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Showing posts from December, 2017

Mondragon Coop

Started in the 1950s as a Catholic Action project, a for-profit business that embodies Catholic social thought. Today, the Mondragon group includes 257 financial, industrial, retail, and research and development concerns, employing approximately 74,000 people. The coops manufacture everything from commercial kitchen equipment (under the flagship Fagor brand) to industrial robots; the retail giant Eroski boasts 2,000 outlets throughout Europe, and the bank Caja Laboral and social security coop provide financial services to members and affiliated businesses. 

 The coops are not unionized, and they have no outside stockholders. Instead, each worker or manager invests as a member in the firm and has one vote in its general assembly. Each coop is represented at the Cooperative Congress, where system-wide plans and business decisions are made. The coops have retained members’ jobs in Spain’s Basque country even during economic crises. Manifesting an ethos of solidarity, members accept salar…

Nothing has changed.

A Marxist is someone who follows the basic theory of Karl Marx, that capitalism cannot be reformed to satisfy the needs of the working class and therefore must be abolished. A revolution has to take place whereby the working class gains control of the state mechanism (all governments) and puts in its place a global democratic system of society so that the needs of all the worlds inhabitants can be satisfied, the socialist revolution needn't be violent.

  One doesn’t ‘become’ a Marxist. One reads and understands Marx and Marxist literature. If you understand Marx and it informs your world meaningfully, you can call yourself a Marxist. If you understand Marx, and it doesn’t inform your world, don’t call yourself that. There is a tremendous amount of wilful ignorance on political theory because there are a tremendous number of people who would rather fight about politics than think about it. Don’t contribute to that problem.
It’s time to build something new. Authentic hope comes when w…

On his Knee

The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, becomes a “sir” following his appointment to the Order of the Thistle, the greatest order of chivalry in Scotland.

The Duke is one of Britain’s largest landowners and the largest private landowner in Scotland. The family seats are Bowhill House, three miles outside Selkirk, representing the Scott line; Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway, representing the Douglas line; and Boughton House in Northamptonshire, England, representing the Montagu line. These three houses are still lived in by the family and are also open to the public. The family also owns Dalkeith Palace in Midlothian

Some More Marxist Theory

Marx and Engels explain the source of profit as being due to the workers producing more value than is required to pay their wages. This is called surplus value, and the part of surplus value that is realized, that is actually sold, and which is that greater than investment, depreciation, taxes, and any losses, is profit. This account seems correct, and much better than a factor account suggested by other contributors, which Marx expressly criticises. But it is not the contradictory idea that somehow the worker’s wages don’t get paid to the worker. This confusion may come from the idea, (shared by many Marxists, by the way,) that what the capitalist appropriates, which would include profit if any, is something that the worker is entitled to in virtue of having produced. This is called the Labour Theory of Property, and is held by John Locke among other people, and not by Marx. Marx has a labour theory of value, which, unlike the labour theory of property, Is a purely explanatory notion…

Socialism Described

Economic and political developments in the world over the past few decades have resulted in stunning changes. The fundamental, underlying change, which is driving all others, is the tremendous advances in new technology and the growing application of that technology (computers and robotics) to the process of production. This technology is steadily replacing labour in the workplace, creating permanently unemployed/underemployed and driving down the wages of those workers who remain employed. New technology is throwing not only unskilled workers but increasingly they are skilled workers and professionals into insecurity. Most individuals are still very trusting of the capitalist system. They believe it is basically fair, express optimism about the economy even at the lower income levels, and believe that with hard work anyone can make it in the system. At the same time, they think that the system should be made 'fairer'.  But with the growing polarization of wealth and poverty d…

Disproportion of Production. No Remedy — Except One

Can working people understand Socialist economics? A well-known contention against the case for Socialism is that learning about surplus-value is too tough for majority understanding to happen. Compared with the capitalist economics presented to the working class, it is child’s play. 

Yet, without doubt, there is a serious recession. Its causes are rootedin the social system under which we live. The capitalist ownership of the means of living means that all production takes place for sale and profit, and from this basic fact arise the staggering problems of the world. To feed the hungry may sound logical, but it is not the logic of commodity production. Instead, we have a chaos in which manufacturers and distributors must estimate their markets and hope that demand will not just continue steadily butexpand.When it expands generally there is a boom, and every manufacturer naturally pushes on to the utmost. Ultimately the boom ends, because demand falls off or alters. This breaking-poin…

The Future Is Up To Us All

The socialist vision never dies. It lies dormant until a new set of social struggles arise and brings it forth to guide the movement again. In all previous periods, human freedom could not be won because the means of production were not developed enough to make it realisable. Today, the objective material conditions exist for the reconstruction of society in the interests of humanity.The future depends upon an arousing and enthusing the masses with a vision of new possibilities -- the distribution of the wealth of society according to need. This vision is of a world without human want, without race and national hatred, without sexual oppression and human exploitation -- a world where an ever-inventive technology delivers full lives for all in a sustainable and healthy environment. The emancipation of the working class from the shackles of private property is the only way to save the earth and its people from destruction.

Capitalism as a system operates in accordance with a handful of l…

Which side are you on?

Mankind is social, tending always towards co-operation and order. Each person is dependent on another for existence, for the satisfaction of physical needs, and emotional and mental ones, too; and has an interest in good relationships with others. The human concord that is churned as the heart of almost every religion and philosophy in the world is no more, and no less, than what human beings have tried to attain from the beginnings of social life. It is true that the property structures mankind has erected in social development have continually frustrated this striving, yet the fact of the striving remains. All men and women are social by nature—that is, by the fact of being human.
Capitalism is beset with an immense political and economic crisis, the likes of which it has not experienced in years.  Capitalism is tearing apart our families, our communities, and our opportunity for a better future. This chaos cries out for an alternative that will point the way forward in our struggle …

Wasteful Scots

Almost 60% of Scotland's household rubbish in waste bins could have been recycled, says Zero Waste Scotland. According to a new report, its study found that 670,000 tonnes of waste that could have been recycled was discarded. That is the equivalent of more than 10 wheelie bins per household per year. Food waste, old paper and cardboard, garden waste and empty glass jars and bottles made up 68% of everything put into household bins. Only 27% of food leftovers are put into food waste bins, despite more than 80% of homes owning one. Almost 15,000 tonnes of plastic drinks bottles were also incorrectly discarded.

A tale of our times (video clips)

To Change Everything It Takes Everyone

Marxism started from the proposition that economics is first and foremost about the way in which society organises to fulfil its immediate material wants. He identified himself as a materialist, in opposition to the idealist thinkers who thought that history was determined by the will of a particular deity, the ruling sovereign or some abstract idea called “human nature”. Marxism describes how whereas in primitive tribal societies it was possible for individuals to produce the means of their own subsistence through hunting and gathering etc, with the technological advances brought on in agriculture and metallurgy there was a greater division of labour with people fulfilling more and more specialised roles. In order to satisfy their basic material needs people now had to produce not just for their own individual use but to exchange in return for other goods.

But how were people to determine the value ratio at which different products would exchange? Marx explained that this was done …

Merry whatever to you all

Although Christmas is the principle Christian festival it is, in fact, a lot older than Christianity and was appropriated by the early Christians from their pagan rivals. At the time Christianity was a feeble creed and needed to promote some sort of festival to attract new adherents—rather like the Young Tories laying on dances in a recruitment drive. Their most threatening competitors—the Mithraists— not unreasonably considering their time and place, worshipped the sun which was so vital to their existence and celebrated December 25 as the winter solstice the passing of the shortest day and the awakening of the life-giving sun.

In opposition, the Christians fixed on January 6 and it was not until the fourth century that they adopted December 25. By the Middle Ages, the Christian takeover of Christmas was complete, along with many heathen rites and symbols like the virgin birth and decoration with seasonable greenery. For some centuries the festival was a twelve day holiday, running un…