Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Moving Forward


Socialism is the end of the exploitation of labour and no person or corporation will get rich off the labour of another person, but all people will work for the collective benefit of humanity. The Socialist Party is for the building of a new world without capitalism and without the exploitation of man by man. Capitalism is anti-human. Karl Marx wrote that in production "the machine dominates man, not man the machine."

What do we want out of life? The vast majority of the population is made up of workers and their families in the factories and mines, transport and communications, and in offices; small farmers; professional people such as teachers, doctors, engineers, musicians. Among us there are many differences in standard of living, in taste, in outlook. But we have many things in common. In one way or another, all of us work for a living, most of us for an employer; and we are very much alike in what we want to get out of life. Except for the tiny minority which has great wealth at its command, the first thing that all the people want is a decent standard of living. No person wants to live merely in order to work. A person works because one wants to live. Before we can satisfy any other interest, we want decent food to eat, decent healthcare, and a decent home for ourselves and our families. This is a pretty modest ambition. With our tremendous industrial capacity, our modern machinery, our highly efficient labour force, our adequate resources and raw materials, this modest yearning could be achieved almost overnight for everybody – provided society were organised rationally.

The Socialist Party aspire to simple things which people everywhere long for:

We want peace, instead of bloodshed and violence and destruction.

We want security, instead of insecurity, the terrible business of not knowing today whether or not we will have a job or an income tomorrow.

We want to be sure that we will be able to raise our families in decent homes and good schools.

We want comfort and prosperity, instead of low living standards, slums, child labour, unemployment, hunger and starvation.

We want democracy and freedom, instead of regimentation, bureaucracy, racial and religious and national conflict.

We want an end of class tyranny and oppression.

We want freedom to fully satisfy  our needs, without any limit other than imposed by their natural possibilities and the needs of their neighbours, which are equally worthy of respect.

We want the right to live for all, in its entirety, without exclusion, without exception.

We want a modern civilisation. 

We have vast industries. We have the natural resources. We have trained and skilled workers. We can produce in one day what it took our ancestors years to produce.  Without capitalism’s imperative to “grow or die,” production will no longer be undertaken for its own sake, allowing the concern for the environmental consequences of unrestrained growth to be harmonised with the need for human well-being.

What we get is largely the very opposite of what we want. We are going into debt at an appalling rate, just to “make ends meet.” Many families have no savings. It is a dark harbinger of the future. We know what we want. The first thing to do is to find out what it is that stands in the way of our desires, why it is that we haven’t gotten what we want up to now. Then we will decide what we must do.

It is the capitalist system that stands in the way where a handful of capitalists control all the wealth and power in the world. This handful owns industry, mining, transportation. It owns our jobs. Whoever owns all these things, controls our lives, the lives of you and me and tens of millions of others. The only struggle for us is the struggle of the workers against their exploiters. 

We, in the Socialist Party, believe there is an alternative. The alternative to a capitalist government and capitalist chaos is socialism. We want to take over the industries built by us – by us and nobody else. We want to take over the wealth produced by us – by us and nobody else. We want to, and we can, run industry to produce for peace, not for war. To produce for us, for the needs and comforts of the people, and not for the swollen profits of the capitalists and corporations. Without capitalism and capitalist profit, we can put an end to war. They are caused by economic rivalry and by the lust to dominate the wealth of the world. Our marvellous machinery performs the terrible miracles of war production. We can make it perform even far greater miracles of peacetime production to provide plenty for all, homes fit to live in, comforts and prosperity, self-respect and human dignity. Those are the things we all want. They are the things the Socialist Party stands for. We must stand together. No worker must stand against a worker to the advantage of the capitalists.

Monday, February 22, 2021

We seek socialist freedom

 Mitakuye Oyasin (“We are all related”) - A Lakota Sioux saying

A society based on a cooperative commonwealth might seem like a far-off utopia—yet communities everywhere are always sowing the seeds of it. We need a new era for humanity—one that is a transformation in the way we produce what we need to survive and thrive.  A new and saner economic system. We need to change the basis of our global civilisation. We must move from a system based on capital accumulation to production for use to satify peoples needs, not to create profit for the few.

Working people only win fair wages, decent benefits and safe working conditions when they stand together. Solidarity also gives union members the will to survive. Employers try  to rig the scales in their favuor. In the USA they push the falsely named right-to-work (RTW) laws so they can divide workers  break the union bond  and exploit them more easily. These laws allow workers to opt out of supporting unions while still reaping the benefits. Unions remain legally bound to represent workers regardless of whether they pay dues  which erodes union activism and starves the unions of resources they need to bargain with from a position of strength. We should call them "right-to-work-for-less" laws. That's because people in states with RTW legislation earn 3 percent lower wages, on average, than their peers in other parts of the country. Workers in these states are less likely to have employer-provided health insurance and retirement plans, but more likely to die in workplace incidents, than their counterparts elsewhere.

Working-class power demands solidarity. We only get free together. How do we transform the working class from a “class in itself” to a “class for itself” — a class aware of itself as a force in history? There are no shortcut answers. But we must organise and engage.

In order for  society to be just and equitable, it must embody socialist ideas. We cannot preserve capitalism. SOCIALISM MEANS EXPANDING DEMOCRACY NOT ONLY IN THE POLITICAL FIELD BUT IN AN ECONOMIC SENSE – freedom from want. We need to keep this end in mind not to lose our way. Our critics  tell us that “you socialists  are too impatient — Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Are we supposed to put aside striving for the revolution? Our critics  always object: “ You can’t change human nature. ” Wrong! Our task as  socialists is changing human nature away from the distortion that capitalism has made of it. By capitalism, we mean the system that exists on the basis of your unpaid labor. You as a worker produce commodities to be exchanged on the market. You produce not only enough to pay your own wage, but also an added value, a surplus value, over and above the cost of your maintenance. Surplus labour is your unpaid wage. In polite circles it is called “profit. ” And that’s what capitalism is all about.

We are all affected and afflicted by this ruthless system, a cruel, vicious, remorseless, callous system. The same enemy holds us in bondage. That enemy has the same reasons for torturing all of us. The ruling class wants to preserve its privileges, its interests, its power, its wealth, its dominion. And so it engages what’s called divide and conquer, a  strategy  designed to make us all hate and resent and compete with each other. And too many of us buy into it. We can’t let ourselves do that! We have to make change. And we can do it through unity. If we organise, we can change this world.  

Socialism is not production for profit. It is production for use. It is not production for private ownership and the private ownership of resources. It is  common ownership of the wealth. It is not inequality and misery and persecution and discrimination; it is equality and fairness. It is not poverty and want; it is freedom from want. It is freedom from war. It is freedom from ugliness and squalor. It is the opposite of what exists today and it expresses what people need and dearly want and would love to see.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

 Socialist Change.


Commonly the word “socialism” is used as a political trick. The Labour Party is called “socialist”. It is suggested that countries with large welfare programmes are socialist or that nationalised industries are socialist. Socialism is not government ownership nor its control over industry. This has nothing to do with the socialism.

The division between owners and non-owners has got sharper and deeper. As a matter of historical fact the process is a process of fewer and fewer owners and more and more non-owners, that is, the workers. The State’s military and police are the armed guards of private property. By private property is not meant the private possessions of individuals but the private property of ownership of the means of production, the factories, land etc. The fundamental (not the only) purpose of the army and police is to prevent seizure by the non-owners of the private property in the factories and in huge tracts of land. Socialism, in the words of Engels, is not the government of persons, but the administration of things. The state, and its authority masking itself as democracy, disappears. The path to socialism is not through government control, state ownership or even through worker administered cooperatives. It is through a fundamental change in economic and class relations. The socialist revolution consists of the entire process, on a world scale, through which the socialist mode of production is established and supplants the capitalist  mode of production. The goal of the socialist 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 community harmony. The Socialist Party does not put forward this goal as a utopia, as a mere aspiration of what would be nice and makepeople happy, but as a goal the practical attainment of which is made necessary by the actual conditions of modern society.

The international working class can emancipate itself only by emancipating all of humanity, by eliminating the rule of capital and the chains of wage slavery.  socialism is indispensable to real freedom.  As  champions of democratic methods in every respect, the Socialist Party will do everything to make the peaceful road to socialism something  of importance . But even where the peaceful road is blocked, socialists hold to the democratic road; that is the only road to socialism. The Socialist Party always and everywhere seeks its objective not against the will of the people, not over them, but as their instrument. Socialists talk of comradeship, of democracy and of the working class and its ceaseless striving for human dignity and socialism. A world  socialist movement must be a genuinely democratic  movement against capitalism. The fundamental objective of the working class is the overthrow of the capitalist system and the establishment of socialism. The fundamental economic distinction between capitalism and socialism is this: in a capitalist society, a handful of people–the bourgeoisie–own the means of production and organize the economic activity of society in accordance with their own accumulation of profit; in a socialist society, the the people collectively  owns the means of production and organises the economic activity of society in accordance with the social needs of the people.

“...Survival for all capitalists rests with their capacity to extract value in the form of unpaid labor, or profit from working people. No serious capitalist would hire a single worker without this expectation. But with the ever-increasing substitution of machines/robots and computer technology for human labor, the world capitalist order finds itself in constant crisis and decline. Intense competition forces all capitalists to introduce new technologies to survive. In time, the average amount of human labor embodied in all commodities is reduced and with it, average rates of profit.

Technological advances, especially those of a clean and environmentally sustainable nature, in a rational society should pave the way for social advances. In a socialist society, where human needs, not capitalist profits are primary, clean and sustainable labor saving technology portend a major increase in leisure time for all working people, time for the fullest engagement of all in the highest levels of free education, time for the fullest development of the human potential, time to explore a broad range of cultural, scientific and educational interests, time to encourage the best aspiration of humanity for freedom and equality.

In capitalist society, technological advance, in time, portents mass unemployment, layoffs, subjugation to the gig economy, restricted access to education, health care and housing, not to mention endless wars for new markets and profit…

Whether it be overt union busting, obliteration of pensions and health care benefits, workplace speed up, offshoring plants to low wage nations, imperialist conquests to secure vital resources, cutbacks in social services, “elimination of welfare as we know it,” tax relief of the rich at the expense of workers and the poor, or pumping $billions and $trillions of taxpayer money into corporate bailout schemes, the objective is the same – to preference the corporate elite at the expense of the vast majority – a preference driven not by any moral failings of the super rich, but by the necessities imposed by the very operation of the system. This has little or nothing to do with capitalist greed and avarice, however much these are built into their psyches. Whether capitalists are well-intentioned or evil, they must deploy one or another or all of the above measures aimed at workers to keep their businesses afloat in the face of the incessant competition that drives them to survive or perish. …”

As Biden Returns “Civilization” to Washington, It's More Obvious Than Ever That Capitalism Cannot Be Reformed - CounterPunch.org


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Dundee Women Struggle Again

This blog has written about why Dundee was once known as She-Town. Yet again, the power of women is exerting itself in the city.

The GMB union has launched a collective grievance against Dundee city council over equal pay. Their case hinges on the council’s use of “craft agreements” in jobs traditionally dominated by men – such as bricklayers, joiners, roofers and glaziers – which include a bonus scheme in which workers are paid both productivity bonuses and fixed bonuses every month just for attending work. Comparable sectors made up predominantly of women, such as care, cleaning and catering, receive no such bonuses, and those working in them, say the union, may have taken home thousands of pounds less than their male counterparts each year. Although most of these workers earn the living wage of £9.50 an hour, the union says unpredictable shift patterns mean many can’t live on these wages alone and often work second and third jobs to top up their wages. 

“There’s almost even more of a sense of injustice because Dundee is a matriarchal city,” says GMB organiser Helen Meldrum, pointing to the city’s history. While the union is still amassing claims, she believes it is likely that there are women with equal pay cases against the council who were also involved in factory strikes over terms and conditions. 

“Dundee has a proud tradition of women leading industrial disputes and fights against injustices, and this is no exception,” she continues. “This money has been stolen from these women and they’ll never get back all the extra hours they’ve worked.” For the workers involved, the dispute is as much about dignity and visibility as it is about money. “We’re expected to do more and more for less and less.”

Care workers and cleaners of Dundee in fight for equal pay | Gender pay gap | The Guardian

The insanity of capitalism


In a sane society scientific research would be carried out to help humanity, not to feed the coffers of huge institutions or to increase the destructive capabilities of the armament industry. Science and technology can increase our ability to shape the world around us. In a sane society the introduction of new labour saving equipment would lead automatically to higher living standards and a shorter working hours. But not under capitalism. Until science is controlled democratically, by the vast majority in the interests of the majority, much of our human ingenuity will be wasted. The aim of the World Socialist Movement is the abolition of class rule and class conflict, with all their evil consequences, and the development of a  society in which the few shall no longer be able to enjoy luxury at the expense of over-work, want, and insecurity for the majority. So greatly have science and invention increased our productive powers that an abundance of all the good things of life for the whole population could be produced without subjecting any human being to drudgery or exhausting toil. The continued existence of poverty is due solely to causes which intelligent social action can overcome. To assure plenty, security, leisure, and freedom for all, it is necessary that the existing property system, the existing forms of economic control and distribution of wealth, be so changed as to adapt them to the conditions of modern life. Private ownership means power for the few and subjection for the many.

The Socialist Party does not condemn personal possessions as such. It condemns the private ownership of the socially necessary means of production, under which the workers are employed only on such terms to assure the income of the owners and are thrown out of work and into penury whenever the owners cannot profit by their labour. Only by the common ownership and democratic control of such productive wealth, doing away with exploitation and making the satisfaction of human wants the ruling motive in production, can the ideal of a class-free society be realised. The choice before us is either to permit the uncontrolled development of capitalism to concentrate all power in the hands of an oligarchy of high finance and reduce the people to abject servitude, or to remodel its economic life. In the name of freedom, in the name of civilisation , for the good of those now alive and of generations yet unborn, we call upon the workers as a class, and upon all men and women, to join us in winning the good new world which is within our grasp. If the workers are not class conscious, if they are blind to the class struggle, if they accept wage slavery as a finality, a socialist party party can do them no possible good; if they are class conscious and their eyes are open to the class struggle, and their conscious purpose is to abolish wage slavery, then they must join the Socialist Party. Let socialists everywhere not only preach the class war, but make every every battle of the workers everywhere in the militant campaign of emancipation. Socialists primarily concern themselves with analysing the capitalist system, pointing out its defects and advocating the replacing of the capitalist system by the collective ownership and democratic administration of the means of production and distribution.

The success of the World Socialist Movement and the rapidity of its progress will depend very largely upon the method of education and the political tactics of the Socialist Party. Reformism creates illusions in the minds of the workers that a cure can be obtained from the ruling class. We say: workers reject this path of palliatives. Let us not waste time chasing dead-ends.

The systematic coercion of man by man is what  socialists seek to abolish altogether. The Socialist Party denies the necessity for the existence of classes; it wants to abolish all classes, all class distinctions. If the  people don’t hasten to act their future is lost, all is lost. Capitalism threatens to plunge all humanity into barbarism. The working class must save mankind.