Saturday, June 30, 2018

There are no solutions within the capitalist system!

Capitalism, the private ownership of the means of production, is responsible for the insecurity of subsistence, the poverty, misery, and degradation of the ever-growing majority of our people; but the same economic forces which have produced and now intensify the capitalist system will necessitate the adoption of socialism, the common ownership of the means of production for the good and welfare of all. The present system of social production and private ownership converted society into two antagonistic classes — i.e., the capitalist class and the propertyless class. Capitalism sharply divides society into two classes, the propertied and the propertyless, master and slave, owner and owned, employer and employed. There are those who imagine that when the working class succeed to power they will at once proceed to subjugate, enslave, and exploit some other class. This has been the history of the past. It is not true of the present socialist movement and in this very important respect the present social revolution differs from every other in all past history. In the struggle between capital and labour, in the revolutionary change from capitalism to socialism, there can be no coalition between employer and employee, no compromise between capitalist political parties and working-class organisations. Our job is to win working people to see the necessity of building socialism. The co-operative commonwealth will be inaugurated by the mass action of the workers. To assert the contrary is a denial of the very principles of socialism. Steadily the workers move along the road to socialism. Circumstances compel them to take that road.

Economic laws operate whether they are known or not, but if we understand their operation we can bend them to our purpose pad assist society along the course it tends to travel. The Socialist Party must bring this knowledge to the workers. The State is the political expression of the dominant class, and since that dominant class uses the machinery of the State—law, justice, force—to maintain its own privileges and to impose its will upon the labouring mass, the workers contest their claims by political action.  The reason why some socialists participate in the every-day struggle in the industrial field, and yet decline to take a part in political action, is that they regard industrial action as more important than political. That belief is without justification. A socialist party is an integral part of the working-class movement. It is the centre  of class education. The stronger the socialist body the better can it permeate the working-class movement, giving expression to socialist opinion; voicing the demand for socialist activity and reiterating the need for revolutionary change.

The Socialist Party is the party of the working class and is in fundamental opposition to all other parties. The Socialist Party, therefore, is the deadly enemy of capitalism and capitalist parties. It has as its aim the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a socialist society in which the means of production will not be the private property of the few, a society which will not be based upon profit, will not be based on class division, but will eradicate poverty forever.  At a crossroads the World must now choose a new direction. Which way we pick may well lead to an abyss for large portions of civilisation and humanity. Capitalism is showing itself to be not only injurious to the vast majority, but a definite obstacle to the advance of mankind. We seek that the last of the slave systems shall be finally swept away an where our fellow-workers embrace the cooperative commonwealth ending the wage system where the production and distribution of wealth are for the use and benefit of all. 

Mankind can only work to produce wealth with tools. The mere handicraft tools of former times have become very costly technological marvels. These and the factories, mills, and shops in which they are housed, as well as the lands and mines from which the raw materials are drawn, are used in common by the workers, and in their very nature are marked for common ownership and control. Socialism does not propose the collective ownership of property, but of the instruments of wealth production, which, in the form of private property, enable a few capitalists to exploit vast numbers of workers, thus creating millionaires and class rule with all its odious and undemocratic distinctions. As we better understand our history we can better figure out our future and our strategy to get there. For this revolution to go forward, each of us needs to ask the questions and seek the answers. The Marxist materialist understands the world is knowable and studies relentlessly to learn and contribute. Today's scarcity can be eliminated. We’re talking about abundance. We’re talking about a world where the automation can produce 24/7 where there is plenty of plenty. We’re talking about a world where everybody becomes involved in the organisation and administration. We’re talking about a world of happy people. Our troubles and woes arise from material scarcity where we are involved in struggling to get food, struggling to get homes, struggling to get an education, struggling to get a job, struggling for all these things. If these necessaries are in abundance then we can turn to the real matters of life, developing ourselves as a person.

Friday, June 29, 2018

1889: The Glasgow dockers' go-slow

London dockers demonstrate, 1889
A brief history of the strike of Glasgow dockers in 1889 which was proving fruitless, until they returned to work and began a go-slow or "working ca'canny".
In June 1889, Havelock Wilson's young but rapidly growing National Amalgamated Sailors' and Firemen's Union was organising strikes in various ports throughout Britain. In many places the dock labourers came out too. This is what happened in Glasgow. On June 11th Edward McHugh, a former commercial traveller and friend of Henry George, brought the union he had formed in February 1889, the National Union of Dock Labourers, out on strike in Glasgow. The strike met with a quick response from the port employers in Glasgow. Very quickly blacklegs were brought into Glasgow in considerable numbers from Dundee. The men from Dundee got the police protection they had been promised, and quickly set to work. But they soon left work in a body after the strikers managed to make contact with them and to explain their case. Sixty labourers from Tilbury, brought in by the employers to replace the strikers, turned back for London once they found that the labour shortage they had been going to fill had arisen because of the strike.
Similarly, men from Leeds turned back when they discovered the real reason for their being needed. But these small victories for the strikers were not enough. Blacklegs were coming in from all over Britain, and the promise on the company posters that police protection would be guaranteed was being honoured. Edward McHugh and Richard McGhee could do little more than to call for increased picketing.
There were a number of serious scuffles between strikers and blacklegs. At one point McHugh told some blacklegs that he feared for their lives, since some of his men had revolvers. But all this was to no avail. The employers were clearly determined to break the strike. They had imported hundreds of blacklegs from Scotland, and especially from England. In this way they were more or less able to keep up the regular hours of sailing, and to deal with the cargoes. They told the press that they were 'not unwilling to fairly remunerate their employees; but they have resolved at all costs to reduce the influence of the union, observing that the shipowners ali over the country are determined to be the masters, and not a few strangers, who, as a committee, . . . interfere with the shipping commerce of the country.'
On June 23rd the strikers held a meeting at which the whole situation was considered. At this meeting such points as 'their severance from the union, the rate at which the Englishmen can work, the rates of wages, and so on . .' were discussed. The North British Daily MaiI reported that:
'None favour the idea of renouncing their combination as a union; indeed that seems to be the last right they would forego, maintaining they have equal rights with tradesmen in having a society of their own. Trades, they say, have less need of unions than bodies of men numbering thousands, and whose work is more irregular. Again, they flatter themselves of being able not only to discharge or load a ship in less than quarter the time taken by inexperienced hands, but they rejoice in being able to deal with cargo with far more caution.'
It is highly likely that amongst the points raised in this discussion between the strikers about the inefficiency of the blacklegs is the fact that one of the 'scabs' was drowned after falling into the river while wheeling a truck along a plank.This dramatic illustration that dock labour was not an 'unskilled' occupation, was constantly borne out by the performance of the 'scabs'. Their speed of work was much slower than that of regular dock labourers; it took more of them to load and unload cargoes than it did the dockers. Although this fact was not openly admitted by the shipping companies there is some evidence that they would very much like to have seen the dockers return to work. A small incident bears this out. As the strike continued into July, a rumour arose that the Allan Line offices were so dissatisfied with the work of the blacklegs that they wanted to re-employ the dockers. Although this had been denied officially by the Allan Line, one of the foremen at the Allan Line sheds had pleaded with the strikers to go to the boss, 'as they were sick of the men they had at present, and could not get on with their vessels at all.'
Shortly after this the National union of Dock Labourers made a final effort to settle the strike. Deputations were sent to the various firms asking if they were willing to grant the union' s demands. When this last-ditch attempt failed, the Union decided to call the strike off in order not to exhaust all its funds. At a meeting of the dock labourers on Friday, July 5th it was resolved to return to work at the old rate on the following Monday. On Monday morning before the dock labourers went back to work they rvere addressed by Edward McHugh. He told them:
'You are going to return to work today at the old rate. The employers have repeatedly said that they were delighted with the services of the farm workers who have replaced us over the past few weeks. We have seen them; we have seen that they don't know to walk on a boat, that they have dropped half the stuff they carried; in short that two of them can't do the work of one of us. However the employers have said that they are delighted with the services of these people; let us therefore do the same and practice ca'canny. Work like the farm workers worked. Only it happened that several times they fell into the water. It is useless for you to do the same.'
The Glasgow dockers returned to work, and for two or three days went 'canny', and worked as slowly and inefficiently as the blacklegs had worked. It was not long before the employers called for McHugh and pleaded with him to ask his members to work how they used to work. If they did the dockers would get the 1/2d an hour rise they had failed to get by striking. The success of the ca'canny tactic at Glasgow led McHugh and McGhee to make it the distinctive policy of the union. Reviewing the first full year of the N.U.D.L's activities and looking back to the Glasgow strike, they wrote :
'The distinctive policy of the Union was inaugurated in Glasgow during the great strike of June, 1889, and was the logical outcome of the publicly proclaimed satisfaction on the part of the employers with the work-small in quantity and wretchedly bad in quality-done by scabs. Then as now we were advised in the organs of the shipowners "to take a few lessons in political economy"...'
The N.U.D.L. took its lessons, and reported that:
'Having mastered all the mysteries of the doctrine of value and the distinction between "value" and "price", we were made familiar with the multitudinous forms of orthodox adulteration from jerry buildings and cofin ships to watered milk and shoddy clothes. With only one exception we found the all-prevailing practice to be this, that the "QUALITY" of each commodity, whether it be a dwelling-house, a suit of clothes, or a Sunday's dinner, is regulated according to the price which the purchaser is willing to pay-the one exception being labour.
'We began to ask ourselves and our fellow-members why the "quality" and "quantity" of labour should not be subject to the same law as other marketable commodities. We were witnesses of the fact that a trifling increase in wages was scornfully and insultingly refused to Union men, whilst at the same time inexperienced and consequently inefficient scab labour was imported at enormous cost and trouble, and paid at higher rates than were asked by Union men, and, in addition to higher wages, we saw the scabs delicately entertained and provided with free food and lodging, tobacco, and beer,-the ability to do these things demonstrating beyond the possibility of doubt that the demand made by Union men was a very modest one indeed, and one which the employers could easily have afforded to grant.
'We had the most convincing proof of the lirnited quantity of work done by scabs in the detention of vessels, and of the int'erior quality in the fact that the ships when stowed were pronounced unseaworthy. For these unsatisfactory results the employers paid generously.
'There is no ground for doubting that the real relation of the employer to the workman is simply this-to secure the largest amount of work for the smallest wages; and, undesirable as this relationship may be to the workman, there is no escape from it except to adopt the situation and apply to it the commonsense commercial rule which prouides a commodity in accordance with the price.'
All this could be supported by chapter and verse from the economists. W. S. Jevons was singled out, having stated that:
'If those who want,goods at a certain price cannot get them, they will have to offer a higher price, so that they may induce other people to sell. The higher the price the greater the supply.'
The N.U.D.L. commented
: 'This is precisely what we affirm with regards to labour. If those who want dock labourers at a certain- amount of u.ases cannot get them, they will have to offer higher wages. T:he higher the wages the greater the quantity and the better the quality of work, and vice-verse. . . . The employer insists upon fixing the amount he will give for an hour's labour without the slightest consideration for the labour; there is surely, therefore, nothing wrong in the labourer on the other hand, fixing the amount and the quality of the labour he will give in and hour for,the price fixed by the employer. If employer of labour or purchasers of goods refuse to pay for the genuine article they must be content with veneer and shoddy.'
The N.U.D.L., whose claim to be 'the pioneer organisation of what is called the ' New Unionism' is well founded, made a "special effort to inculcate its members r,vith the theory and practice of the tactic which had worked so well in Glasgow in 1889. The tactic seems to have spread to the London dockers not long after their success in the famous strike of the summer of 1889. The consequent increase in the dockers' bargaining power led to widespread rank and file sentiment for the manning ratio on gangs to be increased. This aspiration led to a serious slowing down in the tempo of work. Since, as the historian of trade unionism in the Port of London records 'Such "ca'canny" practices were bound to generate among the workers a most determined resistance to union monopoly', the London based Dockers' union officials found themselves encountering difficulties in dealing with the port employers. Tom Mann, the union president, signed several appeals intended to get the men to work more energetically, and he even went so far as to suggest in 1892 in evidence to the Royal Commission on Labour (of which he was a member) a new system of ' cooperative' working, 'by which the minimum time rates would be abolished and the men left to stand or fall by their earnings on a piece-work basis. A similar appeal had, indeed, been issued by the Executive of the union immediately after the conclusion of the strike. In a 'Manifesto Urging Members of the Union to Work Energetically it was stated that
'Complaints have been made by the Dock Directors that the men are not working as energetically and heartily as in times past, and in consequence they are not only put to a very considerable expense, but very serious delays are brought about in the departure of vessels.
'The Union will, of course, at all times and places protect its members against anything in the nature of nigger-driving, but we regret to know that at some of the docks the men are not working with that hearty goodwill and efficiency that is necessary to make our position strong. . . . We therefore most earnestly appeal to all our members, now that they are secure from many of the former indignities they formerly had to battle against, to work in a smart and workman-like manner.'
Although the London dockers' leaders clearly disapproved of the 'ca'canny' policy, the Glasgow dockers' leaders made extravagant claims for its efficacy. 'A strike of workmen may be defeated,' wrote McGhee and McHugh, 'but this strictly economic and commercial policy is invincible.' Sidney and Beatrice Webb read the report in which those words appeared. They were neither amused nor impressed. In 1897 they recorded that the N.U.D.L.'s advocacy of 'ca'canny' earlier in the same decade was the only case they knew of where a trade union had advocated what they called 'an insidious diminution of their energy without notice to the employer.' they were worried, it seems, not only for the employer, but also for the workmen who practised such a policy. They commented:
'To the unskilled labourers of a great city, already demoralised by irregularity of employment and reduced below the average in capacity for persistent work, the doctrine of "go'canny" may easily bring about the final ruin of personal character.'
This article is excerpted from the book Sabotage by Geoff Brown. The original text contains extensive footnotes not available in this online version. Scanned and OCRed by

Socialism is Coming

The sun of capitalism is setting; the sun of socialism is rising.” - Eugene Debs 

Many say socialism is unattainable. If more workers are to be won to the cause of socialism it is clear that we must greatly advance in our ability to explain the advantages of a socialist society and how we can achieve it. Today, with the economy suffering a protracted recession and increasing insecure employment working people are increasingly dissatisfied with the status quo.  However, this discontent is not translating into support for socialism. At the present time, the idea of a socialist alternative does not appear feasible to many. Our fellow-workers remain to be convinced that socialism can provide them with a better life – greater democracy and improved material well-being.

First of all, the word “socialism” is popularly associated with the former USSR and its satellite states. While these regimes were not socialist we never stop hearing that their economies typified what socialism stood for. Today, in the name of socialism we see common ownership changed into government control. The Socialist Party holds that the ending of private/state ownership of production and resources is the precondition for a socialist society. History has provided ample evidence that it is possible for the working class to possess less political power, to enjoy less civil liberty, to exercise less control over the circumstances of its working life, to be, in every sense of the word, more ‘exploited’, under regimes based on state ownership than under “free-enterprise” democracy. What passes for socialism today and now regarded by some as a refutation of the principles of socialism has redefined socialism into some monstrous form. From its foundation the Socialist Party, the socialist movement was far from being unaware of the dangers of a concentration of economic and political power within the hands of an all-powerful state.

William Paul, a leading member of the Socialist Labour Party, and later member of the Communist Party made this view very clear indeed in his book The State: Its Origins and Functions, published in 1917:
"The revolutionary socialist denies that state ownership can end in anything other than a bureaucratic despotism.... Socialism will require no political state because there will be neither a privileged property class nor a downtrodden propertyless class: there will be no social disorder as a result, because there will be no clash of economic interests; there will be no need to create a power to make ‘order’...In the last analysis state ownership is more a means of controlling and regimenting the workers than of controlling industry... The attempt of the state to control industry is therefore the attempt of the ruling class to dominate labour."

Engels, too, in his Anti-Dühring, specifically warned against equating socialism with state ownership:
Since Bismarck adopted state ownership a certain spurious socialism has made its appearance, here and there even degenerating into a kind of flunkeyism – which declares that all taking over by the state, even of the Bismarckian kind, is in itself socialistic. If, however, the taking over of the tobacco trade by the state was socialistic, Napoleon and Metternich would rank among the founders of socialism. If the Belgian state, for quite ordinary political and financial reasons, constructed its own main railway lines; if Bismarck... took over the main railway lines in Prussia, simply in order to be better able to organise and use them for war, to train the railway officials as the government’s voting cattle, and especially to secure a new source of revenue independent of parliamentary votes – such actions were in no sense socialist measures. Otherwise, the Royal Maritime Company, the Royal Porcelain Manufacturer, and even the regimental tailors in the army would be socialist institutions.”

One might point out that if all that was required for socialism was the ownership of property by a collective institution and the administration of that property by a self-reproducing oligarchical élite, then the Catholic Church has been a socialist institution for 2000 years.

Capitalism does not consist merely in the private ownership of the necessaries for production. If such ownership were the determining feature and quality of capitalism, then capitalism reigned in the days of serfdom. The serf owned his tools, the feudal lord owned the land ”two necessaries for production. Yet that was not capitalism. Capitalism is that social system under which the tool of production (capital) has grown to such mammoth size that the class that owns it rules like a despot, inaccessible and un-dethronable by economic competition, and steadily swelling the number of its slaves, the wage slaves, thereby itself recruiting the forces that will overthrow it, and push civilisation onward to the socialist society. That is capitalism, not anyone or set of seemingly capitalist manifestations.  It does not consist merely in the overthrow of private ownership in any or all of the necessaries of life. If such overthrow of private ownership were socialism, then the overthrow of the one-time private armies and the present state-ownership of the same would be socialism.  Socialism is that social system under which the necessaries of production are owned, controlled, and administered by the people, for the people, and class rule is at an end. That is socialism, nothing short of that.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A World for All of Us

As long as the experience of the disastrous mistakes of the past has not been applied, the working class won't escape exploitation. Lessons from the past must be absorbed for use in the future, otherwise, each generation has to drink from a poisoned well

The development of capitalism, particularly the industrial revolution, marked the entrance into history of the working class, a class that was totally propertyless, having no way to earn a living except to sell its ability to work for the capitalist or property-owning class. In return for selling its labour the working receives “wages” – only partial payment for the value it created, and barely enough to return back to work another day, to produce more value and profits for the capitalist. The nature of capitalist society is such that the capitalist always tries to minimise the cost of production and maximise profits. This can only be done at the worker’s expense, the worker that finds himself constantly the victim of attempts by the capitalist to lengthen the working day, or speeding up production and reducing wages. The workers and capitalist do constant battle over the level of wages, the price of labour. Our present society is founded upon the exploitation of the propertyless class by the propertied. This exploitation is such that the propertied (capitalists) but the working force body and soul of the propertyless, for the price of the mere cost of existence (wages) and take for themselves, i.e., steal the amount of new values (products) which exceeds the price, whereby wages are made to represent the necessities instead of the earnings of the wage-labourer.
Under the capitalist system, the, constant striving for profits from investments always endeavours to bring real wages down. Unless the workers engage in collective struggle to maintain their living standards they and their families would become destitute, and this type of struggle, trade union struggle, develops spontaneously among the workers. This economic struggle is allowed for by the capitalist system, and is even necessary for its continuation, for how else can the workers, whom the capitalist needs to exploit, how else can they survive? One thing capitalism must not do, at its peril—it must not kill the goose that lays the golden egg. We are all for militant trade unionism. It is fine as far as it goes. But it only goes so far and no further. The trade unions see their struggle as one waged primarily inside the capitalist system for the improvement of the worker’s condition. The trade unions fight around contracts serves as an excellent example of the limitation of the unions. But even a ”good contract” still simply means the worker has only won a better deal for the selling of his or her labour power, the fundamental causes of this problem still exists – the capitalist system. The working class needs unions, but much more, it needs a revolutionary socialist party. We do not win the workers to revolutionary politics simply by sloganising, but must educate and agitate in order to raise class consciousness. . The socialist party attacks the fundamental cause of the workers' problems - the capitalist system itself. This system is unjust, insane, and murderous. It is, therefore, necessary to totally end it. The position of the Socialist Party is agitation for the purpose of organisation and organisation for the purpose of social revolution.  The Socialist Party proposes a system of common ownership of the means of production administered by society as a whole on a harmonious plan, ensuring from every person according to their capacity and to every person according to needs, under the motto “All for each and each for All”.

This social revolution is the essential objective of the Socialist Party, the end towards which every step it takes must directly tend towards. The task is no mere pastime; it is a grim fight. It can be solved by nothing short of the worldwide destruction of the capitalist system. For the immediate future, the main duty of the Socialist Party and of every member of it is to establish the widest and closest possible contact with our fellow-workers of all lands and to promote the socialist message among them,  confident that if we play our part we shall see the robber and butcher class brought down.  We hold aloft the crimson banner of world socialism when the class war shall be forever stamped out, when mankind shall no longer cower under the brutality of the oppressor, when the necessaries and amenities of life, the comfort, and the culture shall not be to him who exploits. Our new world one where none shall be called master and none servant, but all shall be fellow-workers in common.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The future is up to us – The People

The Socialist Party maintains that the problems of the British working class are identical with the problems of the workers of the world. What unites workers as a class is their relationship to the means of production. Workers produce all value. Bosses appropriate that value and pay the workers as little as workers let them get away with. All workers, no matter what their colour, gender, “race,” ethnicity, nationality, are exploited by the profit system. This is our unifying characteristic. Anything that negates this class concept, that puts workers in alliance with “their bosses” against another set of workers and bosses, weakens the struggle to combat and overthrow the entire ruling capitalist class. Nationalism divides the working class. Workers must unite across all capitalist-created borders and not defend its “own” ruling class against workers in other capitalist countries. Class solidarity is a crucial issue for all workers. There is no such thing as “progressive” nationalism. “National Liberation” movements merely exchange one set of bosses (the colonial ones) for another set (local bosses) and retain the profit system, integrate with world capitalism in one form or another. The ones who fostered “National Liberation” struggles in the formerly colonial world were not fighting for the working class in those countries but for the right to exploit “their own” workers by gaining a piece of the pie that the colonialists had monopolised. These “anti-imperialist” nationalists were still capitalists and were aiming to maintain the profit system. They even showed themselves as willing to rely on aid and arms from the former colonial powers to put down “their own” working class if necessary. The working class cannot share power with nationalist bosses. Such so-called sharing keeps the capitalists and their system of exploitation in power. Racism weakens the working class in two ways. It divides workers and pits one group against the other, diluting working class strength in battles against the rulers. Racism also allows the bosses to use lower-paid black and Latino workers as a threat against white workers struggling to improve their wages and working conditions by saying that black and Latino workers are ready to work for less and take their jobs.

A socialist party must be a mass party based on the concept that every worker can be won over to being a communist. The successful party will not be a vanguard “cadre” party in which a small group claims to lead the rest of the working class. The glorification of individuals leads to slavish followers rather than to build the practice of leadership and critical thinking by masses of workers. Historical materialism is a science explaining the laws of development of nature, society, and thought. It enables us to recognize reality by understanding that things are always in motion, interconnected and interdependent. It is the science that is a guide to collective action that can emancipate the working class. Surplus value refers to the following: In production, the workers create all value but much, if not most, of that value, is appropriated by the capitalist. That is, the owner of a capitalist enterprise pays each worker a wage (as little as possible) equal to only a small part of the value the worker creates. For instance, the value a worker produces in the first two hours of the work-day may equal whatever wage he or she may receive; the value created in the remainder of the work-day goes to the capitalist. That is what Marx called surplus value. From surplus value, capitalists take their own profits and make payments to other groups of capitalists: interest on loans to banks (the banker’s profits); rent to landlords; payments for raw materials, and so on. Thus, most of the surplus value created by the worker becomes profit to all the capitalists involved.

For nearly four centuries the capitalist system has destroyed the lives of billions of workers. Among its many evils it has waged unceasing wars for profit; exploited the workers in its factories mercilessly; caused mass unemployment; used racism to targeted particular groups of workers; ignored the huge death toll from malnutrition, curable diseases and lack of health care; and destroyed enormous regions of the global environment. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Reclaiming the socialist radical vision

The Socialist Party, in accord with Marxist teachings, seek to sweep away the old conditions of production, and prepare the way for the cooperative commonwealth rather than tinker with the old machine and try to foist it on our fellow-workers as something just as good. A society with profitability as the criterion of production is bound to bring along unbearable crisis conditions. The transformation of Capitalism to Socialism meant amongst other things that political power should pass from the hands of the capitalist class into the hands of the working people; That the means of production and distribution, the land, the factories, workshops and mines, the means of communication, the financial system, should pass into the possession of the working people; that production should be developed not by the competition of the various capitalist enterprises for profit, but on the basis of a planned economic system, whose aim was to raise the material level of all the people; that the fruits of production should be distributed in such a way as to raise the standards of the working people and not, as it is under capitalism, to enrich a powerful class of capitalists and their hangers-on. In other words, the working people would collectively own the industries, and work for ourselves and not for the capitalist class. A handful of capitalists make vast profits on the labour of the working people and the natural resources of the land. All the major means of production - the factories, forests, farms, fisheries and mines are in the hands of a few hundred capitalists.

Capitalism is a system of exploitation. A handful of parasites live off the backs of the workers and care little about their situation. At the end of the week or month a worker collects their pay. The capitalists claim this is a fair exchange. But it is highway robbery. In reality, workers get paid for only a small part of what they produce. The bosses get rich, not because they have "taken risks" or "worked harder," as they would have us believe. The more they keep wages down and get fewer workers to do more work, the more they can steal from us and the greater their profits. If the bosses think they can make more profit somewhere else, they just close their factories and throw the workers out on the street. Capitalism is a system of economic anarchy and crisis, plagued by periodic economic crises, such as recessions, which are becoming more serious and complex. It is the very nature of each business to try to maximise its profits by pushing production and cutting expenses, especially the pay of workers. Prices tend to go up and wages down. This anarchic system wastes a great deal of social wealth. Capitalism is an obstacle to the further advancement of the material well-being of society. It is unjust, wasteful, and increasingly irrational. In the face of economic crisis, monopoly capitalism has always tried to put the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of working people. It has tried wage freezes, cuts in benefits, cuts in expenditure on health and education. For working people the future is less and less certain. Wages fall or remain stagnant while hours increase and working conditions deteriorate. People live in misery so a small clique of very wealthy individuals can live in luxury. The idea that everyone can get rich under this system is a lie invented by the rich themselves.

Under capitalism, the only way to get rich is to trample on someone else. There is only room for a few capitalists - at any time the great majority must work and be robbed. This is why workers have only one choice: either submit to this wage slavery or fight it! This exploitative and oppressive system, where profit is master, has choked our entire society with economic crises, political reaction and social decay. The drive for profits holds people hostage to hunger and want; it has poisoned the very air that we breath and water that we drink; it spawns cynicism and violence. Working people make up the overwhelming majority of the world's population. But in every country they are the oppressed majority, labouring to support the luxury of a handful of exploiters. Millions of people are on the verge of starvation, and the gap between rich and poor is widening.

Capitalism has created the economic conditions for socialism. Today the whole system of production is socially interdependent, but it is controlled by private hands. In place of private control of social production there must be social ownership if society's problems are to be addressed. The problems of capitalism - exploitation, anarchy of production, speculation and crisis, oppression of nationalities and women, and the whole system of injustice - arise from the self interest of the tiny group of capitalists. Socialism will be won through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism - the seizure of political power by the working class. Having overthrown the capitalist class, the working people will take over the economic forces developed by capitalism and operate them in the interests in society.

Socialism will be a better society, one which will present unprecedented possibilities for the improvement of common peoples' lives. Because working people will control the great wealth they produce, they will be fundamentally able to determine their own futures. The end of exploitation of one person by another will be a resounding liberating and transforming force. The means of production - the large factories, mines, forests, big farms, offices, transport systems, media, communications, big retail chains will be taken into common ownership. The economy will be planned to serve human needs rather than simply profit and luxury consumption by the rich. This will release the productive capacity of the economy from the limitations of profit maximisation. A great expansion in useful production and the wealth of society will become useful. Rational planning will replace anarchy. Coordination and planning of the broad outlines of production by public agencies will aim at building an economy that will be stable, benefit the people and steadily advance. Redirecting the productive capacity to human needs will require a variety of economic methods and experiments. There could be a combination of central planning, local coordination, strict price control or use of the market mechanism to set prices. Various policies might be used with changing conditions. But no matter what means are chosen, a socialist economy must uphold the basic principles of social ownership, production for the people's needs, and the elimination of exploitation. Factories and other productive facilities will be modernised to eliminate backbreaking labour and ecological damage. Regional disparities will be addressed. Productivity gains will be used to shorten the working day and improve living standards, rather than create unemployment.

Construction of housing, schools, medical, cultural and sporting facilities for
working people will be a priority. With socialism, goods and services will be distributed on the basis of from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs. No longer will industrialists, landlords and financiers live off the labour of others. Every person will get the opportunity to contribute to society as much as they are able. Transforming the main productive enterprises from private to social ownership will allow workers to manage democratically their own work places through workers' councils and elected administrators, in place of the myriad of supervisors and consultants today. In this way workers will be able to make their work places safe and efficient places that can serve their own interests as well as society's. To protect and govern socialism, the people will establish a socialist people's democracy, a genuine democracy for the masses of people. The people will elect officials and representatives at all levels. There will be the right of recall and referendum. Socialist democracy would be far broader than what is possible today because the voices of the people would be heard, not simply those of the rich.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Speed the Social Revolution!

The Socialist Party of Great Britain was founded in 1904 to organise and to prepare the conditions for the overthrow of the capitalist system in order to establish the socialist system, a system which guarantees the genuine emancipation of the working class. Thus the Socialist Party fights against the rich and against those who are their servants and to build socialism, ending the exploitation of man by man with the creation of a class-free society as the next stage in human social development. We have always considered our enemies our best teachers. The Socialist Party declares that its final purpose is a social revolution. A social revolution means nothing more or less than adoption of a system of production, distribution, and consumption which is based on common ownership in place of the present inconsistent and anarchistic system of private ownership based on the brutal power of capital. Democracy, i.e., the equality of rights can be fully realised only when a social revolution has abolished the privileges of private property and the wage-slavery of the working class. The Socialist Party does not confuse revolution and violence with one another. Violence and bloodshed do not make any movement revolutionary, and essentially they have nothing in common. Being a party which stands for the brotherhood of humanity, and directing its activities toward the attainment of general happiness and well being, the Socialist Party hopes that its victory will be accomplished by systematic and peaceful organisation. But in its attempt to capture political power the working class cannot reject any weapon and the form of its revolution will finally depend upon prevailing conditions, and especially upon the opposition directed against it.

Our party, the Socialist Party, is also aware of the fact that the success of the social revolution is guaranteed only when it occurs at the moment when the minds of the people and the events have matured for it. Therefore, our greatest duty is to educate and organise the working class so that it will become capable of carrying out this historic duty. But just as we cannot define the form of the revolution, neither can we determine the moment. The social revolution is the hope of the oppressed people. Those upon whom the working class has set its faith must not betray this hope. We welcome with pleasure every sign of revolt which represents an independent class-conscious attempt at class liberation.

Recent events around the world have proved once and for all that reforms under the capitalist system will be rolled back by the capitalist class at the earliest opportunity. The hard fought for working conditions of prior generations have been whittled away to such an extent that many workers no longer have sick pay, holiday pay, proper lunch breaks, eight hour working days or even secure employment. Austerity measures have been put into place for the majority whilst capitalists continue to make extravagant amounts of profit. The cuts do not occur randomly because of the narcissistic nature of individual capitalists or because of particular world economic crises, although they do contribute. This phenomenon largely occurs due to the nature of the capitalist system itself. In their drive to continually increase profits the owning class attempt to find new markets and continually strive to find new ways to increase profits, by increasing production, whilst at the same time paying less in on-going costs. To illustrate this point one only needs to look at the enormous profits that multinational companies have made by moving their businesses to poorer communities like Bangladesh. Whilst the cost of materials may be lower in these countries, companies move to the third world because the one production cost they can dramatically alter is an employees’ wage. Capitalists make their enormous profits by paying workers very little and in the third world this wage decreases dramatically with wages being closer to the subsistence level. It is because the Capitalist class continually strive to make a profit, and to increase their profits, that workers find themselves in constant struggles with their employers for better wages and conditions.

It is clear that the only way to stop this continual battle for a meagre existence for basic working and living conditions is to change the system. We need to change the system yet many people still continue to attempt to work within the capitalist system. These people try to change the system from within rather than focus their efforts on changing capitalism towards a new socialist system. If we focus on reforms we condemn the working class to continual struggles for their basic working conditions. In attempts to achieve palliatives workers sometimes unite in ‘left coalitions’ made up of differing groups with different political objectives, into one whole movement. These reform campaigns often mean in reality coalitions with the sections of the capitalist class who have no inclination towards changing the system. The left reformists attempt to replace capitalism with socialism by stealth, from within the capitalist system and by using the capitalist apparatus to do so. This theory suggests that all we need to do to destroy the capitalism is in small steps or stages thereby putting off the need to attempt to replace capitalism with socialism which is seen to occur only in the dim dark far away future. It is not possible to unite these differing groups with differing ultimate aims, differing ideologies and objectives into a united front. In attempting to unite these differing groups ultimately we are forgetting the class we most of all need to attract, the working class. Reformists tail along behind whatever political discussion is trendy at any given time, particularly issues popular in the media, instead of campaigning on the one issue of real significance and importance to the working class – the establishment of socialism. The Labour Party support reforms as palliatives. Reforms are only made by the Labour Party to the extent that they can placate workers by offering them small concessions whilst at the same time retaining capitalism. It is important to understand that the Labour Party have strong connections to Big Business who add to their funding and therefore influence their policies Do the more radical Greens, for example, want to overthrow the capitalist system? The answer is no, many Greens are conservative with a small c and seek to keep the economic system intact. As Marx said it is the workers who are the ‘gravediggers’ of the capitalist system not some group of leftists.  

Lothian Socialist Discussion (27/6)

Wednesday, 27 June
  7:30pm - 9:00pm
The Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh,
17 West Montgomery Place, 
Edinburgh EH7 5HA

Class-consciousness is never more needed than now.  Today mankind is under a shadow without precedent. 

The working people of the world have it in their hands to end poverty, fear, hatred, and war. To those in the Socialist Party, class-consciousness is the breaking down of all barriers to understanding. Without it, militancy means nothing. The conflict between the classes is more than a struggle for each to gain from the other: it is the division which reaches across all others. The class-conscious worker knows where he or she stands in society, opposed at every point to those of the capitalist class. Our cause can only be the cause of revolution for the abolishing of classes. 

Class-conscious people need no leaders. The single, simple fact which all working people have to learn is that capitalism causes capitalism's problems so that the remedy – the only remedy – is to abolish capitalism. In that knowledge, they must take hold of the powers of government – for one purpose only: that the rule of class by class shall end. Socialism is not a benevolently-administered capitalism: it is a different social system.

Reform is no answer, even though at times – rare times – it benefits working people. The reformer has not even set out to change the world but has agreed that capitalism shall continue, and is merely trying to alleviate its worst effects. Has poverty been abolished by the reformers? Ask the people on benefits or the slum-dwellers or the sick. 

The Socialist Party has been intractable in its opposition to reformists. Political action must be revolutionary. That is the real message. The workers in Scotland have common cause with the workers of every other country. They are members of a world-wide class, faced with the same problems, holding the same interests once they are conscious of them. There is only one way of realising those interests: the immense productive powers of the world must become the common property of every man, woman, and child.

The need for socialism grows more urgent with each new day. It only awaits the conscious will of the workers of the world, and nothing more; when they desire it, it can be. The voice of the Socialist Party is a small one, but our members will strive for it to be heard. There are many who are with us but not of us. The struggle for socialism requires the help of every class-conscious man and woman. The spread socialist understanding is the great task of our time and every fresh adherent to the Socialist Party Principles is another step towards the liberation of humanity.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Hasten The Day

At the time of writing, May 18, there are further delays on any NAFTA agreement. 
Justin Trudeau said, ''A deal is very close''. 
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, disagreed, ''...there are gaping differences on intellectual property, agricultural market access, energy, labour, rules of origin, geographical indications and much more'', but he promised to continue negotiating. 

At this time there seems no end in sight -- other than the main bozo in American power with his tariffs fettering the 'deal,' and things likely going from bad to worse for many Canadian workers. 

Though for Socialists this is not the point. There are two delays we are concerned about: The more important of the two is the delay in establishing Socialism, which would mean the previous delay, the horror(s) of suffering under capitalism, is moot. 

Hasten the Day!
For socialism, 
Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC.

One for all, All for one

The ruling class claim for themselves the mantle of progress, logic, truth, beauty, and knowledge. They represent socialists as deluded, irrational, psychotic, violent and hateful. But just look at these critics of socialism; the militarist and perverted capitalists who would see a world plunged into barbarism before they relinquish a penny of their fabulous profits and the power-mad industrialists who calmly grind the working class to dust beneath the wheels of automation. Socialists are infinitely more rational than our class enemies. The socialist future is clearly within our grasp. And what better life can a person carve out than participation in the emancipation of humanity? What better use to make of one's life than in working towards a new civilisation? We look toward a time when we shall have ceased to mourn martyrs. A time when we are no longer occupied with accepting defeats and explaining betrayals. Not because we will have forgotten the past, but simply because we will be too busy creating a new world rich with freedom, plenty, humane relations between people, and the joy of living. For sure, we are still few and isolated, and the road ahead is uncertain and complex, nevertheless, we are dedicated to achieving human freedom because without it we know there is no freedom for us. People forced to fight on many fronts will begin to wonder about the reasons for having to struggle so often, so hard, and against so many enemies. It will dawn that something obviously must be wrong with the entire system; that our separate struggles have a common enemy, and we must find common cause and mutual solidarity if any of us is to survive. So we arrive at the answers: The problem is capitalism. The solution is socialism. Our task in the Socialist Party is to tell the truth to a disbelieving world. The world is in crisis. Capitalism, the prevailing system of society, is in process of destroying our planet. To the ripening condition for socialism must be added the maturity of the working class. Whenever the working class desires socialism, we will have socialism. It is impossible to have socialism in a country where small production is general as in the case of Russia. A weak ruling class, lacking the means of repression found in highly organized capitalist centres; a peasantry uneducated and consequently devoid of that respect for master class teaching inseparable from well developed industrial communities; a state of war in existence, which spelled starvation, bloodshed, and discontent for the masses; all these circumstances made possible the successful attempt of the Bolsheviks to capture political power. This they did. It is also impossible to have socialism where the vast majority of people do not desire it. In other words, socialism without democracy is unthinkable. The building of socialism requires widespread understanding and participation, and will not be achieved by an elite working “on behalf of” the people. Socialism and democracy are one and indivisible. Democracy in daily life is the core of our socialism.

THE SOCIALIST PARTY strives to establish a democracy that places people’s lives under their own control — a class-free society in which people cooperate at work and in the community. Socialism is not government ownership, a welfare state, or a repressive bureaucracy. Socialism is a new social and economic system. The production of society is used for the benefit of all humanity, not for the private profit of a few. Socialism produces a constantly renewable future by not plundering the resources of the earth. In a socialist system, the people own and control the means of production and distribution through democratically-controlled agencies. The goal of economic activity is to provide the necessities of life, including food, shelter, health-care, child-care, and cultural opportunities. Planning takes place at the community, regional, and global levels, and is determined democratically. Worker and community control make it possible to combine life at work, home and in the community into a meaningful whole.

People live in a society racked with crises. This society can neither guarantee them a secure future nor even promise there will be a future. The threat of nuclear war casts a shadow over the lives of all of us and an environmental apocalypse looms before us. This society places a premium on wealth. The vast majority of our people work out their lives for the enrichment of the small minority of profiteers who through their wealth control the entire society. The system is capitalism. Under it a small minority rule in fact if not in name, and profit is the be-all and end-all of economic life; human needs comes a distant second—if at all. People across the world need to cast off the systems which oppress them and build a new world fit for all humanity. The profit system cannot make use of automation for the benefit of society; socialism will. The future society that will be constructed under socialism will reduce work to an insignificant part of daily life and offer the individual the fullest possibilities to pursue his own abilities and interests. In politics, we don’t believe in choosing the “lesser evil” over a greater evil. We choose instead something good for working men and women: THE SOCIALIST PARTY!