When the case for a world without wages, classes, buying and selling and war is explained to workers a common reply is that Socialists are "dreamers", as though capitalism can never be changed to an entirely different social system based on co-operation rather than competition, comfort rather than poverty and meeting need rather than profit for a minority.
The case for Socialism and the abolition of capitalism is not based on a dream but on a scientific assessment of capitalism as it exists now.
This is not a "dream" but a practical understanding of capitalism, its problems and how to solve them. It is not a mere dream or flight of fancy because we are politically awake to the reality of capitalism and the social problems it causes and face the facts of what can be done and how in the cold light of day.
Why do people starve? Why are there wars? Why is there mass unemployment living side-by-side with social need? These are important questions which Socialists ask the working class to consider as a whole; related to the way we live under capitalism where private property ownership of the means to life and the profit motive prevails and the way we could live if these restraints were removed.
Our Socialist conclusion arises from the social problems capitalism causes, its exploitation and social waste and the utter failure of capitalism being reformed to meet the needs of all society. Capitalism only meets the interests of the capitalist class, enriching them at the expense of everybody else.
This leads us on to ask who the fanciful dreamers are. We say it is those who believe you can retain capitalism without the effects of capitalism. For the best part of two centuries reformers, politicians and policy makers have dreamt up a vast array of reform measures to end poverty, war and unemployment but the problems have persisted from one generation to the next. Surely the case for reforming capitalism has demonstrably failed?
The dream of a benign and harmonious capitalism meeting all of people's needs comes against the reality of private property ownership, unbelievable wealth for a minority and the dictates of profit over human need for the majority.
Socialists say that this reality need not exist and can be changed politically and consciously by the working class. No one else can do it for them, neither reformists, politicians nor philanthropists.
To write off Socialism as a "mere dream" indicates a mind that has no imagination, a mind dulled by a diet of consumerism, commercial sport and the fantasy world of the advertising industry. If human beings never questioned their social existence; never to have thought of revolutionary alternatives to seemingly intractable social problems and refused their consent to social power being exercised over their lives then they would never have left the caves.
The use of the imagination is a human trait, the ability to think through social problems to a concrete practical solution. To think, to conceive and to theorise to a solution requiring social action is not idle dreaming like a philosopher in his or her ivory tower.
The Greeks had a legend; the gate of dreams in which there were two dreams; the dream of ivory and the dream of horn. The fancy of ivory dreams depends upon two puns on the word "ivory" in Greek: elephas, and the verb elephairomai which means "to cheat with empty hopes", which is precisely what the belief in a benign capitalism does. As William Morris warned:
Let it suffice me that my murmuring rhyme
Beats with light wing against the ivory gate.
THE EARTHLY PARADISE
There is another fanciful dream which cheats with empty hopes and that is the "American Dream", first articulated in 1938 by the writer J T Adam in his book THE EPIC OF AMERICAN EPILOGUE, where the absurd claim is made that US capitalism makes success possible for everyone. Seventy years later, the majority of workers in the US live in poverty, having no ownership of the means of production and forced daily into wage-slavery and class exploitation.
"Horn" in Greek is keras and has the verb karanou which means to accomplish. To accomplish what is possible and necessary is precisely the aim of Socialists in persuading workers to replace capitalism with Socialism.
Those who write Socialism off as a "mere dream" do so either from political ignorance, an off-the-cuff reply used as a poor excuse for not being made to think for themselves, or have a vested interest in maintaining capitalism and class exploitation. The Socialist case is addressed to the former; the millions of workers who complain bitterly about their lot; do not have their needs met by capitalism, and whose children face an uncertain future of war, poverty and periodic unemployment. What do they dream about?
How capitalism's politicians love a working class who do not think beyond the wage packet, who are content to let other people do their thinking for them; to make their decisions; and to ensure that the means of production stay secure in the ownership of a capitalist class. When workers vote for capitalism's political parties, they only rattle the chain that binds them to capital, not in order to free themselves from class exploitation and the wages system.
And what is wrong about dreaming of a world where there are no wars, unemployed workers or people dying because they do not have enough food to eat? Certainly it is far better to dream of a world of social co-operation than the living nightmare of capitalism either experienced or seen on television with its competition, wars and poverty.
The accusation of "dreaming" leveled at Socialists is only the "human nature" argument put another way, a poor and unsound argument which sees capitalism lasting forever because its advocates claim the working class is too stupid, violent, selfish and venal to establish a social system different from capitalism. This negative and pessimistic view was answered by Charlotte P Stetson in her poem SIMILAR CASE, quoted in H M Hyndman's ECONOMICS OF SOCIALISM, 1909 (Appendix).
There was once a Neolithic Man
An enterprising wight
Who made his chopping implements
Unusually clever he,
And he drew delightful mammoths
On the borders of his cave
To his Neolithic neighbours
Who were startled and surprised
Said he: "My friends, in course of time
We shall be civilized!
We are going to live in cities!
We are going to fight in wars!
We are going to eat three times a day
Without the natural cause!
We are going to turn life upside-down
About a thing called gold!
We are going to claim the earth and take
As much as we can hold!
We are going to wear great piles of stuff
Outside our proper skins;
We are going to have Diseases
And Accomplishments!! And Sins!!!
Then they all rose up in fury
Against their boastful friend,
For prehistoric patience
Came quickly to an end.
Said one: "This is chimerical!
Said another: "What a stupid life!
Too dull upon my word!"
Cried all: "Before such things can come,
You idiotic child,
You MUST ALTER HUMAN NATURE!"
Then they all sat back and smiled.
Thought they: "An answer to that last
It will be hard to find!"
It was a clinching argument
To the Neolithic mind!
TRIDENT REPLACEMENT OR THE ABOLITION OF THE CAPITALIST CAUSE OF WAR?
The Labour Government is planning to upgrade the Trident nuclear weapons system, something you would expect from a government forced to administer the interests of British capitalism. This has upset the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). They want a parliamentary debate and a decision made by a vote in parliament. Even if there was a vote, the interest of British capitalism to have a nuclear arsenal of weapons would prevail.
At the moment there are wars all over the world being fought for trade routes, resources like oil, and spheres of influence. They are fought with non-nuclear weapons but the result is the same: death and destruction, widows and orphans, and preparation for future wars. Such is capitalism.
CND has historically failed in its limited ambition to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Like all reform organisations it comes up against the reality of capitalism. CND refuses to locate the occurrence of war in the profit system and the division of the world into competing nation states. CND refuses to accept that the problem of war and the stock-piling of weapons, nuclear and non-nuclear, is because of commodity production and exchange for profit.
The Socialist answer is to abolish the cause of war and the need for armaments. And that requires abolishing capitalism and replacing it with common ownership and democratic control of the means of production by all of society.
Marx On The Question Of The Vote
Marxism and Politics
The Socialist Party of Great Britain is indebted to Marx for his analysis of capitalism and in general his theory of history known as the materialist conception of history. With Marx, Socialism was put on a scientific basis.
These two great discoveries, the materialistic conception of history and the revelation of the secret of capitalistic production through surplus value, we owe to Marx. With these two discoveries socialism became a science
Engels, ANTI-DUHRING, p39 (Moscow edition, 1978 )
The SPGB also highlights the insistence Marx gave on the need for a Socialist working class to gain control of the machinery of government, including the armed forces. This political policy is reflected in the Party's sixth clause. It is one of the most important political theories for the working class to grasp if there is to be a smooth transformation from production for profit to production for social use.
How to gain control of the machinery of government?
When Marx and Engels were young the working class did not have the vote, Revolution was by armed revolt. In fact, Engels took part in the armed revolt during the 1848 revolution in Germany and nearly paid with this youthful action with his life.
In their early years Marx and Engels looked at armed revolt as a means for the socialist working class to gain control of the government. They erroneously thought that a depression would create the conditions for revolution through a process of the unemployed starving and forced to revolt.
In an article in DIE PRESSE in 1861, Marx wrote that "the whole of England is shaking with fear in expectation of the greatest catastrophe that has ever threatened her" (loc cit p. 316). He thought that the Union blockade would increase the suffering of the working class in England, particularly the cotton spinners. "What then?" he asks.
This is what happened. The economic crisis was a brief one and there was no rebellion among the cotton spinners.
Before the end of their lives, both Marx and Engels had changed their minds about armed revolution. This is what Marx said about the vote in Britain. Writing in the NEW YORK TRIBUNE in 1852 about the Chartists and their demand for the vote, Marx wrote:
… Universal Suffrage is the equivalent for political power for the working class of England, where the proletariat forms the large majority of the population… The carrying of Universal Suffrage in England would, therefore, be a far more socialistic measure than anything which has been honoured with that name on the continent
Marx and Engels, ARTICLES ON BRITAIN, 1978, p118
In his 1895 Introduction to The Class Struggles in France, Engels had this to say:
The rebellion of the old style, the street fight behind barricades, which in 1848 gave the final decision, has become antiquated
And he went on to say:
The Communist Manifesto had already proclaimed the struggle for the general franchise as one of the first and most important tasks of the militant proletariat …
[quoted in the SPGB edition of THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, p79]
The capitalist left, like the SWP and the Revolutionary Marxist Group, who preach a childish politics, are still living in 1848 when they call for "workers' militia" and to "disband the standing army". The politics of the capitalist left is reactionary and conservative. In contradistinction to the capitalist left, the Socialist Party of Great Britain stands for using the vote to get control of parliament. We do not see parliamentary action as a "fetish" nor as a dead-end leading to a reformist politics. Rather, socialists see parliament as an revolutionary tool to enact common ownership and democratic control of the means of production by all of society.
Where The SPGB departed from Marx and Engels.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain are not slavish and uncritical followers of Marx. The Socialist case against capitalism stand or falls on the OBJECT AND DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES set out by the founders of the Party in 1904.
While recognising the importance of Marx's materialist conception of history, the labour theory of value and the political concept of the class struggle, on two important issues the SPGB broke away from Marx and Engels.
The first point of departure was the idea of a lower phase of communism and, later on, the full phase of communism. Writing in 1875 in his CRITIQUE OF THE GOTHA PROGRAMME, Marx said that this lower phase was necessary because immediately after the conquest of political power the workers would not be mentally adjusted to the new system.
Marx believed that the workers would still not be emancipated from "the enslaving subjugation of individuals to the division of labour" (p. 347), they would still not have got free from "the antithesis between intellectual and physical labour" (p347) and would not yet have acquired the outlook of seeing "labour" as "no longer just a means of keeping alive but [which] has itself become a vital need" (THE GOTHA PROGRAMME from THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL AND AFTER, p347, Penguin, 1981). For the Socialist Party of Great Britain, the task of getting the majority of workers to understand and accept the objectives of socialism will be completed before they take political power and establish Socialism, not afterwards.
The other issue is the idea of a Socialist Party having double aims; that is simultaneously holding a Socialist objective and an immediate set of demands or reforms of capitalism.
Marx and Engels did not explicitly object to the "dual aim" doctrine. They did not foresee that all the Social Democratic Parties who had this policy increasingly placed more and more emphasis on the immediate set of demands. Marx and Engels did not foresee that it is a policy for disaster. The Social Democratic parties increasingly became reformist and forgot all about Socialism.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain did not make this mistake.
Right from the SPGB's inception, the object for political action has been Socialism and only Socialism. This may have resulted in a slow growth but it is a socialist growth, not a reformist one. So, it is important to stress that a socialist majority understanding and actively desiring Socialism has to exist before Socialism is possible and that the Socialist Party must have the establishment of Socialism as its only objective. From these two sound policies a socialist majority would be able to set in motion "the all-round development of individuals" to increase "the productive powers" to enable "all the springs of cooperative wealth [to] flow more abundantly" (GOTHA PROGRAMME, p347).
It is not for us to build in detail the social system that will arise from the common ownership and democratic control of the instruments of labour. Our knowledge of the conditions which will prevail at the time of the change and of the outlook upon life of people who are free to arrange matters pretty much as they wish, is not extensive enough to warrant us seriously attempting to foretell the details of the future social system.
SOCIALISM, SPGB Library No. 9 (1941), p25
Q and A, Who Are The Working Class?
Isn't the idea of the 'working class' a misconception? Just who are the 'working class'? Do you mean anyone who works for a wage or salary? If so, the vast majority (in the developed world) could belong to the 'working class', could they not? Also, many wage-earners own shares and property, so do they not also belong to the 'capitalist class'?
I sympathise with your aims of creating a fairer society but wasn't Marx's dialecticism based on a flawed analysis? Shouldn't we really be talking simply of the rich and the poor and exploited?
The working class do not own the means of production. As a consequence they are forced to sell their ability to work for a wage or a salary. The working class and their dependents therefore constitute a majority all over the world.
The capitalist class own the means of production. Production is engaged for profit not in meeting need. The profit comes from the exploitation of the working class who produce more wealth than they receive in wages and salaries. The surplus goes in unearned income to a capitalist minority in the form of rent, interest and profit.
Shares in property and so on are irrelevant. The test of being a worker is this; does the income from other sources allow them not to have to work for a wage or a salary? If it does, then they are not workers but capitalists, if they do have to work they are members of the working class.
We do not know what you mean by "Marx's flawed dialectic". Marx showed that Socialism is the next stage in social evolution subject to it being established consciously and politically by a socialist working class majority acting in their own interests without leaders.
Since 1918 the Socialist Party of Great Britain has demonstrated that Russia and those who imitated this form of capitalism was not Socialist. There has never been a Socialist country. Therefore Marx's theory of history has not been invalidated despite the constant stream of lies and distortions from the capitalist media and academics.
Finally, the object of the SPGB is not a "fairer society" but common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution by all of society; that is "from each according to ability to each according to need" (Marx).
Why You Should Be A Socialist
How They Live, How We Live, How We Might Live
How They Live
"Given the current market conditions, try to keep below $10,000 (£7000), particularly when travel is concerned." [memo on expense accounts sent by executives of Credit Suisse First
Boston, Independent, 7.April 2001]
La Gavroche, Mayfair, London Charge for private dining room: £500
Gourmet menu number five @ £85 per person for 15 people: £1,275
* Fois gras terrine with truffles
* Halved lobster cooked with cep mushrooms and rosemary butter
* Lime and vodka sorbet
* Fillet steak of Angus beef with shallots and Bandol wine sauce
* Cheese board
* Chef's selection of desserts with coffee and petit fours
* Champagne Cuvee Dom Perignon 1993: 7 bottles @ £140: £980
* Chavelier Montrachet 1990, Domaine Laflaive, white burgundy: 4 bottles@ £350: £1,400
* Chambertin Close de Beze 1990, Domaine Bruno Clair, red burgundy: 4 bottles @ £170 each: £680
* Chateau Clos d' Estournal 1989 @ £197. St Estephe claret: 3 bottles @£197: £591
* Chateau d'Yquem1989, Sauternes dessert wine: two bottles @ £310: £620
* Croft 1963 vintage port 1963: two bottles @ £250: £500
Discretionary Service charge (£15%) £921
Total: £7,067. 90
How We Live
Number of people currently expected to die from starvation:
Number of children in the world dying each year from controllable illness: 12 million
Number of people in the world that die each year of preventable social causes: 10 million
Number of children in the world blinded yearly from lack of Vitamin A: 500 million
Number of women who die in childbirth annually: 650,000
UN estimate of yearly expenditure on war: $800 million
Number of children in the world that die by the age of 5 (yearly): 12 million
Nearly 1.3 billion people live on less than a dollar a day and close to 1 billion cannot meet their basic consumption requirements.
[United Nations Development Programme, HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Report 2004]
How We Might Live
Common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution by all of society. Production for use and "from each according to ability to each according to need".
The Legacy of Karl Marx
Richard Walker (TIMES letters, 25 June 2006), praising Michael Gove's Comment piece, only suggests he has little or no knowledge of Marx's work.
Neither writer seems to be aware that Leninism/Bolshevism is poles apart from Marxism. The elitist idea of a revolutionary 'vanguard' party with an 'advanced theory' - advocated by Lenin - was adapted from earlier Russian Jacobinical revolutionaries, such as Tkachov and Nechayev. Marx however argued that since class struggles had led to social change, e.g. to the overthrow of feudalism and establishment of capitalism, it would be through class struggle, the action of a majority not a minority, that capitalism could be ended, and a new classless society established. His theory was meant for the working class, of all countries, hence his active involvement with the Workers International.
Michael Gove urges us to choose a philosopher "whom history vindicates". In the 20th century, Marx would have stood out as one of those who opposed the state dictatorship, censorship and bureaucracy perpetrated, in Russia, in the name of Socialism/Communism. The Socialist Party of Great Britain (NB not a vanguard party of intellectuals) has also consistently exposed the falsehood of the claim that Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao (etc, etc, etc! ) were establishing Socialism /Communism, as we also exposed the sham of Stalin's show trials.
The horrors of the 20th century, and of the last few years, show that there is something seriously wrong with capitalism as a system: after world wars and the Depression, we have a world in which there is desperate deprivation in a great many countries, along with endemic wars, unemployment, hunger, poverty and preventable disease.
It is high time we all considered whether this production for profit system, with all these intractable problems, is the best of all possible worlds, and if not, how to change things. That was the issue which Marx highlighted, and for which he surely deserves credit. But as he wrote:
Philosophers have only interpreted the world: the point is to change it.
Cuban Capitalism and Class Exploitation
Capitalism can be defined as commodity production and exchange for profit where the means of production are owned by a minority capitalist class to the exclusion of the working class majority. Within this process of class exploitation the workers create all the social wealth, they are exploited in the wages system and they face periodic redundancy when they are no longer profitable to employ.
All workers under capitalism are exploited. They are exploited in every capitalist country of the world. And this includes countries like Cuba. Workers are paid less in wages and salaries than they produce during a working week. The surplus created by the working class passes in the form of profit to either individual capitalists, corporations or to the state.
That Cuba is a capitalist country no different from any other can be demonstrated over a five-year period, from 2002 to 2006, with an analysis of one of Cuba's most important commodities; sugar. Sugar is produced in Cuba for profit not to meet human need. When a commodity like sugar is not profitable to produce then production is curtailed and workers are laid off. Marx was the first to scientifically study the commodity and he showed that it possessed both a "use-value" and an "exchange-value". He extended this analysis to cover the case of human labour-power which, under capitalism, is also a commodity. Marx's analysis of capitalism holds true where a country has wage-labour divorced from the means of production and where commodity production takes place for profit. Cuba meets all Marx's criteria for a being a capitalist economy.
In 2002 thousands of workers in Cuba lost their jobs when almost half of the sugar mills closed in response to a global economic slump. An estimated 71 of its 156 state-run mills shut down (TIMES, 7 June 2002). Economic crises - part and parcel of the industrial trade cycle - are a necessary consequence of capitalist production and exchange for profit. As Marx noted, the "relations of production" periodically come into conflict with the "forces of production" due to the anarchic, planless nature of capitalism. Cuban capitalism could not escape economic crisis and a trade depression with its resultant unemployment precisely because it is a capitalist country.
Cuban sugar production, for example, faced the same economic uncertainty as any other commodity found elsewhere under capitalism. The employers could not guarantee that sellers would be found for sugar nor could they isolate themselves from problems on the world market. If the employers in Cuba, essentially the state, could do nothing about the effects of capitalism then the working class could fare no better as employees forced onto the labour market because they do not own the means of production. In other words, the working class in the Cuban sugar factories faced the same unpredictable existence as workers elsewhere in the world - sacked when it is no longer profitable to employ them.
Economists, at the time of the trade depression, praised the Cuban government's decision to shut the mills and make thousands of jobs redundant. "Economic reality" they called it. Academic economics, unlike Marx's scientific analysis of capitalism, is a bosses' view of the world, reflecting their needs, their interests and their aspirations. However economists have no understanding of capitalism and its periodic economic depressions. Since production in Cuba is only for the market with a view to profit it always contains the possibility of economic crisis due to the contradiction between the use value and the exchange value of the commodity, the existence of money as a medium of exchange and a store of value, and of course the numerous anarchic and unplanned circuits of capital. You would not find economists giving this Marxian explanation of "economic reality" to the Cuban government. Economic reality is that capitalism can never be made to run in the interests of the working class, whether employed by the state or individuals.
In 2002 Cuba's sugar industry employed about 400,000 workers but its mills, only eight of which were built after Fidel Castro's 1959 take-over of power, were in poor condition. After production peaked in 1989 at 8.1 million tonnes, output fell to only 3.6 million tonnes. No capitalist country can guarantee stable markets.
The sugar industry in Cuba had been in a parlous state since the collapse of state capitalism in Eastern Europe. Cuba, because of its strategic position in relation to the United States, enjoyed preferential trade relationship with Russia and other state capitalist countries. Russia bought a large share of Cuba's sugar harvest on barter terms, shipping oil and other commodities in return at subsidised rates. After 1991 with the replacement of state capitalism in Russia with a more private capitalism, Cuba found that it had no buyers for the sugar. Again, a study of Marx would have shown that sellers of commodities are not guaranteed to find buyers and, if the time period is long enough, the profit rate falls, commodities stock-pile, firms lay off workers and go bankrupt.
Cuba is neither Socialist nor Communist
Why are Socialists interested in Cuba? Isn't it just another capitalist country? Yes, but the detractors and defenders of the Cuban state capitalist economy try to show that it is somehow different from other capitalist countries. There is an idiotic belief held by some economists, brought up on a diet of F A Hayek and Milton Friedman, that any economic activity by the State is "socialist".
Likewise, there are many on the capitalist Left who believe that, if a Leftwing group of politicians obtain political power, they can describe that country's economy differently from other countries as though changing labels changes reality. Socialists have shown that where the wages system exists, class exploitation takes place and the country concerned is therefore capitalist. The economic problems which befall Cuban capitalism show that it cannot escape the economic and social consequences created by the anarchy of commodity production, the fluctuations on the world market and periodic trade depressions.
This was exactly the case with Russia before 1991. Russia too, was not immune to problems on the world market. Russian capitalism from Lenin to Gorbachev traded with other capitalist countries, it exploited the workers and the surplus value was used as capital investment to accumulate more capital. Cuba also needs foreign capital and capital accumulation to reinvest to expand capital. Capital investment and accumulation plays a central role in Marx's understanding of a capitalist economy.
The restless never ending process of profit making alone is what he [the capitalist] aims at. This boundless greed after riches, this passionate chase after exchange values, is common to the capitalist and miser; but while the miser is merely a capitalist gone mad, the capitalist is a rational miser.
CAPITAL, Volume I, chap 4, pp 152-3
There is another marked similarity between Cuba and pre-1991 Russia and this was the fact that the workers' relation to the means of production was as non-owners. In not owning the means of production the working class were forced onto the labour market to sell their ability to work for a wage or salary. They were exploited as demonstrated by Marx's theory of value. The working class were exploited in the productive process. And when workers were no longer profitable to employ they were made redundant, just as the sugar workers were in Cuba.
Cuba is no more Socialist or Communist than Russia was under the Bolshevik Party where most of the industries were nationalised. Socialism has never existed in Russia or in Cuba. The Socialist revolution has yet to happen.
This does not stop Cuba's cheerleaders in the West worshipping Castro. Ignorant students and parasitic princes of the realm wear "Che" T-shirts, as though Che Guevara was a charity worker rather than a ruthless political thug. The Left will support any old dictatorship as long as the regime opposes the interests of US capitalism. During the 1970s Left wing academics could be found excusing the mass extermination of workers and peasants in Cambodia by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, just as there are defenders of Islamic terrorism today who applaud dead US soldiers flown back in body bags to "God's own Country" on the spurious grounds that Washington's enemies are "our friends".
Socialists do not take sides in the conflicts between one nation state and another. We no more support the nationalists fighting Israel in Palestine anymore than we support Israel fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon. What we do say is that workers in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Cuba have the same class interests as workers in the US and Britain. And that is working together as a class to replace capitalism with Socialism; whether it is the capitalism of the US, Iran, Syria or Cuba.
Investing in Cuban Capitalism
By 2004 the Cuban government was looking for foreign partners to help fund projects such as building an alcohol distillery and producing lollipops to further develop the island's sugar industry. In June of that year, the government distributed a pamphlet about 26 such initiatives to delegates at the International Congress of Sugar and Sugarcane Derivatives. The delegates were not the trendy academics once found in British sociology departments praising Castro but hard nosed capitalists and their representatives with profit in mind. And they were not wearing "Che" T-shirts either.
"We are looking for financing, technology, and/or markets," Manuel Alonso Padilla, a Cuban ministry sugar official, told reporters at the event. "We will provide the infrastructure, top-notch labour, and engineering" (MIAMI HERALD, 15 June 2004).
That was just what the foreign capitalists wanted to hear. Dozens of business representatives from Europe, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia discussed the proposed projects, some of them costing millions of dollars. Cuba's sugar industry has been undergoing a major "restructuring" over the past several years as officials struggled to make production more efficient and a once-important industry more profitable. This meant not only further redundancies but increasing the extent and intensity of exploitation of the remaining workforce.
By 2006, Cuban capitalism tried to take advantage of high sugar prices and the ethanol boom to revitalise its industry and greatly increase alcohol production. There had been a sharp increase in worldwide ethanol demand which, Brazil; the biggest supplier, could not meet due to its own strong domestic demand. Cuba, which had scaled back its sugar-cane industry, now saw its commercial chance with ethanol production.
"Our country has begun an accelerated drive to increase alcohol production, modernising existing distilleries and installing new ones to increase by five times installed capacity," said Luis Galvez, director of the sugar ministry's Sugar Cane Derivatives Research Institute (JAMAICA GLEANER, 14 July 2006). So conferences on sugar production changed to conferences on the uses of ethanol as an alternative to dependency on oil and high oil prices.
For Cuban capitalism the increased demand for ethanol had created "perhaps the most promising moment ever" for the sugar industry - the promise of higher profits.
Galvez said Cuba's annual output was just one million hectolitres, though installed capacity was far greater. Cuba, once the world's biggest raw sugar exporter, had reduced acreage by more than 60 percent since 2003 and dismantled 71 of its 156 mills. Last June, 43 more mills were closed, though preserved, while this year just 11 distilleries operated, most at well below capacity due to lack of cane. Reuters estimates, based on provincial media and source reports, Cuba's final output this year at just under 1.2 million tonnes of raw sugar, the lowest since 1908 and less than a fifth of what was grown in the 1950s. Cuba consumes a minimum 700,000 tonnes of sugar per year and 400,000 tonnes are destined for a toll agreement with Chinese capitalism.
With sugar and ethanol prices soaring earlier this year, the Cuban government decided to revitalise the industry, allocating capital, increasing the price mills pay for cane, and opening joint-venture negotiations with capitalists from abroad. No more than you would expect from any capitalist, private or state: the chance to make a profit.
What of the Cuban working class?
What of the Cuban working class? Well they should reflect long and hard on this quotation by Marx which about sums up their existence under capitalism:
… within the capitalist system all methods for raising the social productiveness of labour are brought about at the cost of the individual labourer; all means for the development of production transform themselves into means of domination over, and exploitation of, the producers; they mutilate the labourer into a fragment of a man, destroy every remnant of charm and turn it into hateful toil; they estrange from him the intellectual potentialities of the labour-process in the same proportion as science is incorporated in it as an independent power; they distort the conditions under which he works, subject him during the labour-process to a despotism the more hateful for its meanness; they transform his life-time into working time, and drag his wife and child beneath the wheels of the Juggernaut of Capital…It follows therefore that, in proportion as capital accumulates, the lot of the labourer, be his payment high or low must grow worse…It establishes an accumulation of misery, corresponding with the accumulation of capital.
CAPITAL Volume 1, Ch. XXV, p.645, Penguin
This should be enough to suggest to workers in Cuba that the country they are exploited in is not "Communist" and that they share an identical interest with workers elsewhere in the world to establish Socialism. And when workers are told that a country is "Communist" and its government "Marxist" they should remember that a pint of whitewash which is labelled milk is still just whitewash.
At our third lecture of the current series at Marchmont Street, on Sunday 19 November 2006, two members of the Clapham-based Socialist Party attended with the intention of stopping the meeting taking place. They telephoned the police, wrongly telling the police that we were fraudulently masquerading as their Party. If they had listened to the speaker, he had announced right at the beginning of his lecture that we were expelled from The Socialist Party in May 1991 for continuing to use the name The Socialist Party of Great Britain in our propaganda. We also told members of the audience that any money given in the collection was for us not for the Clapham Party.
The police came and realised on speaking to members of our Party that it was a waste of their time and noted not to bother coming out again at a future date if Clapham persisted in trying to close our meetings down. The irony is that one of the Clapham members actually took part in discussion. Had he been successful in having the meeting stopped, he would not have had a chance to ask a question or take part in discussion. Democracy prevailed and behaviour reminiscent of street fascism lost out.
Non-members of our Party who attended the meeting were rightly shocked to learn that an attempt had been made by the Clapham-based Socialist party to prevent them from listening to Socialist ideas being discussed. They had not even been consulted by the Clapham party members present to ask their views on the matter.
Nevertheless, these workers now understand the real political difference between ourselves, those who reconstituted The Socialist Party of Great Britain in June 1991, and the political bullies who tried to stop this meeting taking place: the difference between the open democracy practised by the Socialists of the SPGB and the anti-socialistm of the Clapham-based Socialist Party.
Vietnam: Just Another Capitalist Country
According to CNN, Intel Corp., the world's largest chipmaker, has received permission to increase its initial investment in Vietnam from $300 million to up to $1 billion (7 November 2006). Intel is constructing a $300 million chip assembly and testing plant in Ho Chi Minh City. Its original license, granted in February, allowed the company to invest up to $605 million. The deal is part of Vietnam's campaign to attract foreign investors. It is already the largest single US investment in the country since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
This development comes on the same day that the World Trade Organisation is scheduled to approve Vietnam's entry into the Geneva-based body and just days before it hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which will draw heads of state and business executives from around the globe.
Construction of the plant, which will employ and exploit 1,200 people, is expected to be finished in 2007. It will be Vietnam's first semiconductor facility, and Intel's sixth testing facility in Asia. In 2005, computer and electronic equipment exports from Vietnam rose 34 percent to $1.44 billion, while imports of computers and electronics rose 26.3 percent to $1.7 billion.
Where are all the Left Wing activists from Jane Fonda to Tariq Ali protesting at the current exploitation of workers in Vietnam? Instead, Vietnam embraces capitalists and their politicians while Fonda advertises facial cream and Mr Ali makes a pile as an intellectual celebrity. So much for the "revolutionary chic" of the 1960s.
CAPITALISM FAILS THE WORKING CLASS
One indicator of the failure of capitalism to meet the needs of the working class is employment. In the EU there are 172,921 million workers being exploited, producing social wealth for the capitalist class. However, there is unemployment of 14.463 million (Eurostat November 2006). This waste of labour should be linked to the needs of millions of people throughout the world for food, housing, health-care, social needs which go unmet because of the profit priorities of world capitalism. In a sane and rational world, labour along with other resources would be used to meet human needs when and where it was required. Unemployment is an indicator that capitalism holds back what Marx called "the forces of production", which only Socialism can release for the benefit of everyone rather than the privilege of a minority.
Three Swindles of "Modern" Economics and Politics [Part 2]
Towards a Prize
All pompous fraternities of plunderers and thieves of class societies during some ten thousand years now out of around 195,000 years of human existence on our mother Earth have been sadistically enjoying themselves with blood and sweat of all alienated dehumanised producing classes by involving them in violent survivalist conflicts in no interest of their own.
Socialists know well that "prize" and "punish" constitute a two-pronged ruling-class weapon in the hands of successive exploiting classes from antiquated chattel slavery or thraldom in the West and Oriental slavery in the East, feudalism or serfdom in the middle ages, to the capitalism and wage-slavery of our times - to bring all exploited producing classes to their knees.
Alfred Bernard Nobel (1833-1896), Swedish chemist, engineer, and inventor of dynamite and other high explosives, on November 27, 1895, signed his last will providing for prizes on physics, chemistry, medicine and literature "to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind". A private institution, The Nobel Foundation established in 1900, was set up to manage the assets intended for the prizes, as stated in Nobel's will, and started awarding prizes yearly since 1901.
Thus, a will gave rise to the most coveted capitalist prizes in our time. This is, however, in no way to belittle Alfred Nobel but only to say that his provision for some prizes, notwithstanding his subjective will, belonged in the "cultural constitution" of the capitalist society, which Einstein too opposed in 1949 as "the glorification of power and success"(Why Socialism?), to serve the interest of our present ruling class. Let us see what "the greatest benefit on mankind" means to 'The Nobel Foundation', particularly in respect of the two beyond-the-will additions:
A parliament deals
The Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) added a "Nobel Peace Prize" in 1901 [http://nobelprize.org/peace/prize-awarder/index.html].
For 'Peace on Earth'?
As Tacitus, the Roman senator and historian wrote:
To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and when they make a desert, they call it peace.
Thus was born a political peace movement. The question, however, is what prompted a parliament of another country to launch a "Peace Prize" not in its own name but in the name of "Nobel". The deal is that some 105 Norwegian Parliamentary Peace Prizes masquerading as "Nobel" since then have publicized so many 'peace' laureates around. What is the purpose, if not to distract and entangle our schoolchildren and fellow workers in a worldwide impotent peace movement?
Whatever the propaganda machines say they are, that's what they are not. The dealers in 'peace' understand the writing "The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of the ruling class" (COMMUNIST MANIFESTO). In our time, you have had the First World War - Second World War - Vietnam War - Gulf Wars - Iraq-Iran War - Afghan War - Iraq War - unending series of so-called 'local' wars. Lives, homes, resources, flora and fauna, rivers of blood and sweat you have sacrificed on the altars of profit, involving wars after wars with 'peace' in-betweens: Millions - millions - then again more millions have taken to the streets of the world forthrightly demanding 'peace'. Yet 'peace' goes elusive, because class-'peace' is no solution to wars. The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of the capitalist civilisation lies unveiled before our eyes, one appearing respectable in 'peace' talks, the other going naked in war trumpets.
Peace in the interest of society, war again in the interest of society, for, like all ruling classes in history, the capitalist class also represents its own interest as the general interest of society appearing as "the patriarchal benefactor of all classes". (Marx, THE EIGHTEENTH BRUMAIRE OF LOUIS BONAPARTE, Selected Works vol 2, p.486). You could not stop the ruling-class factions going to wars when they need wars to expand or protect their factional "production for profit". How could they continue in anachronism under anarchic relations of production that constantly reproduce the bipolar relations of war and peace? The gullible who simply believe that the 'sovereign' rulers can keep wars on hold sine die if they will, or that the workers can halt wars for as long as they will merely by negative anti-war resistance are out and out idealists since "commerce is more sovereign than the sovereign" (Marx, THE POVERTY OF PHILOSOPHY, COLLECTED WORKS vol 6, p149).
The non-revolutionary position of the working class is a sufficient no breather of the capitalist class going to wars. You cannot stop history's clock hands rotating. Why fight against the effects? Penetrate deep into the cause to root it out. To end wars end capitalism. End employment to end employer/employee relations that feed on the continuous recycling of war and peace.
All your gold is not Nobel
In 1968, the Bank of Sweden (Sveriges Riksbank) instituted THE BANK OF SWEDEN PRIZE IN ECONOMIC SCIENCES IN MEMORY OF ALFRED NOBEL, awarded since 1969 [http://nobelprize.org/economics/].
Obviously, to be true to the title, you cannot call it a "Nobel Prize" anyway. No question. After all, THE OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIC ENGLISH DICTIONARY has renamed it as a "Nobel Prize for economic sciences". Besides, even the BRITANNICA READY REFERENCE ENCYCLOPEDIA puts it: "since 1969, a sixth prize, established by the Bank of Sweden, has been awarded in economic sciences" [From the Editors of ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, SPECIAL EDITION FOR SOUTH ASIA], yet calls it "the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences" at entries of names of economics laureates. Make out how deceptive your dictionaries could be.
You must call an egg an egg. No one can ascertain the truth of an event unless one sets it into its historical context and, in a class society, unless one reflects it in the mirrors of class interests. Thus, refer these prizes to their historical sources of motion and you will be amazed discovering that a socially superfluous capitalist class could no longer exist in their mayhem without new 'morals' to drape their law and order. Nor could a bank, a finance capitalist, secure "interest", hence "production for profit" any longer, were there a working class rising towards "production for use". A bank is not going to prize you if you do not serve the bank's living private interest in its only "entitlement" - the "interest".
In 1871, exhausted 'Vulgar Economics' sported 'Modern Economics' and were invigorated by one 'Utility Theory' - both reactionary and utopian - to pre-empt the spread of Marx's Labour Theory of Value. In 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his will and in 1901 the "Nobel Prize" was born, and the capitalist violence incarnate "War" wore a parliamentary "Peace Prize" with the prefix "Nobel". In 1961, "The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel" got going, and a dictionary title "Nobel Prize for economic sciences" joined in to camouflage the ranks. To ascertain the truth about the great perfidy you have to compare stuffs with the will in original. Nevertheless, the timings, neither earlier nor later, why is it so?
Capitalists, the legalized robbers cannot exist without robbing their slaves - the working class - i.e. the producing class - by constantly alienating them from the means of production including labour power and thereby from the means of their subsistence. After all, the capitalists see nothing immoral in lying over the theory of "Value", nor masking their necessity of "War", or robbing a "Will" either, to get robberies going. Their insertions - the so-called "Peace Nobel" and "Nobel Prize in economic sciences" - have little to do with Nobel's "Will" to facilitate faculties for "the greatest benefit on mankind"; beyond doubt, if you could see how harmfully they impede the progress of humanity towards a world without wars. Consequently, having driven the wages-slaves into nationalistic self-massacres, destruction of provisions of life, habitats and resources through the Two World Wars the winning factions of world capitalist thugs led the alive back from the 'war state' to the "welfare state" handing out a beggars' bowl called "welfare economics". Initiated with the Beveridge Report 1942 - the blue print for postwar British legislation leading to drawing up of a national insurance scheme, Keynesianism, Roosevelt's New Deal, etc., it was a more mortifying addition to yesterday's "Vulgar Economics" - the western style state-capitalism masquerading with a humanitarian face.
[to be continued in The SPGB no. 63]
Profit, Marble and Drought
Kishangarh is located some 350 kilometres south-west of Delhi in India. The area is surrounded by rocky hills, part of the Araralli range that stretches from Delhi down through Rajasthan to the State of Gujurat.
The problem facing Rajasthan is that it is one of the driest States in India and drought has a bearing on the water supply. Kishangarh lacks water but it is the centre of the marble trade providing luxury building materials to India's rich. The marble mines, worked under poor conditions, have a long history, and local Makrana marble was used to build the Taj Mahal for a previous ruling class. Marble production requires a lot of water. The rich demand marble for their houses, and have the money to buy the commodity. 100,000 local workers are employed in the marble factories. Their houses have little or no marble. High-speed water jets are used to spray the blocks and keep them cool while they are being cut to size. One factory uses 10,000 litres of water a day entirely from the area's ground water sources (BBC NEWS, 21 October 2004).
This area used to have two large lakes, even when there was little rainfall, but the marble factories' operations have caused them to dry up. This water is needed by local villagers who depend on farming for their livelihood. However, the factories get the water because of their financial power and the demand of their customers, backed up by cash. The interests of the capitalist class come first.
So the local people have to buy their water from private suppliers to supplement their daily supply. Special tankers, drawn by tractors, supply the villages in Kishangarh every day. The suppliers sell about 5,000 litres of water for 100 rupees ($2), about the same as the average daily wage of the labourers working on the land, and a significant portion of the 600 to 1,000 rupees local farmers earn every day. The other problem caused by capitalist production is the pollution. The cutting of the marble generates a huge amount of fine dust which settles on the ground and prevents rain from penetrating into the soil.
So there you have it. Demand for luxury goods and the pursuit of profit means that, if you have enough money, it is unlikely that you will lose your marbles but it is very likely that others will die of thirst.
Can Poverty Be Abolished?
We will demonstrate from evidence gathered from capitalist sources, that poverty exists because of how society's resources, the means of production, are owned and how they are used. We will show that world-wide poverty exists because of capitalism.
Here are some unpleasant facts:
1 in 4 (14 million) in the UK were living in poverty (defined as below 50 per cent of average income after housing costs) in 1997/98 compared to 1 in 10 in 1979. 1 in 3 (4.4 million) children were living in poverty in 1997/98 compared with 1 in 10 in 1979 (Child Poverty Action Group).
The same source informs us that:
… 63 percent of lone parent families live in poverty ... Couples with children account for the largest number of people in poverty (4.7 million).
An organisation called CAFOD which collects money to provide water filters says that dirty water kills 5 million people each year:
Half of all people in the developing world are vulnerable to diseases caused by dirty water.
Another charity; Water Aid, published a document in Autumn 2006 which declares:
… somewhere in the world a child dies every 15 seconds from water-related diseases.
They go on to say:
The engineering is straightforward-it requires some know-how, some lengths of pipe, some tools and some hard labour. Money is the difficult bit.
If the lengths of pipe, etc, were for gas or for oil, there would be no shortage of money. METRO(17 October 2006) carried a heading: "Blair hails new £5.5 bn gas pipeline". This is 750 miles long and will supply a fifth of Britain's gas needs.
We do not argue that people do not need gas and oil (under capitalism produced for sale and profit regardless of needs) but with millions of people dying for want of clean drinking water, it is clear that capitalism puts profits before people.
None of the charities campaigning to mitigate poverty either in Britain or in the world generally show any realisation that they are dealing with the effects of capitalism.
Save the Children, for example, say in a recent publication (2004/2005):
Despite being the world's fourth largest economy, England has one of the worst rates of child poverty in the industrialised world
Three paragraphs later they say:
Save the Children has campaigned for the rights of children in England for over 80 years.
There is no attempt to explain why the problems continue or what causes them to arise in the first place.
In a leaflet headed, "Hunger and Famine: Information from Oxfam", we are told that:
Tonight 700 million people - one-sixth of the planet - will go to bed hungry. And every year up to 18 million people, most of them women and children, will die of hunger.
These figures are based on a World Bank Report of 1986. In a covering letter where the figures are projected into the 21st century, Oxfam produces figures to show that world grain production has far out-stripped population growth. They make the further point:
… since colonial times, when labour, agriculture and other resources were first exploited in a major way by the colonial powers, the poorer countries have supported the western economies by providing cheap commodities and raw materials.
They fall far short of realising that poverty and exploitation are inherent parts of commodity production throughout the world.
Developing their case about resources being used to end poverty, Oxfam say:
... sometimes, at a national level, military budgets can consume vast amounts of resources that would otherwise be available for funding development work.
This is somewhat naïve since the more development of mining, industry and agriculture takes place, the more the developing owning class have to defend and spend on militarism. Armed forces grow and become more sophisticated as capitalism grows. Ruling classes and their state agents decide whether to divert part of their vast military budgets to some other purpose. In December 2005, the BBC reported the launch by the United Nations of its largest humanitarian appeal. This was for $4.7 billion to help the victims of war, famine and natural disasters in 26 countries.
The UN's Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Jan Eggland, said that this amount was the equivalent of just 48 hours of global military spending.
Extremes of Wealth and Want
At the top of THE SUNDAY TIMES RICH LIST is Bill Gates of the USA. In 2005, he owned $24.2 billion, and by 2006 his fortune had risen by £4.4 bn to £28.6 bn. In the UK under a Labour Government, the RICH LIST tells us that:
The wealthy have got much richer under Labour… The top 10 alone in this year's list are worth £52.55 billion - £10 billion more than the top 200 put together 10 years ago.
Among the wealthy they noted:
… Lakshmi Mittal, the Indian-born, London-based, steel tycoon, whose fortune soared from £3.5 billion to £14.8 billion in a year.
Lakshmi Mittal has a stake in China's steel industry, worth at least £183 million. China's pretensions to be anything other than a major capitalist power must be seen as pure make-believe when the world's 8th richest man is among those investing there for profit. Lakshmi Mittal donated £2 million to the Labour Party in 2005.
Another billionaire who donates to the Labour Party is Lord Sainsbury. In 2005 he donated £2,016,000. Over a seven-year period he has donated £11.5 million.
Also we find Lord Drayson whose pharmaceutical business won a £32 million vaccine contract soon after he donated £100,000 to the Labour Party. He was made a peer in 2004. Later he donated £1 million to the Party. As THE SUNDAY TIMES RICH LIST 2006 (from which the above facts are taken) says: "… Drayson, 46, has a lot to thank Labour for… ".
Another source of information which condemns capitalism is The World Development Movement. Unfortunately, they do not see the logic of the facts they produce. It is an obscene fact that:
A Chief Executive from one of the UK's richest companies earns more in an hour than someone from the poorest half of the world's population will earn in a year.
Whilst we get their point we would deny that chief executives in rich companies "earn" anything. They get a property income of rent, interest and profit because they own the means of production.
Another of these facts is that:
The combined annual advertising budget of Walt Disney and McDonalds is greater than the health and education budgets of the world's 18 poorest countries put together.
The United Nations Commission for Social Development recently stated that 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day, and another 1.5 billion live on less than $2 per day.26
Oxfam say that the 10-year old pledge to halve global hunger by 2015 is failing, with 54 million more people facing food shortage than in 1996. In Bangladesh, 670,000 children live on the streets of Dhaka, or in railway stations (TELETEXT, 7 August 2006). In the UK, government figures released to the Lib-Dems showed homelessness has risen by 56% in 5 years, with 101,070 families homeless in England alone.
Bob Geldof, has at least managed to "Make Poverty History" for himself. He is in the 2006 Rich List, with £35 million considered to be a realistic valuation.
Capitalism is a society where a parasitic minority own the means of production. It is a system where vast wealth accumulates while people decay.
Capitalism Cannot Meet Human Needs
In early primitive societies the social capacity did not exist to provide plenty for a few, who could rise above the rest. As food gatherers and hunters they ate or starved as a tribe according to how well they succeeded in obtaining food. With the eventual break-up of land into private property came the beginning of owners and non-owners.
The oppression and exploitation of one class by another has existed ever since. Poverty is as old as private property (for further development of this Socialist position, see Engels, THE ORIGIN OF THE FAMILY).
Poverty exists in rich and powerful countries as well as in poor developing countries. In some countries, desperately needy people scratch a bare existence with hand-tools from plots of land which, perhaps as villagers, they may own. In today's world this cannot humanly be called owing the means of production.
In poor, undeveloped countries, the extremes of poverty may be more intense, but it remains the question of how society is organised, how people stand in relation to the world's resources and means of production, that determines that a few are rich and many are poor.
It is only with the development of industrial capitalism and science applied to mechanised production that the capacity or potential has existed to eliminate want of life's necessities. Poverty continues to exist because production is devoted to marketing commodities for profit not to meet human needs.
Even the "better off" workers, who may own a car, take holidays and are buying their own house, can never be certain of not losing their jobs or becoming ill. At best they will never buy a luxury yacht for £40 million as reported by the BBC News (21 August 2006), in a report about Britain's new Super-Rich. On the same day, TELETEXT reported an increasing number of women who became bankrupt, struggling with household bills and credit card spending.
The DFID - Department of Folly Is Deadly
Now let us turn to see how another capitalist source regards poverty. The Labour Government's Department for International Development has published a booklet called: "ELIMINATING WORLD POVERTY". On page 4 they tell us that:
Roughly half a penny in each £1 of... taxes goes towards the UK's efforts to reduce world poverty.
"Eliminating" has already come to mean "reducing"
We shall see how hopelessly inadequate their "efforts" are. They proceed by listing three items they call the "good news", these are:
India lifts 12 million people out of poverty every year. 75 million more children are in primary school today than in 1990. 10 times more people are receiving treatment for AIDS now than in 2000
Regarding the first point, India has a population of over one billion. If half are in poverty at this rate it would take 40 years to "lift them out". The DFID give no estimate of how many hundreds of million will have died in poverty by then. Furthermore, by being lifted out of poverty they mean the crude mud-hut, illiterate existence, so that they become closer to Western European poverty with its working-class houses where employees struggle to meet gas, electricity and water prices, with unemployment a constant threat.
Their second item of "good news", 75 million more children being in primary schools than in 1990, merely clinches the point that as countries develop and come into the capitalist system, they need literate and numerate wage-slaves to run their banks, offices, factories, farms and transport systems. Primary education has not eliminated poverty in the UK, the oldest capitalist country.
The third item only reveals the scale of the AIDS pandemic. Millions of African children have lost both parents to the disease and are among those being treated themselves.
The DFID then draws attention to four items of bad news.
Every day 30,000 children die because of preventable diseases. 46% of people in Africa live in poverty. Life expectancy in Africa is 46 and falling. Two-thirds of the world's hungry people live in Asia.
These appalling facts speak volumes for themselves about the failure of the market/profit economy to meet human need. The figure of 46% of African people in poverty means many millions being deprived of things outside the most rudimentary requirements because they do not constitute a viable market.
The DFID's booklet goes on to say: "by 2015, nine out of ten of the world's poorest people will live in Africa and South Asia".
So, despite all the aid-programmes, nine years from now extreme poverty will still be widespread in Africa and South Asia. On their own projection, how many millions will have died of poverty by then? How many children will have died from preventable diseases?
They say that farmers in Africa are:
... trapped in crippling poverty there because of subsidies here.
Subsequent major power trade talks made clear that subsidies to American farmers are to stay, and so too then is crippling poverty.
The DFID work to targets agreed by the UN to halve global poverty by 2015. They spend £5.9 billion a year and say that this is set to increase significantly as the UK's aid budget rises to 0.7% of national income by 2013. But, while they claim to have increased spending on overseas development assistance by all of 10%, at the same time they have actually cut by 10% the number of their overseas development staff. One step forward, one step back: so the snail's rate of 'progress' is hardly surprising..
What an utter pittance their spending is can be seen on the next two pages of their report where they publish the names of sixty-eight recipient countries. There are nine in Latin America and the Caribbean, twenty eight in Africa, eleven in Europe and twenty in Asia.
One shattering statistic emerges from a United Nations report (TELETEXT, 28 September 2006). About 2.6 billion people world-wide do not have access to the simplest form of toilet, a pit latrine with a cleanable slab around the hole. That is about one third of the world's population. Aid simply is not equal to these problems. Society's resources have to be devoted to human needs. Capitalism, with its wars and armaments production, adds organised killing and destruction to starvation and poverty.
The DFID claims that in 2005 world leaders agreed to cancel $50 billion of debt of the world's poorest countries. This was part of the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in July 2005 when Live 8 concerts "sought justice" for the world's poor. On page 13 they say:
The UK led the international campaign to write off US $18 billion of debt for Nigeria, where 75 million people live in absolute poverty.
They claim that cancelling $50 billion of debt will benefit up to 45 countries. That is something over $1 billion per country. This does not measure up to the magnitude of the problem.
On the next page, they stumble upon a nugget of truth: "The current system tends to favour keeping rich countries rich".
They give another example of subsidies, this time to American cotton farmers making African farmers unable to compete. Also they say that EU restrictions prevent Ghana from exporting chocolate products, allowing only the export of unprocessed cocoa beans.
In the system which is supposed to thrive on competition, the US, EU and other major capitalist governments look after the interest of their own capitalists.
It is nonsense for the DFID to talk of poor countries trading "their way out of poverty" (p14). Trade in Western Europe, Japan, the UK and the USA has not been a way out of poverty for many million of low-paid non-owners and the unemployed. The BBC (21 August 2006) reported that the gap between the rich and poor in the UK is widening again. Britain's new super-rich can spend £40m and more on yachts.
Poverty Past and Future
The most certain proof that aid to undeveloped countries can never end poverty is to look at the many tens of billion of pounds spent yearly in advanced countries like the UK.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics for 2003/4 show (in round figures) that there was £20 billion spent on Welfare Services, £120 billion on Social Security Benefits, and £74 billion on the National Health Service. Yet despite these huge sums, which dwarf the trivial amounts spent on aid programmes, mental illness among the homeless has more than doubled in fifteen years (TELETEXT, 7 July 2006).
Almost 60% of UK workers in their 50s and 60s plan to work on past state pension age (Heyday Survey, TELETEXT, 30 May 2006).
Between April and June this year, there were 26,021 insolvencies and 14,915 bankruptcies. An increasing number of women became bankrupt while credit card spending and just meeting household bills. The average "Brit" owes more than £42,000 on mortgages and loans (study reported by TELETEXT, 20 July 2006).
Among UK workers priced out of the housing market are nurses, police officers, teachers, ambulance workers and fire-fighters. This applies to fire-fighters in 65% of towns in England, up from 24% of towns five years ago. For teachers the figure is 73% of towns, up from 33% five years ago (figures from the Halifax bank; TELETEXT, 29 July 2006).
Graduate debt levels are rising, averaging £13,252, and 62% of students leave higher-education with more than £10,000 debt. The next wave expect it to be £15,000 (Nat West Bank, CEEFAX, 15 September 2006).
Official figures show that fewer poor teenagers are going to university, and an increasing number drop-out says the Higher Education Statistics Agency, while fewer graduates find work after university (TELETEXT report, 20 July 2005).
At the other end of capitalism's property spectrum, The Royal Bank of Scotland's profits were up 23% to £4.5 billion as more customers struggle to pay debt. Barclays, Lloyds TSB, and HSBC all have rising debt levels (CEEFAX report, 4 August 2006).
In the same world of extremes, scientists at St Thomas Hospital in London carried out a study, published in the journal Aging Well, which showed:
... working class people age quicker and die younger than the more well-off. Social class and ageing show a dramatic and unexpected association
Report by TELETEXT, 20 July 2006
We could be talking about the 19th century but this is happening now. Shelter, the organisation for the homeless, says:
A generation of children is growing up in squalor being failed by the government (TELETEXT, 13 September 2006).
They say more than one million children in England live in poor housing, over-crowded or not fit for purpose. Diseases, including heart problems, TB and asthmatic wheezing, are linked to overcrowding. Also, "children in temporary accommodation are up to 4 times more likely to suffer mental health problems". They are in fact failed by capitalism but the Labour Government has admitted it had failed to cut child poverty by one million from 4.1 million, by 2005. They had Margaret Hodge, a government minister, say they must redouble their efforts to "eliminate child poverty by 2020". This shows a total disregard for the squalor, misery and mental illness that will continue to be suffered.
From children to the elderly: we have Help the Aged whose 2006 catalogue has 17 pages with titles such as Older and Colder giving the views of older people experiencing difficulty keeping warm in winter. The write-up says: "Every winter some 20,000 to 50,000 old people die from cold-related illnesses".
In September, the UK Citizens Advice Bureau told of as many as 770,000 defaulters who have missed one or more mortgage repayments in twelve months. Last year they had enquiries about actual or threatened homelessness from 87,000 people.
Alan Johnson (Education Secretary), in making his bid as a possible leadership contender during the strife about when Blair would go, said: "The Labour Party's aim to eradicate poverty links our future with our past" (ITN, 13 September 2006). So after 100 years of the Labour Party, in and out of power running capitalism, supporting its wars and following reformist policies, the aim like the poverty is to continue.
Can anyone doubt that similar examples of poverty exist throughout the developed world? America has seen 9 million unemployed under the current administration and figures for those in poverty at over 30 million.
Condoleezza Rice in Canada during September, pleaded for the war against desperately poor Afghanistan to go on (TELETEXT, 13 September 2006). After five years of war, the opium poppy is the main crop in a country short of food.
More than a century ago, B Seebohm Rowntree wrote and published POVERTY - A STUDY OF TOWN LIFE. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation Catalogue contains pages of current book titles dealing with the same aspects of poverty that were prominent 100 years ago. There are at least 66 books currently available in English dealing with poverty in every part of the world. Among these is a book by Barbara Ehrenreich called "UNDER COVER IN LOW-WAGE USA".
Polly Toynbee of GUARDIAN fame, who herself wrote a book A WORKING LIFE, 30 years ago, now writes the Introduction to Ehrenreich and says:
The barely reported truth about the American dream is that it exists in a country of widespread growing and inescapable poverty, where the essential work is done by people paid below subsistence wages.
The details that unfold are harrowing. They depict what poor Americans are prepared to tolerate under capitalism in the 21st century.
All the evidence says that poverty is inseparable from capitalism; the system of employers and employees. Commodity production, the wages system, markets and profit motivation are social conditions that necessarily produce riches and poverty. Poverty co-exists with religion, war, nationalism and institutionalised ignorance.
We come perforce to answer the question; Can Poverty be Abolished? It must be a Yes and No answer.
No, since as long as capitalism remains, poverty will continue but yes, since once society changes, poverty can be abolished.
The establishment of socialism will be the beginning of an era of majority control of society based upon common ownership of the means of wealth production. Socialism, a world without money, markets or wages, will be geared to produce abundantly to freely meet human needs.
Yes - Socialism will abolish poverty!
Is There An Acceptable Face Of Capitalism?
Farepak, the Christmas club, recently went into receivership. Much opprobrium was piled on its very wealthy group chairman, Sir Clive Thompson, a former president of the CBI and a supporter of the Tory Party.
Because the savers of the Christmas club were largely poor working-class subscribers who lost everything while Sir Clive Thompson retained his wealth and privilege, he has been branded across the capitalist political spectrum as "the unacceptable face of capitalism", as though there was ever an "acceptable face".
The sanctimonious Gordon Brown donated a day's salary to a fighting fund. Others wanted Sir Clive to cough up some of his not inconsiderable wealth. Such is the cloying moralising of capitalism's supporters when the profit-system yet again fails the working class.
And let us not forget that capitalism exists to enrich a tiny minority of society, not to help the working class. Capitalism has only one face; the face of a ruthless exploiter. One of Karl Marx's important discoveries was the explanation of where the capitalist class get their wealth. The working class are paid in wages and salaries only enough to get them to put all their efforts, all their capacity for work (what Marx called their labour power), at the disposal of the capitalist class.
From the perspective of the capitalist class and their politicians, providing the workers are paid enough to keep them fit for work and to bring up their children as future wage slaves, then there is nothing wrong with capitalism and all is fair in a fair world.
But the amount of wealth needed to keep workers fit for work is considerably less than the amount of wealth they produce in a working week. Or, to put it technically, the value of their labour power is considerably less than the value created by their labour. The difference is the source of the capitalist's profit, what Marx called "surplus value". The production of surplus value is class exploitation. Whether the capitalist is a ruthless shark or an ascetic saint, they will both exploit their workers in the production of commodities, and they have to in order to survive. This is the face of capitalism the working class have to understand, confront politically and get rid of.
For those who lost their savings, like the 125,000 workers and pensioners who have lost their pensions due to recent corporate failures, they should learn the important political lesson that capitalism can never be made to work in their interest.
Abolish Money and the Wages Ststem
Adam Smith, the 18th century economist, has recently been put on the twenty pound note. Newspapers like THE TIMES and THE INDEPENDENT have fallen over themselves to trumpet Smith as the father of the free market whose ideas, when reintroduced in the 1980s, saw off "Socialism". The claim is utterly bogus. Socialism has not been defeated simply because Socialism has never yet existed so cannot be said to have failed. There has never been the establishment by a socialist majority of common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution by all of society.
Apparently Gordon Brown, is a fan of Adam Smith. Brown's over-optimistic comments on productivity and economic growth might be explained by his reading of THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. In THE WEALTH OF NATIONS (vol. 1, 1776), Adam Smith illustrated the increase of output brought about by the division of labour from what he saw in a pin factory. The work of turning wire into pins was divided into 18 separate operations, with different workers doing each operation. Adam Smith reached the conclusion - if it can be called a conclusion - that the division of labour had multiplied the output of each worker by 240, or even 480 times. He was unable to be precise about these figures because, as he admitted, he did not know whether one man doing all the 18 operations would produce one pin a day or 20.
Adam Smith, in his account of the pin factory, dealt only with the last stage of the operation, that of tuning wire into pins, and took no account of the fact that by far the greatest part of the labour required to make pins had already been applied in producing the wire, including the mining of the ore, producing the metal from it, producing the machinery, buildings and so on.
Of course, it was Marx's Labour Theory of Value which drew attention to a correct understanding of productivity. However, you will not see Marx pictured on a twenty pound note. This is a good thing. Marx showed that capitalism could never be run in the interest of the working class. Instead, he advocated the abolition of money and the wages system.
PRICE INCREASE OF The SPGB
Unfortunately due to increased postage and printing costs we have had to raise the price of The SPGB from 50p to £1. That is regrettable and we hope this will be the last cost increase for the foreseeable future. For the new subscription rates, please see the back cover.
State Terrorism: The SPGB on War
As the Prime Minister arrived at Parliament in November 2006 to hear the Queen read out his latest anti-terrorism legislation, a nurse, Peter Murray, who saw Blair pass by in his bullet-proof chauffeur-driven car, shouted out "boo". Two policeman approached, searched him, took down his address and telephone number. They were acting, they said, in accordance with Section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2000.
The reason why Mr Blair can call upon the forces of state violence to protect him from hecklers is because the majority of the electorate - that is a non-socialist working class - gave him this power when either voting for his or other capitalist parties at elections. They also gave him power to pursue state terrorism against other countries, ultimately to commit to a nuclear war if the need arises from the bitter international rivalries of world capitalism.
Shouting out insults at Blair or at other capitalist politicians does not get you very far. Even if Mr Murray was not arrested, that would have been merely an empty political gesture, changing nothing. If Mr Blair did not exist to administer British capitalism, and to make brutal decisions like sending workers from one country to kill or be killed by workers from another country, then someone else would. How many protesters who form the anti-war movement actually opposed the Iraq war on grounds of class interest and Socialist consciousness? We imagine very few.
The Anti-War movement is made up of those who support "our troops", who would support war if it was sanctioned by the UN, who turn a blind eye to wars pursued by countries with a left-wing or Muslim bias. Class analysis is sadly lacking.
Instead, Mr Murray could strike fear into Mr Blair and other politicians if he became a socialist and voted for Socialism at the next general election. The power to create a world without politicians like Blair and those like him is possible but only if the working class recognise that capitalism is the problem, not the politicians who have no choice but to administer capitalism even if it means a nuclear holocaust.
Only Socialism would end wars caused by capitalism and the periodic need for politicians to call them to forcibly resolve issues like oil, trade routes, resources and spheres of influence.
Socialists and War
The Socialist Party of Great Britain has nothing in common with the parties that preach peace but continue to prepare for war.
Our opponents defend their actions with talk of the need for security. We must, they say guard the integrity and independence of the nation. They differ among themselves only as to the amount and kind of armaments necessary for security. They argue the respective merits and costs of the battleship, the submarine, aircraft and poison gas. There are some who urge that the nations should agree to gradual and mutual disarmament, and there are even pacifists who claim that the best of all guarantees of security is for this country to disarm completely without waiting for the rest of the world.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain does not agree with any of these points of view.
... It is in the nature of the capitalist system to perpetuate conflict between the classes and between the nations. Commercial rivalries set capitalist States and Empires one against the other. The class which has property and privilege must maintain armed forces to protect their property and to make secure the social system which affords hem their privilege. They need armed forces at home for use, when occasion arises, against workers in revolt; they need armed forces abroad to seize and to hold territories rich in raw materials, to protect merchant ships on distant trade routes, to guard vital links like the Suez and Panama canals, and to defend areas of investment... It is for this that armed forces are maintained and set in motion.... The capitalists and their politicians do not consciously seek war as a means of snatching wealth and power from their rivals, but they are driven by the forces at work within the capitalist system to follow policies which bring them into conflict with each other. ... when the secret threats of the diplomatists fail to be of use, recourse is had to the armed forces, and war is declared. Under the cloak of patriotism and national defence, with the blessing of the Church, the Press, the labour leaders and the politicians, millions of workers are thrown against each other in battle. They do not know that they are fighting to defend or to extend the interests of the class that lives by robbing them of the fruits of their labour.
[From SPGB pamphlet, QUESTIONS OF THE DAY, 1932]
Obituary: Comrade Joe Bell
It is with much sadness that we report the loss of another old comrade, Joe Bell, who died on the 5th August 2006, aged 86.
The writer knew Joe for something over fifty years. During all that time he was an enthusiastic and active member of The Socialist Party of Great Britain.
In the early 1950s, when the Party moved to Clapham High Street, Joe became a constant member attending functions - the weekly Executive Committee (EC) and frequent propaganda meetings held there.
For many yeas he organised catering, making sure cups of tea were always available.
At propaganda meetings, indoors and open-air, he was one of our best literature sellers. He was always ready and able to discuss the case for Socialism with anyone interested. Over the past 20 odd years, Joe had been an activist when we canvassed our literature at trade union and political party conferences or at marches, rallies and demonstrations..
Trade unions, large and small, were covered, for example, the Bakers Union and Firemen's, both usually at Bridlington; or the Nurses at Harrogate. An annual event which Joe made a point of covering was the TUC Tolpuddle Rally in Dorset.. Other venues were the TUC Conference and the Youth Workers at Southampton. The writer remembers one of Joe's brothers coming there to meet him.
Joe's style of selling was unique and very persuasive. He would proffer a pamphlet or The SPGB to an arriving delegate, almost implying it was an essential booklet for the conference.
At the Tolpuddle Rally this year we had numerous enquiries about Joe - and was he coming? "Read it, read it!" Joe would shout. "Get some ideas about the world you live in!". "Get rid of capitalism - it cannot be run in your interest!".
When he died, members who discussed his loss to the Party said to the writer that men of his sincerity and dedication do not come along every day - there is a lot of history and substance to be seen in his generation of Socialists. The Socialist Party of Great Britain will certainly miss Joe Bell.
The Reconstituted Socialist Party of Great Britain
The Clapham-based Socialist Party, whose offices are at 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN, takes a very sanctimonious and haughty position when it comes to telling the working class why they expelled Camden and North West London Branches from their Party in May 1991.
They allege it was for persistent and wilful undemocratic behaviour. This is no reason at all. They are either too embarrassed or ashamed to explain the real reason why these two Branches were expelled. They were expelled because they continued to take political action as The Socialist Party of Great Britain. The conference resolution of 1988 specifically banned the use of "The Socialist Party of Great Britain" for propaganda purposes.
If the Clapham-based Socialist Party had been consistent they would have changed the OBJECT AND DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES but they did not.
When a Socialist wishes to join The Socialist Party of Great Britain, they have to understand and agree with the OBJECT AND DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES.
The Eighth Clause states:
The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.
Note that it is The Socialist Party of Great Britain that takes political action, not the Socialist Party which has no political bearing on the OBJECT AND DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES.
When members of Camden and North West London joined the Socialist Party of Great Britain they all signed their agreement with the OBJECT AND DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES. That requirement was never rescinded.
Those who have also joined the reconstituted Socialist Party of Great Britain have all likewise understood and agreed with the OBJECT AND DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES. Many of these were in the old Party but had left in disgust at its reformist direction.
On 11th June 1991 Socialists from Camden and North West London Branches reconstituted the Socialist Party of Great Britain in line with the 1904 OBJECT AND DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES. The statement we issued then is appended here as a key historical text.
Statement on formation of the new Socialist Party of Great Britain
The Socialist Party of Great Britain was reconstituted on 11th June 1991. All those who took part in the formation of the new party had been expelled from "The Socialist Party" on 7th May 1991 for what was described as "undemocratic behaviour". This consisted of continuing to hold propaganda lectures in the name of the Socialist Party of Great Britain when that name had been proscribed by the 1988 Annual Conference on the grounds that the name Socialist Party of Great Britain was nationalistic. From then on all propaganda had to be in the name of "The Socialist Party".
We do not accept that the abbreviation of the Party's name was the real reason for our expulsion. The real reason is that a majority of the active membership do not agree with the Party case as expressed within the framework of the Declaration of Principles. They have ignored these principles and have also undermined the clear meaning expressed within them at successive Annual Conferences in recent years.
For example 1985 Annual Conference carried a resolution calling for the immediate abolition of the State: an anarchist proposition which contradicts the meaning of Clause 6 of the Declaration of Principles. This calls on the working class to organise consciously and politically in order that this machinery (including the armed forces) "may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation…". If the State is to be immediately abolished it would be impossible to establish Socialism.
Annual conference 1986 decided to change the Party's name officially to that of the Socialist Party. Henceforth it had two names, both official. Annual Conference 1988 proscribed the use of "The Socialist Party of Great Britain" in propaganda, spoken and written, press adverts, leaflets etc. This was a breach of Clause 8 which begins "The Socialist Party of Great Britain therefore enters the field of political action…". Members who stood by this principle and carried it into effect were expelled without charge or hearing for "undemocratic behaviour".
Annual Conference 1990 gave support to non-Socialist democratic reform movements in Eastern Europe which were seeking to replace state capitalist governments with democratic capitalist governments. In October/November 1990 the E. C. [Executive Committee] threatened to charge N. W. London and Camden/Bloomsbury Branches unless they withdrew a leaflet which contained the statement that the Party was opposed to democratic reform movements. In their letter the E. C. sent a copy of the 1990 Conference resolution. This was in breach of Clause 7, which states "The party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party".
Support for the Polish organisation "Solidarity" had previously been given in a leaflet published by the Pamphlets Committee, which was later reproduced in the SOCIALIST STANDARD of January 1982. "Solidarity" became the capitalist government in Poland in September 1989 and its main leader, Lech Walesa, became the President. Despite this the E. C. refused to repudiate this leaflet which gave support to Solidarity.
It became increasingly obvious that The Socialist Party was rapidly deteriorating into a mere anti-capitalist reform party. The SOCIALIST STANDARD recently congratulated the university students demonstrating in Tiananmen Square on their courage in facing up to the armed forces of the State, when inevitably they were slaughtered.
The SOCIALIST STANDARD generally is a pathetic imitation of the old SOCIALIST STANDARD. Most of its articles are irrelevant to the real task of the Socialist party which is to get the working class to understand Socialism as a matter of urgency.
The SOCIALIST STANDARD consists of rambling articles on every other subject except Socialism. It soft peddles on stressing the need for the working class to capture control of the political machinery. In addition it contains misleading information and makes absurd claims which cannot be substantiated. In no way could the SOCIALIST STANDARD be regarded as a fitting instrument for expressing Socialist ideas.
The socialist society aimed at by Socialists is briefly defined in the Party's Object. Now it has been defined as something else by Islington Branch, the largest branch in the Party. They speak of "a truly democratic society".
Under this meaningless phrase the party has in recent years repeatedly given support to capitalist organisations on the ground that they were "democratic".
"Islington Branch would like to remind comrades that the object of the Socialist Party is to overthrow capitalism and establish a truly democratic society. The blatantly undemocratic behaviour of some members and the resulting procedural wrangling and personal attacks on fellow members detracts from the revolutionary aim of our Party. This time wasting behaviour is an insult to the efforts of workers around the world who are still suffering and dying for the right to organise democratically"
(E. C. Minutes, 15 January 1991).
Had we not been expelled it would have been impossible for us to remain in this organisation. We have been forced into existence as were our predecessors in 1904. They were expelled from the Social Democratic Party for holding propaganda meetings.
We have adopted the Object and Declaration of Principles of the 1904 Party as the basis for our propaganda, and we call on those who have any concern for the future of the Socialist Movement to join with us. The present "Socialist Party" has no future. It will become more and more reformist and opportunist as the restraints of genuine Socialists are removed. There can only be one Socialist party, and there can only be one objective, Socialism.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain
71 Ashbourne Court
Woodside Park Road
Object and Declaration of Principles
The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.
Declaration of Principles
THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN HOLDS:
1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.
2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.
3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.
4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.
5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.
6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.
7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.
8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.