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Showing posts from May, 2018

Anarchism in 1940s Glasgow

A little bit of working-class history of Glasgow Taken from here  https://libcom.org/history/anarchism-1940s-glasgow
1) Charlie Baird Sr. : An Interview 6th June 1977 Before the war I’d been sympathetic to the Communist Party, as early as 16 or 17 years of age. It wasn’t until the war, when Russia had signed the pact with Hitler, that I started to have my doubts about the CP. But even prior to that I’d drifted away from them. When the war started, I took up the Conscientious Objector position, and finished up, of course, in jail. It was in jail - I hadn’t been conscious that there was such a movement as the libertarian movement, the anarchist movement - I thought that the CP was the last thing in left-wing movements. I met two lads in prison (I also knew one prior to going in, who’d told me to look out for these two lads) ; one was Jimmy Dick. He’d managed to get some anarchist literature in. I went through that and discovered that was what I’d been looking for. It was what I’d believed, ev…

UBI - No Panacea

Plans to give every Scot a basic income of £100 a week would risk making child poverty worse, according to the Institute for Public Policy and Research has warned. The Institute said by increasing the median income, a so-called Citizen's Income would raise the relative poverty line, leaving more families with children below the line. Assuming a UBI was set at just over £100 per week per adult and £50 per week per child, even in the best case scenario - measuring poverty in Scotland by comparison with incomes in England - only 60,000 children would be lifted out of poverty, the IPPR said. A spokeswoman for the IPPR said poverty was increasing faster than a UBI would be able to take people out of poverty, and would get rid of means-tested benefits, by replacing money targeted at the poorest with universal payments. She claimed topping up the child element of Universal Credit by £150 per month could lift 100,000 children out of relative poverty in Scotland, at a much lower cost of £950m…

Real and Radical

Many people are again talking and writing about socialism nowadays.While welcoming every move that the workers make towards a more vigorous prosecution of the class struggle against Capital, we must not relax our determination to build up the revolutionary arm of the workers. The Socialist Party realising that all economic wealth is produced by the sociallabour of the international working class sets out to organise the world's workers upon class lines, sweeping aside the poison of sectionalism and nationalism which sets worker against worker. Socialism is an industrial democracy. With the destruction of the capitalist State, the capitalist system will be destroyed. And with the destruction of the State, the work of the political organisation will be accomplished. But the ushering in of socialism—the constructive act of the revolution—must be the work of an industrial organisation. Parliament does not represent the whole community neither does it manifest the will of society. Parl…

Windfall for investors

Shareholders in Standard Life Aberdeen are due for a windfall pay-out of £1bn. A further £750m is to be spent on buying back shares, which has the effect of raising the share price, as a further benefit to shareholders. It leads directly to a reduced number of shares when dividends are distributed, so the share price can be expected to rise. One of the reasons Standard Life Aberdeen can give away so much capital is that divesting itself of the investment division reduces the amount of capital it needs to carry. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-44296599

School Poverty

Teachers cannot tackle the impact of child poverty on education by themselves, according to Scotland's largest teachers' union, the EIS. EIS president Nicola Fisher has argued that austerity in public spending and welfare reform have added to the child poverty problem. BBC Scotland has heard several stories which highlight the effects of deprivation on school children. They include stories about dirty clothes, hunger and children being unable to start school on time. "I think we actually have to look at the fact that this will take a whole society to fix and stop expecting the teachers and the schools to fix it all."  Nicola Fisher explained.  It is not simply about the cost of living on a low income or, for instance, helping a child in a house without books improve their reading. It is also about difficult issues which face society as a whole: for example social exclusion and intergenerational unemployment and poverty. There is also the issue of the "working p…

For class unity and world socialism

The Scottish Socialist Party has said the party will not participate in a new Yes Scotland organisation if it puts the economic recommendations of Andrew Wilson’s Sustainable Growth Commission at its centre. Colin Fox said the SSP would instead make its own separate case for independence in the event of a second referendum being called. He said the economic outlook presented in the SNP’s growth report was “straight out of Tony Blair’s playbook.”  “The key to victory in a second independence referendum is winning over working class No voters unconvinced by the 2014 Yes case and whose votes are essential to win,” he said writing in The National. “However I feel duty bound as a member of the wider independence movement to say Andrew Wilson’s voluminous Sustainable Growth Report offers nothing to working class Scots under austerity’s cosh these ten years past. Rather it offers them another ten years of the same! The Scottish Socialist Party will not participate in a Yes campaign that puts …

A Party of Realists

The Socialist Party, since its inception, has insisted upon the need for a comprehensive grasp of the evolution of society and its various social institutions. We have emphasised this need, not because it is our desire to breed a group of "intellectual" theorists in our midst, but rather because we are convinced that clear thinking must precede practical action. It is necessary to know the past in order to understand the present.
It has been customary for the wage-workers to be told that they must look to the State for salvation. For decades, prominent hot-air Labourites have assured us that the hope of the workers lay in State decrees. They have been responsible for the advocacy of what has been called “State Socialism”  but should be more accurately termed “State Capitalism”. The Socialist Party has argued time and time again that state ownership never gives control to the workers but rather leaves them at the mercy of unsympathetic and irresponsible civil servants in gover…

Shoplifting for food

Shoplifting has hit a five-year high in Scotland as increasingly desperate people resort to stealing food from supermarkets, according to police. 

The Scottish Government said it was a “scandal” that people were considering breaking the law in order to feed themselves and blamed the trend on UK welfare reforms.


 No Is Not Enough

Socialism will be achieved by socialists; by the deliberate action, that is, of those who, understanding. what is at the root of the present evils, know what is necessary for their removal. The existence of a considerable proportion of convinced socialists precludes the possibility of swaying the electorate by emotional appeals. Political bargaining exists because socialist knowledge is lacking. Without such knowledge neither the Socialist Party nor anyone else can give you socialism. Do not, therefore, waste time trying to dragoon the working class into striving for an object which they do not understand. Men and women who clearly recognised the cause of the workers' poverty in the private ownership of the means of production, and who realised that the spreading of socialist knowledge is the only permanent basis for working-class organisation would not have to go into battle with untrained troops, and would not risk finding themselves at the end of a life of ceaseless toil for th…

War of the Classes

A socialist is one who, having investigated the causes of present-day social discord, decides that these causes are found in the private ownership of the means of wealth production and who therefore endorses the necessity for co-operative ownership in order to eliminate private or sectional monopoly, and secure the advantages for the whole people. It is a common thing to find persons expressing sympathy with socialism and socialists, when all that is intended by them is a kindly feeling towards those in poverty, but by no means do they endorse the co-operative ownership and control of the land, mines, minerals, machinery and agencies of transit, without which no one can be a socialist. By co-operative ownership is meant ownership of the whole people, ie the raw material and machinery of production to become the property of the all, and industry to be democratically administered in the common interest. Socialism involves the transference from present-day private ownership to common own…

Capitalism: The Unsustainable System

The most obvious fact facing the Socialist Party is that most workers are not socialists. Indeed most workers accept capitalism, believe it can’t be changed, and view socialists who want to change it as idealists or troublemakers. So how can this change?  Capitalist ideas seem to make sense because they reflect the world as we experience it.  They justify the current class divisions.  As Marx put it: ‘the ruling ideas of any age will be the ideas of the ruling class’. To use the language of an earlier time, something ‘ordained by God’. Or as the hymn says:
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly, And ordered their estate. Capitalist society is founded on the profit motive – and therefore this is thought of as ‘natural’.  Enterprises are run for profit. If capitalist ideology didn’t dominate workers’ thinking in this way capitalism couldn’t survive at all. Workers’ ideas clearly cannot simply be changed on a mass scale by socialist propaganda. A so…

The future is up to us all

It has taken many years, filled with bitter experience, to teach the working class that emancipation from capitalism is not to be won by apparently easy and simple means. That the socialist goal cannot be reached by relying on any one-sided method; either the exclusively parliamentary tactics of reformism, or the direct action of the syndicalists. This objective will only be achieved by the movement conducting a multi-sided struggle; a struggle on all fronts – the economic and political. The behaviour of Labour Party politicians in office, their complete subservience to the ruling class, soon unmasked the treachery of reformism. It revealed its futility. The mission of upholding human culture and rebuilding society on a basis of social justice to-day rests with the socialist movement. Society is ripe for the change from capitalism to socialism, so all sorts of groups are busy advertising their political panacea pills to cure the impending social ills.
The Left constantly refer the “dic…