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.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
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.
Monday, December 21, 2015
From the August 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard
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.
SECOND SPEECH FOR THE COMMUN1ST PARTY.
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.
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 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.)
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.
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."
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 régime, 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.
|PAYING HOMAGE TO THE ROBBER BARONS|
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Friday, December 18, 2015
Thursday, December 17, 2015
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
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
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
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
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
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)
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.
|The red flag for fraternity and freedom.|
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