Monday, February 7, 2011

The May elections (II)

The Socialist Party election manifesto:

This is a message to those who are fed up

Fed up with the failures of this dreary system
Fed up with leaders and the false promises of career politicians
Fed up with poor hospitals, poor schools, poor housing and an unhealthy environment
Fed up with having to live on a wage that struggles to pay the endless bills
Fed up with serving the profit system and seeing poverty amidst luxury

What happens in Lambeth depends mainly on what happens in the country and even in the world. That is why socialists are working for a different world. But it can’t happen unless you join us. The job of making a better world must be the work of all of us.

The world we want is one where we all work together. We can all do this. Co-operation is in our interests and this is how a socialist community would be organised – through democracy and through working with each other.

To co-operate we need democratic control not only in our own area, but by people everywhere. This means that all places of industry and manufacture, all the land, transport, the shops and means of distribution, should be owned in common by the whole community. With common ownership we would not produce goods for profit. The profit system exploits us. Without it we could easily produce enough quality things for everyone. We could all enjoy free access to what we need without the barriers of buying and selling.

Most politicians blame our problems on a lack of money, but this is not true. Money doesn’t build hospitals, schools decent housing and a healthy environment. The things that make a good community can only be created by the work of the people. We have an abundance of skill and energy. If we were free from having to work for the profits of employers we would be able to work for the needs of everyone.

The profit system is oppressive; it dominates our lives. It plagues us with bills: the rent and mortgage payments, the food bills, the rates, gas, electricity, water and telephone bills. Money is used to screw us for the profits of business. If we don’t pay, we don’t get the goods. This is why 43% of children in London live in families blighted by poverty. Without the capitalist system, a socialist community would easily provide for its youngsters and all members of the community.

The Challenge Now Is To Build A Great World Movement

Its job will be to break with the failures of the past.
It won’t be for power or money or careers.
It will work for the things that matter to people everywhere – peace, material security and the enjoyment of life through cooperation.

This is the challenge that could link all people in a common cause without distinction of nationality, race or culture.

An End To Pessimism

We, in the Socialist Party, reject the view that things will always stay the same. We can change the world. Nothing could stop a majority of socialists building a new society run for the benefit of everyone. We all have the ability to work together in each other’s interests. All it takes is the right ideas and a willingness to make it happen.

Consider the socialist alternative

Express agreement by voting for our candidates
Discover more about socialism

Read the Socialist Standard


The Socialist Party

Object: The establishment of 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.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The May elections (I)

As mentioned, the Socialist Party of Great Britain will be standing in next month's local elections in England. One of our members brought the following curious incident to our attention.

As those who read the Socialist Standard will know, the Socialist Party is putting up some candidates in the local elections in Britain next month. One of these is in Kingston, to the south-west of London.

Last Friday all the parties standing candidates there were invited to put their case to ameeting of the Kingston Racial Equality Council and in particular to address the question "How will the needs of minority groups be met?" Naturally we were there and explained that we didn't accept the idea of "minority groups"with different needs, that there was only one "race" the human race, that the key division in society ran between those who own the means of production and the rest of us who didn't with people from "minority groups"on both sides, and that, in any event, the needs of "minority groups" within the majority class were no more able to be met under the profit system than those of the rest of the majority.

Another party invited was the so-called "Socialist Labour Party" (known to us as the "Scargill Labour Party" after its founder, former miners' leader Arthur Scargill, who set it up as a breakaway from the Labour Party but which in practice is more like the former Communist Party). They didn't attend but sent a written answer which was so bizarre as to be worth recording:

"SLP statement for the KREC pre-council elections meeting on 21st April 2006 How will the needs of minority groups be met? This means how will racism be eradicated in this Borough?New Conservative Party Leader David Cameron made a huge mistake recently by calling the UK Independence Party 'closet racist'. Who can claim to be free of any racism? The answer is in truth nobody. Even London Mayor Ken Livingstone who many may have regarded as an archetype of anti-racism has now displayed an apparent insensitivity towards the Jewish community in the capital.Those that do claim to be not racists are certainly racists.The main problem in this issue resides in the institutional racism in our society. In particular the press and other media who too often raise covertly race issues in their reporting. A murderer or other criminal should not be reported as black. Racism has sprung out of the hegemony of imperialist society in theTwentieth Century with its large migrations of workers to the metropolitan countries. A socialist immigration policy is required to break this cycle and one that mirrors socialist Cuba. In Cuba nobody is allowed in and nobody is allowed out. Socialist countries plan their economies to prevent unemployment. Capitalist societies on the other hand need a ready supply of cheap labour which can be attracted and repelled at will. John Hayball. 12th April 2006".

The only laugh our representative got was when, in repudiating the view that Cuba was a "socialist country", he quoted the SLP's endorsement of Cuba's immigration policy (and which they want to introduce in Britain) of "nobody is allowed in and nobody is allowed out".

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Nuclear and Gas

Jeremy Warner looks into the pressures that might make Nuclear Energy a security option for Britain in his business outlook

The issue was raised afresh this week when Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian gas producer, warned in terms worthy of the Cold War that any attempt to limit Gazprom's expansion ambitions in Europe "will not lead to good results".

A spokesman elaborated that if the European Union wanted Gazprom's gas, then it would have to consider Gazprom's interests. In Britain, many took this to be a reference to reports that the Department of Trade and Industry was looking for ways in which it could block any attempt by Gazprom to buy Centrica, the UK's leading gas retailer.

In fact, the spokesman later said, Gazprom's remarks were aimed at other European Union members, whose attempts to block cross border takeovers of key energy companies have been much more overt. Yet whatever Gazprom was referring to, its comments are plainly a quite alarming development. We'll turn off our gas as we did with Ukraine, the Russians seem to be saying, if we don't get our way. Energy supply, it appears, may be a more potent weapon than rockets ever were.

The Killing Contines in Darfur

The spreading ethnic conflict that, broadly speaking, pits black Africans against Arab fighters - has also raised fears of a broader war in an oil-rich region that could mirror the civil war in Democratic Republic of Congo where big powers were in the background on opposing sides.

In the case of Darfur, the lines are now drawn with China and Russia firmly on the side of Khartoum.

But even Britain and the US, which have consistently taken a hard line against the Sudanese government, are wary of destabilising a regime whose support is needed in the "war on terror". The fifth UN security council member, France, meanwhile, remains the power broker in Chad.

A Warm Welcome to....(II)

Slow ol' me has only just noticed the World in Common group has a blog up and running.

WiC was (slightly?) inspired by the late Frank Girard's "Discussion Bulletin", which acted as a way for a variety of non-leninist groups to exchange their views. WiC says it seeks to act as a conduit for a broad strand of non-state, non-market anarchist/socialist/communist individuals and groups to share and build on the politics they have in common and discuss their differences cordially.

From an SPGB perspective, there are a few ex-members who formed World in Common and some present members make contributions to their discussion forum and electronic journal "Common Voice".

Saturday, January 28, 2006

In Memoriam

Twenty years ago today, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after lift-off, killing its crew.

The cause was a rubber "O-Ring" which couldn't cope with changes in temperature, despite the crucial need for it to expand and fill a gap in a joint. The story of the investigation is covered in great detail by legendary physicist Richard Feynman in his book "What Do You Care What Other People Think?"

AFTERTHOUGHT: I thought it only fitting to remember all those who have died in space programmes. Wikipedia has an article on this here.

I guess it is a measure of communication technology that I heard of Challenger when I woke up and turned on TV-AM on ITV; whereas I saw the Coloumbia disaster as it happened on Sky News. The Coloumbia was lost 1 February 2003.

One comment after the Coloumbia went something like: flying a shuttle looks routine, but it's not - space flight is still a dangerous business.

Friday, January 27, 2006


One of the memorable moments on "the Sky at Night" was when Patrick Moore attempted to show the first live pictures of Saturn, in the 50th programme. The sky was, predictably, overcast. Looking back years later, Sir Patrick remarked: "It wasn't meant to be a comedy programme, but it turned out that way."

I can sympathise with him a bit. Saturn is at conjunction today and...I cannot see diddly because there is a huge fog bank obscuring the sky. Maybe it will clear, but maybe it won't.

I guess I shall have to look frustratedly at the Celestron 4 1/2" Newtonian reflector telescope and enjoy the pic of the day above. Pic of the Day is a lovely internet resource provided by NASA.

This pic by two amateurs, using a CCD camera attached to a 12" scope, reveals a white spot in the milky cloud band above middle; i.e. in the southern hemisphere of the planet, since telescopes invert images. The spot is a storm, analogous to a thunderstorm.

UPDATE: I got up at half three this morning and the sky was beautifully clear; however the temperature must have been around minus 15 degrees Celcius. Whilst I love astronomy, I do like being warm! I went out again at 7 am and used my 7x50 binoculars to catch Venus and Jupiter.

NB: The budding astronomer, for example a child you might like to introduce to astronomy, has two MUST pieces of equipment: warm clothes and a 7x50 pair of binoculars. The latter beats cheap-o superstore scopes (which are crap) whilst temperatures do drop at night and freezing toes and ears will put anyone off observing.