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Showing posts from August, 2018

Humanity stands at a precipice

The Socialist Party makes no apology for our preoccupation with Capitalism being alone responsible for the problems now confronting the working-class. It is clear that we must of necessity make frequent, and repeated references to that system and the effects to which it gives rise.  The capitalist system is a fact. It is not the creation of an abnormal socialist imagination, devoid of all basis in reality. It is not a bogey, raised by us to frighten normally contented workers into supporting us.

 Although we are the only party that, stands for the total abolition of Capitalism, we are not the only organisation that makes attacks upon it. All kinds of organisations and individuals are continually making efforts to reform and improve it. Even the capitalist class itself, through its apologists and its stooges takes great pains to convince the workers of its merits and the manifold benefits it confers upon them. True they refer more to “private or free enterprise system” …

There is no fair wage

We have to make sure labor is valued.” We hear statements like this from the leaders of the business unions all the time. For instance, “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work” has now been the motto of the mainstream labor movement since at least the beginning of the 20th century. On the face of it, this general demand for workers sounds like a good thing. We have to work for a living, and so long as that’s the case, we should be paid a fair wage for our efforts. We don’t want to be exploited. We want our fair share of the pie. However, what is a fair day’s wages, and what is a fair day’s work? To answer this we have to think about the specifics of how our economy—a capitalist economy— operates. We can’t simply ask what feels morally fair or what the law says is fair, whether that be the federal minimum wage or the often discussed and calculated “living wage.” What is morally fair, and what is even fair by law, may be far from being socially fair. Social fairness or unfairness is det…

We have a world to win.

Indeed the contradictions of capitalism are many. The contradiction of a system of society whose fundamental contradiction is the ownership, by a small section of the community, of the wealth produced by the co-operative and associated effort of the overwhelming majority in that community. This fundamental contradiction, source of many secondary ones, will be solved by socialism, which removes the fundamental contradiction by the revolutionary replacement of the present system of society by a new social order, wherein the wealth produced by the freely associated efforts of the whole community is owned by the producers and distributed according to needs of the individual members of the community. In short— Socialism. The popular belief in the necessity of a monetary system to secure distribution is unfounded.  We do claim that convinced socialists when socialism has been achieved will behave like responsible members of society. 
The world is full of manifestoes proposing to bring prospe…

All for All

Research from children's charity Plan International shows that 45 percent of girls in Scotland have had to use alternatives such as toilet paper, socks and newspaper during their periods because they could not afford to buy sanitary products. One survey from grassroots group Women for Independence found that one in five women in Scotland have experienced "period poverty" — a phenomenon in which people struggle to pay for basic sanitary products on a monthly basis, resulting in a negative impact on their hygiene, health, and well-being. In order to address these issues and "banish the scourge of period poverty," the Scottish government approved a £5.2 million initiative that will make sanitary products free at all schools, colleges and universities — making Scotland the first country in the world to do so. "In a country as rich as Scotland, it's unacceptable that anyone should struggle to buy basic sanitary products. I am proud that Scotland is taking thi…

The Socialist Party Pledge

Most people have a feeling that the system isn’t working for them and a big part of that is at work because of the way that your employer is so incredibly advantaged over you. Workers arrive at their jobs with no power. The  Socialist Party insists that there is an alternative to capitalism and devotes its energy and efforts to building up an international socialist working class with the consciously-held aim of putting socialism in the place of capitalist wage-slavery.
The Socialist Party does not anticipate an overnight revolution because socialist consciousness, unlike reformist moralising, is not best developed in the dark. Socialism will be the result of social forces within capitalism driving workers to the conclusion that the present system does not operate in their interests and that only a society of common ownership of the means of production. democratically organised by themselves, can. 
The Socialist Party is one among many of these forces. We do not think that our efforts …

The English Migrants

In April it was revealed Scotland’s population was now at a record high of 5.4 million – the eighth year in a row it had risen, with migration cited as driving the increase. Historian Tom Devine has hailed the “silent revolution” of English migrants who have sent Scotland’s population soaring to a record high. The academic’s latest project shows how the number of first-generation English people living in Scotland has more than doubled in 60 years. English-born “new Scots” now account for nearly 500,000 of all migrants – outnumbering all other first-generation migrants to Scotland put together. Devine said the influx of English people has reversed a centuries-old tide of net-emigration from Scotland and transformed the economy, with nearly 90% of English people in work. The historian said any perception that English people have had a hard time living in Scotland has been largely at odds with the fact that increasing numbers want to settle here. Most English people didn’t see themselves …

Answering Some Questions

Letters to the Editors from the February 1982 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Editors,

I subscribe monthly to your Socialist Standard. Frankly, I am very impressed by the honest “grass-roots” approach which you take towards such subjects as world nuclear disarmament, for example. However, there are a few passing points which I would like to be answered:

(a) In the light of your stance on War in general (Socialist Standard, February 1981 — "Refuse to be Sitting Targets”), how are pacifists wishing the foundation of a true socialist society going to overthrow hundreds of powerful capitalists in the world (who will definitely use the force of arms to protect their privileges) without the use of weaponry?

(b)How will unarmed socialists persuade “militia workers” — soldiers world-wide, and a potent force in themselves — to disarm and thus surrender their “livelihood”?

(c)Could you please in your reply put forward the SPGB’s argument against administration: i.e, without a representativ…

Addicted Scotland

Scotland has the highest death rate from drugs in Europe, with 934 fatalities recorded in 2017  which is set to top 1000 this year. That’s more than double 2007’s figure of 455. David Liddell, director of the Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF), said: “We are in absolute crisis in terms of the number of people dying. It’s sadly taken this level of deaths for people to really start taking notice of the issue...We shouldn’t be writing people off. The new strategy must send that message, particularly in the case of overdose deaths, that they are all essentially preventable.” Liddell continued, “As a society, we should have much more compassion for our most vulnerable, who are victims of society themselves. What we want is to keep people alive so they can recover.” Kirsten Horsburgh, SDF strategy coordinator for drug death prevention, said: “We need to see the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland as a public health emergency. If we were talking about almost 1000 people dying of other prevent…

We need socialism

Changes in society's social organisation involve changes in human behaviour, and they in turn, depend on the fact that human behaviour is elastic and not genetically fixed. We see once again the absurdity of the notion that human nature cannot change. This commonly made assertion implies that human behaviour is essentially fixed; it is, therefore, the exact opposite of the truth.

In capitalism, it is money that determines whether or not people's needs are met. This principle applies to the "welfare state" as much as it does to the market for goods. But in the case of the welfare state it is the government which has the power to decide whose needs are to be met (through the allocation of resources) and at what level.
Just as capitalism is a world system of society, so too must socialism be. There never has been, and never can be, socialism in just one country because its material basis is the world-wide and interdependent means of production that capitalism has built …

Mammon reigns

Confusion is probably the strongest weapon in the capitalist armoury and a smokescreen of gibberish obscures the class nature of society.
The interest of the working class lies in the immediate establishment of socialism, and this is the one and only object of the Socialist Party We are not to be fobbed off by the “Immediate Demands” or “Something Now' reformists. It is the Socialist Party view that the social problems that affect wage-earners in a particular country cannot be solved within that countries borders. Capitalism is the cause of these problems and capitalism is world-wide.  Because capitalism is world-wide so too must be socialism, the system which will replace it and whose common ownership, democratic control and production solely for use will provide the framework within which today’s social problems can finally be solved. This is why we sometimes refer to our object as “world socialism”, making it absolutely clear that we reject all nationalism and all national appro…

Advocating Socialism

Socialism is no mere Utopian dream, but is the direct and inevitable outcome of the present conditions of life and labour, as, indeed, every social system is the outcome of the one that proceeded it. In the middle ages the handicraft worker and the small peasant proprietor, with the simple, individual tools and implements of production, used to produce wealth and individually own and enjoy what their energy had called into being. In such circumstances, the socialist conception of society could not arise. But with the development of industry and the introduction of machinery, an industrial revolution took place, with the result that production to-day is no longer individual, but is collective or social. In deciding whether capitalism, like feudalism, should be consigned to history we should apply one simple test. Is the capitalist system organised directly for the needs of all people? If it is not, that would be the best reason for getting rid of it, and replacing it with one that woul…

Poor Unhealthy

People living in Scotland’s poorest areas have double the rate of illness or early death than those in the wealthiest parts, an NHS study has found. Almost a third (32.9%) of early deaths and ill health in Scotland could be avoided if the whole population had the same life circumstances as the people who live in the wealthiest areas, NHS Health Scotland said.
In the poorest areas those aged 15-44 are more likely to die or suffer ill health from drug use disorders and depression. The rate of dying early from or living with ill health caused by drug use was found to be 17 times higher in the poorest areas, while the figure for alcohol dependence was 8.4 times higher. Men in the poorest areas are more likely to die early from ill health than women.  In the wealthiest areas, migraine and neck and lower back pain are more common contributors. Dr. Diane Stockton, who led the study, said: “The stark inequalities highlighted in our report represent thousands of deaths that didn’t need to happen.…

Socialism - the best of all possible worlds

We have said many times that studying the past is only meaningful if it enables a better understanding of the future. More precisely, a knowledge of the laws that have governed the evolution of societies in the past should enable us to have a clearer and more certain understanding of how society is likely to evolve in the future, and therefore how we can act to make these laws work towards progress, in the interest of the workers, who are the vast majority of the world’s population. Socialists did not invent people's aspirations for a just, egalitarian and free society; mankind has cherished this dream for a very long time. What Marx and Engels did was to take these aspirations and shape them into a revolutionary project. They undertook to discover the laws governing the evolution of class society so as to use this understanding to achieve the better society to which mankind aspires. After decades of socialism being not being present in political debates, most people simply are not…

The State and Capitalism

The foundation of capitalist society and civilisation is—as its name indicates—the private ownership of property. The state or the organisation of government in Capitalist society exists nominally to preserve the equilibrium—the balance of antagonistic forces within society—and it does this by maintaining with all the power at its command this private property basis.
In the fulfilling of this, its primary purpose, the State acts in the main according to certain rules—rules of its own making— which collectively are known as “the Law.”
The protection of property and the preservation and enforcement of the social forms and observances dependent upon property is thus the essential function of the Law.These elementary facts are, unfortunately, still unrecognised by the majority of our fellow workers. Their minds are so warped by the media and other agencies of mis-education controlled by the property-owning class that for them, as for the parasites who live and flourish on them, the Law is t…