Thursday, November 30, 2017

Falling Pay

Many workers in Scotland could honestly say they are not making as much as they did last year. A lack of wage rises means pay packets are failing to keep pace with growing inflation - the result being a real term cut in earnings.

The impact of pay freezes across many private sector firms, and the well-documented row over the public sector pay cap, is seen in the latest official figures on earnings north of the Border. They reveal the median, or typical, gross salary in Scotland for all employees as of April 2017 was £23,150.

From 2016-17, salaries for all employees in Scotland grew by one per cent, which meant a 1.6 per cent fall in real terms.

Over the year salaries for full-time employees in Scotland grew by 1.5 per cent, which was a 1.1 per cent fall in real terms.

The social democracy movement

There have always been people curious about what the future holds and other people are willing, for due reward, to satisfy that curiosity. Prophets, astrologers, and psychics claim some special power of prediction. Nowadays politicians now employ economists and scientists to foretell the future. What can we expect for the future? The answer is simple. Within the prevailing class-divided society there can be no paradise, only a parasite/host mode of existence for capitalist and working class respectively.

Capitalism is a system of society in which the wealthy property-owner lives without working if he so wishes, and the poverty-stricken worker toils to provide the wealth of the propertied class. If the working class want to abolish war, if they want to get rid of the poverty which degrades and distorts their lives, they can do so. Sentiment is a fine thing. But it is no substitute for knowledge. Sentiment by itself is a fine ally of our masters, for it does not need education and study. And sentiment is used by the so-called patriots and clergy to chain us to the slavery of to-day. All they have to do is to accumulate some knowledge of capitalism and of how socialism, by abolishing the basis of capitalism, will also abolish its problems. When they have got that knowledge the working class will reject all the political parties which stand for the continuance of capitalism. They will opt for socialism—a world of abundance in which humanity, for the first time, will be free.

The Socialist Party is not like the Left out to steal the leadership of the Labour Party. We are out for socialism and therefore stand for the capture of political power by a socialist working class. Then, and only then, will the butchery by capitalism and its agents be impossible? Many so-called socialists say that we are on the same road. That is true. But we are travelling in opposite directions. The Socialist Party is going forward along the road on which the human race has evolved. The left-wing goes backward. Socialism is not the result of schemes and dreams. It is but a convenient name for the stage in social evolution made possible and inevitable by the economic tendencies of our time. It is not built up out of vain yearnings and longings for liberty, equality, and fraternity. It seeks to adapt the methods of owning and enjoying wealth to the co-operative system of production already reached by economic advance. Modern technology and global production is an advance.  Although this cooperatively worked such as by division of labour, industry is under individual and class ownership and it breeds poverty among plenty. The Socialist Party, therefore, seeks to commonly own and democratically control that which the workers commonly produce.

Socialists study history and find that the material conditions, the forces used in social production, the natural and social surroundings of the population, form the foundation for the life of the people. Methods of ownership, exchange, and distribution, depending upon the kind of material conditions existing. Ways of government, states of law, and all the political and civil regulations of humanity follow from the industrial habits and economic institutions of men. To denounce the State, the Law, and the social institutions because they do not fit in with some ideal principle does not help to change society. The Socialist Party understands that many things called “bad,” and most institutions called “evil,” once served society as methods of advance. We do not indict the entire past of the human race as wrong, forgetful of the truth of evolution that what is “bad” and useless now was “good ” and useful at some previous time. The materialistic explanation of history involves the truth that a given system of production leads to a definite and corresponding method of distribution and ownership. Hence, the common ownership of the resources of life cannot be controlled by varying and conflicting individuals at their own sweet will but must be democratically controlled by and in the interest of the whole working population. In social and therefore important matters the majority must decide if all do not agree.  The Socialist Party is directly opposed to every agency of privilege and every office of domination. But we realise that a central authority arose when the division of labour took place and it filled a useful function in the life of primitive but progressing society. The administration of affairs and the regulation of civil life was its chief function. Private property and class division gave rise to a State machine controlled by each ruling section in turn—chattel slave owner, patriarchal lord, a feudal baron, or industrial capitalist. Knowing how these institutions have grown out of and adapted themselves to each period of society, we do not demand their instant abolition. They are part of the existing society and to remove them we must change the economic and social system as a whole. The modern State, Law, Authority, police, and punishment are but the results of class rule and are integral parts of a rotten system. Rotten because it is over-ripe economically.

Democracy means more than holding up hands or saying “Aye!” To open all channels of knowledge and information, to give everyone leisure and a chance to understand and learn of the facts of life, to offer to all the advancement modern “democracy” keeps for a few— this is the social and political expression of democracy. When men vote and discuss and delegate their opinions under these conditions they will know what they are doing. And then, if all do not agree, social matters can be decided by majorities until the minority convinces the majority. The Socialist Party, however, understand that the emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself. Unless we can convince and convert the majority of workers, socialism is an idle dream. If you bring about a revolution with an ignorant, uninformed or hostile working class, defeat sooner or later faces you. Emma Goldman in her book on “Anarchism and Other Essays” says the majority is always wrong. The anarchists, therefore, will either rule with a minority or be wrong if they become a majority. She further states the great mass of the people never were and never will be the ones to progress. Just the intellectual few. Such views mean that the great body of the people will depend upon the kindness and wisdom of the anarchist intellectuals to guide and mother us. These reactionary ideas follow from their conception of the all-importance of individuals. They believe society is just a collection of individuals, not an organic whole as the Socialist Party and most social scientists understand. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Scotland's Child Poverty

One-fifth of children in Scotland live in families that are in poverty and cannot afford basic necessities, new figures show.

20% of children in Scotland live in families which are both classified as having limited resources - meaning they have low incomes, defined as having 70% of middle income - and also live in material deprivation, so cannot afford basics such as being able to repair or replace a broken kettle.

Children in Glasgow were more likely to live in families with limited resources than the rest of Scotland, with 41% of youngsters affected.

The report shows children are more likely than the Scottish average to live in families with limited resources if they live in a single parent household (42%), have three or more siblings (39%), live with a disabled adult (32%) and if no or only one adult in the home works (67%).

Living in a rented home and in a deprived area both mean children have a higher likelihood than the Scottish average of being in poverty, with 53% of those in social rented accommodation and 30% in private rented homes affected and 40% of those in the most deprived areas.

In the list of basic necessities, they found 34% of children live in families which do not have £500 to cover an unexpected, but necessary, expense; 21% do not have enough money to repair or replace broken electrical goods; 17% lack the cash to take part in sports or other exercise and 8% are too poor to live in a damp-free home. For child necessities, researchers found 21% of children did not have money to save, 20% did not have a yearly holiday, 5% could not access a computer and the internet for homework and 2% did not have a warm winter coat.

The Socialist Party aims for socialism

The Socialist Party primarily concern itself with pointing out the defects of present-day society and advocating the replacing of the capitalist system by the common ownership and democratic administration of the means of production and distribution. The success of the socialist movement and the rapidity of its progress will depend very largely upon the method of education and the political tactics of the Socialist Party to bring about the cooperative commonwealth. The political policy of the Socialist Party is essentially constructive. There is no place in the socialist movement for the insurrectionists or the opportunists who seize upon the trade union movement not because it is an economic tool to maintain for the workers a higher standard of existence than that which they would enjoy if they were completely disorganised but as an economic weapon to replace political action. Socialism does not advance necessarily in response to or because of great industrial distress. These crises may point out the fact that something is wrong, but the suggestion of the remedy and the cure for these ills is quite a different problem. There is no ground for neither the conservative timidity of the reformists or the fetish-worshipping anti-parliamentarian.

We are living in a time when the comforts of life, and all the material wealth needed to bring happiness to every human being, can be produced in abundance. There is no need whatever for one human being to go hungry or homeless. Mankind’s inventive genius has developed the technology that abundance is possible to all. But between that abundance and its enjoyment, an obstacle has been placed. That obstacle is capitalism and its defenders and beneficiaries, the capitalist class. , Instead of fighting the capitalist for wealth and freedom, or fellow-workers fall upon each other, and the stakes in that internecine conflict are death to the loser; poverty, misery, and wage-slavery to the winner,  this fight between fellow-workers. For the Socialist Party, the work, then, is of organising and educating fellow-workers, to fight for wealth and freedom, and not for poverty and slavery; to fight their masters and not their fellow-slaves, to fill in their hearts the desire to forever end a system and a class responsible for social savagery.

The Socialist Party's mission is so to organise production so that wealth can be so abundantly produced as to free mankind from want and the fear of want, from the necessity of a life of arduous toil in the production of the mere necessaries of life.  The Socialist Party is a class party. It frankly admits that a political organisation is but an expression of class interest. The party, therefore, exists for the sole purpose of representing the interests of the producers, that is to say, the working class. The Socialist Party did not create class lines or class distinctions. The economic interests of the capitalist class dominate our entire social system; the lives of the working class are recklessly sacrificed for profit, wars are fomented between nations, indiscriminate slaughter is encouraged, and the destruction of whole races is sanctioned in order that the capitalists may extend their commercial dominion abroad and enhance their supremacy at home. The workers can most effectively act as a class in their struggle against the powers of capitalism by constituting themselves into a political party, distinct from and opposed to all parties formed by the propertied class in that we call for the establishment of the cooperative commonwealth and we warn the people against the “public” ownership demands made by capitalistic political parties, which always result in perpetuating the capitalist system. The State, in the hands of the capitalists is an instrument by which the capitalist class seeks to repress and suppress civil and political rights of the working class The Socialist Part call the attention of our fellow-workers to the fact that our government is but a servile tool in the hands of the capitalist class and hostile to the interests of labour, and we call upon the working class to use the ballot in defence of their own interests by voting for the Socialist Party. We call the attention of or fellow-workers to the fact that the class struggle so nobly waged by the trade union forces today, while it may result in lessening the exploitation of labour, can never abolish that exploitation. The exploitation of labour will only come to an end when society takes possession of all the means of production for the benefit of all the people. It is the duty of every worker to realise the necessity of independent political action on socialist lines, to join the Socialist Party and assist in building upon a strong political movement of the wage-workers with the aim and to abolish wage-slavery and the establishment of a cooperative system of society, based on the common ownership of all the means of production and distribution.

What is labour? Labour is that element in capitalist society that produces all wealth. Labour, accordingly, is the element that feeds both itself and the capitalist class.  We suffer the pangs and outrages of capitalism rather than removing the system of wage exploitation upon which it is based. The only cure is to eradicate the cause of the evil by making the machinery of production common property, so that it may serve as a blessing, instead of a means of competitive destruction and thieving profit to private individuals, as at present. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The struggle of all against all.

The problem that socialists set themselves up to resolve is the separation between the means of production and the producers. The factories in the hands of the workers despite lives spent in useless sacrifice. The workers are excluded from the riches they create. Under the system of non-possession of the property-less working class of the instruments with which they work, all progress, no matter what its nature, is turned against them, making greater their misery, their slavery; accentuating the insecurity of their existence; in a word: making unavoidable their exploitation—their robbery.

We hear “profit sharing” much spoken of as a remedy to heal all social sores, to reconcile labour and capital. If the cure were applicable, profit sharing would only remove the field of battle to a conflict over the profits to be shared. But without insisting on this point, in urging the worker to produce the most possible, it would only oblige him to do in two days the work of three, concluding consequently in the multiplication of the already too numerous days of no pay or stoppages. From the hell in which the dispossessed productive class struggles and writhes there is no redemption—“abandon all hope ye who enter here!”

We have a war of all against all. 
Firstly, war between the employee and the employer for their respective shares in the produce; on one side, wages, on the other, profits; each side exerting itself to carry off a maximum. 
Secondly, war between workers and fellow workers over who gets a job and for how much pay. 
Thirdly, war between capitalists and capitalists over the division of spoils.

 Capitalist society can provide a superabundance of riches to meet every demand of consumption and happiness, yet, instead, it produces misery, suffering, ruin, and death. The solution to the social problem is to create a vast co-operative commonwealth. production of exchange-values with an end to realising profit will disappear, and be replaced by the production of use-values for consumption with a view to satisfying social wants. In place of robbing and exploiting one another, we will all help one another. 

The Socialist Party is not a reform party, but a revolutionary party. It does not propose to modify the competitive profit system, but to abolish it. We stand unequivocally for the common ownership and democratic control of all the means of wealth production and distribution — in a word, socialism. The Socialist Party is necessarily a world party. It is everywhere and always the same. It takes no backward step. It refuses to be bribed or otherwise deflected from the straight course first mapped out by Marx and Engels. The Socialist Party has no interest in any of the so-called issues over which capitalist politicians fight sham battles. It cares nothing about banking regulation, taxation, or imperialism. The issue is socialism vs. capitalism. It stands first, last, and always for the common ownership of all the means of production and distribution, and will press forward unceasingly until we secure them, thereby liberating humanity and solving the problem of the centuries. The Socialist Party claims that the cooperative commonwealth will take the place of wage slavery. The present social system is not only a failure but a colossal aggregation of crime. It robs, it degrades, it starves; it is a foul blot upon the face of mankind. It promises only an increase of the horrors. The Socialist Party offers no hope to our toiling brothers and sisters except the path to the cooperative commonwealth. Let us realize the possibilities standing unitedly and wholeheartedly let's develop the power to fight for our emancipation. The Socialist Party is positive and constructive. It stands for complete political and industrial democracy.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Homo homini Deus - “Man is a god to man”.

The Socialist Party is made up of working men and women. We are organised to overthrow the system that breeds overwork and underpayment. Millions have the greatest difficulty in keeping the wolf from the door, owing to the smallness and uncertainty of the wages they obtain. There is no question we live in a world of widening inequality. The majority of us struggle day to day while the rich get ever richer. Politicians have done virtually nothing to improve the lot of ordinary folk who work for a living. The owning class is necessarily the ruling class. It dictates legislation and it has it construed to its own interest. The Socialist Party is a revolutionary party as its basic demand is the common ownership of the means of production and distribution and the operation of all industry in the interest of all the people. This will mean an economic democracy. Economic freedom can result only from common ownership, and upon this vital principle the Socialist Party differs diametrically from every other party. Between private ownership and common ownership there can be no compromise. One produces for profit, the other for use. The Socialist Party is organised for the purpose of securing control of the government. Having conquered the political power upon the platform that declares in favour of common ownership in the name of the people, it will take possession of industry which will already have been organising to meet cooperation. Cooperative industry carried forward in the interest of all the people — that is the foundation of the new social order; economic freedom for every human being.

The existing system is unspeakably cruel. What is the meaning of capitalism? Capitalism is an economic term. It is applied by political economists and sociologists to the economic system of our civilisation, by means of which men achieve economic independence and have the privilege of living idly upon the labour of others, who produce a surplus value above that which they receive for their own sustenance. Capitalism refers to the system. A capitalist is one who profits by the system. If he labours himself, it does not alter the fact that he has an income apart from his labour sufficient to sustain him for life without labour, and therefore his is economically independent. Under capitalism, the production of wealth is carried on for profit. The desire for profits is the motive force which drives the capitalist class to use its capital in the production of wealth. In order to secure profits the workers must be exploited. Part of the product of their labour must be turned over to the capitalist class in the shape of interest and dividends. The Socialist Party champions the working class and declares its intention to abolish wage slavery by the establishment of a worldwide system of cooperative industry, based upon the social or common ownership of the means of production and distribution, to be administered by society in the common interest of all its members. In socialism, private ownership and barter being at an end, money would lose the functions which it possessed under capitalism and would be abolished.

When the means of production are converted into the common property of all members of society, it will be possible for all to enjoy the fruits of labour without excessive toil under bad conditions. Then no one will depend for his existence upon the whim or the desire for profit of another. Men and women, freed from dependence upon property, will form relationships of mutual affection and mutual admiration and no property inspired laws will bind them to sordid, joyless lives. Our compass for where we are headed must have socialism as its destination. We need to keep this end in the forefront of our activity so not to lose our way. Workers will no longer be bought and sold in the labour-markets of the world. We will not make things for sale but will make things to use. We will fill the world with wealth and every man can have all that he can rationally use. Rent, interest, and profit, three forces of exploitation, will disappear forever. Men and women will be economically free and life will no longer be a struggle to place food on the table. The abolishing of the capitalistic system does not merely mean the emancipation of the working class, but of all society. Only through common ownership can society secure for all its members the benefit of the improved method of organisation. Once we establish social ownership of our industries we will throw off the checks on our productive powers and will be able to produce more than enough not only to supply every human being food, clothing, and homes to live in but the opportunity for education and culture which can make life worth living. This planet for the first time since it was flung into space, will be a habitable world, fit for men and women to live in. The Socialist Party's vision is of a world without a master and without a slave. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Capitalism’s war is against life itself.

The Socialist Party looks at war in a fundamentally different way from other political persuasions. We contend that war in the modern world is caused by the workings of capitalism with its struggles over trade, investments, oil and other resources. The workers of the world have an identity of interests and have nothing at stake in the thieves’ quarrels of their masters. The working class owns no country. None of the resources are theirs; they have nothing to fight for and everything to gain by uniting to end the system that enslaves them and produces wars and other terrible problems. To cover up its slaughter, capitalism has always raised the cry of freedom. Wage-slavery is capitalism’s freedom for the working class. The Socialist Party rejects the plea of the “left" that the nationalist ambitions of the native ruling class are worth dying for. This amounts to workers killing each other to determine who shall be their future exploiters. Nationalism is a divisive anti-working class concept. National sovereignty is a bosses’ issue.

It is all right for the hypocritical press and politicians to scream “terrorism” and “atrocities”, but what about the society that puts guns into men’s hands in the first place? What about the leading statesmen of the world who have presided over the organised butchery of tens of millions of workers, who test and stockpile nuclear bombs capable of wiping out all life on earth, who poison the atmosphere with radiation causing thousands of deaths each year from leukaemia, who sell massive armaments around the world for profit, and the propaganda machine which strives to make it all acceptable in the name of freedom and humanity? It is absurd to separate a few individuals and say they are culpable and complicit when they are involved in situations created by society. The real culprit, will, of course, get away with it. What really needs indicting here is the capitalist system. A system that trains young men still in their teens to kill, a system that brutalises and degrades all humanity. The idea of world-consciousness; of being opposed to all wars and coming to understand the cause of war, has yet to take hold in significant proportions. This will come with the general growth of socialist understanding.

The consistent opposition of the Socialist Party to all wars has proven to be the only valid position. The establishment of socialism demands the unity and co-operation of the workers of the world. Such unity and cooperation can only arise from Socialist understanding, that means a clear recognition of the need to change society. To establish a system without frontiers or armed forces, where the scramble for trade and profits no longer exists. The resources of the earth, instead of being a class monopoly used to exploit and destroy, will be commonly owned and used solely to satisfy human needs. Food is not produced because people need it. There are plenty of hungry people in the world but nobody is going to produce food for them unless they can buy it. Food is produced for profit—“no profit, then no food” is the rule of the farmer, the miller, the baker, the grocer and every food vendor. So long as food is produced for profit then just so long will food be faked and adulterated and falsified by advertisements to increase profits.

The many conferences to deal with climate change that has been planned are bound to fail in the same way as the disarmament conferences failed, and because of the same reason. The prime cause of environmental problems is capitalism itself, for capitalism cannot function without polluting the world. No doubt efforts will be made to stem the tide, but capitalism is bound to fail to conquer this problem for it is capitalism itself that is creating it.  No amount of regulation and legislation on pollution would put this matter right. Politicians and corporations cannot fix the world because it means getting rid of the profit motive in society. There is a myth that governments could take control of capitalism if they really wanted to. Capitalism steers the decisions of governments. Many activists come into politics through their disgust at one or another of capitalism’s evils. To many it has seemed that governments lack the will or are too treacherous to deal with the problems and that it doesn’t matter who the votes are cast for, the result is the same — human misery on a vast scale. Thus they come to the conclusion that the ballot is useless, a kiss on a piece of paper. Is it as simple as that? Is it really lack of will that prevents governments solving the problems? The fact is that the majority either supports capitalism or can see no alternative way of running society except on a production for profit basis. It is a lack of desire for socialism that keeps capitalism going. Governments have no choice but to run the system the best way they know how.  The vote can be a weapon of emancipation or self-inflicted repression, depending on the person behind it.

The Socialist Party claims that the idea of a world without social classes in which the means of production will be commonly owned is produced out of the revulsion of capitalism’s problems, its wars, crime, poverty, alienation. that the values and institutions of capitalism increasingly come into conflict with the growing desire of the working class to live in a society more in harmony with their needs. In short, socialist consciousness is a product of capitalism’s problems. Now, there is no evidence to suggest that members of the armed forces are any more backward than other workers in factories or offices. Their ideas are pretty much the same on matters of sport, sex or politics. They do not live in a vacuum. So, how likely is the soldier to obey a command to suppress a socialist working class? We do not see the ballot as a cure-all; it is majority understanding of socialism which counts most.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Think mutual aid

Many of us are working harder and longer just to maintain a roof over our heads and provide food on the table for our families.   We are trapped by capitalism and its buying and selling culture, an economic system fueled by accumulation and competition.

Many of us may want a new society where profit is not prioritised over people and planet. The capitalist mindset separates people from nature, 

  The desire for change comes from those who are dissatisfied that are simply struggling to survive and aspire to a decent life.  But many remain skeptical that such an alternative world is possible. But we cannot "repair" and inherently rotten system. We must replace it. Standards of living for waged and unwaged are under attack as the crisis exposes the true nature of the exploitative capitalist system. Capitalism threatens the world through war and the destruction of the environment.

To spread our vision of what is possible, and to inspire others to seek a world as it could be is about building political power, not just to resist and reform the injustices produced by current capitalist system, but to control and administer the resources of the planet, creating an alternative way for producing and distributing in ways that are just, sustainable, and democratic. We can all begin by spreading the word, sharing our radical imagination of the world that we want to live in. If we want to transform today's society we must go beyond capitalism. We can work with others to build social solidarity. we can create our own counter-power from below by organising in our communities, where we work and study. Together we have the potential power to change the world.

The Socialist Party is constantly urging workers not to judge persons or political parties by labels. It is this free acceptance of terms or words used to describe political opinions and policies that is responsible in no small measure for the confusion and misunderstanding which exists in the minds of workers everywhere to-day. If there is one tag used more often and indiscriminately than any other it is the label of "socialism”. Our vision is of a world without borders where resources are shared communally. A world where a co-operative effort of a free association of producers aims at meeting human need in the widest sense. A world where relationships are based on equality and mutual respect, overthrowing all relationships where some dominate others. We aim for a society which will put human need first and in a planetary economy, we need to build up solidarity with others doing the same thing internationally, all countries are connected. Problems like war and climate change need to be tackled world-wide. The working class has no country and national boundaries must be eliminated.

The Socialist Party warns of governments and bosses using nationalism to divide us and promote a false “national interest”. In Scotland, as in all countries, there is no common interest between the ruling class and the vast majority of working-class people. Capitalism is based on the exploitation of the working class by the employing class. We, the working class, can change society only through our own efforts. Real freedom can only come about through the revolutionary action of the working class. Working people will need to create their own revolutionary organisations controlled by everyone in them. What’s important is that we organise ourselves collectively. Full emancipation can only be achieved by without the abolition of capitalism.  

Socialist Party members put before our fellow-workers a case that really strikes at the roots of the problem. Our solution is not educational reform, nor any other kind of reform, but the abolition of private property—capitalism. When the means of producing wealth are owned in common by the whole of society no class will be able to exploit a subject class. There will be no classes—in other words, there will be no privileged and no unprivileged. We are convinced, after careful examination, that socialism is the only solution to the problems that afflict the workers and society in general, to-day. As socialism is in the interest of the workers, the workers have but to understand in order to accept and work for it. Our aim, therefore, is to get our socialist message spread as widely as possible.  It is a change that will bring into existence a social system in which all men and women, on a footing of social equality, will be able to control their own destinies and make their existence on earth something worth living for. That time may not be far off. It rests with the workers how soon it will come. You can hasten the progress towards a class-free, State-free Socialist Cooperative Commonwealth    

Friday, November 24, 2017

There is an alternative – people power.

The iron heel of capitalist oppression stomps upon us all. Capitalism is a fragmented, vicious and secretive world of internecine greed and strife. Socialism is a human family of equals

Advocating socialism is the work of socialists and only those. The Labour Party does not accept the principles of socialism. That is why it was left to us to do. The Labour Party does not stand for working-class principles, and is, therefore, not the party of the workers. Outside the Socialist Party, there are undoubtedly very many men and women who, while agreeing with the fundamental principles upon which the Party is based, yet, for one reason or another, cannot see their way to come inside and help within the organisation itself. There is a danger of our developing into beings whose sole idea is how to lessen hours of labour, how to obtain better conditions of life, and not much more. Something more than this, however, is needed. We would appeal to all men and women in sympathy with the aims and methods of the Socialist Party to join in the fight against the powers of inertion and decadence and in our equally strenuous fight for socialism and the upward movement of life, remembering that a little active help is worth a great deal of passive sympathy.

The road to co-operatives is paved with good intentions. Cooperatives would still need to produce surplus value to survive, even in the later "stages". They would still need to trade for resources and equipment. A cooperative in a capitalist world will never be able to be self-sufficient.  Due to competition from other capitalist entities, the co-operative will have to "rationalise" production which typically means giving yourself and your buddies a cut in wages or starting to hire wage-labourers to exploit them.  The cooperative is still subject to capitalism and therefore still needs to produce surplus value, and it needs to continuously increase the surplus value production since it still needs to trade and so on. It also removes the option for things like joining a union.

We say that the workers must organise democratically to control Parliament because this controls the State machine which, at the very least, must be taken out of the hands of the capitalist class before the attempt to establish socialism can be made. The democratic self-organisation of the working class, by the way, will not be through Parliament but in the socialist political party (and any economic organisations set up in preparation for the change-over to socialism) which will control Parliament.

We live in a capitalist society. The main feature of this society is property ownership, buying and selling. There are only two classes of people in capitalist society. Those who own, the capitalist class, and those who sell their skill, the working class. The popular view of a middle class is really a myth. The doctor is as much a worker as the bus driver. Observe how even doctors go on strike to support their demands for more pay and better conditions. The conflict between capitalist (to pay as little as possible) and worker (to secure as high a price as possible) is an inherent feature of capitalist society. Nothing that can be said or done can reconcile the opposing interests of these two classes. Those of the owning class have clear ideas as to their interest. They, however, with their power and wealth and control of the mass media use these to maintain and even widen the division within the working class. They have done this with great success. Their existence depends on this division.

Capitalism distorts the vision of a future society. We can only see a different system in terms of our present one. The Socialist Party advocates a system of society where each will contribute to production and partake freely of his or her need. The task ahead is difficult indeed. That is why we need your help, in whatever way you can.  We are right to be angry but at the same time, we must remember that there is work to be done, to set up the new society of abundance and hope.

When the Socialist Party offers a description of socialism, that is, of a money-free, wage-free a class-free society where the means of production belong to everyone and where each person works on a voluntary basis to produce goods for the satisfaction of human needs and not for profit, one is often greeted with the objection “That’s just a dream. You’re nothing but dreamers." This implies that the Socialist Party is pursuing an impossible goal and that our activities are therefore a waste of time. But there are in fact two kinds of dreams and two kinds of dreamers. Some dreams are no more than fleeting fantasies while others are prophetic so to prod them into action with a view to turning the dream into reality. This kind of dream has motivated humanity to some of its greatest achievements.

If men and women think themselves competitive, aggressive, lazy, selfish and incapable of living in cooperation and harmony, it is simply because the social system in which they are now living brings out these qualities in people: selfishness, in as much as the essence of capital is to add to itself; competition, because what goes to one owner of capital does not go to the other; aggression when rival capitalists, compelled to expand, come to clash with one another; laziness, since not having to work makes us, even if only momentarily, like one of the ruling class. What stands in the way of a radical transformation of the social system is not in fact our so-called human nature, but a realisation on the part of all workers, men and women alike, that their values and their lives are bound to be greatly influenced by the system they live in and that since they themselves, by their joint productive work, create that system, they can also change it if they so wish. The present system is of material benefit to a section of our society and this section, though very small (about ten per cent) has the power, thanks particularly to its control of the media and of the education system, to impose certain ideas and to stop the spread of others. And so it does its utmost to preserve the status quo

People who visualise the possibility of a different world and who try to capture the imagination of those who remain trapped in their everyday reality these people are not just dreamers but active, determined members of society who are doing all they can to change their dream into reality. The idea of socialism is as old as humanity itself and which has, perhaps, its roots in the social reality of long pre-history. The fact that this dream has not yet come true does not indicate that it is impossible but simply that men and women have not started seriously thinking about it and working to achieve it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Socialism is possible

The Socialist Party does not rely upon imagination for the evidence against the existing social order. Never in the world's history has any system been so effectively damned. The workers pile up wealth in heaps and then starve while our practical and brainy masters simply tell us that things should remain the same. No matter what party administers capitalism the basis of the system remains the same. All kinds of excuses are given to the workers for this state of affairs.The fact of the matter is that no political party which aspires to administer the present system has any solution or can have any solution to the class conflict. The workers suffer poverty because they do not own the means of wealth production. The only logical remedy for such a state of affairs is that they shall become the owners; but that involves the destruction of existing property rights, the taking away from the master-class of their economic privileges. The Socialist Party is the only party which bases its policy on this objective, which arises by necessity from the class struggle and we plead guilty.

  Society is not an artificial structure like a house or any other building, the details of which have to be planned beforehand. The details of its structure are adjusted in the course of its development. It is not our task to anticipate the decisions of the men and women of the future upon problems which we can only imagine and cannot definitely foresee. The forerunners of the present capitalist class overthrew feudalism, but they did not and could not map out the development of capitalism in advance. They could only remove the political and economic obstacles to that development. Our position is somewhat similar. The productive forces of society are held back by an outworn form of property. The human element is divorced from the mechanical element by the fact of the capitalist ownership and control of the latter. Our task is to bring the workers and their tools together again, not merely industrially but legally; not merely for production, but for the enjoyment of their products. This will provide a new incentive to production, not the profit of the few, but the provision of the means of life for all. That, fellow-workers, is our constructive programme.

Socialism will differ fundamentally from today’s society by producing enough to provide all people with the amenities of modern life. Basically, these amenities are housing, food, clothing, education, health-care and entertainment. These will be freely available to all.

Society does not provide for all now simply because the way it produces things is geared not to producing what people need but to producing profitably what they can afford. This presents no problem for some since they can afford to pay for the best of all they need. But there is only a small number of people in this position. The overwhelming majority are limited in what they can afford by what they earn in pay, despite the fact that it is they who do the producing. This is because the minority who have access to the best are those who own and control the means of production, i.e. farms, factories, offices, machinery.

In socialism, however, ownership and control of the means of production will be by society as a whole. This will enable production to be directed in the interests of the community on the basis of what they need. Since today’s science and technology give us the potential to provide enough for all, there will be no need for money (or barter); people will simply take what they need. With modern methods of market research, stock control, statistics and electronic computing, the means by which the needs of society can be determined are already available.

To ensure that society will provide enough, people will, as now, need to co-operate to help produce it. But with the disappearance of money at least half of today’s work becomes unnecessary, e.g. accountants, cashiers, and with the elimination of commercial competition, this could be reduced further.

Consider, for example, the wasted effort today in producing a simple household article. Whilst there are basically only two types of washing powder — soap and detergent — there are dozens of “brands” produced. By eliminating the profit motive production need only concentrate on producing the best of both. This would save the wasted effort now spent in producing numerous similar brands with the proliferation of packaging, delivery vans, drivers, etc.

Thus, with the removal of unnecessary work coupled with the full use of automation, necessary work if “shared out” on a shift basis, need occupy much less of the individual’s time than it does today. Now that the findings of biological and anthropological research back up our contention that human beings would readily and harmoniously co-operate together, given the favourable conditions that would exist in a Socialist society, people will work according to their ability on a purely voluntary basis, and so replace the existing wage and salary system.

As with science and technology, capitalism has, out of necessity, developed methods of organization and administration which socialism can use and further refine. At the moment there are local councils, national and international organisations such as the World Health Organization, much of whose administrative work would be essential to socialism. The difference will be in their use solely for administering things rather than governing people. It is to these organizations that people will elect their delegates ensuring democratic control of society.

As production and its organisation already take place on a world-wide scale, with each country dependent on others for resources and skills. Socialism will need to be a world society. But socialism will differ by replacing the existing conflicts and confrontations between nations, caused by economic rivalries, with a single harmonious society uniting people of the world in cooperating for the mutual benefit of all.

Achieving this new society requires the majority of people to express their desire for it with the vote.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Scottish Polluters

Mossmorran is the third biggest emitter of green house gases in Scotland, latest official figures have revealed. Only the Petroineos plant at Grangemouth and Longannet coal powered fire station at Kincardine - which closed in March 2016 - were responsible for releasing higher quantities of CO2 for the same period.

The ExxonMobil run NGL (natural gas liquids) fractionation plant hit a 14-year high for carbon dioxide emissions in 2016, pumping more than 885,580 tonnes of Co2 into the atmosphere.
There has also  been a rise in carbon dioxide emissions from the Mossomorran plant of more than 25 per cent in just four years since 2013
James Glen, chairman of Mossmorran Action Group, a voluntary organisation representing several communities close to the site, told the Press the operators had still to address a number of concerns the public had raised. “There are serious concerns about the impact to the environment and air quality as well as to the effect the plant’s emissions is having on the health and wellbeing of hundreds of people who live within the vicinity of the site. “Also, we have long-standing concerns regarding noise and light pollution and there are still many unanswered questions about what impact the emissions and flaring are having on asthma rates.”

Scotland’s 10 biggest CO2 polluters 

1.65 million tonnes: Petroineos, Grangemouth 
1.64 million tonnes: Scottish Power, Longannet power station, Kincardine (Closed 2016) 
885,863 tonnes: ExxonMobil, Mossmorran 
614,863 tonnes: Grangemouth CHP, G’mouth 
601,640 tonnes: SSE Generation, Peterhead 
537,029 tonnes Tarmac Cement, Dunbar
495,213 tonnes: IneosInfrastructure Grangemouth 
486,809 tonnes: Ineos Chemicals, Grangemouth 
438,000 tonnes: RWE Biomass plant, Markinch
370,965 tonnes: E,On Plc, Stevens Croft power station, Lockerbie

Women in society

 The much-vaunted freedom for most women is largely a myth, and women are only taking the position that capitalism assigns to them. The question of women’s freedom resolves itself into exactly the same problem as that of the men. Socialists argue from the basic fact that capitalism's private property relationships and class division are the cause of the oppression of both men and women. 

For the materialist, there is no blanket exploitation of women by men. The subordination of one sex to another was coincident with the division of society into classes. Prior to the beginning of civilisation - the period of written history — there existed primitive communist societies in which nobody was afforded superior status. The period from primitive communism to the beginning of civilisation saw the growth of taboos, first on child-parent relationships and then on those between brother and sister, culminating in the 'pairing' family. Monogamy, however, arose as a consequence of social evolution. This form of family, based as it is on the supremacy of the man, arises alongside the advent of private property. Women's biological commitment to childbearing meant that it tended to be the man who acquired property and instruments of production, and once men had these things they wanted to keep them. So the monogamous family has as its aim the begetting of children of undisputed paternity and women's role is essentially a childbearing one. So, to quote Engels: 'The first class antagonism which appears in history (it begins at civilisation) coincides with the development of the antagonism between men and women in monogamous marriage and the first class oppression with that of the female sex by the male'.

It should be emphasised once more that we are not talking of a consistent oppression of one sex by another. In the early stages of capitalism, for example, women enjoyed certain rights and privileges which they later lost. In early 17th century Britain, where some production was still organised in accordance with guild regulations, women in certain trades were protected against male competition. These rights often related to the work of women in the household, for at that stage domestic and industrial work were not clearly distinct. 'Spinster' meant not an old maid, but a woman who supported herself by spinning; a 'brewster' was a woman who supported herself by brewing beer. Moreover, in spite of Puritanism, women were not thought of as sexually inferior, as is borne out by this 17th-century proverb: 'Women are saints in the church, angels in the street, devils in the kitchen and apes in bed'.

With the increases in the productivity of labour and with changes in the organisation of production these protective features disappeared. The wives of those who owned property were educated to please men, while those who were married to wage slaves simply cooked and looked after the children. The man's wage sufficed to maintain his family as well as to reproduce his own labour power. Then, in the 19th century, when capitalism began to need a greater workforce, part of the worst exploited sections of the working class was composed of women. Being physically weaker and previously out of work, they provided a cheap source of labour. In Capital Marx cites the case of a milliner who died from overwork (she laboured sixteen and a half hours a day in 1863). He further mentions that women were used instead of horses for hauling canal boats because:
“the labour required to produce horses and machines is an accurately known quantity, whereas that required to maintain the woman is below all calculation.”
The capitalist nonetheless needs labour power—he cannot have part of the workforce dying off. So these extreme conditions were altered and laws were passed improving the conditions of the working class.

Class society, then, creates the conditions for women's inferior treatment. If the wives of the property-owning class are restricted to the home, it is all too easy for the men to reap the benefits. For the same reason, the working man's wage must suffice for himself and for his family. Whatever form the subordination of women has assumed, it is a consequence of the class division of society; in the case of capitalism, the division between owners and non-owners of the means of producing wealth. Before the advent of class society there was no reason for one sex to treat the other as inferior because there were no owners and non-owners of property, and therefore no need for competition.

It is important to point out that there are female members of the exploiting class. Working class women, by contrast, share with others in their class the condition of wage slavery. Whichever form it takes, whether it is real prostitution or working on the assembly line, they have to sell part of themselves —  their labour power — in order to live. As Marx put it: Prostitution is only the specific form of the universal prostitution of the working class'.
Women ought to be criticising capitalism and working for socialism, a class-free society of common ownership. In such a society there is no reason to suppose that women will have to become men or men women.

World development has decreed that women shall play a part that is in keeping with the conditions under which they live, and to the women who do not own property this means that under capitalism they will be as much wage-slaves as their brothers. There can be no freedom for the workers, men or women, while they are exploited. Working-class women have an historic mission to perform with their men. There is no time for entering into things that concern the masters only. Let the property holders equalise the holding and sharing of their property between the sexes if they like. It matters not if our employers are men or women, but it does matter a great deal wheher we ourselves understand our class interests. The emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind, without distinction of race or sex, and that is the only cause worthy of our support. 

The suffering and abuse of women is inseparable the social system in which we live.  Socialists are optimists. We insist that the mess that is human society to-day can be changed if we all decide to change it. We made it, no demented divine power ordered it from above, so we can think it out and get it right. There is little value in diagnosis without a cure, but the cure has to come from awareness of the cause of the disease. It has to come through growing dissatisfaction, leading to questioning and consciousness. The worker, the wife, the prostitute, all innocent but jointly responsible for their continuing exploitation, must resist and rebel. The cure is far simpler than the disease. We will dismiss all manifestations of poverty and control—wages, money, law and state—take down all the fences and establish one world where all the human race will share the good things that we have learned to make. Freed from the dictates of the law and the confines of convention, relationships between men and women will find harmony. Marriage and prostitution will have no meaning when people may work together, live together, love together in any way they choose.

Women have got to understand that political power must first be obtained by a socialist working class, who then will reorganise society on Socialist principles. The workers will be in possession of the fields, factories and workshops, and production will be for use and not profit. Those fit will work, and working time will be adjusted to the needs of the population. All will be entitled to what they need, providing it can be produced, and at a glance one can see that the economic ills we are suffering from must of necessity disappear.

There is only one organisation in this country which is working for these ends, and that is ourselves. We do not say "vote for us and we will do it for you." We simply tell you, first understand socialism and then send your representatives to Parliament to carry out your wishes. Knowing what you what, none could bamboozle you.

Women workers are in general less active politically because:.

Firstly, there are practical problems that prevent women from attending political meetings. Most meetings are held in the evening and many women have young children so going out to a meeting is likely to mean finding a babysitter, which is not always easy and often expensive. Socialist Party members should recognise this and wherever possible offer practical help (such as babysitting) to women with children who are prevented from attending Socialist Party meetings because of their child-care responsibilities.

Secondly, many women are, understandably, nervous about going out alone after dark. They may very well be put off going out to a meeting at night if they know they will have to go home afterwards. Again Socialist Party members should be prepared to help out by organising lifts home after meetings if members have cars, or by offering to walk with women who are scared.

Thirdly, many women have been taught from an early age that politics is part of the man's world outside the home, is nothing to do with them and has nothing to offer them. They may very well feel that their first concern is with their domestic responsibilities - the welfare of their children and the problems of trying to fit paid work around the needs of their families. So how can we persuade women workers that socialist politics is as much to do with them as it is with men?

We need to convince women that socialism will not just change the "public" sphere of things that go on outside the home but it will also affect the "private" sphere of family and child care in important ways as well. Socialism, unlike capitalism, will offer women workers not just a choice between paid drudgery outside the home and unpaid drudgery inside the home, but the possibility of doing whatever work or combination of work they themselves find fulfilling. Their role as mothers (if that is what they choose) will not be under-valued but will be recognised and respected. But fathers, and indeed other adults in the community, will also recognise that they have a responsibility for the welfare of children. So caring for children will no longer be seen as a burden, the responsibility of just one or two tired adults but as a joy to be shared in by everyone, male and female. So in very practical ways, socialism has a lot to offer women. We must therefore stress to women workers that while they are absolutely right to say that capitalist political parties have little to offer them, the Socialist Party offers them not only the chance to work together, as equals, with other like-minded workers in order to build a new socialist society, but also the possibility of a full and creative life in that new society. As socialists, we are not concerned with just one area of life - the male-dominated world of politics and politicians. All the conflicts and contradictions of capitalist society affect all of our lives.

Some women may be reluctant to become politically active because traditional sex-roles and conditioning into those roles have convinced them that to be assertive and to speak up for yourself is "unfeminine" and that women are "no good at that sort of thing". As a result, many women lack confidence in their own abilities and are terrified at the prospect of even asking a question at a public meeting. Party members should be aware of this problem (and of course many men may also be nervous) and take practical steps to give women support and to encourage them to take an active part in socialist activities. Some men still believe that so-called "women's issues" are trivial or marginal. They are not, and should not be treated as such. Issues to do with the family, child-care and sexuality are as important as those to do with waged work and affect us all in important ways. The Socialist Party does not make distinctions between men's interests and women's interests. Whether we are talking about child-care or factories these are issues that affect all workers, men and women.

It is vital that we get more women along to our meetings. Socialism is not just for and in the interests of men, and men certainly can't get socialism without women.

Mother Courage: "Poor folk got to have courage . . . Mere fact they bring kids into world shows they got courage."