Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Apathy and silence is compliance


The Socialist Party desires to build a better and healthier society with mutual aid at its core. One thing the workers will get from all governments everywhere are the usual nauseating sermons from the rulers calling on the ruled to work harder and produce more. Members of the Socialist Party are struggling for social justice, for human emancipation, and for a solidarity economics. We seek a truly free society without violence and totalitarianism; a society in which everyone pulled together for the common good.

The Socialist Party argument is that the workers live by selling their mental and physical energies to the employing class. They then go to work and produce wealth for the employers of value far larger than that represented by their wages. It is out of this “surplus value” that the employing class came to be the owners of all but a small part of the accumulated wealth of the country. Broadly speaking, the employing class, in peace and in war, have squeezed out of their workers in factories, fields, mines, and offices, all that can be squeezed out of them in the existing circumstances. This is a very fortunate situation for the propertied class, but it has its corresponding disadvantage in that the civil and military costs of running the State, its administration, its police, its armaments and its wars, are in the last resort a burden on their profits and property. Far from being proponents of some all-engulfing statism, Marx and Engels saw the state, as class antagonisms dissipated, withering away — being transformed as an instrument to preserve democracy into an administrative tool.

As socialists, we re-affirm that all peoples should seek their emancipation, not as members of nations or religions or ethnic groups, but as human beings, as members of the human race in a world without national frontiers and in which free movement is possible and where all people live together as equals. They should unite to abolish the division of the world into so-called nation-states and to establish a World Cooperative Commonwealth of which we will all be free and equal members – citizens of the world, not subjects of nation-states.

We sympathise with the suffering of our fellow workers, whatever their ethnic origin. It is always they who suffer the brunt of their masters’ wars. Peace is always better than war because wars are never fought in the interests of ordinary people. It is also because war provides an ideal opportunity and excuse to suppress democratic rights on both sides. Peace will create better conditions for democracy. No longer obsessed with nationalistic conflict, our fellow-workers across the world will be able to re-focus on the social, economic and ecological problems spawned by the “normal” peacetime functioning of capitalism. A space for socialist ideas will then open up. 

The Socialist Party teaches that the revolution against capitalism and the socialist reconstruction of the old world can be accomplished only through conscious, collective action by the workers themselves. A mass socialist movement capable of coping with such a colossal task cannot arise haphazardly but requires to be consciously built.  Our aim is to transform from a propaganda group into a party capable of influencing and organising our fellow-workers to create a mass socialist party of the working class. When the majority of the people refuse to be fooled and intimidated any longer; when they refuse to stay on their knees; when they recognise the fundamental weakness of their oppressors, they can become transformed overnight from seemingly meek, subdued and helpless sheep into mighty lions.

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like
dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you
Ye are many - they are few.


Shelley 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Homes for people

More than 1000 flats and houses that could be used to ease the homeless crisis have been lying empty for more than 10 years.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Lib Dems reveal there are more than 20,000 long-term vacant private sector homes in 23 of Scotland’s 31 local authority areas surveyed.

 Midlothian Council said they knew of a home that’s been empty since April 1993.

While new build homes cost an average of £100,000 to construct, the bill for refurbishing an empty property is significantly, at between £6,000 and £25,000.

The number of children living in temporary accommodation had risen by 10% in one year. There were 6,581 children living in temporary homes on September 30 last year.

The Radical Imagination of Socialists

 Doom and gloom predictions can be helpful: the threat of catastrophe can encourage reforms. Too often, however, it inspires an attitude of hopelessness, which all too easily turns into disdain and expectations of failure. The prevalence of negative thinking creates cynicism and pessimism. It’s rare that a week goes by without some statistical reminder of wealth and income inequality or additional evidence from climate change scientists to confirm the depressing outlook. Scientists and historians have begun to warn that we are reaching a critical juncture. Cycles of inequality and resource use are heading for a tipping point that in many past civilisations precipitated political unrest, war and finally collapse. Social inequality and exclusion have spawned anger and revolts. Sometimes, workers are pitted against workers, as what seems to be happening in some European countries, where migrant workers are portrayed as job snatchers when the real problem is the failure of capitalism.  The point is that society can never be stable or enjoy sustained when large segments of society are disempowered through political rules favouring the privileged few.

Every day and everywhere we are confronted with the extremes of capitalism. Extravagant designer-wear stores with the homeless sitting in the doorway in rags. We are often enraged the unjust nature of this world. But inequality is not a recent feature of a profit-driven economy. Modern poverty exists because of a human-made economic system – capitalism. We need to bring about change. We cannot rely on good intentions or use Band-Aids to treat the symptoms but not the sickness. We need organizations and movements to build people-power to win. Political action can be aided by social media. But it succeeds only through face-to-face relationships that have sustained every social movement in history. The working class has the numbers to create a just and fair society.  The elite who profit off or misery tell us. "This is just the way it is. Your voice is irrelevant." This is a lie. There is almost nothing we cannot change -- if we choose to and work for it. To capture political power in our society, much more of us need to let go of the idea that nothing can be done. This isn't about helping others, but about our own liberation, yet we cannot achieve it on our own. When we decline to engage in politics as many dissatisfied workers do, we increase the grip of the powerful over our lives. Our voices must be heard and our actions must be felt if we seek change.  In a society where the wealthy rule unchallenged and the planet is in jeopardy with humanity itself at risk, opting out is not an option. If we don't act now there may not be a future for civilisation.

By any standards of sanity, it is incredible that a society which possesses such enormous productive potential should devote so much of its effort to making weapons of destruction Should we, then, join the campaign to persuade the government to renounce nuclear weapons? That would be to approach the problem from the wrong end. Weapons are not produced to satisfy a government’s destructive impulses. They are produced to prosecute the armed conflicts which in turn are caused by the economic rivalries of capitalism. All of these are inseparable. What it amounts to is that weapons of war are an inevitable product of capitalist society. Those who support capitalism. yet wish that its governments would voluntarily deprive themselves of the most powerful weapons available are baying for something even more remote than the moon.

  Divisions in society are becoming ever wider. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting left behind. For example, wages paid to workers in Germany increased by 5% between 2000 and 2016, while income from investments and business activities jumped by 30%.

Some have accused the Socialist Party of turning our backs on capitalism’s day-to-day troubles. It is true that we refuse to be sidetracked from our purpose of socialist advocacy in order to promote some reform of capitalism, although throughout our existence we have heard many appeals to do so upon which we have been urged to concentrate our efforts at the expense of our socialist integrity. We have rejected these appeals because we know that such problems find their roots in capitalism's property basis To end them, we must establish a socialist society in which the world’s wealth is owned by the world. Such an objective is the only thing worth striving for. There is no need for war, just as there is no natural need for poverty or mass starvation or housing shortages or hospital waiting lists. It is because society is organised to provide profits for the few rather than satisfaction for the many that these problems face us. The working class has only to say "stop" and the entire present system of society will cease to be. We have only to take the means of wealth production and distribution into the common ownership and democratic control of the whole community to put an end to the need for fighting over markets and resources and frontiers. We need only withdraw our consent to capitalism.

Many people are incredulous when the Socialist Party declare that money and banking will have no part to play in the post-capitalist society. Money is rightly said to be the lubricating oil that enables the capitalist mechanism to move, but it is not the motive power, for the true drive is the human need for the necessities of life. In need of these necessities, workers must sell their labour-power before they can buy commodities for their subsistence, and by the social trickery they are legally robbed of full access to the social wealth which they have produced, the deception being that wages will purchase but a portion of the total wealth made by them, the surplus being split up among the employing class. In contrast to state capitalism and those who advocate the nationalisation of the financial system. Socialists stand for the complete ending of the assessment of values in terms of money. Socialist society will not produce exchange-values or spend any part of its labour force obtaining the metal gold for currency, so essential to capitalist production and payment. It will, undivided by classes, produce and distribute goods and services without money or price for use by the whole community. The market is deaf to the voices of those without money with which to express their needs. 

The socialist is a worker who refuses to be a slave, to be low, to submit and cheer the foolery of a system which spits on us. The socialist knows that to be human is to be conscious, with a potential for creativity and cooperation. We can join together and live as equals in a world where all production is for use and all life for living, not buying and selling. The socialist refuses to lie down and take it; we know that united in our millions we will be so strong that the parasite class will be forced to surrender their privilege and either share the world with us or else leave it for another place.
But socialists were not born socialists. No member of the Socialist Party emerged from the womb complaining about wage slavery and singing The Internationale. Socialists are workers who once believed that Queen Mothers were important and bosses must own the world and children must starve and capitalism is the only way for humans to exist.
Socialists are dangerous men and women who asked the question “Why?” and hit on a revolutionary answer. They are people who could see that the profit system will never meet the workers’ needs and that a sane world of production for use would and could. In short, you will never solve the problems of the poor if you allow the rich to keep the world for themselves. Only when the wealth-producing majority decide that we will all be rich, in the sense of commonly owning and democratically controlling the world we inhabit, will it all change.

What do workers need to do? To begin with, a lot of asking “Why?” When you hit on the answers you will be angry. So you should be—but anger on its own leads nowhere. What we need to do is unite, with knowledge as our weaponry and cooperation as our guarantee of victory. Why not join us? Why leave it any longer? 



Monday, January 29, 2018

The Robots Are Coming

Automation could cost Scotland 230,000 jobs over the next decade, according to a Cities Outlook report. It said 1 in 5 posts in Scottish cities could be displaced by 2030.
Of the total 230,000 Scottish jobs at risk, this includes 112,700 jobs in Glasgow, 60,800 in Edinburgh, 35,900 in Aberdeen, and 20,000 in Dundee.
In all Scottish cities, around 9% of existing jobs are in occupations predicted to grow in future. The emergence of new industries will create new jobs which do not currently exist - just as the rise of sectors such as the IT industry did over the past century, it said. In Edinburgh and Aberdeen job losses in some sectors could be offset by an upswing in high-skilled jobs as a result of automation and globalisation
In both cities, more than a third of the jobs predicted to grow are in high skilled private sector occupations, while 29% and 22% are in low skilled private sector roles in Edinburgh and Aberdeen respectively.
In contrast, more than a third of the jobs set to grow in Dundee (35%) are in low skilled private sector occupations. In Glasgow, the number of low skilled jobs set to grow (27%) is also higher than the number of high skilled jobs (25%).
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-42853756

Welcome to the Plutocracy and Oligarchy

 We live in an insane world, one that becomes more and more insane with every day that passes. To pick up a newspaper is to find a daily catalogue of wars and threats of wars, hatreds and atrocities, murder and violence. 

We know that capitalism cannot be blamed for everything wrong with the world, the fact is that it is responsible for most of them. Capitalism’s wars maim hundreds of thousands and undermine the health of countless others. But you know all this. As long as capitalism lasts, there is little chance of society ever really tackling the problem of ill-health and wars. We know, for example, that cancer research comes a long way behind arms production in the priorities of modern society. Why is this? Simple answer: arms are more immediately important to the capitalist class than finding a cure for cancer. Arms can be used to defend their commercial interests. Curing cancer would only save a few million lives a year. Who, other than cancer sufferers, would care?

Nationalism is a great aid to the capitalist class, so it is probable that they will continue to spend millions to enhance it. Our only hope for a peaceful and humane world is for the workers of all nations to overcome their nationalism, and unite and organise to create a world without borders, armies, and wars. To achieve peace we must understand the real cause of war. To be effective a peace movement must direct itself to the task of replacing the economic system that causes war. Since this can be done only through the organised action of the great majority, the movement must work to inform itself and the working class at large about the program for establishing a socially-owned, cooperative economic system. Telling people what they already know, that war is bad, is not enough. What needs to be said is how to change society so war will no longer be necessary. If the social revolution is the only way to eliminate war, the sooner we begin organising for that the sooner will we arrive at our goal of peace. Tinkering with the capitalist system can never alter its fundamentally anti-social character. 

When the oppressed are weary from the hopeless struggle for existence, and might be moved to rise and throw off the yoke of oppression, the deadening hand of religion stretches out to them, bids them to be of good cheer and be patient, all will be well in the hereafter, where “all good people” will live in a heavenly rose garden. Many rise to the bait, as it is so comforting to think that this vale of tears is but a path to paradise. And so places of worship have arisen, palatial, beautiful and impregnated with incense; their pulpits have resounded with the mocking cry, “Come unto me all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” The promise has meant a good deal to those who looked for no rest on this side of the tomb, and has helped to blind them to the possibilities of rest in their real life. Religion has not been a giver of rest but a scourge to drive the masses on to toil compliantly.

Reformism has failed us. Reformist proposals promise to treat the symptoms of commodity production -- without challenging commodity production itself. The inability of reformist measures to tackle the root causes of our present crises should be evident to all. Only when the systemic causes of our social crises become common knowledge, will reformist measures that fail to tackle causes become delegitimised. despite constant tinkering, economic crises, boom and bust cycles, dispossession and hunger not the exceptions, but the rules of capitalism. For years we have been told by Labour Party supporters (who had never tried to teach or even to understand socialism) that the working class did not want socialism, they wanted ‘something now’. We return the jibe and ask when the Labour government is going to give it to them. We were told that ‘half a loaf is better than no bread’ and that the way to get socialism is to build it up piecemeal, adding one gain to another until some day we shall wake up and find that capitalism has imperceptibly changed into the cooperative commonwealth.  May we ask how many such half-loaves will be required to produce socialism? The principle which above all distinguishes the Socialist Party from the Labour Party is our realisation that there are no short and easy cuts to Socialism. Only a party whose members understand and want socialism can work to that end, and the growth of such a party cannot proceed faster than the work of spreading socialist knowledge. It was against the view we hold that the Labour Party were formed. They have always proclaimed their belief in the possibility of building up a party on a non-socialist basis, becoming the government of the country and introducing large measures of reform thus retaining the support of the electors while leading them, almost without their knowledge, on the road to socialism. The fallacy of that position, briefly stated, is that until we have socialism, we shall continue to have capitalism and capitalism can be run only on capitalist lines. You cannot keep capitalist private ownership and control, and yet administer the system in a way which will prevent it from producing its normal effects. You cannot have capitalism without a subject class of wage and salary earners struggling incessantly against the pressure which tends to make them more insecure and badly paid, drives them to harder work and reduces them in greater numbers to unemployment. The success of their theory rests upon the ability of a Labour Government to satisfy the electors, but the electors want results which they were led to expect and Labour cannot deliver the goods.

The mass socialist party that we require for change is the fusion of movements. Against this background of tragedy and folly, which might be expected to reduce us only to apathy and despair, we record with pride that, far from being discouraged, the Socialist Party remains active in its propaganda, and its members enthusiastic to end capitalism. In an insane world, the issue is more than ever—Capitalism or Socialism. Let us hold fast to sanity and campaign for socialism. The capitalist system is continually giving itself away; continually giving indications of the growth of that seed of its own destruction which is inherent in it.

"Forward together! Not one step back!" 


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Church of Scotland Anti-Papism

Speaking during Christian Unity Week, Rev Dr John McPake, the Church of Scotland’s ecumenical officer, said there is ‘profound regret’ in his Church over historical anti-Catholicism in Scotland. Rev McPake said that while sectarianism has not gone away and ‘continues to raise its head,’ the ‘vast majority of sectarianism’ in Scotland is ‘no longer motivated by spiritual faith but is ‘animated by historical division.’

He pointed to poverty as one cause of the problem, saying that ‘sectarianism is found where communities are broken and divided for other reasons,’ adding that we have ‘common cause in building resilient communities which share in economic and social growth.’
It is appropriate to re-post what the Socialist Courier blog messaged back in June 2012
The Anti-Irish Church of Scotland
The national church in Scotland today is the Church of Scotland, which is legally recognised as such. The Church of Scotland is the largest religious grouping in Scotland with 36% of Scottish population nominally as members. The second largest religious grouping in Scotland is Roman Catholicism, with 16% of the Scottish population, most of which are of Irish descent. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of the immigrants from Ireland were Catholic. From the 1960s, when almost everyone claimed a religious label, the “no religion” identity has grown considerably and people who profess no religion actually outnumber either those in the Roman Catholic church or Church of Scotland in Scotland.

In 1922, incited by a Kirk minister, a Protestant mob stoned and bottled buses carrying Catholic women and children to the Eucharistic Congress in Morningside, Edinburgh. In 1923 an official Presbyterian campaign against Irish immigration not only demonstrated the anti-Catholicism present in the Presbyterian churches at this time but also emphasised race and tried to portray differences as national, not just simply religious. This campaign has later become known as “The Kirk’s Disgrace”. It was about singling out an ethnic minority whose presence in Scotland was to be regarded as an evil, polluting the purity of the Scottish race and culture 
The campaign started at the Church of Scotland General Assembly, with a report called "The Menace of the Irish race to our Scottish Nationality " which protested that Catholics had “most abominably abused the privileges which the Scottish people had given them...Already there is a bitter feeling among the Scottish working classes against the Irish intruders. As the latter increase and the Scottish people realise the seriousness of the menace to their own racial supremacy in their native land, this bitterness will develop into a race antagonism which will have disastrous consequences for Scotland." At the same General Assembly, it was warned that the presence of “Irish Catholic aliens … would soon bring racial and sectarian warfare to Scotland”.

The expressions "racial supremacy" and "aliens" makes the report sound like it could have been written by Hitler's Nazi propagandists or white supremacists of the American south. Yet this report by Rev. John White's Church and Nation Committee was accepted by the General Assembly and a sub-committee formed to promote the anti-Irish cause

Restrictions on immigration from Ireland and the revision of the Education Act were proposed and passed. As the campaign was adopted by more senior church figures, more emphasis was put on what was meant to be “respectable” arguments surrounding race and national character. In 1928 the churches presented their case to the government. They complained that Scotland had become a “dumping ground” for Irish immigrants after the USA had reduced their quota and that 70% of parish and other relief funds, were spent on the Catholic Irish. The Church of Scotland's Church and Nation Committee called for the deportation of unemployed Catholics to Ireland - a country most of them by then had never seen. Scottish Catholics from the Highlands and Irish Protestants, however, could stay, because  "they are of the same race as ourselves"

Attempts to get government support collapsed when first the Glasgow Herald demonstrated that the immigration was not at all as high as was claimed, and when the government after an investigation of their own refused to have anything more to do with this campaign. The campaigners then decided to redirect their efforts and the 1930 General Assembly decided that the church should instead focus its attention on businesses and have them “employ Scottish labour where such is available”.  Now that the Kirk understood that no government would halt Irish immigration then they would appeal to the patriotism of Scottish employers to practice job discrimination in their hiring. 

Vision, Hope and Ideas


All social wealth is ultimately the product of labour and labour alone. This includes the factories, technology and all other means of production, which are the product of past labour. Capitalist development has placed the modern facilities of production under the lock and key of private ownership. As a result, the working class majority suffers from growing deprivation and all the social ills emanating from that maldistribution. While profits have been soaring during this economic boom, wages have been falling. The only solution is for the working class to establish socialism. The fact that it today is privately owned by a few is the result of it being "legally" stolen from the working class. Society thus has the right to claim the property in the name of human survival, social well-being and progress.

The state "is but the executive committee of the ruling class," Marx wrote, and "the existence of the state is inseparable from the existence of slavery." He held that under socialism the political state must die out. Production and distribution will be planned to meet the needs of society. This will be a society of cooperating interests rather than conflicting material interests. People's priorities, their attitudes about life and their fellow humans, will change in an atmosphere of cooperation. The needs of the environment and consideration for all forms of life will be paramount.

Under capitalism, almost everything that is produced is produced for profit. The needs of humanity, and the needs of all life are subordinated to the accountant's ledger. As capitalism gained ascendancy in the world, everything was turned into a commodity to be bought and sold. Marx showed how the introduction of new machinery and labour-saving methods by one capitalist requires industry-wide imitation by others and results in ever-increasing unemployment. He explained the process by which wealth concentrates into the hands of a few and how small capitalists and independent producers lose their property and fall into the ranks of the working class. This tendency is exactly what we continue to witness with the introduction of new technology, robotics, and automation. 

Under capitalism, all workers are economically exploited, although this robbery is well-hidden in the phrase, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work." Capital is wealth that has been stolen at the point of production from previous generations of workers. The big corporations of the United States are habitual lawbreakers, convicted over and over of violating anti-trust, restraint-of-trade, price-fixing, bribery, workplace-health-and-safety, labour-relations and environmental-protection laws. As it is, corporation executives seldom spend any time in jail, and corporation stockholders don't even have to worry about being accused for their companies' illegal actions that may provide them millions in dividends. The corporations are also implicated in the crimes of the United States government, which carries on violence and terror the world over. It is their property and profits that are being protected when the U.S. military smashes attempts by other countries to control their own oil and other natural wealth, or when the CIA directs its puppet dictators to murder workers and peasants fighting the exploitation of the multinationals.  The people on the top cheat, lie and kill or pay others to cheat, lie and kill to get what they want. 

Workers are in the majority and our numbers has the power to bring the system to its knees. A great struggle lies ahead of us. Whether we welcome it or fear it or deny it or want to avoid it, it will come, because the economic laws of the capitalist system will force it on us. Let's hope it ends in the reconstruction and reconstitution of society rather than the “common ruin of the contending classes."

Politicians will continue to provide empty promises and band-aid solutions that can only continue this shameless wealth and needless poverty. Only an economy that is commonly owned and democratically controlled by the workers who produce all the wealth can deliver lasting prosperity and economic security for all.

If all the wasted labour were devoted to productive and socially-beneficial tasks, we could produce enough to provide everyone with a decent standard of living working only a fraction of the time we do today. By dividing the labour time needed in all industries equally among all who can, should and want to work, the workday for everyone could be drastically reduced. This is not a utopian dream. It is a simple recognition of the facts of industrial production, of the level of productivity technological development, has achieved. But it is a hopeless dream to imagine that an equal distribution of work can be achieved within the capitalist economic system. If workers want a secure and comfortable livelihood, if they want productive and rewarding jobs, if they want enough leisure time to develop their individual talents and satisfying relationships -- if this is what workers want, they need to organise a mass socialist movement to take democratic control of the State and the means of production.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Crap In Capitalism.

I was returning from shopping and well-meaning people were collecting for children suffering from cancer. I know that research into cancer has been of benefit for many people and lack of money for research in this area takes a minor position compared to money for military purposes. An offshoot of military needs are rockets and trips to Mars for some takes up time in T.V. programmes.
Socialists make the point should the working class decide to get rid of capitalism more resources would be devoted to eradicating the many problems people are suffering from under a capitalist system.
The joys of life on Mars according to Mark Waghorn's article wold be "Astronauts could produce food on Mars using their own excrement."  Professor  Christopher House of Penn State University in the US said: " We test the concept of simultaneously treating astronauts waste with microbes while producing a biomass that is edible either directly or indirectly. It's a little strange but the concept would be a little bit like Marmite or Vegemite, where you're eating a smear of goo.
Should this not be disgusting enough to you, there is also the food that can be made from oil? Yes, Oil. An article I read a while back talked about microbes multiplying while eating up this oil, being flash dried and used to make food items. Bread possibly for this concept a little like Marmite.
Anyone want to guess who they would want to sell this goo too?   

The wages system is capitalism


The alternative systems advocated by many who describe themselves as anti-capitalists all have the characteristics of capitalism and will, in consequence, be but a form of capitalism. To build a sound socialist movement, it is useless to rely on the support of people who do not understand socialism.

Wage-labour and capital can only exist together: the one is the complement of the other. If you wish to abolish profit-making—and capital is wealth used to make a profit by the exploitation of wage-labour—it can be done only by the abolition of capital and wage-labour. By this we are not suggesting that socialism will destroy factories, mines, machines, etc., any more than we are suggesting that socialism will destroy the workers. What we are saying is that socialism will strip the means of production of their capitalist function (i.e. the making of profit) and will put an end to the necessity of workers selling their labour-power for m wage. In other words, socialism will abolish the capitalist class and the working class when it abolishes capitalist production. Socialist production will be carried on by all capable members of society solely to satisfy the needs of society.

And to do that there will be no need for banks, money, prices, and wages. Capitalism needs those things because it is, par excellence, the system of commodity production. In other words, Capitalism is, above all others, the system which produces for exchange. But exchange presupposes private owners and because of exchange money arose. Socialism brings common ownership of the means of life, production solely for use. Hence there will be no exchange of goods and so no prices. Wages, too—the price of the workers’ commodity labour-power—will disappear. In place of all this, society will produce what is needed, will own what is produced and each member of society will have free access to the means of life. Workers who still believe that the reformists, no matter how radical they seem, can do better than the avowed supporters of capitalism at running their system should not be misled by that red herring, but should wake up to the fact that there is no humane version of capitalism. The workers of the world will not find any solutions by giving their allegiance to those who seek to mitigate the failures of capitalism rather than overthrow it at the roots.

To retain capitalism is a practicable policy, although an unsatisfactory one from a working-class standpoint. To abolish capitalism and establish socialism will be practicable as soon as the working class has been won over to socialism.  Many so-called anti-capitalists seek to justify their policies, which is that of trying to abolish the evils of capitalism while keeping the system itself. They have ridiculed the Socialist Party policy of working directly for socialism as utopian, as "impossiblism.” But events have proved that their way is the impossible one.

Our class needs a political party to spread the idea of social ownership, and to gain the support of the majority at the polls. When this is achieved, the workers will assume control of their workplaces, and manage them democratically. Real socialism is not state control from the top down. It's a state-free democracy from the bottom up. The Socialist Party will educate and rally the majority for a revolution at the ballot box, the people's mandate for economic democracy. Socialism means the end of the capitalist market, whose only goal is to realise the highest profit through the maximum exploitation of the working class. Labour power will no longer be a commodity to be bought and sold in the marketplace. Workers will no longer be exploited. Workers will collectively own and run the workplaces. Workers will
democratically control all of society. Production will be based on the needs and wants of all working people, taking into account environmental protection, conservation of resources and the needs of workers of other countries. Goods and services will be distributed on the basis of the number of hours an individual works for the number of hours it takes to produce the product desired. This way the worker receives back in goods and services what he or she gives in labour, after necessary and fair deductions to provide for the young, the retired, the disabled and others who at one time or another will not be working. Because we will be working and producing to meet our own needs and not for the profit of others, and because we will own and control the technology and use it to meet real human needs, we will be able to provide everyone a comfortable and secure livelihood working far less than we do now. The work-week will be reduced and leisure time increased for all workers.

Friday, January 26, 2018

No Transitions - No Concessions

Think about the world we live in, and the possibilities that could be achieved. Capitalism is one of the greatest threats of our time. Capitalism is a future of devastating natural disasters, geopolitical conflicts over resources, surging refugees, and exacerbated inequalities, in a politically and economically unstable world.  Capitalism is a world where the prosperity of the most privileged is contingent on the suffering of the most vulnerable. Capitalism is driving us towards the gloomiest of futures.

But the Socialist Party has an alternate vision. It is to revolutionise our social system into one that is more sustainable, just, and equitable. Socialism is a solution to the present global chaos. We already have the technologies and capabilities to solve the problems we face - and socialism will mobilise them.  We need to restore the balance between resource consumption and resource renewal.

The word “socialism” has been used by so many people to mean so many different things that, to most workers, it has no clear meaning. We have heard of “National Socialism,” "Christian Socialism,” "Guild Socialism,” "State Socialism,” being some of the 57-varieties.  The fact is, of course, that none of these things are Socialism at all. They are all conditions of Capitalism, or experiments within Capitalism, to which the name Socialism, with a suitable adjective, has been applied. The result has been to sow confusion. Hence, the members of the Socialist Party finds that we must devote much of our time to explaining what Socialism is not before we can make clear what it really is. Not all of those who have. contributed to this confusion have done so with malice intent. Many are quite convinced that nationalisation is socialism or that the Sermon on the Mount was a socialist outdoor meeting.

When the accurate definition of socialism, which is the Object of the Socialist Party (the establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community) is cite in response to the misnomers to any of these "State Socialists" they have two replies. First that it is impossible, which, of course, only means that it would not suit them, because it involves the abolition of capitalism the world over, and not merely the substitution of State for private control in the workshop;

And secondly— the reply which is met with more frequently— that there are recognised authorities on the subject who say otherwise. But recognised by whom?

One thing is common to all these confusion mongers. Without exception they do not understand the operation of capitalism and, in consequence, they do not appreciate what socialism implies. They do not agree that it is necessary for the majority of workers to understand and desire socialism before it can be established. They consider that it is only necessary for a sufficient number of people to support the political party that advocates their particular brand of so-called socialism to put that party into power. The party can then start serving out socialism slice by slice. From the time that the party takes power until the last slice is handed out is a period that they consistently refer to as the “transition period.” We are told that we cannot have socialism overnight. There must be a period between capitalism and socialism is the argument. Then, the problems created by capitalism are paraded and we are informed that this transition period is necessary in order to solve these problems before we can have complete socialism.

 The more orthodox Leninists have been driven to substitute the word communism for socialism and then to explain away the present stage of capitalist development in Russia as socialism, this being, they claim, the transition period between capitalism and communism. The Trotskyists would set themselves up as the revolutionary vanguard of the working class, attempt to so popularise themselves that the workers will, sooner or later, at the ‘‘psychological moment,” put them in a position of power. They will then establish the rule of the working class, more popularly known as The Dictatorship of the Proletariat. During this period of dictatorship (which would, in reality, be the dictatorship of their party) all the transitional problems would be ironed out. The Labour Party idea is that with political power they can reform capitalism, a step at a time until it is such a benevolent system to all members of society that it is nothing short of socialism. On the strength of this, they call themselves socialists. The step by step process is, for them, the transition period.

Whilst the majority of the workers are prepared to support a system based on private property we shall have capitalism in some form or another. Whatever camouflage may be used, whatever disguise may be used, whatever name may be used to disguise it, it will still be capitalism. It can be called “State Socialism,” and poverty can be levelled out but if the ownership of the means of life is in the hands of a section of the community, the remainder will be a subject and exploited class. When the workers recognise the need to abolish this system of class ownership they must organise in a political party for this purpose. When they thus gain control of the governmental machinery they can, at a stroke, wipe out legal ownership. The claiming of property rights in the means of production and distribution can be rendered illegal. It will not require a transition period to do that. With the machinery that was used to enforce recognition of lawful ownership taken out of the hands of the capitalist class by a working class that understands and wants socialism, the capitalist system is finished. There are then no longer owners of the means of. production to employ workers for wages. The relationship of wage-labour and capital is ended. Capitalism is dead. Socialism is established. All barriers to the solution of such problems as housing, unemployment, malnutrition, poverty and a host of others, will have been removed. Socialist society can then tackle the job unfettered by the claims of property, of profit and of class interest. Today production is social but distribution is not. It is necessary to harmonise production and distribution by making the wealth produced available freely to society as a whole. Standing in the way of this are the reactionary interests of the Capitalist class. The revolutionary act of dispossessing the capitalists and placing the means of production in the hands, and under the democratic control of society, will allow of this social evolution to go forward at an accelerated pace. The act of severing the bonds that keep the working class in subjection as an exploited, wage-earning class is practically instantaneous. When it is accomplished new productive processes that are stifled by capitalism, will be freed. Labour-saving machinery that today serves to intensify the toil of the workers, will really be labour saving. Poverty will disappear. The solution to all ills will be real and permanent.

No clique of intellectuals will ever be able to shepherd the working class, via a transition period, to socialism. A working class that knows its class status, that understands and desires socialism, knows that “The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.” Those who talk to you about transition periods do not credit you with sufficient ability to understand and act in your own class interest. They seek to lead you. They want your un-class-conscious support in order that they may gain political power. Whether they know it or not, if they get that power they will have to use it to operate capitalism. That is what their transition period will turn out to be; capitalism, with them in the saddle. You will have exchanged one bunch of exploiters for another. And it will be a case of “out of the frying pan into the fire.”


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Glasgow and Child Poverty

The End Child Poverty Coalition, made up of charities, faith groups and trade unions, has released a report that says 45% of children in Glasgow city centre are living in poverty. Glasgow Central appears 12th on a list of 20 constituencies across the UK.

Meanwhile, the number of homeless children living in temporary accommodation in Scotland has increased by 10%. Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said the figures should provide a wake-up call for those charged with tackling homelessness in Scotland. He said: “These figures show that on average between April to September 2017 a household in Scotland became homeless every 18 minutes. This is just not acceptable in 21st century Scotland...These are not just numbers, they represent thousands of people’s lives suffering the human tragedy of homelessness. Among them are 6,581 children without a permanent place to call home, which causes significant and lasting damage to their health, schooling and life chances..."

Socialists Against Racism

I have said and say again that, properly speaking, there is no Negro question outside of the labor question—the working class struggle. Our position as Socialists and as a party is perfectly plain. We have simply to say: “The class struggle is colorless.” The capitalists, white, black and other shades, are on one side and the workers, white, black and all other colors, on the other side. Eugene Debs, 1903, 

Racism is an evil that has subjected millions to degrading and humiliating discrimination. While a great deal of effort has been made to mitigate and alleviate the effects of racism, nothing -- absolutely nothing -- has been done to eliminate its cause. The basic cause of racism is not the racial myths conceived and spread by the white supremacists. Rather, the cause of racism is the competitive, strife-ridden, class-divided capitalist system of society under which we live, and under which we desperately attempt to survive. The truth is that capitalism, under which we have developed industrial and scientific forces that no previous epoch in human history could have even dreamed of, cannot solve the crises it has itself created. On the contrary, the very laws that are at the heart of the capitalist system, the incentives and motivations behind its economic activities, ensure that these crises will worsen.

Consider that under capitalism the means of production and all the necessities of life are owned and despotically controlled by a small minority, the capitalist class. The overwhelming majority of the people, black, brown and white, own nothing of their own. In order to live, they must sell their ability to work -- their manual and mental labour power -- as a commodity to the capitalist owners. The workers do all the socially useful work and produce everything. In return, they receive in wages the equivalent of only a fraction of the value of the goods they have produced. The rest is appropriated (legally stolen) by the capitalists. The less the capitalists have to pay the workers in wages, the greater the proportion of wealth they can appropriate for themselves. Accordingly, the capitalists, under competitive compulsions, constantly try to increase their share of the wealth produced by the workers. Contrariwise, the workers resist the capitalists' encroachments and strive to maintain or improve their living standards. The result is a class struggle that is waged continuously in a capitalist society. Obviously, it is in the capitalists' interests to prevent the working class from uniting. And racial prejudice is one of the most insidious and effective devices ever invented for blinding the workers to their class interests and keeping them divided and fighting each other, instead of forming a solid front against their exploiters.

The Socialist Party is fully conscious of the humiliation and sufferings of black and Asian workers. We fully share with them their yearnings for a better life. But candour and honesty compel us to point out that only the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of socialism can put an end to race prejudice, and establish the brotherhood of man on a sound material foundation. By making the means of production, distribution and social services the collective property of society, we shall be able to use our collective productive genius to create abundance and leisure for all in a sane, peaceful and democratic Socialist Cooperative Commonwealth. With all the sympathy that it is possible for a humane mankind to summon for the suffering, anguish, and despair of the victims of capitalism, understanding the anger and bitterness and complete agreement that their anger and bitterness are justified, the Socialist Party nevertheless urges all who are inclined to listen to the advocates of violence to reflect, and to reflect soberly. No one should doubt that an insurrection will bring on to the streets the tanks of the minions of capitalist law, many of whom are ready, willing and eager to wage war on those whom they fear and hate.

A revolution means a complete change, and it need not be accompanied by violence. For a successful revolution, there must be a constructive phase when new institutions are established to replace those that are dismantled. In an age of great technological and economic complexity such as the present one, when prolonged economic paralysis can have devastating consequences for great masses of people, especially to the masses crowded into the great urban centres, this constructive phase of the revolution must be carefully planned and prepared for. Of the all-important constructive phase so vital to the success of a revolution, advocates of violence are obviously oblivious. Destruction is for them the end-all and be-all of what they consider "revolution" -- that is, insurrection in fact.

Revolution is absolutely necessary if the horrible conditions of society are to be ended. But such a revolution can only be consummated by the working class, as a whole in solidarity, united. And they will do it, not with guns, but with the ballot. Our task is to organise for political and economic power -- not to demand mere amelioration but to demand the abolition of the capitalist system of wage slavery, and to effect an orderly socialist reconstruction of society. To establish socialism, the workers of all lands must organise politically in the Socialist Party to demand at the ballot box that all the means of life become the common property of all.


Rabbie's Day

Today is the appropriate day to remind visitors to the Socialist Courier blog of the Burns Night article in the current issue of the Socialist Standard by Alwyn Edgar.

"What do socialists think of Burns? Is it possible that Burns could be called a socialist? The answer must be ‘No’...Yet there are many facets of Burns’ poetry, and of Burns’ philosophy, that must strike a chord with all socialists."

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bill Gates Comes to Town

On Friday, Bill Gates will visit Edinburgh University and will talk about world farming. He will announce further investment in UK agricultural innovation and unveil a plaque to formally launch the University’s Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, a £35 million research and teaching initiative focused on safeguarding the future of the world’s food supplies.

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Edinburgh University principal, said: “Feeding the world’s growing population well while protecting the natural systems on which we all depend is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity."
It is a shame that Bill won't manage to drop in on any of our Edinburgh branch members who would be more than willing to point out to him that the world currently produces a surplus of food yet nearly a billion go without sufficient nutritious food.

Only within a socialist framework can a rational food policy be put into place. Much of our case is promoting the possibility and the feasibility of a sustainable future society. We suggest and accept that there must be changes in energy policy, to waste and pollution management, but most of all in our food production system. The Socialist Party case is that these necessary changes cannot and will not be permitted by capitalism. The social cost of what you eat and the environmental and health consequence of what you eat is determined by the profit system and by those who own the means of production and distribution. 

WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?


CAPITALISM
TWO CLASSES
WEALTH PRODUCED SOCIALLY
... BUT PRIVATELY OWNED
... AND CONTROLLED BY POLITICAL STATE
WORKERS PRODUCE ALL RECEIVE FRACTION
STATE CAPITALISM
TWO CLASSES
WEALTH PRODUCED SOCIALLY
... BUT STATE OWNED
... AND CONTROLLED BY POLITICAL STATE
WORKERS PRODUCE ALL RECEIVE FRACTION
OR REAL SOCIALISM
NO CLASSES
WEALTH PRODUCED SOCIALLY
WITH DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATION
WORKERS PRODUCE ALL, RECEIVE ALL

The apologists of capitalism say it is the best of all possible systems. Under capitalism, the means of production, distribution and social services are privately owned, with some government ownership. However, government ownership is usually limited to areas where the risks are too great, the profits too unattractive, or the scope of the operation too vast for private capital to undertake, or the activity too important to all capitalists to allow any one group of capitalists to have control. By and large, the land, the factories, the machinery an technology and other means of social production under capitalism are privately owned. Under capitalism, production is carried on for sale and profit. This explains why it is that during capitalism's periodic depressions (which occur when production outstrips markets) workers suffer privation while the things they need to live rot in warehouses filled to overflowing or are wantonly destroyed.

There are only two economic classes in a developed capitalist society -- a capitalist class and a working class. The capitalist class performs no useful economic function but lives by virtue of its ownership of the means necessary to sustain life. The working class, on the other hand, owns nothing except its ability to work, i.e., its labor power. When we say the working class owns nothing we mean that it owns none of the tools, none of the means of production that it must have access to in order to live. Many who think of themselves as "middle class" are so-called professional workers, such as teachers, technicians, engineers and similar kinds of "white-collar" workers. But one and all they must sell their labour power to capitalists or to the political State in order to live, hence are members of the working class.

Ruling classes have always exploited ruled or subject classes. In the ancient world, chattel slaves were exploited openly by being made to produce more than was needed to feed, clothe and house them. In the feudal era, serfs were forced to turn over part of their product to their feudal master or to toil for him so many days each year. But under capitalism, exploitation is cloaked by the wage system. The capitalist buys the worker's labour power for a price (wage), and it appears as if a fair bargain had been struck. Actually, the working class produces all social wealth and performs all necessary social services. The wages it receives in return represent but a small fraction of the social wealth it alone produces. The capitalist class, by virtue of its ownership of the tools, appropriates the balance (by far the larger portion) of the social wealth. Thus, the wage system disguises the true nature and extent of capitalist exploitation, which has been well described as the "biggest theft in history." Wherever there are classes with antagonistic economic interests, there must inevitably be class struggle. The essence of today's class conflict may be simply stated. It is a struggle over the division of labour's product. The working class, driven by stark necessity, strives to increase its wages (its share of the wealth it produces), while the capitalist class, driven by the profit motive and related economic compulsions, constantly strives to increase the rate of exploitation. Neither class can increase its share without decreasing the share of the other. The result is an irrepressible and irreconcilable class struggle between the capitalists and workers.

"Democracy" is not a synonym for "capitalism." In even the most "democratic" of capitalist countries, there is economic despotism. In the workshop, the capitalist is the absolute master. He can replace workers with machines. He can close down until business gets better and force his workers into unemployment. Or he can move his plant to another city or country and leave his employees stranded. The truth is that capitalism is not only an economic despotism -- it is also a foe to political democracy. Wherever worker unrest arises, and the capitalist rule is threatened, the capitalists are quick to throw political democracy overboard and establish dictatorial rule. The State is a government based on territory (states, counties, congressional areas, etc.) and having special coercive powers (police, army, prisons, etc.) that are beyond democratic control. Historically, the State has always been an engine of ruling classes for holding down the ruled. The ancient State was the State of the slave owners, the feudal State the State of the feudal lords, and the modern State is the executive committee of the capitalist class.

Socialism is the direct opposite of capitalism. It means a completely new social order, with new administrative institutions through which to direct democratically the social production of our industrial age in the interests of all society. Socialism does not now exist, and it never has existed anywhere in the world.  With real socialism, the land, factories, mines, and all the other means of social production, distribution and services will be owned, controlled and administered, not by private persons, and not by a State, but collectively by all the people. With the elimination of private (and State) ownership, the division of society into exploiting and exploited classes will end. Socialism means the abolition of the wage system. We shall collectively produce the things we need and want. New techniques and inventions, and the elimination of anarchy and waste in production will greatly increase the wealth available. And such technological improvements will not result in unwanted surpluses and unemployment -- they will enable us to reduce drastically the hours of work. Socialism will, therefore, give us the leisure time to develop our faculties and live healthy, happy, useful lives. Even with the facilities we now have, merely by eliminating capitalist waste and duplication and providing useful work for all, we could probably produce an abundance for everyone by working four hours a day, four days a week, and forty weeks a year. In the class-divided world of today the primary consideration is: Does it pay? In the world socialism of tomorrow the chief question will be: Is it needed, is it desirable and socially beneficial? In short, socialism means the production of things to satisfy human needs and wants and not, as under capitalism for sale and profit.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

THE REAL CAUSE OF WAR

War is caused by economic competition, by the international struggle for foreign markets and sources of raw materials. The Marxist answer is that the cause of war in the modern world is to be found in the inevitable economic rivalries among dominant, competitive capitalist groups in capitalist society.  It is not Socialist Party alone who perceive this. We could cite the testimony of any number of leading capitalist spokesmen on the point.  To make them politically palatable, ideological issues have always been invoked.  In 1914 that the seed of the war they were being asked to fight and die in was commercial and industrial rivalry. Capitalist propaganda told them it was a war "to make the world safe for democracy." The same applies to World War 2, which was supposed to be a war to save the world from fascism. If this had been true, there would no longer be any fascism in the world. But it was not true. The war was fought for industrial and commercial reasons. Workers are made the victims of a cruel deception.

Unfortunately, the “Stop the War” demonstrators lack an understanding of the true nature of the problems confronting them. They completely ignore the basic cause of war. In fact, they disdainfully reject every effort made to call it to their attention as "dogmatic sectarianism." The result is that they are split up into dozens of factions and jerry-built "organizations." Since none of them is based on a correct theory or premise, they cannot establish any unifying principle. This in turn makes it impossible for them to adopt any workable programme or seek an attainable goal. All of them vociferously proclaim their desire to eliminate an evil, but not one of them attacks the cause of that evil. The result is that despite all the protests, parades, demonstrations, etc., wars have continued and escalated. What anti-war marchers need more than anything else is a sound knowledge and understanding of the nature of the capitalist system and its inherent compulsions to war. They have to learn that "hatred of war" and "love of peace," no matter how widely, or how loudly, or how frequently proclaimed, cannot halt or eliminate war. They must learn that they are wasting their time and efforts in hacking at the branches of evil and leaving the root-cause untouched. And they must learn what must be done to replace the war-breeding capitalist system with the sane socialist society. The Socialist Party, does not question the sincerity of many of the protesters. But it is duty bound to point out that sincerity is not the issue. Sincerity is like the good intentions that pave the road to hell. Undisciplined by sound knowledge and theory, sentiment runs riot and commits tragic errors. When the looked-for result is not soon achieved the "movement" based on sentiment alone -- sincere or otherwise -- collapses like a pierced balloon. Sentiment and emotion for a good cause are laudable. But without a sound premise and attainable goal, they can only lead to failure and despair. The crying need of our time is not parades, or demonstrations for limited and impossible objectives, but determined, unrelenting action to awaken the working class to the imperative need for a socialist reconstruction of society and to enlighten them on the principles for accomplishing that social change in a peaceful manner. It is the only way to strike a decisive blow for peace and freedom for the workers of all nations. All else is futile and hopeless.

The repeated crises to which the world is being continuously subjected are not caused by men. There is a more basic cause, one that explains why as one crisis subsides another flares up, and one that also explains why all these crises follow a pattern that has become almost monotonous. This is not to say that men do not play their part, sometimes hastening, sometimes slowing the pace of events and their immediate consequences. The really determining factors, however, are social forces that exert an irresistible pressure on both men and events.

Peace is possible. But it requires that the working class unite politically to outlaw private ownership of the tools of production at the ballot box.  Peace is possible -- but not until production for sale and private profit is supplanted by production for use. The Socialist Party's answer is that we can uproot the cause of war by organizing to uproot the capitalist system. The workers have more than the necessary numbers to vote capitalism out and socialism in.  We would then have social ownership of the industries, under the democratic management of the workers themselves.   We would have socialism, not the phony socialism of government ownership but a genuine socialist society, resting on the basis of economic freedom. This new social system the workers alone can bring into being, thus forever putting an end to wars, and establishing the society of human brotherhood based on freedom, peace and abundance.


Only one thing can prevent the catastrophe toward which the world is heading. That is the establishment of genuine international socialism. There is no acceptable alternative. We must establish a society in which private ownership of the means of life will be replaced by social ownership and democratic control; in which production for sale and the profit of a few will be replaced by production for the benefit and use of all. This is the only way we can end the economic ruling-class rivalries that lead to war and the recurring economic crises that increase the compulsions to war. Socialism will be the opposite of capitalism.  Poverty, insecurity, unemployment will be eliminated. War-breeding struggles for markets will be a thing of the past. Totalitarianism will be impossible. Everyone will lead a full life, contributing his or her fair share of the work and receiving his or her fair share of the total social product. We shall have laid the material and economic foundation for social harmony, peace, plenty and liberty, on the basis Of international human brotherhood. 

Summer School

Summer School 2017

Summer School 2017  21st – 23rd July Fircroft College, Birmingham   These days, con...