Saturday, January 11, 2020

The banner to muster under is the socialist one

Tens of thousands of Scottish independence supporters are due to march through Glasgow in the first of a series of protests over the coming year. Glasgow City Council has estimated that about 100,000 people will take part.
The All Under One Banner (AUOB) march will leave Kelvingrove Park at 11:30 GMT and head to Glasgow Green. A mass rally that was due to be held afterwards has been cancelled after rain and high winds were forecast. 
It is the first of eight marches that the grassroots AUOB group plans to hold across Scotland over the coming year. Another AUOB march will be held in Glasgow in May, with similar events scheduled for Arbroath, Peebles, Elgin, Kirkcaldy, Stirling and Edinburgh.
When asked why the Socialist Party does not support Scottish independence, we point out that, at best, they will simply be exchanging one lot of masters for another. They may win or be allowed a little more freedom within the system but while it remains they must depend on the capitalists — state or private — for their subsistence. For workers, independence is merely a change of rulers. Nationalism is a ruse to lure workers into supporting the rights of the business class to make profits at their expense. We state unambiguously our opposition to the views of both Westminster and Holyrood.
“Independence" is a word used to stir up emotions. An "independent" Scotland will be no more independent than it is today. It will still have to conform to global economic pressures which govern how much food will be on the table of the average person. The current economic system doesn’t play favourites based upon national, ethnic, or cultural sovereignty. Capital investment and migration is based upon the likelihood of making better profits, not upon which of the largely irrelevant politicians form the government.

"Independence" will solve the problems that working people face every day. The working class will never be served by nationalism. If Scots, in the future, decide to separate, they should not expect it to improve their lives. Capitalist economics has a very forceful way of ensuring that the world remains class-divided, and that the working class is at the bottom of that division. The world's working class don’t need a change in politicians. we need an end to class division. 

Free Ourselves From Capitalism

Money makes money only because labour-power, bought and sold for money, creates a value greater than its own. It does this by transforming the raw materials, by means of the machinery provided, into articles of consumption; thus preserving their value and adding further value to them at the same time. The process does not end with the bare re-production of their wages by the workers. It goes on in order that they may produce profit. Hence, the struggle between the workers (who are not interested in the production of profit) and their masters (who are) arises from the conditions of production under Capitalism.

When the means of production have been converted into the common property of society they will have lost their capitalistic character. They will be used for the common good instead of being instruments of exploitation.

Capitalism has made possible an abundant production of the things we need, but its insatiable greed for profit has converted the producers into little more than beasts of burden, disease ridden and with twisted minds and bodies. It is rotten at the root and has soiled, the lives of people wherever it has raised its ugly head. But it has one merit. By bringing each section of the earth into a unified system, producing a wealth of articles for the world at large, it has prepared the ground for a new social system  Socialism— under which the means of production will be owned in common. The future is promising for the spread of socialist ideas. The restrictions that at present hamper propaganda will have to be lifted, whatever may be the desires or intentions of our social rulers, because a pot that is left on the fire indefinitely will inevitably burst. The new year which we hare just entered should witness considerable progress towards our socialist objective, and it behoves all who sympathise with our outlook to do what they can to “shorten and lessen the birth pangs" of the new social system.

Working people are the foundation of society. Our labour makes social life possible. Without our labour there would not be any social life. We are the producers of all values. All the wealth you see around you on this planet is the result of labour. Do you own the wealth which you produce? No, you do not. You have built up an aristocracy of wealth consisting of parasites of society, and you, the wealth-producers live under wage slavery, in poverty and misery. We are the fundamental power of society, and we don’t seem to know it. We imagine that we are free, while in fact we are enslaved. The man who owns the means of production, controls our life. We are dependent on our employer for a job, and for you the job means a chance at life. Consequently, the class of men who own the means of production own our very existence.

We have been asleep while the 1% have accumulated billions of dollars of wealth, which represents the stolen products of the working class. We elect the same political parties into power whose mission it is today to protect and advance the class interests of capitalism. The politicians flatter us right up to election day and after the election they despise us and our unions. Every true unionist must admit the justice and truth and necessity of socialism, and consequently also the necessity of the Socialist Party. It can no longer be a simple fight for a pay increase; it has become a question whether or not the workers shall take possession of all the wealth created by labour or whether this wealth shall remain the privileged monopoly of the class of social parasites who never do an honest day’s work.

 Be men and women who do their own thinking. Under the present system of society you are being robbed whether you receive higher or lower wages, because the wage system is based on legalised robbery. Fight for the freedom of your own class and join the working class party, which is the Socialist Party. Every person should remember that by voting for the parties of capitalism we help to perpetuate wage slavery, we strengthen the fetters of hard toil and misery. The political powers of capitalism are organised against you. It is for you to organise under the banner of socialism and the Socialist Party and fight the battles of your own emancipation.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Things always change

Labour Party sources have told the Guardian that Scottish Labour is considering backing a second independence referendum in a dramatic reversal of policy by the party leader, Richard Leonard. He told his shadow cabinet on Monday he wanted to hold a special conference in May to decide Scottish Labour’s position on a fresh independence referendum, where he would present proposals for Labour to back a federal UK. Leonard said he would consider asking for a pro-federal option to be included in a multi-option referendum on independence. “Labour would be more willing to consider supporting a second referendum if it was multi-option,” one source said.

Rosa Luxemburg grasped why Marx had supported particular wars and certain nationalisms, but she realised that the situation had since changed and urged opposition to all wars and to nationalism. The Socialist Party also argues that all wars should be opposed, and that nationalism has no progressive role left.

Nationalism is the ideology of the capitalist class. The identification of people with the nation and the national interest enables the bosses to present society as a struggle between nations in the interests of the people thus obscuring the real conflict in society between the working and capitalist classes.

The Socialist Party objective is overthrowing capitalism and establishing socialism, in all lands. This will involve the abolition of national frontiers and the disappearance of racial and ethnic prejudices. The world will then be a place for all its inhabitants to live in and travel in, freely and without hindrance or prejudice. Any oppressed nationalities will be emancipated because all workers will be emancipated from capitalism.

One World, One People

Representatives from the Indian Workers Association in Scotland will be staging a peaceful protest outside the consulate in Rutland Square against the Indian government’s controversial Citizen Amendment Act (CAA). The protest is also being supported by the Central Gurdawa, Scottish Asian Christian Fellowship, The Guru Nanak Sikh Temple and other organisations in Glasgow with buses leaving from the Sikh temple in Glasgow’s Albert Drive.
The CAA will fast-track citizenship for religious minorities, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – but does not include Muslims.
Paramjit Basi, president of the Indian Workers Association Glasgow branch, who is leading the fight for democracy in Scotland, said: “Regardless of religion, it is important to support secularism rather than dividing a country.
“Most Scottish Indians feel very strongly about this and we are showing support in Edinburgh alongside other protests taking place across major cities including London and Birmingham.”

The Socialist Party: Sticking to Principles

There are some men and women who accept socialist ideas but who rejected the position of the Socialist Party. They do so for reasons that seem to them convincing. They agree upon the fundamentals and the need for social change, that there must be a majority for socialism politically organised to gain democratic control of the machinery of government, taking it out of the hands of the capitalists.

However when faced with the reality of the millions of men and women, ignorant of socialist principles, faced with the immediate problems of getting a living, supporting the pro-capitalist parties, bedazzled by nationalism and patriotism, awed by the power and privileges of the rich, they despaired at turning their fellow-workers into a political party for socialism. They sought an alternative quicker way and chose to ease the hardships of the poor and improve capitalism to gain the gratitude of the people who would turn be more readily receptive to socialism.

They said to us in the Socialist Party: “You mean well and your case is logical, but logic is not enough. The slow, hard progress on the direct, uphill road to socialism is theoretically right, but impossible in practice. People being what they are we must leave the straight road and come back later on.”

Those well-meaning, good-intentioned one-time socialists  re-planned and revised their political platforms. While retaining the socialist ideal they placed it as a far-off objective and instead concentrated on the immediate day-to-day bread and butter practical issues, like minimum wages, protecting the Welfare State. Naturally this takes up a lot of energy permitting less time for advocating socialism. It also meant being side-tracked from the socialist path and making opportunist alliances with pro-capitalists but only for a time, they said. The working class freed from the worry and misery of the extremes of capitalism would express interest in further social evolution and prove that the reformist way was the better way. 

We have had over a century now to evaluate that strategy and examine it under the light of experience.The promised reforms we have in profusion, though without weakening capitalism. The Labour Party is now wholly absorbed in task to win still further reforms, many of them the same ones that they promised to introduce quickly at the beginning. If the aim was to keep capitalism goingand to dissuade working people from demanding socialism, it has worked out very well. But some supporters of the Labour Party genuinely aim at socialismand the once attractive appeal of social reform has led only into the muddled mess of capitalist politics and now they are hopelessly bogged down in it. They have forgotten all about the road to socialism and the objective of putting an end to capitalism.  

Now the Labour Party is back where it started, looking for another cure for the social ills within capitalism. Reformism has not brought us any nearer to socialism  and it has exhausted whatever socialist interest there was originally in the minds of those who joined the Labour Party to reach a socialist society. So much so that the politicians inside the Labour Party have re-defined what their forebearers believed what socialism meant.

If all the energy devoted to chasing after reforms had been used instead to build up the socialist movement then the propertied class would have rushed forward all manner and shape of reforms in the hope, though a vain one, of buying it off.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

The Hunger Game

Almost 600,000 emergency food parcels were handed out by food banks in Scotland over 18 months, according to new figures. The Scottish charities which distributed the packages between April 2018 and September 2019 said more people were "reaching crisis point". The organisations warned the figures represent the "tip of the iceberg" for those struggling to buy food or feed their family.
They said the number of food parcels handed out during that period was 22% higher than the previous 18 months. More than 1,000 emergency food parcels are being handed out each day in Scotland. There are 52 food banks in Glasgow, compared to 18 branches of McDonald's.
The new figures were collected by the independent A Menu for Change group, a partnership between Oxfam Scotland, Nourish Scotland, the Poverty Alliance and the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland and the Independent Food Aid Network.
It found that:
  • More than 278,000 parcels were handed out by 91 of the the country's 101 independent food banks between April 2018 and September 2019
  • A further 318,214 parcels went out through the Trussell Trust's 135 venues
"A weakened social security system, low pay and insecure work are tightening the grip of poverty and forcing people to crisis point," said project manager Margaret MacLachlan. "The long-term solution to food insecurity is not food banks, it is ensuring people have secure and reliable incomes."
She added: "Today's statistics are shocking, but experts also warn that data on food parcel distribution only provides a partial picture of the number of Scots struggling to put food on the table, with many choosing to skip meals rather than use a food bank. No-one in rich Scotland should run out of money to buy food and political leaders must act now to prevent more people being dragged into poverty."
In Fife, the number of parcels distributed by independent food banks has risen from 25,798 to 40,409 in 18 months.
Joyce Leggate, Chairperson of Kirkcaldy FoodBank said: “Increasing numbers of people in Fife are being forced to turn to food banks in order to put food on the table. We have seen a month on month increase in people coming to us because of inadequate benefit payments, problems with the social security system and low wages. We are very concerned by today’s figures which show the vital role independent food banks have been playing throughout Scotland by offering emergency support for those who are no longer being supported by the social security safety net.”
Mary McGinley, from Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank, said: “It is hard to believe that in modern-day Scotland, more and more people are being forced to rely on foodbanks to feed themselves and their families. But until we see a significant change in direction, inadequate and insecure incomes make this continued rise in food parcels sadly predictable. While it is heartening that people are willing to donate to and volunteer at food banks, there is a real need for change. Politicians must address the underlying causes of rising food bank use rather than relying on charitable organisations and goodwill to respond to food poverty.”

Ruling by Fooling

When leftists advocate independence they surrender any socialist identity in order to merge with a nationalist movement. The need for socialists is to explain patiently where the electorate was being misled by nationalist idea, not reinforce them.

The Socialist Party holds that neither race nor nationality should separate the workers of the world.

The Socialist Party adopts a policy of unrelenting antagonism toward nationalism, patriotism, and xenophobia.

The Socialist Party gives no support to any nationalist group, and in place of their opportunism and hypocris echo the rallying cry of Marx and Engels, "Workers of All Countries, Unite!"

The Socialist Party holds that the only real divisions which exist in the world are between different social and economic groups. In capitalist countries this consists in a division between the capitalist class, which owns and controls the means of production, and the working class, which owns none of them and which has to sell its mental and physical labour-power to the capitalist class in order to live.

Feelings of loyalty to a nation are purely subjective, having no basis in reality. Nationalist ideologies and movements represent the interests of the capitalist class.

The rivalries between nations are an expression of a struggle between rival ruling classes using the nation in waging their disputes. National boundaries may be altered  may even disappear— but such re-arrangements of things geographical can in no way abolish, or even lessen, the poverty of the many. Nor can constitutional changes, re-defining sovereignty.

Our place of birth is accidental, but our obligation is to our class worldwide.