Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Recent Reading

The Lost City of Z" by David Grann Doubleday, 2009, recounts the authors attempt to find exactly what happened to explorer Percy Fancett, who disappeared while trying to find ancient cities in the Amazon jungles. Though Grann was unsuccessful, he did succeed in finding the cities. Grann quotes a spokesperson for the Brazilian Transport Ministry that "loggers on road B R 163, employ the highest concentration of slave labour in the world." 

Grann notes that Indians are frequently driven off their land, enslaved, or murdered. So despite the tremendous advances, we've made in our technology nothing fundamentally changes in life itself, but under capitalism how can it?

What I can also recommend by Mr. Grann is his most recent work, "Killers of the Flower Moon," ( Doubleday.) Grann describes the shock U.S. capitalists received when, having forced the Osage Indians onto some barren land in Oklahoma, they become overnight millionaires when oil was discovered there. Like, "How are we gonna steal it from them now we've made them the legal owners?"

For socialism, 

Steve, Mehmet, John, and all contributing members of the SPC.

Life In Capitalism Is Always Dangerous

The white supremacist riots in Virginia on August 11-12, which is what they were, even if they said it was a rally, show that prejudice is alive and ill under capitalism. 

Some of the white nationalists cited Trump's victory as validation for their beliefs and his critics pointed to his racially tinged rhetoric as increasing America's racial tension. 

Furthermore, he wasn't in a hurry to make a public comment about it; though the most amazing comment was from Jesse Jackson, "We are in a very dangerous place right now."

Life under capitalism is always dangerous. Hey Jess, wake up and smell the stink. 

John Ayers.


One of the many TV adverts for the Royal Air Force shows 19 year
old Ellie having a grand social life, occasionally working but never
killing or wounding people nor being killed or wounded in action.

Our Ellie's jogging down the road,
(Which is the first thing that you do!)
When one has joined the Air Force boys,
To play with their expensive toys,
Flown by all the same chaps in blue.

Our Ellie's sitting on a train,
Returning to her home on leave,
She's quite fatigued from all the fun,
And life has only just begun,
The ad would have us fools believe!

Our Ellie's back upon the base,
With no sign of a single plane,
Then blow me down she's on the road,
Not marching with a heavy load,
But jogging with the guys again!

Then Ellie frolics in the sea,
With the said drop-dead gorgeous chaps,
Then duty calls from State and Queen,
She looks at her fluorescent screen,
And studies all her radar maps.

And then she fiddles with a plane,
And twiddles lots of nuts with glee,
But in the next shot, give me strength,
She's swimming more than just a length,
In the warm blue Aegean sea!

Boobs pointedly point out the way,
As Ellie shows off each bronzed loin,
As this daft sexist TV ad,
Exists to urge each randy lad,
And divvy-civvy girl to join!

© Richard Layton

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Point Where Nutty Things Follow.

Between the time of writing this (August 7), and the time you read it, this information may be old news,may because any day Donald Trump may do something bizarre. The questions many are asking now are, "Did Russian businessmen and/or gangsters, (and sometimes the difference is blurred), connive to get trump elected, and if so was he aware of it?

We of the SPC say that for the working class of the U.S., and elsewhere, it doesn't matter, because whoever gets elected, and however they get elected, the fundamentals of capitalism remain intact, which cause their problems. Can anyone imagine Hillary advocating Capitalism's abolition? 

Of course the situation regarding Trump is crazy, Meshigana or Bonkers, call it what you will, but what else can we expect when the very basics of capitalism are crazy? The vast majority of the world's people create its wealth and docilely and legally hand it over to a small minority. From this point all many of nutty things flow. 

John Ayers.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Insanity Gone Ballistic.

We've all heard of North Korea's threats to send a nuclear missile to America and Trump's "Locked and Loaded," reply. 

Many may ask, "But why would capitalists anywhere risk a nuclear war with its American competitors? That would be insanity gone ballistic." 

To answer a question with one – since when have sanity and capitalism gone hand in hand?

 John Ayers.

Unemployment. It "Is" It is. It "Is"

On August 4, Stats Canada revealed the unemployment rate in Canada had fallen in July from 65% to 6.3, which was its lowest since the financial crisis of 2008.

The next day the press was jubilant; the Toronto Star said "It was one of the lowest rates we've seen in the last 2 decades." Ontario Economic Development Minister, Brad Dueuid, was no less ecstatic, "The numbers show Ontario's economy continues to grow at an impressive rate."

What these celebrants fail to realise is that there still "is" unemployment, which "is" a symptom of capitalism and will always exist, no matter how it fluctuates, within capitalism. 

John Ayers.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Another Crazy Situation.

 Haitians are fleeing to Canada from the U.S. in fear of being deported to Haiti, now the Trump administration is considering ending the temporary protected status program.

At a news conference on August 3, Quebec Immigration Minister, Kathleen Weil said there were roughly 50 requests for asylum a day, between July 1 and July 19 and now it is about 150 a day. She said Quebec had already received 6,500 asylum seekers by the end of June and is on track to have 12,000 by the end of the year.

Of course it will be difficult for federal and provincial governments to find them jobs and houses. Montreal's Olympic Stadium has been set up to accommodate as many as 600 until mid-September.

Another of the many crazy situations which capitalism by its very nature throws up. 

John Ayers.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Capitalism has failed

We in the Socialist Party have always argued that many workers would arrive at conclusions similar to those of ourselves on their own, without encountering the Socialist Party's speakers or publications.

 We have thought that the basic causes of problems would be recognised and attacked, not just the symptoms. We held others would identify the pursuit of profit as responsible for the ills of society, for gross inequalities, for the bloodshed of war, for the waste of production, for people's need to obey and conform.

 The alternative a system without prices or money, based on co-operation not competition, with work done by volunteers, after all, there would still be plenty of motivation to work in a society where people would be cooperating to produce the best possible, free of stress and worries. Without useless jobs and pointless wars and so on. it would be possible to produce an abundance of goods, for people to take as they wish.

 The Socialist Party is often accused of being unrealistic in our demand for an end to the profit system as the only way of ending mass poverty. We are told that we must live in the “real world”, where we must proceed one step at a time, and support various legislative and regulatory campaigns.

 But we are beginning to see others who think it is time to challenge the root cause of world poverty, to end the “real world” in which human beings needlessly die and the planet is systematically ravaged in the name of profit. They and we have got this idea to have all the food, clothing, housing, transport and entertainment, and the factory have all the plant and raw materials they need at a cost of nothing, no money, satisfying our needs directly without the need for finance or financiers. Too simple? But the truth is always simple. Understanding it is the hard bit but as we see, many others outside the World Socialist Movement are learning.

When will our fellow-workers awake to a consciousness of their surroundings and take over the political machine in their own interests to sweep away the whole tainted system of capitalism? It is the mission of the propertyless class—our class - instead of seeking to participate in the division of the spoils—to see to it that there shall be no spoils. To do this they must put an end to the exploitation of the producers by the non-producers, i.e., the capitalists.

The class-war is the basis of the socialist movement. Does that mean that socialists created the class-war? On the contrary, we merely perceived an already existing fact (to which our fellow-slaves are either wholly or partially blind), and we further realise that this war can terminate in only one way, i.e., the emancipation of the workers through the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of the common ownership of the means of life. 

 This social ownership is the central, basic factor in the matter, not some fantastic dream of a perfect social state which merely reflects the imperfections of that which exists at present. So long as class-ownership continues and production is carried on for profit, so long will the workers endure the effects of the ensuing chaos in society. Instead, the coordinated conduct of production and distribution in accordance with the needs of the community locally and globally will give mankind for the first time the conscious control of their means of living. Henceforward waste will be eliminated for the benefit of all. The resources of the world are barely scratched.

 Whole continents cry out for development, but capitalism cannot respond. The world-wide co-operation of the working class alone can make peaceful progress possible. 

 Only when the satisfaction of our needs and wants are secured will the opportunity arise for the universal cultivation of distinctively human qualities, and where social harmony will be achieved. Personal liberty and initiative are not only not alien to socialism but are an integral part of it. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Socialism is coming to a place near you

The world is facing profound political and economic crises. Disasters do not usually come out of the blue even if they are described as “acts of God”.  They arise from a capitalist system which seeks profit maximisation at all cost and at the expense of all else because this is what the system requires. The real root causes behind this series of extreme weather events is capitalism as we have witnessed time and time again. Always the end result of this market system of economics is the suffering of communities around the world.  CEOs and the shareholders make the ultimate decisions about how the world will run.  The bottom line always comes down to our current system of capital accumulation and the need for never-ending expansion and growth. Capitalism's effects are insidious and are like cancer. Capitalism is sickening the planet. Our entire economic system is THE problem. Once we identify a disease, we set about determining the cure. We must set about creating a better society for everyone. A necessary step is the building of unified mass struggles at a global level that can truly oppose and respond to the devastation wrought by the capitalist system throughout the world. Our challenge in the Socialist Party is to articulate the various resistances in a single process to replace capitalism. Around the world, we face the same menace and so we should struggle together.  The working class can only emancipate themselves when educated and organised.

The sole aim and object of the Socialist Party is the establishment of socialism, a social revolution and the complete transformation of society. The emancipation of the working class can only mean extinction for the capitalist class who must be deprived of ownership of the means of wealth production. This is the conscious goal of the Socialist Party, because only by that means can the power of the ruling class be broken. The Socialist Party's objective is to strip the capitalist class of the power they wield to-day— to take from that class that which gives them the power to exploit and makes of them a separate and ruling class. Stripped of political power and ownership in the means of wealth production, capitalists and capitalism cease to be, and the working class, having rendered them powerless by capturing the machinery of government, are at once free to organise production and distribution on the basis of common ownership and democratic control.  We deny to the capitalist the right of exploitation, the right to govern, the right to live in idleness and luxury: We deny to capitalists the right of existence. The capitalist class is parasitic, are useless, pernicious, corrupt, brutal and hypocritical. We are convinced that their affluence is the result of robbery, and that the poverty of our own class is due to this robbery. The Socialist Party is, therefore, committed to the task of ending capitalism. The Socialist Party is the implacable enemy of the employing, owning class.  There is no affinity of interests, no compromise, nothing in common that can unite us with that class. We are pledged to stand shoulder to shoulder with our comrades and fellow-workers to wage the class war for the utter extinction of capitalism.  The class war is the only war that matters. The Socialist Party, therefore, takes no side in capitalist quarrels but works consistently for the overthrow of capitalism. We do not accept the righteousness of any of the belligerents because the capitalist class of each nation lives by the robbery of his class. Our object is to end the chaos and ruin that afflicts society.

The Socialist Party will neither be deceived nor intimidated. The Socialist Party is intent on exposing every capitalist bait that may tempt the workers, to lay bare the hollowness and the futility of all their reforms, and to reveal the baseness and greed that stimulates all their actions. We shall endeavour to strip away the disguise of so-called workers' friends and “allies” and exposed them as the frauds that they are. 

The capitalist class cannot safeguard the population against hunger and starvation, although the wealth actually produced by the workers would suffice for a population very much larger. Capitalism fails to protect the workers in peace-time from poverty. It has even failed to keep the peace. Its failure is complete a failure for all men and women to see. Yet still the ruling class hope that the working class will continue to leave them in possession of all the means of wealth production ; that abundance may still be theirs ; that the right to exploit shall still belong to them, even though their rule is responsible for a continuous glut of wealth side by side with universal poverty.

To support such a system is a crime against humanity and against your fellow-workers. We have Planet Earth to take back from the thieves who have stolen it from us. In a world socialist society of production for need, all goods and services would be available to all people on the simple basis of free access.  Our choice is not between the dictatorship of the market and the dictatorship of some state-bureaucracy. A free, socialist society without either the market or the state is possible. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What the Socialist Party is

 The Socialist Party seizes every opportunity for making the working class conscious of socialism as the only ultimate answer to the machinations of global capitalism.  It is our task to drive home the lesson that socialism is the only way to cure the evil effects of capitalism. The Socialist Party stands solidly upon the belief that socialism can only be attained by a working-class invincibly strong through socialist knowledge; all our activities are directed towards the spreading of this knowledge.  Our movement seeks to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.  "What has the Socialist Party done during all its years of its existence?” is the accusation Socialist Party members lecturers frequently meet from Johnny-Come-Latelys and Will O' the Wisps on the Left. The answer is quite a simple one.“The Socialist Party has remained in existence!” 
 Nevertheless, we cannot really blame them their ignorance in decrying the Socialist Party. We, in the Socialist Party, have not joined in any of the many varied popular reform movements which have sprung up. Nor have we compromised our principles in campaigns for a position of power to impose our opinions upon others.
The Socialist Party is simply an organisation for the class-conscious workers agreed as one body for the overthrow of the capitalist system and the consequent emancipation of our fellow-workers from wage-slavery, while knowing and understanding that until our fellow members of the working class desire their own emancipation, the Socialist Party can serve no other purpose than to keep propagating socialism until the consummation of that desire. Thus we work pointing out the appropriate path while the workers chase up and down the side-track of reformism or cul-de-sacs of insurrectionary militancy. For sure, workers will try every road before it finds the right one, and therefore we are convinced eventually they will discover and learn about our case for socialism.
Many revolutionary groups are convinced that any overthrow of capitalism will involve some sort of insurrectionary civil war. This is usually based on the premise that the ruling class will violently oppose any attempts to usurp it and therefore must be defeated militarily. The Socialist Party has a different point of view, based on reason and practicality. Quite frankly, the sheer amount of deadly force in the possession of the entire ruling class, and the willingness to use it will never be matched by any revolutionary movement.  This is evident where than an easily identifiable enemy to engage in battle.  Furthermore those revolutions, no matter how well-intentioned, quickly descend into totalitarianism, themselves. We hold that a successful socialist revolution cannot take place until the majority of the world's population desires it. Only then will the ruling class be at a true disadvantage and the time to act arrive. Socialism will be accomplished by a worldwide referendum - but only when the time is right. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It's Going ...going...gone

A study has revealed UK oil and gas reserves may only last another decade, with close to just 10 per cent of recoverable oil and gas left. If the predictions are correct, the UK will soon have to import all the oil and gas it needs.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh examined the UK’s likely potential for fracking and carried out a fresh analysis of the country’s oil and gas production. Their findings take into account the long-term downward trends of oil and gas field size and lifespan, alongside the break-even costs for fracking.

They found that the UK only has minimal potential for fracking. They explained that many possible sites are in densely populated areas, have “low quality source rocks” and “complex geological histories.” Scientists say: “Fracking is likely to be too restricted to become an effective industry, which would require thousands of wells.” Analysis of the Earth’s mineral reserves shows that discoveries of oil and gas have consistently lagged behind output since the late 1990s.

It predicts that most of Scotland’s oil and gas shales will be difficult to reach and will “barely correspond to even the poorest US-producing regions”. “All in all, Scottish shales may well have a success factor of zero,” says the study, published in the Edinburgh Geologist by the Edinburgh Geological Society.

Researchers are calling for a move towards greater use of renewable energy sources, including offshore wind and advanced solar energy.

Away with Capitalism

Forward is our watchword, whether we like it or not.” Joseph Dietzgen

Capitalism can offer us very little else but a series of crises of one sort or another.

Our fellow-workers are beset on all sides by those who would have them fight for what are designated as their liberties. The workers are led to believe that their forefathers fought for and won something the present generation must guard as a sacred treasure. The ruling class give it the name “Democracy,” and millions are worked up into a state of frenzy by the capitalist class and their lackeys, until they are prepared to fight and die for their "privileges” and their “freedom.” The history of the working class is one of sorrow and starvation, of slavery and of shame. There is nothing in it that would justify us in risking our lives to preserve. The Socialist Party considers it is foolish to support war for democracy and die for capitalism. We think it is best to fight against capitalism and live for socialism. If you realise the truth, of your position, you will refuse to be hoodwinked by any call to patriotism made to induce you to protect capitalist interests. It is life we want, not death. When the means of life are “ours,” fellow worker—the life that is life shall be yours.

The capitalist class owns what is essential to all; the working class, owning nothing, sell their lives in the form of human energy, mental and physical, to the owning section. They receive in return wages—food, clothing and shelter—barely sufficient to generate in their bodies the quantity and quality of labour-power they are called upon to deliver. All over and above what is required to keep the working class in fair working condition, after the wear of the machinery of production has been made good, goes to the owning class in the shape of rent, interest and profit. All the capitalist class does is to speculate on a good thing. When a worker has sold his labour power to the owning class it is no longer his, the use of a thing belongs to the buyer.

As far as the Socialist Party is concerned, the theory of class-conscious proletarian revolution on a world-wide scale in the highly developed areas of capitalism and the introduction of socialism or communism, whichever you prefer (the terms mean the same thing to us), is still a part of Marxism. Marxism to us is the Materialist Conception of History, the Critique of Capitalism, the Labour theory of Value, Class-struggle, and, of course, quite logically from these flows the Socialist revolution. The idea of socialism being established in one country, or backward countries, apart from being in complete opposition to this proposition, has been adequately dealt with in our literature, particularly in the pamphlets on Russia. What existed in Russia was not in the least like the definition of socialism used by socialists. In Russia, production and distribution were largely in the hands of the Government as was in the past the coal mines and railways, etc., here. They operated to produce commodities for sale at a profit, and backing them financially is the very large Russian national debt owned by large and small bondholders. There was in Russia as great (or even greater) inequality of income as in this country though not as great inequality of ownership of accumulated wealth. Also though Russia has private trading it has not the British company system of shareholders.

This is state capitalism just as are the nationalised industries in Britain. And when did socialists ever describe it as socialism? We can of course answer for ourselves that the S.P.G.B. never did so on any occasion since its formation in 1904. The form of society that has emerged in Soviet Russia, despite its dictatorship—personal or collective—its slave camps, its mass murders, etc., is not so much removed from that of Britain or France or the United States. In Russia, large numbers of workers were employed by the State for wages. Goods and services are not rendered just because they are needed, but, like elsewhere, for a profit. The peasants of Russia are exploited like the peasants of France or Spain. The workers of Russia were exploited just like the workers of Britain or America. The land, the factories, the means of transportation, were not the property of the people but belonged, again, as elsewhere, to a few. In Britain or the United States, we call it capitalism: a society of wage-labour and capital. In Russia, the Communist Party call it “socialism.” But the Socialist Party still called it Capitalism—State Capitalism. Socialism would have none of the features of the former Soviet Union. Socialism will be a free society and democratic throughout. The means of living will belong |o all. Secret police, dictatorship and the horrors of a coercive State will no longer be necessary.

Socialists have also a simple solution for the problems of nationalism. It is that all people shall be enabled to live happily wherever they are or wherever they want to go. It is the only solution and it can only be applied when the world has become a socialist world. It cannot be applied in a capitalist world.

All the non-socialists claim that they have a solution that can be applied now. They pay lip-service to various forms of the principle of "self-determination," the principle that nationalist groups should be free to decide for themselves. It sounds fine but it cannot solve the problem even though if the group is powerful enough with or without military aid from outside, it may succeed in breaking away and setting up its own government or joining another country. It cannot solve the problem because the material on which Nationalism feeds—differences of colour, religion, language and tradition—exist everywhere in every country and because the economic conflicts which capitalism constantly produces at home and internationally will always inflame this material; as fast as one conflagration is put out others spring up. And the economic conflicts taking on the nationalist disguise, with its fever and hatreds, go on between independent nations just as much as when a national group is struggling against alien rule.

 Capitalism is a competitive world in which national groups survive by armed force. No government, whatever its professed principles, will voluntarily see its armed strength undermined by granting the right of secession to all who demand it. The Northern States of U.S.A. fought a bloody civil war to prevent the Southern States from seceding in the eighteen sixties. British capitalism gave up India because it lacked the means to hold it, but India's sovereign government acts in accordance with exactly the same "what we have we hold " principle as he denounced during the struggles against the British Government. Everywhere the countries that have won their "freedom" show conflict with their own opposition group, the Karens in Burma, the African-Americans in U.S.A., the Israelis and Arabs in the Middle East, the Tamils in Sri Lanka; not to mention the nationalist movements in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As all these examples show, the word "self-determination" is a misnomer, for none of the nationalist movements accept that individuals shall be free to choose. Nationalism and the struggle "for the bloody rags called flags of civilised savages," is not an honourable struggle but a display of human ignorance utterly without justification for the workers in the modern world. In the primitive society of past ages, patriotism or tribal solidarity was a necessity of survival. In a future, socialist world, freed from the exploitation of man by man, there will be no economic conflicts to masquerade under and take advantage of language, colour and other differences. In the present class-divided and frontier-divided capitalist world,
nationalist frictions will continue to serve ruling class ends until they are overcome by the growth of socialist understanding and socialist international unity.

Monday, September 18, 2017

What would Marx and Engels have thought of Lenin?

Marx used the terms socialism and communism interchangeably and would not have recognised state capitalism as a 'socialist' stage, as claimed by Lenin.
The Russian Empire - by which term we include the seven members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assurance (Comecon) - was a group of countries which exhibited all the features of capitalism.
As scientific socialists, we shall explain what we see as the two main defining characteristics of capitalism and will then proceed to demonstrate that these exist within the Russian Empire.
Firstly, capitalism is a system in which wealth takes the form of commodities. i.e. objects produced for sale on the market. Commodity production is not unique to capitalism, but the commodity nature of labour power is.
So, capitalism is defined by the fact that the mental and physical energies of most people have to be sold on the market for a price called a wage or a salary. Where there is wage labour there is capitalism.
Secondly, capitalism is defined by the law of value. Value is a social relationship which exists in property society where commodities are exchanged. Where there are no commodities, because production and distribution have advanced beyond the stage of buying and selling relationships, there will be no need for the concept of value or for prices and money. As Marx pointed out, "Value is the expression of the specific characteristic nature of the capitalist process of production" (quoted in T. Cliff, Russia A Marxist Analysis, p.148).
Most early socialists, including Marx and Engels, accepted the logical supposition that the abolition of capitalism would necessitate the ending of commodity production, wage labour and the law of value, including prices and profits. In short, they were under no illusion that socialism - which is to be the antithesis of capitalism - could exhibit the social features of the capitalist system.
For example, Engels pointed out that "With the seizing of the means of production by society, production of commodities is done away with. .," (Socialism: Utopian and Scientific). Marx, replying to a German writer called Wagner who thought that the law of value would exist in socialism, rejected explicitly "the presupposition that the theory of value, developed for the explanation of capitalist society, has validity for socialism".
It is often imagined that the Bolshevik revolution of November 1917 (October according to the old Russian calendar in force at the time) was the most significant event in Russia that year. In fact, this is far from the case.
In March (February) 1917, a far more significant revolution took place. This was not led by any party or faction but resulted from the spontaneous indignation of Russian workers and peasants who were suffering huge losses in the imperialist war, were starving in the towns and deprived of land in the vast peasant areas.
The workers of Petrograd and Moscow set up soviets (councils) without any help from the Bolsheviks who later claimed credit for these bodies - in fact, Lenin was living in exile in Switzerland when the revolution broke out and did not return to Russia until April.
The workers and peasants of 1917 were not interested in ideas about socialism - their demands were for peace, land and bread. When Lenin turned up in April 1917 he told the Bolshevik party that they should turn the revolution into a socialist revolution - in a country which had only developed capitalism in a few cities and in which three million industrial workers were overshadowed by over a hundred million peasants.
Listening to Lenin's impractical scheme, Bogdanov - a fellow Bolshevik - described such ideas as "the delirium of a madman". Bogdanov had a point. The Bolsheviks won power mainly by offering everything to everyone, even though many of the promises conflicted.
Using the anger of the workers and peasants against the provisional government which was set up in March and insisted in pursuing the unpopular war, the Bolsheviks seized power. Having obtained power, the Bolsheviks were forced to act like puppets, dancing to the tune of the existing historical conditions. In short, they were forced to develop capitalism.
But, being a party which was led by a number of dogmatic intellectuals, the Bolsheviks maintained the myth that they were creating genuine socialism. For example, in 1919 Bukharin and Preobrazhensky wrote that
Communist society will know nothing of money . . . Thus, from the very outset of the socialist revolution money begins to lose its significance . . . By degrees, a moneyless system of accounting will come to prevail. (The ABC of Communism).
In 1920 Zinoviev declared boldly: "We are moving towards the complete abolition of money" (quoted in E.H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Volume 2, Penguin, p.263). This was pure utopian fantasy.
Lenin and his fellow Bolshevik leaders in Petrograd, who tended to be less taken in by their own rhetoric than were their Moscow comrades, did not take long to realise that their job was to develop state capitalism. Leninists often gasp with horror when it is suggested that Lenin ever had such intentions - they should read the man himself:
. . . state capitalism would be a step forward . . . if in approximately six months' time state capitalism became established in our Republic, this would be a great success . . . ('Left-Wing' Childishness and the Petty- Bourgeois Spirit, May 1918).
By March 1919 the Bolshevik party congress resolved that "in the period of transition from capitalism to communism the abolition of money is an impossibility". The so-called period of transition, which the Bolsheviks called socialism, was a period of state capitalism - a point which Lenin had explicitly made even before the Bolsheviks seized power:
Socialism is merely state-capitalist monopoly which is made to serve the interests of the whole people . . . (The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat it, September 1917).
So, when the Russian Empire described itself as socialist it did so in the logically perverse Leninist sense of meaning that it is state capitalist.
In the early days of state capitalism, the Bolsheviks claimed that the basic features of their society were different from those which define capitalism in the Marxist definition. By the time of Stalin this had all changed, and in his Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, written in 1952, Stalin admitted that commodity production and the law of value existed in Russia:
. . . our commodity production radically differs from commodity production under capitalism . . . It is sometimes asked whether the law of value exists and operates in our country, under the socialist system. Yes, it does exist and does operate.
So, Stalin admitted that he was presiding over a system of buying and selling, wage labour, value and price- all of the features which Marx attributed to capitalism - but kept up the illusion that this was socialism.
So far from the Trotskyist delusion then, of Russia has become a failed workers state with the advent of Stalin.
It was intentionally a state capitalist entity, from the moment Lenin seized power and Marx and Engels would have had no hesitation and described it thus.

Make the right choice

Capitalism is maintained and sustained by the credulity and ignorance of its victims, the working class. Not only do the workers produce capitalism's vast wealth but they are conditioned and indoctrinated by the educational process, by the media, and by politicians into believing that there is no alternative to capitalism. Of course, this does not mean that workers are content and approve of the way capitalism functions. Quite the contrary, anger, and alienation are widespread. Resistance and protests against aspects of capitalism are everywhere. The hope of solutions to the anarchy of capitalism is been repeatedly shattered. Today, more and more people see the stark realities of the wages and money system. They face the choice that they live under capitalism with its misery or move forward to socialism.

Socialism can only be brought about by overwhelming democratic consensus. It will involve the rejection of the concept of private or State ownership of society's means of life - the land and the instruments for producing and distributing all the things people need for a full and happy life. Socialism is the voluntary association of free people cooperating in creating at regional and global levels the goods and services they need and consuming those goods and services as required. The exchange market economy will disappear, freeing hundreds of millions of human beings from the demeaning servitude of functions used by our masters for our exploitation.

The common view is that socialist society would quickly grind to a halt and its people starve to death because no one would find it worth their while to grow food or indeed to make anything without the motivation of money and a wage. Here the norm for capitalism is projected as the norm for socialism, and because it does not fit. socialism is rejected as impossible. It is not easy to break the bonds of traditional thinking to comprehend a society of free people engaged in the rational pursuit of the means of everyday life for their own good without the carrot of pecuniary reward or the stick of penury.

Earth is abundant with plentiful resources; today our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter-productive to our survival. Modern society has access to highly advanced technologies and can make available food, clothing, housing, medical care, education, and develop a limitless supply of sustainable renewable, non-polluting energy such as geothermal, solar, wind, tidal, etc. It is now possible to have everyone enjoy a very high standard of living with all of the amenities that a prosperous civilization can provide. This can be accomplished through the intelligent and humane application of science and technology. We can build anything we choose to build and fulfill any human need. It is not money that people need; rather, it is free access to the necessities of life. Money is to be irrelevant. All that would be required are the resources and the will, for we have the skills and technology. World socialism  is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude. All resources become the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few. In such a society, the measure of success would be based on the fulfillment of one's individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property and power.

Socialism would allow people free access to the common store of wealth set aside for personal consumption, according to what they themselves judged to be their reasonable needs. Other needs would be satisfied on the same basis. Houses and flats would be rent-free, with heating, lighting and water supplied free of charge. Transport, communications, health care and education would be organised as free public services. There need be no admission charges to museums, parks, libraries and other places of entertainment and recreation.

Such free access would be a much more direct way of ensuring that people were freed from material insecurity than the impractical Basic Income Scheme or Citizens Wage. It would also involve the transformation of work. Instead of working for wages to produce profits for an employer, people will be able to co-operate to produce what they really needed. Socialism can only be voluntary. It is the co-operation of the majority in a climate of abundance. The abundance exists now Only the money system stands in the way. Co-operation exists everywhere and always has. Only we re conned and cajoled into thinking we're incapable of it. All that is needed is for people to agree that capitalism is unnecessary and undesirable. The power is in our hands. We are the workers who run society. Without us nothing moves, nothing functions, nothing gets made. If we refuse en masse to support a system of poverty, wars, and prisons, it cannot continue to operate.

Meet The Glasgow Branch

Glasgow Branch Meetings

Wednesday, 20 September  - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Wednesday, 18 October  - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Wednesday, 15 November  - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Wednesday, 20 December  - 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Venue: Maryhill Community Central Halls, 304 Maryhill Road, Glasgow G20 7YE
Regular meetings of the Glasgow Branch of The Socialist Party of Great BritainEveryone welcome.
Common ownership will foster new kinds of relationships between human beings. Women and men will, at last, be free to live life as they choose, to cooperate with each other in building a future in which we will no longer be exploited. A socialist world will only be possible by people behaving in pro-social ways. We do not ask for a fundamental change in human nature. None is needed. Even today, with the market system dominant and people encouraged to look after themselves first, most men and women behave pro-socially when they see someone in need of help. Market forces are forces alien to the best in human nature (human behaviour would be a better term). The building of the world socialist movement is a task for those not passively submitting to the discipline of the market but able and willing to help create something better for themselves and their fellow humans.

In a nutshell, Glasgow's only socialist group argues that:

1. The resources to produce what we need are owned by the rich 5 percent, while the remaining 95 percent of us do all the work.
2. These two groups, or classes, are always going to be at loggerheads because of it.
3. This dispute will only be settled when we 95 percent organise and abolish class ownership, and run a democratic system of communal ownership instead.
4. When we do this, there will be no further oppression of any sort.
5. But we must do it ourselves, without leaders.
6. Since we can't fight governments and armies, we must organise to take them over by political means and abolish them along with ownership by the rich.
7. We must oppose any party which wants to keep or reform the present system, no matter how well intentioned.
8. Glasgow's SPGB branch calls upon all workers to organise to do this, in the interests of themselves, their children, and the future of the planet.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The non-religious majority

The number of Scots who say they are not religious has risen to almost three quarters, according to figures released by Humanist Society Scotland 
23.6% said they were religious, while 72.4% said they were not. In 2011 when 56% said they were not religious while 35% said they were.
Earlier this year a survey of Scottish Christians found that the number of people who regularly attend church services had fallen by half over 30 years.

Another Fine Mess

Canadian capitalists are worried about the clown in the White House doing harm to NAFTA and have urged Justin Trudeau not to let him.

"What I hear from the business community is for NAFTA to be trilateral," said Perrin Beatty, president and chief executive of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Canadian capitalists exported $355 billion in manufactured goods in 2016, with more than 80% going to NAFTA countries, according to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, (CME). So you can bet they don't want numb nuts wrecking everything for them. Though in the final analysis its capitalism itself that is crazy, not Trump.

One could paraphrase Oliver Hardy, "Capitalism, this is another fine mess you've got yourself into." 

John Ayers.