Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Eating In A Public Place.

On November 6, Arnold Abbot was arrested in Fort Lauderdale for violating a city ordinance – feeding the homeless in a public place. This law was passed and enforced because people with businesses do not want the homeless hanging around their area. This is not a new thing. In the 1930s in Canadian cities, Department stores such as Eaton's and Simpson's prevailed on Ottawa to open labour camps in the outback for the same reason. But, new or old, one thing is for sure, it's the same old system. John Ayers.

Out Of Touch Govenor

Most of you who read this will be aware of the comments made by Stephen Poloz, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, on November 4. He suggested that unemployed youth should work for free until the job market picks up. His remarks came a day after a speech he made saying 200,000 young Canadians are out of work, underemployed or back in school. What he didn't say was that many of them need money desperately to survive and pay for courses. It was one of the most stupid and irresponsible things a person high up in the capitalist hierarchy has said in a long time. It is a searing indictment of capitalism that the higher one rises, the further out of touch with economic reality he/she is likely to become. John Ayers.

Socialism is a good idea...but

Socialism is a good idea, but “it doesn't work in practice…” and “people are too greedy for it to succeed…” and “the rich and powerful will never allow it to happen.” We’ve have all these refutations to which is added “it's the only system that works…” and “don't waste your life trying to change things…”

Imagine if you wanted to start a society and proposed that those who do all the work will be paid as little as possible while those who claimed to own most things didn't do anything but would have more of everything. Capitalism is a bad idea for the well-being of society. Socialism is more rational. Growing numbers are concluding that capitalism doesn't work.

The ruling class have abandoned the rest of us to survival status, without jobs, without security, without hope. We get the crumbs off their table. Reformism both expresses an abandonment of revolutionary aims and the adoption of bourgeois party politics. The reformist tactic is the acceptance of gradualism. Reformism offers no hope of creating a labour movement that can in fact bring socialism about. The oligarchs and plutocrats amass fortunes, unaware of the millions starving to death, living without clean water and dying from preventable illnesses, all in their wake. The media offer stories about the good works of billionaires to make us think they are somehow special people. Bill Gates, they tell us, is a grand fellow, as is Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos with their “charitable give-aways.”  If they were sincere about wanting to make a better world, they would do the one thing that would bring immense change and form a mass-media network, waking up the citizens of the planet to the need for social revolution.

The achievement of socialism awaits the building of a mass base of socialists, in factories and offices. Capitalism must be replaced by socialism, by the common ownership of the means of production and distribution in the interests of the people as a whole. A socialist democracy implies mankind's control of the immediate environment as well, and in any strategy for building socialism, community democracy is as vital as the struggle for electoral success. To that end, socialists must strive for democracy at those levels that most directly affect us all — in our neighbourhoods and our places of work, promoting decentralisation, and restoring human and social priorities. By bringing men and women together primarily as buyers and sellers of each other, by enshrining profitability and material gain in place of humanity, capitalism has always been inherently alienating. A socialist transformation of society will return mankind to its sense of humanity, to replace its sense of being a commodity. The process of socialist education is the raising of consciousness, the building the numbers of socialists, and a strategy to make visible the limits of capitalism. Victory lies in joining the struggle. Socialists should get together to discuss the path ahead.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Socialist Party v. The Communist Party. A Debate (1931)

 From the August 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

About four hundred people were present at Chalmers Street, Clydebank, on Wednesday, May 27th, to hear a debate between the Communist Party of Great Britain and the S.P.G.B. The subject for debate was, “Which Policy should the working class support at the Present Period of Crisis, that of the C.P.G.B. or that of the S.P.G.B." Mr. J. Cunningham occupied the chair.

The Chairman intimated that the conditions of debate would be: first speech twenty minutes, second speech fifteen minutes, and a closing speech of five minutes. All “personalities” barred.

A. Shaw, on behalf of the S.P.G.B., opened the debate by defining terms. By working class was meant those who had to sell their labour-power to the capitalist class in order to live. By capitalist class was meant those who bought the labour-power of the workers. Capital was that portion of wealth used with a view to profit. The working class desired to sell their labour power at as high a figure as they could possibly obtain, while the capitalist endeavoured to purchase as low as possible. The private ownership of the means of living provided the basis for a struggle which Socialists termed the class struggle.

The class struggle had two aspects—economic and political. Workers form organisations on the economic field (Trade Unions) in order to make organised resistance to capitalist attacks on wages and working conditions, but in spite of all efforts put forth by them on this field their conditions tend to become worse. The class struggle would go on so long as the capitalist system of society existed.

Under such conditions the workers are doomed to a life of poverty, degradation and misery. The means of production are developed to such an extent at the present time, that all kinds of goods could be produced almost as plentifully as water. Yet we had the absurd state of affairs of workers starving in the midst of plenty. In America, in the State of Ohio, wheat was being burned in order to keep up prices. Around us the factories and granaries were bursting with the necessities of life while the producers went ill-clad, ill-nourished and ill-housed. This being the state of affairs, workers organised on the political field in order to better their conditions. Lacking knowledge of the cause of their terrible plight, the workers fell easy victims to smooth-tongued orators who enlisted their support for any and every policy but that which would free them from their poverty-stricken condition.

The I.L.P., the Labour Party, and the Communist Party had programmes which they claimed would benefit the working class. The Socialist Party of Great Britain also had a programme, but unlike the programmes of the Parties mentioned, which wish to reform the present order in certain details, the Socialist programme was one of Social Revolution. Nothing short of the complete abolition of capitalism and the establishment of Socialism would serve the interest of the working class.

The Communist Party spread confusion among the workers by advocating such nostrums as a £4 minimum wage and a six-hour working day, abolition of the House of Lords, &c. Their policy changed so often that it was difficult at times to know where they stood. As an example of this, his (Shaw’s) opponent and others, as Communist candidates in Glasgow, recently advocated a £3 minimum and a seven-hour day. Having failed to get working class support for their reforms at previous elections the Communist Party had reduced this particular reform from £4 to £3 a week. There was no difference between tactics such as these and of those used by Labour politicians to whom Communists professed to be opposed.

For years the Communist Party had been telling the workers that Socialism was in being in Russia. This was false. The workers in that country were at the present time producing commodities for sale and being exploited as in other capitalist countries. Capitalism, not Socialism, was developing in Russia. The social relations of wage-labour and capital were the order of the day in Russia and were developing under the name of the Five Year Plan.

The Five Year Plan (much boosted by Communists) was merely a step taken in the Industrialising of Russia, and Industrialisation would develop in Russia as it had done in any other country—at the expense of the worker.

The majority of the population of Russia were peasants, with the peasant individualistic outlook, and largely illiterate. It was difficult enough to get the workers of western capitalist countries to understand Socialism (where all the conditions were favourable and reflected this idea) but how much more difficult would it be in such a backward country as Russia?

Russia held out no example to the workers of Britain or any other capitalist country of how to establish Socialism. On the contrary, as Marx had pointed out many years ago in the preface to his work “Capital,” the more highly developed country held out to the lesser developed the image of its own future.

The position of the Socialist Party was that Socialism could only come about by the intelligent action of an enlightened working class, organised in a Revolutionary Socialist organisation to get control of the State machine for that purpose. No reforms or palliative measures could be advocated by such a Party to side-track the workers, therefore he (Shaw) would ask, the workers present to support such a policy and reject the reformist and muddled policy of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Peter Kerrigan, on behalf of the Communist Party of Great Britain, stated that he agreed with his opponent that the abolition of capitalism was the only hope of the workers. At the present stage of capitalist development we were in a period of permanent crisis. The policy of the Communist Party was framed to apply to conditions as they were at present. The Communist Party took part in all the struggles of the working class, hence their programme had to be broad enough to cover all details of working class life. The representative of the S.P.G.B. was in error when he referred to the programme of the Communist Party as a programme of reforms. Since capitalism, to-day, was at the stage where it could not grant the demands of the workers, those so-called reforms were revolutionary in character. The immediate needs of the workers were of more importance than the abstract theories of the S.P.G.B. By lining up with the workers in every struggle we would ultimately arrive at unity. We could get unity only by preaching what the workers wanted. A seven-hour day was a need of our class; therefore we ought to advocate it and organise the workers for it. The masters were lowering wages; therefore we should strive with the workers in order that wage-cuts be resisted. Marx in “Value, Price and Profit ” made this quite clear. In the day to day struggle of the workers the S.P.G.B. were of no assistance.

Shaw had stated that capitalism was the order of the day in Russia.  Such a statement showed that his opponent did not understand the Russian situation. Socialism was being built in Russia. A workers’ government was in control there, and there was no unemployment. The workers being in control of their own affairs were better off.

There were three systems of economy in Russia : 1 Handicraft in backward areas, 2 Concessions (under control of the Workers’ State), 3 Socialist economy. The Socialist economy was fast ousting the Concessionaires and abolishing handicraft. The workers granted concessions to outside capitalists, only in order to develop Russian industry.

Lenin had shown that the workers here could learn many valuable lessons from Russia, and, while learning those lessons, they should give Russia every assistance possible.

The S.P.G.B. wanted the workers to get control of the State. Marx said that the State machine must be broken and replaced by a Workers’ State. So much for the Marxism of the S.P.G.B. !

Did the S.P.G.B. think that the masters would allow them to peacefully achieve their goal? He (Kerrigan) did not think so. The whole of the past history was against such a theory. The workers must be armed and establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. This meant a new form of the State and would be the fullest Democracy.

The programme, as outlined by the speaker, was. the correct policy for a revolutionary workers’ party, and he would ask the workers present to support it.

Shaw, for the next fifteen minutes, dealt with the points raised by the Communist speaker. First of all, he said, Kerrigan seemed to think that by merely asserting a proposition, it was so. He would remind his opponent, that he who puts forward a proposition must back it up with evidence.

His opponent had stated that the programme of the Communist Party was framed to deal with the immediate needs of the workers. This plea had been put forward by reformers of all shades of opinion. Conservatives, Liberals and Labourites had used this plea with disastrous effect on the workers who accepted it. If the workers accepted the Communist plea the effect would be no less disastrous. His opponent had failed to show how any of the planks of the Communist programme could alter the position of the workers, if any, or all of them, were put on the Statute Book. The workers would still be in poverty, would still be slaves to those who own the means of life. If unity could be achieved by this method, it certainly would not be unity for Socialism.

So far as wages disputes were concerned, the S.P.G.B., being of the working class, had of necessity to take part in this every-day struggle. Who could avoid it if they be workers. The columns of the official organ of the Socialist Party, the “Socialist Standard,” were used to point out the correct tactics to be adopted, as conditions determined, in such struggles. At the same time the limitations of such struggles were pointed out.

There was nothing revolutionary in fighting a wages battle with the employers. People holding all kinds of political opinions, from the die-hard Tory to the blow-hard Labourite, took part in such fights and did not desire Socialism; many, on the contrary, were strongly opposed to anything suggestive of Socialism.

His opponent had made the assertion that Socialism was being built in Russia, but had failed to submit any evidence of his assertion. When such evidence was produced it would be dealt with.

Arming the workers to smash the State had been put forward by his opponent as a means of Social Revolution, but he had not informed us where the workers were to obtain arms, and who was to train them. And did he think the masters in the meantime would stand idly by, perhaps putting a donation into their collection boxes in order to assist them? The advocacy of physical force was a suicidal policy. The workers were no match for the trained disciplined forces of the State. If the workers in Clydebank were to attempt to defy the State forces in the manner advocated by the Communist Party it would mean an early grave for them. A couple of battleships on the Clyde could turn Clydebank into a cemetery in the twinkling of an eye, and would do so if the workers there ever attempted to put into practice the nonsense taught by the Communist Party. This policy would lead to the shambles, not to emancipation. Engels, in his preface to Marx's "Class Struggles in France," had pointed out, over thirty years ago, that he who would advocate street fighting and violent uprisings was an idiot, yet hero we had the Communist Party advocating that workers should fight the State forces. The development of the technique of modern warfare itself was sufficient to fender this method obsolete and impossible.

The only sane, safe and sure method of overthrowing capitalism was, as Engels pointed out, to control the armed forces by getting control of the State machine. This was the Marxian method, the method of the S.P.G.B.

Peter Kerrigan, in his next fifteen minutes contribution, stated that he was surprised that Shaw, instead of wasting time by accusing his opponent of making baseless assertions about Russia, had not given the audience some data from authoritative sources to show, that Russia was a capitalist country. Shaw’s accusations on this score also applied to himself.

Russia, to-day, was in a period of transition to Socialism. The State industries there are Socialist forms and are developing. There is no unemployment. He would like to know where the industries are, in Russia, owned by capitalists. Shaw could not tell us, because there are none owned by capitalists. All industries there are owned by the people. The Constitution in Russia was the most Democratic that had ever been established. This Constitution gave the workers full control.

Surplus-Value in Russia goes back to the people via the channel of Social Services, and was used to better the conditions of the worker all round. Hours of labour were shortened and wages were increased. It was only a matter of time before the workers of this country realised the great changes that had taken place in Russia, that one-sixth of the globe were establishing Socialism in spite of world opposition.

His opponent was opposed to the idea of workers fighting the armed forces of the nation, but he would assure them that this job was not so ghastly as it appeared to be. The Communist Party was carrying on a campaign of propaganda among the troops which was very successful.

Shaw’s reference to Engels’s preface in no way assisted him, as it had been proven, since that preface had been written, that the manuscript had been altered in some details by Bernstein. . Bernstein himself had admitted that he had altered Engels’s work.

On the question of a country struggling for the rights of nationality, he would remind his opponent that Marx had supported the Germans against the French in 1870. Then, again, Marx had enthused for workers using physical force whilst writing for the "New Rhenish Gazette.”

The workers could not get their emancipation through Parliament. Before allowing the workers to do so the ruling class would abolish this institution. When the workers of Ireland had voted solid for Home Rule they were ignored. The same thing happened in Egypt and other countries. The workers here would have to do as the workers of Ireland had to do —take up arms.

Shaw, in his closing speech of five minutes, reviewed the ground covered by him and his opponent. The time allotted to both speakers was inadequate for them to deal in detail with the differences which existed between the S.P.G.B. and the C.P.G.B. Both speakers had to deal with the positions of their respective organisations in a general way. However, enough had been said to make it clear that only by workers becoming class-conscious, organising for control of political power as advocated by the Socialist Party of Great Britain could they win their emancipation. Any other method was doomed to failure. Socialism was the only hope of the workers, hence the ‘ Socialist Party would go on advocating and organising for it, refusing to be side-tracked and refusing to follow the Will-o’-the-wisp of Social Reform as the Communists were doing.

Kerrigan, in winding up the debate, wished to emphasize the fact that fighting for "immediate demands ” was in no sense of the word reformist. The development of capitalism had made reforms a thing of the past. The I.L.P. and the Labour Movement promised the workers reforms but were not delivering the goods, and could not. The Communist Party, on the other hand, recognised the revolutionary significance of pressing forward with their programme of "immediate demands,” as by this method they would go forward to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. It was only by paying attention to the details of working class life and framing our programme accordingly that we would go forward to Communism. Mr. Cunningham, the chairman, after a few remarks on the able manner in which the participants in the debate had put forward their positions, threw the meeting open for questions, a large number of which were answered by the two speakers.

This was the first time the position of the S.P.G.B. was put before a Clydebank audience, many of whom had never even heard of the Party’s existence, and on hearing the position for the first time received it in a manner which could only be described as "enthusiastic.” Many of them expressed a wish to hear more of the Socialist Party case, as they had become disgusted with the Labour Party and considered that the Communist Party was no better. At the request of several workers, we decided to remain in Clydebank until evening and hold a propaganda meeting. This meeting was held and was so successful that Glasgow Branch decided, to continue holding meetings in Clydebank during the summer.

Since the debate, we have held another meeting in Clydebank and our literature sales there have doubled. With persistent effort we hope to, in the near future, put Clydebank on the Socialist map, by forming a Branch of the Party there.
Glasgow Branch Organiser.

Note.—In order not to allow inaccurate statements to gain currency we deal briefly with four assertions made by the representative of the Communist Party which our representative did not have time to deal with fully. (1) P. Kerrigan said :— 
The S.P.G.B. wanted the workers to get control of the State. Marx said that the State machine must be broken and replaced by a Workers' State. So much for the Marxism of the S.P.G.B. 
The implication of Kerrigan's assertion is that Marx did not urge the workers to get control of the State machinery. This is quite incorrect. Two brief quotations will suffice to show that the Marxian position is that held by the. S.P.G.B., i.e. that the workers must use the vote to obtain control of the political machinery.

Marx, in an article on the Chartist Movement, published by the “New York Tribune,” on 25th August, 1852, wrote:— 
“The six points of the Charter which they contend for contain nothing but the demand of universal suffrage. . . . But universal suffrage is the equivalent for political power for the working class of England, where the proletariat form the large majority of the population. . . . Its inevitable result here, is the political supremacy of the working class.”—(Republished in the "Labour Monthly,” December, 1929.)
Engels, Marx’s intimate friend, wrote in "Socialism, Utopian and Scientific ” (Sonnenshein edition, 1892, p. 86):—
The proletariat seizes the public power, and by means of this transforms the socialised means of production, slipping from the hands of the bourgeoise, into public property.
It may be remarked here that Lenin, in his "The State and Revolution” (B.S.P. and S.L.P. Edition, October, 1919, page 30) gave support to this policy. He wrote:—
The proletariat needs the State, the centralised organisation of force and violence, both for the purpose of crushing the resistance of the exploiters and for the purpose of guiding the great mass of the population . . .  in the work of economic Socialist reconstruction."
(2) Kerrigan claimed that in Russia there are no industries "owned by capitalists. All industries there are owned by the people.” He was not referring to the concession companies (which he admitted are capitalist owned) but to the so-called "Socialist ” State industries and collective farms. What Kerrigan overlooks is that the State industries in Russia, like the Post Office in this country, are financed on borrowed capital; they are a source from which the investor draws interest on his investment, out of the product of the worker’s labour. The original estimates of the Russian Government were for the raising of 6,000 million roubles (£600 million) for the Five Year Plan. This; with loans already outstanding would have increased the national debt to £750 millions at the end of the financial year 1932-33. (See Review of Bank for Russian Trade, June, 1929.) Actually the original estimates will be greatly exceeded. The above figures do not include credits obtained outside Russia and estimated at about £100 millions. Nor do they include investments of capital in the Russian Co-operatives, or the capital brought into the collective farms, by the peasants in the form of animals and machinery.

The interest paid on State loans is 10% or more. The interest on tens of millions of pounds of co-operative capital is 8%. The interest paid to farmers on their capital brought into the collective farms is 5%. (See “ Manchester Guardian,” 4th March, 1931. Article by the Moscow correspondent.)

(3) Kerrigan further claimed that Engels preface to Marx’s "Class Struggles in France 1848-1850 ” had been “altered in some details by Bernstein,” and that ” Bernstein himself had admitted that he had altered Engels’s work.” The mention of Bernstein is puzzling. Kerrigan's probably here thinking not of Bernstein but of a statement made by Engels himself in a letter to Kautsky to the effect that he had exercised restraint in the phrasing of his preface because of the possibility of the German Government re-enacting the anti-socialist laws. But the deduction drawn by some Communists is absurd. To suppose that Engels would avoid provocative phrases in the existing circumstances is reasonable; but it is not reasonable to suppose that Engels would categorically and in detail analyse and reject the idea of armed revolt as lunacy, and explicitly assert on the contrary that “bourgeoisie and Government feared far more the legal than the illegal action of the workers’ party, more the successes of the elections than those of rebellion,” if in fact he held precisely the opposite view. There is no foundation whatever for the view that Marx and Engels favoured the suicidal Communist policy of unarmed workers throwing themselves against the State and its armed forces. Such a policy is now even more impracticable than it was when Engels wrote in 1895.

(4) The assertion that Marx supported the Germans against the French in 1870 has no foundation in fact. In the first Manifesto of the International on that war he wrote:
On the German side, the war is a war of defence; but who put Germany to the necessity of defending itself? Who enabled Louis Bonaparte to wage war upon her? Prussia! It was Bismarck who conspired with that very same Louis Bonaparte for the purpose of crushing popular opposition at home, and annexing Germany to the Hohenzollen dynasty. If the battle of Sadowa had been lost instead of being won, French battalions would have over-run Germany as allies of Prussia. After her victory did Prussia dream one moment of opposing a free Germany to an enslaved France? Just the contrary. While carefully preserving all the native beauties of her old system, she super added all the tricks of the Second Empire, its real despotism, and its mock democratism, its political shams, and its financial jobs, its high-flown talk and its low legerdemains. The Bonapartist rĂ©gime, which till then only flourished on one side of the Rhine, had now got its counterfeit on the other. From such a state of things, what else could result but war? . . . . . . . . The very fact that while official France and Germany are rushing into a fratricidal feud, the workmen of France and Germany send other messages of peace and good will; this great fact, unparalleled in the history of the past, opens the vista of a brighter future.
The above is dated "London, July 23rd, 1870."
Ed., Comm.

The Socialist Truth

Capitalist politicians on the TV, radio and newspapers have been running their mouth endlessly about the glories of “democracy,” “liberty,” and “national pride.” This giant sales pitch for capitalism is part and parcel of the ruling class preparations for war. They’re trying to whip up nationalism for war in Syria. But for all the air-time the ruling class is putting into it, they aren’t getting their war-mongering message over. Many see right through it. In the past decade, the working class has struggled against the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and the economic recession that have landed us in the deepest crisis since the 1930s Great Depression, and has seen the ruling class exposed in deceit after deceit. The workers’ complete disdain for this barrage of capitalist lies is a show of resistance and the strength of our class. We are unwilling to starve any longer while doing the world’s drudgery, in order to support by our poverty. It shows how we learn from our own experience in class struggle.  It also shows that the Socialist Party must use these lessons to show the need for socialism to the workers and the need to build the genuine socialist party of the working class. Most people in the world still struggle daily for food, clothing, and shelter. While a relative handful of people grow ever richer, the vast majority of people face a rapidly declining standard of living. We will make the world listen to the facts of our condition.

The Socialist Party rejects the Leninist view of the vanguard ‘communist’ party. We do not believe that a single party can or should determine the direction, strategy and tactics of the class struggle. We reject the idea that fundamental change can or should come about through a seizure of power by a vanguard party claiming to act in the interests of the working class and the majority of society. We reject the goal of what is misconstrued as the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” We reject the view that a single party can use its claim to represent the working class as a substitute for multi-party democracy and free elections. We are opposed to dictatorship in any and all forms, and we recognize that the application of this principle has in every case meant that a minority acts for and defines the interests of the majority of society. Such a view is antithetical to a belief in genuine democracy. We believe that fundamental will take the support of the majority of people who will demonstrate in some verifiable way (such as through voting) that they want such a change. We do not pretend to have a blueprint for a new and better society nor the road-map on how to get there yet we do possess a vision of a better society and general agreement on how to achieve it. At the same time, we believe that the options for change calls for re-examination and debates over possible new approaches. Socialists understand that we will have to travel new paths, and establish new sign-posts, while under the fire of our class enemies, of reformism. An open discussion of all these questions will be of great assistance to the whole revolutionary movement.

Salmond Finally Dumps Trump

Donald Trump preys on American voters’ fears over immigration and the perceived threat of terrorism. Fear was also a factor when Trump came to Scotland in 2007 – he preyed on politicians’ fears that North Sea oil was running out. Business leaders in Aberdeen responded to his promise of 6,000 jobs through the building of a luxury Trump golf resort, as “the second coming of oil”. And one of the first in line to talk up the development was Alex Salmond.

Last week, the former Scotland first minister, Alex Salmond,  branded Donald Trump “three times a loser” after the UK supreme court rejected the billionaire’s attempt to block the construction of a wind farm near his golf course. Back in 2007, when Trump first detailed plans for his $1.5bn luxury resort on the rare sand dunes that form part of the Menie estate, Salmond was busy courting Trump. The development was in his Gordon constituency, after all.

Every credible environmental group in the land was objecting to the Trump development, warning that it would destroy a protected site of special scientific interest (SSSI), but Salmond was wining and dining with Trump in New York. The scientists said the unique, moving dunes on which Trump wanted to build were “the crown jewels” of our natural heritage. Yet Salmond appeared on TV news programmes defending the development, saying environmental concerns were outweighed by the economic benefits and the thousands of jobs that would flow from it. Aberdeenshire council threw out Trump’s plans in November 2007 but Salmond subsequently met Trump representatives at an Aberdeen hotel. Shortly afterwards, his government “called in” the Trump proposal, claiming it was “in the national interest” of Scotland for the development to receive consideration through a government-backed inquiry. A year later, the golf development was given the green light by Salmond’s cabinet secretary for finance, John Swinney.

In 2009, bulldozers swiftly moved on to an environmentally sensitive site and began ripping up trees and burying them in crater-like holes. Trump was giving press conferences where he accused a local farmer, Michael Forbes, of living like “a pig”, and called his home “a slum”, threatening to pull the plug on a planned luxury hotel for the resort if Forbes “didn’t clean up his property”. Another local resident, Susan Munro, explained to me on camera how she had been forced to spreadeagle over the bonnet of her car by Trump security guards, while attempting to reach her home. At the crack of dawn, an army of diggers lurched into action to build a massive wall of earth around the home of resident David Milne, whose house Trump said he wanted to get rid of. In the summer of 2010, Trump’s workers had accidentally cut off the water to the homes of Michael Forbes and his wife Sheila, and of Michael’s mother Molly, which is served by a private well. Yet Molly, who is now 91 years old, was forced to retrieve her water from a nearby stream with a bucket and push it to her home in a wheelbarrow. Despite claims from the Trump Organisation that it would restore the Forbes’ water, this appalling situation continues to this day. What has Salmond done to help her? Nothing. The Trump Organisation claims it is not their problem. So does the Scottish government. While all this was going on, Salmond was nowhere to be seen, despite driving by the development every week en route to the Holyrood parliament in Edinburgh from his constituency. When Michael Forbes won the Top Scot award in 2012 Tens of thousands of people voted for him over the Wimbledon tennis champion, Andy Murray, and the comedian Billy Connolly. Yet when the Trump Organisation issued a statement branding the Menie estate residents “a national embarrassment to Scotland”, there was no rebuke from Salmond’s office at the time – just a deafening silence.

Trump’s development, in Aberdeenshire, employs fewer than 100 people. Salmond’s willingness to cosy up to Trump over a development that contained wildly optimistic economic projections has resulted in the destruction of a unique stretch of coastline for generations to come.

Secret Police

The Scottish government has called for the inquiry into the activities of undercover Metropolitan Police officers to be extended to Scotland. The Pitchford Inquiry is to look at how undercover officers infiltrated political campaigns over 40 years. But the inquiry is only currently able to examine undercover operations in England and Wales.

It has been claimed that some of the officers spied on activists ahead of the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005.

The officers had been working undercover for the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which was part of the Metropolitan Police until it was shut down in 2008, and the separate National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). Both teams deployed officers on long-term undercover operations to infiltrate radical political or social causes, such as environmental campaigns, anarchy and animal rights.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Socialism - the next logical step in human development.

Society is in crisis. As socialists, we understand that the underlying causes of this crisis lie within the capitalist system itself. The various economic difficulties cannot be “reformed away” through Keynesian or monetarist economic policies, because they flow from the fundamental contradiction of any capitalist society: the fact that production is social in character, yet the appropriation of social wealth is in private hands. As socialists we understand that the real solutions to the economic and political difficulties of society lie in overthrowing capitalism and establishing a socialist system. The leading force in the revolutionary process must be the working class, owing to its position within capitalist society, and its objective interests in destroying the system which exploits and dominates it. The economic and political crises are going to bring the working class into struggle. Already this has begun to happen. Yet despite the relative growth of workers’ movements, at the present time the working class remains incapable of carrying out its revolutionary role. The working class remains seriously divided, and dominated by the ideas of the ruling class.

The very idea of the workers breaking away from the capitalist parties and forming their own class party is so revolutionary that it terrifies the ruling class. They are afraid that if the workers form their own class party, there is no telling how far it will go. The working class must constitute itself as an independent political force in order to advance its interests. If they were to break away from the capitalist parties and proclaim that they are an independent political force with political aims of their own it would represent a tremendous step forward. All the capitalist politicians, their spokesmen and defenders, do everything they can to persuade the working class not to form a political party of their own. They have a hard enough time preventing the trade unions from acting on militant class-struggle lines. If there were also a mass socialist party, their difficulties would only be increased.

Capitalism, by its method of production, has brought isolated workers together and constituted them as a class in society. Capitalism has made the workers a class in themselves. That is, the workers are a distinct class in society, whether they recognize this fact or not. Historical development calls upon this class to reorganise society completely and establish socialism. To do this, the workers must become a class for themselves. They must acquire a clear understanding of their real position under capitalism, of the nature of capitalist society as a whole, and of their mission in history. They must act consciously for their class interests. Socialism cannot be achieved, and the workers cannot effectively promote their interests, without class consciousness. Class consciousness means an understanding working class, a self-confident and self-reliant working class. They must become conscious of the fact that these class interests lead to a socialist society. When this takes place, the workers are a class for themselves, a class with socialist consciousness.

The road to freedom is marked out by the principles and programme of revolutionary socialism, and no other road exists. What is the socialist objective? It is that the factories, the mines, the mills – as a matter of fact all the means of production – must be run and administered by the workers of and that the local and the planning and direction be in the hands of elected councils of the workers. In other words: the planning is developed, elaborated, executed and checked by the free and constant activity of thousands of committees which function from the factory to the regional and more centralized organs of the masses, which express themselves in a constant renewal and recall of the committees personnel. It is only in this way that the great socialist selection will be realised in life and will lead the most downtrodden sections of humanity – the thousands of technical, organisational and scientific “geniuses” who will replace the present-day “elite” and the “technocrats” and will guarantee a rapid suppression of all social inequalities. Democracy is therefore as indispensable a condition for the victory of socialism as the assumption of power and the abolition of the state apparatus are the indispensable conditions for the victory of the socialist revolution. The realisation of this idea would establish democracy on the economic field and guarantee the flowering of democracy on all other fields. The organisation which proudly champions these principles in this country is the Socialist Party of Great Britain. The consciousness of the need for socialism,] will not come about spontaneously as a result of people’s disillusionment. It is the task of the Socialist Party to continually propagandise for the socialist alternative. We argue for socialism not as a Utopian alternative to the evils of capitalism, but as the next logical step in human development. We continually try to show now the people’s problems are rooted in capitalism and that only a rationally planned economy, run by and for the working class, can overcome the present difficulties.

Killing Nature

 A new report produced by RSBP Scotland has confirmed that more than 700 birds of prey have been killed illegally in the past 20 years. Records show that 468 birds of prey were poisoned, 173 were shot and 76 were caught in illegal traps. There were also 50 destroyed nests, seven attempted shootings and five cases classed as “other”. The figures include 104 red kites, 37 golden eagles, 30 hen harriers, 16 goshawks and 10 white-tailed eagles. The review also revealed that in a further 171 incidents, poison baits or non-bird of prey victims of poisoning were found, including 14 domestic cats and 14 dogs.

The RSPB revealed that in the past 20 years a “significant majority” of cases took place in areas associated with game-bird shooting, particularly in upland areas managed for grouse shooting.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Socialist Idea

Trade unions are essential for the working class and have done much to advance its cause. Without them, workers would still be subject to the every whim and fancy of the employers and their foremen. Strikes, even when small and weak, constitute breaks of the workers with capitalism. They are living refutations of the time-worn conservative trade union slogan that the interests of capital and labour are identical. They are expressions of the irreconcilable quarrel between the workers and the employers over the division of the workers’ products. They are skirmishes in the great class war, foreshadowing the final struggle which will abolish capitalism. During strikes, workers are in an especially militant and rebellious mood. They are then highly receptive of revolutionary ideas. It is then above all that they can and must be taught the full implications of their struggle. To rouse the class consciousness of the workers and to educate them to understand the class struggle and the historic mission of the working class is always a first consideration in a socialist strike strategy. The employers are more and more giving a political character to strikes, especially those in key industries and during crises by using all branches of their state power against the workers. But unions, while indispensable in the struggle of the workers against capital, have limits as well.

 Capitalism has become an obsolete oppressive system that ought to be got rid of. A relatively small minority recognise this and are consciously anti-capitalist. During periods of economic crisis, the contradiction of capitalism sharpen and the possibility of actually getting rid of it arises. A substantial proportion of the population is drawn into active political struggle as they confront questions of what society is to do to get out of its impasse. There is no crisis that the ruling class could not resolve if it was allowed to, but with the masses politically active, the possibility arises of the ruling class not being allowed to, and of people taking things into their own hands. Between capitalists and workers there is no room for compromise. Reforms become impossible and even past achievements may be rolled back. “We can’t afford these luxuries any more”. Within the working class too, there is less unity as people find themselves in “hard times” where it is “everyone for themselves”. The “social fabric” unravels, consensus breaks down and capitalist society stands revealed as based on sharply antagonistic interests. The injustices of slavery and serfdom were eliminated by abolishing the social institutions of slavery and serfdom themselves, not by prohibitions against maltreatment of slaves and serfs. The injustices of wage labour will be eliminated by abolishing the social institution of wage labour itself, not by directions to employers to treat their workers better. As the Communist Manifesto argued, we should raise the “property question” to the forefront of all immediate, practical struggles. We should be quite clear that this is what we are on about.

We believe that the present system, of capitalism, is not part of an eternal “natural order” of things, not a consequence of “human nature”. It is a recent arrival in mankind’s history and its days are numbered. The problems we face – unemployment, poverty, slump, inflation, are not some “illness” of capitalism, they are an essential part of how it works. All these evils are the direct result of the private ownership of wealth, and the consequent exploitation by a few of the mass of the population, the workers who produce all wealth – and whose reward is a tiny pittance. This tiny minority of the population holds complete control of the economy and political power, and effectively controls all the machinery of the state, the armed forces, the police, judiciary and upper ranks of the civil service. The economic and political power of the capitalist class has its counterpart in the domination and control of the production of ideas, through which it maintains the repressive machinery of the state.

What do we mean by socialism? Not the phoney socialism of the Labour Party, for sure. The Labour Party has plainly shown its willingness to strengthen the corporate state. We are fighting for a working class democracy in which the producers of wealth, the working class will own the factories, the land, the hospitals, the schools, the courts etc. and will run them themselves according to the will of the majority,

Friday, December 18, 2015

Is there life after capitalism

The Socialist Party members regard themselves first and foremost as practical people dedicated to changing the world. We are rightly suspicious of those who merely talk about the injustices and the evils of capitalism and never seem to translate their words into political action. Changing the world implies knowing about it in the process of changing it, and change implies self-change and self-consciousness. In demystifying capitalism, socialists shows how humanity can bring about its own emancipation. The first step in the words of Marx is ‘to raise the proletariat to the position of the ruling class, to win the battle of democracy.’

Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are we waiting for? What awaits us? Many only feel confused because they do not know why and with what. Theirs is a state of anxiety and fear. When workers first begin to study history and social development from the Marxist point of view known as historical materialism it is as if a blindfold was suddenly stripped from their eyes. For the first time the past - and not only the past but the present -begins to make sense, and events and affairs which before were incomprehensible become clear. One can in fact begin to acquire a new insight into political and economic systems, into governments and their policies, into the origins of wars and revolutions, into the activities of nations and the social forces within them: in fact, into all of the major spheres of human activity and knowledge. One can begin to understand, almost literally, what makes the world tick. We hold that socialism is moreorless inevitable. But whether it comes in our lifetimes or 500 years hence is a matter of how much people desire it and are willing to struggle for it and by no means does it follow that mankind only has to sit on his hands and await the inevitable. The question of active work to promote socialist consciousness is decisive. Hence the need for a genuinely socialist party but it is people who are the real makers of history.

Working people throughout the world are experiencing deteriorating conditions both at work and in society in general. The capitalist system dominates our lives. What is this domination based on? It is based on the fact that the means of production – the mines, the buildings, the machines, and the land – is the private property of the small but powerful capitalist class. Workers do not own the means of production. Therefore workers are forced to sell their labour-power to capitalists in order to survive. We all know that the capitalists do not pay us for the amount of work we do. They are only willing to pay us wages for part of the value we produce, only the wages which are absolutely necessary to maintain ourselves and our families. The rest of the value we produce, the surplus value, gets converted into their profits when they sell the products, the goods and services, we produce for them. This process is the exploitation of labour...where a portion of our labour becomes their only source of profit! It is the law itself that upholds the rights of private property, especially their right to rip off part of the value of our labour. It is the law itself which upholds the oppressive authority of the bosses over us in our work. And it is the force of the police, the courts, the prisons, and the armed forces that are used against us when we resist. The entire government is a tool of the capitalist class. History has shown that ownership of the means of production is decisive in determining who has power in any society. Putting that control in the hands of those who produce the wealth, the working class, is the first step in creating the basis for real equality among all people.

The history of the exploitation and oppressive character of capitalism is also a history of the revolutionary workers’ struggles to abolish capitalism and build socialism. The history of capitalism is also the history of workers spontaneous militant resistance. At first individually and then collectively in unions, workers have struggled for a greater share of the wealth they produce. The wages and benefits we enjoy above subsistence are largely the result of militant struggle by the working class. The economic struggle has had to take on the government – police attacks, court injunctions, spies in the unions, government troops. Concessions have been wrenched from the capitalist class – the right to form unions, the right to strike, protective legislation. But concessions are never permanent and we see them being constantly chipped away. We are losing what our class has won in the past. Our understanding of capitalism shows that the interests of the propertied capitalist class are opposite those of the property-less working class. Greater profits and wealth for them means lower wages and deteriorating living conditions for working people.

Talk! talk! talk! Hypocritical cant is filling the airwaves to the confusion of many people. Young workers do the fighting and dying for the greater glory (and profit) of their capitalist masters. The world is bristling with armaments. Under capitalism war is inevitable. If you, fellow-worker, desire to abolish war, we say: Abolish capitalism with all its misery and replace it with a system of production for use and not for profit – all over the world. War calls for a radical cure, for a revolutionary surgeon’s knife to exterminate class society, and not a reformist salve to heal the ulcer and retain the body of capitalism. As long as capitalism exists we will continue to suffer wars. These wars bring profits to the industrialists. They bring death and destruction to the people. It is the propaganda of the ruling class that promotes national chauvinism, the idea that people of one nation are superior to the people of other nations. This is the same nationalism, a false patriotism, which, in effect, advocates that workers from the various nations should destroy each other for the sake of profits ... profits that go to the very people who exploit all workers! We oppose those ideas that seek to divide the peoples of the nations! We oppose all war! But only when we abolish private ownership of the means of production, only when we abolish imperialism itself, will we abolish the conditions it creates, including war. The worldwide struggle for socialism is also a worldwide struggle to end all imperialist wars.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Poverty in Scotland

140,000 children in Scotland are still growing up in poor families, warns a new Government commissioned report, The State of the National 2015 document. Relative child poverty before housing costs was 14 per cent in Scotland. Absolute child poverty before housing costs was 15 per cent. Material deprivation before housing costs was 13 per cent. 10.9 per cent of children in Scotland live in workless households.

Almost one in five employees are low paid.

There is still a very long way to go to eradicate child poverty in Scotland. In November 2014 the Institute for Fiscal Studies published projections for Scotland which suggested that the proportion of children in relative poverty would increase by seven per cent and the proportion of children in absolute poverty would increase by 20 per cent, between 2013–14 and 2020–21.

Shifting Sands

The Toronto Star October 25) brought attention to the fact that many of the world's beaches are disappearing owing to the need for sand for construction. Though the article focused primarily on Cape Verda, the problem is evident in Kenya, New Zealand, Jamaica, and Morocco. Demand for sand has never been greater. It is used in the production of computer chips and mobile phones and especially for cement making. The UN environment program (UNEP) estimates that global consumption of sand is at an average of 40 billion tons annually, three quarters used for concrete. A spokesperson said, " Sands are now being extracted at a rate far greater than renewal. This means that shorelines are being eroded exacerbating the problem already being caused by global warming. So, once again, capitalism creates a problem it cannot cure and there is zero chance that a world common sense solution can be applied. If there are profits to be made in construction, then damage to the world's coastlines can go to hell, which happens to be a good place for capitalism. John Ayers

Change the World

Commonly the word “socialism” is used as a political trick. The Labour Party is called “socialist”. Labour governments are no less capitalist than the Tories. It is suggested that countries such as in Scandinavia with large welfare programmes are socialist or that nationalised industries are socialist. This has nothing to do with the socialism dealt with here.

A socialist means a man or a woman who recognises the class war between the worker and the owning class as the inevitable historic outcome of the capitalist system and of the direct economic and social antagonisms which it has engendered and fostered. Those antagonisms can only be resolved by the complete control over all the great means of production, distribution, and exchange, by the whole people, thus abolishing the class State and the wages system, and constituting a co-operative commonwealth or a socialism. The preliminary changes which must bring about this social revolution are already being made, unconsciously, by the capitalists themselves, and is anxious to use political institutions and forms to educate the people and to prepare, as far as possible, peacefully for the social revolution which must result in national and worldwide socialism. Socialist change should be completely democratic in every respect. The logical outcome of the fight to extend democracy is to weaken and undermine the power now held and exercised the capitalist class and the winning of political power by the working class. Without such a revolutionary change in society socialism cannot be built. Without such a revolution every advance that has been made in living standards and democracy will be threatened again and again. It is in the best interests of the working people, of the vast majority of the nation, that this mass struggle for political power should be carried through by peaceful means, without violence or civil war. When a socialist majority in Parliament is won it will need the support of the mass movement outside Parliament to uphold the decisions it has taken in Parliament. Conversely, the Parliamentary decisions will give legal endorsement to popular aims and popular struggles. The strength of the mass movement will be felt in Parliament, and the strength of the socialist movement within Parliament will strengthen the movement outside. The one supports the other. In this way, by political action, Parliament can be made into the effective instrument of the people's will and replace capitalism by socialism.

The class struggle may well have reached a turning point. The working class is looking to regain its fighting strength after years of setbacks. There is the mood and the feeling of a radicalisation taking place. There is a growing debate going about how to make a revolution, about who is going to make the revolution and change the world. However, there are people who are reformists, who think of themselves as socialists—the classic reformists who think that we’re going to get socialism by an accumulation of reforms, of gradualism. They’re not revolutionary socialists even if they believe themselves anti-capitalist. The Socialist Party are revolutionaries talking about a Revolution.

The hope for all mankind depends upon the determination and courage of the working people; let us rise to our task. The future lies with socialism

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Eraducation A Must

The daily effects of stress can cause people to do incomprehensible things. Jian Ghomeshi, the former host of the CBC Program, Q, was recently fired after allegations of sexual abuse of several women. Apparently, according to The Stratford Herald, he keeps a stuffed teddy bear to help him deal with anxiety, similar to his childhood bear. Again, it might help to deal with the effects but its cause must be eradicated. John Ayers

One Change Can Do It All

I walked into the food bank where my wife works. Among the leaflets and brochures there was, "Are you homeless, are you almost homeless?…call the Region of Peel outreach team…we can help with Ontario Works, health care, food, clothing, mental health and addiction support, advocacy for housing, emergency shelter, employment, and so on. One thing that came to mind was the amount of time and resources spent that would not be necessary in a socialist system. One change can do it all. John Ayers

Human "nature" is socialist

We are living in a time when the comforts of life, and all the material wealth needed to bring happiness to every human being, can be produced in abundance. There is no need whatever for one human being to go hungry or homeless. Man’s inventive genius has developed the tools that abundance possible to all. But between that abundance and its enjoyment by all men, women and children an obstacle is interposed. That obstacle is the modern social system, capitalism, and its defenders and beneficiaries are the capitalist class. Working people, young and old, male and female, black and white, instead of fighting the capitalist, with wealth and freedom as the prize at stake, fall to fighting each other; and the stakes in that conflict are: death to the loser; poverty, misery and wage-slavery to the winner.

What socialism proposes is the good things of life for everybody. No more poverty anymore with its filth and sickness and vice. In order to enjoy abundance for all, we must do something. Socialism proposes something very definite to do which is this: Take to ourselves the vast new technology and use it for producing new wealth for all instead of producing profits for a few. The only reason we are not all well off now is that a few people own these great inventions and refuse access to them except when they can make a profit for themselves. If we collectively owned the factories and transport and mines and mills ourselves and all of us worked at them to produce wealth for our own use and happiness, all the troubles of poverty would disappear at once. The only thing that lies between us and a positive future is this private ownership of the means of producing wealth. Socialism proposes to do, in order to get wealth for all, is to take possession of the instruments of wealth production and run them for the use of all. With the emergence of the era of abundance we have the economic base for a true democracy of participation, in which men no longer need to feel themselves prisoners of social forces and decisions beyond their control or comprehension. In socialism economic planning is to be done on a local level and the workers are to control the means and mode of production. Workers would be more motivated as they are creating products, not to fulfill the demands of a capitalist market but the needs of the community.

"Human nature" (i.e., what humans do) does vary a lot depending on social and economic conditions. However, we should not forget that we are evolved creatures and so we are not a blank slate (as some suggest). Luckily, evolution has made us co-operative, egalitarian apes which makes socialism a possibility -- indeed, we have lived as sharing social animals for most of our history as a species (property and state are relatively recent developments.) We know not what the people will do when they control the means by which they make their living, but we believe they will use them in their own interest and with a reasonable degree of intelligence. If they do, they can accomplish these results:

They can make it so no one who wants to do productive labor can be deprived of the opportunity of doing it, at any time. They can make it possible to banish want from the face of the Earth. They can make it possible for every family to have a home and to be immune from the fear of want for themselves and their children. They can make it possible for every child to have a good education, to be able to see the world, and to make its way without the least danger of losing out economically. They can make it possible for every person to support a family in comfort and security. They can make it possible for every woman to be free economically, so that she may get along whether she married or single. These are part of the ideals that the socialist cherishes. They are not mere visions, but are things that may be wrought into concrete form, whenever men shall have free access to the means with which things are produced and distributed. They have been impossible of attainment in the past, only because the Earth and its fullness was held from the people by either political or industrial masters. In brief, socialism holds as its great ideal that freedom of action which shall make the making of a living a simple, easy thing, possible to all; and beyond this lies the greater hope of being able to live, to really live.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Depressing Statistics

Statistics Canada recently issued some interesting information on young people. Only one in five children in Canada who need mental health services ever receives professional help; about 3.2. million young people in Canada aged twelve to nineteen are at risk for developing depression; One in four will experience clinical depression by age eighteen; in Canada 75% of mental disorders develop by age 24, fifty per cent by age 14; suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people, after accident, accounting for almost a quarter of all deaths among 15-24 year olds. The pressures and insecurity of life under capitalism affect parents and children. Psychologists and other mental health workers do help patients to cope with the stress of life better but removing the cause would be preferable. Socialism offers security, stability and fulfillment. John Ayers.

Past, Present, and Future (1908)

Past, Present, and Future (1908)

From the May 1908 issue of the Socialist Standard

Andrew Carnegie! Pierpont Morgan! Names not without meaning to the man in the street, but, to the Socialist, symbolic of something of far deeper significance than their mention calls up in the mind of the uninitiated.

Designative of types of two distinct orders of capitalist dominators, representative of two definite eras of industrial history, they bear inconvertible witness to the truth of our scientific conclusion anent the evolutionary nature of capitalism. They are to be cherished as invaluable aids to the understanding of one of the most important lessons the workers have to learn; as raised letters to the blind, ocular demonstration to those who cannot hear.

As far as may ever be properly said  of human kind, the men they nominate are makers of a page of history incomparably more pregnant of consequences to the world than any which chronicles the activities of royal hero or military genius—ancient lights or modern. They mark an epoch.

Their story will bear repeating.

It is common knowledge that at the end of the last century Andrew carnegie was head of the largest steel rail factory in the world, an establishment with an output so vast that to state it is to court suspicion of extravagance.

Here the famous Scot had dominion over which his rule was complete; his word was law, his whim destiny, life and death his prerogative—as was shown when he had his workmen shot down by bargeloads of armed detectives.

Came Pierpont Morgan with new conception. Andrew's method of business was based on competition—the undercutting of rivals. The very essence of Morgan's system was the elimination of competition by amalgamating the powerful concerns of an industry, crushing the smaller, and then,—why then Competition had reached the end of the strife-strewn path that history had foreordained she should traverse, and is discovered taking her ease at least, sitting in peace "under her olive," suckling a sturdy son—Monopoly.

Andrew was asked to abdicate, and, like himself, refused. He would see Morgan hanged and Wall Street sink into the bowels of the earth before he would surrender his factory.

Did Andrew speak without due reflection? It would seem so, for, just as, when he declared the disgrace of dying rich, he underestimated the difficulty of becoming poor, hurling defiance at Wall Street, he depreciated the tremendous power opposed to him.

He quickly found that Morgan had control of the railways, and was therefore in a position of dominance; for without his consent not a rail could be freighted out of the vast Pittsburg steel works. He quickly found also that the new conception did not wait upon the pleasure of the master of Pittsburg; for if he would not submit to be bought out, then Wall Street would amalgamate the remnants of the industry against him and fight him out.

Here was a situation in which all Pinkerton's army could afford Andrew no assistance. Those who threatened him were no longer working men, the natural defence against whom was the levelled rifle. No weapon existed to batter the forces of the financial monarchs, so Carnegie was a beaten man. he retired from the contest—made way for the "Billion Dollar Trust."

Now great change came o'er the land. Pittsburg became a province in the empire of the Steel Trust; the seat of government was shifted to Wall Street; the sceptre had passed from the great ironmaster, acquainted with every corner of his factory, proficient in the technics of his art, supervisor of the operations of producing his commodities, into the hands of the great financier, who knew not what steel was. The position that Andrew had filled with majesty was now the place of a hireling - a mere foreman whose only princely semblance was his salary. Great powers of direction had been given to an employee, but control had passed for ever from the overseer of the productive forces, and had become vested in outsiders, whose utility or necessity the most subtle imagination fails to conceive.

Nor did the change end here. The strife of competition gave place to the peace of monopoly. In the field of steel production there was one master instead of many; in the field of steel distribution there was one seller instead of many. So peace reigned in the steel industry as it does at times in Russia under the soothing influence of the Czar's Cossacks.

All this marks an epoch in capitalism's evolution.

Not the first, be it understood, for the merchant prince was a ruler in his generation, even as the manufacturer has been in the days now slipping into history, and the financier is to be in the days which are to come.

Type of the dying past—Andrew Carnegie; type of the youthful present—Pierpont Morgan; where shall we seek a type of the yet unfulfilled future?

For it may not be doubted that the reign of this present capitalist dominator is transient, even as the others have been. That which has beginning must of necessity have end. Capitalism has not always existed, nor will. It has been revolutionary in its time, has risen against and dethroned its immediate predecessor—Feudalism: what os to dethrone it in its turn? Long since the manufacturer seized the baton of the merchant prince and pushed him from power, only to be himself thrown down in the fulness of time by the financial upstart—who is there left under the sin to unseat this last?

The prophetic finger of Science points to him who even now stands in revolutionary opposition to the regalism of the financial Molloch and his phase of capitalism. For scientific inquiry has furnished abundant evidence that through all history power has moved in the direction of economy, of adjustment to the needs of the social organism, of ultimate advantage to humanity. The manufacturer has played his useful part in production, as did the merchant prince before him in distribution, but what necessary place, in either production or distribution is filled by the financier? The final vestige of useful function has been relegated to an employee, who, however munificent his remuneration, remains a hireling.

Irony of fate—the only use the last of the capitalist rulers can have is to prepare the way for his successor. For long capitalism has been engaged in the lugubrious occupation of digging a grave: it has at length discovered that this grave is its own. For has not Pierpont Morgan himself announced that the function of his kind is to organise production in such form that it may be taken over by the community?

Capitalism is itself to be the educator of the revolution which is to shatter it to pieces. Its latest development, by separating entirely from the productive processes the owners and controllers of the means of production, is making very clear to the worker, what he could never believe before, that he alone is necessary to the creation of material wealth. Control of production, he begins to see, has passed to an order of men who can be removed without any industrial disturbance, and the growing knowledge of this fact pronounces the doom, not only of the phase of financial monarchy in capitalism, but of the capitalist system itself.

Wherefore the prophetic finger aforesaid, which must be pointing somewhere, could indicate none other than the worker as the successor of the modern capitalist. The needs of the social organism demand his rise to power, for it is impossible for that organism to continue to flourish while the vast bulk of its component cells are ill-nourished and stinted. Logic also demands that the worker become paramount, for it is the very antithesis of logic to produce goods for profit instead of for use, to have the producers hungry and unemployed because they have produced too much and glutted the market. Finally, history demands the supremacy of the worker; for why else has it provided this last of the long concatenation of changes which, starting by depriving him of the means of life as necessary condition of their perfection to such as would afford him fuller subsistence and higher existence, end by offering him once again those means of life—radiant with their added wonders of fertility, and large with the promise of still greater wonders yet to be added unto them—if he will only stretch out his hand and take them?

The transition is so easy—merely the substitution of the old property condition for that which so long has played the usurper. Private property in the means of life must go. It has dug its own grave, it remains but for the workers to push it in and cover it up decently.

Then, with common ownership of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth the sound, sure and kindly basis of all human affairs let come what will.

A. E. Jacomb

We need a system change

The red flag for fraternity and freedom.
Socialists primarily concern themselves with analysing the capitalist system, pointing out its defects and advocating the replacing of the capitalist system by the collective ownership and democratic administration of the means of production and distribution. Socialism is the common ownership by all the people of the land, the factories, the transport, and all other means of production and distribution. Socialism means production to satisfy human needs, not as under capitalism, for sale and profit. Many people think that socialism means government ownership but socialists do not want to create an all-powerful government bureaucracy but rather, we believe that social and economic decisions should be made by those whom they most affect. Socialists criticise capitalism, arguing that it derives wealth from a system of labour exploitation and then concentrates wealth and power within a small segment of society that controls the means of production. As a result, society is stratified, split into classes according to who owns the means of production and who is forced to sell their labour; as a result, individuals do not all have the same opportunity to maximise their potential. A capitalist society does not utilise available technology and resources to their maximum potential in the interests of the public. Instead, it focuses on satisfying market-induced wants as opposed to human needs. Socialism means genuine social equality, on a world scale. Socialism means the extension of democracy to all of society, including the economic process.

The overthrow of capitalism—that is a DEMAND—it is THE demand of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. Our party is the only party that points out that there is no alternative for the working class other than socialism. The fundamental issue of our campaign is socialism versus capitalism. The working class must be taught that the problems confronting them cannot be solved except through the end of the capitalist system, trying to reform the capitalism system is like struggling to cure the symptoms and not the disease. Votes obtained by a campaign conducted on the case for socialism mean that those persons who voted can be counted on as supporting socialism. Votes obtained by offering all kinds of reform promises, if ‘socialists’ are elected, are votes of those who will vote Socialist Party today and shift to some other party with a more appetising menu of reforms the next election. They would turn their backs to us and vote for the more “practical” parties.

Reformism regards socialism as a remote goal and nothing more, and actually repudiates the socialist revolution. Reformism advocates not class struggle, but class collaboration. It develops out of faith in the fair mindedness of the ruling class. In the struggle against the system of capitalism, there can be no unity with any section of the capitalists which will only lead to class collaboration and will prolong the existing system of wage slavery and intensify exploitation.

Socialism is the common ownership of the means of production and distribution and their democratic organisation and management by all the people in a society free of classes, class divisions and class rule. Socialism is the democratic organization of production for use, of production for abundance, of plenty for all, without the exploitation of man by man. Socialism is the 'union of the whole world into a worldwide federation of free and equal peoples, disposing in common of the natural resources and wealth. Production is carried on in a planned and democratic way, not on the basis of whether or not the private capitalist can make a profit on the market. 

Socialism means abundance for all. Where there is abundance for all, the nightmare of insecurity vanishes. There are jobs for all, and they are no longer dependent on whether or not the employer can make a fat profit in a fat market. There is not only a high standard of living, but every industrial advance is followed by a rising standard of living and a declining working-day. Where there is abundance for all, and where no one has the economic power to exploit and oppress others, the basis of classes, class division and class conflict vanishes. The basis of a rilling state, of a government of violence and repression, with its prisons and police and army, also disappears. Police and thieves, prisons and violence are inevitable where there is economic inequality, or abundance for the few and scarcity for the many. They disappear when there is plenty for all, therefore economic equality, therefore social equality. Where there is abundance for all, and where all have equal access to the fruits of the soil and the wealth of industry, the mad conflicts and wars between nations and peoples vanish. With them vanishes the irrepressible urge that exists under capitalism for one nation to subject others, to rob it of its rights, to exploit and oppress it, to provoke and maintain the hideous national and racial antagonisms that cling to capitalism like an ineradicable bloodstain. Abundance for all means freedom. Where man is free of economic exploitation, of economic inequality, of economic insecurity, he is free for the first time to develop as a human being among his fellow human beings, free to contribute to the unfolding of a new culture.