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Showing posts with the label William Morris

William Morris and Socialism

The Socialist Party’s vision of a stateless, wageless, moneyless society is very close to anarchists like Peter Kropotkin in terms of both principles and practice, in the matter of how to organise and maintain a decentralised, collectivised, steady state, ecological society, in which both social responsibility and personal freedom are given equal emphasis, and guaranteed. It is also closely akin to the aspirations of William Morris.

The steady state economy forms a complete contrast to the capitalist economy in which, as Marx wrote, accumulation is Moses and all the prophets. The accumulative logic of capital ensures an endless ‘growth for growth’s sake’, turning finite needs into infinite wants to keep human beings trapped on a ceaseless treadmill. Once human needs are understood as finite, then the absurdity of the capital system is exposed.  In a steady-state economy, production is geared towards the satisfaction of needs rather than making profits through the inflation of wants. …

William Morris Again

News from Nowhere is an account by William Morris of a socialist returning home from a branch meeting of the Hammersmith Socialist League to fall into a deep sleep. When he awakes, he is in the socialist future. People are living in equality, and there is no money, no government, no marriage and no politics. The people live in harmony with nature, and work because they enjoy it, take pleasure in crafts, and have few conflicts with one another. Morris’s vision echoes Marx’s idea that under communism people would be able "to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner."

William Morris could be so easily dismissed as utopian if it were not for the amount of time, effort and money he expended on what he called ‘practical socialism’: printing newspapers, leaflets and pamphlets, organising meetings, giving lectures and building socialism as a political force. . He called himself a ‘dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time.’ Yet …

William Morris in Scotland (3)

Socialism Militant

Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 117, 7 April 1888, p.106-7

Since a year may make a good deal of difference in the position of a party, even when it is being carried on by quiet propaganda, I give a brief account of my lecturing tour in Scotland and my impressions of the position of Socialism there. On the 21st March I lectured at Kilmarnock, a not very important town on the edge of the mining district. The chief industry in the town itself is that of the railway works — a tolerably good indication, by the way, of labour being cheap in the neighbourhood; accordingly I was informed that the iron-miners in the neighbourhood are earning about nine shillings a-week working four days a-week, and that the coal-miners in the neighbourhood are not much better off. I spoke in the church of Mr Forrest, my inviter. The audience was fair as to numbers; they were not demonstrative, and it was found impossible to get them to ask any questions; they were, however, very attentive, and showed t…

William Morris in Scotland (2)

The Sequel of the Scotch Letter

 Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 26, 10 July 1886, p.114

On Sunday 27th June I lectured on the ‘Political Outlook’ at the Waterloo Rooms, Glasgow, the same place where my Thursday’s lecture was given; this was under the auspices of the Branch, and our comrade Muirhead took the chair. There was a larger attendance than on the Thursday; howbeit several got up and went out almost as soon as I began: it seems there was some mistake as to my subject, as there was a religious meeting elsewhere on the premises, and some of the proper audience thereof had wandered into our hall. Moreover I suspect that some found themselves ‘caught’ by my title, and expected the lecture to refer to the present election instead of the wider subject which it dealt with. The audience was over 600, I should think, and was attentive and sympathetic. Instead of the cut-and-dried, meaningless vote of thanks, our comrades arranged to try the effect of a resolution, which was thus worded: ‘That al…

William Morris in Scotland (1)

A Letter from Scotland

Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 25, 3 July 1886, p.105-106;

On Tuesday 22nd I found myself at Arbroath, a pleasant stone-built town of some 20,000 inhabitants on the German Ocean, the original of ‘Fairport’ in Scott’s ‘Antiquary’, the remains of a magnificent church and abbey dominating the homely houses. The industry practised there is sail-cloth making, and it is in a very dismal condition at present. There was much suffering there in the past winter. In a walk that I took with my host (a Free Kirk minister and a Socialist), we got into conversation with a field-labourer who was resting from his job of harrowing at a field’s end. I should premise, for the benefit of our English readers, that Scotch field-labourers are hired by the half-year, and receive their ‘meal-and-milk’, lodging in a ‘bothy’ — or a not too luxurious pig-sty — and a sum of money. This friend, who was a brisk and intelligent young man, told us that wages were low, and that he was now receiving £9 for…

Re-writing the past

Salmond will launch the SNP's campaign for  independence later this month claiming he is on track to win secession following last week’s local government elections. The Alpha and Omega for the SNP is the Scottish Saltire fluttering over a fully independent parliament. Lets not make any mistake, the cause of Scottish suffering is not the Union with England but the fact that the means by which Scots must live are in possession of a class which will not allow the people to use these means unless they accrue profit to that minority parasite class. Socialist Courier has shown that the Scottish capitalist class obtained their possessions by theft, that in the process of the thievery thousands of workers’ lives have been sacrificed.

Our allegation that capitalism was built upon the robbery and murder of the workers is fully justified yet the nationalists receives them with welcoming open arms, ignoring the fact that the patriotism of the master class, like their pretences of kindness, g…

A Vision of Socialism

Not looking forward to the Queen's Christmas message , then why not download and listen to one of the Socialist Party talks that Darren has upload.

Stephen Coleman discusses William Morris and his Vision of Socialism . Download from here .

Reforming Child Poverty

Child poverty in Scotland once again is in the news .

A charity has launched a campaign aimed at eradicating child poverty in Scotland. Save the Children said almost one in every 10 children in Scotland was living in "severe poverty" and that the problem was a "national disgrace "

Save the Children classes the worst deprivation as that which forces families to live on £19 a day, after paying housing costs. Previous research by Save the Children revealed that 90,000 children in Scotland live in severe poverty.

"Parents are being forced to make impossible decisions between such basic provisions as providing an adequate meal or putting on the heating..." said Save the Children's programme director for Scotland .

Yet , as always and as before , the solutions offered by the charity are aimed at only alleviating child poverty through tinkering with the system - more government money (£4 billion) , helping parents back to work, and a new scheme to give poorer…