Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts with the label elections

The Power of Our Vote

The right to vote is enshrined in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections.” It is a right that was hard won. Without question, the struggle for voting rights was a noble struggle and its achievements go beyond simply casting a ballot. Organising themselves and vigourously fighting for a political goal gave workers (and in particular women and blacks) a social and political presence that had been denied them for centuries. The struggle waged to win the vote set examples for those who wish to engage in political struggle, regardless of the cause. But the vote itself, what it literally meant, what it produced, who it benefited, what its value was to society in political and social terms was not submitted to careful study. And so it is conceivable that many of those who risked their lives to gain the right might now question the wisdom of relying up…

The Revolutionary Vote

Socialist Party politics is utterly different in nature from all other politics. Its aim is not to improve conditions or gain reforms or stop corruption or accomplish any other end within the framework of existing society. It is the expression of the interests of the working class to overthrow the existing system and to establish a new society.

Conventional politics revolve within the structure of the existing order. Non-socialist political parties, pleading for votes and begging for office, represent different sections of the ruling class vying for their own share of profits and privilege. Different groups of employers and business seek the lucrative control of the government and the state bureaucracy such as local councils. Their various think-tanks dream up different theories of how best to maintain the existing order and keep the support (or at least the tolerance) of the masses by securing this or that reform or a concession for this or that section of the population. But all th…

Marx and Engels on the power of the vote

It's often pointed out that our political system is completely corrupted by money yet history teaches that people's influence on their governments is much more powerful than we usually imagine. It's weakened primarily by people's failure to do anything and the mistaken belief that we don't have the power to shape the world as we wish it to be.


Marx and Engels strongly supported political action in the sense of participating in elections. They stressed the importance of the vote. Engels explains that universal suffrage "in an England two-thirds of whose inhabitants are industrial proletarians means the exclusive political rule of the working class with all the revolutionary changes in social conditions which are inseparable from it." Marx argued along the same lines, for example, in 1855, he stated that "universal suffrage . . . implies the assumption of political power as means of satisfying [the workers'] social means" and, in Britain, &q…

The Revolutionary Vote

The capitalist system fails to supply the needs of the vast majority of people and it must be overthrown before the workers can have freedom. The ruling class is never going to solve its problems through the capitalist system, therefore, the objective conditions for revolution are going to crop up over and over again. But there is considerable difference of opinions as to the means by which this can be accomplished. Some advocate the ballot, or parliamentary action; some armed insurrection, or military action; and some the general strike, or industrial action.

Armed insurrection to have any reasonable chance of success the workers would need to have as large and well equipped an army as the capitalists. Yet the working class are unarmed and most unskilled in the use of weapons. They have no military organisation. They have no means of securing arms. An untrained, undisciplined and badly equipped army of workers going forth to overthrow the system might as well be committing suicide. …

Why Vote SPGB?

We should not over-emphasise the counting of noses at election time but it does serve as a barometer of the maturity of the working class. All the votes of the people would do the Socialist Party no good if we ceased to be a revolutionary party by modifying our principles for the sake of capturing a higher vote. Some Left parties have sought to make their propaganda so attractive that it serves as a bait for votes rather than as a means of education. The SPGB rejects such an electoral strategy judging the votes thus secured do not properly belong to us and does an injustice to our party as well as to those who cast them. These votes do not express a wish for socialism and in the next election they can equally be cast for another party. The Socialist Party has no interest in swinging these type of votes to its favour. It is better that these sort of votes are not cast for the Socialist Party, for they will only misrepresent the degree of progress the party and indicate a political pos…

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, mon…

Local Issues or Class Issues

When Scotland goes to the polls next week in the 2012 local council elections, voters may be confused about whether they are deciding on local or national issues. In some cases the electorate is being asked to vote on manifesto promises that can’t in fact be delivered locally declares the Public Finance web-site. Each of the political party manifestos for the local elections contain a mix of local pledges (not unexpected in local elections) but also pledges that can, in fact, only be made by a national government.  The most extreme example of this is a pledge to cut VAT – clearly a reserved matter with no powers in Scotland at any government level to do so.

What is important to recognise is that those so-called “local” issues that are high on the agenda of many in the local elections (such as the NHS, local housing and transport) are pressing issues everywhere else. But these are not really local issues after all. Its just that many people (and all of our opponents) think the soluti…

Don't bet on the GGs

With the endorsement of the Socialist Party Scotland (Committee for a Workers’ International), the Socialist Workers Party and Sheridans's Solidarity, George Galloway will head the Glasgow list under the humbly named ‘George Galloway (Respect) - Coalition Against Cuts’ in the upcoming Scottish parliament elections. Once mor we witness the personality of the cult developing. Charismatic politicians have a propensity to capture public worship either through making articulate speeches or wearing fine suits. Galloway has a gift of making fine speeches and a flair for fashion. This emphasis upon the individual has been an increasing symptom of the emptiness of capitalist politics. The emptier the politics, the bigger the personalities.

The leaders we are asked to support, and sometimes choose between, are a myth, created and maintained by--leaders. They are poor examples of honesty, integrity, even of humanity. They are not interested in truth, justice, or any of the grand notions they …

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 ha…

election address

What’s the alternative to the profit system?

That's the issue in this election, says THE SOCIALIST PARTY candidate in Lambeth and Southwark Danny Lambert.

On 1 May, you will have your occasional ration of democracy with the opportunity to vote for the Mayor of London and the Greater London Assembly.

It's all very well having a vote but are you normally given any real choice? Let's face it, if it wasn't mentioned on the front of the election leaflet, could you tell which party was which?

It's tempting – in the absence of any real alternative – to get drawn into the phoney war that is political debate today. Whether Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, Greens or the others, they all spout empty promises. And it all amounts to the same thing – vote, vote for us and we’ll do this, this or this for you. As if they could.

None of them offer any alternative to the present way of running society. That’s why they always fail to deliver. The profit system requires them to put profits before pe…

The Polling Stations are now open

A final message from Oor Jimmy before you head off to mark your cross and vote .



...what the politicians of all Parties are saying, is just a cocktail of the same pledges, about how they will deal with the same problems.



And guess what, when the next election comes round, we will get it all again, because the problems of capitalism never go away, they are always with us.When I first voted, and it's a good few years, and elections ago now, the politicians were saying practically the same things, about the same problems, with the same equally hollow answers, and promises, so fellow workers, what's new?



But, as long as we put up with capitalism, then we have to put up with capitalism's problems, with no resolution in sight, and this not only applies to Britain, it also applies to the World.



It's the never ending story of a few everyday rich folk, versus millions of everyday poor folk.



But, it doesn't have to be that way, surely it's not impossible for us, the millions …

Nats Whae Hae?

Nationalism is anathema to socialists. Wage and salary workers have no country. We have more in common with people like ourselves in other countries than with the privileged owning class of the country where we happen to live and work. The world-wide working class has a common interest, to end its exploitation and solve its problems, to join together to establish a world without frontiers in which the resources of the planet will have become the heritage of all, so that there can be production to meet needs and not for profit. One world, one people,where cultural differences will still be celebrated, but where we'll all be citizens of the world.

It is clear, then, why socialists don't take sides in the debate, aired in this month's elections to the Scottish Parliament, about whether it is better for workers there to be ruled from Edinburgh (as the SNP says) or from London with a little help from Edinburgh (as say the British Nationalists of the Labour, Liberal and Tory part…

Oh No...!!

OH NO, NOT ANOTHER ELECTION LEAFLET!
Yes, but hang on - this one's different.

THAT'S WHAT THEY ALL SAY! They don't all mean it, though. And they don't all know what they're talking about!

HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT? We're not promising you anything.

SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING THEN? Asking you to think. Then vote for yourself. For a change Read On

Election Fever

With the elections approaching , the media are hyping it all up as if some sort of real change is about to be in the offing , and the political party apparatchiks are out and about trying to convince the cynical and sceptical public to vote for their same old tried and tired solutions and policies . We in the Socialist Party offer something a lot different .

Extracts from previous election statements .

Capitalism is past its sell-by date .
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 popstars. 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 …

Vote Socialist Party

Laying it on the line , with no weasel words , no kissing of babies , no false promises , no political platitudes .

And here once again , a clear , concise challenge for the voters to think before they choose .
Where no SPGB candidate is standing , declare for "World Socialism" by writing it across your ballot paper .