coalmining by introducing mechanisation. Higher coal output was essential to the capitalist class as a whole, but the coalmines were owned by independent capitalists, who were not prepared to invest large amounts into an industry which did not have a secure future. This was the main reason the Labour government nationalised the industry, the usual procedure when the interests of the capitalist class as a whole are being jeopardised commercially by a group which owns a key industry.

The Fenians (1969 book review)

Book Review from the March 1969 issue of the Socialist Standard
The Fenian Movement, Edited by T. W. Moody. Mercier Press, 10s. 6d.
This small, relatively expensive paperback consists of eight essays on the Fenian movement and its leaders. The essays, which are written by prominent historians, concentrate more on the factual events during the years of Fenianism than on its, admittedly diverse, economic ideals.
Fenianism had its origins in the abortive Rising of 1848. Ireland was, at that time, in the grip of a famine, and Landlords were expropriating the food from the peasants so that rents could be realised even if the peasants had not enough left to feed themselves. Some members of the 1848 Rising lived in exile in France. One of them. James Stephens, spent some time among Parisian communist and revolutionary circles. and returned some years later to Ireland, a self-professed revolutionary. He initiated a new secret organisation which, until 1921, was a thorn in the side of the Briti…

Willie Gallacher's Political Indigestion (1925)

From the March 1925 issue of the Socialist Standard
We say that when the workers want Socialism they can and must control the political machinery, including Parliament. Mr. W. Gallacher, a Communist leader, who writes a weekly two columns of animated abuse in the Glasgow "Worker," thinks that we err, and offers to put us right (February 21st, 1925). He has read our leaflet "The Socialist and the Vote-catcher," reprinted from the November, 1924, Socialist Standard, and is frankly disgusted with it. He finds that it is not the “brief outline of Socialism" it claims to be; that it "is hard to believe that anyone could write anything so foolish" as its "melancholy conclusion" or that "anyone could be found to hand it out and call it spreading the light." The conclusion he dislikes so much is this:—
"Don’t trust any more to people who are going to bring Utopia here without the least effort on your part, but come into the Socialist P…

Spoiling Nature

Lowland raised bogs were among the rarest and most threatened habitats in Europe and took thousands of years to form and so conservationists have criticised councillors for giving the green light to remove millions of cubic metres of peat for compost from Midlothian. The Scottish Wildlife Trust said it was "incredibly disappointing" peat extraction had been given the go-ahead at Auchencorth Moss, near Penicuik, over the next two decades. The trust said peatlands were important carbon stores and wildlife habitats. It said they could also play an important part in reducing flood risk. Dr Maggie Keegan, Scottish Wildlife Trust's head of policy, said: "It's incredibly disappointing that the destruction of peat bogs continues to be permitted while millions of pounds are being spent on their restoration elsewhere as part of Scotland's commitment to reducing carbon emissions.” Westland Horticulture is to extract peat from Auchencorth Moss on the Penicuik Estate near …

A Declaration of Class War

The issue for the Socialist Party is always capitalism versus socialism. The task of the Socialist party is to do battle for the cause of socialism and industrial emancipation.It is all about the question of the right of one class of human beings exploiting another class of human beings to the very point of physical existence.It is a question of human freedom versus human slavery and this question is very old one, but for the first time in human history the issue is stripped of all subterfuge and the exploited class have the political power in their own hands to accomplish by peaceful means their own emancipation.The Socialist Party offers the only remedy, which is socialism.Its advocates are men and women who think for themselves and have convictions of their own and they are in deadly earnest.Do the other parties not all stand for the private ownership of industry and the wage-slavery of the working class?We are not here to play the filthy game of capitalist politics.Capitalism, hav…

It’s time to come together for the battles ahead

"Tell people that patriotism is bad and most of them will laugh and say: ‘Yes, bad patriotism is bad, but my patriotism is good!’ "Leo Tolstoy
Many accuse members of the Socialist Party's branches in Scotland of being unpatriotic. We are, in fact, proud to be anti-patriotic. But just because we are not prepared to back the efforts of Scottish nationalists to break away from the United Kingdom does not mean that we are a Unionist party. We don’t support the Union. We simply accept it under sufferance. The Socialist Party are just is much opposed to British nationalism as we are to Scottish or European.
Once more the nationalists seek the people's approval on the matter of independence and as before our counsel to fellow-workers is don’t be fooled by constitutional reform as a benefit to us. Once again our members won’t be voting “yes” or “no”. We’ll be writing the words “world socialism” across any future referendum voting paper.
This time around, the outward reason f…

Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor

Fellow-Socialists and Fellow-Workers, the existing order of things appears to be breaking down. And it seems that the old order has had its day and all the signs point to an impending change. The struggle in which we are engaged today is a struggle of economic classes. The supremacy is now held by the capitalist class, who control the powers of government. Any disputes between capitalists for supremacy in their own class and the issues arising from it, the working class should have nothing to do with it and if they are foolish enough to allow themselves to be drawn into these disagreements of their masters, as they have so often done in the past, they will suffer the consequences of their folly. Parties but express in political terms the economic interests of those who compose them. This is the rule.The Socialist Party represents the working class. There is no fundamental difference between the Republican and Democratic, the Tory or Labour, parties. Their principles are identical. The…

The world is awakening and the sunrise is approaching

Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need.”
All capitalist governments and all ruling and exploiting classes are alike to the Socialist Party. Our fight as world socialists is against them all and we have no preference among them. We have not one iota of nationalist pride or jingo patriotism. Our only interest in is the preparedness of our fellow-workers through sound education and revolutionary economic and political organisation, to overthrow the world’s ruling classes and sweep their robber regimes from the face of the earth. The Socialist Party takes its stand staunchly in favour of the class war, the only war that can put an end to all war, and quite as staunchly against every war waged by the ruling class to rob and kill and enslave the working class. It means war, but war against WAR and not against HUMANITY. It means war against slavery and for emancipation. It is of little use to cry out against war while we tolerate a social s…

Out soon April's Socialist Standard

Out soon April's Socialist Standard The Socialist Standardis a monthly socialist newspaper published without interruption since 1904 by the Socialist Party of Great Britain. The newspaper is written in a simple, direct style and focuses mainly on socialist advocacy and Marxian analysis of current events, particularly those affecting the United Kingdom.

 It was placed on a secret list of papers and magazines banned for export during World War I, for its call for workers to refuse to fight for their countries and instead join the class war. In 1915 it published an article written by a member of the Bolshevik party calling for a socialist solution to the war.

 In 1918, however, the paper voiced the first doubts of the SPGB regarding the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.

In the 1930s it drew on the reports from Spain to produce articles on the looming menace of aerial warfare.

 During World War II the magazine evaded the censor largely by producing a series of articles on the Pelopo…

The Day of the People is Arriving

While there is a lower class I am in it;
While there is a criminal class I am of it;
While there is a soul in prison I am not free.
Eugene V Debs

Men and women who have dreamed dreams have led in the world’s progress toward higher and better things. The exploitation of man by man, of nation by nation, fabulously enriches the favoured few and impoverishing and degrading the toiling and producing masses. The few have the power to rob and enslave the many. 5 percent privately own our natural resources and our industrial machinery. In virtue of which they have the power to rule nations and rob the people. The Socialist Party says it will put an end to private ownership of social necessities. The issue — the one and only issue — is socialism. There is no other. Stick to it! Proclaim it everywhere! Socialism or capitalism. Freedom or slavery? Which? That is the issue and the only issue and the only issue that appeals to the intelligence of the working class. The end of private ownership…

Dirty Scotland

Which? analysed 32 local authorities using data submitted to Food Standards Scotland and ranked them. Authorities were judged on the number of medium and high risk premises meeting hygiene requirements, the total premises rated for risk and the amount of planned interventions, such as inspections or follow up actions. The results found Edinburgh is ranked bottom in Scotland, and is the eighth lowest ranking local authority area in the UK, while Glasgow achieved the second lowest score in the country. Five other local authorities in Scotland - Aberdeen, Moray, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Perth and Kinross - were ranked in the bottom 10% across the UK. The Orkney Islands were found to have the best food safety standards in Scotland and finished seventh in the UK overall. The second highest-ranked council area in Scotland was North Lanarkshire.

Another day is dawning

Give us imagination enough to conceive; courage enough to will; power enough to compel; and then I say, the thing will be done.” - William Morris

“We want no condescending saviours to rule us from their judgement hall. We workers ask not for their favours, let us consult for all.” These verses of the InternationaleechoMarx’s saying thatthe emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves.”Do heroes create history or do slaves create history?  Another version explains, “No saviour from on high delivers, no faith have we in prince or peer. Our own right hand the chains must shiver, Chains of hatred, greed and fear.” The Internationaletells us that there is no great men who know everything. It is we the labourers who create world history, and not those leaders who style themselves 'saviours.'  All the intellectuals and academics have convinced themselves that the workers are too ignorant, and too undeveloped to do any such thing as rule but…