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.
Friday, March 31, 2017
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 production in the name of the workers and the control of society in the name of the people. We demand the abolition of capitalism and wage-slavery and the surrender of the capitalist class.
The Socialist Party as the party of the exploited workers in the mills and mines, on the railways and on the farms, in the offices, the workers of both sexes and all races and colours, the working class in a word, constituting a great majority of the people and in fact THE PEOPLE, demands that the world's industries shall be taken over by the workers who shall operate them for the benefit of the whole people. The choice is economic despotism, and the other is economic democracy. We demand complete control of industry by the workers; we demand all the wealth they produce for their own enjoyment, and we demand the Earth for all the people.
In the struggle of the working class to free itself from wage slavery it cannot be repeated too often that everything depends upon the working class itself. The simple question is, can the workers fit themselves, by education, organisation, co-operation and self-imposed discipline, to take control of the productive forces and manage industry in the interest of the people and for the benefit of society? That is all there is to it.
The capitalist theory is that labour is, always has been, and always will be, “hands” merely; that it needs a “head,” the head of a capitalist, to hire it, set it to work, boss it, drive it and exploit it, and that without the capitalist “head” labour would be unemployed, helpless, and starve; and, sad to say, a great majority of wage-workers, in their ignorance, share in that opinion. They use their hands only to produce wealth for the capitalist who uses his head only, scarcely conscious that they have heads of their own and that if they only used their heads as well as their hands the capitalist would have to use his hands as well as his head, and then there would be no “bosses” and no “hands,” but men and women instead—free men and women, employing themselves co-operatively under regulations of their own, taking to themselves all the products of their labour and shortening the work day as machinery increased their productive capacity. Such a change would be marvelously beneficial all around. The idle capitalists and brutal bosses would disappear. All would be useful workers, have steady employment, fit houses to live in, plenty to eat and wear, and leisure time enough to enjoy life. That is the theory that the Socialist Party is fighting for. But this is not a mere fanciful theory. It is a vital force in society that is at work like gravity, steadily, unceasingly, transforming society and at the same time preparing the workers for the change.
All the workers have to do is to recognise this force, get in harmony with it, and fit themselves by self-training and co-operative self-control for industrial mastery and social freedom. This seems simple enough and so it is, yet simple as it is it involves the greatest struggle in history. The idle capitalists who now rule the civilized world and rob the workers of the fruit of their labor will fight to the last ditch and they have numberless hirelings, mercenaries and lickspittles in the form of lawyers, politicians, legislators, judges, office-holders, professors, priests, editors, writers, reformist leaders, soldiers, detectives, etc., etc., to fight their battles for them. All this vast army serves as retainers of and apologists for the idle capitalists by whose grace they hold their jobs, and the entire brood is set solidly against socialism. These servile prostituted puppets all insist that working men and women are “hands” to be worked by capitalists, that they can never be anything else and that socialism is but the devil’s lure which they must shun as they would a deadly viper, and this they are dinning into the ears of the slaves early and late through their media, their pulpits and confessionals, their civic federations and charity balls, and seeking in a thousand other ways, secret and subtle, covert and treacherous, to thwart the efforts of the socialists to open the eyes of the workers that they may see the light and find their way to freedom.
This task on the part of socialists, who are almost wholly wage-slaves with their brains in working order, is a herculean one and socialists are the very last to underestimate its magnitude. They realise fully what they have undertaken, and how crucially they are to be tested in the struggle, and this has been the making of them and they are today the most fearless, persistent and successful agitators and the most self-possessed and optimistic people in the world. They are not waiting for some so-called “great man” or “good man” to do something for them, but they are preparing to do all things for themselves. The workers are in a great majority and without them every wheel would stop, industry would drop dead, and society would be paralyzed. All they have to do is to unite, think together, act together, strike together, vote together, never for an instant forgetting that they are one, and then the world is theirs. They have but to stretch out their millions of brawny arms and trained co-operative hands and take possession. But to reach this point requires education and organisation—these are the essentials to emancipation.
They must unite in one and the same industrial union and one and the same political party. And the union and the party must be managed and directed by themselves, not from the top down, but from the bottom up. When the head of a “boss” appears it is only to disappear if the workers know their book. Brains are wanted, but not bosses. The workers do not want to be patronized any longer by intellectual “superiors.” They are organized upon the basis of mutual service and the superiority of all, and all are welcome to join upon that basis, the brainier they are the better.
But no bosses! Labor has been bossed for centuries unnumbered and from now on it is going to boss itself. Labor has had all it wants of the “great man,” who condescendingly smiles upon it to have himself lifted up on its shoulders and boosted into prominence, luxury and office. The workers and producers, the builders, the sowers and reapers, the weavers and spinners, the mechanics, artisans and laborers of every kind and sort are the creators of society and the conservators of civilization, and when they come to realize it they will conquer in the struggle for supremacy and people the earth with a race of free men and women.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
From the March 1972 issue of the Socialist Standard
A 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.
From the time of nationalisation, the NUM pursued a policy of moderation, being under the false illusion that nationalisation and the Labour government were in the workers’ interests and would lead to vast improvements eventually. This enabled the NCB to provide coal at prices below those prevailing on the world markets. The miners were just getting over these illusions when in 1956 came the crunch.
Coal, the miners were told, is finished; it cannot compete with other fuels. Governments showed that oil, natural gas, and nuclear power, were cheaper and more efficient than coal, and started to run down coal production. The number of collieries fell from 840 in 1956 to 299 in 1970. The labour force declined from 697,400 in 1956 to 295,650 in 1970. The chairman of the NCB, year after year, asked for productivity, and because of fear of redundancies, the miners responded. Output per man shift in 1956 was 24.8 cwts; in 1970 it was 43.4 cwts. and in 1971 was 46.9 cwts. Earnings, however, did not rise in conjunction with productivity. In 1956 the miner was top of an earnings table of 17 industries, in 1970 he was 13th in the table, 4th from the bottom.
Yet still the industry declined; the mining communities were broken up; villages deserted, many families moving home as many as three or four times. The unemployment rate for miners is over 8 per cent. The miners were treated as capitalism always treats its unwanted, in a callous and degrading manner.
In the collieries that remained, mechanisation took over almost completely. 240 HP machines cutting coal into fine power and spewing it out at over 3 tons per minute, creating a permanent cloud of dust at the coalface. This will give miners pneumoconiosis, the dreaded lung disease, and conjunctivitis, the eye disease, much earlier than ever.
In the late 60’s, however, things began to change again. In 1966 the National Power Loading Agreement, was signed. This agreement meant that over the next five years up to 1971, the lower-paid areas, Scotland, South Wales, etc., would be brought up to the same wage level as the higher-paid areas of Notts and Kent. In reality this agreement has meant that the wages in the high-paid areas have practically stood still to allow the low-paid areas to catch up. This has led previously unmilitant areas like Notts to become as militant as the more traditional militant areas of Scotland and South Wales.
Government policies here and abroad in the years 1968-69, of running down coal production, have proved to have been very shortsighted, and have led to the present world-wide shortage of coking coal. This is seen in Britain, by millions of tons of coal being imported from Australia at up to £35 per ton. The N.C.B. are trying to reopen mines, and are surveying for new deposits. In America and Russia vast coalfields are being opened up, but will not be in operation till 1975-76.
The miner sees himself in a better position for bargaining than he has been in for many years. He is not going to let the chance pass as he did in the 1950s. For the first time in their history all the coalfields arc on the same wage level; they are united going for the same thing, £26 surface, £28 under ground, and £35 coalface, with corresponding increases for craftsmen. They are more militant than ever before, as has been seen by the unofficial strikes in 1968-69-70. In a national ballot in October 1970, 55 per cent voted to strike, after rejecting an offer from Lord Robens of £2.50, the highest ever offered in their history. Union rules prevented a strike then by demanding a 66 per cent vote to call a strike. Even so 100,000 miners struck work unofficially, and the offer was increased.
In November 1971, an overtime ban was put into operation, and a national ballot gave the executive the majority to call a strike. The NCB offer of £1.75 to £1.80, was well below the £5 to £9 asked for, the £9 being to bring the lowest paid underground man from £19 to £28. After weeks of talks and no increase in the offer, a strike was called to start on 8 January. After more talks the offer was increased by 10p per week, with some vague talk about extra holidays provided there was extra production. This brought the offer up from a 7.1 per cent increase to 7.8 per cent, keeping it under the government’s ceiling of 8 per cent. This too was rejected.
The miners believe that a lot of other demands they will soon be making depend on the outcome of this strike: A better pension (at present the miner gets £1.50 per week after 50 years service); usually he has some disablement from working over the years in arduous conditions; the re-introduction of the six-hour day, which the miner had after the first war, but lost in the lockouts of the 1920s; three weeks holidays which many industries already have.
The NUM have the backing of the railway unions, the Transport and General Workers Union, and the seamen’s and dockers unions, who refuse to go through miners’ picket lines. This has meant that they have been successful in picketing power stations, and to a lesser degree the docks.
There has been some confusion, however, and unwelcomed publicity about the picketing of coalboard offices. The staff of these offices belong to different unions, the Colliery Officials and Staffs Association, which is affiliated to the NUM and, mainly in the area offices, the Clerical and Administrative Workers Union. The NUM have instructed these unions that there will have to be staff working during the strike, to allow payment of income tax rebates to strikers, sick pay to miners on compensation, and pensions to widows and retired miners. COSA called all its members out saying, “one out, all out”, and the others nearly all worked on. This led to some offices working and some not, and the NCB saying that tax rebates may not be payed out. The NUM made it clear that they would not picket offices, but some misinformed NUM members and striking COSA members picketed some area offices in an angry and vile manner. The TV and press have made great play of this. The NUM have cleared this up, however, by making their pickets go to places that will benefit the strike more.
Despite what the NCB say, in Scotland the NUM have covered safety for personnel underground; they supply winding enginemen, boiler firemen, engineers, blacksmiths and electricians to stand by as long as officials are going underground. They are not, however, in most cases going to supply men to save machinery and equipment, which is more of a worry to the NCB as every day the strike lasts the more this equipment is crushed at the coal face. The price of this electronic and hydraulic face equipment is very expensive and will cost the NCB millions of pounds to replace.
All this is taking place in a country where one coalmine was in operation where only a handful of men went underground, and no one worked at the coalface while the machines were in operation; production was all controlled from the surface. This, however, proved unprofitable due to the high cost and maintenance of the machinery, as coal like every other commodity under capitalism is produced for a profit on the market, and not for social use. Men’s health and lives are available at a cheaper rate than machines.
The miners are struggling to maintain their standard of living under capitalism, and while we support workers in this struggle, we see that at the end of the day workers will still be in the same position; they will still be wage slaves subject to the anarchistic and wasteful economic laws of capitalism.
We, therefore, urge workers to join with us in the political field, to abolish capitalism and set up a worldwide, classless, wageless society, where the wealth of the world is produced for the common use of mankind, and not for profit. Then people like miners will not have to survive from week to week, on the pittance they get for spending a great deal of their time, crawling on their bellies, filling their lungs with dust, at some gas-filled, wet and treacherous coalface.
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 British government. Fenianism, though purely a political movement with an independent Ireland as its ideal, strongly influenced the inception of other nationalist movements, the most notable of which were the Gaelic League and the Land League and also the Irish literary revival, led by Yeats.
The Fenian leaders planned an insurrection for 1865 but postponed it until 1867. The British forces easily suppressed this outbreak and the most notable feature of Rising were the brilliant speeches delivered from the dock by its leaders at the trials which ensued. After that the Fenians pursued a policy of sporadic outbreaks of violence and stood opposed to the constitutional methods of Parnell. In 1916 another insurrection was squashed but the executions which followed antagonised the people; the result was a stronger Republican army which engaged in intense guerrilla warfare with the British forces from 1919 until the Treaty in 1921.
The Fenians faced strong opposition from the Catholic Church and were often accused of being communist —mainly because of the strong working-class element within its ranks. It was at all times a minority action movement and much of its finance came from Irish-Americans. Its leaders advocated the “rights of the people" to determine their own political and economic affairs. Some even advocated “rights of labour” and “more equitable distribution of wealth”. But being a minority action movement its role could only have been the establishing of “the rights" of representatives of Irish capitalists to manage their own interests. This is exactly what happened. It is now nearly fifty years since Ireland became independent of British rule but still world capitalism draws off Irish surplus labour, while in Ireland wages are ridiculously low. The Church, which once opposed the Fenians, now, paradoxically, venerates the memory of its leaders. The sad thing is that it was Irish workers who wasted so much life and energy in acquiring a separate parliament which could not possibly manage capitalism in their interests.
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 Party and work for Socialism. Socialism will come when enough of you want it."Gallacher says that we do not tell him how Socialism will come. He asks if we are prepared for the possible resistance of the Churchills and Birkenheads, and if they "should take action to prevent our majority operating what do the light-spreaders propose doing about it."
He assumes that our answer would be "Time enough when that happens" to consider the possibility, and proceeds to be very scornful about it. We are further accused of wanting "the workers to go forward blindly without any preparation or any organisation whatever." We are likened to the I.L.P. vote-catchers to whom elections are everything and who must do nothing which might cause them to lose votes.
He thinks that the King or a capitalist minority could defy a Socialist majority in Parliament, because this minority would be backed up by "the overwhelming majority of officers and through these controlling the rank and file." Then "What would the majority do?" he asks.
The real and only way to Socialism, according to Gallacher, is to smash capitalism, a statement with which we are not likely to disagree, but "capitalism won’t smash simply because a majority would like to see it smashed.” Then after bringing us so far, Gallacher suddenly decides not to put us right after all. Instead of telling us how to smash capitalism, he rambles airily about the need “for us who are in earnest . . . to fight against the organised forces of capitalism.” And there he finishes.
In striking contrast with Gallacher’s vagueness, the S.P.G.B. is quite open and definite about the method of obtaining Socialism and of dealing with any resistance there may be. And in face of the plain statement of our position contained in our Declaration of Principles and other literature, not a line of Gallacher's would-be criticism has any bearing on the matter whatever. Instead of dealing with our policy he has the brazen impudence to attack the I.L.P. and the Labour Party, and link us up with their actions. He forgets that it is not the Socialist Party but he, and his own party, the Communists, who urge the workers to vote for those two anti-Socialist bodies.
We state that we want the workers to conquer the powers of government in order to use the political machinery, including the armed forces, for the purpose of overthrowing capitalism. We hold (and let Gallacher dispute it if he disagrees) that Socialism can exist only when the majority of workers want it. We also hold that a Socialist majority organised in the Socialist Party can obtain effective control by using its majority to capture the machinery of government. This disposes of our alleged neglect of organisation. Lastly, we hold that political control will give a Socialist working class control of the armed forces, and they will deal with capitalist minorities who rebel, in the way in which rebels are usually dealt with. Gallacher, be if noted, believes that the workers in the Army will, at such a time, not be influenced to support the Socialist majority either by their loyalty to constitutional authority or by their class sympathies, or by their knowledge of their own interests, but will follow those officers who decide to lead a revolt. He fails, however, to give a single argument in support of this fantastic belief.
So much for Gallacher’s criticism of the S.P.G.B. Now let us examine Gallacher and his party.
The capitalist forces must be fought, and capitalism smashed, he says, but. he leaves us to guess how and by whom. The “Workers' Weekly" (February 24th, 1923) set out to tell us how it was to be done. "The capitalists will resist any change by all means at their disposal. The power of the capitalists must be wrested from them. The workers must set up their own State . . . ." But just when we were about to learn how it was going to happen we find, instead of an answer to the vital question, three little dots and the words "Censored by the printer.” Then they go on to deal with their programme for the period after the capitalists have been disposed of. If the excuse were a true one, the position would be funny enough. These embryo dictators who are going to smash capitalism, and fight the whole forces of the State, cannot even dictate to a little back-street printer. But the excuse is simply a subterfuge to escape answering an awkward question. If they were not afraid to do so, everyone knows they could get their printing done in or out of the country.
And what are Gallacher's credentials for putting us right? He doesn’t believe in Parliament, yet he belongs to a party which advocates. “revolutionary parliamentarianism," and runs candidates. He believes Parliament is useless, and runs for it himself. He doesn’t believe in waiting for a majority, yet he appeals (on a reform programme) to what he dubs “the heterogeneous crowd" in a constituency, for a majority so that he can get into the House. He believes in fighting unceasingly against capitalism, and asks you to vote for I.L.P. and Labour candidates whom he regards as capitalist agents. In the recent Dundee by-election he was canvassing for T. Johnston, just as he had supported his predecessor the late E. D. Morel another anti-Socialist. His appeal was drawn up somewhat as follows:—
“Johnston is an anti-Socialist; all who want Socialism should vote for Johnston! Johnston is a humbug. Long live Johnston. Johnston is a scoundrel. Johnston for ever!”He was almost in tears when he was falsely charged with having opposed this anti-Socialist. For some unaccountable reason Gallacher's articles are described as “Political Notes.”
He belongs to the party which tells the workers to vote for Thomas, Clynes, MacDonald and the rest of the Labour Party defenders of capitalism. He speaks of Churchill and Birkenhead, and himself supports the party which has the honour of having assisted Churchill into the House at the beginning of his career, and which was not averse from assisting Birkenhead and his party in the prosecution of the late war. He denounces vote-catching; Gallacher, who in a chequered career, has never known from one month to the next where he stood politically, or where he was going; who has drifted and tossed with every wind that blew; who has alternately supported and denounced nearly every pettifogging reform that was every proposed; who still advocates the treacherous communist tactic of giving insincere allegiance to the capitalist principles of the Labour Party, and the anti-Socialist tactic of asking workers to support those men and those principles. This is the man who implies that the S.P.G.B. trims to catch votes. Will Gallacher back up this or any other of his criticisms of the S.P.G.B.?
In 1920 Gallacher wrote that “any support of the Parliamentary opportunists is simply playing into the hands of the former.” (“Workers’ Dreadnought,” February, 1920). It was true then, and is true now, that he does it. Was there also some truth in his statement that it is the “personal ambition” of the “professional politician” which makes revolutionaries help the enemy in this way? Or would it be kinder and more accurate for us to recognise that Gallacher is the distressed victim of his natural muddle-headedness on the one hand, and on the other of his uncontrolled and uninstructed hatred of a purely mythical “capitalism” created by his imagination?
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, having its foundation in the slavery and exploitation of the masses, can only rule by corrupt means and its politics are essentially the reflex of its low and debasing economic character.
The Socialist party as the party of the working class stands squarely upon its principles in making its appeal to the workers. It is not begging for votes, nor seeking for votes, nor bargaining for votes. It is not in the vote market. It wants votes, but only of those who want it - those who recognise it as their party and come to it of their own free will. If its candidates were seeking office for the spoils of office they would be traitors to the Socialist Party and a disgrace to the working class. To be sure, we want all the votes we can get but only as a means of developing the political power of the working class in the struggle for industrial freedom, and not that we may revel in the spoils of office. The workers have never yet developed or made use of their political power. They have played the game of their masters for the benefit of the master class - and now many of them, disgusted with their own blindness are renouncing politics and refusing to see any difference between the capitalist parties financed by the ruling class to perpetuate class rule and the Socialist Party organised and financed by the workers themselves as a means of wresting the control of government and of industry from the capitalists and making the working class the ruling class.
The aims of the Socialist Party is clearly stated and it is to assist our fellow-workers of the world to shake off their oppressors and exploiters, to put an end to their age-long servitude, and make themselves the masters of the world. To this end the Socialist Party has been organized; to this end it is bending all its energies and devoting all its resources; to this end it makes its appeal to the workers throughout the world.
In the name of the workers, the Socialist Party condemns the capitalist system. In the name of freedom it condemns wage-slavery. In the name of the new technology it condemns poverty, idleness,and famine. In the name of peace it condemns war. In the name of civilisation, it condemns the murder of little children. In the name of enlightenment it condemns ignorance and superstition. In the name of the future, it arraigns the past at the bar of the present, and in the name of humanity, it demands social justice for every man, woman and child. The Socialist Party knows neither colour, creed, sex, nor race. It knows no aliens among the oppressed and down-trodden. It is first and last the party of the workers, regardless of their nationality, proclaiming their interests, voicing their aspirations, and fighting their battles.It matters not where the slaves of the earth lift their bowed bodies from the dust and seek to shake off their fetters, or lighten the burden that oppresses them, the Socialist party is pledged to encourage and support them to the full extent of its power. It matters not to what union they belong, or if they belong to any union, the Socialist Party which sprang from their struggle, their oppression, and their aspiration, is with them through good and evil report, in trial and defeat, until at last victory is inscribed upon their banner. In all the battles of the workers against their capitalist oppressors, the Socialist Party is freely pledged to render them all the support in its power. These are the battles of the workers in the war of the classes and the battles of the workers, wherever and however fought, are always and everywhere the battles of the Socialist Party.
The Socialist Party is the only party of the people, the only party opposed to the rule of the plutocracy, the only truly democratic leader-free party in the world. It is the only party in which men and women have equal rights and denies membership to any who refuses to recognise another member as a political equal. The education, organisation and co-operation of our fellow- workers is the conscious aim and the self-imposed task of the Socialist Party. Persistently, unceasingly and enthusiastically this great work is being accomplished. It is the working class coming into consciousness of itself, and no power on earth can prevail against it in the hour of its complete awakening. The handwriting is upon the wall. Capitalism is breaking down and the new order evolving from it is clearly the socialist cooperative commonwealth, based upon the social ownership of the means of life and the production of wealth for the use of all instead of the private profit of the few. The Socialist Party stands for the peace which will prevail and plenty for all will abound in the land. The brute struggle for existence will have ended, and the millions of exploited poor will be rescued from the skeleton clutches of poverty and famine will be a horror of the past. The social conscience and the social spirit will prevail. Society will have a new birth, and the race a new destiny. There will be work for all, leisure for all, and the joys of life for all. Competition there will be, not in the struggle for existence, but to excel in good work and in social service. Every child will then have an equal chance to grow up in health and vigour of body and mind and an equal chance to rise to its full stature and achieve success in life.
These are the ideals of the Socialist Party and to these ideals it has dedicated all its energies and all its powers. The members of the Socialist Party are the party and their collective will is the supreme law. The Socialist Party is organised and ruled from the bottom up. There is no boss and there never can be unless the party deserts its principles and ceases to be a Socialist Party. Each member has not only an equal voice but is urged to take an active part in all the party committees. Each branch is an educational centre. The party relies wholly upon the power of education, knowledge, and mutual understanding.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
"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 for a second referendum is Brexit where most regions in the UK voted to leave but Scotland chose to vote remain. Those on the first referendum who suggested a No vote because of the threat of breaking the labour links with fellow Britons must now re-evaluate whether a Yes will restore the labour relationship between Scottish and European workers. Our view is that the state or a bloc of states such as the EU ultimately exists only to defend the property interests of the owning class at any given point in history, to protect the interests of the capitalists and their businesses at every turn. Capitalism is not a system that can be humanised or reformed or transformed into something better. It is a profit system subject to economic laws which can only work in one way: as a system of profit-making and accumulation of capital in the interest of a tiny minority of profit-takers.
Scottish separatists see themselves as visionaries but they cannot see beyond the narrow confines of the nation-state, conceived in pre-medieval times and as outmoded as the clan system it replaced. It is the Socialist Party who are the true men and women of vision, who look forward to and struggle for a new world of common ownership and democratic control of society's resources. Socialists recognises the essential unity of the human race and the urgent need to celebrate it by building society on that basis. In a socialist society the traditional knowledge and expertise held by small communities will be respected, especially where this relates to local ecology and sustainable systems of land use, and hence priority given to local decision-making over whatever has to be delegated to wider regional or global democratic control. In a socialist society communities, towns and cities will have the opportunity to thrive – and people will no doubt feel an attachment to places that are real and tangible – but the nation states will be consigned to the history books where they belong. We will recognise ourselves, not as Scottish, British, or European but as members of humanity. Then nationalism will have been well and truly buried.
The world-wide working class to end its exploitation and solve its problems has to join together to establish a world without frontiers in which the resources of the planet will have become the heritage of all, so that there can be production to meet needs and not for profit, where cultural differences will still be celebrated, but where we'll all be citizens of the world. The Socialist Party supports only working-class unity to establish a socialist world. Socialism will be a global co-operative commonwealth, a free world for a free people.
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. They are all capitalist parties and stand for the capitalist system, and such differences as there are between them involve no principle. Each reek with corruption in their servility to the capitalist class, and are torn asunder with strife in their mad scramble for the spoils of office. The vital issue before the world is not touched, nor even mentioned in their manifestoes – capitalist wage-slavery, the legalised robbery of the workers of what is produced by their labour. It is the fundamental crime against modern humanity, but there is no room for the mention of this vital fact, in the platforms of the ruling class parties. They continue to babble on about inconsequential matters to obscure the real issue and wheedle the workers into voting them into power once more. Their speeches are filled with empty platitudes and meaningless phrases, but they are discreetly silent about the millions of unemployed, about the starvation wages of factory slaves, about the women and children who are crushed, debased and slowly tortured to death by the moloch of capitalism, about the people- trafficking of migrants, about the bitter poverty of the masses and their hopeless future, and about every other vital question which is worthy of an instant's consideration by any intelligent human being. How many more years of power do they require to demonstrate that they are the parties of the capitalist class and that they never intend to legislate in the interest of the working class, or provide relief for the suffering people?
The Socialist Party is the only party which honestly represents the working class. We are not asking you to give your votes blindly to this party but only that you read its case for socialism, study its statements and declarations, and satisfy yourselves as to what its principles are, what it stands for, and what it expects to accomplish. The Socialist Party being the political expression of the rising working class stands for the absolute overthrow of the existing capitalist system and for the reorganisation of society into an industrial and social democracy. This will mean an end to the private ownership of the means of life; it will mean an end to wage-slavery; it will mean an end to the army of the unemployed; it will mean an end to the poverty of the masses, the prostitution of womanhood, and the murder of childhood. It will mean the beginning of a new era of civlisation; the dawn of a happier day for the Children of Man. It will mean that this earth is for those who inhabit it and wealth for those who produce it. It will mean society organised upon a co-operative basis, collectively owning the sources of wealth and the means of production, and producing wealth to satisfy human wants and not to gorge a privileged few. It will mean that there shall be work for the workers and that all shall be workers, and it will also mean that there shall be leisure for the workers and that all shall enjoy it. It will mean that women shall be the comrades and equals of men, sharing with them on equal terms the opportunities as well as the responsibilities, the benefits as well as the burdens of civilised life.
The Socialist Party is the party of human emancipation. It stands for a world-wide democracy, for the freedom of every man, woman, and child, and for the civilization of all mankind. The Socialist party buys no votes with promises of reforms. It scorns to traffic in ignorance. It realizses that education, knowledge and the powers these confer are the only means of achieving a decided and permanent victory for the people. It is essentially educational and an appeal to intelligence. The workers are opening their eyes at last. They are beginning to see the light. They are taking heart of hope because they are becoming conscious of their power. No longer can the workers be pitted against each other in capitalist parties by designing politicians to their mutual undoing. They have made the discovery that they have brains as well as hands, that they can think as well as work, and that they do not need politicians to advise them how to vote, nor masters to rob them of the fruits of their labour. Slowly but surely there is being established the economic and political unity and solidarity of the workers of the world. The Socialist Party is the political expression of that unity and solidarity. appeal to the workers assembled here today in the name of the Socialist party. We appeal to you to unite and make common cause in this great struggle. To the extent that you have made progress, to the extent that you have developed power, and to the extent that you have achieved victory, to that extent you are indebted to your own class-conscious efforts and your own industrial and political organization. To the extent that you lack power, to the extent that you are defeated and kept in bondage, to that extent you lack in economic and political solidarity. Rightly organised and soundly disciplined on both the economic and political fields, the working class can prevail against the world. The economic organisation and the political party of the working class must both be revolutionary and they must work together hand in hand. Let us rise to our full stature, summon our united powers, and strike a blow for freedom that will be felt around the world!
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
“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 system that breeds war. Capitalism makes war inevitable. Capitalist nations not only exploit their workers but ruthlessly invade, plunder, and ravage one another. The profit system is responsible for it all. Abolish that, establish industrial democracy, produce for use, and the incentive to war vanishes. Until then men may talk about “Peace on earth” but it will be a myth — or sarcasm. Let us show the people the true cause of war. Let us arouse a sentiment against war. Let us teach the children to abhor war.
There may well be still room for reform and betterment in the present social system, but this is of minor consequence compared to the world’s crying need for industrial and social reorganisation and revolution. Privately owned industry and production for individual profit are no longer compatible with social progress and have ceased to work out to humane and civilised ends. With all its marvelous progress and monumental achievements through invention and new technology this world of ours - has not yet learned how to feed itself. There is no longer the shadow of an excuse for a hungry person. All the resources and all the forces are at hand and easily available for the production of all things needed to provide food and shelter for every man, woman, and child, thus putting an end to the widespread poverty and appalling misery, which now shocks and sickens humanity and impeaches our vaunted civilization. But these tools and materials and forces must be released from private ownership and control, socialised, democratised, and set in operation for the common good of all instead of the private profit of the few. A privately owned world can never be a free world and a society based upon warring classes cannot stand. Such a world is a world of strife and hate and such a society can exist only by means of militarism and physical force. The day of awakening is at hand. The workers of all the world are breaking away from statecraft and priestcraft.
The Socialist Party challenges the right of capitalism to exist, and it proclaims the socialism as the legitimate successor of the present status quo order. Socialists appeal to the world’s workers upon the basis of their class interests. The Socialist Party make no pretense of attempting to serve both capitalists and workers. That is a political sophistry which socialism leaves a monopoly in the hands of the political spokesmen of capitalism. Socialism counts among the world’s workers all those who labour with hand or brain in the production of life’s necessities and luxuries. Socialism appeals to the self-interest of every man and woman so employed. With the interests of the owners of the great machines of modern production and distribution, the Socialists have no concern, except to abolish that ownership.
Capitalism is founded upon production for profit. Socialism is postulated upon production for use. Whenever the owners of the world’s machinery of production and distribution fail for any reason to realise profits, it is in their power to cease production or distribution and the world’s workers may starve. Again, if the owners of the world’s machinery of production and distribution permit it to be operated, they dictate the terms upon which the world’s workers may use that machinery. In other words, the only function of the modern capitalist is to own that which his brother man must use. The worker has naught but his labour-power, of hand or brain, to sell, and if he must sell his labor-power upon terms dictated by another, he is a slave. He who controls my bread controls my head, and so the contest between modern capitalism and socialism resolves itself into the age-old question of human slavery.
The corporate wealth of the nation controls the capitalist government of the nation and will to the end of capitalism. Corporate wealth is the result of economic and industrial evolution. Until corporate wealth is supplanted by common wealth, it will continue to write the laws and to enforce them or now, as best pleases its owners. Control of corporations and the enforcement of regulation of capitalist legislation, by capitalist politicians, are twin frauds in the programme of capitalism’s efforts to fool the people. No capitalist politician or party dares to hinder business growth or profits. Such an eventuality is a possibility, but not a probability. The Socialist Party wastes little time in dwelling upon these fleeting fantasies of the capitalist reformists. We realise that the issues which divide the capitalist political camps are merely quarrels between rival groups of capitalists over the division of the spoils which they have expropriated from the workers. The Socialist Party is no more interested in the outcome of these political quarrels than it would be in the result of a quarrel between two hold-up men who had robbed someone of his wallet and who had fallen out over splitting the contents.
Instead, the Socialist Party concentrates on the monumental corruption, the hypocrisy and the shams of capitalist politics as an indictment of capitalism. Alongside it, is the inexcusable impoverishment and prostitution of fellow-workers, the destruction of his families in the mines and sweatshops of capitalism. The Socialist Party calls upon his brothers and sisters to join in the overthrow of capitalism through capturing the powers of government and transferring the ownership of the world from capitalism to socialism. We point out the staggering burden of militarism, the colossal fraud of capitalist courts, the indescribably corruption of capitalist business, the cant, the chicanery, and the hypocrisy of capitalist society, and We urge workers to join in the struggle to usher in a better day. For the first time in the world’s history a subject class has it in its own power to accomplish its own emancipation without an appeal to brute force. This is the appeal which the Socialist Part makes to the workers of the world. It invites them to seize political power in the name of the working class, and to decree their own economic emancipation proclamation.
Monday, March 27, 2017
Out soon April's Socialist StandardThe Socialist Standard is 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 Peloponnesian and similar ancient wars as a cover for the Party's opposition to the current one.
The SPGB maintains that it is not a left-wing organisation nor its journal, The Socialist Standard a left-wing journal. 'Left-wing', it contends, has simply become an umbrella designation for protest groups and organisations demanding amendments and reforms to capitalism. The SPGB and the World Socialist Movement (with which the SPGB is associated) contrary to the views and aspirations of these myriad groups and organisations that would claim to be left-wing, affirms that capitalism is incapable of meaningful reform;that quintessentially the basis of the exploitation of the working class is the wages/money system.
While there is a lower class I am in it;Eugene V Debs
While there is a criminal class I am of it;
While there is a soul in prison I am not free.
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 means the end of exploitation, and the end of exploitation means the end of war and the beginning of worldwide peace. Trade wars must be backed by machine guns and missile. The war of blood follows the war for trade. Put an end to it all by replacing capitalism with socialism, and industrial despotism with industrial democracy, wherein the people, the whole people, shall own and control their common means of life, produce all things for their common use and enjoyment, and not for gorging parasites, and then, exploitation having ceased, competition for trade being ended, the incentive to war vanishes and for the first time in history the mankind is at peace. We are socialists, world socialists, and we have no use, not one bit, for capitalist wars. We have no enemies among the workers of other countries; and no friends among the capitalists of any country; the workers of all countries are our friends and the capitalists of all countries are our enemies. The class war is our war and our only war. We have no interest in national wars for ruling class conquest and plunder. In all these wars the workers are slaughtered while their masters grow fat in the spoils of conquest. The time has come for the workers to cease fighting the battle of their masters and to fight their own; to cease being slaughtered like cattle for the profit of the ruling class and to line up in the class struggle regardless of race or nationality for the overthrow of class rule and for the emancipation of their class and humanity. Permanent peace, however; peace based upon social justice, will never prevail until national industrial despotism has been supplanted by international industrial democracy. The end of profit and plunder among nations will also mean the end of war and the dawning of the era of “Peace on Earth and Good Will among Men.”
Capitalism is the same everywhere. Wherever capitalism appears, in pursuit of its mission of exploitation, there will socialism, born out of misery, fed by blood sweat and tears and animated by agitation and proclaiming its mission of emancipation. The Socialist Party is intent upon building up a working class party for independent political action. The Socialist Party stands upon a sound platform, embodying the principles of world socialism, clearly expressed, and proclaims its mission of conquest on the basis of the class struggle. Its tactics are in harmony with its principles, and both are absolutely uncompromising. The mission of the Socialist Party is to awaken fellow-workers to a consciousness to be a socialist. We are not after office, we want socialism. We care nothing about office except in so far as it represents the triumph of socialism. Our goal is the “brotherhood of man,” and the tenet “Each for all and all for each”. It is no utopian dream, not the product of imagination, nor a mirage of the desert to allure and vanish, but a world-view of life and labour in which the humblest individual secures life, liberty, and happiness.
We know that day by day, nourished by the desperation and vitalised by the aspirations of the working class, the area of its activity widens, it grows in strength and when the final hour of capitalism and wage slavery strikes, the Socialist Party will proclaim FREEDOM TO ALL MANKIND.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
“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 Internationale echo Marx’s saying that “the 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 Internationale tells 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 we do know how to transform the world. We have no interest in oratory games between “big leaders”. As the Communist Manifesto says our goal “an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” Socialism demands the liberation of humanity.
Socialists fully understand that the members of a socialist community will have to perform certain functions in many ways similar to those performed today under capitalism. In every society men and women have to produce in order to live. In every economic system, there must be some balance between production and consumption. Every society, if it is not to stagnate and decay, must produce a surplus of goods over and above the sum total of the goods necessary for the upkeep of the producers, the maintenance and replacement of productive equipment and so on. Yet the social relationships within which these functions are performed are so different in various systems that it is useless to search for common historical and sociological denominators for these functions. The surplus produce of a capitalist economy takes the form of rent, profit and interest; and this determines the entire mode of life of the capitalist world. In socialism, the surplus produce, belonging to society as a whole, would cease to be profit. The function of that surplus and its impact upon social life would be altogether different from what it was under the old order when the scale and the rhythm of any nation’s productive activity were normally determined by whether that activity was or was not profitable to the capitalist class. In the same way, the emulation in which men would engage under socialism (or communism) would have little or nothing in common with their ancestors’ competition. Under capitalism, men compete for profits or wages. There is a hierarchy to oppression under capitalism. It begins with the most vulnerable then works upward.
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