Monday, April 27, 2015

Our message to students in Oxford (and elsewhere)

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 Here is the reply of our candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon, Mike Foster, to an invitation to comment on Oxford University Student Union General Election Manifesto.

The Socialist Party isn’t standing in this election to support particular reforms or changes to the current system. This is because we believe that the way our society is put together can’t be made to work in the interests of the vast majority of people. MPs who start out with good intentions about reforms and representing their constituents soon get stifled by cumbersome bureaucracy and made to follow vested interests or the dictates of the elite. So, we’re standing in this election to make the point that the whole system which we live under has to be replaced.

Free Education. Postgraduate funding

Economic forces have always shaped universities, but the last twenty years have seen an increasing marketisation of higher education. The cost of paying tuition fees and student loans prevents many people from going to university, while those who do become students end up thousands of pounds in debt. The state can no longer afford to subsidise education as much as before, so there is limited scope for any increases to funding. Parties campaigning for change within the system have to ensure that any reforms fit in with what the economy allows.

The Socialist Party argues that the system itself doesn’t work in the interests of the vast majority of us. This is because society’s infrastructure is owned and managed by an elite. So, we have to buy what we need and want from them, and what we get depends on how much money we have. As long as education is something to be bought and sold, it can’t be as fulfilling as it should be. If society was owned and run by the community as a whole, then we could have free access to the kinds of education we want.

Immigration and international students, European Union

Whether or not the UK has the closer economic ties to Europe which comes with EU membership, we’re still all operating in the same economic market. So it doesn’t really matter whether our rules are decided within the UK or in Brussels. Wherever they’re decided, laws and trade deals will aim to protect the interests of states and corporations. Neither the EU nor the UK government represents the vast majority of us 

The Socialist Party aims for a world without national borders. Countries, as the boundaries of different states, represent the ruling class who own the land and resources there. This way of dividing up the world doesn’t benefit the vast majority of us, who have very little influence in how the country we happen to live in is run. In a socialist society, people could move freely anywhere, without being dictated to by economic and political pressures. The artificial divisions between us which come with our nationality would no longer apply. If the world was owned in common, then we would live and work co-operatively for the benefit of everyone.

Unpaid Internships. Youth Unemployment

The Socialist Party advocates zero employment! Employment is inherently exploitative. We sell our time and energy to an employer in return for money to buy what we need. But, the amount we collectively receive in wages is less than the value of the work we contribute. This is because the employer needs to make a surplus or a profit, and this wealth stays with them. As well as financially exploiting us, this arrangement means we often feel powerless in an unfulfilling job. Unpaid internships are particularly exploitative, and take advantage of people keen for work experience.

Unemployment usually means having to struggle to buy necessities on a low income. Recent restrictions on who qualifies for sickness benefits, housing benefit and jobseekers allowance have made life harder for some of the most vulnerable people. Benefit claimants face both a lack of opportunities to progress and being stigmatised by some sections of the media.

The Socialist Party aims for a world where all work is voluntary and co-operative, without employers or employed. We would have the freedom to train and work in whichever career we wanted. If society’s infrastructure was owned in common, rather than by a minority, we could run it to benefit everyone. We could work sustainably with all the resources we need, without the market system holding us back. The reasons for the stress and frustration of being employed – and unemployed – won’t exist.

NHS

In our current society, the NHS is limited by what funding it can attract. Regardless of whether this funding comes from the state or from private companies, the NHS still has to survive in the same economic market as any other business. Keeping costs low is one way to remain financially viable, so the health service will always tend to be under-staffed and under-resourced. This explains recent problems with the capacity of Accident & Emergency departments and mental health services.
Wage-slave abolitionist, Mike Foster, explains socialism

The Socialist Party aims for a comprehensive health service which has all the trained staff and resources it needs. The only way this could happen is if it was part of a society where all resources are owned and democratically run by the community as a whole. Then, we could work directly to benefit ourselves and others. This health service, along with all other services and goods, would be free for anyone to access.

Sex Relationship Education

The Socialist Party doesn’t have policies on particular issues like Sex and Relationship Education. In a socialist society, such decisions would be made democratically by students, educational establishments and anyone else with an interest, and not by political parties. Personally, I think that the sex and relationship education should emphasise issues like consent, health, respect, and the needs of disabled and LGBTQ people.


Meanwhile, in the Easington constituency, candidate Steve Colborn pointed out to one critic:

“To categorise myself as "far left", is I'm afraid, merely another one of the false assertions put forward by those who claim a knowledge they, in actuality, do not possess.

The Socialist Party does not support capitalism, in any way, shape or form. Whether as reformist supporters of capitalism, Labour, SWP. Militant, CPGB or any of the other reformist variations.
Nor do we/did we consider the so-called Socialist/Communist revolutions in the USSR, China, Cuba et al, as was clearly stated by us, at the exact times these events occurred, to be anything other than revolutions "to" capitalism, not away from it!

The political parties mentioned and others, the countries mentioned and others, all support systems which are based on commodity production for profit. They support "elites". A world where we have "classes, i.e. rich and poor, capitalists and workers. A world divided into nation states. The Socialist Party, neither support these ideas, nor advocate them.

Our total focus is to replace capitalism, not push the futile attempts to reform it. Just over 100 years of Labour Party history, is proof positive of the futility of this position and an inability to see this, is the profoundest case of burying ones head in the sand, ever seen.”

Steve Colborn


Inequality - The Fuel Of Global Capitalism

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By next year, the richest 1% of the world will own more wealth than the rest of the entire population of the planet, according to Oxfam. This is a staggering figure, almost impossible to comprehend. And yet, this fact alone puts into focus a harsh truth: that we live in a fierce, inhuman, capitalist world where a handful of the richest people get richer and more powerful, even as governments across the globe enact austerity measures against the working class. It is completely ludicrous that governments are carrying out austerity policies while the global 1% are set to clutch over half of the world’s wealth by next year.
But here we are, watching the impossible unfold right in front of our eyes.

In Jamaica, IMF-imposed austerity measures are the most severe on the planet, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. And, of course, the US is largely to blame. The CEPR explained, “through its leadership role in the IMF, the U.S. is imposing unnecessary pain on Jamaica through harsh austerity and a debt trap." Since 2007, poverty in the country has doubled, with unemployment currently at 14.2 percent.

While the double stranglehold of debt and austerity brings Jamaica to its knees, activists in Spain are also fighting against government cuts. Earlier this year in Madrid, there was a major mobilization against austerity measures imposed by the government, policies which have worsened homelessness and poverty among the poorest. Protesters carried banners reading “Working for a general strike” and “Bread, work, a roof and dignity.” 
Between 2012 and 2014, the Spanish government made $162 billion in spending cuts. The country is experiencing an unemployment rate of 23.7 percent; one out of every four members of the workforce in Spain are unemployed, and half of all young people in Spain between ages 16 and 25 are without jobs.
But people are fighting back. Protester Antonio Colmenar told reporters, “It is a day to claim our rights.”

While the 1% fills their pockets, protests against austerity have been rocking the globe. In Montreal, Canada, students are leading the charge against cuts in healthcare, education and public services. “Today, we’re proud to launch a raucous spring,” Fannie Poirier, a spokesperson from the student protest committee told the Montreal Gazette in March. “Austerity measures have been presented as the lesser of evils to confront a deficient economy. But what we’re seeing … is a massive impoverishment of the population, full-frontal attacks on working conditions and a loss of security for society’s most vulnerable people.”

Even in Vermont, a US state known for its progressive politics, Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin has been pushing for austerity measures in education, healthcare and among public sector workers. Steve Howard, executive director of the Vermont State Employees' Association, commented on Shumlin’s moves to NPR, “Before you take money out of the paychecks of snowplow drivers, nursing assistants, custodians and administrative assistants … we believe you have a moral obligation to ask for a greater contribution from a broad-based revenue source paid mostly by the wealthiest Vermonters who have had all the economic gains of the last decade.

Austerity is trumpeted by many politicians as a necessary, though painful step to ensure long term economic viability. But it’s simply a way of perpetuating, rather than challenging, capitalist business as usual, a business in which the global 1% get richer and richer while schools go without sufficient funding and workers get laid off. Governments enacting austerity measures are protecting the 1% and global capitalism. And the 1% has more than its fair share of influence in government policy development. Oxfam reports that the global elite “spent $550 million lobbying policy makers in Washington and Brussels during 2013. During the 2012 US election cycle alone, the financial sector provided $571 million in campaign contributions.

Meanwhile, according the Harvard Business School, CEOs in America currently make 350 times what the average worker makes, and 774 times as much as minimum wage workers. Such a concentration of wealth not only takes place with impunity in America, it is encouraged as part of free market ideology. Since 1979, Americans have increased productivity by 80 percent. Yet, according to Forbes, income has not increased at the same rate, if it has increased at all. Furthermore, “the rich spend about 17 percent of their income traveling for business and pleasure” while “the lower classes spend about 17 percent of their income on feeding their families.

Inequality is not a symptom of the ills of global capitalism, it is its fuel. Austerity measures won’t change this; they simply maintain an unjust system that needs to be transformed from the bottom up. The global 1% and their allies in government need to be confronted and overturned. The entire system needs to be overhauled in a way that puts people, not profits and greed, first.

from Telesur here

The socialist message can be heard all around the world. Let's keep working to amplify it until everyone has heard it and the majority understands it and echoes it loud and clear. The capitalist system needs to be confronted and overturned in order to serve the global population instead of a tiny minority. Let there be no mistake, we are the majority. We are many, they are few.




Our advert in the Folkestone Herald

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Morning Star Half-Page Advert

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Occupy the Ballot Box

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Polling day is approaching and we are just matter of days away from changing….well, actually changing nothing, if the truth is to be told. Despite discontent with austerity and global capitalism, for people all over the world an alternative has been difficult to imagine. One of the key tasks of socialists is to provide a different vision of society where we do not exist to serve the economy, but rather the economy exists to serve us, a society where the slogan "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs" becomes a reality. As socialists we strive for a society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments of production and distribution, by and in the interest of the whole community. No party except the Socialist Party, no candidate in this election except the Socialist Party candidates embraces that simple concept of a truly democratic society. Our argument for engaging in the electoral process today is that it provides as a platform for socialist ideas, the opportunity to speak to people during election campaigns and to gain a somewhat limited access to the media.

Workers vote for usual political parties every election expecting it'll change things. But what have we ever gotten from them? Everything stays the same. That's the definition of insanity. The outcome of this election and whoever wins it, will not be able to resolve the world crisis of capitalism, the truth is they are toothless. The question arises; what is the most effective way to carry out this task?  The capitalist electoral system may well be a sham, a rigged system to ensure the domination of the tiny ruling class of bankers and big-business owners. In the UK, two capitalist parties dominate political life inside the system. Candidates from the Conservative and Labour parties bask in the glow of the electoral contest. The contest, however, is really one between two parties defending exploitation and representing the extremely wealthy. The coming May elections will sorely disappoint anyone longing for real change. Those who want a better life, a better world, an immediate end to wars, better wages and conditions for workers will not get any of those things from the pro-business candidates currently on offer. Given all that, some people have asked why the Socialist Party are running candidates for parliament. After all, the Socialist Party is not a party of professional politicians. Its candidates have spent their lives fighting against war, racism and the rest of the problems capitalism creates. The Socialist Party stands because the general election is where the attention of workers will be focused in May. Millions of workers vote in the election and those who do not directly participate are forced to listen, because the media dwells on the elections many months before they take place.

The Socialist Party’s entry into the 2015 general election gives some people the opportunity to cast a vote against the system and for socialism, instead of voting for a party that pays lip service to “the interests of working people.” The hacks and mouthpieces of the capitalist media cannot be the only voices speaking to people about the need for a “change.” The Socialist Party campaign will get into debates; go door to door; and hold public meetings and speak out to say that real change comes when working people get organised and take action. The Socialist Party is running to satisfy a growing hunger for revolutionary change and push it into the forefront of electoral agenda. It is an opportunity for workers to declare their opposition to the capitalist establishment and their corrupt representatives. We will take the ideas of socialism—a better, more just society, the way forward for humanity—to the people. Based on their performance over many decades, people know by now what the major parties have to offer—more of the same. The Socialist Party believes the deepening seriousness of the world’s problems requires revolutionary ideas and revolutionary solutions. Only by opening up the ballot to new ideas and new alternatives can the political process once more become a weapon in the hands of a people struggling to solve the problems they face. Votes are a clue to the strength of political ideas.

Socialism isn't a utopian dream. It is a part of the real world and the struggle for it is in progress. While capitalism may have been discredited itself, the socialist alternative is less obvious to most people. Socialism has been tried and failed, we are told. The legacy of the old Soviet Union has been a tremendous burden for the socialist movement. Lenin’s ‘communism’ has money, banks, armies, police, prisons, social stratification but socialism’s aim is to surpass the need for the use of money. Police, prisons and the military would no longer be necessary when goods, services, healthcare, and education are available to all people. Lenin turned socialism upside down creating an Orwellian nightmare where a so-called ‘workers state’ oppressed and exploited the workers and dissidents were condemned to the gulags and salt mines of Siberia. The State owns the industries, but the bureaucracy absolutely controls the State. This enables the bureaucracy, while paying lip service to "Socialism," to use the State-owned industries to exploit the property-less workers and to enjoy disproportionately the fruits of their labor. The Soviet bureaucrats were constantly striving, not merely for more production, but, with their own bureaucratic interests in mind, for more profits. It was by making more profits for his factory that the Soviet manager got bonuses for himself. The class struggle existed in Soviet Russia, but it was camouflaged by a variety of devices, including the trade unions, which were kept under strict bureaucratic control, and by the judicious use of modest concessions not unlike those used by U.S. capitalists to insure themselves long periods of strike-free operation. The Russian workers lived from pay-day to pay-day, just as wage slaves always do. The big incomes of the privileged bureaucrats can only come out if surplus value produced by labor. This is what enabled the top bureaucrats to live like capitalist plutocrats. Yet the vision of a socialist future is so powerful that it has withstood these distortions. It prevails because we desperately need an alternative to the capitalist system, which is killing the planet and its people: socialism is that alternative.

 Despite many reasons for cynicism, there are grounds to be hopeful. So raise the red banner of socialism and champion the cause of the working class. Vote The Socialist Party. Our vision is of a world in which the weapons of warfare have been transformed into the proverbial plough-shares of peace and prosperity. This is a socialist vision of a society guided by the deepest values of human solidarity, equality and concern for others, one that values the community over private profit. People are standing up to their governments with hope of reconstructing a future which provides equal and harmonious living standards for all. If we truly want drastic and sustainable social change, all the protest marchers, placard-wavers and social media activists must join together to destroy the old system.


The Ten Candidates To Support 

Jacqueline Shodeke - Brighton Kemptown;
Howard Pilott - Brighton Pavilion;
Robert Cox – Canterbury;
Steve Colborn – Easington;
Andy Thomas - Folkestone and Hythe;
Bill Martin - Islington North;
Kevin Parkin - Oxford East;
Mike Foster - Oxford West and Abingdon;
Brian Johnson - Swansea West;
Danny Lambert – Vauxhall.

We Are All One People

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Stop the boats; destroy them and attack the smugglers; and so halt the refugees for their own good – this is now the message of Europe’s politicians’, faced with the tragic mass deaths resulting from their refusal to continue Italy’s sea rescue campaign of 2014. By blaming the smugglers and their boats, EU leaders may politically succeed in shifting their culpability of down-grading the Operation Mare Nostrum search and rescue mission to a more limited and cheaper to run Operation Triton onto a reviled group, as a scapegoat for their own criminal inhumanity. All the predictions of the experts that many migrant lives would be lost unless there was a real replacement for Mare Nostrum have come all too true. EU leaders at an emergency summit on migration discussed plans to capture and destroy smugglers’ boats. Italy, which is shouldering much of the burden of migrant arrivals, would like to go further and is pushing for a military operation to take out smuggling networks. But the human smuggling trade in Libya does not have a hierarchical structure with one Mafia-style mob boss at the top who can be targeted. From the southern border to the beaches in the north, each smuggler has his own network. When migrants complete one stage of the journey, they are given phone numbers of partners in the network who can help them with the next stage. Armed groups across North Africa and the Sahel are profiting from the increasingly lucrative migrant smuggling trade, but neither Libya Dawn, an alliance of militias controlling most of the western coastal cities, nor Islamic State, the other major force in the area, are involved in the business as they are unable to control the entire chain from south to north.

Anyway, what is the point of taking out a few individuals or destroying their vessels – difficult as this will be in practice – if the demand driving their trade remains in place? At the time of Spain’s 2006 “boat crisis.” As Spanish border guards confiscated the Senegal-based people smugglers Yamaha motors, new ones could always be found; and as their long wooden fishing boats were wrecked in the 1,500-kilometre crossing to the Canaries, new ones were easily built. At least the European border agents at work in West Africa knew that destroying the thousands of small fishing boats there was nonsensical; not only would they immediately be replaced with new ones. If you destroy their delivery mechanism, they will simply find another, more fragile kind. The problem is not the vessel, nor the person piloting it; rather, it is why the market exists in the first place.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Unpalatable Truths

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To tell voters in this general election that fluctuations on New York’s or London’s stock exchanges may be more indicative of  their future welfare than whether the Tories or the Labour Party are returned at the next general elections would be inviting derision. Yet that is indeed the nature of capitalism that the Socialist Party (GB) is obliged to explain.

 Response to an email by the Travellers Movement

Thank you for your email. As a member, and candidate of/for The Socialist Party, I understand the concerns of the communities you identify. The problem is, these problems take place within a system of society, Capitalism, that is unable/unwilling to address these concerns and issues. This world does not belong to the communities you mention, any more than it does to the vast amounts of other members of the working class. There can never be satisfactory outcomes for any of our problems, no matter the platitudes doled out by the bucket full, by the representatives of the Ruling Class.

The only solution is to replace the present way society is organized (minority ownership of the means of life, production for profit, rich and poor), with a society based  on Democratic Control and Ownership, of the means of producing and distributing the things we need to live. Production for direct human use, no classes just people, cooperating together as free and equal individuals, owning in common the world and the resources within it, for the benefit of “All”!!

I would urge you to find out about the alternative put forward by The Socialist Party. The society we have at present, Capitalism, cannot be reformed. It needs replacing and it is that, that The Socialist Party put before voters at the election.

All good things to you and the communities you represent,

Steve Colborn,
The Socialist Party
Easington constituency Candidate.

Response to an email from the Join MyMp Programme organisation;

Hi Jo,

I have read your email and the information included within it. One of the points stated was, For more information on the rationale for the programme see Zac Goldsmith’s RSA Lecture: Transforming Politics in the UK [1].

Forgive me if I appear a bit dense but is not Mr Goldsmith, a member of one of the richest families in the country? It hardly supports your organisations claims to be , making a stronger commitment to democracy, by having a link to this lecture! Zac Goldsmith is a perfect example of why the society we live in is not, democratic.

His life is one of affluence and privilege, an affluence and privilege that has been provided for, on the backs of the vast majority, whose lives are the polar opposite! Lives of stress, insecurity, poverty and want!

The representatives of Goldsmith and his class, are the exact same ones who blame the poor for their poverty and see themselves as some sort of Elite, a cut above.

If you really are, concerned with Democracy, then your campaign would do a lot worse than campaigning for direct participatory democracy, and a Society in which it would be implemented, not the sham that is espoused as Democracy today, the oxymoronic "representative" democracy.

Myself and The Socialist Party (the only truly democratic, leaderless political party in the country) are contesting this election on a platform of replacing the undemocratic, elitist Capitalist system, with the Common Ownership and Democratic Control of a system of society called Socialism, for want of a better word.

If you would like to find out more about democracy, please feel free to contact us.

Yours Fraternally,
Steve Colborn,
The Socialist Party Candidate,
Easington Constituency.

[1] http://mymp2015.us10.list-manage.com/track/click?u=613b93e77d3fe0f205ee6a046&id=03365545db&e=e1096288a6

We Said It Then, We Say It Now (10)

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Party Manifesto for the 1958 London County Council Elections:

This is the first time that members of the Socialist Party of Great Britain have stood for election in East London. The candidates' names are unimportant; you will not see them on placards or in front windows, because it is not the Socialist Party's practice to cry up individuals or promote slogans. What we have to put before you is a simple but reasoned case about the world in which we all live - the case for Socialism.

Perhaps first, however, you will want to know something about the Socialist Party. It was founded in 1904; its Object and the Declaration of Principles on which it took its stand then, and still takes it now, are printed at the end of this Manifesto. The Socialist Party looks at the world from one viewpoint only—the viewpoint of working-class men and women, and what may best serve their interests.

Do not confuse the Socialist Party with the Labour Party. The Socialist aim is a revolutionary change in society. The world we know is the capitalist world, in which the means of life are owned by a minority and the motive of sale and profit dominates all other things. From this basis—the capitalist organization of society—arise all the problems of to-day: wars, crises, insecurity, want and unhappiness in a hundred forms.

Other parties believe, and promise, that those problems can be solved by changes of government and legislation. The Socialist Party's case is that while capitalism remains, the problems which are its consequences will remain, too. Indeed, it should hardly need the Socialist Party to point this out. Any man's lifetime to-day has seen several changes of government, allied with spectacular scientific progress; how much nearer, however, is the solution of any of those problems?

You may object, at this stage, that these are not issues in this election. The voter in the L.C.C. Election has in mind not world problems but the everyday questions of housing, schools, rent and roadways and public health services. That is true, but the more important truth is that they are not local questions at all. They are, in fact, aspects of the position of the working class the world over: a position in which the only differences are the depth of want and the degree of insecurity.

The housing problem, which will be spoken of a good deal in this election, has been with us for more than a hundred years. All efforts to solve it have been unsuccessful simply because it is a part of the working-class poverty problem. London's forests of flats and prefabs are the attempts of administrators to do the impossible—to house generation after generation of working people who cannot afford to house themselves.

A great deal of the illness and much of the crime and "vice" that are problems in every city in the world are direct consequences of people's poverty. And what are the problems of education but the problems of how children shall be taught to be clerks, factory workers, mechanics and labourers—that is, education for future poverty? The Socialist case is that within capitalism there can be no cure, and the whole history of modern times bears us out.

Ours is not a gloomy message, however. On the contrary, through our fifty-four years' existence we have steadily pointed to the obvious real remedy. If it is true that all these problems are the inevitable consequences of the capitalist organization of society, then we must end it and replace it with something better. That is what the Socialist Party of Great Britain stands for: the abolition of capitalism and the establishment in its place of Socialism.

Socialism does not mean a different kind of government, or State administration of industry (nor has it anything to do with what goes on in Russia). It means a completely different social system, based on the ownership of all the means of life by everybody. On that basis, there could be no wars or crises, because those are results of trade and competition between capitalists. Nor could there be poverty and all its consequent problems, because all the resources of society would be directed not towards profit but to satisfying the needs of all.

You may ask, as most people do, how the Socialist Party is going to effect all this. The answer is that it is not. YOU are going to. In our Declaration of Principles you will find one which says: "That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself." The Socialist Party does not present itself as a would-be ruler or a new leader. Another of our claims is that leaders will take working people nowhere good: in fact, that the world will not change for the working class until they themselves change it.

Thus, in this election we are promising nothing. What we are laying before you is the proposition briefly outlined here, and what we ask is that you consider it and see if it does not fit the world as you know it. If you agree with it, you will not need to be asked to vote for the Socialist candidates who alone in this election stand for the interests of the working class. If you disagree, we ask you to go on thinking about it—but not to vote for our candidates.

Your final question may be that even though you listen favourably to what we have to say, you see no purpose in voting for a little group of candidates who, if elected, could change nothing. That is true, of course; Socialists in the London County Council would be in a position only to state the Socialist case on every opportunity, and little more. Have you thought, however, that those who support the candidates of the majority parties are also electing administrators who can do nothing to improve the position of the working class?

And, of course, there is a far more important aspect. The change to Socialism can only be brought about by a Socialist working class sending its representatives to take the powers of government, national and local, to make the all-important change in ownership. Somewhere a start has to be made. The presence of three Socialist Candidates in this election is a lengthening, slight though it may be, of the shadow over the reign of capitalism. Every fresh person who hears us and decides that he or she is with us adds substance to that shadow.

During the weeks leading up to this election, Socialists will be everywhere where they can find the opportunity to talk to you. Our speakers will be on the streets and in the halls as often as possible, and our canvassers will come to as many doors as they can—not to tout for your vote, but to talk to you about Socialism. The Socialist future is not so far away. Your understanding and wanting it will

SPEED THE DAY!


Fact Or Fiction, Capitalism Is A Loser For Workers

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To paraphrase thoughts of a venture capitalist in a BBC series last night, if you're riding in a chariot and a few peasants get crushed under the wheels, it's for the overall good. The UK master of the universe - a Brit version of Mitt Romney – argued (like proponents of neoliberalism in the US) that all ships will rise as he creates a more "robust" economy. Of course, the dead peasants won't enjoy that fantasy economy. In addition, all the economic data in the US and UK indicate that the consolidation of wealth doesn't lift all ships: it raises only a few up to the stratosphere, while the tiny boats of the majority of people sink to the lowest tide.
The television film was Turks & Caicos, the second in a brilliant three-part spy thriller about the political takedown of a morally bankrupt and financially incentivized British prime minister clearly based on Tony Blair and his deference to the indefensible Bush administration post 9/11 policies.

The resonance of Turks & Caicos on the moral and political corruption of neoliberal economic policy carried over to this morning and an article in The Guardian. Written by a cook in the US Senate, Bertrand Olotara, the personal commentary describes the plight of a single father who had to go on food stamps to ensure that his children receive adequate nutrition:

I'm a single father and I only make $12 an hour; I had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. But even though I work seven days a week – putting in 70 hours between my two jobs – I can't manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids or even put food on the table. I hate to admit it, but I have to use food stamps so that my kids don't go to bed hungry.
I've done everything that politicians say you need to do to get ahead and stay ahead: I work hard and play by the rules; I even graduated from college and worked as a substitute teacher for 5 years. But I got laid-off and I now I'm stuck trying to make ends meet with dead-end service jobs.

No, Olotara's life raft isn't rising higher as the financial titans and Walmart heirs horde an extraordinary percentage of the nation's cash. (As noted in a BuzzFlash commentary earlier this week, the Walmart offspring of founder Sam Walton alone have as much wealth as 40% of the US population.)
Olotara describes himself as a "Bible-believing Christian," and wonders how politicians who claim the mantle of Christianity show so little compassion to individuals such as him and his children. After all, he's a cook for the very US senators who pass the federal laws regarding minimum wage and requirements for federal contractors that could include a livable wage provision.
One of the ironies is that in the global economy heralded by neoliberal financial advocates, Olotara's employer - remember that he works in the US Senate - is a UK international food service and contracted services company:

My employer, Compass Group, is renewing its contract with the US government today – but none of the senators or government officials to whom we serve food asked me or my co-workers whether this multinational corporation, headquartered in the United Kingdom, is treating American workers right. No-one bothered to check if the company that makes billions in profits is paying workers a living wage and offering decent benefits so we don't have to use public aid programs to meet our basic needs. We the workers sure have an opinion when it comes to federal contract renewals – but no one cared enough to ask us.

Last year Compass Group reported more than 17 billion UK pounds (over 25 billion US dollars) in revenue, according to its website.
Olotara was joining other contracted Senate works and federal employees in a one-day strike on April 23. Roll Call describes the job protest:

Contract workers in the U.S. Senate will walk off their jobs Wednesday to join contractors from across the District of Columbia in a strike calling for preference to be given to contractors who offer better wages, benefits and collective bargaining rights.
The Senate janitors and food service workers will join workers from the Capitol Visitor Center, the Pentagon, Union Station, the National Zoo and Smithsonian Institution at the rally on the West Front of the Capitol Wednesday morning.  
In November, workers from the Capitol Visitor Center joined the protest, marking the first time contract workers in the Capitol walked off their jobs as part of the movement. Wednesday is the first time Senate workers will join the strike.

The workers who are employed by private contractors to perform services in public buildings, including the US Senate, are seeking livable wages, benefits, and the right to collectively bargain.


from here with links

Solidarity to workers, whoever and wherever they are, struggling to improve their conditions of work. Within the capitalist system it is a necessary and ongoing struggle, however I will repeat once again what we in the World Socialist Movement seem to be repeating endlessly which is that this is what the capitalist system is all about, what it is founded upon - profit above everything else. Therefore wages must be kept at low as possible, any benefits and pensions are liable to be cut and contracts will always favour the employer. Workers are just pawns in the game, the first to be sacrificed.
We urge all workers to look at their future prospects, taking into account all that they can see is wrong with their past and current situation and recognise that the only way out of this stalemate is to work together to abolish the system of wage slavery once and for all in favour of socialism, a system of common ownership and proper democratic control of our common wealth. Together we can achieve it.

 


Friday, April 24, 2015

What About Human Rights?

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Response to someone concerned about the abuse of human rights:

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to me as the Brighton Pavilion candidate. We have much sympathy with your position which stems from the concern we share about the extent to which power in our society is used to further the interests of vested interests mainly against members of the working class: I am sure most the victims of human rights abuses are members of the working class.

Sadly we hold that unless the nature of the power structures in our society are radically altered, pieces of legislation and conventions are likely to be more honoured in the breach than the observance. The state, as the perpetrator of most of these abuses is there to reflect the interests of the rich and powerful and will find ways to circumvent such constraints if they stand in the way of business opportunities. Look at the USA post 9/11 and the extent to which codes of decent conduct were simply torn up and discarded.

A society of haves and have-nots will always create conflict and the haves will enact measures to suppress the have-nots; measures moreover to teach them a lesson and punish them for aspirations beyond their station. Even if every government indiscretion were investigated and some fall-guys identified and punished, it will make little difference: the real culprits will go unmolested, because the law and the legal system is there mainly for them.

It will only be when the power balance is redressed that we can be honest and hopeful about these issues; that there can be some possibility of real human rights - where one group of people does not have the power to inflict these vile degradations on others.

Only in a socialist world can we permanently preclude the possibility of the power relations which allow such abuses. Whilst there is no possibility of a socialist victory at this election, and it is a long road, the journey must start sooner than later: for the sake of humanity and for the sake of the planet [capitalism is no friend of the environment]. It is incumbent on every conscientious person to vote socialist to begin to turn the page.

Howard Pilott
The Socialist Party candidate for Brighton Pavilion




Letters to the Press

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Here is a statement sent to the Sunderland Echo and various other local papers, (as yet unpublished):

The Socialist Party are contesting this election, advocating a revolution in the way society is organised! From one where production is for profit, benefiting a tiny section of the world’s population, to one which is based on production for "direct human use", to benefit every man, woman and child.

This revolution will entail a revolution in the way we, the ordinary folk, see the world we live in and the Social relationships within it. By necessity, it will involve "Real Democracy". Each person having a direct say in decisions that affect them, not the sham we have today, where we vote in "Representatives", who more often than not, do precisely what "they" want, and not what benefits the majority. There will be no Leaders, nor elites, but merely human beings working together, collectively, to organise society in such a way, that "we all share" in the resources of the world, as free and equal people. The other Party's contesting this election, all offer variations on a theme, Capitalism! A system that by its very existence, leaves the majority in various degrees of poverty, want, and insecurity. 

The World has the resources to offer us ALL, so much more but only if it belongs to "us all", equally!

Steve Colborn
Socialist Party Candidate for Easington

Letter to the Folkestone and Hythe Express:

Why is the TUSC candidate claiming to be “the only unashamedly socialist party in these elections” (p.10, April 22) when he clearly wants to see capitalism continue?!

He’d like a better “minimum wage” for workers, but waged work is a fundamental part of capitalism’s system of profit-driven production!

He’d also like to nationalise various public services, which means they would still have to be paid for!

In a genuine socialist economy there will be no need for wages or money as you won’t have to pay for anything.

When we collectively and directly own all the farmland, factories, natural resources, power stations etc. then everything produced will also belong to all of us, and so, will be freely available.

TUSC need to change their name to the Trade Union and /Statist/ Coalition because, in truth, that’s what they are.

They want to run capitalism themselves in a way that’s been tried many times before (and always fails!), whereas The Socialist Party will get rid of it and we’d move on to something infinitely better.

The “only unashamedly socialist party in these elections” is actually The Socialist Party!

Max Hess
Folkestone local council candidate for The Socialist Party





War Against America's Native Peoples Has Never Stopped

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It is a crucial time for Brazil’s more than 300 indigenous peoples.

Once a coffee plantation, the 72-hectare plot is currently occupied by three families from the Guarani community who moved onto the land in July 2014 after it was recognised as traditional Guarani territory by Funai, the federal agency for Indian affairs. they now face eviction after a judge granted a court order to the landowner, Antônio “Tito” Costa, a lawyer and former local politician. In his petition to a local court calling for their eviction, Antônio Costa writes of the Guarani at Itakupe with scorn, calling them unemployed and unproductive, and describing the traditional dress they sometimes wear as “ridiculous fancy dress”. At Tekoa Itakupe, wearing a feathered headdress and a buriti-fibre skirt that he has put on to receive visitors, cacique Karai shows off his crops: the families are cultivating corn, manioc, sweet potato and mango. In contrast to the difficult conditions in the villages below, Itakupe has fresh water from dozens of springs, expanses of secondary growth Atlantic forest, a waterfall, and a set of 10-metre-tall mossy ruins buried deep in the valley, thought to be from the time of the bandeirantes, Brazil’s colonising pioneers. On the other side of the valley stands a long swathe of eucalyptus, a plantation kept by Costa who says the land has not been permanently inhabited by Indians, as the constitution states it must be in order to be eligible for the constitutional protection of indigenous culture and custom. “Indians have never lived on the land in question,” he told Brazil’s R7 news last week. “Or if there was ever an Indian village at Jaraguá, as they claim, those were other times. It’s over.”

Ari Karai, the 74-year-old chief or cacique of Tekoa Ytu, one of two established Indian villages at the base of the peak, says the group intends to resist. “How can they evict us when this is recognised Indian land?” he asks. “Our children have become afraid of the forest,” he says. “There are things we can teach them down there, but they know nothing about planting crops.” A number of the families from Tekoa Pyau and Tekoa Ytu plan to move to Itakupe, he says, if the right to remain can be established: “We don’t want anything from this land other than to live on it and take care of it.” His face crumples suddenly as he speaks. “There is no joy for us in any of this,” he says. “But we’re going to resist, whatever happens. What choice do we have? We have to guarantee the future survival of our people and our culture.”

Earlier this month, more than a thousand indigenous leaders met in Brasília to protest and organise against PEC 215, a proposed constitutional amendment that would shift the power to demarcate indigenous land from the executive to the legislature – that is, from Funai, the Ministry of Justice and the president, by decree, to Congress. The Indians’ opposition to placing demarcation in the hands of Congress is easy to understand: some 250 members of Congress are linked to the powerful “ruralist” congressional caucus, representing interests including agro-business and the timber, mining and energy industries. In contrast, there has been only one indigenous member of Congress in the entire history of Brazil: Mário Juruna, a Xavante cacique, who served from 1983-87 in Rio de Janeiro.

If approved, PEC215 would “put the fox in charge of the hen-house” Fiona Watson, the research director for Survival International which campaigns for indigenous people, said, “Many Indians consider PEC 215 a move to legalise the theft and invasion of their lands by agri-business. It will cause further delays, wrangling and obstacles to the recognition of their land rights.”

The demarcation of Brazil’s indigenous territories, specified in the country’s 1988 constitution, was supposed to have been completed by 1993. Twenty-seven years on, the majority of territory has been demarcated, with 517,000 Indians living on registered land mainly in the Amazon region, but more than 200 applications are still in limbo. Under President Dilma Rousseff, fewer demarcations have been decreed than under any government since 1988.

Tekoa Ytu is Brazil’s smallest officially demarcated indigenous reserve, where some 600 Guarani Indians live on 1.7 hectares of land in squalid conditions. Tekoa Pyau, similarly impoverished, is still making slow, very uncertain progress through the demarcation process. The strain shows on the face of Tekoa Pyau’s young cacique, Victor F S Guaraní, 30, who says that without demarcation the community has no future. “It’s so complicated,” he says, grimacing. It’s all they have, but the village is hardly the kind of the place they would live if they had a choice, says Guaraní. It’s cramped and extremely poor. Many of the village families are in receipt of the bolsa família, a federal benefits payment to those living on low incomes, but other than that, the community receives minimal assistance from the state, says Guaraní. Confined to cramped villages and often dismissed as backward, the poverty of Brazil’s urban Indians, their inward-looking culture and a longstanding lack of political and social agency combines to make them invisible to many of their fellow Brazilians, even when they’re standing in plain sight. During the first of a series of anti-PEC 215 protests in São Paulo last year, he says, bystanders were asking why Indians had come all the way from the Amazon to protest, unaware of the Jaraguá reservation just 15km north of the city centre, or of the Guaraní living at Parelheiros, 40km to the south. “By the end of those protests, there were whites marching with us,” says Guaraní. Similar resistance is taking place all over Brazil, often in the face of extreme adversity and even violence. In the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in particular, impoverished Guarani Indians live in crowded reservations, crammed between immense soy, sugar and cattle farms, or clinging to the margins in squalid roadside camps. They suffer violent attacks, assassinations and a desperately high suicide rate, particularly among adolescents. “In São Paulo we don’t have any direct contact with farmers,” said Guaraní. “But in Mato Grosso and Espírito Santo, the struggle is dangerous: they kill caciques, they kill children.”

Indian resistance is rapidly coalescing, he said. At street protests and online, alliances, strategies and a sense of empowerment are being forged between Brazil’s more than 300 indigenous groups, and with the quilombola communities whose members are descendants of escaped slaves, and whose right to a homeland is also threatened by PEC 215. The movement is going to need every bit of solidarity, support and motivation it can muster this coming year, which will almost certainly see a vote on PEC 215. If passed, as it seems will likely be the case, the amendment also allows for the review of previous demarcations, and introduces exceptions to the exclusive use of protected land, including leasing to non-Indians and the construction of infrastructure, “in the public interest” – read “commercial interests.”



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Telling it like it is - Our replies to voters

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Continuing our candidates’ responses to specific questions asked by voters or from lobby groups. 

A response to an email from Greenpeace by Steve Colborn

Hi Will,
 I do indeed oppose fracking as an unnecessary imposition on, not only peoples lives but moreover, on the environment!

That being said however, I feel that to sign your "Frack Free Promise" would be nothing more than an empty gesture.

The only thing that will call a halt to Fracking, is if it becomes
prohibitively expensive for the Capitalist Firms to carry out this extraction.

As with the vast majority of campaigns, petitions ETC, the only thing that really works is whether or not profit is affected. This is all, in the final analysis, Capitalists take note of, "the bottom line"!

As a Candidate for the only Political Party that, at the forthcoming election, offers an alternative to the present Capitalist System, and by extension, the problems it engenders by its very existence, (The Socialist Party), I/We would invite you and the wider Greenpeace movement, to consider
pushing the call for an alternative Social System, to solve the problems Capitalism has caused, Socialism.

A Socialist system, based on the common ownership and democratic control, of the means for producing and distributing the things we, as human beings need to live. A system of society which will be worldwide, to replace worldwide Capitalism. In  this system the incentive to degrade our environment and the life reliant upon it, would cease to have any meaning.

I/We would urge you, in Greenpeace to seriously consider the things I have mentioned.

Capitalists will never forsake their need for profit, it is time concerned individuals/organisations made the profit motive superfluous.

I await your and your organisations response with interest.

 Steve Colborn.
The Socialist Party
Easington Constituency Candidate.

A response by Steve to the Just Say Yes campaign, re extreme poverty and
preventable disease;

Dear Shernyse,

Thanks for your email, regarding the Just Say Yes campaign. I/We have highlighted the problems you raise, a number of times over the years. The deaths of men, women and children from starvation or directly related illness/disease, or preventable disease.

Campaigns to address these serious problems have, I'm afraid to say, come to virtually nothing, despite the on going efforts of many concerned individuals. The reason, they have/do take place, is within the context of a society, where the things we, as Human Beings need to live, are produced for profit, not use! No profit, no production. Cannot pay, then cannot have!

To try and counter the problems you raise, whilst leaving the cause behind, is to put it mildly, futile!

The Socialist Party, for whom I am the Parliamentary Candidate for the Easington constituency, will be arguing at the Election, that the only way to solve the problems you highlight and the myriad others caused by Capitalism, is to replace this social system, of production for profit, with another, based on production solely for human use (Socialism).

Only when the "profit motive" is replaced by the alternative of "production for direct human use", will the problem of people dying of starvation in a world than can easily feed us all, cease.

When houses are produced "only" for human habitation, not to be bought and sold for profit, or rented for the benefit of a landlords income, will homelessness become a thing of the past.

Where medicines will be produced to treat/cure people, not for the "profit" of a few Capitalists, who own and control the world and everything in and on it.

Only when society is run for the benefit of all and by all, will we be able to put a stop to the problems outlined above and many others.

I/We would urge you and your organisation to consider this alternative, as campaigns, petitions and marches have been shown palpably to have failed!

We look forward to you contacting The Socialist Party for more information, as to how this Societal Transformation can be achieved.

Yours Fraternally,
 Steve Colborn.

 He also received the following email

I would like to introduce Engineering Development Trust (EDT), a registered charity, the leading charity facilitating business/education links, helping to develop employability skills and inspire young people into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers. As a parliamentary prospective candidate you will be aware that UK industry is forecasting a significant gap in the availability of STEM skills over the next ten or more years. In engineering alone authoritative reports predict that over 83,000 new engineers and technicians will be needed in each of the next ten years. The picture in science and technology is similar. Political parties supporting investment in apprenticeships is a step in the right direction, however evidence suggests it is of equal importance to enable young people to get an insight into STEM careers and to be inspired by professionals in industry, while they are still at school and whilst they are still making decisions about the subjects they want to study. The ability to meet role model engineers and scientists and to undertake realistic hands-on projects in these subjects, mentored by people who have chosen these careers, is very important in encouraging young people to focus on developing the skills that are most needed by British industry….We would very much like to see prospective party candidates supporting and encouraging high quality workplace experiences for young people at school…
Dr Gordon Mizner
Chief Executive

His reply to the email:

Mr Mizner,
The Socialist Party want a Revolution in "thought" and Social Relationships. From a society premised on "production for profit", to one based on "production for use"!

Within this, we believe that education should be a "journey" that lasts a lifetime. We do not, nor can, support an ethos whereupon "education" as such, is predicated upon its use to the Capitalists, within the way society is presently organised.

We are not automata, nor round pegs to be moulded to fit square holes, we are human beings and society, as it exists at present, is incapable of treating people as "human beings".

We want an end to a system of "human exploitation" and therefore, cannot support calls to "run" this exploitative system more effectively.

It may be of interest to you Dr Mizner, to understand that we do not consider the above, "workplace" experiences but "employment" experiences! Whereas we may not all be "employed", we all, in one way or another "work".

Yours Fraternally and for Socialism,
Steve Colborn.
The Socialist Party’s Easington Constituency Candidate.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country, one of our Brighton candidates replied to a supporter of WWF with environmental concerns:

Hello Nina,
 Thanks for your email.  Sorry to say but i suspect your proposals don't go nearly far enough. Big business has always made money from ruining our environment: the industrial revolution grew because it could use the air sea and earth as a cost free dumping ground, and the planet's resources were seen as unlimited. That's how big business works and will continue to work unless we take it over; unless we tame it by asserting our control. Somehow the owners of large corporations - oil companies, logging companies, mining companies - think their vast wealth will enable them to build a wall between themselves and the despoilation of the planet: they will somehow be able to breathe dollars when the oxygen runs out. They certainly have no qualms about ruining it for the rest of us.
30 years of discussion about climate change has produced nothing of any value or impact - because they are not interested.  If regulation worked, big companies like google etc would pay their taxes, oil exploration companies would not pollute the land and sea, and clothing companies would not continually be found to be using child labour.  Exploitation is in their DNA - it is hard wired.  Power has to be taken away from them before we get any real movement, and we need a popular movement to achieve it.

We need a socialist world where we control what happens and produce what we need with regard to the needs of the future of the planet and our children's children. Vote socialist at this election to show you utterly reject this charade of democracy where the fruit machine always shows a jackpot for the rich. Vote socialist for yourself your future and your planet.

Best wishes
Howard Pilott
THE Socialist Party candidate Brighton Pavilion


ADDENDUM
Many will be interested in viewing Howard’s answers when asked to respond to 5 questions on social justice themes and recorded on videos by the Brighton’s One Church. These clips can be watched via the church’s website. 


A Global Design - Disenfranchise Populations To Benefit Capitalism

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For three days in March, thousands of farmers from across the country, and owing allegiance to Bharti Kisan Union, stayed put at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. With distress written large on their faces, they hoped that the government they voted for would at least have the courtesy to listen to them. Their anger was over an unjust law that they fear will forcibly evict them from their meager land holdings, and also they came hoping to seek some assurance from the powers that be for ending the continuing agrarian distress that they are living with.
A fortnight earlier, nearly 5,000 tribals under the banner of Ekta Parishad had also marched to New Delhi to join the two-day protest by Anna Hazare and others against the land acquisition bill. But with indifferent State machinery, and with an equally indifferent middle class, they found they had no sympathetic ears to allow them to even share their sufferings. Not even the national media, barring a few exceptions, took notice.
The disconnect between the middle class in the cities and the poor and marginalized in the rural areas, including 600 million farmers and the landless farm workers, is now becoming loud and distinct. For all practical purposes, the divide between India and Bharat that has been talked about for long is now clearly visible.

What Is The Land Acquisition Bill?

With the government calling the Bill pro-farmer and pro-development and most of opposition parties and social activists opposing it as anti-farmer, it is useful to sieve through the noise and look at the changes proposed and what existed earlier.

The 1894 Land Acquisition Act and cost of development-induced displacement

Until now all land acquisitions in India were being done under the colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894. That Act allowed the governments to acquire huge lands for so called ‘public purpose’ and industrialization, but did not give any say to the farmers in the process. Therefore rapid growth of industries and infrastructure in the past several decades saw forcible evictions of farmers and tribals from their lands and forests. Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) reported in 2012 that since independence 60-65 million people are estimated to have been displaced by development projects. Majority of these are farmers, including tribals, dalits and other rural poor. Although the industrial and infrastructure projects contributed to India’s economic growth, the farmers and others previously dependent on land and later uprooted were never consulted or made participants in the development process.

The 2013 Land Acquisition Act: A partial step towards democratic process

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (Amendment) Act brought in by the UPA government in 2013 was an imperfect attempt to resolve the conflicts. However it was a significant step that gave a negotiating right to the farmer in the process of his/her land being acquired for private companies or public-private-partnership (PPP) projects. The 2013 Act mandated that consent of 80% of affected land losers in case of private projects and 70% in case of PPP projects is required. It also required that Social Impact Assessment (SIA) is to be carried out by the government before acquisition. SIA included assessment of impacts on potential land losers, the landless, and the environment. The 2013 Act also increased the rates of compensation to four times the market rate for rural land and twice for urban land. In order not to disrupt food security the Act prescribed that agricultural land be acquired within certain limit and multi-crop land be avoided as far as possible.
However there were several major gaps in the 2013 Act. For example, 13 of the 16 Acts under which forcible land acquisition is possible were still not covered under the new compensation, resettlement and rehabilitation measures prescribed in it, and government projects still did not require consent and SIA.

Amendments made by NDA to the 2013 Act: Undoing of democratic process

The Ordinance for amending the 2013 Act introduced by the NDA government in December 2014 (re-promulgated in April 2015), and presented as a Bill in February 2015 with some amendments made in March 2015, has undone almost all positive achievements of 2013 Act for the sake of easing up procedures for private industry and facilitating ‘make in India’ campaign.
The conditions of 70% (or 80%) consent and SIA have been exempted for five areas – industrial corridors, PPP projects (excluding private hospitals and colleges), rural infrastructure, defence and defence production, and affordable housing. It must be noted that practically any major project of private sector can be included in one of these areas. In addition, the prescription to limit use of agricultural land and to avoid multi-crop land has been removed. This is bound to compromise India’s food security. Furthermore, if an offence is committed by a government official or the head of a department, no citizen can file FIR or go to court for the official’s prosecution without prior sanction of the government.
The only positive aspect of the 2015 Bill is that it has retained the higher compensation levels of the 2013 Act and made them applicable also for the remaining 13 Acts. However by depriving farmers from having any say in the process of land acquisition, the core principles of latest Bill have become similar to the colonial Act.

For several years now, since the time economists/planners began telling us that land is an economic asset and it is unfortunately in hands of people who are inefficient, there has been literally a scramble by business and industry (driven by real estate) to procure as much as possible. The World Bank is backing this strategy, and if you have read the World Development Report 2008, you would know what I mean. It calls for land rentals, and setting up a network of training centres to train the displaced farmers to become industrial labour.
No wonder, the UPA government has made budgetary provisions for setting up 1,000 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself had called for a population shift, moving out 70 per cent of the farming community into urban centres. This is what the World Bank had wanted India to do way back in 1996. It had wanted India to move 400 million people – twice the combined population of UK, France and Germany – to be moved out of the villages in the next 20 years, by 2015.

It’s all therefore part of a global design. All over the world pitched battles are being fought across nations by the poor and deprived, who fear further marginalisation when their land is literally grabbed by the government on behalf of the industry. It first begins by deliberately turning agriculture into a losing proposition as a result of which farmers, in most places, are keen to move out provided they get a better price for their land. Once this happens, it is much easier to drive out the farmers from their land holdings.
But it’s not as simple as it appears to be. Land being the only economic security for the poor, they put up a tough fight. In China, as Fareed Zakaria wrote in Newsweek sometime back, 75,000 land conflicts, which means almost 250 protests a day, most of them bloody, happen every year. In India, there were 260 land protests in 165 districts in 2013-14. When the new land bill comes into force, I foresee the battle over land intensifying in India. India will soon turn into a land of thousand mutinies.

From here and here


No Marx Again!

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No Marx Again!

I note with some disappointment but no real surprise that Edward Martin and Mateo Pimentel, the authors of Revisiting Marx and Liberalism have not responded to my article, No Marx! which challenged their contention that for Marx, Socialism was the first stage of Communism.
Given that Mr Pimentel is a long-term member of S.P.U.S.A., the Socialist Party U.S.A., it’s no wonder that confusion reigns when it comes to his and his co-author’s view of Marx in respect of a future post-capitalist society.
Mr Pimentel’s Party favours, “a classless socialist society that places people’s lives under their own control… where working people own and control the means of production and can form unions and strike.”
But if workers in this classless society own and control the means of production/distribution; who can they go on strike against? Themselves?
And what if they refuse themselves better pay and conditions?!
Marx advocated a stateless, wageless, moneyless, and classless society and interchangeably referred to it as Socialism or Communism. In the S.P.U.S.A. ‘classless’ parody of the same, the workers lives are clearly not ‘under their own control.’ There’s an employer class paying money wages and determining working conditions.
It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out that the ‘bosses’ in this so-called ‘classless’ society would be the ‘People’s Commissars’ of the S.P.U.S.A. — who no doubt see themselves as the ’intellectual vanguard’ leading the dumb workers to a Leninist paradise.
What Martin and Pimentel are promoting is not Marxist Socialism/Communism but State-Capitalism masquerading as the same–as characterised by the Leninist/Stalinist regime of post-1917 Russia. In reality, the working class fighting against a privileged Party elite who control the State and who claim to be the representatives of the working class.
Lenin’s pretence that his State-Capitalist society with its secret police, labour camps, purges and Communist Party elite was ‘Marxist’ has blackened the name of genuine Socialism/ Communism forever — a bonus that the apologists for Capitalism will be forever grateful for.
But it doesn’t end there. In their latest article, Marxist and Catholic Tradition Rejects the Inadequacies of Liberalism,” Messrs Martin and Pimentel appear to be conflating Catholicism with Marxism by claiming that the former is a force for ‘the common good’ and ‘the dignity of the human person.’
Tell that to the many children raped by Catholic Priests and mistreated by nuns. The thousands of people who’ve caught AIDS and/or become pregnant for the umpteenth time after being banned from using contraception; and those who paid Indulgences for their ‘sins.’
Tell that to the victims of the Inquisition, scientists like Galileo persecuted for telling the truth and the Jews who’ve been slandered for 2000 years. Tell that to all the people who’ve been told that Catholicism is ‘God’s love’ and if you don’t believe it, ‘you’ll go to hell’!
The Catholic Church is a monolithic organisation that has been corrupt ever since its inception. Like most religions, its supernatural myths about the world that have proved to be useful tools for social elites to maintain their privileged position and to justify to the poor, acceptance of their station in life in this world on the basis that jam will follow in the next.
Its doctrines stem from the Gentile Christianity of St Paul, who never met Jesus but who hijacked his name and invented his god status. The original Jewish sect of Jesus, who knew him as a mortal man, was an anti-Roman cult that wanted to reinforce ancient Mosaic law– and had no intention of establishing a new religion for Jews — let alone one for non-Jews. 
To further emphasise the point, there’s no evidence at all that the Disciple Peter was ever in Rome or founded the Catholic Church and became its first Pope. In the 20th-Century, bones discovered inside the Vatican were arbitrarily declared by the then Pope to be St Peter’s bones — without the slightest evidence. Similarly, the Turin Shroud was found by radiocarbon dating to be a Medieval fake. On such ‘traditions’ are its religious doctrines based!
For working people to progress to a genuine alternative to present day society, we need to get up off our knees to both gods and leaders and stand on our own two feet. We also need to reject pseudo-Marxism and fantasy-Catholicism and similar political and religious flim-flam.