Sunday, August 27, 2017

Put not your trust in leaders

It is not theory but reality that is the test of truth. Confusion is becoming worse confounded as a result of changing names, whilst allowing the substance of things to remain the same. By giving things names that denote their real meaning we quicken the understanding of our fellow-workers. We explain the situation as it really is and do not get entangled in ruling class verbiage. Our appeal is to the working class, the propertyless class. They comprehend best when we express ourselves in terms similar to those they use when on the job. The be-all and end-all of propaganda is to translate into everyday language the economics of the present system and the necessity for socialism. Socialists tries to get his or her colleagues to perceive that until the means of wealth production are made common property and a system of production solely for use is established, their lot in life will be that of wage-slaves.

The source of all surplus value is living labour. The capitalist instinctively realises this. The worker is the goose that lays the golden eggs. The capitalist class use the means of wealth production, the land, factories, railways, mines, etc. us a means of constraining the real thing—the slave. The slave is the only form of property that brings to the owner a revenue—something for nothing. When the ruling class quarrel amongst themselves, the wage slaves are torn from productive industry and made to engage in war, the industry of destruction. The workers in different camps are pitted against one another. They re-echo their masters’ slogans of democracy and liberty, but no matter what the result of the conflict may be, the rulers will never sacrifice their right to appropriate unto themselves all the worker produces over and above what is necessary to sustain him. What the capitalist means by liberty and democracy is the full and free opportunity to exploit labour for profit, and those who stand for less than the abolition of the wages system are on the side of labour’s enemies, though they may know it not.

The reforms of the reformers never deal with the source of the trouble: the wealth of the ruling class has not been made less as a result of the activities of those who believe in the inevitability of gradualness, neither has the relative position of master and slave changed. The wealth of the ruling class in normal times steadily increases, and that of the worker becomes relatively less.

The Socialist Party calls upon the workers themselves to put an end to the present deplorable state of things. Instead of relying upon others, we all must tackle the job together. There is nothing to prevent the working class democratically getting hold of the political machinery through the vote. Against the united advance of the working class the capitalist class are absolutely helpless. The interests of the working class are identical on tho class field—the political field. The issue between the wage slaves and their masters is one of ownership.

Until the means of life are made common property, no power ou earth can take labour power out of the category of commodities: there it is fixed by the economic laws of capitalism, therefore the worker must establish socialism or perish in capitalist slavery.
The serious conservatism from which the workers suffer is their habit of clinging to capitalism when Socialism is within their reach if they would have it.  There will be many self-styled saviours of the working class seeking votes and support, shouting urgently for speedy action while they are climbing up the career ladder and then, when they have arrived, imploring the workers to go slow and be content with capitalism. These men are the successors of a long line stretching back to the earliest days of the reformist movement. No matter what their good intentions may be, they will not and cannot do anything for the emancipation of the working class.

 Workers poor are poor because the means of production and distribution are owned and controlled by the capitalist class instead of by the whole community, and consequently so is the wealth produced by the workers. This is the starting point from which the working class should view all schemes for improving capitalism. It is naturally not the starting point for the defenders of capitalism who take private ownership for granted and leave out any possibility of ending it. As a result, their attempts to find out why poverty exist, and how to end it are sterile and fruitless. The workers are poor because over and above the period of their work in which they are producing the equivalent of their wages they are working further to produce surplus value (rent, interest and profit) for the propertied class. They suffer unemployment because the capitalists, in the limitless search for profits and accumulation of capital which the system imposes on each of them if they are to survive in the competitive struggle, are always seeking new management methods and new technology which will save labour and cheapen the product the capitalist owns and must sell. Every wage increase the workers are able to obtain when conditions favour their struggle gives the employers a new incentive to install labour-displacing machinery, add to the army of the unemployed, and thus create conditions in which the existence of large unemployment tends again to depress wages.  Capitalism, except in war, can never guarantee continued full production. Periodically the flood of goods on the market will come up against the problem of finding buyers who can pay the price necessary to provide the profit which alone is the aim of capitalist production. While we are not in a position to prophecy exactly when the next slump and trade crisis will come, come it will despite all the plans and conferences of capitalist governments and Labour Parties. The only remedy for the poverty and crises of capitalism is to abolish capitalism.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Docker's Problems (1944)

From the February 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard

Having witnessed the spectacle of millions of their fellows chasing the will o* the wisp of steady employment in the long years before the present war, to-day in 1944 the workers are performing miracles of constant, unremitting toil. Their numbers reduced by the calls of the armed forces, they are feeding the mammoth war machine of Britain and simultaneously providing the civilian population with at least that minimum of creature comforts necessary. Intriguing speculations are rife in the world of the industrial workers, contrasting tho pre-war scene with the present one. One vivid contrast is that which prevails in the great ports.

Before the war, in “normal” shipping circumstances, there was invariably enacted at the northern ports scenes of struggle for four to eight hours' work that had to be seen to be believed. The docker was then ironically termed a “casual” worker, and the fight for bread often became an actual physical reality. Unfortunate foremen, whose unenviable task it was to select the recipients of four hours' work were often injured, their hands bitten and their clothing torn in the wolfish scramble that took place. Favouritism and nepotism were the order of the day, and violent was the experience often of any who presumed to change the status quo. To-day “things” are changed. The Government, in the beginning of 1941, perceiving the vital need of a trained supply of dock labour, introduced various schemes that have in effect decasualised dock labour. A minority of the men, recognising dangerous anomalies in the official proposals, resisted the innovation. Albeit, the Ministry of War Transport had its way, and to-day in all great ports the Government directs the ebb and flow of labour. Viewed superficially, the weekly guarantee of sums ranging from 55s. to 82s. 6d. to dockers is an immense improvement on previous conditions. For months past, in the columns of the Glasgow dailies, officious magistrates and others have dilated oracularly on the “enormous" wages of the Glasgow dockers. Their effusions have been productive of acid comment among the men concerned. The docker's wage rate has remained unchanged since early in 1940, since when prices generally have risen. The docker to-day, in order to earn a wage that will provide him and his dependants with a working-class standard of comfort has to work many hours of overtime. And that, at a task unquestionably enervating and exhausting. The dockers imagine that most Labour magistrates—who are especially prone to criticism of the men—would quail at the prospect of one hour's work wrestling with bales and cases or pushing trucks, let alone 70 or 80 hours! For years deprived of steady employment, to-day subjected to disciplinary measures for absenting themselves from work.

For years, accustomed to scrambling for work, to-day. in some instances, scrambling in the opposite direction. Their natural industrial combativeness gelded by a combination of patriotism and bureaucratic efficiency, they have in a situation favourable to them as sellers of their commodity, labour-power, allowed their wage-rate to remain static since the first year of war. The Government selected as local administrators prominent members of the dockers' unions, some of them Communists and I.L.P.ers. As is usual, these individuals have “out-Heroded Herod”! The dockers to-day are afflicted with misgivings regarding post-war conditions. Under the plea of a "quick turn round ” of ships to expedite the war effort, they have seen the insidious "whittling away” of much of their T.U. rights and conditions. Conditions that were won after years of unceasing bloody struggle. They see, also, mechanisation taking place, speed-ups that will remain, that will displace large numbers of men in the years to come.

Mr. Bevin, with others, has reassured dockers of the continued existence of guaranteed wages in peace-time, but— they are sceptical. Like the vast majority of workers, the promises made by official spokesmen of projected changes in the post-war industrial set-up, leave dockers cold.

They have been lavishly praised for their fortitude during the period of the blitz, and mention has been made of the fact that their dockside homes have been the target of many bombs. Despite all this, they are profoundly aware of the odds against them in their day-to-day struggle. The end of hostilities will find dockers denuded of many defensive conditions, essential to them to—at best—maintain their conditions of existence. The confident prediction that can be made of general post-war industrial upheaval can be made emphatically of dock-land. Unemployment has driven men to the docks of a higher intellectual level than the old-time docker, and this factor will be felt. The remedy for the docker, like all others possessing nothing but the ability to work, is clear. Jealously guarding their existing T.U. privileges, recognising the essential limitations of their efforts to withstand the attacks of their masters, they must perceive that the private ownership of the machinery of producing wealth, including shipping, is the basic cause of their perpetual poverty and consequent struggle for miserable employment. The S.P.G.B. do not, as our opponents impugn, idly wait on the working class. The lie must be bludgeoned—that S.P.G.B.ers are dilletantes, and the efforts of the members in the actual arena of the industrial workshops is the irrefutable proof. The clerks, labourers, dockers, railwaymen, seamen, taxicabmen, waitresses, etc., that form the membership of the S.P.G.B., call upon their mates, wherever they may be, to examine our case carefully. Having done so, we are sure of their ultimate verdict. We have a great historical responsibility to carry, and we need the help of the working class of the world.

Tony Mulheron
(Mulheron was a dock worker in Glasgow.)

For a socialist future of abundance

Socialists have always faced the question of how to bring our ideas of how we will successfully transform society to the attention of our fellow-workers.  The profit motive of capitalism is fundamentally at odds with the interests of humanity and our task is to convince people of that fact. The Socialist Party asks some basic questions of us all, such as what does it mean to be a human being and how do we organise the world in ways that foster mutual aid, caring and cooperation so to live in harmony with one another and with the natural world. We must persuade men and women to alter their social relations. The Socialist Party declares that socialism is the only alternative social system which will truly emancipate human beings.  We won't achieve social change simply by taking to the streets in protests and demonstrations. These may challenge the authority of the state, but they have not succeeded in usurping it. Those who engage only in protest politics on the margins of society must understand that there will be the power of the State to overturn.  Radical change won't occur by voting for the candidates who promise us various reforms such as a $15 minimum wage, free healthcare and education. We will never achieve the socialist change we so desperately need simply by going to the ballot box and voting for the lesser of evils.

The working class is comprised of people who are selling their ability to work for a wage or salary. The vast majority of people are in the working class despite being quite diverse in appearance. Things are very different today compared to the time Marx was writing Capital but not everything has changed. There still exists the fundamental similarities which formed the basis of his analysis. There is an interaction of the thinking and ideas of people who are responding to their experience under capitalist conditions and from which arises class consciousness.

Many workers hold have an anti-socialist perspective, even if they may understand what socialism means, they just don't believe it is a feasible alternative or a viable vision enough to work towards. How do you win them over is the task of a socialist party. Literature and public meetings may influence but these alone are no guarantee of success. Workers have to largely discover for themselves the socialist solutions to their many problems, through much of their own experience, and then discussions with existing socialists will resonate more deeply. The idea of socialism has to make sense and reflect a person's own experience under capitalism. If capitalism is in crisis as it is right now then that may in some way assist in communicating the case for socialism and connecting that to the idea of socialism and to the need for socialism with the realities and miseries of capitalist daily struggles. Socialists will receive a more receptive hearing when we talk and share ideas. This is how we will build a socialist consciousness and a socialist movement.  If we are to create a new rational society, we must fearlessly build a world socialist movement.

For sure, the Socialist Party does not possess a model of socialism because there has never been a socialist society in the way that it defines socialism. There have been countries that claimed to be socialist, but these were not genuinely socialist. Marx didn't draw any blueprints of what the future society should look like. He recognised that the future society is something that needs to be worked out by the people of that society -- those are going to shape the socialist system in practice. It is impossible to know when and where the revolution is going to happen and what the actual conditions are going to be. So, a blueprint might not be relevant to the actualities of that situation, although Marx did refer to certain guiding general principles that would apply to a socialist society, such as the necessity of democratic administration even if he did not lay out any specific structure of decision-making. He and Engels did refer to the short-lived Paris Commune as an example of what they sought to establish, a democracy where representatives were elected to help oversee things but controlled by the people so that you didn't have a government over the people. Socialism, likewise will require some kind of democracy that is delegated to people who we elect and control where freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of organisation, and freedom to put forward alternatives to the existing policies prevail. There will be checks and balances. The new socialist cooperative commonwealth will facilitate an array of organisations community, city and factory-wide, as well as regional and global entities that are elected and controlled by the people. You cannot have a socialist economy in a single country because what you have is a worldwide capitalist network. For socialism to work there needs to be socialist revolutions in other countries as well.

We cannot have socialism based on poverty and scarcity, because then regardless of what is supposed to happen, people will be competing for scarce resources. Those that will get a little bit more power will be able to get more resources and push others down.

As Sylvia Pankhurst said:
Socialism means plenty for all. We do not preach a gospel of want and scarcity, but of abundance. Our desire is not to make poor those who to-day are rich, in order to put the poor in the place where the rich now are. Our desire is not to pull down the present rulers to put other rulers in their places. We wish to abolish poverty and to provide abundance for all. We do not call for limitation of births, for penurious thrift, and self-denial. We call for a great production that will supply all, and more than all the people can consume. Such a great production is already possible, with the knowledge already possessed by mankind.”
She explained:
“ ...Socialism entails the total abolition of money, buying and selling, and the wages system. It means the community must set itself the task of providing rather more than the people can use of all the things that the people need and desire, and of supplying these when and as the people require them.”

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Case for Socialism

The Socialists Party’s position on parliamentary action is that it must be the revolutionary act as the capture of political power by a class conscious majority of the working class. Although economic organisation of the workers is very necessary in order that they sell their labour-power to the best advantage, unions have many limitations and weaknesses. Unions must depend upon numbers rather than on understanding. They cannot, in the long run, alter the downward trend of working-class conditions. They are concerned primarily with wages and hours problems rather than with overthrowing capitalism. The only way the workers can permanently improve their lot is the establishment of socialism.  A socialist working class does not smash the state. Marx in no place advocated the smashing of the state but on the contrary, he advocated its capture so that the workers could, “lop off its repressive features and transform it into an agent of emancipation.”

 Some consider reforms and government public-ownership (nationalisation) as gradual stepping stones to socialism. Some thought state-capitalism (often called state-socialism) was actually a form of socialism, if not socialism itself. These efforts to administer and reform capitalism led to erroneous concepts, such as identifying certain capitalist relationships as being socialist ones. It has become the custom of intellectuals and progressives to dismiss as dogmatic and sectarian those who understood that socialist activities must not be disassociated and divorced from the socialist objective. Particularly damaging to socialist understanding has been the stress on nationalism which is foreign to the very spirit of socialism, which is a world-wide society. Hosts of workers are bewildered by the deceptions and disappointments of the so-called “socialist” or “communist” “victories.” We are left to wonder how far the socialist movement could have advanced without these vast diversions and had the same efforts being devoted to socialist activities.

The case for socialism is not too difficult to grasp. There are three phases of socialism, an unfolding process.
(1) Socialism arose out of the material conditions of the earlier portion of the 19th Century. It recognises that everything in existence is interrelated and in a constant process of change. Socialism indicates the general outlines and the process of social evolution and, more particularly, the nature of capitalism. It explains how the seed of the forthcoming society is fertilised within the womb of an old society.
(2) Then, socialism becomes a movement. It is not alone sufficient to understand the world. the task is to change it and to arouse the working class to become the agents of change so that the vast majority becomes conscious of its interests, and proceeds to institute socialism. The socialist revolution cannot be rammed down the throats of “followers.” The socialist revolution is majority, conscious and political. It is and can only be democratic by its very inherent nature. It is not a new ruling class coming to power with a subject class having to submit.
(3) Finally, in the course of its evolution, capitalism has laid the groundwork for socialism, a class-free, money-free, wage-free society. Socialism is “a society from which exploitation has been banished and in which the unfolding of each individual would be the condition for the freedom of all.”
A socialist is someone who realises that capitalism can no longer be reformed or administered in the interest of either the working class or society; that capitalism is incapable of eliminating its inherent problems of poverty, wars, crises, etc.; and that socialism offers the solutions for the social problems besetting mankind since the material conditions and developments—with the single exception of an aroused socialist majority—are now ripe for a socialist society. If anyone supports the continuation of capital-wage labour relationships by advocating or organizing to administer the status quo instead of coming out for the socialist revolution then, he or she is NOT a socialist.
The Socialist Party emphasises the need for educating, agitating and organising to keep the issues clear.  It is not that more planning is needed but that outmoded social relations of the capitalist economic system must be abandoned. 

The Contradictions of China’s Capitalism

 The spectacle of a so called 'communist' regime trying to jack up a casino-like capitalist market is just one of the many contradictions that have been accumulating in almost every corner of China’s economy and politics.

 And now, their weight is perhaps becoming too heavy for the Party hierarchy to bear.   Indeed, the composition of the CCP is itself a contradiction. The 'revolutionary' party of peasants and workers is now dominated by businessmen, college students, and professionals. One-third of the people listed in the Hurun Report, the Shanghai-based monitor of China’s wealthiest people, are Party members.

 The average wealth of the richest 70 members of the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament, far exceeds $1 billion. (The richest 70 members of India’s parliament or even the US Congress, both now controlled by right-wing political parties, are substantially less wealthy.)

But, unlike in other capitalist economies, money is not the only tool at the authorities’ disposal. If your brokers in China advise you to sell shares, they must be careful not to appear to be rumormongers, subject to official punishment. And there are reports that sales of large holdings may trigger investigations by the authorities. Causing public disorder or financial instability can be a serious offense in China, where conspiracy theories about foreigners’ efforts to undermine the economy abound.

 What Chinese officials desire is a capitalist stock market without the possibility of large losses that can shake confidence in the CCP’s credibility and control. But that is a market that no one has yet invented.

As Socialists who have always held, like Marx, that socialism and democracy are inseparable and who denounced Lenin's distortion of Marxism right from 1917, we vehemently denied that it is socialism that failed in Eastern Europe. What has failed there is totalitarian state capitalism falsely masquerading as socialism.

Similarly but with more success apparently, the Chinese state capitalist dictatorship has developed capitalism on top of a backwards, feudal economy.

Socialism, as a worldwide society based on common ownership and democratic control of productive resources and the abolition of the wages system and the market with goods and services being produced and distributed to meet needs, has yet to be tried and more than ever remains the only way forward for humanity.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Socialist Party Agenda

The Socialist Party argues that democratic socialism can be achieved when and if a majority of the people become convinced that it is a desirable alternative to the present order. What do socialists do in the meantime, until the majority become convinced of their case? Will the Socialist Party win over the majority of people to their case by fighting to improve their lives under capitalism or by spending all their energies in educating the workers to the necessity of eliminating capitalism and establishing socialism?

 We, as socialists, are not opposed to workers going after reforms. We do not set ourselves up as discouraging these attempts of the workers to improve their conditions under capitalism. We simply know the limitations of these attempts. Our fellow workers have yet to learn them. The members of the Socialist Party do not spurn the day to day struggle. By the very nature of the fact that they are workers, they participate in the fight for better wages and improved working conditions. But with two qualifications, which qualifications arise from the fact that they are socialists first and foremost.

First, socialists understand that this economic struggle against the capitalists is merely a defensive struggle, to keep capital from beating the working class living standards down. For this reason they couple their struggle on the economic front with political education of the workers. They point out the limitations of industrial struggle.

Second, socialists do not advocate regulation and legislation to reform capitalism. To do so would put the socialists in a position of misleading workers into believing that the capitalist state can function in their interests when it is the agency by which the capitalist class maintains its domination over the working class.

It is one thing to say that socialists should not oppose the non-socialists fighting for reforms, and quite another to state that socialists should place themselves in a position of trying to make capitalism work in the interests of the workers, when all along they know it cannot. It is inconsistent, in our opinion, for socialists to seek to solve problems for the workers under a system which we claim cannot solve these problems. Such an approach would never bring about socialism which is our goal.

Suppose for argument's sake that the Socialist Party were to campaign for better housing, hospitals, roads, and so forth. Perhaps we would get a more people joining our party but on what basis would they Join? The same basis on which we appealed to them, a platform of reforms. We would, in the end, have an organization consisting of workers who were seeking continual improvement under capitalist methods of production and distribution, under a price, profit, and exchange economy. What would happen if such an organisation is voted into political power? It merely uses the power of the State to carry on capitalism under different forms public-ownership, various models of nationalisation. It cannot use the control of the State to abolish capitalism, because those members who joined to gain reforms, would be in opposition to it. The Party would have to carry out amelioration measures of capitalism or lose its members to another party which advocated remedial policies.

We have witnessed examples where a party calling itself “socialist,” pledging immediate demands now and promising socialism in the future came into political office, and instead of abolishing exploitation, merely altered the outward appearance of it. The Labour Party has made no attempt to establish socialism. History proved more than once that the means sought social reforms – were identical with the ends sought – a state capitalist society.

 The Socialist Party, on the contrary, appeal for members on the one and only demand of obtaining political power for the purpose of abolishing capitalism. If elected to office, we would not oppose social reforms in the interest of our fellow-workers, but at the same time, we would not be advocating them as solutions or even partial palliatives. By presenting a manifesto of superficial changes to capitalism that did not challenge its fundamental structure, we would not be educating any workers to the necessity for socialism. We would instead be educating on the need to get all they can under the capitalist system. This latter type of education has never produced socialists from among the workers. Those who started out with the idea of “reforms today, socialism tomorrow,” originally viewing reforms as a means to an end, found that the reforms became ends in themselves.

A socialist is involved in the economic struggle by the mere fact that he is a member of the working class which is required to resist the encroachments of capital. But this is not the same thing as suggesting that The Socialist Party engages in activity for improvements in living standards. This is not the function of a socialist party. Its task is to fight for socialism, and the method it employs is education of the majority. A socialist party should not concerned with reforms under capitalism. This is the concern of the trade unions and other social activists, who seek to get all they can out of the present system. Reforms are also the concern of the ruling class which uses reforms to bribe off the working class, to both stem discontent. Were the workers' movements to vanish from the earth, the capitalist, by the very class nature of the system, would still grant reforms to forestall the development of revolutionary thought among the workers. They also implement various social reforms to increase the productivity of their workers so to extract more profit.

 The Socialist Party view those who postpone socialism to the unlimited generations ahead who describe themselves as pragmatists and call The Socialist Party utopian, are in truth unrealistic themselves in believing they can gain the good things of life under capitalism. It is the profit system which prevents workers from obtaining decent homes, clothes, education. Modern technology has reached the point where people can receive what they need for themselves and their children – today.

 If someone believes in socialism, but because it is so far in the future, he or she thinks it best to expend their energy in campaigning for reforms then imagine thousands upon thousands who have thought, and do think; in the same way. Had all these people spent one-tenth of the time for socialism that they spent in fighting for reforms, the socialist movement today would indeed be a large one, and the bigger the socialist organisation gets, the closer we are to socialism. Only if people see the need for socialism, and work actively for it, will we ever obtain socialism? If everyone who reaches a socialist understanding comes to the conclusion that socialism will never come about in his or her lifetime, this is a guarantee that we will never see socialism. Indeed, workers who admit they believe in socialism and then fight for reforms under the excuse the workers are not ready for socialism, really mean that they themselves are not ready for socialism.

We urge upon our fellow-workers to learn well the lesson of class hatred taught them by the masters; let the workers steep themselves in a knowledge of the class war, and act always with that as their guide. No compromise; No quarter, politically and economically. The poverty and the misery the working class suffer and endure is due to robbery and the remedy is to stop the robbers by ousting them, first from political, and then from economic power.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


 The Socialist Party maintains that it is a revolutionary party, committed to class struggle as the means of achieving its ends. That does not mean, however, that we intend to take to the barricades and launch a civil war. The Socialist Party maintains that the only way socialism will come about is for a majority of people, on a worldwide basis, to believe in the benefits of the socialist system of society system. We favour achieving this objective through the use of elections, although in the current situation our main function is as a propaganda group to try to raise consciousness. We HOLD that it is possible to make the transition from capitalism to the complete abolition of the state immediately that the majority decides to do it.
Three points are vital to an understanding of what The Socialist Party mean by socialism.
We reject the idea that socialism has been tried in countries sometimes referred to as socialist.
We reject the idea of socialism in one country. National socialism equals non-socialism. The capitalist system is global and so must the system which will replace it.
We reject the idea that people can be led into socialism. Socialism will not be established by good leaders, but by thinking men and women . There can be no socialism without socialists.
Socialism means for the Socialist Parties a global system of social organisation based on:
Common Ownership: All the productive wealth of the world will belong to all the people of the world. No more transnational corporations or small businesses and therefore nobody will own the world. It will be possessed by all of its inhabitants.
Democratic Control By All: Who will run socialist society? We all will. There will be no more government and governed. People will make decisions freely in their communities, in regions and globally. With the existing means of information technology and mass communication this is all possible.
Production For Use: Instead of producing goods and services for sale and profit, the sole reason for production will be to satisfy needs and desires.
Free Access: A society in which everyone owns everything, decides everything and only produces anything because it is useful will be one in which all will have free access to what is produced. Money will cease to have any function. People will not work for wages or salaries, but to give what they can and take what they need.

If you work for wages, it is not socialism.
If goods and services are sold in the market place with a view to profit, it is not socialism.
If the world is divided into nations, it is not socialism.
If there is any kind of government over people, it is not socialism.
Unless each man, woman, or child in the world has free access to all the goods and services, it is not socialism.

  • A society without classes and class property
  • Common ownership of the means of wealth production and distribution
  • Production to meet human need
  • Free access for every man, woman and child, each determining their own needs
  • No classes: all persons stand equally in relation to the means of wealth production
  • Participants fit enough to work volunteer services as preferred and needed
  • No buying, selling or exchange
  • No wasteful activities to support capitalism
  • Emphasis on democratic co-operation
  • Elections as required to choose representatives or delegates
  • Administration of things
  • No nation states, wars, armed forces
  • Education and health care for all
  • No property crime, any residual crime dealt with humanely
  • No environmental problems caused by profit seeking
The Socialist Party is completely against capitalism. Capitalism is a relation of production whereby past labour i.e., dead labour sucks living labour like a vampire. It works objectively through its law of value. Thus capital is essentially a capitalist. Just as a wage worker is a slave of wage, so also a capitalist (no matter what its form – individual, joint-stock or state) is a slave of profit; capital coerces both to get accomplished its sole objective of expanded reproduction – self-expansion, self-motivated accumulation. As world socialists our one single objective is to end capital; we are against capital. We reject a false view of some pseudo-Marxists that we need capital and not capitalists. Actually, the capitalist ceases to exist when capital ceases to exist. So capitalism is the problem. Its motive force is profit; Capitalism is production for profit. Even if, for argument's sake, the same system is managed by compassionate and conscientious people profit is a must, hence exploitation of the working class is a must since the desired goal of the system is to maximize profit. Capitalism is all about profit. Capital is accumulated and animated profit. Its nature remains the same no matter how it is managed and who manages it. Without profit, there is no capital. Whereas the working class‟s desired goal is emancipation from exploitation which, however, is the sole source of capital. How can it be achieved if capitalism exists?

The Socialist Party is genuinely holding on to a whole new path to global peace and prosperity. Global peace and prosperity are at stake under capitalist relations of production. Today capitalism is the cause of war, terrorism and destruction. An exploitative and oppressive system cannot be peaceful – slavery hadn't been peaceful, serfdom and feudalism weren't peaceful, and capitalism isn't peaceful. You cannot put a square peg into a round hole. You cannot make a tiger eat grass. World capitalism and world peace are opposed to each other. There will be no peace until we achieve equality that is socialism.

Capitalists are the parasites of society. They consume from the surplus value produced and handed over to them by the working class. Workers consume just a part portion – a historically diminishing portion (relative wage i.e., a share of the collective working class in comparison to that of the collective capitalist class in the total global production) of what they themselves have produced. Actually, all workers cannot buy all that you have listed; the majority of them are forced to live in poverty, temporary and permanent unemployment and misery, in spite of the global abundance (both real and potential) they have already created. It is the working class who produces, stocks, preserves and protects everything capitalism needs; they run and defend all the affairs of the system. On the other hand, the capitalists do nothing but consume what they haven't produced but appropriated from the working class.

For us, abundance for all – that is socialism. 

Global capitalist rakes it in

One well known scrounger member of the parasitic capitalist class who owns a golf course and hotel in Scotland has had a windfall thanks to  a measure supposed to help struggling businesses. Donald Trump’s luxury hotel in Turnberry has been handed a £110,000 tax rebate by Scottish ministers as part of an emergency bailout intended to help struggling small businesses.

Figures reveal that the Trump Turnberry hotel on the coast of Ayrshire, where suites cost up to £815 a night, had its property tax cut by £109,530 as a result of the measure. That led to a 13.5% reduction in its normal annual business rates bill of £811,850.

The Scottish rebate was announced in February after hoteliers and restaurant owners complained about a rise in property taxes of up to 400% that came into force this year. The complaints were most intense in north-east Scotland, a region hit hard by a slump in oil prices.

Only available to firms in the hospitality sector, the rebate was put into effect Scotland-wide, and included companies making profits or those unaffected by the economic downturn.
Never one to be bashful the US president boasted earlier this year that Turnberry and its championship golf courses were doing “unbelievably” well because the value of sterling had fallen since the Brexit vote in June 2016.
The resort’s general manager, Ralph Porciani, told newspapers in January he was expecting bumper profits for 2016 and 2017, with revenues likely to be up to 20% higher than the £16m Turnberry earned in 2007. Turnberry increased its golf club membership fees by 38%, to £2,500 a year, after its courses were upgraded.
“From the business we have on the books so far, the pace is telling me the Trump Turnberry will have its best year of revenue in 100 years,” Porciani said. Previously the resort had been closed for refurbishment.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Brief Introduction to Marxian Economics

Marx and Engels wrote a great deal, on a wide variety of subjects and over a long period of time.  Some of their writing was in response to political issues of the day which are long forgotten, some was concerned to criticise opponents who held views now rarely encountered, while some was of a very abstract and philosophical nature.  So it can be very difficult for someone with no previous acquaintance with their work to know where to begin.  And diving in at some unsuitable place (Capital, vol. 1, ch. 1, for instance) may discourage further exploration.  Their writings on economics, on history and on politics were for Marx and Engels closely interrelated. 

Under capitalism, wealth takes the form of an immense accumulation of commodities, so Marx begins Capital by an analysis of the commodity, which leads to the distinction of use-value, value and exchange-value. The value of a commodity is the amount of labour-time socially necessary for its production. The air has use-value but no value, as its usefulness does not result from labour. Different forms of value are discussed before Marx turns to the fetishism of commodities, whereby commodities seem to take on a life of their own, rather than being seen as products of human labour. Then comes a discussion of money, the universal measure of value and means of exchange. A general rise in the price of commodities may result from a fall in the value of money (inflation). The exchange of commodities follows the circuit Commodity-Money-Commodity (C-M-C). The total of such circuits is the circulation of commodities and the starting-point of capital. Alongside the C-M-C circuit is that of M-C-M (i.e. buying in order to sell), and money which circulates in this way is potentially capital.  Money which begets money (M-C-M’) is the general formula of capital.

 Marx shows that the creation of surplus-value and conversion of money into capital cannot come about by commodities being sold above their value or being bought below it – it is not circulation that creates value. Instead, there is a commodity the consumption of which (uniquely) creates value, viz. a person’s mental and physical capabilities for work, or labour power.  Only under certain circumstances, however, is labour power offered for sale as a commodity.  When it is, the value of labour power is determined by the quantity of means of subsistence necessary for the worker’s maintenance.  Capitalists buy labour power, workers sell it in return for wages.
Besides human activity, the work process needs a subject for people to work on .  Some subjects of labour are spontaneously provided by nature (e.g. fish in the sea or ore in the ground), but most – called raw materials – have been previously worked on by labour (e.g. ore extracted from the ground and ready for washing).  Also needed are instruments of labour (tools etc.).  Together, instruments and subjects of labour make up the means of production.
But back to labour power, which is a source of more value than it has itself.  The capitalist, having bought the labour power, can oblige the worker to work for longer than is required to produce the value of that labour power, and so surplus value is produced.  Capital can be seen as being of two types.  Constant capital, represented by means of production, undergoes no alteration of value in the process of production; but variable capital, represented by labour power, produces an excess or surplus-value.  Since the value of constant capital merely reappears in the product, the rate of surplus-value is to be measured by comparing the surplus-value with just the variable capital, not the whole capital.
The time that the worker spends on producing surplus value is surplus labour-time, and the work done during this time is surplus labour.  The rate of surplus-value can also be measured, equivalently, by comparing necessary to surplus labour.  The aim of capitalist production is the production of surplus value.
We should stress that Capital is not just a book about economics, as it contains a mass of historical material as well.  For instance, it deals with working conditions in the early capitalist factories, covers the historical origins of capitalism, including how the agricultural population was moved off the land in the Highland Clearances while  Ch. 32 is a short description of the historical tendency of capitalist production, with a reference to the expropriators being expropriated. 
To get a proper understanding of economic recessions you have to look back to Karl Marx. who developed a real comprehension of how the capitalist system operates and why it constantly fails to live up to the hopes of the politicians who preside over it. Marx argued that “capitalist production moves through certain periodical cycles. It moves through a state of quiescence, growing animation, prosperity, over trade, crisis and stagnation” (Value, Price and Profit, chapter XIII). He showed that capitalism’s drive towards expansion is not a straight upward line but proceeded through cycles. Though there is a general upward trend in terms of total production, this is necessarily punctuated by periods in which production falls and unemployment grows. This analysis is, of course, in line with capitalist reality. Throughout its history capitalism has developed in this way. No-one has prevented slumps from happening or be able to ensure permanent boom conditions. That much is self-evident.
The actual explanation of crises and depressions put forward by Marx, particularly in Vol II of Capital recognizes that capitalist crises are simultaneously problems of production and of the realisation of surplus value on the market. The explanation of slumps suggested by Marx does not simply rely on a long-term tendency which may or may not be operating at any given time nor on the entirely mistaken view that capitalist production will always tend to outstrip total market demand.
The explanation suggested by Marx goes to the root nature of the capitalist mode of production itself. Capitalism differs from other modes of production such as feudalism or chattel slavery in that under these previous forms of class society, most production was carried on for use. Capitalism, having separated the producers from the means of production and only allowing them access to them via the exploitative wages system, promotes productive activity only when goods can be sold on a market with the expectation of profit.
Decisions about production – from what is to be produced, to how much of it should be produced and where – are not taken with the satisfaction of human needs in mind. Decisions about production are decisions to produce those goods that appear the most likely to procure a profit when sold on the market, at any given moment.
This drive to procure a monetary profit is not essentially a product of the desire of the capitalists to have a luxurious lifestyle. If a capitalist or group of capitalists are to stay in business they must accumulate capital to expand and survive against their competitors. It is this process of re-investment that uses up much of the profits made by the capitalist class.
It is in this way – through the exploitation of workers, the profitable sale of commodities, and the accumulation of capital – that capitalism is able to expand and develop the means of production. But this expansion is not planned expansion. The operation of capitalism is not planned at the level of the whole economy. Decisions about investment and production are made by thousands of competing enterprises operating independently of social control or regulation.
The unplanned nature of production, or the anarchy of production as Marx called it, is at the heart of Marx’s explanation of why capitalism is periodically beset by crises and depressions. Because production is not socially regulated, some enterprises will eventually invest and expand production to such an extent that not all of the commodities produced can be sold on the market at a profit. In the drive to accumulate capital as rapidly as possible, they over-anticipate market demand and expand their productive capacity beyond that which the market can absorb. Unsold goods begin to pile up. Expected profits are not realised, and production has to be curtailed. This, of course, will have a knock-on effect. The enterprises’ suppliers will be faced with reduced demand and will no longer be able to sell all their products either, and this, in turn, will affect their suppliers’ suppliers and so on.
The size and nature of the enterprises or industries which over-invest and over-expand their productive capacity in this manner will, of course, affect the nature of the crisis. A small number of peripheral enterprises over-expanding and perhaps going bankrupt will not have nearly the impact of one or more key industries over-expanding. Indeed it is one or more key industries over-expanding for the market that is the usual cause of a capitalist crisis and subsequent slump.
In his own elaboration of this view, Marx divided capitalist production into two main sectors (see Capital Vol II, chapters 20 and 21):
DEPT I, producing means of production or what are sometimes called “capital goods”, and
DEPT II, producing means of consumption, or “consumer goods”.
Marx’s explanation of crisis was complicated enough, but the actual division of capitalist industry is, of course, much more complicated than this simple two-sector model. Marx’s aim, though, was to show that for capitalist accumulation and growth to be achieved steadily, then there would have to be a balanced growth between these two departments of production. Put simply, if say the consumer goods sector expands disproportionately more than the capital goods sector, then at some point the enterprises in that sector will not be able to sell all their products and will have to cut back on production and orders of capital goods causing a general crisis to break out.
Where this two-sector model is rather a simplification is that, if capitalist growth is to be smooth, all sectors or sub-sectors of the economy must expand in a balanced and proportionate manner. But because of the general anarchy of production in the capitalist system, there will inevitably be a disproportionate investment and a disproportionate growth between the various sectors of the economy. When capitalists invest to expand production, they do not objectively consider the needs of the other sectors of the economy; they are interested in the rate of return they can get on their own investments and it is not therefore surprising that over-investment and over-expansion take place in key sectors of the economy. It occurred in key industries in the consumer goods sector before the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and it has recently occurred in a number of those enterprises and industries that expanded at a fast pace in the 1980s, particularly micro-electronics, computing, information technology and so on.
Let us now look now at what happens once the crisis has occurred and the slump phase of the economic cycle has been entered. One of the most important factors to consider when capitalism is moving from one stage of its trade cycle to another is the rate of profit – or, to be more precise, short to medium term fluctuations in the rate of profit (as opposed to the long-term tendency discussed in a previous section for the average rate of profit to fall due to the replacement of variable capital with constant capital).
During a crisis and at the onset of a slump the rate of profit on investments will fall dramatically as firms are unable to sell all that has been produced and so are unable to realise surplus value embodied in them. But this decline in the rate of profit is not permanent; it is part of the economic cycle, and during a slump conditions eventually, begin to emerge which point towards an increase in the rate of profit and renewed investment. No slump is ever permanent. This is because during a slump three basic things happen.
The first is that a number of enterprises will go bankrupt and their assets will be bought cheaply by their rivals. The result of this is a depreciation of the capital invested in them leading to a halt, and eventual reversal, in the decline of the rate of profit. An important factor in this is the decline in the value of the stocks that have built up towards the end of the boom, during the crisis and in the early stages of the slump.
The second thing to happen in a slump is that there is the re-appearance of a large reserve army of labour which makes an increase in the rate of exploitation possible. There will probably be a halt in the growth of real wages and perhaps even a cut, which will serve to increase the rate of profit without, at this stage of the economic cycle, damaging the prospects for realisation of surplus value on the markets, because capital depreciation and destruction of stocks will have been taking place and the supply of commodities will have been curtailed.
The third factor is interest rates. As the slump develops, interest rates will tend to fall naturally as the demand for money capital falls away. This will have a beneficial impact on the rate of industrial profit and, in conjunction with the other two factors, will improve the prospects for investment and expansion.
Because of these three factors – capital depreciation, an increase in the rate of exploitation, and naturally falling interest rates in a slump – enterprises will start expanding production again as investment picks up and as demand for products grows, with more workers being employed again. This will lift the economy out of the slump phase of the cycle, and industry will be in the state of growing animation referred to by Marx that occurs before a boom. The cycle will then have come full circle.
The important thing about all this is that the crisis and depression phases of the economic cycle do not occur because something has “gone wrong” with the operation of the capitalist economy. On the contrary; they are in fact an entirely necessary feature of the development of capitalism, serving to rid the system of its more inefficient enterprises where returns on investments are low, and thereby promoting investment and expansion in those enterprises fit enough to survive. Far from being an instance of capitalism “going wrong” in some way, slumps show that capitalism is working normally and in accordance with its own economic laws and mechanisms of development.



The Daily Telegraph's highlighted the fact that tax paid by the rich
has increased in the last decade by 3% -- conveniently forgetting
that their share of wealth's increased by a far greater percentage.

Not for the rich a divvy freeze,
And no sign of austerity,
And not for them a ten-year squeeze,
When they've been down upon their knees;
But unabashed prosperity.

And not for them or all their brood,
Of whether they will have to choose,
Between themselves and kids for food,
Or some choice equally as crude;
Which one of them will have to lose.

And not for them to have to bitch,
And stay and pay the bedroom-tax,
For Corporations and the rich,
Acquiring wealth's reached fever-pitch;
As tax enforcement seems quite lax.

And not for them what seems a cheek,
Of borrowing to pay the rent,
And reaching the end of the week,
Where the outlook is still as bleak;
Without a single lousy cent.

And not for them the awful plight,
Of having men cut off the gas,
Or cutting down on heat and light,
To darken more their hopeless blight;
Or something equally as crass.

No, for the rich what brings a frown,
As it's their main priority,
Is stopping wealth from trickling down,
To the less gentle parts of town;
And the brainwashed majority!

© Richard Layton

Monday, August 21, 2017

Why the Socialist Party

Any effort to increase workers awareness for a new society - a socialist cooperative commonwealth - has to to be viewed favourably. We need to know where we are going if we set out on a journey, otherwise, we all risk ending up in different places. Agreeing a consensus on the route and the mode of transport is desirable. We all must learn from our own particular exploitation but it is also necessary to go further and recognise the commonality of how we are controlled and conditioned. Then we seek common cause and action. We cannot create an hierarchy of degree of individual exploitation. 

In order to fit themselves for this task, the working class must acquire the consciousness which alone can enable them to do so. This consciousness must comprise, first of all, a knowledge of their class position. They must realise that, while they produce all wealth, their share of it will not, under the present system, be more than sufficient to enable them to reproduce their efficiency as wealth producers. They must realize that also, under the system they will remain subject to all the misery of unemployment, the anxiety of the threat of unemployment, and the cares of poverty. They must understand next the implications of their position – that the only hope of any real betterment lies in abolishing the social system which reduces them to mere sellers of their labour power, exploited by the capitalists. They will see then, since this involves dispossessing the master class of the means through which alone the exploitation of labour power can be achieved, there must necessarily be a struggle between the two classes – the one to maintain the present system of private (or class) ownership of the means of living and the other to wrest such ownership from them and make these things the property of society as a whole. This is the struggle of a dominant class to maintain its position of exploitation, on the one hand, and of an enslaved and exploited class to obtain its emancipation, on the other. It is a class struggle.
A class which understands all this is class-conscious. It has only to find the means and the method by which to proceed, in order to become the fit instrument of the revolution. What is the role of a revolutionary organisation except to bring under its umbrella all the struggles of the working class into a mass movement? To unify towards one goal. The abolition of capitalism.

With or without revolutionary organisations, workers and oppressed peoples will and do resist and they discover for themselves the best means of that struggle. Unlike the Leninist/Trotskyist parties, the Socialist Party has no programme of assuming leadership of such struggles and its only advice is simple - such movements have to be democratic, and adding the caveat, that such victories which are achieved will never fully satisfy aspirations and may indeed be only transitory and require constant defending.

So, therefore, understanding that the working class (and, of course, it is accepted that we are a heterogeneous class - with conflicting interests at times and in certain places) do engage in the class struggle and require no declaration of class war from any political group, what then is the role of a revolutionary party but to advocate and educate, until itself is in a position of being a mass movement that can go on to organise as the expression of the class.

And what is it we advocate and educate for? A new society that is an alternative to the existing one. And if that is considered as abstract propaganda-ism, so be it, we plead guilty. The real crime, though, is to forget what we struggle for. We understand the limitations of a revolutionary organisation in our present time and make no grandiose claims of our own organisation's importance to the workers' actual battles in the class struggle, that they can and do conduct without the intervention of a revolutionary political party. 

The aim of the Socialist Party is to persuade others to become socialist and act for themselves, organising democratically and without leaders, to bring about a new socialist society. We are solely concerned with building a movement for socialism. We are not a reformist party with a program of policies to patch up capitalism. The Socialist Party seeks to deepen and better articulate our understanding of the world, Publishing and stating our case wherever and however possible while supporting our fellow-workers in the trade unions (and other movements of the working class), supporting their strikes and actions. The Socialist Party consistently advocates a fully democratic society based upon cooperation and production for use. The more who join the Socialist Party, the more we will be able to get our ideas across. The more experiences we will be able to draw on and greater will be the new ideas for building the movement for socialism. The Socialist Party is an organisation of equals. There is no leader and there are no followers.