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Showing posts from October, 2017

Guy Aldred an the SPGB (March 1952)

From the March 1952 issue of the SocialistStandard
The following reference to the S.P.G.B. was published in the December issue of “The Word” which describes itself as “an organ of the United Socialist Movement, edited and published by Guy A. Aldred.”    “There is also the attitude of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, who issued a manifesto urging people not to vote until everyone had joined the S.P.G.B. or became a Socialist. This curious attitude— which approaches Anarchism—was the result of the 1950 experience at the ballot-box. Carefully analysed, the attitude of the S.P.G.B is seen to be one of futility and hypocrisy. Instead of uniting at this time of crisis in a stand against war and rearmament, which could have been done without a single sacrifice of principle and actually with a great advantage to the propaganda status of the S.P.G.B., members of this stupid and stagnant party wrote ‘S.P.G.B.' across their ballot papers.” Mr. Aldred, who contested Glasgow Central const…

‘THE THOUGHT OF CHAIRMAN XI’ (poem)

‘THE THOUGHT OF CHAIRMAN XI’
24/10/17. 'Chinese Communist Party' Congress delegates voted unanimously to add 'Xi Jinping Thought' to their Constitution.
From Sichuan and Beijing down to, Ex-Portuguese Macau; The Chinese rocked to the 'Red Book', Of dear old Chairman Mao.
But these days all the millionaires, With 'Anti-Rightist'* glee; Are now hip-hopping to that rap, 'The Thought of Chairman Xi'. (1)
This 'Great Leap Forward'* surely means, In China, everyone; Is still revolting, though not with, 'The Barrel of a Gun'*! (2)
The 'Counter-Revolutionaries'* Who under Mao, were purged; These same ‘Revisionists’* returned, When Deng Xiaoping emerged. (3)
The Party failed in it’s attempt, To 'Rehabilitate'*; The 'Capitalist Roaders'* who’d, Begun to dominate.
But still they claim they’re ‘Socialists’,* Though with a 'Chinese face'*; Their 'Communism'* fully part, Of the world's marketplace! (4)
(1) Xi Jinping is pronou…

The Party an Parliament

One of the achievements of the Socialist Party is simply that in the long period of the Labour Party ascendancy it was for all practical purposes the Socialist Party alone, which maintained an uncompromising socialist position. Even if today there are others who have come to argue that socialism is a wageless, money-free, state-free society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production, this in no way detracts from the tremendous service which the Socialist Party performed in keeping alive the idea of what socialism is. Nor is this the only major contribution of the Party which has never deviated from the principle that the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself. It has consistently denounced leadership and insisted that a socialist society can never be achieved until the majority have clearly understood what socialism is and have taken a conscious decision to establish the new society. The SPGB also pioneered th…

Guy Aldred and the SPGB (1952)

From the June 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard
In our issue for March we published an article, “Muddled Critic of the S.P.G.B.,” commenting on some remarks about the S.P.G.B. made by Mr. Guy Aldred in his journal “The Word.”
In the April issue of “The Word” Mr. Aldred published our article in full and said that he intends to reply to it in his next issue.
In the meantime, in the April issue, he deals angrily with one passage in our article. Mr. Aldred had earlier written that the attitude of the S.P.G.B. at the 1951 election was “the result of its 1950 experience at the ballot-box.”
To this we replied: —    "The S.P.G.B. was doing this right from its formation in 1904, which means that it was doing it at the time when Mr. Aldred applied for membership of the S.P.G.B., and in 1928 when he offered to give his support to S.P.G.B. candidates on certain conditions." . Mr. Aldred says that we have knowingly made false statements, firstly in saying that he applied for membershi…

Capitalism without capitalists

The Socialist Party is not primarily concerned in moralistic arguments of “fair play” and “fair pay” to indict capitalism. The caviar and yachts of the billionaires matter little to compare to the misdirection of production: the subordination of consumption to accumulation and the immensity of organised waste and destruction.
Mankind will never be free from exploitation and oppression until all work is voluntary and access to all goods and services is free. Socialism, according to the Socialist Party, means a world-wide society, democratically controlled, without profits, wages or money. This is a practical proposition now.Attempts to end such problems as war, poverty and degrading drudgery, inside a society based on wages and profits are bound to fail. Many organisations and persons come forward with plans to re-arrange the wages system. Their most crucial error is the belief that the essential features of capitalism can be retained, and can be turned by “workers’ management” towards …

Lest we forget

Obituary from the January 1965 issue of the Socialist Standard
We deeply regret to announce the death of Comrade Robert Barron on 21st November. He was a member of the Glasgow Branch for over thirty years. Bob Barron was a loyal and active member who devoted a whole lot of his time in spreading the Socialist case wherever he went. Although not a speaker, he was the type of member who forms the backbone of any organisation. The hard work behind the scenes, and, out of the limelight, is always very important and essential. Comrade Barron was a constant attendee at Branch and propaganda meetings and a keen distributor of our literature amongst his friends and workmates. Declining health over the past three years prevented his continuing, but it did not reduce his interest and enthusiasm for the cause. We extend our deepest sympathy and regret to his family and relatives.
John Higgins

Smoking, Scotland and Poverty

Smoking remains Scotland’s ­biggest cause of preventable illness and death.

Central to any discussion about smoking is that nicotine is as ­addictive as heroin, and that cigarettes are engineered to be ­addictive. 

The factors that push people to smoke and make it harder for them to quit include stress, anxiety and boredom, but also what is normal in people’s communities, such as a lack of alternative coping mechanisms or a lack of hopeful or optimistic plans for the future. 

This is where smoking becomes a social concern – and when some groups experience these ­factors more than others it should come as no surprise that they are statistically far more likely to smoke. So, we are able to understand why smoking rates in the most disadvantaged communities are several times higher than those in the most advantaged, why we see that half of all ­people out of work long-term smoke, and how it comes to be that a third of all tobacco smoked in the UK is used by people with mental health issues. 

Business Bites

In the Metro newspaper October 26th under the title of "Business Bites" two contrasting items demonstrated the difference between capital money and wages money."The boss of Lloyds Banking Group was bullish about Britain's economy as the lender revealed pre-tax profits more than doubled to £1.95 billion in the third quarter. Antonio Horta-Osorio said employment was at a record high and the weaker pound would help exports." That is money loaned and returned with profit. Capital result.The adjacent item read."Credit card borrowing rose again last month amid mounting fears of a consumer debt boom. The 7.8 per cent year on year rise compared with 7.3 per cent in August, says a report by UK Finance. Annual growth in overall consumer credit edged up from 1.4 to 1.5 per cent in September." Wages moneys don't return profits. Wages being needed for consumer purposes and not being enough necessitates many workers to borrow.Are t…

Nationalism

Explaining socialism

When the Socialist Party speaks of socialism/communism it is talking about organising society based on the principle of 'from each according to ability, to each according to need'.  The Socialist Party was founded and strives for a society based on cooperation, solidarity and meeting human needs - a cooperative commonwealth.Instead of private-ownership or state-control of the means of production - land, factories, offices and so on - a socialist society is based on the common ownership and democratic control of those means. Thisalso means a money-freesociety where our activity and our products -no longer take the form of things to be bought and so and therefore it is going to be free of prices, including the price of labour. There will be no wages. The principal concern of people inside a socialist world will producing enough for us all to survive without the threat of deprivation and destitution, enforced by the wage system. Without the profit motive of production uner capita…

Golden years? We think not.

43% of Scots aged 40 to 64 believe they will not have enough money to retire when they reach state pension age, a survey for Age Scotland found. A total of 44% said they were planning to work into their late 60s and beyond to enjoy a better retirement lifestyle. More than a third (36%) planned to continue working in their current job with the same hours. Not having enough money was the most common reason to continue working. Age Scotland Chief executive, Brian Sloan said: "It's worrying that retirement seems increasingly unaffordable for a growing number of Scots...As the state pension age increases, working longer is set to become part of life..."

Responding to Critics

Abundance and Scarcity
First, we have to define what scarcity is. Orthodox economics argue it is limited supply - versus- boundless demand. Our wants are essentially “infinite” and the resources to meet them, limited claim the economists. Von Mise and Parecon claim that without the guidance of prices socialism would sink into inefficiency. According to the argument, scarcity is an unavoidable fact of life. It applies to any goods where the decision to use a unit of that good entails giving up some other potential use. In other words, whatever one decides to do has an "opportunity cost" — that is the opportunity to do something else which one thereby forgoes; economics is concerned with the allocation of scarce resources. However, in the real world, abundance is not a situation where an infinite amount of every good could be produced. Similarly, scarcity is not the situation which exists in the absence of this impossible total or sheer abundance.
Abundance is a situation where …