Friday, December 21, 2018

A Wonderful Life

Hundreds of workers at a West Lothian computer factory were told they would not receive their Christmas wages. Staff at optical manufacturer Kaiam were informed they had not been paid because of cash flow problems. Workers were also told to stay away from the Livingston plant until 3 January.
About 300 people work at Kaiam, which has its headquarters in California, USA. In 2014 the firm was given a £850,000 Scottish Enterprise grant to relocate some of its production from a site in China to Livingston.
Kaiam worker Joanne Baxter said she was "absolutely gutted" at the news.
She added: "It is bad enough any time of the year being in this situation but it is Christmas and people are relying on this wage to just start their Christmas shopping today.There's  people in there with just one breadwinner in the family, they've got kids and they've not even got a selection box for them - I mean how devastating can it be?"
Another employee said: "My rent is due in the next few days and I don't know what I am going to do."
The CEO, Bardia Pezeshki, had seen staff the day before the announcement.
Livingston MP Hannah Bardell said, “He said nothing, then in an unspeakable act of cowardice flew home to the US as staff were being told they wouldn’t paid before Xmas.”




The collapse of the Grameen Bank

Back in 2012 Socialist Courier blogged about the Grameen Bank, here   and here

Our message back then challenged the promise of microfinance to bring about a reduction in poverty.

 Grameen Foundation Scotland has now folded. It provided loans to about 1,000 people. Its debts became "insurmountable" when the foundation's cash flow was hit after some of its customers fell into arrears.

Ahhh, well...

Green Energy?

Compensation payments of more than £500 million have been made to wind farms to switch off turbines over the past eight years, the latest figures show. 

A new monthly record was set in September this year, when £28,434,560 was paid out by National Grid to stop electricity generation. 

Most cash was paid to Scottish wind farms, with some earning more than £1m a month for not supplying power. 

Whitelee and its extension on the outskirts of Glasgow, the biggest onshore wind farm in the UK, has received almost a fifth of the entire pot since 2010, with payments totalling more than £96m to date. Meanwhile, the 350MW Clyde scheme, near Abington in South Lanarkshire, has raked in more than £64m and the Griffin, near Aberfeldy in Perthshire, nearly £32m. The amount paid out has been rising annually,

https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/scottish-wind-farm-paid-96m-to-switch-off-1-4846602

Understanding what a socialist society will be

Socialist society, as the Socialist Party repeatedly makes clear, will be a non-market society, with all that that implied: no money, no buying and selling, no prices, no wages. The Communist Manifesto specifically speaks of “the Communistic abolition of buying and selling”  and of the abolition not only of capital (wealth used to produce other wealth with a view to profit) but of wage labour too. In Volume I Marx speaks of “directly associated labour, a form of production that is entirely inconsistent with the production of commodities . . .”  and in Volume II of things being different “if production were collective and no longer possessed the form of commodity production . . .”. Also, in Volume II, Marx in comparing how Socialism and capitalism would deal with a particular problem twice says there would be no money to complicate matters in socialist society: “If we conceive society as being not capitalistic but communistic, there will be no money-capital at all in the first place . . .”  and “in the case of socialized production the money-capital is eliminated”.

In other words, in socialism, it is solely a question of planning and organisation. Marx also advised trade unionists to adopt the revolutionary watchword “Abolition of the Wages System” and, in his Critique of the Gotha Programme, stated “within the co-operative society based on the common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products”  for the simple reason that their work would then be social, not individual and applied as part of a definite plan. What they produce belongs to them collectively, i.e. to society, as soon as it is produced; socialist society then allocates, again in accordance with a plan, the social product to various previously-agreed uses.

Karl Marx used five words to describe future society: communist, associated, socialised, collective and co-operative. All these words convey a similar meaning and bring out the contrast with the capitalist society where not only the ownership and control of production but life generally is private, isolated and atomized. Of these the word Marx used most frequently — almost more frequently than communist — was association. Marx wrote of future society as “an association which will exclude classes and their antagonism”  and as “an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”. In Volume III of Capital Marx writes three or four times of production in future society being controlled by the “associated producers”. Association was a word used in working-class circles in England to mean a voluntary union of workers to overcome the effects of competition. This was Marx’s sense too: in a future society, the producers would voluntarily co-operate to further their own common interest; they would cease to be “the working class” and become a classless community.

In these circumstances, the State as an instrument of political rule over people would have no place. The State as a social organ of coercion is in the Socialist Party view, only needed in class-divided societies as an instrument of class rule and to contain class struggles. As Marx put it, in a socialist society “there will be no more political power properly so-called since political power is precisely the official expression of antagonism in civil society”  and “the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another”. Socialist society would indeed need a central administration but this would not be a “State” or “government” in that it would not have at its disposal any means of coercing people, but would be concerned purely with administering social affairs under democratic control. As Marx explained it would be “the conversion of the functions of the State into a mere superintendence of production”, and he also declared that “freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinate to it”. In other words, once socialism had been established and classes abolished, the coercive and undemocratic features of the State machine would have been removed, leaving only purely administrative functions mainly in the field of the planning and organization of production. It is significant that Marx never defined communist society in terms of the ownership and control of the means of production by the State, but rather in terms of ownership and control by a voluntary association of the producers themselves. He did not equate what is now called “nationalisation” with socialism. The feature of communist society, in Marx’s view, would be consciously planned production. He writes of a society “in which producers regulate their production according to a preconceived plan”  and of “production by freely associated men . . . consciously regulated by them in accordance with a settled plan”. Socialism would allow mankind to consciously regulate their relationship with Nature; only such a consciously planned society was truly human society, a society compatible with human nature.

The Socialist Party holds that the future communist society would be a class-free community, without any coercive State machine, based on the common ownership of the means of production, with planning to serve human welfare completely replacing production for profit, the market economy, money, and the wages system — even in the early stages when it might not prove possible to implement the principle “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."


Thursday, December 20, 2018

We must learn for ourselves


" If a worker wants to take part in the self-emancipation of his class, the basic requirement is that he should cease allowing others to teach him and should set about teaching himself." - Joseph Dietzgen 


The goal of the Socialist Party is a revolution – the abolition of capitalist private property, the abolition of all exploitation of man by man, the common ownership of the means of production and their planned use for the benefit of the whole of society, leading to abundance and the Brotherhood of Man. Socialism means a society without class antagonisms, in which the people themselves control their means of life and use them for their own happiness. The Socialist Party does not put forward this goal as a utopia, as a mere vision of what would ideally satisfy people’s needs and make them all happy, but as a  practical aim to be achieved by the actual conditions of modern society. Socialism will only be gained by waging the class struggle. And to achieve the conquest of power, the working class must have its own independent political party. Socialism is not inevitable. What has been termed its ‘inevitability’ consists in this, that only through socialism can human progress continue? But there is not and cannot be any absolute deterministic inevitability in human affairs since man makes his own history and chooses what to do. What is determined is not his choice, but the conditions under which it is made, and the consequences when it is made. The meaning of socialism is not that it tells us that socialism will come regardless, but that it explains to us where we stand, what course lies open to us, what is the road to class emancipation.

The master class, being but a mere tenth of the population, can only keep possession of the means of production by their control through the political machinery of the State) of the armed forces. While the master class has that control it is hopeless for the workers to attempt to seize capitalist property. It is sheer madness, therefore, to expect that the capitalist class would, because the workers demand it, either abolish the armed forces or hand their control over to the working class. That would be to abolish themselves as a ruling class. Further, the interests of the capitalists of one country clash with those of the capitalists of other lands, especially in the matter of obtaining markets, and so long as capitalism lasts there will be this clash of interests, necessitating ever-increasing armaments and the inevitable appeal to arms. It is then absurd to waste time and energy in an endeavour to convince the capitalists that wars are superfluous and a curse under capitalism.

Let the workers learn their position in society and unite to obtain control of the machinery of government, including the armed forces. Such action will make it possible for them to take possession of the means of production and use them for the benefit of all. In that way alone will they be able to usher in a system of society wherein universal unity of interests will abolish all war, be it between classes or nations. Only the establishment of socialism can give us a world of peace and plenty. 

“A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings.” Jimmy Reid


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Understanding Reformism

It is a popular fallacy that, since capitalists are obviously rich, all socialists opposed to the capitalist system must be poor. Many people have a hazy notion that all poor people are socialists and all rich ones anti-socialists.  Nothing can be farther from the truth. The poorer people are, frequently, the more devoted to capitalism. Who has not met the destitute wretch, subsisting by cadging hand-outs, who runs round shrieking nationalistic nonsense? Conversely, nothing is more fallacious than the notion that all rich people are anti-socialists. Many rich men and women have been most creditable socialist thinkers and writers — some outstandingly so. Frederick Engels immediately springs to mind: a successful manager of his father’s cotton mill.

What makes a person a capitalist is not what he thinks, but what he has: his bank balance, not his mental balance. This is the crux of the question. A capitalist is a possessor of capital. And what is capital? It is wealth invested to produce profit.

Classes are defined by their respective connections to the productive forces within a certain type of production relation and arise as soon as it is no longer necessary for everyone to work in order to sustain society. A social division of labour has been transformed into a relation of oppression and exploitation.

Most members of the working class find it difficult to imagine a society without wages. Born into a world where the majority of people depend on wages to survive, they imagine that there is something inevitable about this arrangement and perhaps forget that it was not always so. In primitive societies, there were no wage-workers; in slave-owning and feudal societies, very few. The preponderance of wage-workers in modern societies is the result of the development of capitalism as a mode of wealth production.

Wages are the price paid by the capitalist employer for the physical and mental energies of the worker for an agreed period of time – typically in this country for a forty-hour week – although the period of time may be much greater, especially among what are known as “salaried employees” or the “executive class” who are nonetheless wage workers like the rest. However, during whatever period of time is customary for the type of work, the employee must accept that any wealth produced, whether in the form of commodities or services, belongs to the employer to dispose of at whatever price the market will bear.

Profit is not something added on by the employer when the product is marketed. A moment’s thought will show that this cannot be so. If it were, then we would need to ask ourselves why profit margins vary so much, why occasionally some employers make a loss, and why they are so concerned about wage levels when all they would need to do is add to the costs of production, including wages, a percentage profit

At a time when there is a shrinking and therefore highly competitive market, employers are under greater pressure to reduce wages in order to survive. This downward pressure on wages takes many forms, some of which may not be immediately evident.
 
In a period of high unemployment, employers may present workers with the alternative of a direct cut in wages or redundancy.
  
Employers may search the labour market for workers who will accept the lowest pay, compatible with efficient work, for example by employing women instead of men, younger workers with smaller financial commitments or immigrant workers accustomed to a lower standard of living. They may even transfer their activities abroad to take advantage of a cheaper labour market. 
 
The introduction of machinery, or the updating of existing machinery, may reduce a company’s wage bill by making it possible to employ unskilled instead of skilled workers or simply by reducing the numbers of workers required for a given volume of production.

By changing the organisation of the productive process, for example by division of labour, the actual numbers employed may be reduced or production may be increased without adding to the labour force. The stress put on “increased productivity” should sound a clear note of warning for the working class in spite of the fact that many so-called representatives of the workers go along with the idea. Just as the capitalist class considers their interests as a class, so should the working class view their collective interests.

In the road transport industry, the increase in the size of lorries is designed to reduce the number of drivers and therefore the total wage bill. Thus we see on the roads today lorries of a capacity many times those used a decade ago – yet still under the control of one driver. A similar development is seen in the size of aircraft, which results in a more intensive use of airfields.

In the retail trade self-service has been introduced wherever practical. For some products, for example, groceries, people may welcome the saving in time. Some may deplore the lack of personal service. These considerations do not, however, enter into the calculations of the capitalist, who will weigh in the balance the cost of installing the self-service system against the saving in wages which may result. This is often a two-fold saving: in numbers of staff relative to the volume of sales and the level of wages required to operate the system.

To maximise profits wages should ideally be just adequate to maintain the worker’s efficiency and to rear children as replacements. When during World War II reformers were advocating a system of family allowances – in this case, payment to those with large families – Sir William Beveridge put the matter quite clearly from the employers’ point of view. In a letter to The Times (12 January 1940) he wrote:
“We cannot in this war afford luxuries of any kind, and it is a luxury to provide people with incomes for non-existent children.”

A system of family allowances is not the only way in which wages can be made to fit more closely the minimum needs of the working class. Any form of government subsidy must be viewed with suspicion from this point of view. We may take for example on the need to subsidise public transport. Its advocates present such measures as a benefit for those workers who travel to work each day by train or bus. In fact, it is only a benefit to employers who would otherwise have to include in the wages of all their employees enough to pay the “economic fare” – whether or not they all make use of public transport. To paraphrase Sir William Beveridge’s comment: “We cannot afford the luxury of providing people with incomes for non-existent journeys”.

We leave to last the most general assault on wages, an assault which has occurred in all those countries which have departed from a currency linked to gold – in other words, those countries using inconvertible paper money. Where paper money is issued, unrelated to the wealth production of a country, then the purchasing power of that money falls. The massive increase in prices which we have seen in this country over the last ten years has been almost entirely due to the excessive printing of paper money; that is, currency inflation which successive governments have employed to meet part of their public spending requirement.

Any government, whether it be Conservative or Labour, is forced to assist in the downward pressure on wages in face of the fierce competition for the sale of commodities and services at a profit.


Monday, December 17, 2018

Replying to our critics

The Socialist Party isn’t just another political party. It opposes the capitalist system that is based on inequality and exploitation and which is threatening the future of the planet. A world based on cooperation and social democracy as advocated by the Socialist Party would not risk environmental destruction and unsustainable consumption. The present global economic system is based entirely on a system for the benefit of the rich. It’s interested only in profits for the rich. The costs of those profits in terms of human misery  and environmental catastrophe, are entirely irrelevant. Under capitalism there are two classes: the capitalists who rob and the workers who are robbed. The socialist vision  involves a fundamental restructuring of the global economy to end the primary goal of maximising profit. Both the left and the right wings of capitalism are sure that capitalism as described by  the Socialist Party is no longer valid. We do not seek to trim our message to suit the prejudices of people. We direct what we have to say at the working class – all workers.

 Defenders of capitalism love to attack  the idea of abolishing markets, prices, money and all other aspects of buying and selling. This they say would be impossible, as demonstrated by  Ludwig von Mises in “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth”.  Von Mises, they claim, showed that a socialist society was impossible because it would be unable to calculate rationally which productive methods to adopt. This they call “the economic calculation argument”. According to von Mises, rational economic calculation is only possible on the basis of prices fixed by the free play of market forces. In other words, the only form of rational calculation that can be applied to the production of wealth is monetary calculation.

Although money, and so monetary calculation, will disappear in socialism this does not mean that there will no longer be any need to make choices, evaluations and calculations in the allocation of resources. Our argument is that these , including those concerning the non-monetary “cost” of objects in terms of the effort and materials used to produce them, will be done directly in kind, without any general unit of account or measurement, neither money nor labour-time. This follows from the very nature of socialism as a society geared to producing wealth directly to satisfy human needs. Wealth will be produced and distributed in its natural form of useful things, of objects that can serve to satisfy some human need or other. Not being produced for sale on a market, items of wealth will not acquire an exchange-value in addition to their use-value. In socialism their value, in the normal non-economic sense of the word, will not be their selling price nor the time needed to produce them but their usefulness. It is for this that they will be appreciated, evaluated, wanted . . . and produced. So estimates of what is likely to be needed over a given period will be expressed as physical quantities of definite types and sorts of objects.

 Nobody, not even von Mises, has denied that this could be done without problems:
  "...calculation in natura, in an economy without exchange, can embrace consumption-goods only..."
Von Mises’ argument was that the next step—working out which productive methods to employ—would not be possible, or at least would not be able to be done “rationally” avoiding waste and inefficiency, without “economic calculation”—monetary calculation based on market prices. Our answer is that the choice of which productive methods to employ will, like working out what consumer goods are needed, be based on estimations and calculations in kind.

A monetary economy gives rise to the illusion that the “cost” of producing something is merely financial; indeed so associated is the word cost with financial and monetary calculation that we are obliged to put it in inverted commas when we want to talk about it in a non-monetary sense. But the real cost of the pen I’m using to write this article is not 10p, but the amount of wood, slate, labour, electricity, wear and tear of machines, used up in producing it. This will continue to be the case in socialism. Goods will not grow on trees, but will still require expenditure of effort and materials to produce them. The point is that in socialism this expenditure of effort and materials will be estimated and calculated exclusively in kind, directly in terms of wood, slate, machinery wear and tear, electricity, and so on (including working time, but as this will be a special case we’ll come back to it later). Since socialism will be concerned with conserving resources it will want to adopt those productive methods which, other things being equal, use less rather than more materials and energy and this will be one, but only one, of the factors to be taken into account in deciding which technical method of production to adopt.

Monetary calculation, whether to discover which productive method is the most profitable (as imposed by capitalism and praised by the followers of von Mises) or for any other purpose (as proposed by various partisans of state capitalism and other unrealistic would-be reformers of capitalism), is a very peculiar sort of calculation since it involves reducing all use-values to an abstract common denominator. Use-values can indeed be compared but only in concrete situations since the same object can have a different use-value at different times and under different circumstances. Monetary calculation, however, seeks to compare all objects in terms of an objective standard applicable in all circumstances; to do this it needs to identify a feature common to all objects. Such a common feature can indeed be found: that a certain “cost” in terms of materials, energy and labour expended has had to be incurred to produce them (ultimately the labour-time required to produce them from start to finish, and—this is the basis of the labour theory of value—the materials and energy expended, being produced by labour, can also be reduced to given amounts of necessary labour-time). It is this cost that is supposed to be measured by money. Money, then, is the universal unit of measurement, the “general equivalent”, that allows everything to be compared with everything else under an circumstances—but, and this is what the partisans of monetary calculation forget, only in terms of their labour-time cost or the total time needed on average to produce them from start to finish.

To make this the only consideration that counts (as is imposed by the economic laws of capitalism) is an absurd aberration. It is like making volume the most important thing about bottles containing different liquids and then concluding that a litre bottle of water has the same significance as a litre bottle of wine or of oil or of sulphuric acid or whatever. But we are doing exactly the same if we say, or if we believe, that different goods selling at the same price have the same “value”, or are “worth” the same, in terms of their real usefulness to people.

Market Values or Human Values?
So the argument between monetary calculation and calculation in kind is much broader than it first seems. It is not merely a technical argument about how to calculate and what units to use for this, but is an argument about the real meaning of words like “value” and “worth”. The Socialist Party, as opponents of monetary calculation, say that it is not monetary or market values, in the end total average production time, that is the most important thing about a good but its usefulness in satisfying some human need; that the real values are use-values, human values. We are saying that these are the factors that should be taken into account when making choices and calculations about production. not simply production time.

This presupposes that calculations concerning production can be carried out without money or without some money-substitutes, some other general unit such as labour-time. Such non-monetary calculation of course already happens. on the technical level, under capitalism. Once the choice of productive method has been made (according to expected profitability as revealed by monetary calculation) then the real calculations in kind of what is needed to produce a specific good commence: so much raw materials, so much energy, so much labour, etc. In socialism it is not the case that the choice of productive method will become a technical choice that can be left to engineers, as is sometimes misunderstood by our critics, but that this choice too will be made in real terms, in terms of the real advantages and disadvantages of alternative methods and in terms of, on the one hand, the utility of some good or some project in a particular circumstance at a particular time and, on the other hand, of the real “costs” in the same circumstances and at the same time of the required materials, energy and productive effort.

To advocate monetary calculation, then, is to advocate that only one consideration—the total average production time needed to produce goods—should be taken into account when making decisions about which productive methods to employ. This is patently absurd but it is what is imposed by capitalism. Naturally, it leads to all sorts of aberrations from the point of view of human interests. In particular it rules out a rational, long-term attitude towards conserving resources and it imposes intolerable conditions on the actual producers (speed-up, pain, stress, boredom, long hours, nightwork, shiftwork, accidents).

Socialism, because it will calculate directly in kind, will be able to take these other, more important, factors than production time into account. This will naturally lead to different, in many cases quite different, productive methods being adopted than now under capitalism. If the health, comfort and enjoyment of those who actually manipulate the materials, or who supervise the machines which do this, to transform them into useful objects is to be paramount, certain methods are going to be ruled out altogether. The fast-moving production lines associated with the manufacture of cars would be stopped for ever (except perhaps in a museum of the horrors of capitalism); nightwork would be reduced to the strict minimum; particularly dangerous or unhealthy jobs would be automated (or completely abandoned).

Work can, in fact must, become enjoyable. But to the extent that work becomes enjoyable, measurement by minimum average working time would be completely meaningless, since people would not be seeking to minimise or rush such work.

However there will still be some kinds of work that socialist society will want to minimise. For instance, dangerous or repetitive work. Once again, this would be one of the real factors that will have to be taken into account when decisions are made as to what productive methods to adopt. Other factors would be conserving resources (so out would go “planned obsolescence” and in would come solid goods made to last), saving energy, avoiding pollution and generally maintaining a sustainable ecological balance with the rest of nature.

As a matter of fact, even under capitalism, enterprise managers do not just base their decisions on market prices, long-term or short-term. They are obliged by law (and also by trade union pressure) to take into account a whole series of other factors such as safety, anti-pollution and planning permission. The overriding consideration remains of course expected profits (the difference between anticipated sales receipts and monetary cost of production). This means that these factors are of minor importance and only reflect the minimum standards that are not incompatible with profit-making and, being imposed from outside against the logic of short-term profit-making are always being broken. But they do, however marginally, enter into productive decisions, thus showing that it is possible to take into account other considerations than minimum production time.

The Priorities in Socialism
In socialism, the situation will be quite different: these factors will be automatically taken into account in the decision-making process and will not have to be imposed from outside as a sort of after-thought, since among the highest priorities of production will be the health and welfare of the producers. We can imagine the decisions as to choice of productive methods being made by a council elected by the workforce, or by a technical subcommittee of such a democratically-elected council. In making their choice they will first take into account, not minimising average total production time as the economic laws of capitalism enforce today, but the health, comfort and enjoyment of the workforce, the protection of the environment and the conservation of materials and energy. Since materials and energy, and work to the extent that it is not interesting and creative but only routine, are real “costs” the aim will be to minimise them. As there will be these clearly defined objectives and constraints, mathematical aids to decision-making such as operational research and linear programming, at present prostituted to the end of maximising profits, can be used to find the optimum productive methods.

Another point that must be understood is that socialism will not have to start from scratch. It will inherit from capitalism a going technical system of production which it will be able to adapt to production for use. Some methods will have to be stopped straight away or as soon as possible but others will only need modifying to a greater or lesser extent. Again, when socialism will have cleared up the mess inherited from capitalism, it will become a society in which methods of production too will only change slowly. This will make decision-making about production much simpler.

We add straight away to avoid any misunderstanding that, even in the period at the beginning of socialism when production will be clearing up the mess in terms of deprivation and poverty left by capitalism, monetary calculation won’t be necessary. The necessary expansion of production can be planned and executed in real terms.

So, the so-called “economic calculation argument” against socialism collapses in the face of detailed analysis. The alternative to monetary calculation in terms of exchange-value is calculation in kind in terms of use-values, of the real advantages and real costs of particular real alternatives in particular real circumstances.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Let's Overthrow Capitalism

There is and can be no common ground between the Socialist Party aim is the abolition of wage slavery and the ownership by the workers of the machinery of production and distribution, and the left-wing parties who simply wants to effect a few ameliorations of the lot of the wage-slave. The Socialist Party recognises that at this stage the essential thing to be done is to educate the workers to want and insist upon socialism as the only permanent and effective remedy and uses elections simply as a means of propaganda. We want first and foremost to make socialists. The Labour Party merely wants to get votes. The Socialist Party knows that votes are no good unless there are clear-cut convictions behind them. The Socialist Party knows that all that can be done at present is to lay foundations, and wants to lay them solid and strong on the bed-rock of socialist principles. The Labour Party wants to win the election any old way and get something right here and now.
whose end and

The Socialist Party knows that a disease can't be cured suddenly by any quack remedy, and will only yield to a long course of treatment. The Labour Party ignores the cause of the disease and wants to doctor the symptoms. The remedy to the misery and insecurity of the present social order lies in the working class developing the idea of dispossessing the parasitic minority we toil for. The movement for socialism is of necessity only a trickle for a long time, and this partly deludes people into the belief that little progress is made when in reality great progress has and is being made. The mass of people moves as a mass. That is to say their political knowledge grows slowly but steadily at an even pace and it is in a mass and not by ones and twos that the great body of the workers will come to the conviction that in socialism lies their social salvation. In fact, progress is more real than apparent. In this blackest hour, the hope of the future is neither faded nor fading and still urges us to carry on with a stronger conviction of fulfilment than ever. The future is by no means as dark as it may appear. The Socialist Party has an unanswerable case against capitalism that it is in the interest of the workers is to get rid of the private ownership and control of the means of production and distribution for the introduction of socialism.

Socialism and nothing less is our aim. Our opponents, “left-wing” though they may be, stand in the way of its achievement. They help to keep the workers confused by presenting as revolutionary and Socialist, their way-out schemes that are no more than reforms to patch up capitalism. We do not doubt their sincerity but are convinced that they, the Left, do not understand the problems they are trying to solve. Under capitalism, the propertyless wealth-producers and their families suffer poverty whilst the non-producing owners of the means of production enjoy the affluence derived from surplus value created by the workers. Capitalism involves private property, production for sale with a view to profit, wages, rent, interest, and profit. Experience has amply endorsed the proposition that this form of society cannot be made to work in the interest of the wage-earners.

The answer to working-class poverty is socialism. This will involve the means of production being held in common, with democratic control thereof in the interest of society as a whole and production solely for use. There will be no more employers nor employees, no more buying and selling, and no more working for wages. For their emancipation, the working class must capture political power. Pity the poor worker seeking leadership. For over the years the "crisis" of the revolutionary leadership has multiplied. For it is not leadership that the working class needs but socialist understanding. With it, they will establish socialism. Nor will this knowledge come by means of transitional demands, for they are nothing but reforms. They do not form a bridge but a diversion. For in order to get support for these demands, their merits must be propagated and shown to be superior not only to other reforms but also to the demand that capitalism is abolished. Socialism is still opposed by those who find it is easier to gain adherents to believe in a small palliative reform. However the facts throughout the world show there is nothing for the profit system to celebrate. Do they want to celebrate the unseen masses of corpses, ruins and millions of people wounded in body and mind for which the profit system has been responsible for this century? Not a day goes by which does not prove that it is not possible for capitalism to produce anything else.

The sole aim of the Socialist Party is the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by socialism. Membership is open to anyone who agrees with the party's object and principles. This involves understanding the basic features of capitalist society and includes a rejection of leadership (by man or god). Socialists are historical materialists and claim that religions are social products, subject to change as social conditions change. It is not a case of the world (or universe) being made by a creator with Mankind made in his image, but of Mankind making his gods in the image of natural phenomenon including Mankind itself.



Saturday, December 15, 2018

Revolution Not Gradualism

The Socialist Party is basically different from the parties of capitalism, who seek power on promises and cadge for votes on issues like Scottish independence and who in practice fail to solve those very problems. We stand for a social system which can only be established by the political action of workers who understand socialism and the need for a revolution to end capitalism. There is no room in a socialist party for policies of trying to reform capitalism. At present workers concern themselves with matters such as Scottish independence under the delusion that it is possible to run capitalism, with some alterations, in their interests. In fact, it is not possible and all experience bears this out; by taking sides in these disputes workers are supporting one section of the ruling class against another.

The technology exists to produce all that we need for a peaceful, prosperous planet. The Socialist Party’s goal is to reorganise society into a new, cooperative society of equality. We invite all who see that we face social problems and are ready to do something about it to join with us. The Socialist Party is all about revolution. The Socialist Party offers a sustained organised revolutionary opposition to the capitalist system. We are the party of social revolution. Our desire to make a revolution is thwarted by a lack of a socialist understanding. We need to understand that complete emancipation of men and women will come only with the abolition of private property. We maintain that the present capitalist system does not represent the interests of the majority but acts on behalf of the few who possess the economic and political power. Society today is split into two opposing social classes:  buyers and sellers of labour-power We have no reason to conceal our aims or camouflage our position. We have nothing to hide from our fellow-workers, for our party has no interests separate and apart from their interests. Our socialist case can be realised only through the majority action of our fellow-workers. They must first be convinced of its correctness and educated in socialist principles. This requires that we persistently and publicly confront all other parties and compete in the political arena. 

The Labour Party is indistinguishable from the Democrats in the United States. In other words, that it’s a left-of-centre party of capitalist reform, not a party committed, if only on paper, to further the interests of the working class. All its leaders want is to have a go at running capitalism which they say they can do better than the Tories.  Tony Benn openly admitted that the Labour Party is not a socialist party and never has been. We agree with the need for a genuinely socialist party but insist that this should be on a sound basis, namely a clear definition of what socialism is and a clear refusal to advocate reforms of capitalism. We are not saying that workers shouldn’t try to get the best they can out of capitalism, but that’s the job of trade unions and other similar organisations, not of a socialist political party. In our view, the job of a socialist party is to advocate “a complete and utter change of society” to socialism and nothing but this. History shows that a party that advocates reforms inevitably becomes the prisoner of its reform-minded supporters and eventually ends up giving only lip-service to the socialist transformation of society. Why do you think that instead of the Labour Party gradually changing capitalism, as some of its members once used to want, the opposite has happened and capitalism has gradually changed the Labour Party—into what it is today and which you feel is no longer worthy of support? Why make the same mistake again?

The capitalist class keep offering up political leaders as our saviours, so many we can’t keep count! Why? Because they want us to keep believing in their system despite everything.  Our rulers have divided the world up and keep battling to re-divide it.  Because this capitalist system and each capitalist operates out of only one law–how to make the most profit. If you can’t beat someone else at this robbery–then you don’t do it at all. If one capitalist can’t out-compete the others by working his workers to death then he’ll go out of business. We know that it is not going to get any better no matter what they say. It’s the law of their system they have to do whatever brings the greatest profit.

The Socialist Party contends that the working class is certainly capable of a more dignified destiny than that of a hired assassin or mere commodity with a price tag on his or her carcass denoting the ingredient labour-power in the exploiting process of capitalist society. And although at the moment, the keynote of opportunism is the ruling ethic of “every man for himself”: this alien philosophy is being slowly unmasked by socialists the world over and all men and women who put their shoulders to the wheel of the socialist revolution have risen above the otherwise empty, frustrating, money-grubbing existence of mediocrity, matching in inanity that of the capitalist as a machine for accumulation.

Socialism will be a money-free society. The social scars of capitalism, such as poverty, which is sometimes very occasionally slightly soothed through charity, will no longer exist. There will, therefore, be no need for charities.  When socialism is established there will be no employers and employed; people will work freely and in co-operation to produce whatever society needs and all will have free access to that wealth. Work, then, will be pleasurable, creative activity inseparable from leisure. Sadly, capitalism will last for as long as that lack of understanding persists.


Friday, December 14, 2018

School discipline

The “ungoverned” and potentially illegal use of restraint and seclusion is taking place across Scotland’s schools, according to the country’s children and young people’s commissioner.

The commissioner’s report reveals thousands of largely unmonitored incidents, glaring inconsistencies in policy between local authorities and significant concerns that the techniques are being used disproportionately on children with disabilities and additional support needs.

Challenging the Scottish government to turn its rhetoric on human rights into action, the commissioner, Bruce Adamson, called for all schools without adequate policies to stop using restraint and seclusion “as a matter of urgency” until national guidelines and standards were put in place.

Adamson told the Guardian: “We are deeply concerned that significant physical interventions may be taking place without any kind of policy or procedure at local authority level to ensure the lawful and rights-compliant treatment of children. We don’t have confidence in how many incidents of restraint and seclusion are taking place, which children are most affected or how they are being dealt with. We are also concerned that the Scottish government hasn’t done enough to provide clear direction to local authorities to make sure we have a consistent reporting across the country.”
The report – the first to use the office’s formal powers of investigation, and taking in all state primary and secondary schools in Scotland – was prompted by dozens of inquiries from parents and carers of children with disabilities and other additional support needs, raising concerns about the use of these techniques as a method of behaviour management. The investigation uncovered a chaotic picture across the country. Four out of 32 local authorities do not have policies on restraint and seclusion. Aberdeen city council presented no policy documents but reported that 60 techniques had been used to physically intervene with children. The investigation found a lack of consistent standards to define restraint and seclusion among those authorities that did provide policies, with only 18 stating that restraint should be used as a last resort when a child was in danger of harming themselves or others. Only 12 local authorities said children and young people’s rights and views had been taken into account when reviewing their guidelines.
For the purposes of the report, restraint was defined as “holding a child or young person to restrict their movement”, and seclusion as “the confinement of a child, without their consent, by shutting them alone in a room or other area which they are prevented from leaving”. This was distinct from a “time out”, defined as a behavioural intervention used as part of a structured support plan that did not necessarily involve being physically removed to a separate place.
The investigation found that the recording of incidents was similarly erratic: only 18 authorities were able to provide data, despite others claiming they recorded all incidents. These 18 authorities reported 2,674 incidents between them over the 2017-18 school year. Only 13 authorities recorded the number of children who were the subject of interventions, which came to 386 in total.
Adamson said restraint should be used only as an “absolute last resort”. He said: “We need to make sure that adults have the training to make sure they can support children, particularly those that need additional support, and not resort to restraint techniques. That rights-based approach is really missing and we need to send a message very clearly in terms of restraint.”

Hope for the Future.

Our doctrine tells us that socialism can’t be built on the ruins of the existing society by a revolt of starving beggars in rags. It can only result from the powerful forward march of an army of organized proletarians, fighting to conquer every position, every progress. - Anton Pannekoek
This is a crucial time for the working-class movement. The socialist commonwealth is the hope of the world. The idea of cooperation is rational, humane, and all-embracing. The competitive capitalist system has had its day. Mutual aid will come.  The working-class will attain its freedom. When the worldwide co-operative commonwealth having been established, mankind for the first time shall be ensured the material requisites of a decent existence and shall also for the first time be liberated from robbery and from conflict. It is time for workers to express their solidarity with the struggles of their fellow-workers all over the world. It is time to step up the struggle for the end of the exploitation of man by man. Despite claims that the working-class has been defeated and that socialism has failed e the working class is still the decisive force in every country. There are questions of the well-being of the people and of the environment yet we do not make any claims to have all the answers to such questions, and  It is not that we have no view, we have definite views on all these issues. However,  it is the working-class which has to take up these questions. Without the working-class itself taking up these questions they will never be solved. We encourage as wide as possible discussions within our own party and among the people on these questions.
We need to present the socialist alternative as concrete and how we will introduce a common ownership socialist economy. We ought to bring forth concrete proposals for the fundamental principle — “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs” and “socialization of the means of production” — transforming aspirations into much-needed actualities. We need to imagine the society we want to live in. We need to bring forth and create proposals for concrete socialist structures. Capitalism is a society of commodity production — of wealth produced for sale and profit.  Social progress will be encouraged only if it helps towards profitable production and sale. The goal of the socialist movement to abolish market economy altogether in favour of a democratic common ownership of the economy.
This social system is chaotic and inefficient; it cannot answer to the needs of its people. It condemns tens of millions of human beings every year to a distressing, agonising death through starvation—while tens of millions of productive workers are unemployed and while food is destroyed. It inexorably produces war, and increasingly fearsome weapons, while almost everyone wants peace and disarmament. It deprives the vast majority of people of the results of their labour. As one government after another fails to have any effect on these problems, disillusionment with established political parties grows.
Radical social change is needed. But this does not mean reshuffling the existing pack of policies and leaders. It means a challenge to the basis of society, instructed by an awareness of the need to get at the root of our problems. It means thinking in terms of fundamental change—of revolution. For the problems of capitalism cannot be separated from their origin—the private property basis of society. They cannot be solved — in fact typically they cannot even be alleviated without reference to that basis.
The conclusion we come to, then, is that the only worthwhile — the only radical — social change is the abolition of capitalism and its replacement by a social system based on common ownership of the means of production and distribution. That society is known as socialism. It will bring a world free of inequality, of poverty, war, hunger, exploitation. It will liberate people to co-operate in the work of society and to take from the common pool of wealth as they need.
Socialism will be set up when the majority of the working class, worldwide, have the knowledge which will enable them to make the conscious decision to opt for the new society. With that knowledge they will have no use for leaders; the movement for socialism is one of democracy, of conscious and informed participation. The workers must choose; they have nothing to lose but their slavery and a world to win 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Social Evolution is Socialist Revolution


It is the failure of the politicians and their parties that drive the workers in despair to street protests and demonstrations. But the people who organise and partake in these demonstrations are as ignorant of the economic facts of capitalism as the politicians whose failure creates the desire for direct action. What they fail to understand is that the system we live under, the system which they vote for at elections is by its very nature incapable of meeting working class needs; that poverty, slums, and unemployment, are a natural and permanent feature of the capitalist scheme of things; that the politicians, even if they are eager to, simply cannot solve these problems. Their job is to administer the system of capitalism, to legislate conditions for the smoothest possible functioning of the system and to ensure that the rights of property are preserved and protected. The political complexion of the party running the system is irrelevant; while society is organised on the basis of profit rather than human needs, the system dictates to the party in power. 

Ironically, the protesters and demonstrators see the problems against which they oppose in the same terms as the politicians who run capitalism. Their '‘demands” are always “realistically” anchored. Never would they dare to 'demand' for the workers they claim to represent the mode of life enjoyed by members of the owning class. In other words, they accept capitalism; they respect its title to ownership of the resources of the earth; they bow to its class structure. What concerns them is not the fact of slavery but the condition of the slave. The poverty and degradation of working-class life stem from the worker's position in capitalist society and the working class has the electoral strength now to overthrow capitalism and institute socialism. It is not the lack of votes that delays the change; it is the misuse of the overwhelming superiority of those votes which the workers already have.

The capitalist system is based on the private ownership of the means of production, organises production for profit, without caring about the real needs of humanity, but on the contrary subjecting mankind completely to the needs of profit. Socialism has become possible with the development of technology and science so it is possible to give to all men and women a decent standard of living under conditions of total liberty. What stands between us and socialism is not scarcity of resources but simply the political system which throws the economy into anarchic production, full of contradictions and resulting in insecurity, the destruction of wealth and the alienation of liberty. We recognise that one of the first priorities for society after a victorious socialist revolution will be to develop rapidly the forces of production. We also understand that this will be achieved within the framework of the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production—in other words within the framework of the price-free, money-free, wage-free society of socialism. This is not the ‘transition period’ but a stage in the development of socialism itself. (Marx in his Critique of the Gotha Programme refers not to a ‘transition period' but to different phases in a communist or socialist society.)  We cannot foretell how fierce the struggles will be at the time of the socialist revolution but it should be clear that once the capitalist class has been stripped of its wealth it will certainly pose no kind of threat to “the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority.”

Many ideas which are basic to socialism are accepted among far wider circles than the ranks of the Socialist Party. Their most frequent objections to our organisation is that we are too small to be taken seriously and that by preaching "pure" socialism in the form of abolition of the wages system we are out of touch with the working class. Of course, that makes us unacceptable to many.

Socialism is the stage in social evolution that will follow capitalism — a wage-free, money-free, state-free society based on common ownership, another name for this society would be communism. The Socialist Party certainly has no illusions about the difficulties involved in getting ideas like a world without money across to workers steeped in capitalist values, but we recognise that socialism is a relatively easy idea which it is quite possible to express in simple language. The Socialist Party wants socialism, will be directed by a Socialist working class. It is and will remain impossible until such time as there are Socialists in sufficient number, politically organised for their task. So we recognise that socialism is at the moment impossible, for those conditions are not fulfilled. We recognise the fact and urge the workers everywhere to recognise the fact.  The workers have to carry out the task themselves, and the need of the day is to win over the workers to socialism. Well-meant endeavours to find short and easy roads, or to provide half-way solutions cannot succeed and do not help the socialist movement. The workers require an understanding of their class position and all that that implies. Socialist knowledge alone will ensure this understanding, and once acquired the working class will have no need of so-called experts to point the way to their salvation. The road will be plainly marked—to the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of world socialism. As long as people believe that socialism is impossible and that only class and property society is practical the ruling class is safe. 


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Scotland's Health Inequality

Scots living in the poorest parts of the country are four times as likely to die early than those in wealthy neighbourhoods.

Almost 21,000 people in Scotland died before the age of 75, formally classed as prematurely, in 2017.

Deaths from cancer, heart disease and alcohol abuse are all significantly higher in these least affluent areas - and the gap is increasing, according to Scottish Government statistics.


Lewis Morrison, chairman of BMA Scotland, said “persistent and substantial” problems can no longer be ignored. “These statistics should leave us in absolutely no doubt that stark and unacceptable health inequalities persist across Scotland. “The significantly worse health of those who live in our most deprived areas compared to the substantially better outcomes for those who live in the least deprived areas is a persistent, substantial issue that simply cannot be ignored.

https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/demand-for-action-as-health-gap-between-rich-and-poor-widens-1-4842846

A socialist future for all

We are living under capitalism. The capitalist system has concentrated the ownership of the tremendous productive forces in the hands of a small number of capitalists. It is marked by a basic contradiction: production is social, involving the coordinated and interconnected labor of millions of workers, but the control of this social labor and its product is private. Workers are wage slaves who survive only by selling their labor power to the capitalists. Capitalists own the means of production and pay workers for their labor power. But the working class produces far more wealth than it receives in income. The difference is the source of capitalist profits. The capitalist tries to drive down the wages of the worker. The worker is employed only as long as he or she helps create profit for the monopolies. When the capitalist has problems maximising his profits, he does not hesitate to throw workers out into the street. The capitalist system exploits the working class and creates the poverty and economic insecurity of society as a whole. The capitalist system is a system of economic anarchy and is plagued by periodic economic crises, recessions, which are becoming more serious and complex. These crises are built into the economic system.  The capitalist class benefits from the misery of countless numbers of people. It squeezes the life out of the worker and then tosses him or her away. Capitalist society callously mistreats people because everything is geared to the drive for profits. This exploitative and oppressive system, where profit is master, has strangled our entire society with social decay. The drive for profits holds millions hostage to hunger and want; it has poisoned the very air we breathe; it spawns cynicism and violence, crime and other social problems. Always looming over us is the constant threat of war. Exploitation, injustice, racism, and repression - this is the face of capitalism today. Capitalism is an obstacle to the further advancement of the material well-being of society. It is unjust, wasteful, irrational and increasingly unproductive. The situation demands a new, more rational system of economic organization that will utilise the productive forces for the benefit of the vast majority of society. The situation cries out for change, for a new, more rational social system – socialism!

If you do not join in the fight for socialism if you do not organise and strive for its success, things will not remain just they are, nor will they move forward, but instead of progress, society will slip backward. This is a question of vital concern to everyone, especially to every worker. It is most important to understand what will happen to a capitalist society if it is not replaced by socialism. There will be catastrophic consequences for society. The capitalist class uses the State’s dictatorial powers to subordinate the entire economy to its needs. Standing in the way of social progress and socialism is the capitalist class. The ruling class is composed of the owners and the CEOs of the huge banks and corporations that control the economic life. Their power extends far beyond the boundaries of one nation to control the destinies of millions of people around the globe. These capitalists are very wealthy exerting considerable economic and political influence so to live off the exploited labour.

 The working class is multinational, composed of workers of many different nationalities. Their common identity is that they are all exploited by the capitalist class. The working class is composed of all wage earners – mental and manual, urban and rural – whether in basic industry, manufacturing, service, farm, sales, domestic, clerical, public, or other jobs. The working class is composed of skilled and unskilled, employed and unemployed. Some workers may make more money than others, but they are still members of the working class because they must sell their labour power to survive. But the greatest problem in the history of the working class movement has been its division.  But as the conditions and quality of life deteriorate within capitalism, workers will become more receptive to the ideas of socialism. Through struggle and education, workers will also realise that their interest lies in the overthrow of capitalist private property system and the establishment of common ownership. But such a revolution will require the unity of the workers of all nationalities.  One day these forces will converge into a mighty current that will weaken and then topple the capitalist class. The eventual overthrow of capitalism is as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Does class matter?

You are a member of the working class. Forget all the pretensions about being “middle class” or the put-downs about being “lower class” or the evasions about being “just an ordinary person”. If you depend on a wage or a salary in order to live, as most people do, you are a worker.

 As a worker you have a human commodity, to be bought on the labour market by an employer. To the capitalists who use your labour power you are just an item on the list of production costs: if they can pump more value out of you than they pay you they will use you, if not you will be thrown on to the scrapheap of the unemployed. Your function in life, as a worker, is to be exploited. You are a human machine for creating profit.

 You like to think you are free. A wage slave is never free. Without selling yourself you will face huge problems, leaving you dependent on state or private charity in order to survive. As an unemployed worker your chances of premature death are greatly increased. So you are free to do what your employer dictates. Your liberty must be trimmed to fit in with the profit requirements of the bosses.

 Do you have access to whatever you need? You will spend your life saving up for things because they are not free but must be bought on the market. Are you free to live where you like? Can you travel wherever you want to go? Are the best health facilities available to you? Can you provide for the ones you love? Don’t even bother to try and answer. We know that as a worker you cannot afford to do these things. Your home will never be as pleasant as the bosses’ residences. You will never be as free to travel the world as are the rich who need have no work to get in the way of their travelling. If you are ill you will queue up for the cheap, lower-class NHS treatment because as a worker you are replaceable. The ones you love and care for will always be deprived of some of the good things you want to give them because, unlike the boss who is legally robbing you for profit, you can only afford to be as generous as your wage packet or salary cheque allows you to be.

 If you were free you would not have to jump up like a trained circus animal every time the alarm clock tells you that it is time to go and sell the best part of each day to the boss. You are a wage slave. Don’t like the label? Then try giving up working for a wage or salary for a few months and living like a lord. You’ll soon find out how compelled you are to return to the task of making profits for the capitalists. And don’t kid yourself with that line about being free to become a boss yourself. A mass of new companies over the past few years have gone broke within a year or so.

 They tell you that you are British. How much of Britain do you own? Little or none. Maybe you possess a few shares. Possibly you own a house, although you more likely own a mortgage or a rent book. You are asked to get excited about “your” country, “our” trade. Will “we” get the order to make aeroplanes for the USA? Why should you care? You will not be profiting from the deals which the British capitalists make.

 They whip you up into a frenzy of excitement about “our” Queen You are urged to regard yourself as a subject. But if you are broke and can’t pay the rent or feed the kids you can forget about any prospect of the two-billion-pound parasite in Buckingham Palace giving you a hand-out. The capitalists, including their crowned figureheads, treat you as a worker, with contempt. Your role is to cheer the British gang of thieving bosses in their quest to become rich, but profits for them has nothing to do with a good life for you.

 Not only are you conned into believing that you have a country. You are told that you must die for it. You are so unfree that if a war is declared tomorrow you will stand a high chance of being blown to pieces. They will not consult you before they push the button. Not only you but your children, who are considered too young to vote but not too young to be murdered in the cause of market competition.

 You might console yourself that the bomb will never drop. You’re safe. And ignorance is bliss but it does not protect you from the hard fact that you are now living in a world which is more full of armaments and more capable of mass annihilation than at any time in human history. If you think that war is not on the agenda you are fooling yourself into being a candidate for the post-holocaust pile of corpses and you are leaving those around you unsafe as well.

 You could pray that life will improve. Religion used to be popular in this country — these days fewer workers believe it. Prayer will solve nothing. There is no almighty power up in the sky who will put things right. The only powers worth thinking about are those down here on earth. Maybe you are one of those who believe in the afterlife. A comforting thought: after a life of wage slavery down here there’s going to be pie in the sky up there.

 But it’s a pretty miserable and pathetic ambition: suffer now and have a good time up on Cloud Nine when you’re dead. Intelligent workers will want something now, not promises for when they’re six foot under. Then they tell you about “human nature”, that disease we are all supposed to be born with. Do you really believe that humans are naturally anti-social? Or do you accept that our behaviour is determined by the social conditions we find ourselves in? In a jungle society of rat-race competition people act like rats. But we are adaptable in our behaviour, as you will know from the many examples of co-operative behaviour you have experienced. As a worker you want to be decent but under the profit system decency pays no dividends.

 You have read this far. You agree that you are a worker and that you are not free and that nationalism is a joke and war is a danger and religion offers no answers and humans are not natural aggressors. When you think about these points they make sense to you because they are in line with your experience — that’s always the best way to decide whether a point is right or wrong. You agree that the way we are living now needs changing. what is the alternative?
Socialism. You’ve heard that one before.

We have had eight Labour governments and we are no closer to a new system of society than we were when the first one was elected. All that Labour governments do is run capitalism in much the same way as the Tories. Most workers do not believe that Kinnock and his gang will change much. Those who are planning to vote for him are doing so usually to get rid of Thatcher, not because they believe in Kinnock’s promises. You are right not to trust the Labour Party. They are simply another capitalist party. They do the dirty work for the bosses whenever they are given the chance by the votes of the workers.

 Yes, they have nationalised industries but that has nothing to do with socialism. That is state capitalism. That’s why the miners had to fight just as hard against their state exploiters as ever workers have against private exploiters. Don ‘t allow yourself to be conned by nationalisation or “social ownership” or any other schemes for running the same old system of wage slavery. What about Russia. China. Cuba — the countries which claim to have established socialism? You know very well that there is no basic difference between them and the other capitalist countries.

 Socialism does not mean capitalism run by nice chaps. It does not mean more crumbs, higher wages, bigger pensions. A socialist society will be one where class ownership of the major resources of the world will be replaced by common ownership. The world and everything in it will belong to everyone. The factories, farms, offices, media, transport — all the means and instruments of wealth production and distribution will no longer be the property of capitalists but will belong to us all. We will all run these things in common, without being led or dictated to. We will govern ourselves, sharing ideas and information and respecting different points of view.

 In a propertyless world society there will be no exchange relations, because you cannot exchange what you already own. So money will not exist. There will be free access to goods and services. Why waste time and resources on the business of buying and selling when we can all just take what we need from the common store, using modern computer technology to express our demands? Just as socialism will do away with money, so it will abolish the wages system. Instead of selling your labour power to an exploiter you will contribute it in accordance with your abilities. This will only work if people cooperate to give according to ability and take according to need. Socialists think that our fellow workers are that sensible. If you know that you are. then why doubt the co-operative potential of those around you?

 It will certainly be a very different way of living from the poverty and insecurity of the present, when we establish socialism. You would be odd if you did not find it an appealing prospect. But there are still questions to answer. How soon can this new system be set up? How do we go about establishing socialism? How much detail about socialism can we give? These are the important questions facing you today.
From an unsigned article in Socialist Standard January 1997