Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How to recognise socialism


Capitalism takes several forms, be it the pure, privatized version of the system which exists in the U.S., Japan, Germany, etc., or the state capitalism, or Leninism/Stalinism, that exists (or has existed) in Russia, China and in all the nations that falsely claim the mantle of "communism" or "socialism." The name "socialism" has also been claimed by the liberal form of capitalism that exists in Sweden, France and previously, in Great Britain.

 The bottom line is that socialism has been terribly misrepresented. If we are ever to move beyond the current social system that is killing us and rapidly leading to global chaos. We must understand what capitalism truly is, how we can organise against it and what the next form of society should take. That system should be the humane, class-free society. It should be pointed out that human beings lived in peaceful cooperation for hundreds of thousands of years before the first class-divided society, chattel slavery, appeared. The fact that this happened was one of necessity. Despite the equality of humanity's first economic system, often called primitive communism, it was an equality of poverty. Once material conditions advanced to the point where a small surplus was available to society, the concept of class divisions emerged. In that primitive world, society lacked the industrial capability of producing an abundance for everybody. Hence, the only way for society to advance was for class divisions to emerge. Now, however, thanks to modern technology of production, we will have an equality of abundance, and not an equality of poverty that once made class divisions necessary for our distant ancestors. Ruling classes no longer serve a useful purpose in society, such as advancing culture and science, that they did in the class-divided systems of the past when the primitive levels of production didn't allow human progress to occur any other way

The ruling class can maintain their despotic wealth and privilege, continue fighting their useless and bloody wars with the full support of the general public and continue to dominate the world economy with their ideas and interests. The cost to the working class, i.e., the vast majority of citizens of the world, is poverty, massive unemployment, a culture dominated by nihilism, despondency, crass materialism, avarice and selfishness, crime, violence, constant attacks on our basic civil rights, repressive laws, environmental devastation and the continued threat of a nuclear war. All this so a few individuals can live in luxury, while the rest of us do not.

Genuine socialism has NEVER been tried in any country. In fact, socialism is a system that will be worldwide and isn't intended to function in just one country. The principle of "socialism in one country" was expounded upon by the Russian dictator Josef Stalin in a self-serving attempt to convince the world that the country he ruled was indeed socialist. Furthermore, socialists firmly believe that socialism will be brought about by working class organisation, and by no other means. It will never be brought about by politicians, whose purpose is to control the working class on behalf of their capitalist masters, not to liberate the working class from oppression, or to meet the needs of the working class.  Diversity will be tolerated as never before, as no one will have the power to gain dominance for a particular group of individuals. No one will have economic control over anyone else, everyone will be free to choose a job that they are suited for and have the talent to perform well, and the media, as it's called today, will be completely free and in control of the public. This is the society of the future, and we have the technology to achieve it now. All we need is to organize to establish it, and this future is ours for the taking.

Genuine socialism is a socio-economic system in which all of the industries and services (stores, restaurants, hospitals, mines, farms, etc.) are socially owned, not privately owned, as in capitalism, or state-owned, as in Leninism/Stalinism (i.e., often referred to as "state capitalism" due to its extreme similarity to "pure" capitalism). The industries would serve the needs and wants of everyone, not just the profit interests of the few. In fact, production is carried out exclusively for the needs of everyone, and not for private profit. People will work to improve society and to produce what we need, not to personally enrich themselves or to make the "owner" of the industry rich. Under socialism, no money or system of currency would exist.

 Instead, people would work according to their abilities and take according to their needs. Society would be one of free access, where no items were held from those who need them due to lack of ability to pay. We would live in a truly free society, with no political state to control our actions, and none would be needed in a system without the material conditions that breed crime and violence, thus making it "necessary" to pass laws to control our behaviour. We would be free from want, with no poverty or unemployment. As a result, crime would virtually vanish altogether, and we will have a society that functions with far less friction than any previous system in existence. We would be free from the violent and disturbed individuals that are bred by a capitalist society, which fosters ruthless competition among people, both within and across nations, and which routinely creates such tragedies as school massacres. Education would be free to all, without having to put ourselves into massive debt. The very idea of "financial debt" wouldn't exist any more. We would still be allowed to have personal property, such as a decent home. Although we would still have vehicles, it has often been stated that we would no longer have a need for separate cars to the degree that we do today. Instead, superior forms of mass transportation would probably replace cars to a large extent. Because the profit motive would no longer exist, sufficient health care, food, education, and recreation would be given to all directly in exchange for their work. No longer would anyone be forced into debt, and no small class of individuals would control the economy and use it for their own personal enrichment. Socialism will be a worldwide system. An exact detailed and specific blueprint for how this future society will be run isn't advisable before the system is actually established and the people have the opportunity to vote on it. 

Socialism can and must be established before capitalism brings our world into a second Dark Age. Currently, the working class is not class conscious. the working class is miseducated into playing the capitalist class' game for it. In our education, we are taught to support the government, to believe that the politicians are looking out for our needs and that we live in a truly democratic society. We are taught this in the capitalist-controlled media, schools, television and other sources of information. Most people never even consider questioning such tactics...we simply believe the propaganda that we have been fed all of our lives, and never think to question it. We may dislike certain politicians and policies, we may hate the crime, poverty and environmental destruction that capitalism creates, but never do we actually blame capitalism itself or even consider capitalism as the problem. Always do we consider "solutions" to the problems within the framework of capitalism, and never do we oppose the politicians and the capitalist class that controls them.

We are encouraged to work our jobs, grind our noses and ignore the daily exploitation that we suffer. We believe that the capitalists are necessary for production, that at least some of them deserve their wealth, that they earned their vast wealth through "hard work" (that we've never seen them do) and that all the social evils of capitalism are "necessary" for a democratic society. We dismiss socialism out of hand as that thing that Russia used to have, never knowing that this is a lie crafted by the politicians so that we will never question the power that they and the capitalists hold over us. We have had the technological capability for socialism for about 120 years now, and socialists will always recognise the 20th century as the "wasted century," as capitalism endured throughout the entire hundred years.

We must recognise ourselves as members of the working class, regardless of our occupations, income or employment status. Anyone who must work for a living is a member of the working class. Anyone who owns enough property to live off of the labour of others, yet never needs to work themselves, is a member of the capitalist class. It's that simple. We must cast off social mythology that casts us into fictitious classes such as the "middle class."  We must recognise this fact and unite. We must form our own political party which will be organised solely on the basis of fighting for socialism. Not for reforms, not for "nationalisation" of the industries, but for genuine socialism only. In short, the socialist political party will present us with the revolutionary ballot. The Socialist Party will capture the state with the express purpose of dismantling it. The Socialist Party will then vote itself out of existence.


 Poverty, hunger, racism, sexism, environmental destruction, unemployment, rampant crime, and war will become things of the past. Education will be given to anyone who has the desire to learn, This new society will herald a Golden Age for humanity, and it is within our grasp as soon as we organise to establish it.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Socialists for World Socialism


Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP and First Minister of Scotland will "restart the debate" on Scottish independence, according to the media outlets.

Just as capitalism is a world system of society, so too must socialism be. There never has been, and never can be, socialism in just one country. Socialism will be one world-wide community without national boundaries, a united humanity, sharing a world of common interests, would also share world administration. This is the socialist alternative to the way that capitalism divides the planet into rival states and sets people against each other.

But this does not rule out local democracy. It is sometimes said that world administration would mean power of central control over local democracy. In fact, a democratic system of decision-making would require that the basic unit of social organisation would be the local community. However, the nature of some of the problems we face and the many goods and services presently produced, such as raw materials, energy sources, agricultural products, world transport and communications, need production and distribution to be organised at a world level.


"Because the condition of the workers of all countries is the same, because their interests are the same, their enemies the same, they must also fight together, they must oppose the brotherhood of the bourgeoisie of all nations with a brotherhood of the workers of all nations." - Engels, 1847.

We are revolutionary



There is a considerable amount of confusion over what genuine socialism is. For decades, capitalist spokesmen, politicians, educators, and preachers have been telling us numerous falsehoods about this socio-economic system of the future. We have been told that it existed in the former Soviet Union, China, and Cuba, that it's been active in Sweden and Great Britain, that it's a dictatorship or that it means state control over the economy. Capitalist speakers have been spreading these lies because it's within their interests to promote the falsehoods so that the working class never understands or supports, en masse, a viable alternative to capitalism or any other system based on class rule and exploitation of labour. As a result, since it was first conceived in the early 19th century as the next step in social evolution after capitalism (just as capitalism replaced a previous economic system, feudalism) the tenets of socialism have been suppressed by the ruling class. No school textbooks, from elementary school to graduate school, accurately promote it, all spread one or more of the aforementioned falsehoods, and all attest that such a system is impossible and that capitalism is the pinnacle of socio-economic evolution


At this moment in history, it is understandable that the revolutionary movement for socialism is fragmented, yet in time perhaps, a new, far larger party of socialism will appear, whereupon all socialists will fight united for economic freedom. Unfortunately, that is not the case presently. Ultimately, it will be up to the vast majority of the people at the time to determine which policies will be utilized, such as how to bring about socialism, how to run the system after it's established and what method will be used to distribute the output to the workers. It must be left to the people to decide after, or perhaps just before, socialism is established as to how the society will be run, and all the genuine parties agree that it is not appropriate or desirable for a small party to decide on specific details of how to run the system without the consent of the vast majority, since socialism will be a complete democracy and not the nominal one we have under capitalism. The Socialist Party is adamant that no blueprint for running the future socialist society can be administered now. It must be done by the vast majority of the people at the time of the system's inception, and not by the socialist minority that exists today.  Many questions exist unanswered at this time, such as what family structure, sexual relations, popular culture, romance, and philosophy will be like under socialism.  We won't know these things until after the system becomes a reality. 

 The important question as to when socialism will come about is also unknown. At the present time, no large revolutionary movement or challenge to capitalism exists; the working class of the present time remains a sleeping giant with few signs of an awakening. Pro-capitalist advocates hang on to the belief that their beloved system of power and privilege for the few over the many, class rule, will somehow manage to cheat history and scientific advancement and continue for as long as the human race exists. We also do not know if the people will rise up before the planet's ecological collapse, or sometime after; if it doesn't rise up beforehand, then a system of industrial feudalism and the dawning of a second Dark Age may well be the result. If the working class turns to the capitalist government for a "solution" to the collapse of capitalism rather then finding one themselves, we can be rest assured that the government will do everything it can to preserve class rule and to initiate the preservation of the class privilege of its masters by any means necessary.

In fact, if capitalism were to collapse tomorrow, chaos would almost certainly be the result. At the present time the vast majority of the working classes of the world remain apathetic, distracted by the modern equivalent of "bread and circuses" (sports events, mindless television shows), involved with futile reform measures to make capitalism easier to live with or attacking one specific problem of capitalism rather than the system itself, overcome with cynicism against the human race, ignorant of a viable alternative to class rule, misinformed about the true nature of socialism and, ultimately, still loyal to capitalism. Thus, the relatively small number of socialists that now exist can only continue with their education and agitation, and hope that the vast majority of the working class becomes class-conscious and initiates an organised resistance to capitalism before yet another of capitalism comes about, so that we can hopefully avoid a worldwide despotic reign of terror if civilisation collapses before the eventual establishment of socialism.

The Socialist Party supports the establishment of an economic system that is not divided into two contending social classes; there would be no minority class that owns all the property involved with the production or distribution of the goods in society and which thereby forces the majority class to work for them in exchange for only a tiny fraction of the wealth, while the ruling class appropriates the lion's share for themselves simply because they own. The Leninist system utilised by the former Soviet Union and China (as well as Cuba) do not fit the criteria of a class-free society, as they too were/are divided into a tiny and very privileged ruling class that owns the industries and services, and a very large working class that does all of the labour in exchange for a very minuscule portion of the social wealth. No genuine socialist political party would support this system of "state capitalism", or refer to them as being socialist.

The Socialist Party advocates a system that functions without money; in other words, there would be no type of circulating means of currency which can be used to purchase the means of production and distribution and be used by individuals for their own personal enrichment, and thereby acquire a disproportionate amount of the wealth in society, as under capitalism. Once again, the Leninist countries operating under the guise of "communism" or "socialism" in the world today all possess circulating monetary currency necessary to acquire the goods and services, and which limits the amount of goods the people can obtain.

The Socialist Party insists that there will be no political government, a point to be emphasised. The Socialist Party does not favour the continuation of the State or believes that the State is anything other than an oppressive tool of a ruling class used to enforce class rule. All of the other parties claiming to be "socialist" endorse the continuation of the political state and foster the belief that the state can be goaded into administering society for the benefit of everyone. True socialists realise that the political state is not needed in a genuine socialist society, and agree that it only serves the interests of the ruling classes, and would not and cannot serve the interests of a classless society, and that the latter would be quite incapable of existing harmoniously alongside a coercive entity like a state. 

The Socialist Party recognises the modern reality of potential abundance which will take over the outmoded principle of artificial scarcity and promotes the concept of common, ownership of the industries and services, with no ruling or boss class as part of the equation. Such social ownership exists nowhere in the world today.



Sunday, May 20, 2018

Musings From Our Past

Musings from our past . . .
The Making of the English Working Class, E.P. Thompson's classic text, takes the interested reader far in illuminating the brutal social upheavals emerging capitalism caused monopolizing economic and political power in its violent thirst putting money of its class before humanity's need.
V. The Sherwood Lads
“Luddism lingers in the popular mind as an uncouth, spontaneous affair of illiterate hand-workers, blindly resisting machinery. But machine breaking has a far longer history. The destruction of materials, looms, threshing machines, the flooding of pits or damage to pithead gear, or the robbing or firing of houses or property of unpopular employers – these, and other forms of violent direct action, were employed in the eighteenth century and first half of the nineteenth, while 'rattening' was still endemic in parts of the Sheffield cutlery industry in the late 1860s. Such methods were sometimes aimed at machinery held to be obnoxious as such. More often they were a means of enforcing customary conditions, intimidating blacklegs, 'illegal' men, or masters, or were (often effective) ancillary means to strike or other 'trade union' action.” Although related to this tradition, the Luddite movement must be distinguished from it, first, by its high degree of organization, second, by the political context within which it flourished. These differences may be summed up in a single characteristic: while finding its origin in particular industrial grievances, Luddism was a quasi-insurrectionary movement, which continually trembled on the edge of ulterior revolutionary objectives. This is not to say that it was a wholly conscious revolutionary movement; on the other hand, it had a tendency towards becoming such a movement, and it is this tendency which is most often understated.”
The Making of the English Working Class in England, 1963.

https://uncomradelybehaviour.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/thompson-ep-the-making-of-the-english-working-class.pdf

Capitalism's Pressures? What We Can Say.

Like everyone else, socialists are shocked and saddened at the senseless slaughter that happened on Toronto's Yonge St. on April 23 and need not be described here.
Obviously, it was the behaviour of a very mentally ill person which we socialists can never condone. Nor can we condone a society which creates such pressure on individuals that cracks them to perform anti-social acts. We cannot argue that there will be no mentally ill people in a socialist society. What we can say is with the removal of the pressures capitalism places on us, it will be considerably less, and if someone is showing signs of mental sickness, they will quickly receive treatment. 

Until then, violent antisocial acts, which crapitalism engenders year in and year out, will undoubtedly continue with no end in sight until it ends.
For socialism
Steve, Mehmet, John & all contributing members of the SPC.

Lothian Socialist Discussion (23/5)

The Socialist Party of Great Britain is not the socialist "party" that Marx (or even our Declaration of Principles) envisages, ie the working class as a whole organised politically for socialism. That will come later. At the moment, the Socialist Party can be described as only a socialist propaganda or socialist education organisation and can't be anything else (and nor would it try to be, at the moment ). Possibly, we might be the embryo of the future mass "socialist party" but there's no guarantee that we will be (more likely just a contributing element.) But who cares? As long as such a party does eventually emerge. At some stage, for whatever reason, socialist consciousness will reach a "critical mass", at which point it will just snowball and carry people along with it. It may even come about without people actually giving it the label of socialism.

In 1904 the Socialist Party raised the banner for such a single, mass socialist party and proclaimed itself as the basis of such a party. Not only did the working class in general not "muster under its banner" but neither did all socialists. So although with a long history as a political party based on agreed goals, methods and organisational principles we were left as a small propagandist group, but still committed to the tenets set out in our Declaration of Principles. But we have never been so arrogant as to claim that we're the only socialists and that anybody not in the SPGB is not a socialist. 

There are socialists outside the SPGB, and some of them are organised in different groups. That doesn't mean that we are not opposed to the organisations they have formed, but we are not opposed to them because we think they represent some section of the capitalist class. We are opposed to them because we disagree with what they are proposing the working class should do to get socialism -- and of course, the opposite is the case too: they're opposed to what we propose. Nearly all the others who stand for a class-free, state-free, money-free, wageless society are anti-parliamentary (the old Socialist Labour Party being an exception). For the Socialist Party, using the existing historically-evolved mechanism of political democracy (the ballot box and parliament) is the best and safest way for a socialist-minded working class majority to get to socialism. For them, it's anathema. For the members of the Socialist Party, some of the alternatives they suggest (armed insurrection or a general strike) are anathema. We all present our respective proposals for working-class action to get socialism and, while criticising each other's proposals, not challenging each other's socialist credentials.

Mandating delegates, voting on resolutions and membership referendums are democratic practices for ensuring that the members of an organisation control that organisation – and as such key procedures in any organisation genuinely seeking socialism. Socialism can only be a fully democratic society in which everybody will have an equal say in the ways things are run. This means that it can only come about democratically, both in the sense of being the expressed will of the working class and in the sense of the working class being organised democratically – without leaders, but with mandated delegates – to achieve it. In rejecting these procedures what is being declared is that the working class should not organise itself democratically.

We need to organise politically, into a political party, a socialist party. We don't suffer from delusions of grandeur so we don't necessarily claim that we are that party. What we are talking about is not a small educational and propagandist group such as ourselves, but a mass party that has yet to emerge. It is all about understanding limitations and they will be subject to change when conditions change. The main purpose of the SPGB at the moment is to (a) argue for socialism, and (b) put up candidates to measure how many socialist voters there are. The SPGB doesn't go around creating myths of false hopes and false dawns at every walk-out or laying down of tools but will remind workers of the reality of the class struggle and its constraints within capitalism and as a party, unfortunately, suffers the negative consequence of this political honesty.

Anton Pannekoek, the Dutch writer on Marxism, writing in an American magazine, Modern Socialism, said: "The belief in parties is the main reason for the impotence of the working-class . . . Because a party is an organisation that aims to lead and control the workers". He qualified this statement. "If . . . persons with the same fundamental conceptions (regarding Socialism) unite for the discussion of practical steps and seek clarification through discussion and propagandise their conclusions, such groups might be called parties, but they would be parties in an entirely different sense from those of to-day."

The Socialist Party position is that it was not parties as such that had failed, but the form all parties (except the SPGB) had taken as groups of persons seeking power above the worker. Because the establishment of socialism depends upon an understanding of the necessary social changes by a majority of the population, these changes cannot be left to parties acting apart from or above the workers. The workers cannot vote for socialism as they do for reformist parties and then go home or go to work and carry on as usual. To put the matter in this way is to show its absurdity. The Socialist Party of Great Britain and its fellow parties, therefore, reject all comparison with other political parties. We do not ask for power; we help to educate the working-class itself into taking it.

Pannekoek wished workers' political parties to be “organs of the self-enlightenment of the working class by means of which the workers find their way to freedom”and “means of propaganda and enlightenment”.

Which is almost exactly the role and purpose hoped for by the Socialist Party of Great Britain's present members.

Lothian Socialist Discussion
Wednesday, 23 May 
 7:30pm - 9:00pm
The Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh,
17 West Montgomery Place,
Edinburgh EH7 5HA


This is what socialism might look like

Why didn’t the environmental movement fully succeed? Some theorists now calling themselves “bright greens” have abandoned the fight altogether. The reason for the failure thus far of the environmental movement and fell short because it wasn’t able to alter industrial society’s central organising principle, which is also its fatal flaw: its accumulation of capital and ever-expanding market and pursuit of growth at all costs for profit. 

Why have environmental writers and advocacy organizations succumbed to tunnel vision? Perhaps it’s simply that they assume systems thinking is beyond the capacity of policy-makers. It’s true: If climate scientists were to approach world leaders with the message, “We have to change everything, including our entire economic system—and fast,” they might be shown the door rather rudely. A more acceptable message is, “We have identified a serious pollution problem, for which there are technical solutions.” Perhaps many of the scientists who did recognize the systemic nature of our ecological crisis concluded that if we can successfully address this one make-or-break environmental crisis, we’ll be able to buy time to deal with others waiting in the wings (overpopulation, species extinctions, resource depletion and on and on). Their justification for doing so is that people want a vision of the future that’s cheery and that doesn’t require sacrifice. 

The first task for socialist politics is to direct the cause of the environmental crisis to the world dominated by market and profit accumulation. The system of capitalism must be placed in the dock as being culpable of the abuse and destruction of nature. The Socialist Party calls upon the people to organise with a view to the substitution of the co-operative commonwealth for the present state of unplanned production, commercial rivalry, and social disorder; a commonwealth in which every worker shall have the free exercise and full benefit of his or her faculties. We call upon them to unite with us in a mighty effort to gain by all practicable means the political power. Science and technology are diverted from their humane purpose to the enslavement of men, women, and children. Ignorance and misery, with all their concomitant evils, are perpetuated, that the people may be kept in bondage. Workers robbed of the wealth which they alone produce yet are even deprived of the necessaries of life by wage slavery.

Socialism would mean organising human societies in a manner that is compatible with the way that nature is organised. Capitalist society robs us of community with each other and communing with nature.  We have arrived at a turning point in human history. Multiple and massive environmental problems will soon become irreversible and relatively soon the planet will no longer be capable of supporting civilisation. The unfolding crises make the environmental movement a crucial arena for socialists. The logic of curing the environmental problems will lead participants in a socialist direction, but this is not an automatic process. Without clear and concrete ideas, the environmental movement will not bring about the fundamental change needed to resolve the crisis.  We can shape our own destiny only by embracing a society of “associated producers.” When the world recovers from the globalisation of greed, the human species can join together in its quest for social justice and solidarity.

The Socialist Party envision the end of the exchange economy. In short, free access simply means that workers will be allowed to take freely of the goods and services available to them, and in which they had a hand in collectively producing. Common sense will prevent over-consumption, and due to the fact that we will be allowed to work at jobs which we have a natural interest and aptitude in, the enforcement of work entailed by wages or even labour vouchers will be seen as unnecessary. Therefore, free access consumption will not be based on how many hours we work, but on the self-defined needs of the individual. Of course, if we don't collectively agree not to overconsume, or if we collectively choose not to work, socialism in general and free access, in particular, will not work. However, since everybody in a socialist society will be working at jobs in which they have an aptitude for and personal interest in, and since work will encompass only a fraction of the time for each worker that it does under capitalism (with far more leisure time available to workers than under capitalism), the need for some medium to enforce work will be unnecessary. It is very possible that as technology continues to advance, and as production becomes more and more efficient over the course of time under socialism, it will become increasingly easier to produce what we need and want in greater abundance, making artificial limits on production for the purpose of limiting consumption and enforcing work to appear more and more absurd in the eye of the worker.

Free access can basically be defined as no medium of exchange necessary for taking goods and utilising services. If we need a certain item from the store, we will simply walk in and sign it out of the inventory. Any type of barter in an advanced industrialised society is believed to be ludicrous by people who are aware of the material possibilities in an era of abundance which we live under today. In fact, it will be probable under a free access system that people will keep consumption in check by agreeing to share items in which we now purchase for every family, such as methods of transportation and home maintenance. As has been pointed out, lawn mowers, for example, will probably be shared by several families on one block, and future means of superior public transportation will lessen the demand for personal means of transportation, such as automobiles. Also, without the need for market hungry advertising, needs will not be created, and the demand for outlandish and unnecessary devices sold in abundance under capitalism will be seen as a waste of production under socialism.


It should be restated that work under socialism will be completely voluntary, and should have no need to be enforced as under capitalism. Goods must be free to all in addition to the required services, and since people will be able to work jobs in which they have a personal aptitude, work will be a pleasure under socialism, and not the unmitigated burden that people try to avoid under capitalism. Hence, virtually all individuals will be happy to do their share of the useful work required in society, and much leisure in which to enjoy it will be available (there is a saying that goes "those who love their occupation never work a day in their life", a saying very applicable to what our life will be like under socialism concerning our jobs).

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Making money out of misery

Arms giants with factories in Scotland have been accused of profiteering from new border security systems to prevent vulnerable people escaping oppressive regimes and reaching Europe legally in a new report by Transnational Institute (TNI)
.The European Union (EU) has developed a policy of making nations outside of Europe responsible for its border security, which has involved deals with oppressive states to stop refugees from reaching Europe for safety. The rapid growth in border security spending outwith Europe has benefited a wide range of companies, particularly arms manufacturers and biometric security companies. Arms multinationals which operate factories in Scotland – Thales and Leonardo – are both named in the report as prominent players after doing deals with countries with poor human rights records such as Egypt and Algeria. The EU’s approach to migration is called border externalisation and has resulted in other nations effectively becoming border guards for Europe. This means collaboration with third countries accepting deported persons, training of police and border officials, and the development of extensive biometric systems. It also involves donations of military equipment including helicopters, patrol ships and surveillance equipment. But what makes these collaborations problematic, the report says, is that many governments receiving support are “deeply authoritarian”. The support they get often goes to state security organs responsible for human rights abuses.
TNI said that the “plight of the world’s 66 million forcibly displaced persons” seems to only “trouble the European Union’s conscience” when the media spotlight turns on a tragedy at Europe’s borders.
“These tragedies aren’t just unfortunate results of war or conflict elsewhere, they are also the direct result of Europe’s policies on migration since the Schengen agreement in 1985,” TNI added. “This approach has focused on fortifying borders, developing ever more sophisticated surveillance and tracking of people, and increasing deportations while providing ever fewer legal options for residency despite ever greater need,” the report continued. 
There have been EU agreements with, and funding provided to, regimes such as Chad, Niger, Belarus, Libya and Sudan, among others with poor human rights records. French arms giant Thales – which has a factory in Glasgow – is highlighted in the report as a major arms exporter, providing military and security equipment for border security and biometric systems and equipment. Thales serves as a good example too of the way the military and security industry makes money out of the refugee tragedy,” the report says. “It played a significant role in lobbying for security-based EU border and migration policies. It has also won significant border security contracts, for example deploying a complete, integrated system for border security at the Eastern Latvian border, with command and control software, optronics, sensors and a communication network.”  The report goes on to say that when it comes to EU border externalisation, the focus of Thales lies on “capitalising on the growth in security markets” in Africa. Thales has provided nine African countries with control systems for identification documents, the report says.
“For example since 2005, Morocco has been switching to biometric identity cards, based on digital fingerprints, in part to ‘control migration flows’. Thales has helped implement the project – delivering ID document production equipment and software. The relationship with Egypt is especially close,” the report adds. “In recent years, Thales has helped supply Egypt with Rafale combat aircraft and radar for frigate and corvette warships. Egypt’s cooperation with stopping migration for the EU plays a role in this, as it facilitates a permissive application of arms export regulations.”
Thales has a factory in Glasgow employing 720 people. An Italian multinational called Leonardo with a factory in Edinburgh is also mentioned in the report. It makes laser systems for F16 fighter jets and was recently linked to the bombing of Kurds in Afrin, Syria, an attack described as “ethnic cleansing” by Kurdish groups. TNI says Leonardo has benefited from border security work in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
The report says: “Leonardo is also involved in other border security deals in countries neighbouring Europe. It supplied 15 helicopters for border monitoring to Algeria in 2010 and 2011. And in 2013 AgustaWestland [a Leonardo subsidiary] signed a contract with the Mauritanian Air Force for the delivery of two AW109 helicopters, to be used for border patrol and reconnaissance missions.
“In February 2017, Leonardo announced it was selected by Austrian company Schiebel to supply its PicoSAR radar surveillance system for Camcopter S-100 unmanned air systems (UAS) to a North African country, reportedly Tunisia, for tasks including border monitoring.”
Both Thales and Leonardo have helped shape European border security through lobbying, the report adds, as both firms belong to the European Organisation for Security (EOS), which has promoted increased border security. But TNI claims this has led to a higher death toll for forcibly displaced persons, because measures to block one migration route often result in people taking more dangerous journeys.
“The boosting and militarization of border security has led to a higher death toll for forcibly displaced persons,” the report says. 
In 2017, 1 out of every 57 migrants crossing the Mediterranean died, compared to 1 out of every 267 migrants in 2015. This reflects the fact that in 2017 the longer, more dangerous Central Mediterranean route was the main route for (a significantly lower number of) forcibly displaced people, mostly from West African and Sub-Saharan countries, compared to the 2015 main route from Turkey to Greece, used predominantly by Syrians.”
Andrew Smith, of Campaign Against Arms Trade, said: “Whether the issue is arming human rights abusing regimes and dictatorships, fueling and facilitating war and conflict or enabling the appalling treatment of refugees: companies like Leonardo and Thales are happy to profit every step of the way.”
Pauline Diamond Salim, of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “The right to seek asylum in another country is enshrined in the 1951 Refugee Convention – an international UN treaty to which the UK, along with more than 140 other countries, is a signatory.”
Oliver Feeley-Sprague, Amnesty International UK’s Arms Control Director, said: “The EU has robust prohibitions in place against selling arms and security equipment to states where they risk being used for serious human rights abuses. Those very rules explicitly say that other factors, such as the need for security, can’t over-rule the prohibition on supply in these circumstances.”
https://theferret.scot/arms-firms-scotland-deals-states-profit-refugee-crisis/

This is what socialism could be

Nothing can save capitalism in the long run, because it has long since become a barrier to progress and long since prepared the conditions for its own destruction. Democracy is to socialism what reform is to revolution. No amount of democracy by itself, can possibly end the class exploitation which is the foundation of the world’s foremost system of oppression. Only socialism can do that. Capitalism restricts and limits democracy for the masses. Behind the facade of formal democratic institutions, the real power is exercised by and for the capitalist class. The capitalists, through their powerful lobbies and campaign funding, dominate the political process, insuring that candidates favourable to their interests are elected. While capitalism engenders democratic illusions, it makes their realisation impossible; it creates a contradiction between the democratic tendencies of the masses and the bourgeoisie’s need to curtail their rights. It is this contradiction which has been the motivation of the democratic struggles in our history. While the Socialist Party recognises that no amount of democracy can abolish class oppression, it also recognises that the greater the democracy, the more direct, the more open and the broader the class struggle. And the more the working class has the freedom to organize and struggle, the more it will see that its oppression stems from capitalism, not insufficient democracy.

Socialism will make possible the building of well-constructed housing for the masses of people. Under capitalism, it is more profitable to speculate in land, maintain slum housing and put capital into buildings for big business than to build decent housing for the masses. The working class will take the land and buildings once held by the banks and other such capitalist parasites; mortgages and debts will be immediately cancelled. The slums will be ripped down, and in their place, new homes and other facilities for the masses of people will be built. The working class will develop housing construction in a rational way.

Healthcare under capitalism is a nightmare for the people and big business for the drug companies, hospital corporations and others who make billions from the butchery of the people. Under socialism health care and hospitals will no longer be a means to make a profit, but a means for the working class to prevent disease and to preserve the health of the people.

Education in class society reflects and promotes the interests of the ruling class and instills in the youth the values and outlook of this class. Under capitalism, this means that education is geared to maintain the division of society into classes, the conditions of capitalist exploitation and the rule of the capitalists over the working class and masses of people. Capitalist education prepares the great majority of youth only for existence as wage-slaves and as a key part of perpetuating the capitalist system of wage-slavery distorts history to make it revolves around the “brilliant ideas” and individual heroism of great “geniuses,” Kings, Emperors, Presidents, bankers, industrialists and other representatives of the exploiting classes throughout history. Children are taught to compete against each other and that competition is what “makes this country great.” Reality is stood on its head so that it seems that capital, not labour, is the source of all progress and that the workers live by the grace of the capitalists. Education in a socialist society will serve the interests of the working class in building socialism.  It will promote cooperation in place of competition, and equality between peoples and men and women. Like other aspects of culture, sports is big business under capitalism. Most people are reduced to “spectators” and decent facilities for the youth and working people as a whole are very few. Socialism will build sports as a mass activity and, not bound by the laws of private profit, will construct facilities for sports in all neighborhoods and widely-organised sports programs to provide recreation for and promote the health of the people. And sports will promote the bonds between working people, above competition among them.

In a capitalist society, many workers are drawn to religion because it represents their hopes and aspirations for a better life–projected, however, into the future and into another realm completely beyond man’s ability to understand. The bourgeoisie promotes religion to convince people that since life is miserable on this earth–and it cannot be denied that this is so under capitalism–the answer is to hope for a better life “beyond this one.” Further, religion serves capitalism by telling people that they are basically helpless before the forces of nature-and the rulers of society–and they should put their faith not in the ability of the masses of people to change the world, but in a supreme, supernatural being, or beings. And if that isn’t enough, religion can call up the image of fire and brimstone to threaten people. More, those who control major organised religions make huge fortunes from collecting large sums from their members, investing much of these sums and exploiting labor. While telling the people to wait for “pie in the sky,” these hypocritical leeches live like kings, right here and now, from the sweat and blood, hopes and fears, of the people. At the same time, in every community, hustlers of all kinds–calling themselves “men of god, prophets,” etc.–prey on workers and other poor people, promising them all kinds of miracles to ease their misery–for a nice fee (tithe), of course. Socialist society will wipe out the decadence of capitalism in all spheres.

Socialism will mean all this, and much more. But none of this will come as a “gift,” or “automatically”. The means of production from the overthrown ruling class is an act which can be accomplished almost immediately once the proletariat has won political power. And it is an act which must be carried out swiftly. To achieve this the proletariat cannot rely on armed compulsion but must rely on persuasion and education to show people that their only hope for the future lies with eliminating all vestiges of capitalism, all private ownership of means of production. Since its founding, the Socialist Party has tried to show that socialism is nothing other than people's conscious self-organisation of their own lives in all domains; that it signifies, therefore, the management of production by the producers themselves on the scale of the workplace as well as on that of the economy as a whole.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The world needs inspired voices


In the absence of mass movements pressing for the interests of the people, capitalism is the default society. Workers depend on the continued functioning of the capitalist economy for their livelihood.  Workers' productive activities are under the control of corporate managers. Capitalists are the ruling class because their interests rule over everyone else. They rule not just from positions of power within the state, but from their control of the commanding heights of the economy upon which we all depend. Capitalism aims to reduce all human relationships to market relations, that human society should be run in every respect as if it were a business, its social relations reimagined as commercial transactions, people redesignated as human capital, society  structured in the interest of capital, not people. Capital needs state power for this purpose. What is the daily experience of people living under such rule? It is the powerlessness of atomised individuals. The workers  are governed by a state in service to capital. Ordinary people can limit that powerlessness only when they band together and act in solidarity through trade unions and social movements. It is such democratic organisations that the ruling class seeks to oppose and dissolve.

We are burdened today under the weight of countless tyrannies, large and small, carried out in the name of the national interest by the elite class who are largely insulated from the ill effects of their actions. We, the working class, are not so fortunate. We find ourselves badgered, bullied and browbeaten into bearing the brunt of their arrogance, paying the price for their greed, suffering the backlash for their militarism, agonising as a result of their inaction, feigning ignorance about their back-room dealings, overlooking their incompetence, turning a blind eye to their misdeeds, cowering from their heavy-handed tactics, and blindly hoping for change that never comes. This is what happens when capitalist bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing us all to march in goose-step with the government. It’s time for a dose of reality. Wake up from the nightmare and take a good, hard look around.  No one is coming to save us, except ourselves. 

Today, there is a great need for a mass socialist party. Not just a party interested in implementing reforms for a kinder, gentler capitalism or jockeying for political office but an independent party that strives to be a beacon for the social struggles, organizing and protesting. We need a socialist party with the political vision for the way forward to end capitalistic profit-madness that has left the planet wallowing in environmental degradation, violence, inequality, and poverty.
The people will triumph over those who had oppressed them, to vanquish every last remnant of a system of capitalist greed and profit that knows no other way than to exploit the many for the benefit of the few. We can build a new economic foundation of the next system to succeed capitalism, socialism, created not by just thinkers who have advocated its ideas but through the struggle of people against the harsh conditions imposed on them by capital. Capitalism is no longer able to meet the needs of the people it has made dependent, and so people struggle against it in order to survive. Only collective action can countervail the power of capital. In those struggles, they overcame their individualism, discovering themselves as a "we."   The consciousness of a collective "we",  our social being, can overcome social problems and deliver a fair society. Community—the communal mode of production and life—is the oldest of traditions and belongs to the earliest days and the first people. A strike will teach a group of workers very quickly who their real friends and enemies are. It sounds like jargon to say so, but only because it’s so true. Independent mass social movements, organized from the ground up, led by those who endure under the present system, are the motor force of history. But motors don’t just run on their own. They need vehicles to move forward. They need a direction and a power source. They need socialist organisation and a clear sense of purpose and goals.

The Socialist Party insists on social solutions to social problems. Today, there is hope that another world—an alternative to the capitalist status quo—is possible. But beware, Another world is possible, but it may not necessarily be the one we want. The Socialist Party's perspective is rooted in the belief that change is possible. Not inevitable, but achievable. A society that accepts inequality and war has no future, at least not one any civilised people should want. The establishment of democratic social power from the ground up is the vision of socialism that the Socialist Party promotes. The class-free society of the future is one in which “the free development of each is the precondition for the free development of all.”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

BUILD A SOCIALIST SOCIETY

In all class societies, there is one class that rules over others. Capitalism is no exception whatever particular state-form may embody the rule of the capitalists. So long as the challenge from the working class does not seriously put into question the stability of the system, parliamentary democracy is a form of government with considerable advantages to the capitalists compared with more openly dictatorial forms of rule. The capitalists prefer to avoid resorting to open force.
Socialism can be built only when the working class has taken state power from the capitalist class: that is when there has been a revolution. Revolutions can only be one by class-conscious workers organised in a party with a clear understanding of the nature of today's society and committed to the overthrow of capitalism. The Labour Party is not such a party, nor can it ever become one. Labour governments pursue capitalist policies not because it is in the hands of the right wing, but because the Labour Party is itself a capitalist party whose role is to keep the present system in existence. Failure to understand this is a failure to understand political realities. Those who criticise the Labour Party in office as though it were anything other than a capitalist party, who suggest that the obstacles in the way of ’real change’ to socialism come from the right wing leaders, help to deceive the workers and divert them along the old reformist paths.  It is Leftists who keep alive the illusion that the Labour Party is always being betrayed by a right-wing leadership. Their policies contain nothing that is incompatible with capitalism. It allows exploitation itself to remain in place. Rather than to allow capitalist power and its profits to be reduced even a little, let poverty and injustice continue forever! The Socialist Party well know that as long as capitalism lasts only a few cosmetic modifications can be made in it.


Socialism eliminates the anarchy of capitalism and its crises, by common ownership of the means of production and collective planning of the economy. This removes the tremendous barriers to production that capitalist relations have erected. When all of society has been transformed, the ulcers left over from capitalism have been eliminated, and the community of workers has been established, then communism, completely class-free society, will have been achieved, and humanity will enter a whole new stage of history. There will no longer be the need for the state, since there will no longer be any class to suppress, and the state will be replaced with common administration by all of society.


Unemployment will be ended because socialism will be able to make full use of the labour of everyone in society, while at the same time developing and introducing new machinery and scientific methods to expand output. As machines can replace workers, workers will not be thrown into the streets, but transferred to other jobs–according to an overall plan–and gradually the work day for all workers will be reduced. The nature of work itself will change completely, because the labor of the workers will no longer go to enrich capital to further enslave the working class, but to improve life today, while providing for the future, according to the conscious plan of the working class itself. The pride that workers have in their work will be unhindered by any sense that they are working themselves, or someone else, out of a job, or that they are being driven to produce for the private benefit of some moneybags, under the orders of his foremen and the constant threat of being fired. Machines will no longer be weapons in the hands of the capitalists to grind down the working class, and workers will no longer be a mere extension of the machine, as they are under capitalism. Instead, machines will become weapons in the hands of the working class in its own struggle to revolutionise society. The organisation of work will be the province of the working class itself. The working class will have a variety of organisations to involve the masses of people in the process of running and remaking society.  All this will unleash the stored-up knowledge of the working class, based on its direct experience in production, and inspire workers to make new breakthroughs in improving production. Work itself will become a joy and enrichment of the worker’s life, instead of a miserable means to sustain existence, as it is under capitalism.


What must the Socialist Party do? There must be continuous socialist explanation and education. Politics and the nature of capitalism must be laid bare. All illusions about easy shortcuts to socialism must be exposed as dead-ends, dissipating the strength of the working class by engaging in ineffective activities. It is our job as socialists to show men and women that only by fighting for and achieving socialism can they give meaning and dignity to their lives. Humanity is doomed unless ideals of sympathy, solidarity, cooperation and compassion, the values of socialism reorient the struggle for a new society. A new society shall be built–in which our children, our children’s children, and the billion billion children to come will never be forced to hunger for food or shelter or love – a new society without exploitation of man by man. To this end, the Socialist Party resolves to devote its resources and its members, their energy.

In the slave system, it was considered “natural” for one group of people, the slaveowners, to own other people, the slaves. In a capitalist society, this idea is regarded as criminal and absurd, because the bourgeoisie has no need for slaves as private property (at least not in its own country). But it has every need for wage-slaves, proletarians. So it presents as “natural” the kind of society where a small group, the capitalists, own the means of production and on that basis force the great majority of society to work to enrich them. The slaveowners and the capitalists have one fundamental thing in common–they are both exploiters, and they both regard it as the correct and perfect order of things for a small group of parasites to live off the majority of laboring people. They differ only in the form in which they exploit and therefore in their view of how society should be organized to ensure this exploitation. When humanity has achieved socialism, society as a whole will consciously reject the idea that any one group should privately own the means of production. Then wage-slavery, based on the ownership of capital as private property, will be seen as just as criminal and absurd as ancient slavery, based on the ownership of other people as private property. The proletariat, by its own nature as a class, has no interest in promoting private gain at the expense of others and every interest in promoting cooperation. For only in this way can it emancipate itself and all humanity.


If all this seems like a mere dream now, it is only because the rule of capital has so greatly distorted development, and brought such decay.


Summer School

Summer School 2017

Summer School 2017  21st – 23rd July Fircroft College, Birmingham   These days, con...