Friday, January 31, 2020

Industrial Democracy or Industrial Slavery

Society has been divided into two hostile economic classes and that they are at war with each other is inherent in the capitalist system itself, and not due to any malicious agitation of demagogues, as the capitalist media would have deluded wage-workers think. There can be no compromise that is more than temporary and no peace for the working class except at the price of slavery. The issue is socialism versus capitalism. We are only too aware that socialism is little understood and that it is everywhere a target for denunciation by the media. When analysed it means a more equitable distributions of the products of labour; cooperation instead of competition; common ownership of land and all the means of production and distribution. It proclaims the coming of the cooperative commonwealth to take the place of wage slavery. The present capitalist system is not only a failure, but a colossal aggregation of crime. It robs, it degrades, it starves; it is a foul blot upon the face of our civilisation. it promises only an increase of its horrors. There is no hope other than by the pathway mapped out by the Socialist Party, the advocates of the cooperative commonwealth.

The Socialist Party is a “reform” party. It has a most radical reform program. It aims to do away with the present economic system and substitute common ownership and cooperative control of all means of production and distribution. The Socialist Party’s “reform” is to do away with industrial servitude and wage slavery, to abolish the capitalist system.

The Socialist Party starts out upon bedrock facts and builds upon them. It deals with actual conditions and applies rational remedies to the social ills diseases which afflict society. The Socialist Party engages in a century-old struggle against all the pretenders who  under a socialist label advocate policies and theories that have nothing in common with socialism. One reason capitalism has survived beyond its time, and inflicted untold miseries upon the world can be laid t the feet of those who falsely speak in its name. We of the Socialist Party have nothing to do with these various brands of so-called “socialism” or “communism.” We are Marxists, because we know that Marxism is the only revolutionary socialism of the working class, and that is the only genuine socialism. History has demonstrated the spuriousness of every other brand. Marxism is a theory of social evolution which affirms that capitalism is obsolete and that it must be, and inevitably will be, replaced by a higher form of social organisation which Marx and Engels called socialism, or communism. Socialism will not fall from the skies. Neither will it be gained by any appeals to the good will and compassion of the capitalist exploiters, as the Utopians, who preceded Marx, used to think, and as some people still seem to think. Socialism can be realised only as the outcome of the class struggle of the workers.there is an irreconcilable conflict of class interests between the workers and their capitalist exploiters. All the political actions and judgements of the Socialist Party must always be directed against the capitalist class, and never be taken in collaboration with them. The class war is the central and governing principle of socialist politics. It is by carrying the class struggle to its logical conclusion — the abolition of capitalism — that the socialist society will be achieved. This is the teaching of Marxism. There is no other way. Every attempt to find another way, by supporting the capitalists, by conciliating them, by collaborating with them has led not toward the socialist goal but to defeat and disaster for the workers. 

The Socialist Party is an irreconcilable opponent of the capitalist class and of so-called “socialists.” The Socialist Party pursues an independent policy designed to serve the interests of the working people and not of their masters.

To have true power, the workers’ movement must be class conscious. Until it is so, it will be among the bulwarks of capitalism and wage-slavery. While the members strike against the consequences of the system, they steadily vote to perpetuate the system, and their leaders encourage them to adhere to, and not depart from the status quo the present conditions, are marked with increasing impotency and are necessarily resulting in disappointment and failure. workers at all opportunity— economically, politically, and otherwise — must use their entire organised class-power in resisting the capitalist system, and in charging it at every point until finally it is overthrown and the world’s workers stand forth free men and women. Our ideal is a humanity secure and happy.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Young footballers - exploited as a commodity

Efforts to prevent child abuse in Scottish football are at risk of being undermined by an "imbalance" in the youth football contract system, it has been claimed. Ex-children's commissioner Tam Baillie said professional clubs hold too much power over the future of players. 
Tam Baillie, who was Scotland's children's commissioner between 2009 and 2017, praised the SFA's inquiry into historic sexual abuse but warned the issue will not be properly tackled unless the "commercial exploitation of children" is ended.
He said: "If you think about it these clubs have the dreams of these young players in the palm of their hand. There is a power imbalance between the clubs and the young players.
"Some of the control that the clubs want to exert over the children actually exacerbates that power imbalance and we know from painful tragic experience that people who seek to harm children it is that power imbalance which is one of the things that silences children. As long as you have the registrations and contracts in the way that they're set up just now you will have that power imbalance, and as long as you have the power imbalance then there's the potential for undermining whatever good efforts or changes are made through that narrow prism of child protection."
Jim Sinclair, former director of youth development at Rangers, that the compensation scheme for young players "can turn into a transfer market or end up in a bartering situation", adding that some parents "do not have full knowledge of the ramifications" of their children signing deals with clubs.
Scott Robertson, a youth coach with more than 30 years' experience,  said "Why have we created a system where we have to transfer money for 13 or 14-year-old children and if the money's not paid they're stuck with the club whether they like it or not." Robertson said it was often difficult for players or parents to talk about the situation for fear of being "blacklisted" and effectively putting an end to their career.

Ross McArthur, chairman of Dunfermline Athletic, explained, "I think sometimes in football that people are treated as though they are a commodity but they're not, they're a person and that's the culture that we try and push down all the age groups and look after people."

Manifesto of the Socialist Movement

Capitalism is an economic system based on three things: wage labour (working for a wage), private ownership or control of the means of production (things like factories, mines, farms, and offices), and production for exchange and profit.
While some people own means of production, or capital, most of us don't and so to survive we need to sell our ability to work in return for a wage, or else scrape by on welfare benefits. This first group of people is the capitalist class or "bourgeoisie" in Marxist jargon, and the second group is the working class or "proletariat".
It is a basic simple process that has gone on for centuries. Money is invested to make more money. When money functions like this, it functions as capital. For instance, when a company uses its profits to hire more staff or open new premises, and so make more profit, the money here is functioning as capital. As capital increases (or the economy expands), this is called 'capital accumulation', and it's the driving force of the economy.
Those accumulating capital do so better when they can shift costs onto others. If companies can cut costs by not protecting the environment, or by paying sweat-shop wages, they will. So catastrophic climate change and widespread poverty are signs of the normal functioning of the system.
Furthermore, for money to make more money, more and more things have to be exchanged for money. Thus the tendency is for everything from everyday product to carbon dioxide emissions – and, crucially, our ability to work - to become commodified, something to be sold on the market. In a world where everything is for sale, we all need something to sell in order to buy the things we need. Those of us with nothing to sell except our ability to work have to sell this ability to those who own the factories, offices, etc. And of course, the things we produce at work aren't ours they belong to our bosses. That is crucial - money does not turn into more money by magic, but by the work we do every day. The wages we get roughly equals the cost of the things necessary to keep us alive and able to work each day. The difference between the wages we are paid and the value we create is how capital is accumulated, or profit is made. This difference between the wages we are paid and the value we create is called "surplus value". The extraction of surplus value by employers is the reason we view capitalism as a system based on exploitation - the exploitation of the working class. It’s essentially the same for all work, not just that in private companies but government employees also face constant attacks on their wages and conditions in order to reduce costs and maximise profits across the economy as a whole.
In order to accumulate capital, businesses must compete in the market with other companies. They cannot afford to ignore market forces, or they will lose market share to their competitors, go bankrupt or get taken over in a merger
Therefore even the CEOs aren't really in control of capitalism, capital itself is. It's because of this that we can talk about capital as if it has agency or interests of its own, and so often talking about 'capital' is more precise than talking about bosses, who are the functionaries of capital.
Both capitalists and workers, therefore, are alienated by this process, but in different ways. While from the workers' perspective, our alienation is experienced through being controlled by our boss, the business owners experiences it through impersonal market forces and competition with other companies.
Because of this, both management and politicians are powerless in the face of ‘market forces,’ each needing to act in a way that facilitates the continued accumulation of capital (it is incidental that they do quite well out of it). They cannot act in our interests, since any concessions they grant us will help their competitors on a national or international level.
So, for example, if a manufacturer develops new technology for making cars which doubles productivity it can lay off half its workers, increase its profits and reduce the price of its cars in order to undercut its competition.
If another company wants to care for its workforce and not make people redundant, eventually it will be put out of business or taken over by a less compassionate  competitor - so it will also have to bring in the new technology and have a policy the lay-offs to stay competitive.
The primary role of governments in capitalist society is to maintain the capitalist system and assist in the accumulation of capital. As such, a government will pass laws against workers when we try to further our interests against capital. When the excesses and conflict between the employer and the employee threaten the general stability of society with disruption governments will endeavour to create a “balance of power” but one which always favour the capitalist class but with enough compromise and concessions to the workers to placate any determined dissent.
Abridged and slightly adapted from here

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Poverty Areas in Scotland

The 10 most-deprived areas in Scotland:

  • Greenock Town Centre and East Central, Inverclyde
  • Carntyne West and Haghill, Glasgow City
  • Paisley Ferguslie, Renfrewshire (datazone S01012068)
  • Alloa South and East, Clackmannanshire
  • Buckhaven, Denbeath and Muiredge, Fife
  • Cliftonville, North Lanarkshire
  • Paisley Ferguslie, Renfrewshire (datazone S01012067)
  • Inverness Merkinch, Highland
  • Linlathen and Midcraigie, Dundee City
  • North Barlanark and Easterhouse South, Glasgow City

The 10 least-deprived areas:

  • Stockbridge, City of Edinburgh
  • West End North, Aberdeen City
  • Midstocket, Aberdeen City (datazone S01006559)
  • Marchmont West, City of Edinburgh
  • Midstocket, Aberdeen City (datazone S01006561)
  • Blackhall, City of Edinburgh
  • South Castlehill and Thorn, East Dunbartonshire
  • Morningside, City of Edinburgh
  • West End South, Aberdeen City
  • Netherlee, East Renfrewshire
The most-deprived areas for each criteria:
  • Income - Falkirk town centre and Callendar Park
  • Employment - Glasgow's Shettleston north
  • Health - Glasgow's Possil Park
  • Education - Craigneuk, in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire
  • Access - Rannoch and Aberfeldy, in Perth and Kinross
  • Crime - South area of Glasgow city centre
  • Housing - Part of Strathbungo, on the south side of Glasgow
Those locations coloured dark red are in the most-deprived 10% in Scotland. Dark blue represents the least-deprived 10%. The maps below show the colour of each data zone graded from dark red through orange to yellow, light blue and dark blue. 

We are not reformers — we are revolutionaries

The Socialist Party wants to see one class-conscious trade union movement on the industrial field and one class-conscious political party on the political field, each the counterpart of the other, and both working together in harmonious co-operation to overthrow the capitalist system and emancipate the workers from wage slavery, neither pleading for favours from capitalism and granting none.

The Socialist Party stands squarely on the class struggle, defiantly challenging the capitalist class, relying only upon the awakening working class to rally to its standard and carry it to victory.

Socialists believe that the working class would lead in the transformation of society because it was at once the most dehumanised and alienated class, and potentially the most powerful, since the functioning of society depended upon it. 

The Socialist Party stresses the need for a change in the economic organisation and for transferring ownership and control of the means of production from private (or corporate) hands into the hands of organised producers.

Today, the questions of the quality of life and mankind's goal in living in harmony with its natural surroundings  have emerged again as questions of primary importance. Capitalism keeps humanity from realising its true potential. We are moving rapidly toward a fully automated world in which the ten or twenty hour work week can be standard, where the material needs of people can be satisfied.

The Socialist Party is the only party that is or can be truly representative of the interests of the working class, the only class essential to society and the class that is destined ultimately to succeed to political power, “not for the purpose of governing men,” in the words of Engels, but “to administer things.” The present form of government, is based solely upon private property in the means of production, is wholly coercive; in socialism it will be purely administrative. The only vital function of the present government is to keep the exploited class in subjection by their exploiters. Governments as a rule legislate wholly in the interest of the ruling capitalist class. Courts of justice decide cases of importance not upon their merit, but in the interest of the ruling class. The owning class is necessarily the ruling class. It dictates legislation and in case of doubt or controversy has it construed in its own interest.

 Marx was right in declaring the economic basis of society determines the character of all social institutions and in proportion only as this basis changes, the institutions are modified For instance, chattel slavery was legal and respectable as long as it was an economic necessity and no longer. When in the march of the industrial revolution, accelerated so swiftly by the development and application of modern machinery, slavery was overthrown, it became immoral, unjust, and disreputable. In other words it was moral as long as it paid; it became immoral only when it ceased, because of changed economic conditions, to be profitable to the capitalist class. This is applicable in every detail to the present wage system in which one man is the servant and slave and at the mercy of another and in which those having antagonistic economic interests are ceaselessly at war.

Poor people, black people, cheap labour, capitalism’s variable capitalis seen as expendable. But now the developed world’s trade, profit and security interests are directly affected, and capitalism belatedly responds. Its self interest is always short term and this greedy self interest now confronts us with a potential crisis of unimaginable proportions.
Africa is portrayed as a continent in perpetual crisis – those portraying it as such seldom own up to being the cause. As the state managers of capital prepare to pull up the drawbridge and impose their own forms of self interested quarantine, millions in Africa will be left to die.
Governments are already using this, as with the other monsters they have created (the war on terror, recession and debt) to cow and intimidate us into compliance and submission – if we let them!