Showing posts with label Labour Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Labour Party. Show all posts

Friday, August 14, 2015

SPGB Press Release on Jeremy Corbyn


Members of The Socialist Party of Great Britain have warned the public not to be taken in by claims that Labour Party leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn offers any alternative to austerity in Britain.

Campaigning in North London this week, Bill Martin, who stood for the Socialist Party against Corbyn in his Islington constituency earlier this year, said Corbyn was right to lay the blame for the slump on the economic system, but claimed he was “just a traditional Labour MP, who puts forward the case for state intervention in a capitalist economy: Harold Wilson 2.1.”

“The cause of austerity is not the Tory government, or the absence of a Labour one. It’s the profit system which causes boom and bust,” said Bill Martin. “Governments can only spend at the expense of profits.  Corbyn should know better.  It was his Labour Party in the 1970s that tried to spend it’s a way out of a slump and it didn’t work then.”

Joining him was Adam Buick, an editor of Socialist Standard magazine who commented: “There is a lesson in the failure of the left-wing Syriza government to end austerity in Greece.  While capitalism is in a slump it can’t be ended. It was an impossible demand.”

He said Corbyn and his supporters should “stop wasting time trying to reform the market system and instead join our campaign to replace the capitalist system of class ownership and production for profit by a socialist system of common ownership, democratic control and production directly to meet people’s needs. Only then will austerity be ended forever.”

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Murphy's Law

Blairite Jim Murphy, a former shadow defence minister, has been announced as the new leader of the Scottish Labour party. Since 2001 Mr Murphy has claimed over £1 million in expenses, voted to cap benefits in March 2014, failed to show up for the vote against the Bedroom Tax, voted for tuition fees despite being NUS president, went on 100 day tour of Scotland campaigning for a no vote, which meant leaving his Eastwood constituency without an MP for almost a third of a year. Yet claimed over £200,000 in Westminster expenses, is a major figure in Labour Friends of Israel, who refuses to recognise of the state of Palestine and strongly supported the illegal invasion of Iraq and unaligned himself with Ed Miliband when he apologised for said invasion. Murphy has never rebelled against the party line in Westminster. Murphy has been sharply critical of any left turn, saying that “galloping off leftward” would be a big mistake. “The SNP would love it if we did that.” [FT, 09/11/14]

All Socialist Courier can say is “Who cares?” According to the best political pundits in the business, the bookies, 90% of the money they had taken for the contest had been for Murphy. But what does it mean? Very little, the Socialist Courier blog says.

The SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN has consistently maintained that the 'left-wing', despite their claims to being socialist are, in reality, reformist rather than revolutionary organisations, with no more than a sentimental attachment to the working class. The rise of the Labour Party has caused inestimable damage to the revolutionary movement for Socialism. The SPGB argued from its formation in 1904 that only socialism can provide a solution to the problems of the working class. Genuine socialists have to be prepared to swim against the tide of popular sentiment, clearly have to combat all manifestations of chauvinism, both unionist or separatist.

The Labour Party in Scotland has consistently shown a readiness to reshape itself, discarding principles, to acquire votes yet even its opportunism has been unable to avoid the slide in support that has been going on for years. Although Scottish Labour has never won over 50% of the national vote, the party did hold the overwhelming majority of parliamentary seats and had control over local government for decades. This was not least because Labour was associated with mass council house building, the formation of the NHS, and other reforms following the second world war. Former Labour voters feel ignored and betrayed by the party. Infested with careerists, it has lost touch with the people it was supposed to represent. Labour has become increasingly viewed as simply another party of the Establishment, which, of course, it always was. At present many are disenchanted, disgusted or outright hostile to Labour, The party is largely empty of active workers.

 Capitalism can no longer afford reforms and as a result we have capitalist austerity and he probably realizes that any promises he makes will never be achieved. Capitalism has no reforms to give. We have seen bursts here and there which are expressions of the deep discontent, frustration and anger that exist in society. There is a deep appetite in society for a greater and more fundamental change. The ideas of reformism or nationalism, which attempt to patch up capitalism, offer nothing for working people. Elaine C. Smith argued that the reason for Scottish Labour’s  poor performance was a lack of socialist analysis and socialist solutions. “The root of the problem is class society; the root of the problem is inequality; the root of the problem is in-work poverty; the root of the problem is unemployment. The root of the problem is avaricious capitalism and our job and the job of the Labour Party, surely, is to root it out.” Yet all she offers is neo-Keynesian state investment that is utopian and undeliverable.

 Socialism, in its modern sense, was born in Scotland. Robert Owen at New Lanark is where it all began. It is the task of the Socialist Party to win those open to revolutionary ideas and offer a real alternative to capitalism and nationalism. What we need is a revolutionary socialist transformation of society! Let this be the message to those who believe in real socialism, we are the party for them, we are the rightful home for you. 

Friday, December 06, 2013

Reformers and betrayers

Capitalism has brought the technology and the organisation of production to a point where the potential to adequately feed, clothe and house the entire world population is reachable. But the creation of abundance would end exploitation and destroy profits, so the capitalists themselves stand as a barrier to a society fit for human beings. Socialist revolution is the only solution. The very elements of socialism, however, are being forgotten by many people in the workers movement to-day. At the moment the idea is being widely spread that by an improvement in the efficiency of capitalism the workers will be able to obtain a continuous improvement in their standard of life. The idea behind this is that the more capitalism produces wealth the better off everyone will become. This is not the case.

 At the present moment the difficulties of capitalism are increasing in every country. One of the sharpest divisions of opinion existing in the Labour movement to-day is that concerning the attitude which ought to be adopted towards this capitalist attack on the wages and conditions of the working class. The reformist leaders of the Labour Party hold that capitalism is not in a “normal” condition. If wage reductions will help in getting capitalism back to “normal,” then they hold that these wage reductions ought to be agreed to by the working class. We see that this policy of calling upon the workers to make sacrifices in order to help capitalism back to normal, runs through the whole policy of the Labour Party.

Socialists contend, on the other hand, that the recessions of the capitalist system is not due to some abnormal accident which has befallen capitalism. The Socialist Party call upon the workers to resist all attempts to lower their standard of life, to unite their forces industrially and to make their resistance as widespread and as united as possible, and to go forward from that to an attack on the capitalist system itself. The more the workers unite their forces and commence to struggle against the capitalist offensive, the more the struggle becomes a political struggle, not between the workers and any group of capitalists, but between the workers and the capitalist state representing the capitalist class as a whole. If the  working-class desire to beat off the capitalist attacks on their present standards and carry out a resolute struggle to achieve their emancipation through the overflow of capitalism, they must fight more and more against any reformist policy of co-operating with capitalism. All workers who are tired of the half-heartedness and compromise of the Left, their co-operation with the capitalist class, should join the Socialist Party and help forward the struggle for complete working class emancipation.

Too many times we have had men who serve the ruling class and who get a good living keeping the working class divided. They start out with good intentions often as not. They really want to do something to serve their fellows. They leave the factory-floor as a common worker, elected to be officers of a union and they change their clothes from overalls and dungarees to a tie, white shirt and suit. They change their habits and their methods. After they have been elevated to official position, as if by magic, they are recognised by those who previously scorned them and held them in contempt. They find that some of the doors that were previously barred against them now open, and they can actually get their feet under the desk of the company chairman.  Our common worker is now a union leader and the employer pats him on the back and tells him that he knew long ago that he was a coming man, that it was a fortunate thing for the workers of the world that he had been born, that in fact they had been long waiting for just such a wise and cautious general secretary. And this has a certain effect upon our new-made leader, and unconsciously, perhaps, he begins to change. Thus goes the transformation. All his dislikes disappear and all feeling of antagonism vanishes. He concludes that they are really most excellent people and, now that he has seen and knows them, he agrees with them that there is no necessary conflict between employer and employee. And he proceeds to betray the class that trusted him and lifted him as high above themselves. Newspapers write editorials about him and praise him as a wise leader; and the CBI and Chambers of Commerce emphasise  that if all union leaders were such as he there would be no objection to labour organising.  The trade unionist who is held in high favour by management is pronounced safe, reliable and honest, and the workers are appealed to to look to him for advice, for guidance and leadership. And the union leader feels himself flattered. And when he is charged with having deserted the class he was supposed to serve, he cries out that the indictment is brought to discredit him but it is those who brings the charge who are most likely to be defamed. By whom? By the capitalist class, of course; and its press and “public” opinion.

A trade union leader who is not attacked  by the capitalist class is not true to the working class. If he be loyal to the working class he will not be on friendly terms with the bosses. He cannot serve both. When he really serves one he serves that one against the other.

The only way in which Trade Union leaders can cooperate with the capitalists is restoring “prosperity” (i.e., increasing production) is to induce the workers to forgo their customs and restrictions, allow the capitalists a freer hand in utilising the labour-power which is available to them in order that an increased product may result. The Trade Union leaders will, of course, point out to the capitalists that this increased production requires to be marketed, and that the employers ought to ensure a stable home market by increasing the workers’ wages as fast, if not faster, than the increased production. They forget the employing class is anxious to introduce those new methods because of a desire for a greater profit, and is not concerned with ensuring a market for his goods through the increase of wages and the reduction of his own profits, and therefore he looks not to a home market made prosperous by the increase in workers’ wages, but to the foreign market where he can rely on a maximum possible profit. Union leaders will, of course, point out to the capitalists that this increased production requires to be marketed, and that the employers ought to ensure a stable home market by increasing the workers’ wages as fast, if not faster, than the increased production. They forget the employing class is anxious to introduce those new methods because of a desire for a greater profit, and is not concerned with ensuring a market for his goods through the increase of wages and the reduction of his own profits, and therefore he looks not to a home market made prosperous by the increase in workers’ wages, but to the foreign market where he can rely on a maximum possible profit.  Union leaders who are leading the workers to believe that a far-reaching improvement in the workers’ wages and conditions of life can be got not by overthrowing capitalism, but by co-operating with the capitalists to make their system more efficient, are simply surrendering to the capitalist class, misleading the workers, and creating conditions which will inevitably make the rich richer and the workers poorer.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Falkirk - Labour Party Attacking the Unions

After all the headlines about the Falkirk MP-selection rigging by the Unite union have  Radio Scotland described the row as “much ado about nothing”, reflecting the view of the police who said they would not investigate the allegations due to lack of evidence.

Investigative reporter Hannah Barnes said: “There was, as far as we can see, no major vote rigging scandal in Falkirk. And there will be no police prosecutions. The selection debacle there was much ado about nothing. But it was the catalyst – some might say excuse – for a historic shift in Labour’s financial relationship with the unions. The battle for Falkirk will soon be forgotten but the consequences for Labour will be felt for many years to come.”

Apart from Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman (and a handful of senior party staff), almost no-one involved in the key decisions about Falkirk, have been allowed to read the full report of the party’s secret investigation that was conducted by one member of the party compliance unit and one “young Labour activist based in Scotland.”

Some of those who it was claimed did not know they were members are quoted as having “said they had been asked whether they wanted to join and said they did.” They were in any case not members of Unite, and their membership fees were not paid by Unite.

 Ed Miliband and his advisers specifically led an attack on Unite and Len McCluskey himself telling him to face up to “malpractice” and insisting the union should not be defending “machine politics“.

 Socialist Courier can only say that sooner the unions and the working class ditch their misplaced and misguided allegiance to the Labour Party, the better for us all. The Labour Party (and their leaders) have shown their loyalty is to the ruling class over and over again throughout its miserable existence and it is now time for every trade unionist to cease their political levy and call upon their union to dis-affiliate from the Labour Party forthwith..

Monday, July 01, 2013

The Labour Party - The Soft Left

The Labour Party has failed, so let’s start a new one. That’s what some trade unionists and left-wingers are saying. But why? Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Surely one of the lessons of the 20th century has been that Labourism is a dead-end. It can’t succeed. Not because its leaders are insincere or incompetent or corrupt or not resolute enough (although many are one or more of those things). It fails because it sets itself the impossible mission of trying to gradually reform capitalism into socialism. This can’t be done, as experience, not just theoretical understanding, has confirmed. The last thing that is needed today is a non-socialist, trade-union based “Labour” party. We have seen the past and it doesn’t work.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Labour Cant

Labour Party members invariably assert (and it is a view endorsed by the left-wing) that if they were not in power the workers would be worse off. This theory of the “lesser of two evils” has always been the trump card in the hands of the Labour Party politician, but is it true that the British workers would have been worse off? The Labour Party makes out that it is saving the working class but what it actually attempts to do is to save capitalism. If any voter continues to hold a view that the Labour Party is a vehicle to achieve socialism then the ignorance being demonstrated is more than those who take a lesser-evils view, or those who take the view of a plague on all your houses. They have deceived themselves.

Millions will vote for the Labour Party, cynically encouraged by those on the Left. It is the nature of the faith, yet sadly the faith is not in the socialist intentions of the Labour Party. How many workers after these years of Labour’s “ socialism” have any idea of what real socialism is? But they choose the lesser of two evils, and sometimes the difference between the two evils is so small in their minds of the voters that they will choose because of the face or some irrelevant personal aspect of the party leader. It is this perception of politics being a choice between two evils, according to the rules of the game that we must constantly attack. The only way we can do this is by offering an alternative – so that they don’t need to play the game of voting for the lesser evil and don’t need to be forced into a false and hypocritical “choice”.

The working class needs only one party - a socialist party. The capitalists  require more than one party, because of their need to compete with each other. Different sectors and factions of capitalism seek to advance their own interests by competing both through and within these parties. Each party tries to mislead and cover up their sectional and vested interests with talk about “representing the people.” Their task is to fool the people with their lies and sound-bites. Because no matter what they say, no matter what they promise, no matter what the election manifesto states, they will try to carry out the capitalists’ agenda. Capitalists rarely take public office themselves. Instead, they prefer to rule indirectly, through trusted representatives. One of the most important ways they get leverage over the politicians is through campaign financing and contributions. He who pays the piper calls the tune. However, it would be a mistake to say that the wealthy class control “everything.” They do not control every politician, but nor do they need to. The main part of government they need to control is the leadership where the real power lies and they then can use it to influence the rest of government.

Adopting lesser-of-two-evils tactics spells disaster. Lesser-of-two-evil tactics inevitably lead to getting swallowed up and not to any expanded opportunity to speak for ourselves in the electoral arena. The problem is, there is always going to be a lesser evil among the pro-capitalist parties.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hard labour, labouring in vain

The Labour Representation Committee was born in 1900. At its founding conference the leadership of the ILP had specifically opposed a motion from the SDF that the LRC be an organisation of “class war”. In 1905/6 the LRC was re-formed as the Labour Party. At party gatherings and conferences, the socialists as such played no part whatever; in the deliberations and councils of Labour their voices were scarcely heard. Labour Party conferences were little more than second supplementary trades union congresses. In 1918 it adopted a new constitution that included what was to become Clause 4, a commitment to nationalisation. The concept of “the nation” owning anything is meaningless, little more than a constitutional justification for control by a State bureaucracy.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Reforms and the Labour Party

Capitalism only continues to exist because people put up with it. Most people don’t see any alternative to working for wages, producing for profit and using money. They believe that it is capitalists, not workers by hand and by brain, who create wealth and that capitalists are doing us a favour by providing us with jobs. They believe that the world has always been divided into rich and poor, leaders and followers, rulers and ruled and that it always will be. These attitudes both reflect and sustain capitalism. And every time people get a chance to vote, most people support politicians who are committed to maintaining the capitalist system. So capitalism continues.
The ruling class are not a monolithic entity, all having exactly the same opinions. They do not all have the same ideas as to the best way of running the system from day to day, or year to year. All capitalists want to get the most out of their workers, obviously. But what is the best way of doing that? Some think they should rule largely by fear. Toe the line, accept long hours, low wages, and poor conditions, they say to their workers, or out you go. Alongside this “treat-’em-rough” school is the “pretend-to-be-nice” school who think that more humane methods are more profitable in the long run. Less primitive conditions in the workplace, a bit better treatment of families, somewhat less harsh handling of the unemployed, will all pay dividends, they think: be nice to your workers, and they will be nice to you.

Some reforms benefit workers. For instance, the 1948 NHS Act introduced free medical treatment. However, no reform is secure under capitalism. Since the end of the post-war boom, it has been downhill all the way. Successive governments, Labour as well as Tory, have cut back on their spending so as to leave more money for capitalist corporations to retain as profits. Things were by no means perfect pre-1970s but there were a lot more services provided, especially at local level, than there are today.

There was a time in the distant past when some in the Labour Party saw the introduction of free public services run by national or local government on a non-profit basis as stepping stones to socialism. Its 1945 manifesto declared that the Labour Party “is a Socialist Party, and proud of it. Its ultimate purpose at home is the establishment of the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain."  Hardly language which Labour’s leaders would use today. Though those Old Labourites were wrong in their belief that socialism can emerge gradually from a series of piecemeal reforms enacted under capitalism, they were right on one thing. In a socialist society education, housing, telecommunications, water, gas and electricity supply will be run as free public services on a non-profit basis, but as genuine services to people.

Now, the Labour Party has no vision beyond that of capitalism. Like every other Government it merely tries its hand at running capitalism. Their record of supporting wars, freezing wages, breaking strikes, and forming coalitions, with Tories and Liberals, should have been enough to finish them with the working class for keeps but the tragedy is that it didn’t and won’t.

Although from time to time a few members in the Labour “left-wing" still pay lip-service to an alternative society nothing they have ever said or done has advanced the workers cause one inch. While certain of their reforms might have helped the workers condition, in staving off unrest and discontent, they have also had the desired effect of giving the boss class a new lease of life. Socialists have no feeling whatever of gratitude toward the exploiters when they concede this or that reform. They usually take away with the left hand what they offer with the right that neutralises whatever good there may have been. Individual reforms may be to the advantage or disadvantage of the working class but capitalism reformed is still capitalism. No matter how beneficial or otherwise as is now usually the case individual reforms might be, the interest of the working class lies in overthrowing capitalism, not altering its workings. The fact is that, while workers can obtain some improvements, capitalism itself cannot be permanently reformed.
The working class’s support is needed for the ongoing existence of capitalism. Once we understand our real interest and begin to consciously organise to get it, no leader or deceiver in the Labour party is going to be able to deflect us from our course. Workers must first learn to distinguish between words and action. Until then the workers get the leaders and representatives they deserve and the system they choose.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

No Forgiveness for Blair’s Useful Idiots

Making up a reason to invade a country was the easy part for Tony Blair. Sticking to a pretend story for ten years — that is truly the sign of a sociopathic statesman.

Ten years ago, between January and April 2003, it is estimated that an unprecedented 36 million people around the world took to the streets in protest against the Iraq War. 50, 000 of them marched in Glasgow. Scottish Labour Party leader Johann Lamont was not one of them. Instead she was part of those political cheer-leaders who supported Tony Blair and voted for the invasion of Iraq. In her own words she “voted on the grounds of listening to the evidence in front of me and on my conscience.”

She was one of many “useful idiots,” who willfully played along with preposterous WMD claims and allowed themselves to get carried away with the imperialistic fervor surrounding a new call to war, abdicating their responsibilities to humanity. How can we believe her pleas of ignorance when millions of us screamed the facts until our voices were hoarse? Why should we place our trust in someone who failed to accurately analyse “the evidence” placed before her? She abdicated her responsibility to ask basic questions to verify the truth of WMD claims. Those politicians who voted for the Iraq War should be held accountable for their decision. In our own day-to-day lives, if we were a party to such horrifically wrong and deliberately destructive decisions, we would face punishing consequences, especially if we still tried to justify ourselves. We would face public scorn and humiliation. We would probably get demoted or fired. We might even face criminal prosecution. Why is the same standard not applied to Johann Lamont?

Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD), say there is 1.1 million other Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq today. UNHCR estimates show that the greatest number of IDP’s to be in the Baghdad governorate, and puts the number at 200,000 Iraqis.

Nevertheless some stil argue it was a price worth paying to remove a dictator.
An Amnesty International report refers to as "a grim cycle of human rights abuses" in Iraq today. The report exposes a long chronology of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees committed by Iraqi security forces, as well as by foreign troops, in the wake of the US-led 2003 invasion. "Death sentences and executions are being used on a horrendous scale," Amnesty International's Hadj Sahraoui said in the groups recent report. "It is particularly abhorrent that many prisoners have been sentenced to death after unfair trials and on the basis of confessions they say they were forced to make under torture."

“We have no future, and neither does Iraq have a future. My children have no future. We are only living day by day.” said Marwa Ali,  mother of two.

 Johann Lamont could have joined the millions of people in the UK and across the world denouncing Blair for waging a needless, illegal and immoral war of aggression without even the fig leaf of United Nations support. Lamont instead voted with her conscience - the blood of innocent millions are on Lamont’s conscience. Shame on her.

Monday, May 21, 2012

James Maxton - Wasted Years

"In the interests of economy they condemned hundreds of children to death and I call it murder." - James Maxton

James Maxton appeared to be Keir Hardie's natural successor. Maxton is remembered as one of the leading figures of the Red Clydeside era. His parents were both schoolteachers and he was educated at Hutchesons' Grammar School before going on to study at the University of Glasgow. He, too, was a teacher.

 In 1904 Maxton joined the Barrhead branch of the Independent Labour Party. From 1906 to 1910, he was active in the teachers' unions. When the First World War broke out Maxton was an opponent and became a conscientious objector, refusing conscription into the military, and instead given work on barges. During this time he was involved in organising strikes in the shipyards. Maxton's arrest followed his speech at a demonstration on Glasgow Green to protest against the implementation of the Munitions Act and the deportation of the Clyde Workers' Committee leadership to Edinburgh. At this demonstration Maxton, along with James McDougall and Jack Smith (an anarchist shop steward from Weirs munitions factory), gave speeches advocating strike action by Glasgow workers to ensure the non-implementation of the Munitions Act. At the subsequent trial of the three men at the High Court in Edinburgh on 25 April 1916, Maxton and McDougall were sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment and Smith was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. Maxton won a seat as an MP for Glasgow Bridgeton in the 1922 general election.

Religion in Glasgow at this time was all-pervasive. Maxton, a supporter of Celtic was seen by many as pro-Catholic and he did indeed seek and receive the endorsement of the Catholic Church in Bridgeton, but, in return for their political sponsorship Maxton acquiesced to Catholic dogma on subjects such as birth control and denominational schools. Maxton could not be seen in favour of ILP moves to abolish religious instruction for a more secular educational system and he often acted counter to ILP policy on those issues. In regard to birth control he advocated "the intelligent control of the appetites and desires" !!  Losing the Catholic vote was too big a risk for a principled socialist stand on family life.

Maxton also agreed with Scottish home-rule and in support of a federal Britain presented in parliament bill argued that "He would ask for no greater task in life than to make the English-ridden, capitalist-ridden, landowner-ridden Scotland into a free Scottish Socialist Commonwealth"

In some speeches during the 20s he put forward the need for trade unions to supplement political action with extra-parliamentary forms of protest.  During Glasgow's 1924 rent strikes he warned that he would bring the tenants on to the streets if the government refused to defend them against the landlords. He also began to align himself closer to the CPGB, supporting their efforts to affiliate to the Labour Party and attending unity meetings. In 1926 General Strike, Maxton was to issue a manifesto in support of the miners which said: "The [ILP] National Council calls on its 1,100 branches to place themselves unreservedly at the disposal of the miners and the Trade Union Movement in the biggest struggle in which British Labour has ever been engaged." The ILP put themselves passively at the disposal of TUC.

Maxton's whole political life was devoted to the Independent Labour Party. Maxton was chairman of the ILP from 1926 to 1931, and from 1934 to 1939. He was generally seen as the symbol of the ILP after its break from Labour in 1932. At the 1926 annual conference a series of policy documents were adopted under the title "Socialism in our Time" The "Living Wage Plan" called for a minimum wage for every citizen to be a: priority. This was to be combined with expanded social services and a national system of family allowances to be paid for by heavier taxation on high incomes. Other documents called for the nationalisation of banking and credit, including the City and the Bank of England, a call for the removal of the Ministry of Health's ban on giving advice on birth control at maternity clinics [opposed by Maxton] and a proposal that Labour should vote against all military estimates. There was little that was revolutionary about these demands. Yet the 1927 and 1928 Labour Party conferences rejected each proposal one by one. With the election of the minority Labour government in 1929 the differences between the ILP and the Labour Party leadership came to a head. Austerity measures were recommended by the "May Committee" interim report proposing a series of attacks on the unemployed. Benefits were to be reduced, limited to 26 weeks a year and in addition a series of measures, aimed at depriving married women and part time workers of the dole, were proposed. (Its final report called for more attacks on the unemployed and massive reductions in public sector employees' salaries, including teachers, the armed forces and the police) .Maxton led the opposition. The 17 strong Maxton group were denounced for threatening the government's survival and were  vilified by the leadership and the Parliamentary party for exposing the treachery of the Labour government. Emanuel Shinwell, a Red Clydeside comrade, launched a campaign against Maxton from within the ILP.

The National Administrative Council of the ILP in June 1931 carried the following resolution:
"It must be noted as a remarkable fact that to wage a Socialist fight against the poverty of the working class is made more difficult when a Labour Government is in power than at other times, and that obstacles are put in the way and threats directed against working class organisations maintaining that fight."

In the autumn of 1931 massive demonstrations of the unemployed took place against the cuts in benefits introduced by the newly-elected National Government. Ten thousand traditionally non-militant teachers marched in protest at 15% wage cuts and in September the Royal Navy fleet at Invergordon in Scotland "mutinied". Ten thousand ratings struck, refusing to put to sea until pay cuts were rescinded. The 1932 conference of the ILP adopted a new Statement of Policy which pointed to the inadequacy of purely parliamentary action and called for "mass industrial action as an additional means". The statement declared that capitalism was in deep crisis and that the class struggle as "the dynamic force in social change was nearing its decisive moment". Maxton and others supported disaffiliation from the Labour Party and an independent ILP. The 1932 Special Conference voted nearly two to one in favour of leaving the Labour Party. A minority led by another Red Clydesider, Kirkwood, rejoined the Labour Party forming the Socialist League.

In 1935 the USSR signed an agreement with France, the Stalin-Laval Pact, which explicitly recognised imperialist France's right to national defence. Maxton had already predicted, in 1934, what the outcome of the view Stalinist policy would be. Maxton declared: "The Russian government cannot become allied with the French Government without subduing the class struggle previously carried on by the French Communists. It cannot seek an alliance with the British Government without moderating the class struggle carried by the Communist Party here. Neither can it support the struggle carried on by the oppressed colonial peoples against both British and French imperialisms."

In September 1935 the ILP conference had taken a decision to adopt a dual defeatist position referring to the war as a conflict between "rival dictators". At the same time they dropped the campaign for workers' sanctions against Abyssinia. Maxton, however, insisted upon the pre-conference policy in defence of Abyssinia and for the defeat of imperialist Italy. Maxton immediately convened a meeting of the Parliamentary Group of the ILP where they agreed unanimously to threaten resignation rather than carry out conference policy. The conference was bullied into accepting a referendum and  was held with the Parliamentary Group holding a gun to the head of the membership. The referendum returned a three to two majority in favour of Maxton's change of policy. The ILP parliamentarian's motivation for the split from the Labour Party was to preserve its own independence. Now preserved that same independence, this time from the membership of the ILP! Maxton also became more critical of the entryism of Trotskyists  and in late 1935 and 1936 and there were demands for the dissolution of all organised groups in the ILP, a measure aimed primarily at the Trotskyist "Marxist Group".

 On the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War Maxton called for the government to support the policy of Non-Intervention but later Maxton argued that the overt intervention of Germany and Italy required a British response and that Franco had practically unrestricted aid from the two fascist powers, while Britain had done nothing to help the Republicans. Worse than that, the Government had in effect tacitly supported the Fascists. Their "class prejudices were with Franco". He argued that non-intervention had actually been an act of discrimination against the Spanish people's government. If Spain had been ruled by a right-wing government, it would have been accorded all the rights normally accorded to foreign powers. As a pacifist Maxton opposed re-armament in the 1930s and supported the appeasement policies of Neville Chamberlain. After the outbreak of the Second World War Maxton continued to advocate pacifism.

 Maxton said in accepting the ILP leadership: "It is the place of the ILP to lay stress on the mind and will of man as the determining factor in bringing about a change in social and economic affairs, and to work for and propagate socialism with speed but without catastrophe." But, of course, that "determining factor" was always subordinated to achieving a Labour majority in Parliament, as we have earlier said Maxton was willing to re-prioritise policies to satisfy his supporters prejudices.

In a debate with the SPGB, Maxton stated he "entirely agreed with the case put forward by his opponent. This statement of Socialist first principles was unassailable. The definitions were clear and correct. He accepted absolutely the diagnosis given. The workers accept capitalism and believe that the capitalists are a superior and necessary class. The only remedy is for the workers to awaken to the loss they suffer in being deprived of the necessities and luxuries of life. The problem before the Socialist is to awaken the worker to his subject position in society...The first necessity of an effective working-class organisation is the possession of a clear aim and policy. He and his opponent are equally doing the necessary propaganda...Socialism is a question of human will and human organisation. Socialism can be attained by violence or by the 'inevitability of gradualness.' All depends on human will and human intelligence. It depends not on any god or other power outside ourselves...The ILP will play an important part in achieving Socialism, a work not for the. ILP or the SPGB, but for the workers of the world."

In 1924 when the first Labour government came into office, out of 193 Labour MPs 132 were members of the ILP. Twenty-six of them were in the government and six of them, including the Prime Minister MacDonald, were in the cabinet. In 1929 out of 288 Labour MPs over 200 were members of the ILP. Again it was very strongly represented in the government and cabinet including, as before, MacDonald as Prime Minister. Among the MPs was another ILP member, Clement Attlee, who was to become Labour Prime Minister in the 1945 government. The ILP could congratulate itself on building up the mass party Keir Hardie and Maxton  wanted. But what of the next stage, getting the Labour Party to accept socialism as its object? And if the ILP was to win over the the workers to socialism, who was to win over the ILP membership and its leaders to socialism as a first step? Despite the ILP publishing works by Marx and Engels, and while Maxton could declare his support for their conception of socialism, their own publications and election programmes were full of proposals for reforming capitalism. ILP members had been recruited, not on the demand for socialism, but attracted by its reforms. The ILP consistently misled the workers with its description of nationalisation as socialism and Maxton especially welcomed the nationalisation of the Bank of England.

Maxton died on 23 July 1946, still a sitting MP for Bridgeton. When Maxton first won the seat in 1929 he got over 21,000 votes. When the ILP put up a candidate there at the 1955 election his vote was 2619 and he lost his deposit. The ILP has vanished and Maxton has become almost forgotten. Having devoted all his political life in the service of the ILP James Maxton's efforts achieved nothing for socialism.

Report of Fitzgerald/Maxton debate
Review of Maxton biography by Bill Knox

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

All Change for the Council Elections

Capitalism is well past its sell-by date, and can now be replaced by its alternative: a wageless, moneyless, classless world community based on production for human need, not profit. This change can only come about once the majority understand it and want it. It won't come about by following leaders or voting for someone else to do it.

The world can now easily produce wealth sufficient to adequately house, feed, care for and educate the global population. Instead, we see hunger, disease and homelessness around the world despite the concerns of governments, charities and show-biz stars. Closer to home, in a "developed" nation like the UK, we see child poverty and an increasing gulf between rich and poor. Rates of depression and anxiety are becoming epidemic.

Capitalism is failing: it now acts as a barrier, preventing production being geared to human need. Rather than keep trying to tinker with this system we should start looking beyond it to an alternative: a wageless, moneyless, classless world community based on production for human need, not profit. This social change can only come about once the majority understand it and want it. It won't come about by following leaders or voting for someone else to do it.The candidates contesting this election (whether openly pro-capitalist or avowedly socialist) are asking you to believe that they can run this society a little bit better. We argue that history shows that the money system actually ends up running them. Their manifesto promises usually amount to nothing - it only encourages the idea that capitalism can be made better. So don't vote for them.

The one good thing about the Labour Party these days is that it no longer pretends to have anything to do with socialism. Perhaps they realise that if they did people wouldn't believe them anyway. They are not even the left-of-centre "labour" party they once were, but have stolen all the Tories's clothes. Not that "Old Labour" was any better when in government, imposing wage freezes, cutting benefits, opposing strikes just like all governments of capitalism as an economic system that imposes that profits must come before people. Socialism meant, and still means, the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production, where goods and services are produced directly for use and not for profit and where every member of society has access as of right to the things they need to live and enjoy life. Nobody who wants such a society would dream of voting for the Labour Party, so don't.

The so-called "Scottish Socialist Party" (or the newly created Scottish Anti-cuts Alliance coalition) claim to stand for "socialism". In fact, the SSP stand for is a system under which all industry would be nationalised. They follow Lenin and Trotsky in thinking that workers cannot understand socialism, but must be led there by a vanguard party offering attractive reforms of capitalism (take a look at the SSP wish-list). Nationalisation and rule by a vanguard party is not of course socialism, but something called "state capitalism". It's a travesty of the word where production is to satisfy people's needs and would be on the basis of "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs". The Socialist Party are accused of "splitting the Left". We are not a part of this "Left". We are opposed to measures which tinker with and attempt to reform capitalism with palliatives. It has been a "Leftist" tactic in the past to hypocritically ask workers to vote for a "workers'" party to get reforms which they know they cannot obtain, on the parliamentary road which they dont support, to "socialism", which is not socialism. The Socialist Party is opposed to such trickery of workers and this cynical political opportunism. Simply, the "Left" are not socialists. Far from splitting the "Left", we oppose the "Left" for its political cowardice, (being unable or unwilling to describe socialism to workers and nail their true colours to the socialist mast), of opportunism, (interference in workers struggles and grass-roots movements to recruit and subvert them to their cause), and for its pretensions, (of assuming to know what socialism is, and presenting itself as a leadership to-wards it). If you want state capitalism, vote for the SSP. But if you want real socialism - don't cast a vote for them.

 In Scotland, the Socialist Party has not had the resources to stand any candidates and contest these local council elections. We suggest that you express your preference with a "write-in vote" for the Socialist Party as a statement that you think another world is possible. If you have confidence that humans can live and work co-operatively without need of the wages system, then write Socialist Party of Great Britain (or SPGB) across your ballot paper. And then get in touch with us to do something about changing the world.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Labour is crap,too

Tom Harris, Labour MP, and aspiring Labour Party leader for Scotland bared the truth to The Herald.

"The only thing keeping us in contention is that all the alternatives are crap. That’s not much of a standard to go by: Vote for Labour because everyone else is crap.”

The Labour Party has no horizons beyond those of capitalism. Throughout its existence, the Labour Party has done everything but what need doing most and said everything but what most needed saying. Although from time to time they paid lip-service by using socialist sounding phrases when it met their purpose of deluding the workers, nothing they have ever said or done has advanced the workers one inch. While certain of their reforms might have helped in keeping workers contented and in staving off unrest, they have had the desired effect of giving the boss class a new lease of life. What would the capitalist class do without a Labour Party to patch up their vile system for them? The past record of the Labour Party in supporting wars, freezing wages, breaking strikes, and forming coalitions, with Tories and Liberals, should be enough to finish them with the working class for keeps; the tragedy is that it won’t.

The miserable failure of the Labour governments has led in Scotland to growing support for nationalist party, the Scottish National Party. The Socialist Party no more supports Scottish nationalism than it does British nationalism.

You can vote for candidates who support all the crap of the capitalist system. For them the only way out is through deception, at times to the extent that they begin to believe their own
lies. Or you can use your vote to show you want to overturn it and end the problems capitalism causes once and for all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If only we had known

According to ex-Labour MP Tam Dalyell memoirs, the veteran Labour politician's suspicions about Blair were first aroused when he spoke to one of the former prime minister's teachers at Fettes.

The teacher said: "Be careful of Blair – he's a superb actor, he's good at getting others into trouble but avoiding it himself. In fact, he's a shit..."

Thursday, January 06, 2011

First the greasy pole, now the gravy train

Former Labour Cabinet minister and Celtic chairman Lord John Reid made expenses claims for chauffeur-driven travel of £4,000 to ferry the former home secretary to 14 matches and football stadiums across Scotland to watch his team.

Despite claims the peer needed the travel arrangements for security reasons, the journeys are understood to have been made unaccompanied by any police officers or drivers trained in protection. Chauffeurs usually picked up Lord Reid either at his home or Glasgow Airport, drove him to the ground, waited, then took him back home or to an airport. The cost of Lord Reid's travel included a £1,376 bill for two fixtures - against Hearts at Celtic Park and a clash with Aberdeen at Pittodrie. A further £723 was spent on trips to Celtic Park - including the day of the club's annual general meeting - or the team's training ground.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said "Lord Reid is the chairman of Celtic Football Club and it surely should fall to that club to shoulder the costs of his attendance at matches and training grounds."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another saint ?

The Herald carries a report on Keir Hardie , the Labour Party pioneer. He’s been called Labour’s greatest hero and the party’s most inspirational leader but could Keir Hardie also be in danger of being forgotten? The Socialist Party though have not forgotten about him. The insincerity and double-dealing of the Labour “leaders” are plain.

From the formation of the Labour Party the S.PG.B. opposed it, holding that its doctrine of changing class relationships through social reforms and its hope of abolishing war through international expressions of goodwill were founded in error about the nature of capitalism and socialism.

An article on Hardie can be read here

Sunday, March 22, 2009

One rule for you , another rule for us

Got a lot of commuter travelling time between home and work ? Don't worry , House of Parliament will pick up the bill . Or they do for the Labour Party Minister of Employment , Tony McNulty , who has been claiming second-home expenses on a London house where just as it happens his parents live.

The MP lived in the house in Harrow with his parents before then moved into her home about eight miles away in Hammersmith, west London. Under parliamentary rules Mr McNulty can claim an allowance for a second home in his constituency even though it is only 11 miles from Westminster. The MPs' Additional Costs Allowance of up to £24,000 a year goes to MPs from outside inner London to cover the cost of staying away from their main home when carrying out parliamentary duties.

McNulty and his wife, Christine Gilbert, the chief schools inspector, have a combined annual income of more than £300,000 and between them own two London homes worth £1.2m.

he compared the defence of his actions to the excuses given by Nazi war criminals, who said they were “only obeying orders”.
“It is not against the rules – though I suppose you might say that is the Nuremberg defence,” he is reported to have said. He said he had decided to stop claiming the second-home allowance in January after he had “reflected” on the issue.

Another Labour Party mnister , Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, is under investigation for claiming £20,000 a year in expenses, arguing that a home she shares with her sister in London was her “principal residence”.

And what the hell , lets keep it all in the family . One third of government ministers employ a member of their family at taxpayers' expense, an official document revealed today. Jacqui Smith employs her husband Richard Timney as a Commons researcher based in her Redditch constituency.

The Labour Party - the party where all the members have their sticky fingers in the pie .

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Never a truer word spoken

Kitty Ussher, the economic secretary at the Treasury, insisted today that Labour was "a pro-business government"

Nevertheless , however, the Labour faithful should not be too downhearted. Ussher kept calling contributors "comrade" throughout the proceedings.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Labour cant and won't

Goodness me , after all this time Labour has re-discovered that class counts .

"...we know that inequality doesn't just come from your gender, race, sexual orientation or disability. What overarches all of these is where you live, your family background, your wealth and social class..." says Harriet Harman to the TUC conference

Ms Harman accused the Conservatives of being "false friends of equality" and of "sidling up to the unions".

Hmmm.....Socialist Courier wonders what the reason for her own speech may have been , eh ?

This is just more hypocrisy and cant from the Labour Party .

Gordon Brown conceded in an interview with Monitor magazine that "social mobility has not improved in Britain as we would have wanted".

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Labour's success??

Something to remember at the coming by-election in Glasgow East constituency as reported here and here
Male life expectancy is 63, which is 14 years below the UK average. Life expectancy is lower than for Palestinian males living in the Gaza Strip according to Channel 4.
Unemployment runs at 25 per cent and about 40 per cent of the constituents live on benefits. About 40 per cent of the children live in workless households.
The teenage pregnancy rate is 40 per cent above the national average.
The east end of Glasgow had Scotland's highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions. An average of 860 people per 100,000 were admitted between 2004 and 2006 in Scotland. But in the east end of Glasgow that rose to 1,505.
In 2002, a United Nations rating system taking account of life expectancy, unemployment, incomes and rates of illiteracy put the Shettleston area as the most deprived in Britain. Nearby Baillieston, also in Glasgow East, was placed seventh.

Nor will changing the MP have any real lasting effect on this poverty regardless of the promises made by the parliamentary contestants .

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Budget - No relief for child poverty

Don't believe us - this , out of their own mouths .

John McDonnell , Labour Party MP , on the budget :-

" In 1999 the Government said it would halve child poverty by 2010 - taking 1.7m children out of poverty. To date it has missed its targets and only removed 600,000 children from poverty. In the pre-budget briefings pouring out of Number 10 and the Treasury we were all led to believe that the Chancellor would make a major announcement today to get the Government back on course to meet its target.Instead, the Chancellor has admitted defeat in the war against child poverty and has confirmed that the Government will not meet its 2010 target - and will leave over 2.5m children still living in poverty in the fifth richest countries in the world. The measures announced today will only remove at most a further 250,000 children from poverty by 2010.

In calculating child poverty the Government has massaged the figures by removing housing costs from the calculation. If these costs are put back the real assessment of child poverty confirms that in fact 3.5 million children will remain in poverty in our society.

If after eleven years in office, a Labour Government cannot meet such a basic aim of lifting our children out of poverty, many will judge this period of government as the greatest missed opportunity in the history of the Labour party."

Real soicialists have been saying since the formation of the Labour Party its members and supporters have always been deluded in the mistaken belief that Labour puts the poor before profits .