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Socialist Standard July 2011

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					        Socialist Standard July 2011       1


July Std BDH.indd 1                    23/06/2011 08:34
        socialist                                      Contact Details
                                                       Uk Branches & contacts



        standard
                                                       London                                       ireLand
                                                       central London branch. 2nd Wednesday         cork: Kevin Cronin, 5 Curragh Woods,
                                                       6.30pm. Travelodge Cafe Bar, 7-15 City       Frankfield, Cork. Tel: 021 4896427. Email:
                                                       Road, EC1 (nearest Tube and rail stations    mariekev@eircom.net
                                                       Old Street and Moorgate).                    newtownabbey: Nigel McCullough.
                                                       enfield and haringey branch. 8pm. Angel      Tel: 028 90852062.
        july 2011                                      Community Centre, Raynham Rd, NI8.
                                                       Corres: 17 Dorset Road, N22 7SL.             scotLand

        contents
                                                       Email:julianvein@blueyonder.co.uk            edinburgh branch.1st Thur. 8-9pm.
                                                       south London branch. 1st Tues. 7.00pm.       The Quaker Hall, Victoria Terrace (above
                                                       Head Office. 52 Clapham High St, SW4         Victoria Street), Edinburgh.
                                                       7UN. Tel: 020 7622 3811                      J. Moir. Tel: 0131 440 0995.
         FeatureS                                      West London branch. 1st & 3rd Tues.8pm,      JIMMY@jmoir29.freeserve.co.uk Branch
                                                       Chiswick Town Hall, Heathfield Terrace       website:
         Is the crisis over?                  10       (Corner Sutton Court Rd), W4.                http://geocities.com/edinburghbranch/
                                                       Corres: 51 Gayford Road, London W12 9BY      Glasgow branch. 3rd Wednesday of each
         Democracy and capitalism             13                                                    month at 8pm in Community Central
                                                       MidLands                                     Halls, 304 Maryhill Road, Glasgow. Richard
                                                       West Midlands regional branch. Meets         Donnelly, 112 Napiershall Street, Glasgow
         The archbishop is right              15       last Sunday of the month in the Briar Rose   G20 6HT. Tel: 0141 5794109.
                                                       pub, 25 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham B2         Email: richard.donnelly1@ntlworld.com
         Pedalling in ever-decreasing         16       5RE.                                         Dundee. Ian Ratcliffe, 16 Birkhall Ave,
                                                       Tel: Tony Gluck 01242 235615.                Wormit, Newport-on-Tay, DD6 8PX.
         circles                                       Email: tonygluck111@btinternet.com           Tel: 01328 541643
         Anyone know a lifestyle              18                                                    West Lothian. 2nd and 4th Weds in month,
                                                       northeast                                    7.30-9.30. Lanthorn Community Centre,
         anarchist?                                    northeast branch. Contact: Brian Barry,      Kennilworth Rise, Dedridge, Livingston.
         What environmentalists are           19       86 Edgmond Ct, Ryhope, Sunderland SR2        Corres: Matt Culbert, 53 Falcon Brae,
                                                       0DY. Tel: 0191 521 0690.                     Ladywell, Livingston, West Lothian, EH5
         up against                                    Email: davejewell@bushinternet.com           6UW. Tel: 01506 462359
                                                                                                    Email: matt@wsmweb.fsnet.co.uk
                                                       northwest
         reGuLarS                                      Lancaster branch. Meets every Monday         waLes
                                                       8.30pm. P. Shannon, 10 Green Street,         swansea branch. 2nd Mon, 7.30pm,
          Pathfinders                          4       Lancaster LA1 1DZ. Tel: 01524 382380         Unitarian Church, High Street. Corres:
                                                       Manchester branch. Paul Bennett, 6           Geoffrey Williams, 19 Baptist Well Street,
          Material World                       6       Burleigh Mews, Hardy Lane, M21 7LB.          Waun Wen, Swansea SA1 6FB.
                                                       Tel: 0161 860 7189                           Tel: 01792 643624
          Cooking the Books 1                  7       Bolton. Tel: H. McLaughlin.                  cardiff and District. Group meets 3pm
          Tiny Tips                            8       01204 844589                                 last Sat of month Cardiff Arts Centre, 29
                                                       cumbria. Brendan Cummings, 19 Queen          Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3BA. Corres: B.
          Halo Halo                            8       St, Millom, Cumbria LA18 4BG                 Johnson, 1 Pleasant View, Beddau, CF38
                                                                                                    2DT.
          Greasy Pole                          9       carlisle: Robert Whitfield.
                                                       Email: rewcbr13@yahoo.co.uk                  InternatIonaL contacts
          Cooking the Books 2                  19      Tel: 07906 373975                            Latin america. J.M. Morel, Calle 7 edif 45
                                                       rochdale. Tel: R. Chadwick.                  apto 102, Multis nuevo La loteria,
          Reviews                              20      01706 522365                                 La Vega, Rep. Dominicana.
          Proper Gander                        21      southeast Manchester. Enquiries: Blanche     africa
                                                       Preston, 68 Fountains Road, M32 9PH          kenya. Patrick Ndege, PO Box 78105,
          Meetings                             22                                                   Nairobi.
                                                       Yorkshire                                    swaziland. Mandla Ntshakala, PO Box 981,
          Action Replay                        23      skipton. R Cooper, 1 Caxton Garth,           Manzini.
                                                       Threshfield, Skipton BD23 5EZ.               Zambia. Kephas Mulenga, PO Box 280168,
          50 years Ago                         23      Tel: 01756 752621                            Kitwe.
          Voice from the Back                  24      todmorden: Keith Scholey, 1 Leeview Ct,      asia
                                                       Windsor Rd, OL14 5LJ.                        India. World Socialist Group, Vill
          Free lunch                           24      Tel: 01706 814 149                           Gobardhanpur. PO Amral, Dist. Bankura,
                                                                                                    722122
                                                       south/southeast/southwest                    Japan. Michael. Email:
        the Socialist party                            south West regional branch. Meets every      worldsocialismjapan@hotmail.com.
        52 Clapham High Street, London                 two months on a Saturday afternoon in        europe
        SW4 7UN                                        Salisbury. Shane Roberts, 86 High Street,    Denmark. Graham Taylor, Kjaerslund 9,
                                                       Bristol BS5 6DN.                             floor 2 (middle), DK-8260 Viby J
        tel: 0207 622 3811                             Tel: 0117 9511199                            Germany. Norbert.
        email: spgb@worldsocialism.org                 canterbury. Rob Cox, 4 Stanhope Road,        E-mail: weltsozialismus@gmx.net
        Website: www.worldsocialism.org/spgb           Deal, Kent, CT14 6AB                         norway. Robert Stafford.
        blog: http://socialismoryourmoneyback.         Luton. Nick White, 59 Heywood Drive, LU2     Email: hallblithe@yahoo.com
        blogspot.com/                                  7LP                                          Italy. Gian Maria Freddi, Casella Postale n.
                                                       redruth. Harry Sowden, 5 Clarence Villas,    28., c/o Ag. PT VR 17, 37131 Verona
                                                       Redruth, Cornwall, TR15 1PB.                 spain. Alberto Gordillo, Avenida del Parque
        SubScription orderS                            Tel: 01209 219293                            2/2/3 Puerta A, 13200 Manzanares.
        should be sent to the address above.
        rateS: One year subscription (normal rate)     east angLia                                  coMPanIon PartIes oVerseas
                                                       east anglian regional branch. Meets          World socialist Party of australia.
        £15. One year subscription (low/unwaged)
                                                       every two months on a Saturday afternoon     P. O. Box 1266 North Richmond
        £10. Europe rate £20 (Air mail). Rest of       (see meetings page for details).             3121, Victoria, Australia.. Email:
        world £25 (Air mail). Voluntary supporters     Pat Deutz, 11 The Links, Billericay, CM12    commonownership@yahoo.com.au
        subscription £20 or more. Cheques payable to   0EX. n.deutz@btinternet.com                  socialist Party of canada/Parti socialiste
        ‘The Socialist Party of Great Britain’.        David Porter, Eastholme, Bush Drive,         du canada. Box 4280, Victoria B.C. V8X
                                                       Eccles-on-Sea, NR12 0SF.                     3X8 Canada.
                                                       Tel: 01692 582533.                           Email:SPC@iname.com
        The next meeting of the Executive Committee    Richard Headicar, 42 Woodcote, Firs Rd,      World socialist Party (new Zealand) P.O.
        will be on Saturday 6 august at the address    Hethersett, NR9 3JD.                         Box 1929, Auckland, NI, New Zealand.
        above. Correspondence should be sent to        Tel: 01603 814343.                           World socialist Party of the United
        the General Secretary. All articles, letters   cambridge. Andrew Westley, 10 Marksby        states P.O. Box 440247, Boston, MA 02144
        and notices should be sent to the Editorial    Close, Duxford, Cambridge CB2 4RS.           USA.
        Committee.                                     Tel: 07890343044                             Email: boston@wspus.org


        2                                                                                    Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 2                                                                                                                        23/06/2011 08:34
        Introducing The Socialist Party
        The Socialist Party is like no other political   to make new socialists. We publish            ideas across, the more experiences we
        party in Britain. It is made up of people who    pamphlets and books, as well as CDs,          will be able to draw on and greater will be
        have joined together because we want to          DVDs and various other informative            the new ideas for building the movement
        get rid of the profit system and establish       material. We also give talks and take         which you will be able to bring us.
        real socialism. Our aim is to persuade           part in debates; attend rallies, meetings       The Socialist Party is an organisation of
        others to become socialist and act for           and demos; run educational conferences;       equals. There is no leader and there are
        themselves, organising democratically            host internet discussion forums, make         no followers. So, if you are going to join
        and without leaders, to bring about the          films presenting our ideas, and contest       we want you to be sure that you agree
        kind of society that we are advocating           elections when practical. Socialist           fully with what we stand for and that we
        in this journal. We are solely concerned         literature is available in Arabic, Bengali,   are satisfied that you understand the case
        with building a movement of socialists for       Dutch, Esperanto, French, German,             for socialism.
        socialism. We are not a reformist party          Italian, Polish, Spanish, Swedish and            if you would like more details about
        with a programme of policies to patch up         Turkish as well as English.                   the Socialist party, complete and
        capitalism.                                         The more of you who join the Socialist     return the form on page 23.
             We use every possible opportunity           Party the more we will be able to get our




                                                                                socialist
                                                                               standard                                         july 2011
        Editorial
        Britain’s care home crisis
           IT HAS often been said that a society can be judged by how it       profitable homes for their money, who speculated that elderly
           treats its weakest members. How, then, are we to judge what         care homes might make a profit if they bought them, flogged
           are called the advanced Western democracies?                        them on (partly to fund expansion, partly to line their own
              Consider the case of the elderly. Until recent times, the        pockets), then rented the properties back. The crisis hit when
           older members of human communities commanded respect                the care homes could no longer afford the rent, which had
           as the bearers of accumulated wisdom. By contrast, how              been guaranteed to rise by a minimum of 2.5 percent a year.
           might we expect capitalism to treat the elderly? In short, we          The increased financial pressure on the industry coincides
           would expect it to treat our older citizens with a great deal       with weakened regulatory oversight. An investigation by
           less respect than it treats profits. We would expect there to       the Financial Times (30 May) shows that this has led to
           be a tendency, strengthened during times of economic crisis,        dangerously low standards of care. One in seven privately
           to raise the retirement age, to keep working-class people           run homes scored the lowest care ratings by the government
           on the labour market for as long as possible, reduce the            regulator, which means they face problems as serious as “a
           costs of pensions and social services so on, and increase           failure adequately to feed or clean residents”. The low rating
           the numbers of the unemployed, which acts as a downward             applied to one in 11 homes run by non-profit organisations or
           pressure on wages and working conditions. We would expect           local authorities. An anonymous inspector for the government
           our ageing populations to increasingly be conceived as a            regulator told the FT: “Fundamentally, it’s now got to a point of
           threat to prosperity, rather than a sign of human achievement       being dangerous [for residents] – and it’s going to get worse.
           and progress. We would also expect capitalism to rationalise        If I had a relative who needed to go to a care service, I’d be
           the costs of elderly healthcare to the limits of social and moral   concerned.”
           acceptability, by centralising and cheapening operations, and          A few days after its report, the Financial Times (4 June)
           turning them into private profit-making businesses where            followed up the story by revealing that this disaster was not
           possible.                                                           quite so bad for absolutely everyone. The top executives at
              That’s why socialists are sickened but not in the least          Southern Cross pocketed £35m by selling their entire stakes
           surprised by the current crisis in Britain’s care homes. At the     in the company before the crisis hit and the shares began to
           end of May this year, Southern Cross, Britain’s biggest care        plunge.
           home company, edged towards financial collapse. Southern               As we said, sickening. But if you’re shocked or surprised,
           Cross bought homes across the country before the economic           it means you haven’t been paying attention. This is how
           crisis hit, when the sector looked attractive to private equity     capitalism works. And that’s how it will continue to work
           and property investors – in other words, capitalists looking for    unless we get our act together to stop it.


        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                                               3


July Std BDH.indd 3                                                                                                                          23/06/2011 08:34
         Fission confusion
                                                                              alternatives are always piecemeal solutions which cost a fortune
                                                                              to implement and maintain, and for comparatively low returns.
                                                                              Short-term governments dislike sinking money into projects with
         THE POLITICAL fall-out continues from the Fukushima                  long-term gains (for which they won’t get the credit) when there
         plant as radiation levels continue to be revised upwards             are always more immediate demands for cash (for which they
         and the problems continue to cascade, with each solution             might). So all the most viable sustainable energy technologies
         itself presenting a new problem. Neighbouring states glare           continue to contribute negligible amounts to global energy
         balefully as the Japanese now try to justify dumping 110,000         requirements and where they contribute more, like hydro
         tonnes of radioactive water into the local fishpond. Meanwhile       or biofuels, they end up causing massive environmental or
         governments across the world hold Nuclear Safety Reviews in          social damage of their own. If there is any major technological
         a fever to satisfy worried populations that they are not being       advance it is not likely to come from the so-called viable
         as careless over nukes as they usually are over everything           methods but from some less likely source, as Scientific
         else. The UK’s Chief Nuclear Inspector, Dr Mike Weightman,           American argued in May this year.
         has been hurriedly asked to do a review of all nuclear facilities,      So, as the new century dawned and no new technologies
         and has delivered his interim report (www.hse.gov.uk/nuclear/        were found and significantly, no new Chernobyls occurred,
         fukushima/interim-report.htm). The bemused Dr Weightman              people began listening to the pro-nuke assurances that ‘lessons
         sees ‘no reason for curtailing the operation of nuclear power        had been learned’ and ‘technology had progressed’. As old
         plants or other nuclear facilities in the UK’, no doubt because      installations neared their pension dates and the question of
         category 9 earthquakes and giant tsunamis tend not to happen         replacement became pressing, governments talked bullishly
         in Britain very often. However this hasn’t stopped the Nuclear       about expanding their nuclear build, confident that the people
         Free Local Authorities pressure group, together with the             would accept the least-worst option, with resignation if not
         Greens, from trying to whip up the anti-nuke fever with a briefing   enthusiasm.
         seminar at Westminster on the future of                                                        Then Fukushima. And what it has
         nuclear new build (http://www.nuclearpolicy.                                                showed is a fundamental split between
         info). Now the EU is even talking about a                                                   what governments want and what
         nuclear-free Europe, after Germany and                                                      populations want. The real problem that
         Switzerland have announced the winding                                                      faces the world’s governments, and by
         down of their entire nuclear programme                                                      extension the various warring parties
         and Italy has just overwhelmingly voted                                                     of its ruling class, is nothing to do with
         against nuclear energy in a landslide                                                       the environment. It’s the ability of some
         referendum (BBC Online, 14 June). Almost                                                    countries, notably Russia but also China,
         alone in Europe, France continues to                                                        Venezuela, the Gulf states and potentially
         be independent and pro-nuke, possibly                                                       even Norway and Canada, to hold the
         because of its history of being invaded by                                                  world to ransom through their ownership
         other Europeans, and Britain too remains                                                    and control of oil and gas supplies. The
         resolute, possibly because of its history of                                                recent Gulf wars, together with Russia’s
         being invaded by the French.                                                                trigger-happy hand at the gas tap, have
            Folks with long memories were probably                                                   persuaded every economic bloc that it’s
         surprised at the renaissance in recent                                                      either Do It Yourself nuclear or Do As
         years of the nuclear option. There was a                                                    You’re Told fossil imports. And for a bonus,
         time when the anti-nuclear lobby seemed                                                     with nuclear power you can get nuclear
         to have won the argument, or at least the                                                   bombs, as the mullahs in Iran are keenly
         contest for public opinion. The anti-nuke                                                   aware. In any conflict with your neighbours
         brigade had always got its biggest boosts                                                   it’s much more effective to throw lumps
         from accidents at nuclear power stations,                                                   of plutonium than lumps of coal. Thus,
         notably at Windscale in 1957, later at Three                                                with the global balance of power at
         Mile Island in 1979, and of course famously at Chernobyl in                                 stake, nobody’s much interested in the
         1986. Older Britons might remember having to pour all their milk     environmentalists and their windmill schemes.
         down the sewers in Lancashire in 1957, but it was a shock to            And this is the nub of the matter for socialists. Global energy
         have to do it again in 1986 because of a leak the other side of      policy is not being driven by concerns about the environment,
         the world. From this last disaster the pro-nuclear lobby seemed      however much governments dress the thing up in a pretty
         destined not to recover. Soon after this the German Greens saw       green frock, it’s about ownership and control of key resources,
         a large increase in their support and the Green Party in the UK      who has them, and who’s got the weaponry to seize them.
         had its peak electoral success. But the opposition would not last    In capitalism such conflicts are endemic and often end up as
         indefinitely.                                                        wars, but in socialism, where by definition resources are shared
            Indeed it was the very success of the environmentalist            and controlled by the collective human race, the problem
         agenda itself which began steadily to erode the consensus            would be a simple technical one uncomplicated by geopolitical
         against nuclear power. It was after all the only realistic           or military questions. Can nuclear power ever be safe, and
         alternative to fossil fuels, and there wasn’t much doubt among       even if it can, what do we do with the waste? Can a mix of
         experts that fossil fuels were implicated in global warming.         sustainable resources really meet local needs and what are
         While environmentalists protested loudly about viable                the environmental or social costs? Can wholesale reduction in
         alternatives it was clear to many that these didn’t amount           consumption, facilitated by non-market production methods,
         to much in practice. As solar, wind, geothermal, hydrogen            help solve the problem? Will fusion ever work? Is there
         and other more exotic technologies continued to make little          something we haven’t thought of yet?
         headway, the debate remained a two-horse race of fossil versus          Well there is something the world hasn’t thought of yet. The
         fission.                                                             only way to take politics out of the energy question is to take
            The problem is that nothing comes close to fossil fuels for       capitalism out of the equation. Of course capitalist governments
         reliability, adaptability or energy conversion efficiency, while     are not going to entertain that option. But we ought to.


        4                                                                                        Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 4                                                                                                                        23/06/2011 08:34
        Letters
        reformist charities                       camps coming to their countries.           use newspeak like “double-hatting”
                                                  This included Canada whose                 and “extra-skilling” to distract their
        Dear Editors                              prime minister was the notorious           staff from the fact that what they
        I’ve tried before to convince the         anti-Semite Mackenzie King. The            are really talking about is “making
        reforming charities such as Oxfam         probability was the capitalists            people do more than one job” and
        and Friends of the Earth that their       whose interests they represented           “retraining people to do additional
        idealistic pleadings will not influence   feared competition from Jewish             work”?
        the inevitable, dominating drives         businessmen. This was the reason for          I’m all in favour of neologism and
        of capitalism. They are doomed to         the Aliens Act enacted by the British      changes of usage, provided that
        failure. Getting governments to           government of 1905, restricting            these are necessary or useful, but
        change is impossible. The fact is         the immigration of Jews fleeing            we mustn’t let that stop us calling a
        ‘government’ is not understood –          the pogroms sweeping through               spade a spade. If we don’t tell it how
        they presume its function is to act       eastern Europe. All of which goes          it is, who will?
        in the best interests of the people       to prove that, where the interests of      MARTYN DUNMORE, Brussels,
        when it just the executive control of     capitalism are concerned, people’s         Belgium
        capitalism.                               lives count for nothing.
           Even though it is quite possible       STEVE SHANNON, Mississauga,
        to ‘green’ the planet and feed            Ontario, Canada
        everyone they do not understand                                                       Socialist party
        the fundamental reason why this
        can’t happen today – someone has          Plain english                               Merchandise
                                                                                              Teeshirts:
        to make a profit from it. I cannot get
                                                  Dear Editors                                blue with polar bear and ‘If you were
        them to understand the nature of
                                                  Can I make a plea for the use of plain      a polar bear, you’d be a socialist’ plus
        commodity production, buying and
                                                  English in articles in the Socialist        party website address. Yellow, with
        selling and money and profit prevent
                                                  Standard. Whilst it is obviously            blue and green globe ‘The world is a
        attaining the world they want. Both
                                                  in the interests of capitalism’s            treasury for all’ plus party web site ad-
        are ‘middle-class’ petty bourgeois
                                                  representatives in the press and            dress on.
        do-gooders and reformers who think
                                                  politics to use euphemism and               Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL.
        futile reforms will achieve their aims.
                                                  understatement to cover up the              MuGS:
        These reformist positions must
                                                  unpleasant facts of the system,             One style: ‘Duet’ - Red and white with
        fail, the only real change can be by
        changing the very social system of        surely we should be aiming to do            ‘Only sheep need leaders’ and website,
        which these are just symptoms.            exactly the opposite, namely to             with ‘’Famine? War? Pollution? Capital-
           They probably assume they              highlight its shortcomings and              ism is the Problem. World Socialism
        are radical and energetically             excesses.                                   is the Solution’’ and party telephone
        pursue these reforms but, for the            In the article “Class against class”,    number.
        ‘respectables’, consideration of the      in the June Standard Standard, I            penS:
        real alternative is “Steady on, you’re    counted the word “issue” used no            Blue and white, with blue ink ‘Only
        going a bit too far in wanting a total    less than 7 times to mean either            sheep need leaders’ and a sheep plus
        revolution, and end to money, profits,    “problem” or “question”. An “issue”         party website. Red and white, with
        commodity production, wage slavery        (at least among socialists) that            blue ink ‘Workers of the world unite’
        and government itself.” No, they          a lack of money in the capitalist           plus party website Black with black
        are for too nice and sensible, they       world is nothing less than a major          ink. ‘Only sheep need leaders!’ and a
        think appeals and tinkering with the      problem for the vast majority of            sheep plus party website.
        present system is far enough. What a      the population suffering from the           baSebaLL capS:
        waste of energy.                          affliction. The word “issue”, like          navy blue, with embroidered ‘’World
        STUART GIBSON, Wimborne, Dorset           “challenge”, seems to be in vogue           Socialist Movement’’ on.
                                                  at the moment and has apparently            baLLoonS:
                                                  crept in from America, where people         different colours, with ‘’World Socialist
        World War two                             “have emotional issues” (i.e. “are          Movement’’.
                                                  upset”) or “have weight issues” (i.e.
        Dear Editors                              “are overweight” – in many cases to         prices:
        Regarding your reply to Simon             a point detrimental to their health).       Tee shirts £7.00 each (state size when
        O’Connor’s letter about the Socialist     In a recent TV comedy, a script-            ordering). Mugs £5.00 each. Pens
        Party’s stance on the Holocaust           writer friend of mine included a            £0.50 each. Baseball caps £5.00 each.
        (Socialist Standard, June), some          scene in which a character asked            Balloons 15p each.
        political commentators thought            the company psychologist ‘Do you
        certain members of Britain’s war-         want me to discuss my what we’re            postage and packaging
        time coalition government would not       supposed to call “issues” these days?’
                                                                                              £2.50 for the first £10 and then £1.50
        intervene on the premise “The more        When I complimented him on this
                                                                                              for subsequent £10 worths or part
        Jews Hitler kills now the less there      line, he told me that he felt strongly
                                                                                              thereof. Please send cheque or postal
        will be trying to get into Palestine      enough to include it because “my
                                                                                              order (no cash) made payable to SPGB
        after the war.” It will be remembered     kids are growing up a world in which
                                                                                              SW Regional Branch, c/o Veronica
        the British sought to curry favour        they never hear the word problems”.
                                                                                              Clanchy, FAO: South West Regional
        with the Arabs to maintain the flow of       “Sackings” is another word which
                                                                                              Branch, 42 Winifred Road, Poole, Dor-
        oil to British industry.                  has been discarded by the capitalist
                                                                                              set. BH15 3PU. Any queries, please
          When the Partition vote on              press in favour of any number of
                                                                                              phone 01202 569826. Please include
        Palestine was carried in the United       euphemisms, evidently because
                                                                                              own phone number or other contact
        Nations in 1947, some governments         the term is a lot more graphic than
                                                  “downsizing”, “rationalisation”,            details.
        voted in favour because they didn’t
        want Jews in internment and refugee       “reorganisation” etc. Likewise, bosses


        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                                      5


July Std BDH.indd 5                                                                                                                 23/06/2011 08:34
                                    Money – a waste of resources
        PERHAPS YOU think that the money system is a                 Other money-related occupations lie scattered among
        necessary means of allocating scarce resources. In that      various other groups. Actuaries, tax inspectors, teachers
        case, you won’t regard the resources that society devotes    of business studies – the list goes on and on. Then,
        to operating the money system as waste. But have you         combining related occupations assigned to various
        tried to assess the sheer scale of these resources?          groups, we discover 145,000 people working at casinos
           One approach is to see how many people are kept           and other gambling joints and 519,000 people who do
        busy at tasks that would not exist in a society without      nothing but handle loans (interviewing and checking
        money. I focus on the United States, but I don’t think the   out loan applicants, processing repayments, pursuing
        overall picture is much different in other countries. My     defaulters, etc.).
        figures come from the May 2010 National Occupational            There are many money-related jobs that the
        Employment and Wage Estimates of the Bureau of Labor         occupational classification does not allow us to count
        Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor (http://www.      separately. Thus, computer science occupations must
        bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000).                    include many people working with computer systems for
           The occupational classification used in US government     storing and processing financial information, while Legal
        statistics divides the employed workforce into 22 broad      occupations includes many people working in areas like
        occupational groups, which are subdivided into specific      commercial law and inheritance.
        occupations. When we search these groups for money-             Next there are all the people who design, manufacture,
        related occupations, here is what we find.                   transport, install and repair money-related machinery
                                                                     and equipment, such as ATM machines, cash registers
           Group 11. Management occupations                          (for all those cashiers!), safes, slot machines, credit card
           There are 516,000 sales, marketing and advertising        verifiers, gambling machines, and those contraptions
        managers, plus 479,000 financial managers. At least a        which prevent you from getting into the underground
        fifth of all managers manage monetary flows rather than      without a ticket. Not to mention the people who actually
        material processes.                                          make coins, banknotes and gold bars!
                                                                         Then there are the workers who build, maintain and
          Group 13. Business and financial occupations               clean the premises used by banks, insurance companies
          This group includes:                                       and other money-handling offices, those who transport
          1,072,000 accountants and auditors                         money handlers to and from work, and so on.
            221,000 financial analysts                                  My best estimate is that about one fourth of employed
            272,000 purchasing agents                                Americans are engaged in tasks that would not exist
            263,000 claims adjusters, examiners and                  in a moneyless society. To these people we must add
        investigators                                                members of the armed forces, workers in military
            262,000 market research analysts and marketing           industry, most non-working prisoners, the unemployed
        specialists                                                  as usually understood, and the unemployed as unusually
            184,000 cost estimators, etc.                            understood (otherwise known as the idle rich). All
        Some of the market research analysts might still be          these people could be making a useful and productive
        needed in a socialist society for the non-manipulative       contribution to society.
        analysis of consumer preferences.                               Let’s return now to the question of waste. The money
                                                                     system is commonly justified as a rational way of coping
          Group 33. Protective service occupations                   with scarcity of resources. And yet, as we see, the
          This group includes:                                       operation of the money system consumes enormous
          1,007,000 security guards                                  human and material resources. We should also take into
             644,000 police officers                                 account the resource costs of such capitalist practices
             111,000 detectives and criminal investigators           as built-in obsolescence, the use of patents to suppress
             458,000 jailers and correctional officers               innovation (Socialist Standard, February 2007) and
        As most crime consists of offences against property, few     luxury production for the wealthy (Socialist Standard,
        of the functions performed by these two million people       June 2011).
        will exist in a socialist society.                              So how serious would the problem of scarcity be if all
                                                                     these costs were eliminated together with capitalism and
          Group 41. Sales and related occupations                    the money system? Can any reasonable person avoid
          All of the 13,438,000 people in this group directly        concluding that money is itself largely responsible for the
        service the money system. Here we find: 4,155,000            problem to which it is supposedly the solution?
        retail sales workers; 1,172,000 supervisors of retail        SteFan
        sales workers; 3,354,000 cashiers; 1,748,000 sales
        representatives; 415,000 counter and rental clerks;
        319,000 insurance sales agents; 289,000 telemarketers,
        etc.

          Group 43. Office and administrative occupations
          This group includes:
          1,675,000 bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks
            556,000 tellers
            883,000 clerks processing and collecting bills
            232,000 clerks processing insurance claims and
        policies
              40,000 meter readers, etc.

        6                                                                             Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 6                                                                                                          23/06/2011 08:34
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           There is no such thing as a good capitalism.

        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                                                                                   7


July Std BDH.indd 7                                                                                                                                                              23/06/2011 08:34
                                                                                      that many of our readers will not have succumbed to one or
                                                                                      two of the following:
                                                                                         “Sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, prostitution,
                                                                                      homosexual offences, theft, greed, drunkenness, slander,
                                                                                      swindling, impurity, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy,
        Why a socialist world won’t be paradise                                       fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and
                                                                                envy, orgies, abomination, lying, cowardice, unbelief, murder,
           “Does Osama Bin Ladin get his 70 virgins now that he’s               sorcery.”
        in paradise?” asked a questioner at the Moslem platform in                 In case you need more information, Islam, anxious to make
        Speakers’ Corner.                                                       clear that Christianity doesn’t have a monopoly of knowledge,
           “In heaven you can have whatever you want,” replied the old          also has several websites dealing with the subject. For the
        mullah. “You just imagine it and it’s there. You can have wine          following we are indebted to www.answering-christianity.com.
        and beer and no matter how much you have you never get                     “Allah Almighty created heaven with 500 levels. The highest
        drunk.”                                                                 level will have the prophets, the martyrs, and the most
           This will no doubt come as a shock to would-be Islamic               righteous…”
        martyrs who are hoping for real virgins rather than imaginary              “So, let’s say we have a mother and a son. The
        ones (although it will be a great relief to the virgins). The quality   mother was admitted to level 256, and the son
        of the alcohol doesn’t sound too good either. But at least it was       was admitted to level 310. Both the mother and
        some kind of answer to the question of what heaven is all about.        the son can still see each other, but she won’t
        Believers, although adamant that they want to go, tend to be            be able to enjoy the things her son is enjoying,
        rather vague about what you actually do when you get there.             nor will he be able to share them with her.”
           So for any readers of the Socialist Standard, concerned about           “No dung, piss, bad body odour,
        the next life, here are a few details (courtesy of Google) of what      bad breath, or bad sweat smell will
        to expect.                                                              exist in heaven. The food and
           First a few observations from a Christian website. www.              the drinks that we consume
        godandscience.org (Well we want scientific details don’t we?)           into our bodies will turn into
           “The new earth will have no sea. There will be no sun or             great smelling musk. The
        moon. Gravity will be absent or greatly reduced. No more death,         higher the person’s level
        suffering, pain. Believers will receive a new body”.                    in Paradise the better his
           “The laws of thermodynamics seem to be absent from the               smell will be.”
        new creation.”                                                             So there we have it in
           “Contrary to the Mormon view of heaven, it doesn’t seem that         excruciating detail. The
        people in heaven will be either male or female”.                        righteous ones certainly do
           Don’t get too excited about going yet though, you may not            their homework.
        qualify. There’s a long list of sins to be avoided. And it’s unlikely   nW

                                                                                http://preview.tinyurl.
                                                                                com/6hjlfpn’

                                                                                Last time Beisner was on Fischer’s program, Beisner said
            The United States plans to export $46.1 billion in weapons          that the deadly tornadoes in the American South were “little
            this year, nearly doubling its 2010 figures, officials said:        tastes” of God’s judgment. Yesterday, the two discussed how
            http://tinyurl.com/69lcar9                                          they believe environmentalists are earth-worshippers who are
                                                                                deliberately destroying the economy and that climate change
            About 6.2 million Americans, 45.1 percent of all unemployed         is a myth. Fischer asked Beisner if the environmental
            workers in this country, have been jobless for more than            movement wanted a return “into dark paganism” and Beisner
            six months - a higher percentage than during the Great              agreed, saying that the end-game of environmentalism
            Depression:                                                         “would require the disappearance of about 95% of the human
            http://tinyurl.com/3vugbkv                                          race.”
                                                                                http://tinyurl.com/6l583jw
            Libyan women and girls who become pregnant through rape
            risk being murdered by their own families in so-called “honour      Older adults who say they’ve had a life-changing religious
            killings”, according to aid workers.                                experience are more likely to have a greater decrease in size
            Rape is a sensitive topic worldwide, but in this country it         of the hippocampus, the part of the brain critical to learning
            is even more of a taboo. “In Libya when rape occurs, it             and memory, new research finds:
            seems to be a whole village or town which is seen to be             http://tinyurl.com/44qkmlt
            dishonoured,” says Arafat Jamal of the UN refugee agency,
            UNHCR. Libyan charities say they are getting reports that           China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei
            in the west of the country, which is particularly conservative,     claim parts or all of the South China Sea, a territory believed
            Col Muammar Gaddafi’s forces have tended to rape women              to be sitting on rich deposits of oil, gas and
            and girls in front of their fathers and brothers. “To be seen       minerals, as well as being a major shipping lane:
            naked and violated is worse than death for them,” says Hana         http://tinyurl.com/5uwl7m9
            Elgadi. “This is a region where women will not go out of the
            house without covering their face with a veil.”                     Vietnam said on Saturday live-fire naval drills scheduled for
            http://tinyurl.com/6685l2e                                          Monday were “routine” and said it would welcome efforts by
                                                                                the international community, including the United States, to
            Non-battle Scars: US Military Rape Victim’ Shares Her Pain          help resolve disputes in the South China Sea:
            1 in 3 Female Soldiers are Raped or Sexually Assaulted by           http://tinyurl.com/67xeqjm
            Fellow US Servicemen:


        8                                                                                          Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 8                                                                                                                          23/06/2011 08:34
                                      Calm down and listen
                                                                       twins in the Commons. To those who associate with them
        DAVID CAMERON…serving at a barbecue alongside                  they are known as a formidable pair.
        the Most Powerful Man In The World…striding through
        a hospital with Nick Clegg and Andrew Lansley telling          treasury
        everyone in earshot how much he loves the NHS…walking          Until Labour were wangled out of power in May 2010
        hand in hand with his wife on a Balearic island with not a     Angela Eagle held a number of governmental jobs and
        Russian oligarch’s yacht in sight. David Cameron taking        had a spell as a backbencher after being sacked by Tony
        time in Prime Minister’s Questions to admonish Labour          Blair – perhaps as punishment for her being mutedly
        MP Angela Eagle to “…calm down dear and listen to the          rebellious over the Iraq war and describing him as
        doctor”. All in a day’s work for a Prime Minister lording      “fatally damaged” by it. In 2007 she was brought back by
        it over his contemporaries but nevertheless not secure         Gordon Brown and is now Shadow Chief Secretary to the
        enough to dispense with the need to assert his standing        Treasury, squaring up to the Coalition’s Danny Alexander
        with regular, frequent publicity stunts – even when,           over which party offers the most effective disguise of their
        strictly speaking, they are surplus to his requirements.       hopeless floundering amid the maladjustment of world
        Like slapping Eagle down when she was only protesting          capitalism 2011. Eagle’s claim in this contest is likely to
        that he was mistaken in saying that the former Labour          be based on her being of the common salt – her father
        MP Howard Stoate had been defeated by a Tory when in           was a printworker – who clawed her way to university,
        fact he had stood down at the election. Surplus because        fearlessly declared her sexuality in the cause of freedom
        in 2005 Cameron pledged to do away with that kind of           and equality and then progressed to the base of the
        misuse of Parliament’s time: “…the shouting, finger-           Greasy Pole. The facts, however, are not so promising
        pointing back biting and point-scoring in the House of         for her. When she was a minor minister at the Treasury
        Commons. That’s all got to go”. Surplus because in the         under Chancellor Alistair Darling there was no evidence
        event he had nothing to lose by a soothing apology for         of economic policy being influenced by any searchingly
        his insignificant error before resuming shouting and           innovative contribution from her. In Labour’s final spell of
        point-scoring. Perhaps he was too arrogant to realise          power, when Eagle was in charge at the then Ministry of
        that this was just the kind of triviality to get both sides    Pensions, it was made clear that if Labour were returned
        in the Commons blowing up a storm, as part of their            at the election they would implement policies as harsh
        unrelenting efforts to conceal the fact that there is no       as anything planned by George Osborne. In March 2010
        considerable difference between them.                          Darling conceded under questioning that in fact Labour’s
                                                                       expenditure cuts would be “deeper and tougher” than
        Winner                                                         those imposed under the Thatcher government in the
        Spinning somewhere towards the edges of the storm of           1980s, when Eagle was at Oxford studying for a degree
        bogus protest was the figure of Michael Winner, who            in Philosophy, Politics and Economics which, she may
        is not a favourite of feminists but is famous as the           well have hoped, would turn her out as a new style of
        director of what should rightly be known as some of the        political leader. She gives no reason to believe that she
        most tawdry of films and for flaunting his riches with         is disappointed to be as unoriginal and futile as all the
        excruciating conceit. Although the phrase “calm down           others.
        dear” has been in common usage for a very long time
        Winner claimed to have originated it for use in a TV           excitement
        insurance advertisement and said for good measure that         So what now of David Cameron and his slick wise-
        “…the Prime Minister has used it before which shows he’s       cracking appropriation of a sneer trade-marked by
        in touch with the British public…” It is not known                 the execrable Michael Winner who had himself
        whether the ex-Etonian Cameron was happy                               appropriated it? Ruling class demands on us are
        to be exposed to so warm an embrace by so                                unrelenting, if variable. We experience episodes
        nauseating a personification of capitalism’s                              when we are disciplined to stay calm, for
        ugliness. In any case Angela Eagle                                         example when the country to which we are
        (“…frighteningly feminist…” – Daily                                         said to owe loyalty inflicts on us the fears
        Telegraph) is not known for modestly                                          and desolation of a war. And there are
        declining an opportunity to attract                                            others when we are regimented to be
        attention to herself. She won Wallesy                                            excited – for example in April when we
        from the Tories in the 1992                                                         were swamped under a pervasive
        election and has held it since –                                                     hysteria companion to the
        the first time that constituency                                                       marriage of a couple of notably
        has had a Labour MP. She has                                                               useless young parasites.
        recently been engaged in a                                                                  We do not have to endure
        Canute-like struggle to prevent                                                           this catastrophic waste of
        to closure of a local biscuit                                                            human abilities; the argument
        factory – the largest private sector                                                     for replacing this social order
        employer in an area where, she                                                           with another rooted in human
        says, there are 16 people known to                                                       interests sprouts from a solid
        be chasing every vacant job. In                                                                 base of facts historical,
        1997 she declared herself to                                                                     material, social…This is
        be lesbian, the first MP to                                                                      to be calmly assessed and
        do so; this was soon after                                                                       excitedly brought into
        her twin sister Maria had                                                                        being.
        become an MP, making                                                                            iVan
        them to the first set of
                                                      “Frighteningly feminist”
        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                              9


July Std BDH.indd 9                                                                                                           23/06/2011 08:34
        Is the
        crisis over?
                                                                      “Once a crisis is in full swing, then the
                                                                      argument starts about who is to blame
                                                                      for it. The businessmen blame the
                                                                      abrupt credit refusals by the banks, the
                                                                      speculative mania of the stockbrokers;
                                                                      the stockbrokers blame the
                                                                      industrialists; the industrialists blame
                                                                      the shortage of money, etc. And when
                                                                      business finally picks up again, then
                                                                      the stock exchange and the newspapers
                                                                      note the first signs of improvement
                                                                      with relief, until, at last, hope, peace,
                                                                      and security stop over for a short stay
                                                                      once more. Modern society notes the
                                                                      approach of crisis with horror; it bows
                                                                      its head trembling under the blows
                                                                      coming down as thick as hail; it waits
                                                                      for the end of the ordeal, then lifts its
                                                                      head once more—at first timidly and
                                                                      skeptically; only much later is society
                                                                      almost reassured again.”




        t
              hese words could have been written yesterday, but       memory once and for all before moving on to business as
              are in fact the (slightly edited and paraphrased)       usual, the crisis has even been given a name. It was the
              words of Rosa Luxemburg (pictured), written a           ‘Great Recession’. And now, it’s over.
        century ago, shortly after the crisis of 1907 (What Is
        Economics by Rosa Luxemburg. See ‘Is The Economic             the good news
        Crisis Over?’ at http://critiqueofcrisistheory.wordpress.     But is it? The official story says yes. But then, the
        com/2011/05/01/is-the-economic-crisis-over). The              authors of that story, mainstream economists and
        question is, what stage are we at in the crisis that          representatives of the capitalist class, hardly ever expect
        arrived 100 years later? Is society beginning to ‘lift its    crises and are shocked by them when they appear out
        head once more’ and look toward a future of hope, peace       of the blue. This is despite the fact that there have been
        and security? Or should we bow our heads and expect           major downturns in every decade since the 1820s, and
        more blows?                                                   regular financial panics since the 17th century. Given
          Regular readers will have noticed that, in the pages of     this failure to notice still less predict what is obvious to
        this journal, we are still talking about crisis as if we’re   anyone with the briefest acquaintance with history, we
        in the midst of one (and we will be discussing the issue      can be forgiven for treating their pronouncements with
        again at our annual summer school in July). Followers         extreme caution.
        of the official story might be confused by this. According       Still, the question is a tricky one. Commentators
        to the mainstream account, the crisis, which began with       still can’t decide when the Great Depression of the
        a financial blow-up in America in 2007 and threatened         1930s ended, for example. Was the upturn of 1933 the
        a cataclysm as serious as the Great Depression of             conclusion of the crisis, and the recession in 1937-8
        the 1930s, was over by the middle of 2010 thanks to           a separate event, as some argue? Or was the 1933-7
        the government policy of providing ‘stimulus’ (printed        recovery merely an artifact of government spending
        money). As if to consign the experience to the historical     (‘stimulus’), with the depression ending proper with the

        10                                                                             Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 10                                                                                                          23/06/2011 08:34
                                          Dealing with the economic
                                                downturn in Greece

        start of war production in 1939? Or should even the           obvious apparent exceptions, but the health of these
        war production period be seen as a kind of government         are still, for now at least, partly reliant on the health of
        stimulus, with true, capitalist-based recovery delayed till   the US and other Western economies. Commentators
        1946? To consider this problem is to see that, to some        are currently watching China’s booming real-estate
        extent, history may be repeating itself.                      sector with particular concern – it is another debt-
           At the present time, followers of the mainstream press     fuelled ‘success’ story, and a key driver of demand for
        will find confident pronouncements of recovery and            commodities from other economies. But it is inevitably
        positive (or, at least, not too badly negative) news from     heading for a big crash, according to Nouriel Roubini, a
        various economic indicators sitting side by side with         bourgeois economics professor at New York University
        accounts of deepening state debt crises, stockmarket          whose star rose when he correctly predicted the current
        slides, soaring inflation, falling wages and standards of     crisis.
        living, and battles to impose austerity on the working           Of more immediate concern the eurozone – most
        class (including vast swathes of those who tend to think      particularly Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy – also
        of themselves as ‘middle class’).                             remains in deep trouble. For now, all eyes are on Greece.
           America, for example, the world’s biggest and most         Despite already having agreed a €10bn bail-out package
        important economy, is officially out of recession. Yet        last year, it is now obvious that that was not enough,
        manufacturing surveys show that global growth is              and the EU, European Central Bank and IMF are having
        stuttering and stagnating once again. US growth slowed        to bail out the bail-out, as The Economist put it. By
        to an annualised 1.8 percent in the first quarter of the      2012, Greece was supposed to be well on the road to
        year, down from 3.1 percent in the previous quarter.          recovery, but in reality, as austerity reforms stalled and
        The housing market is already in ‘double dip’ territory,      the economy shrank (by 4 percent last year), state debt
        inflation is on the rise (it could already be as high as      continued to soar. It’s now near 160 percent of GDP.
        7.4 percent, according to a new index from professors         The consequences of default are currently deemed too
        at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and             dangerous, so other options are being considered, such
        wages remain stagnant – average hourly earnings of            as lending Greece yet more money, and extending the
        production and non-supervisory employees, who make            repayment dates on the debt. But some commentators,
        up 80 percent of non-government workers, are lower            including Lex in the Financial Times, think that default
        than they were in the depths of the recession, adjusted       is, sooner or later, ‘inevitable’. The European debt crisis,
        for inflation, according to Robert Reich, a professor of      says economics analysts Capital Economics, “may be
        public policy at the University of California at Berkeley     entering a new and more dangerous phase”. Meanwhile,
        (Robertreich.org). Relative wages have, anyway, been          as in the US, the biggest companies in Europe, not
        stagnant or falling since the 1970s. Initial confidence       including the major banks, are sitting on £445bn in
        in the rising number of new jobs was squashed by              cash, according to a Bloomberg report at the end of last
        the start of June when it was reported that the rise in       year.
        the number of jobs was far lower than predicted: just            Britain has been spared some of the worst of the
        54,000 jobs were added to the total in May against an         troubles afflicting Europe because it is still in control of
        expected 165,000, according to the Financial Times, and       its own currency and can therefore engineer some fiscal
        the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 per cent. State        wriggle-room with low interest rates and money-printing
        debt continues to rise to historically unprecedented          and so on. It has also recently elected a government
        levels, which has prompted the credit-ratings agencies        committed to radical reforms that will impoverish
        Standard & Poors and Moody’s to threaten to downgrade         sections of the working class but also, capitalists are
        it. At the same time as we hear the crisis blamed on          hoping, reduce the deficit and restore profitability.
        banks’ reluctance to loan businesses money, businesses        But the picture is far from rosy for the capitalists.
        themselves are hoarding cash – almost $1 trillion of          The British economy grew by only 0.5 percent in the
        it, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal          first quarter of this year following a contraction of the
        published at the end of last year. This cash pile is the      same amount in the last quarter of 2010. Household
        highest for half a century and “shows the deep caution        disposable incomes are predicted to fall by 2 percent
        many companies feel about investing in expansion              in real terms this year, and the TUC trade union body
        while the economic recovery remains painfully slow and        has warned that wages – already stagnant over the past
        high unemployment and battered household finances             30 years while the economy doubled in size – are likely
        continue to limit consumers’ ability to spend”.               to trail behind inflation for years to come, putting low
           The story is much the same around the world. Certain       and middle-income earners into a “livelihood crisis”.
        economies in Asia, particularly China, provide the most       Growth has fallen off in the services sector, house prices

        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                             11


July Std BDH.indd 11                                                                                                         23/06/2011 08:34
        continue to slide, retail sales are down, and the Bank                 levels of state involvement in the economy, an excess of
        of England has been forced to cut its growth forecasts                 printed money and soaring debt. The idea was that this
        and up its inflation outlook. And with interest rate rises             debt would be paid back in the good times as depression
        mooted and surely inevitable sooner or later, things can               was averted and capitalist prosperity returned.
        only get worse in the near term. At the same time, as in               The reality was that the debt and spending had to
        Europe and America, British companies sit on vast cash                 continue to rise to subsidise capitalist industry and
        hoards as the prospects of profitable investment remain                buy social peace. Despite the rhetoric and ideological
        small and risky.                                                       determination, and some major attacks on working
                                                                               class living standards through the 1980s, it has proved
        the bad news                                                           impossible to roll back the state and cut spending and
        There are really two questions here. The first is, is                  debt while keeping capitalism buoyant. The working
        the crisis over in the narrow, technical sense, i.e.                   class seemed to be boosted for a while with the credit
        is the economy officially out of recession according                   card explosion and rising house prices. That prosperity,
        to conventional definitions and measures? Here the                     too, was obviously unsustainable for capitalism, and it
        answer is yes, though the shakiness of the recovery is                 ended in 2007.
        signalled even in the mainstream press by the constant                   But could the full force of a depression be delayed
        reference to the fear of a ‘double dip’, the return of                 with a combination of yet more debt and spending?
        recession, especially if or when stimulus measures                     Governments around the world are betting that it can.
        end and austerity measures kick in (dampening                          But they are also hedging their bets by preparing and
        effective demand), or both. Luxemburg’s ‘first signs of                implementing austerity measures as it must be obvious,
        improvement’ are certainly there, but it’s still way too               even to them, that the historically unprecedented
        early to say that society is ‘reassured again’.                        expansion of state spending and debt cannot go on for
           The second is whether the crisis is over in a broader               ever if capitalism is to survive. Keynes himself famously
        sense, and here the answer is, almost certainly not.                   ignored this problem. “In the long run, we’re all dead,”
        Take a historical and Marxist view, and it seems                       he said. Over the next decade, we’ll discover what
        clear that we are merely at the start of a major global                happens in the ‘long run’.
        restructuring. Apart from a socialist transformation                     The probability is that previously taken-for-granted
        of society, the only solution to the problems of a                     entitlements (to education, jobs, retirement, health
        depression is the depression itself. If capitalism is to               care, an income during periods of illness, joblessness
        return to profitability, unprofitable concerns must be                 or disability, and so on) and standards of living will
        closed, workers laid off, wages suppressed, and capital                end. There will be continuing struggles both within the
        devalued. This restores profitability and lays the basis               capitalist class and between the capitalist and working
        for a new round of capitalist prosperity. The trouble is,              classes over who is to bear the brunt of the losses. The
        despite a number of serious recessions and wobbles,                    hegemony of the United States may be challenged in
        capitalism has not had a proper and necessary clearing                 the not too distant future, with potentially catastrophic
        of the decks since the 1930s.                                          consequences: bear in mind that it took a world war
           As the Marxist economist Paul Mattick points out,                   to completely end the last truly major depression. And
        that depression, and the war that followed it, laid                    the depression, if not rescued by a major war, could be
        the basis for the ‘Golden Age’ of 1950 to 1973, an                     deeply exacerbated by the falling off of cheap and easy
        ‘economic miracle’ built on the destruction of the war                 oil and energy supplies and the possibility of ecological
        and the corpses of 50 to 60 million people. This period                catastrophe.
        of capitalist prosperity ran into serious trouble in the                 Yes, in the long run we’re all dead. But in the short
        1970s, and the result was the stagnation and inflation                 run things are not looking too great either. At an
        (‘stagflation’) of that period, a reliance on unprecedented            underlying level, this economic crisis is not over. And
                                                                                          neither is the increasingly desperate urgency
                                                                                          and need for the socialist alternative.
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        12                                                                                        Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 12                                                                                                                         23/06/2011 08:34
        Democracy
                                    and
                                    Capitalism
         Why in the end the two are incompatible


       d
               emocracy, either as simply a       of having had their voices heard,         are getting less democracy as time
               word in our lexicon, an actually   at any significant level to have          goes by – arrest on suspicion of
               existing system or a utopian       resulted in a culture of expectation      almost anything, tighter control of
        ideal, is a concept which should          of inclusion in the various processes     cyberspace, personal information
        be wide open for discussion. The          of so-called democracy. Rather            passed from agency to agency
        term is bandied about to represent        than an expectation of involvement        without consent, working conditions
        something which is generally poorly       there is apathy, cynicism or a            changed without consultation,
        understood, something which is            complaining mantra heard far and          retirement age increased, education
        widely recognised as being the status     wide that governments don’t listen        budgets severely cut (all these
        quo but with little or no thought         to the people or that they put on a       currently in focus in many countries)
        given to the relationship between         performance of listening pre-elections    – the discussion required is much
        what we each individually mean            and then make wide ranging excuses        more than how to take back lost
        when we use it and the situation on       for their negligence in following up on   ground and go on to gain more
        the ground to which we are referring.     promises or manifesto declarations.       leverage. It becomes how to take
           Democracy is something alleged to        Polls show people in greater            control of the direction and quality
        be a system of popular involvement        numbers becoming further and              of our own lives; in other words
        which leans towards majority              further removed from statements           how to move forwards to a true and
        consensus; but ask ten people, or a       made by politicians both right and        meaningful democracy.
        hundred, and get widely differing
        explanations of what it is or what                                                      “capitalist democracy”
        it should be. It is a word that is                                                        A UK government sponsored
        ill-defined, misused, overused                                                            think tank, Wilton Park,
        too ambiguously and has been                                                              concluded in a paper in 1996
        hijacked by governments and elites                                                        that ‘Democracy must not be
        to deliberately misinterpret their                                                        confused with capitalism. The
        actions and so deceive a captive and                                                      former is a political system
        poorly represented electorate.                                                            while the latter is an economic
           For example – In the ‘largest                                                          system. Although many capitalist
        democracy in the world’, India, how                                                       countries are democracies,
        do the majority of the population                                                         capitalism can exist without
        on $2 or less a day consider they                                                         democracy.’
        are being represented? And how                                                              According to Noam Chomsky,
        many of the minority even pause                                                           writing in On Power and
        to consider the possible effects of       left on topics which impact on daily      Ideology and referring to the US as a
        this lack of representation on the        life – wages, working conditions,         ‘capitalist democracy’, true capitalism
        majority?                                 high unemployment, cuts in health         isn’t possible, state intervention
           For example, in so-called              care, education and general public        being a necessary component for
        ‘developed’ countries, many of which      spending, poor infrastructure,            several reasons: to regulate markets,
        have just two or three major political    creeping surveillance, big-brother        to support business interests and
        parties becoming ideologically closer     laws and questionable aggressive          to employ its means of violence in
        and closer so that there is little        involvement in the affairs of other       the international arena on behalf of
        difference whichever is voted in,         nations. And who can determine any        business.
        how can this false choice be deemed       significant difference between left and      Chomsky being a highly respected
        democratic? A choice between two          right whether in the US, UK or most       political commentator and activist
        or three closely related manifestos,      other nations where all are beholden      over a number of decades, many
        differing in minor details but            to corporate capitalism?                  would agree with this assertion and
        overall being variations of the same         The current hierarchical systems       with his comment that democracy
        business-friendly agenda, distanced       of ‘democracy’ can never effectively      is a commodity – you can have
        from the majority of the voters.          represent the widely differing            as much of it as you can afford.
                                                  demands of majorities on wide             It is probably pertinent to add to
        existing political democracies            ranging topics. What this system          Chomsky’s statement that true
        Electorates worldwide haven’t had         gives can more accurately be termed       democracy also is not possible in
        the true experience of involvement,       imposition. When people judge they        capitalism because the system (and


        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                              13


July Std BDH.indd 13                                                                                                          23/06/2011 08:34
        the market) is manipulated by the         higher levels of understanding and         decision making processes for surely
        capitalists to fit their agenda by use    commitment which ultimately will           one does not dissent from decisions
        of media, advertising and lobbying.       lead to a majority of the working          one had a free hand in making.
        The incompatibility of capitalism and     class pulling together in order to take
        democracy, which follow opposing          control of their own collective destiny.     real Democracy
        principles, render democratic                                                           If democracy is to mean more than
        capitalism an oxymoron.                   Dissent                                    one vote nationally and another
                                                  Politically to dissent is simply to        regionally every few years, an
        apathy and complaint                      disagree with an official decision,        arrangement that most will agree
        Many so-called democracies tend to        course of action or set of principles      displays a huge deficit of democracy
        breed apathy for a variety of reasons.    but the term of reference has become       and does little to represent public
        Decisions have long been made for         debased and it is now commonly             opinion, then an alternative system
        people not by people, electorates         understood to be something other           must be devised. An alternative
        distanced from their representatives,     than seeking to have an alternative        system involving the general public
        decisions made with no consultation       view expressed overtly; it is often        in all decisions which impact upon
        process and ‘leaders’ believing they                                                 them, their communities and local
        have been selected to take the reins                                                 environments, one which embraces
        and make all decisions on behalf of                                                  the notion that all are entitled to be
        the voters. It’s taken for granted that                                              active participants in the local and
        once elected the ‘member’ decides on                                                 global community.
        behalf of the electors.                                                                 In order to invert the current
           There is scant reference to the                                                   system with the outcome that it will
        masses in times of major decisions                                                   be society at large’s decisions that
        – where to cut public spending,                                                      are to become the norm means that
        whether to involve a population in                                                   each community’s ideas and plans
        invasion or war, how to deal with the                                                will be presented, discussed and
        effects of harsh economic downturn.                                                  decided upon by those within those
        Even mass demonstrations against                                                     communities. All discussion in the
        unpopular decisions can leave the                                                    public domain; no minorities behind
        elected unmoved and intransigent. As                                                 closed doors weighing up pecuniary
        a result there has long been a culture    Norm Chomsky                               advantage. The will of the people – so
        of complaint, a collective feeling                                                   often disregarded – the will of the
        of impotence with no expectation          conveyed as being connected to some        people on an ongoing basis, not just
        of being heard, even if seemingly         kind of subterfuge, a covert, possibly     for the moment when they put their
        listened to.                              illicit movement to overturn an            tick in a box, but the ongoing will of
           It is easy to recognise from both an   established regime.                        the people, giving ongoing legitimacy
        individual and collective standpoint         Dissent, because it is seen to be       to all decisions in the best interests
        what it is, in work, in life, society,    too far outside the mainstream of          of all.
        environment, that is required to          traditional politics, becomes a threat.       Hierarchies are necessarily divisive
        be changed, removed, expunged;            And what leads to dissent? Poor            in their manner of imposition,
        however it is not so simple to know       working conditions and levels of pay,      patriarchal minorities holding
        exactly what should be put in its         high costs of food, services, fuel,        onto power in situations opposed
        place or how to do it. Most people        etc., high levels of unemployment,         by their electorates until forced
        can more readily identify the negative    high levels of homelessness and            to give concessions or step down.
        aspects of their lives which they         poor housing conditions, perceived         Governments don’t easily give up
        want rid of than they can imagine         injustices with regard to minority         their power and use various means
        the positives to replace them. They       groups, creeping surveillance and          to cling on through thick and thin
        have been part of a manipulative          curbs on freedom of expression,            whether in Africa, Asia, Europe or
        system for too long and have become       limited access to health care and          the Americas. Noam Chomsky has
        passively compliant.                      education, widespread corruption in        said, ‘Propaganda is as necessary to
           Anger and indignation can be           the corridors of power, inconvenient       bourgeois democracy as repression is
        positive motivating factors enabling      secrets leaked to the media revealing      to the totalitarian state.’ The purpose
        people collectively to come to the        a catalogue of lies and deceit that        of both to keep control.
        realisation that if power won’t heed      the people aren’t supposed to be a            In contrast the ethos of true
        the people then the people must           party to, oppression and repression;       democracy, with a horizontal
        act together, take hold of the power      in general lack of democracy in one        structure, has a unifying factor
        and make it their own if they are to      form or another. Any one or any            with people working together for
        become the active part of the decision    combination of these issues, coupled       the best outcomes for all. Real
        making process.                           with a particular geographical             democracy must mean a system
           Whereas emotional stimuli can play     location and appropriate timing could      of common ownership, production
        a useful part in rallying individuals     lead to the blue touch paper being lit     and consumption, moving from
        to a cause overall a plan is vital. We    and then look out for the explosion.       a system of passivity to one of
        need to understand not only where         Active dissent from the majority.          proactivity and empowerment by
        we’re coming from but why and                It is surely too narrow official,       sharing responsibility for decisions
        where we’re headed. It’s not enough       bureaucratic and parliamentary or          and outcomes. In a true democracy
        to know what we’re working against        oligarchical decisions which lead to       people would have real choices in
        but significantly more important to       all the states referred to immediately     all areas of their lives, not choices
        understand and affirm what we’re          above – decisions taken which              manufactured to suit business,
        working to achieve. This largely          sideline, ignore, humiliate, debase        market and monetary interests.
        entails each individual actively          and exclude the recipients from            Janet sUrMan
        raising their own consciousness to        active participation in any of the

        14                                                                               Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 14                                                                                                            23/06/2011 08:34
        The archbishop is right
        “We are being committed to radical, long-term policies for which no one voted”
        (The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams).



       H
                e is right. The government is                                               The people of Iceland have voted twice
                implementing policies for which                                             in referendums to reject the terms of
                no one voted, or would vote for.                                            the deals. To no effect. In the end the
        No one voted to cut care services for                                               Icelandic government will have to pay
        the old and the disabled. No one voted                                              up and cannot reverse its austerity
        to close hospital departments or to                                                 programme.
        delay repairing schools or to close                                                    It’s the same in Ireland where the
        libraries and sports facilities or to                                               government had given a guarantee to
        reduce rubbish collection. Yet this is                                              underwrite bank losses. Fintan O’Toole
        all happening as a result of what the                                               made a valid point in the Irish Times
        government is doing.                                                                (3 May) when he criticised the twisted
           It’s what governments always do when                                             logic used to justify making things
        capitalism goes into one of its periodic                                            worse for people there:
        crises. If nothing else this shows that                                                “The basic proposition is that ‘the
        capitalism is not a system geared to                                                Irish’ borrowed loads of money and
        improving people’s lives. If it was, this                                           ‘the Irish’ must pay it back. Each and
        sort of thing would never happen. As                                                every citizen of a particular nationality
        productivity went up (as it does slowly                                             is responsible for the misdeeds of
        but surely each year) then society would be able to            others who hold the same nationality. National identity
        produce more and so be more able to provide better care        trumps everything else. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t
        for the elderly and better amenities for everyone.             borrow the money or that you had no way of knowing
           That is what the increasing surplus of wealth over          what decisions private banks were making. You’re Irish,
        and above meeting basic needs would be used for.               the banks are Irish, so you’re all guilty. (…) so the nurse
        Under capitalism, however, it takes the form of profits,       in Ennis and the factory worker in Portlaoise have to pay
        and competition between profit-seeking enterprises             it back.”
        forces most of these to be reinvested in production               The Irish government will have to honour its guarantee,
        rather than in improving people’s lives. Any government        and nurses and factory workers and others will have
        that tried to do this by diverting profits from capital        to suffer. The Irish voted to kick out the previous
        accumulation would soon find itself in economic                government but that hasn’t made any difference. The
        difficulties. Governments that have tried have been forced     new government will have to continue doing the same,
        by capitalist economic reality to do a U-turn and give         as will the new government in Portugal and as the old
        priority to “growth” as they call capital accumulation. But    government in Greece has been doing. It’s what managing
        this growth is not a steady process but a series of fits and   capitalism – whichever party or coalition of parties is in
        starts, of periods of booms ending in a crisis and a slump     office – involves at the moment, what the Archbishop
        when amenities and living standards have to be cut as a        (who seems to be rather perspicacious) described in his
        way of creating the conditions for capital accumulation to     article in the New Statesman (9 June) as “managerial
        resume.                                                        politics, attempting with shrinking success to negotiate
           Which is where we are now. People getting what they         life in the shadow of big finance”. He described this as
        didn’t vote for also shows that capitalism is incompatible     “not an attractive rallying point”, but that’s all that’s on
        with democracy as an expression of “the people’s will”.        offer and can be on offer.
        This is not because there are no procedures in place for          In other places it’s yet worse still. The government of
        people to decide what they want, but because the way           the Maldives in the Indian Ocean decided recently to
        the capitalist economy works prevents some of these            float its currency against the dollar as “essential to cut
        decisions being implemented. Capitalism is not geared to       the country’s ballooning budget deficit and stabilise the
        doing what people want. People want the problems they          economy” (Times, 6 May). As a result “almost overnight,
        face to be solved but capitalism simply can’t do this. And     the price of staples such as rice and bread soared by 30
        no amount of making the decision-making process more           per cent”. Hence the news item’s headline: “Violence in
        formally democratic can alter this because that’s not          the holiday island intensifies as food prices soar.” The
        where the problem lies. It’s that capitalism is a system       opposition party there is trying to use the unrest to get
        geared to making profits and accumulating capital              back into office but even if they succeed they would
        irrespective of people’s decisions and needs.                  still have to attempt to negotiate life in the shadow of
           This is not happening just in Britain. In some other        capitalism. This is all governments everywhere can do.
        countries it’s even more blatant. In Iceland a law was            People don’t take this lying down and, rightly, try to
        passed during the financial bubble guaranteeing the            resist their lives being made worse. But if government
        savings of depositors, whether from Iceland or abroad,         action cannot overcome the iron laws of capitalism,
        in Icelandic banks in the case of a bank failing. No one       neither can strikes, street demonstrations or riots. The
        expected that banks would fail but they did. The Icelandic     most these can do is slow down the worsening a little but
        government didn’t have the money to hand to honour this        not reverse it. The cruel fact is that within the context of
        promise so the British and Dutch governments stepped           capitalism, as Mrs Thatcher said to the archbishop, there
        in and sent the bill to Iceland. The government there told     is no alternative. That’s the case for socialism.
        these creditors that it would find the money by drastically    aDaM BUIck
        worsening the life of the people in Iceland. And did so.

        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                                15


July Std BDH.indd 15                                                                                                            23/06/2011 08:34
        pedalling
                                                                            the slums of Manchester. Openly
                                                                            declaring for socialism however,
                                                                            proved just too much for a nervous
                                                                            proprietor and following an enforced
                                                                            resignation in 1891, he set up his
                                                                            own penny weekly, The Clarion.
                                                                            On relocating south to Fleet Street

         in ever-                                                           some four years later, circulation


                                 T
                                        he metamorphosis of the             rose steadily eventually, by 1908,
                                        precarious Ordinary – “Penny        doubling to 80,000.
                                        Farthing” – into its essentially       The Clarion’s ideals were indeed

             decreasing
                                 present-day “Safety” format in the         lofty: to “make socialists” by writing
                                 1880s and a steady reduction in            fearlessly and honestly about
                                 manufacturing costs, saw the bicycle       injustice and inequality, to do so
                                 by the following decade fast-becoming      unpretentiously and humorously
                       circles   the main means of personal working         avoiding dogma and theory and
                                 class transport. Villagers and             to provide a forum for divergent
                                 townies, hitherto isolated, could now      viewpoints. This was its mission
                                 venture healthily afield, widening         statement and – as time would
                                 geographical and social horizons,          ultimately prove – its suicide note.
                                 seeking erudition and enlightenment,          Perhaps inevitably, cycling men
                                 diversifying and enriching the gene        and women, enthused by these ideas,
                                 pool.                                      would see the obvious advantages of
                                   Devastating as it undoubtedly was        the bicycle in spreading the message
                                 for “High Wheeling” aristocrats and        and at an 1894 meeting convened
                                 toffs to find their pastime suddenly       by young Brummie Tom Groom, a
                                 infested with hoi polloi, salvation, at    “socialist Cycling Club” was created;
                 Cycling         least for the seriously affluent, was      its name promptly amended to
               is popular        nigh: the internal combustion engine       “Clarion” in honour of the journal.
                                 was already spluttering into life.
            again but what         The latter decades of the century
                                                                            Reports of the club’s early activities
                                                                            – joyful, propagandising excursions
           happened to the       had seen also a renewed interest           requiring “boozometers rather than
          old Clarion Cycling    in the radical ideas that had faded        speedometers” – led swiftly to the
                                 somewhat in the wake of the Chartist
                 Club?           Movement of the 1850s. In particular,
                                                                            formation of Clarion clubs elsewhere
                                                                            and an Easter Meet was arranged
                                 Hyndman’s Democratic Federation,           at Ashbourne in Derbyshire the
                                 established in 1881, swiftly               following year to organise a national
                                 proclaimed its socialist tendency,         body.
                                 renaming itself Social Democratic              The inaugural conference held
                                 Federation by 1883. Ever an uneasy         there was an unpromising, damp,
                                 coalition, it suffered breakaway the       outdoor affair and the accompanying
                                 following year when a revolutionary        public rally fared little better;
                                 group that included Eleanor Marx,          speakers harangued throughout by
                                 Belford Bax and William Morris left a      a “beery person”: “Aw don’t know
                                 fundamentally reformist organisation       nowt and Aw don’t want to know
                                 to found the Socialist League.             nowt.” Conference duly obliged by
                                   Around this same time, Sunday            delivering…er, nowt. Notwithstanding
                                 Chronicle journalist, Robert               agreement on a set of rules and
                                 Blatchford – “Nunquam” – was               adoption of a national badge and
                                 winning acclaim with an impassioned        slogan – “Fellowship is Life; Lack of
                                 weekly exposé of conditions in             Fellowship is Death” from Morris’s




        16                                                                 Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 16                                                                                           23/06/2011 08:34
                                                   ready for Socialism” – he embraced     into the broad Clarion psyche, a
                                                   Conservatism, supporting Stanley       recognition of the single global
                                                   Baldwin, “the finest British           root cause of Humanity’s multiple
                                                   politician”, in the 1924 General       socio-economic problems and
                                                   Election.                              therefore of the single global remedy
                                                      The Clarion remained popular        required. It really was, and is, that
                                                   until 1914 but its jingoistic          straightforward.
                                                   stance, abhorrent to so many, saw         Post-war, a brief membership
                                                   circulation collapse from sixty to     boom was followed by serious
                                                   ten thousand. Hostilities ended, it    decline as growing affluence
                                                   emerged as a smaller threepenny        brought with it mass car-
                                                   weekly but readership continued        ownership and in the prevailing
                                                   to haemorrhage in the wake of the      Cold War environment, there
                                                   1917 Russian Revolution and the        began an inexorable process of
                                                   seductive pull of the new-born         airbrushing out its political roots.
                                                   Communist Party of Great Britain.      The Constitutional “propagation of
                                                   Repackaged in 1927 as a sixpenny       the principles of Socialism” clause
                                                   monthly, life became increasingly      became “support for…” and office
                                                   difficult for a self-styled            bearers, once required to actually
                                                   “independent Socialist review”         belong to “an approved Socialist
                                                   supporting a Labour movement           organisation”, could now be simply
                                                   “as opposed to Bolshevism as it        avowed socialists. And so it
                                                   is to Fascism” and after a last        continued.
                                                   brief tango as The New Clarion, it       These days, the Clarion Cycling
                                                   disappeared in 1934.                   Club survives as a 600-strong
          A Dream of John Ball – no attempt           Oddly,
          was made to actually define             the journal’s
          socialism other than in the vaguest     demise
          of “caring-sharing”, “happy-clappy”,    coincided
          “ethical” terms. Contentiously          with an
          too, membership was opened to           upturn
          professed non-socialists, Groom         in Club
          strongly maintaining that “Clarion      numbers.
          reasoning and comradeship” coupled      Despite
          with “physical exercise and glorious    serious
          countryside” would effect speedy        economic
          conversion.                             recession,
             The rest, as they say, is history.   bicycle
          Whilst number-wise at least, the        ownership
          Club blossomed – membership             was
          nudging 7,000 in 1913 – and did         increasing
          despite Blatchford’s hankerings         and on the
          for informality, bring some order       back of
          to its administrative procedures,       the 1930s
          this collective failure to achieve      “outdoors/
          understanding and consensus over        fitness”
          the actual meaning of the term          craze, membership soared to an all-     rump and – lest it deter potential
          “socialism” and how it might be         time high of 8,300. To what extent      sponsors – presents itself as “The
          implemented, rendered it politically    the Club’s politics contributed         Club for Wise Cyclists”. May it
          impotent; tyres well and truly          is, of course, debatable: other         prosper: pro-Human sentiments
          punctured at the bikeshed door.         pastimes, rambling and hiking for       are, after all, preferable to none.
          Ironic indeed since by 1914, the        example also flourished and besides,    It is tragic, nevertheless, that so
          Club badge now also incorporated        activism within the ranks, by no        much benevolence, enthusiasm and
          a proud “Socialism the Hope of the      means universal from inception,         integrity should, for want of a bit of
          World”.                                 had continued to diminish. For          clarity and direction, have gone to
             And as for the redoubtable           that minority who remained              waste; doubly so because in terms
          Blatchford, it was terminal decline;    otherwise, there was little evidence    of its sloganeering at least, the Club
          his initial demand for “common          of improvement in the calibre of that   had it pretty-well nailed all along.
          ownership” and boast of “converting     activism.                                  And since the Socialist Party
          England to Socialism in seven              Discord reigned between the          remains – on several levels
          years”, soon becoming a plea for        pro- and anti- war camps, whilst        – untroubled by commercial
          “brotherly love and respect”, before    both the Workers’ Sports Movement       considerations, we are pleased on
          plummeting to an outrageous             and Esperanto language were             behalf of countless long-departed
          exhortation for young Clarionettes      lauded as the keys to “developing       and intrepid wayfarers to brandish
          to both shed and spill their working    solidarity”, “dismantling               the muddied Clarion banner one
          class blood in the Imperialist          international prejudices” and           final time: “Fellowship is Life” and
          Cause, firstly in Transvaal and         “eradicating misunderstanding”.         “Socialism” – properly defined and
          subsequently Flanders. In later         Never, throughout decades of fresh      understood, is indeed – “the Hope of
          life, embittered and disillusioned      air, camaraderie and carousing, did     the World”.
          – “The Working Class is not yet         there ever appear to have entered       ANDREW ARMITAGE


        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                               17


July Std BDH.indd 17                                                                                                         23/06/2011 08:34
                   Anyone know a lifestyle anarchist?
        Keep a look-out for people who are chock-full of                      she had spent hitch-hiking around Europe, preferring to answer
                                                                              the question with a patronising ‘you don’t actually need lots of
        undirected, ill-informed revolutionary gusto, but                     money you know’. ‘Yes.’ I felt like saying, ‘but then you didn’t
        empty of any desire to organise their views into                      find your two iPods and your laptop in a skip now did you?’ I
        a coherent critique of the world.                                     never found out what her parents did for a living, (or didn’t do in



        A
                                                                              the case of the capitalist class). I was forced to leave it, we were
                re they easily bored by drab Marxian theory, with its         ‘couch surfing’ in her house at the time and I suspected that if
                ‘materialist conception of history’ and its ‘labour theory    I really chose to assert my kindly granted ‘right to free speech’
                of value’? Do they feel guilty because their parents          it wouldn’t be long before she asserted her ‘right to private
        managed to scrape a bit more out of capitalism than the               property’. It is for this reason that I am tempted to make my first
        average wage-slave? Do they feel the need to rebel against                                             experience of ‘couch surfing’ also
        daddy’s ‘inbuilt patriarchal mentality’ and                                                            my last.
        mother’s lack of ability to cut the apron
        strings? Perhaps they like to wear bands                                                            What other anarchists think
        around their wrist bearing slogans like                                                               Trotsky once described anarchists
        ‘make poverty history’ or even better                                                                 as ‘liberals with bombs’, whereas
        ‘make poverty herstory’. They might feel                                                              the lifestyle anarchists would be
        a sudden urge to grow dreadlocks, wear                                                                better described as ‘liberals with
        low crotched shorts, and backpack around                                                              bins’. Trotsky of course had good
        the world. They may feel the need to say                                                              reason to dislike anarchists, like
        every damn thing as if it was a question,                                                             Bakunin for example who for all his
        constantly inserting the word ‘like’ while                                                            faults provided some very useful
        offering self-righteous homilies about                                                                warnings about the dangers of
        how they ‘just really want to like help the                                                           authoritarianism in the working
        world?’ and how ‘we’ve like got to find like                                                          class movement, warnings a lot
        a new way of living?’                                                                                 less applicable to Marx than to the
           They may, in short, be on the verge of                                                             likes of Lenin and Trotsky. While
        becoming a ‘lifestyle anarchist’.                                                                     the lifestyle anarchists are keen
           Lifestyle anarchism can best be                                                                    to point out how ‘free from dogma’
        described as the malformed grandchild                                                                 they are, their complete lack of
        of that senile old bat, the sixties hippy                                                             theory means they are prepared to
        movement. It sits in an uncomfortable                                                                 uncritically help in the campaigns
        position somewhere between Che                                                                        of any pseudo-socialist, Leninist
        Guevara and Ghandi, Bakunin and the                                                                   party going.
        Dalai Lama. Lifestyle anarchists like to                                                                 It is of course unfair to equate
        engage in what they pretentiously call                                                                lifestyle anarchism directly with
        things like ‘grass roots happenings’ and                                                              the anarchist movement as a
        ‘autonomous eco-resistance.’ To be a                                                                  whole. For all its faults at least
        lifestyle anarchist you have do things like                                                           most strands of anarchism attempt
        ‘dumpster diving’ or ‘skipping’ basically                                                             a class analysis. At least some
        taking egotistical pleasure in a society that                                                         anarchists see the problems
        reduces you to eating out of a bin.                                                                   inherent in society as stemming
           Don’t let a lifestyle anarchist hear you                                                           from the fundamental features of
        complain about the rent, it’s much cooler to ‘squat’ or even          that society, i.e., wage labour, production for profit, class rule,
        better ‘couch surf’. When university tuition fees get raised again    and the solution lying in the abolition of these same things.
        or the trees in the park are chopped down in order to build yet       Indeed it is interesting to see the old dog anarchists’ reaction to
        another supermarket, it wouldn’t do to put it down to the shitty      this silly and incessantly annoying puppy chasing its own tail.
        social system we live under and then actively encourage fellow        On the one hand they like to encourage it for its ‘direct action’
        workers to help get rid of it, oh no. For the lifestyle anarchist     and ‘grass roots defiance’ but even they are compelled to
        it’s much better to ‘occupy’ a lecture hall or chain themselves       comment on the futility of it all.
        to an oak. That is of course until they get dragged away by              Of course we socialists have nothing against people who
        a policeman, at which point they can really impress all their         want to raid through supermarket skips in order to help cut
        lifestyle anarchist mates by telling the copper what a ‘brutal like   down on food bills. Having done it myself I can honestly say it’s
        fascist like pig’ he is ‘working for like the man like that’.         incredible what supermarkets chuck away. I once found a bin
           Ah yes ‘the man’, is this the start of an understanding of         bag full of popcorn that was only a week out of date in a Marks
        what us socialists mean when we say the capitalist class? Not         and Spencer skip.
        really, the enemy to the lifestyle anarchist is some sort of white       Nor do we have anything against those that choose to squat.
        European male, intent on keeping us all in a little box by flying     It’s another example of the ridiculous nature of capitalism that
        planes into world trade centres then blaming it on really nice        perfectly good homes should stay unoccupied while people
        guys like the Taliban who only ever wanted to fight oppression.       sleep on the streets, just so a landlord can wait till the property
        These are just some of the reasons among many why the                 prices rise. Where we have a problem is that for all the talk
        lifestyle anarchists score very high on the rest of the working       that lifestyle anarchists and others like them make about their
        class’s bullshit radar.                                               actions being a means to an end, it invariably becomes an end
           Many lifestyle anarchists don’t ever seem to work at all,          in itself – people preferring to pose with their heads in skips
        raising the question: when the squats get evicted and the             or faces wrapped in kaftans without ever trying to actually
        ‘skipping’ is getting harder, where does all the money come           understand why the world is the way it is.
        from? One lifestyle anarchist I met was very vague about how
                                                                              JoHnnY Mercer
        she actually kept herself financially afloat, for the year or so

        18                                                                                       Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 18                                                                                                                         23/06/2011 08:34
                                         What
                                         environment-
                                         alists are up
                                         against                         profits before petitions

                                         O
                                                  n the face of it the   “PROFIT BEFORE planet. Who is making deals with your
                                                  environmentalist       government?” read the front page of the leaflet from Friends
                                                  movement has a lot     of the Earth that dropped through people’s letterboxes
                                          of things in its favour. It    recently. Their answer:
                                          would be difficult to find        “Oil companies. Supermarkets. Petro-chemical firms.
                                          fault in their concerns        Airlines. Globally they spend millions of pounds undermining
                                          about how the planet           environmental policy. Big businesses spend serious money
                                          is being abused. Global        on advertising and PR telling us that they are doing their bit
                                          warming, deforestation         for the environment. But away from the public eye they’re
                                          and pollution are real         spending many millions holding back environmental progress.
                                          areas of concern for           Airlines are spending millions to persuade governments to
        anyone who examines how modern society is developing.            expand airports. Petro-chemical companies are blocking
        Where socialists would differ from environmental activists       environmentally friendly measures because of the cost to
        is in two major areas. Firstly, in their analysis of what        them. Oil companies are funding ‘independent thinktanks’,
        causes the problems and, secondly, what is the solution          designed to undermine serious climate change research. And
        to the problems.                                                 they are all doing it for one thing. Profit.”
          Quite often environmental activists make the                      True, all too true. But the big businesses concerned are
        assumption that the problems are caused by social                only doing what they were set up to do – preserve and
        ignorance and that the solution can come about by a              increase the wealth of their shareholders. This is an economic
        series of legal enactments that would save the planet            imperative as well as a legal obligation. The directors and
        from its present dangers. Socialists would repudiate             executives of a business who did not seek to maximise profits
        such a simplistic analysis. Let us look at one of the major      and grow bigger could face legal action from its shareholders.
        concerns of environmentalists and socialists alike – the         More importantly, it would also risk going under in the battle
        deforestation of the Amazon area.                                of competition as, if it didn’t seek to maximise profits, it would
          “Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased           not accumulate enough funds to invest in the new productive
        almost six-fold since last year despite government               equipment and methods that it must if it is produce cheaper
        promises to reduce the destruction according to data             or, at least, as cheaply as its competitors.
        released yesterday. Satellite images obtained by the                This competitive striving for profits is built-in to capitalism.
        National Institute for Special Research reveal 595 sq km         The accumulation of more and more capital out of profits is
        (230 sq miles) of deforestation in March and April of this       in fact what capitalism is all about. The legal obligation on
        year. Figures from the Brazilian government show a 27            businesses to do this is a reflection of this basic economic
        per cent increase in deforestation of the world’s largest        mechanism of capitalism.
        rain forest from August to April” (Times, 20 May).                  So what do Friends of the Earth propose to do about it?
          This deforestation is not caused by social ignorance. All      Campaign against the whole profit system and for a society in
        major governments are aware of the problem, but they             which there would be no profit-seeking businesses controlling
        are also aware that in order to keep capitalist profits on       production because productive resources would have
        the rise they must have timber from the Amazon and               become the common heritage of all and be used to directly
        the clearing of the forest for the growth of crops and           provide for people’s needs?
        the rearing of cattle. “In 30 or so years, we have gone             No, not at all. They accept the profit system and merely
        from zero to 400,000 heads of cattle,” boasted Onofre,           offer to restrain profit-seeking activities of big businesses by
        president of the local ranchers association. Nowadays            lobbying against their excesses. “We have nearly 40 year’s
        everybody says we have to preserve the forest. But when          campaigning and political lobbying experience. So we know
        we arrived nobody knew we had to protect anything we             how to take on, and beat, the corporate bullies.” They claim
        had to deforest. We chopped the trees down so we could           an “ability to influence change” and that “left to their own
        feed our animals, our cattle.”… Back on his ranch, Onofre        devices, big businesses will simply not put the planet before
        reflected on his hopes that Brazil’s Congress would              profits. But there are two things you can do today to make
        approve a controversial bill altering the forest code and        them act.”
        reducing the amount of rainforest Amazon landowners                 First, make a monthly donation to them of £3 a month.
        had to protect” (Observer, 22 May).                              Second, sign a “campaign action card” to be delivered
          The local farmers and cattle raisers can heave a sigh of       to David Cameron at Number 10, saying: “I am therefore
        relief at the latest piece of news from their government.        calling on you and your Government to put the interests of
        “Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies has voted to ease                  people and our planet first – and not allow yourselves to be
        restrictions on the amount of land farmers must preserve         bullied by big business.” This is asking for the impossible. No
        as forest. The amendment also grants amnesties for               government has, nor ever will, put people before profits. Their
        previous deforestation” (BBC News, 25 May).                      role is, precisely, to establish or maintain the best conditions
          The drive for more and more profits make it essential          for profit-making. The cards will just end up in the rubbish bin
        that the Amazon landowners continue their policy of              all government departments will have for such petitions.
        forest clearance. The importers of timber, cattle and               Having said this, governments sometimes do intervene, in
        agriculture products also cry out for more deforestation.        the overall capitalist interest, to restrain the activities of some
        While the profit motive remains, all attempts by the             business or industry where these activities are endangering
        environmental movement to restrict the development               the interests of all other businesses and industries. But they
        of capitalism in the Amazon area is futile. Only the             can work this out for themselves without the lobbying of no
        establishment of world socialism can stop this insidious         doubt well-meaning charities.
        destruction of our planet. rd

        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                                           19


July Std BDH.indd 19                                                                                                                    23/06/2011 08:34
        Book Reviews
        anarchist free-                           reducing to working for wages            to each according to their needs”. If
                                                  for an employer. His proposed            they still want to regard him as one
        marketeer                                 solution was that these should           of their founding fathers that’s their
                                                  unite in “associations” (basically,      prerogative. For us he’s an anti-
        Property is Theft! A Pierre-Joseph
                                                  cooperatives) which should               socialist.
        Proudhon Anthology. ed. Iain
        Mckay. ak Press. 2011                     exchange their products at their         aLB
                                                  labour-time values. To this end he
                                                  proposed a Bank of Exchange which
                              Proudhon came       would issue labour-money against         International politics
                              to fame in          products as well as providing
                                                  interest-free loans to workers’          Marxism and World Politics:
                              1840 through a
                                                  cooperatives it judged viable.           Contesting Global Capitalism. ed
                              pamphlet What
                                                    Iain McKay in his 50-page              by alexander anievas. routledge,
                              is Property?
                                                  introduction puts a positive spin        2011
                              in which he
                              declared that       on this by stating that “Proudhon
                              “property is        was an early advocate of what is
                                                  now termed market socialism – an                                  One of the
                              theft”. Actually,
                                                  economy of competing co-operatives                                roles of
                              this wasn’t as
                                                  and self-employed workers”, adding                                academics is
                              radical as it
                                                  “some incorrectly argue that                                      to clarify the
                              might seem
                                                  market socialism is not socialist”.                               concepts used
        since what he was criticising was the
                                                  Some do indeed, but correctly.                                    in everyday
        private ownership of land. This was
                                                  “Market socialism” is the economic                                talk. The
        something which, later, supporters
                                                  equivalent of a square circle. But it                             trouble is that
        of capitalism such as JS Mill and
                                                  gets worse. Proudhon envisaged his                                today they
        Henry George also criticised and
                                                  system coming into being gradually                                are obliged to
        proposed to remedy by, respectively,
                                                  as the workers’ cooperatives, aided                               come up with
        land nationalisation and a single
                                                  by free credit from his Bank of                                   something
        tax on rent. Proudhon didn’t even
                                                  Exchange, conquered more and                                      new, so now
        go that far; he advocated access
                                                  more sectors of the economy. He was                               we have
        for everyone to an equal amount of
                                                  opposed to strikes. In other words,                               “MIRT” –
        land.
                                                  he was a gradualist as well as a         Marxist International Relations
          Anarchists see him as their
                                                  currency crank.                          Theory – , though most of those
        founding father as in this pamphlet
                                                    After being initially impressed by     involved seem to be Trotskyist or
        he declared himself to be an
                                                  him (who he met and discussed with       Trotskyoid.
        “anarchist”, but by this he meant
                                                  in Paris in 1844) Marx eventually           The basic subject is interesting.
        that he was opposed to government,
                                                  realised that Proudhon, for all his      Why, when there is only one global
        even a democratically-constituted
                                                  insight that under the wages system      economic system, is the world
        one, making rules about the
                                                  the producers were exploited, was        divided into separate states? Is this
        production and distribution of
                                                  on the wrong track. When in 1846         something capitalism created or did
        wealth. He was (and remained till
                                                  Proudhon published his Système           it simply inherit it? Is it intrinsically
        he died in 1865) a free marketeer,
                                                  des contradictions économiques           necessary to capitalism? Could
        bitterly opposed to “communism”
                                                  ou Philosophie de la misère. Marx        capitalism exist with a single world
        in the same terms and language as
                                                  wrote (in French) a reply La Misère      state? If not, why not?
        other free marketeers.
                                                  de la philosophie, translated into          These are discussed by the
          He has been called an “anarcho-
                                                  English under the title The Poverty      different authors in this collection
        capitalist” but this would be
                                                  of Philosophy, the first public          of articles. The clearest and most
        going too far as he was opposed
                                                  exposition of his views on economic      informative, in terms of setting
        to capitalism. “Anarchist free
                                                  matters.                                 out the issues simply, is that by
        marketeer” would be fairer. His
                                                    Large extracts from Proudhon’s         Neil Davidson. Most of the others
        opposition to capitalism, however,
                                                  book are included in this anthology,     employ an obscure terminology
        was in the name of self-employed
                                                  with McKay’s sometimes tendentious       which no-one outside academia,
        artisans who capitalism was
                                                  footnotes. But McKay is on to a          indeed outside the small circle of
                                                  loser here. There is no way that         those discussing MIRT, uses. As one
                                                  Proudhon can be presented as             of them revealingly, but apparently
                                                  a serious exponent either of the         unself-consciously, noted:
                                                  way capitalism works or even of             “A fellow traveller amongst Marxist
                                                  the history of economic thought,         circles – though not a Marxist
                                                  certainly not when compared              himself – once asked us what was
                                                  with Marx. Today, in fact, most          all the fuss about U&CD and ‘the
                                                  anarchists accept Marx’s analysis of     international’. In exasperation with
                                                  capitalism if not his politics.          the whole debate, he threw up his
                                                    Some anarchists might find this        hands declaring: ‘This uneven and
                                                  800-page anthology useful. Those         combined shit is the dog’s whistle
                                                  of them who are communists will          that only Marxists can hear’!”
                                                  discover, as they plough through his        True, very true, as long as you
                                                  rambling writings, that Proudhon         substitute “Trotskyist” for “Marxist”.
                                                  was a life-long and bitter opponent      aLB
                                                  of “communism” and of the principle
                                                  “from each according to their ability,

        20                                                                             Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 20                                                                                                           23/06/2011 08:34
        Film Review
        Jumping the broom                             insistence that the ‘Happy Couple’ “Jump      hereditary titles among America’s black
                                                      the Broom” This dates back to when            community. In 1948 when Nat King Cole
                                                      African slaves were not allowed to marry      married Maria Ellington, her wealthy
                                                      and jumped over a broom, which was the        aunt, Dr. Charlotte Hawkins, shunned
                                                      equivalent of a ceremony.                     him because, although wealthy at the
                                                         Mrs. Watson (Angela Bassett) is totally    time, Cole came from a poor family. Dr.
                                                      opposed to this on the grounds that it        Hawkins, coming from a more prosperous
                                                      was a slave ritual. She informs Pam that      one, had founded America’s first finishing
                                                      her family had never been slaves and,         school for African American ladies and
                                                      in fact, once owned them. That blacks         boasted of her friendship with Eleanor
                                                      themselves, sometimes, had black slaves       Roosevelt. When the happy couple
                                                      is a little-known fact of American history.   returned from their honeymoon, Hawkins
                                                      Class distinctions and the hostilities        paid for a banquet in their honour as she
                                                      they create reach boiling point, causing      considered it her duty, but refused to
                                                      family secrets, such as Sabrina’s real        attend.
                                                      parentage, to be revealed. Disgusted with        Capitalism is as divisive as it is
                                                      everything, the bride refuses to marry and    corrupting whether the community be
                                                      flees the scene.                              black, white, red, yellow or any other
                                                         This is where the movie, which is          colour, economics will always cause
        Jumping the Broom is a black (and you         Salim Akil’s directional debut, breaks        distinctions between people.
        can bet there’s no pun intended) comedy       down. When everyone’s been rubbed the         SteVe SHannon
        about class distinction in America’s black    wrong way and all hitherto
        community.                                    concealed feelings are in
           Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton) a            the open, it becomes kiss
        successful lawyer, from a wealthy family,     and make up and “lets
        falls for Jason (Laz Alonso), a Wall Street   give the audience a happy
        wiz-kid, whose mother Pam (Loretta            ending” time. This is hardly
        Devine) is a postal worker. Tensions flare    believable of any family in
        the day before the wedding, when the          such a previously volatile
        two families meet for the first time. Pam     situation. What is believable
        feels ultra defensive, especially when she    is that, if capitalists invest in
        observes the Watson’s home on Martha’s        anything, they will want as
        Vineyard, which she compares to the           good a return as they can
        Kennedy compound. When she says               get. If it means giving the
        grace at supper, the evening before the       public an unrealistic ending,
        wedding, Pam sets the tone for the movie      they will do so.
        by being blatantly insulting.                    There is nothing new
           The crux of the matter becomes her         about class distinctions
                                                      based on money, nor



                                    choosing to die                         lives were shown calmly and rationally discussing the issue
                                                                            with their families. Their bravery in choosing how to die was,
                                     THESE DAYS, the word                   paradoxically, life-affirming.
                                    ‘controversial’ is used more               According to the Daily Telegraph, the vast majority
                                    as a selling-point for television       of complaints were made before the programme was
                                    programmes than to describe their       aired. Many of Choosing To Die’s opponents accused it
                                    content or any reactions provoked.      of being “pro-assisted suicide propaganda”, as if every
                                   So, the BBC’s documentary on             programme should blandly present both sides of an
                           assisted suicide Terry Pratchett: Choosing       argument. The Newsnight discussion attempted to be more
              To Die was promoted by slots on their website, Breakfast      balanced, with Jeremy Paxman uncomfortably chairing
           and Newsnight telling us how contentious and important the       an unfocused discussion with campaigners on each side.
           show would be. There was even a lurid Radio Times cover          Some interesting criticisms were made by disability rights
           announcing it would contain “5 minutes of television that                       campaigner Liz Carr. Her arguments apply
           will change our lives”. This referred to its scenes                                 to the issue as it exists within capitalism
           of businessman Peter Smedley’s final moments in                                       rather than assisted dying per se. She
           Switzerland’s Dignitas centre.                                                         was concerned that assisted suicide
             Although some of the publicity gave the impression                                   is dangerous in a society which sees
           that we would be watching a video nasty, the                                            disability as negative, and that it could
           programme itself would best be described as genteel.                                     be a tempting option for those who
           Presenter Terry Pratchett has advocated assisted                                           can’t afford specialist support for
           suicide for those able to decide since he was diagnosed                                    life-limiting conditions. However, as
           with Alzheimer’s disease, making the documentary                                           Dignitas charges over £3,000, their
           more personal than most. He met up with three                                             service is only open to those wealthy
           people with incurable conditions, two of                                               enough to afford their own palliative care
           whom decided to travel to Switzerland,                                                    anyway. In capitalism, it’s not only
           where assisted dying is legal. Those                                                        your quality of life which is dictated
           thinking about using Dignitas to end their                                                    by how rich you are, but also your
                                                                      Terry Pratchett
                                                                                                         quality of death.


        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                                            21


July Std BDH.indd 21                                                                                                                       23/06/2011 08:34
                                                           Meetings
        The Socialist Party of                                                                                  Fircroft college,
         Great Britain metal
                               clapham                                                                          birmingham
                               Saturday 9 July, from 10am                                                       Friday 22 - Sunday 24 July 2011
               badge           Book Sale
                                                           Sunday 10 July, 4-7pm
                                                           A WORLD WITHOUT MONEY
                                                           Speaker: Dick Field
                                                           Sunday 31 July 4-7pm
                                                           EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG!
                                                           Speaker: Simon Wigley
                                                           Discussion and refreshments
                                                           Socialist Party premises, 52 Clapham
                                                           High St, SW4 7UN

                                                           Glasgow                                              Full residential cost (including accom-
                                                           Wednesday 20 July, 8.30pm                            modation and meals, Friday evening to
        Please send cheque or postal order (no             ANOTHER LOOK AT MARXISM                              Sunday afternoon): £130. Concessionary
        cash) for £10.00 payable to SPGB SW                Speaker: R.Donnelly                                  rate: £80 . Non-residential cost (including
                                                                                                                all meals): £50.
        Regional Branch, c/o Veronica Clanchy,             Community Central Halls,
                                                                                                                 To book a place, send a cheque for £10
        FAO: South West Regional Branch, 42                304 Maryhill Road.
                                                                                                                (payable to The Socialist Party of Great
        Winifred Road, Poole, Dorset. BH15
        3PU. Any queries, please phone 01202               Manchester                                           Britain) to flat 2, 24 Tedstone Road, Quin-
                                                                                                                ton, Birmingham, B32 2PD. Or, use the
        569826. Please include own phone                   Monday 25 July 8.30pm                                paypal facilitiy at www.worldsocialism.org/
        number or other contact details.                   Discussion on poverty                                spgb/donate.html
                                                           Unicorn, Church Street, City Centre,                 E-mail spgbschool@yahoo.co.uk with any
                                                           M4 1PW                                               enquiries.

                                                           east anglia                                           picture credits
                                                                                                                 cover: Chomsky – Duncan Rawlinson © 2004 Creative
                                                                                                                 Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic. Olympics countdown
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                                                           WHAT IS SOCIALISM AND HOW TO                          Share Alike 2.0 Generic.
                                                                                                                 p6: Cashpoints, Man vyi, 2005, Public Domain
                                                           GET THERE?                                            p9: Angela Eagle, Wikipedia
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                                                           Speakers: Darren Poynton; Stair.                      p15: Rowan Williams. Steve Punter © 2007Creative
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                                                           Norwich NR1 4HY                                       Boltonmuseums.org; safety bicycle, sciencemuseum.
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                                                           All welcome.                                          Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
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                                                           For full details of all our meetings and              p21: Terry Pratchett - Szymon Sokol © 2005 GNU Free
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         Declaration of Principles
          This declaration is the basis of     etc.) by the capitalist or master     last class to achieve its freedom,
          our organisation and, because        class, and the consequent             the emancipation of the working          7.That as all political parties
          it is also an important historical   enslavement of the working            class wil involve the emancipation       are but the expression of class
          document dating from the             class, by whose labour alone          of all mankind, without distinction      interests, and as the interest of
          formation of the party in 1904,      wealth is produced.                   of race or sex.                          the working class is diametrically
          its original language has been                                                                                      opposed to the interests of all
          retained.                            2.That in society, therefore, there   5. That this emancipation must           sections of the master class,
                                               is an antagonism of interests,        be the work of the working class         the party seeking working class
          object                               manifesting itself as a class         itself.                                  emancipation must be hostile to
          the establishment of a system        struggle between those who                                                     every other party.
          of society based upon the            possess but do not produce and        6.That as the machinery of
          common      ownership       and      those who produce but do not          government, including the armed          8.The Socialist Party of Great
          democratic control of the            possess.                              forces of the nation, exists only        Britain, therefore, enters the field
          means and instruments for                                                  to conserve the monopoly by the          of political action determined
          producing and distributing           3.That this antagonism can            capitalist class of the wealth taken     to wage war against all other
          wealth by and in the interest of     be abolished only by the              from the workers, the working            political parties, whether alleged
          the whole community.                 emancipation of the working class     class must organize consciously          labour or avowedly capitalist,
                                               from the domination of the master     and politically for the conquest         and calls upon the members of
          declaration of principles            class, by the conversion into the     of the powers of government,             the working class of this country
          The Socialist Party of Great         common property of society of         national and local, in order that        to muster under its banner to the
          Britain holds                        the means of production and           this machinery, including these          end that a speedy termination
                                               distribution, and their democratic    forces, may be converted from            may be wrought to the system
          1.That society as at present         control by the whole people.          an instrument of oppression              which deprives them of the fruits
          constituted is based upon the                                              into the agent of emancipation           of their labour, and that poverty
          ownership of the means of living     4.That as in the order of social      and the overthrow of privilege,          may give place to comfort,
          (i.e., land, factories, railways,    evolution the working class is the    aristocratic and plutocratic.            privilege to equality, and slavery


        22                                                                                                 Socialist Standard July 2011


July Std BDH.indd 22                                                                                                                                             23/06/2011 08:34
                                                                             britain and the common Market
                 Action                                                  THE COMMON Market                           very much divided. Even allowing for the


                 Replay
                                                                         has become a burning is-                    fact that the Labour Party has long aban-
                                                                         sue for British capitalism.                 doned all pretence of being anything but
                                                                         After being convinced for                   an appendage of capitalism, it is indeed
                                                                         years that it would fail, the               strange, for example, to see Mr. Michael
                                                                         Government has now be-                      Foot and Viscount Hinchinbrooke lined up
                                                                         latedly realised that it may                against Britain’s entry, at the same time as
        Ring-Fenced                                                      after all be here to stay.
                                                                         But so late have they left
                                                                                                                     Mr. Shinwell vies with the Daily Express
                                                                                                                     in concern for the Commonwealth. And on
        NO DOUBT we shall be returning to the                            it, and so long have they                   the other side, Mr. Woodrow Wyatt, Rev.
        Olympics in this column before the whole                         dithered, that if they are to               Donald Soper, and Lord Home certainly
        jamboree kicks off next July. For now we                         do something about join-                    make an odd collection!
        can just comment on a couple of aspects                          ing they must do it quickly.                   As far as industry is concerned, to the
        of the build-up.                                                 Otherwise, it will be im-                   giants like I.C.I., the whole question is ac-
                                                       possible for them to jump on the band-                        ademic. They are going into the Common
           Back in March there was an
                                                       wagon at all.                                                 Market regardless of what decision the
        undignified spat between the British
                                                          Hence Mr. Macmillan’s somewhat pan-                        British Government may take. Confident
        Olympic Association (BOA) and the
                                                       icky efforts to get matters straight with the                 of being able to compete on equal terms
        London Olympic Organising Committee
                                                       Commonwealth and his undignified haste                        with the Europeans, the only thing they
        (LOCOG). BOA gets 20 percent of the
                                                       to prepare the ground at home.                                are afraid of is being left outside. On the
        profit from the Games, and argued that
                                                          For it is clear that the issue of whether                  other hand, there are many industries and
        this should be calculated on the basis of
                                                       Britain should go into the Common Market                      firms that are very much afraid of meeting
        the Olympics only, and so exclude any
                                                       is causing a lot of heart-searching in many                   European competition and who are conse-
        losses from staging the Paralympics.
                                                       quarters. Not only is the Government wor-                     quently violently opposed to going in.
        But the International Olympic Committee        ried, but industry, the Commonwealth, the                        (Editorial, Socialist Standard, July 1961)
        ruled against this idea, thus reducing the     Conservative Party, the Labour Party, even
        cut received by the BOA and increasing         the trade unions. And not only worried, but
        the amount kept by LOCOG.
           And LOCOG and others won’t be
        making money just from this decision.
        For next door to the tube and train
        stations at Stratford is Westfield Stratford
        City, a huge shopping mall, in fact
        the largest urban shopping centre in
        Europe, due to open this September.
        The expectation (or hope) is that 70
        percent of Olympic visitors will arrive at
        Stratford station, where they will walk to
        the Olympic park via Westfield. This will
        mean hundreds of thousands of visitors
        (and potential shoppers) each day the
        Olympics run.
           After the Olympics, this mega-mall
        will still offer 300 shops, 50 food outlets,
        three hotels, a multi-screen cinema and
        a casino. It will also contain a ‘24-hour
        lifestyle street’, whatever that is. If all
        goes well for the company that owns it, it
        will become one of the country’s top ten       For more details about The Socialist Party, or to request a free 3-month subscription
        shopping destinations. So there will be        to the Socialist Standard please complete and return this form to 52 Clapham High
        gold in them there tills, not just at medal
                                                       Street, london SW4 7uN
        ceremonies.
        pb
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        Socialist Standard July 2011                                                                                                                                            23


July Std BDH.indd 23                                                                                                                                                       23/06/2011 08:34
         all right For Some                            who, because of their lack of property,         of millionaire households in the world
         That we live in a society that has            are forced to seek work for a wage or           grew by 12.2% in 2010, to 12.5 million
         world hunger, unemployment and                a salary are members of the working             (BCG defines millionaires as those with
         homelessness is hardly a matter of            class. Whether you work in a factory or         $1 million or more in investible assets,
         dispute, but that is only a series of         an office, whether you push a barrow or         excluding homes, luxury goods and
         problems that confront the useful             a pen if you have to seek a wage or a           ownership in one’s own company).
         members of society. For others there          salary in order to live you are a member        The U.S. continues to lead the world in
         are no social problems. “Paris Hilton         of the working class.                           millionaires, with 5.2 million millionaire
         has been spotted house hunting in                                                             households, followed by Japan with 1.5
         Malibu. The heiress and reality TV star       a dog’s Life                                    million millionaire households, China with
         seemed to have taken a particular shine       From time to time newspapers run                1.1 million and the U.K. with 570,000. …
         to a luxury pink stucco mansion with a        obituaries of famous men and women              The most important trend, however, is
         hefty price tag. The rental property is       but we had one recently for a dog! It was       the global wealth distribution. According
         reportedly costing $80,000 to rent per        a rather special mutt though. You see it        to the report, the world’s millionaires
         month. With four bedrooms and four            was a millionaire. The Maltese dog called       represent 0.9% of the world’s population
         bathrooms, the beachside mansion would        Trouble had been left $12 million by the        but control 39% of the world’s wealth, up
         make the perfect summer hangout for           New York hotel mogul Leona Helmsley.            from 37% in 2009” (Wall Street Journal,
         the LA socialite and her many friends.        “Legal battles ensued and a judge cut           31 May). Yes, startling though it may
         Paris also checked out other luxury villas,   Trouble’s inheritance to $2 million. She        seem – less than 1 percent of the world’s
         all close to the beach with gorgeous          was placed with Carl Lekic, the general         population own 39 percent of the wealth.
         sea views. ‘Just got home. Saw some           manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle
         beautiful properties, so it’s going to be a   Hotel, in Florida, who had played with          Law and disorder
         hard choice to make,’ she tweeted later       her many times. He                                                             We are
         that day” (Yahoo News, 12 May). Could         was paid $5,000                                                                used to
         someone please tweet her that she is a        a month for the                                                                reading of
         useless parasitic exploiter?                  privilege. He told the                                                         gallant and
                                                       trustees that Trouble                                                          dedicated
         the Middle class Myth                         required $100,000                                                              police
         In reviewing Owen Jones’s book Chavs:         a year for a security                                                          officers
         The Demonization of the Working Class,        guard (the dog had                                                             rounding up
         the journalist Carol Midgely makes some       received many death                                                            criminals
         valid points. “The Thatcher experiment,       and kidnapping                                                                 and packing
         Jones says, repositioned working class        threats). $18,000                                                              them off
         not as something to be proud of but           for vet costs, $1,200                                                          to prison,
         something to escape from. Being middle        for food and $8,000                                                            but what
         class was the holy grail. The dockers,        for grooming” (Times, 10 June). All this        are we to make of this news item?
         miners,                                                    insanity is happening in a         “Members of Orlando Food Not Bombs
         skilled factory                                            world where millions are           were arrested Wednesday when police
         workers and                                                trying to survive on $1.25 a       said they violated a city ordinance by
         car workers                                                day.                               feeding the homeless in Lake Eola Park.
         of Britain                                                                                    Jessica Cross, 24, Benjamin Markeson,
         have watched                                              the class divide                    49, and Jonathan ‘Keith’ McHenry, 54,
         powerless                                                When socialists speak of             were arrested at 6:10 p.m. on a charge
         as their jobs                                            class division we are often          of violating the ordinance restricting
         disappeared                                              accused of being outdated,           group feedings in public parks. McHenry
         or were sent                                             but here are recent figures          is a co-founder of the international Food
         abroad”                                                  that prove our point. “Last          Not Bombs movement, which began in
         (Times, 28                                               year was another good year           the early 1980s” (Orlando Sentinel, 2
         May). Here                                               for millionaires – though their      June). Feeding the homeless? What a
         we have                                                  pace of growth is slowing.           despicable crime. Truly capitalism is a
         Jones and Midgely making the usual            According to a new report by Boston             crazy society.
         mistake about class. All men and women        Consulting Group out today, the number




        ISSN 0037 8259
        24                                                                                          Socialist Standard July 2011
                           Produced and published by the Socialist Party of Great Britain, 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN


July Std BDH.indd 24                                                                                                                        23/06/2011 08:34

				
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