Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Is this the end of occupy London or just the start?

Last night riot police and bailiffs moved in out of the blue although the camp had been expecting them at some point to evict occupy London.

By the time last night had come there left around 40 tents and 100 activists the majority had left before clearance day fearing the end.

I was another one who was first sceptical of what the movement was all about as was not a traditional workers movement I thought it was some petti bourgeois adventure. But it turned out to grow in peoples consciousness and gain a lot of support from far and wide.

One of the things people have levelled at occupy is their failure to link up with the wider working class and link with workers struggles, but they did to a extent hosting debates with trade unionists, Jarrow marchers and actively supporting the sparks on their regular protests every week. So they tried but it was still a very early movement in its infancy.

I think many workers were sympathetic to the aims of the camp even if they were not sure where it was heading.

There was much criticism of occupy in its early days for not having any real demands. But this I think was answered by the fact that it was a chance to debate democratically what has gone wrong and what can be the solutions to the crisis.

In some ways the camp was very mixed with some reformists wishing for a nicer capitalism others green activists with climate change at the heart of their message and others there to learn off others.

All in all I think the whole 4 months covering some of the coldest temperatures we’ve seen for some time and all sorts of difficulties with the ST Pauls church and surrounding areas. But eventually I think they got their message through.

I think the strongest message to come out of it will be the idea of the 99% and the 1% starting to form an idea of class again and injustice in society again. Class has b even off the radar for sometime and I personally felt this was a good step forward to regaining this consciousness.

I listened to the eviction last night of occupy London with sadness really as these were people who protested peacefully not harming anyone. Despite the media’s claims it was not an inconvenience to the public or an eye sore. They opened up an avenue of debate actively bringing back capitalism to be talked about. I don’t think Ed Miliband and David Cameron would have been talking of an “ethical capitalism” if occupy hadn’t had an impact on peoples moods and anger out there.

Many activists say this is the end for the movement and the camp, in some way it is but I do think many lessons can be learned from this e experience and bedded in to peoples consciousness that occupy has a role to play in the future movement. Occupying an area or a building is a powerful symbol and puts into question the role of private property that it is the 1% who still do very much hold all the power in society. In other ways this is just the beginning for occupy as they look to regroup and re assess where they go from here.

Whatever happens it will be interesting to see where they go from here as they are right this crisis is not going away its only going to deepen as the year progresses

Monday, 27 February 2012

Bristol Socialism: Reading List

Bristol Socialism: Reading List: Online documents: The Communist Manifesto - Karl Marx &  Frederick Engels The Transitional Programme - Leon Trotsky The State and Revolut...

Why are capitalists so interested in our time ?

The phrase time is money is more appropriate for capitalists than we care to think sometimes.
The idea that capitalists are always interested in our time working making sure they get every bit of productivity out of us as possible is one of their driving factors.

Going back to my blogpost a few weeks back Karl Marx’s theory of surplus value is where the profit of the rich comes from. Effectively the unpaid labour of the workers. As Marx explains workers work half the time for them calling that socially necessary labour time the other part for the capitalist, his or her boss. It is this figure that is the surplus value that is the profit of the capitalist.

The capitalist as a result looks to take more and more of the workers time to themselves to increase the rate of profit or exploitation depending on which side of the class fence you sit on.

So when you take a toilet break or take longer for lunch your boss is constantly monitoring you and your actions it is not because they are curious about your actions it is because any lost time in work and productive labour is a dent in their surplus labour, their profits ultimately.

If you imagine a cake divided up with the cake halved the capitalist is always looking to increase his share and the worker is increasingly trying to increase theirs. This is what we’d define as the class struggle, the struggle for wages and a higher rate of profit. It is a constant battle which will never end unless the wage labour system is ended resulting in the end of a class based system. This can only be achieved under socialism, democratically of course where the need for profit is removed for good.

The idea of strikes and collective bargaining has been fought for decades to improve the wages and conditions of ordinary workers. There are strikes on the other side where the capitalist refuses to invest his or her capital preferring to sit on it until he or she sees a gap in the market to make a profit.

So time is a key factor in the capitalist mode of production as Karl Marx explains in das capital his works of uncovering this secret method of capitalism is the one idea that cracks the system. Explaining this to people isn’t easy as people feel the more they work they more money they receive which is true to an extent, but this also benefits the boss’s the capitalists more so as they can increase their profits also. A double edged sword if you like.

This is where the transitional demand of a shorter working day with no loss of pay stems from. As socialists this would mean a greater proportion of the cake being kept with the workers, leading to a sliding scale of wages as a transitional method to moving across to ending the wage labour system and ultimately capitalism as a system.

Keep up the pressure against workfare, for real jobs with decent pay

With the pressure growing day by day on the governments flagship Workfare scheme by ordinary people pressuring these companies and shaming them to cave in to public pressure.

It is quite clear that these companies value their reputation over a government work scheme. We have seen Tesco partially pull out, Burger King, Maplin, Sainsbury, among others. It is clear this scheme is rocking and the government are facing an embarrassing climb down on this project.

The idea of making young people volunteer to do unpaid labour in return for their benefits and if they refuse or pull out their benefits are cut is a disgrace.

SO i’m glad groups like youth fight for jobs and others have been highlighting these companies who are exploiting people for cheap labour.
I’d say this scheme isn’t finished yet and we must remain defiant in the face of a media barrage of abuse and distortions. Rewatching Newsnight from Friday night where youth fight for jobs national organiser Paul Callanan received all sorts of smears and distortions and Paul battered off their attempts to line him up as some crazy militant he was open and honest about being a member of the socialist party and too right where is the shame in that.

It is also clear that the media are trying to lump the SWP and the socialist party as one big mess on the left and a fragmented left this is designed to give the impression the left is divided and meaningless. This evidence of companies pulling out due to pressure from such groups giving backbone to a campaign against workfare has had some significant affect not that these organisations are crucial to the downfall of them but certainly help.

I think we need to keep the pressure up on the remaining companies and organisations as some are local councils and charities which is even more shocking that they’d be drawn into such ideas. It is clear that during times when many big businesses are not investing as see no place to make profit that using cheap labour is a convenient ploy for them to what they hoped would get them positive headlines in giving young people a chance to gain experience and work.

As socialists we are not against this but if work is there to be done which it clearly is pay the workers properly with decent terms and conditions with trade union rights too. The disgraceful situation of retail sector union USDAW in agreeing to the workfare scheme over the top of its members is another reason to make unions accountable to their rank-and-file and that the bureaucracy is out of control and out of touch of its members.

It is no skin of the likes of Tesco’s nose to pay a decent wage to its workers when it is making billions of pounds of profit but the fact it does not want to highlights the huge failure of capitalism to service its workers leading to the fact that Tesco’s workers cannot even buy the products they sell in store. What a ridiculous situation that is when Tesco workers have to buy their shopping in ALDi and LIDDEl for example. Another contradiction of capitalism perhaps?

Sunday, 26 February 2012

How socialists view imigration

This week in Harlow socialist party we will be discussing immigration and what view should we take on the matter.

It is something which is creeping back into the news with a break down of the financial system and capitalism in crisis some are looking to blame the current economic crisis on al sorts of crazy ideas. One is the fact that Britain is over run with immigrants and is latched on to by the far right groups such as the BNP and the EDL. As socialists we must take up these claims and look to oppose them at every opportunity.

In the socialist party we are not like others on the left who call for open borders now we recognise that that sort of call would create more problems than it would solve. Although we do not see the working class as a nationality as the workers know no nationality as Marx said the popular ideas of the bourgeois need to be understood for what they are. To set worker against worker. The classic divide and rule tactic if you like.

Britain has throughout history been affected by waves of immigrants coming to these shores. The influxes in the last 200 years of Irish, Jews, Afro-Caribbean’s, South Asians, Africans and, latterly, Eastern Europeans have all led to racial and ethnic conflict to one degree or another.
Any clashes were the product of the 'heritage' of the British Empire - initial suspicions of different cultures - inflamed and exaggerated in the post-1945 situation by the right-wing Tories like Enoch Powell, and latterly by 'Migration Watch' and racist and neo-fascist organisations.
These conflicts, however, tended to recede - even when racism and racial suspicions lingered - as the 'newcomers' became integrated into communities but especially into industry and the trade unions.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, immigrants from the Caribbean and South Asia came from a largely rural background yet they developed a higher density of trade union membership than the 'native' population.
An economic boom tended to lessen open racial or ethnic clashes, but racism continues as part of the 'fabric' of capitalism and heavy-handed policing of immigrant or ethnic communities provoked clashes and upheavals: the Notting Hill riots, stop and search clashes, the riots of the 1980, etc.
) But the issue of immigration has come sharply to the fore in recent years as 5 million immigrants have arrived in Britain in a decade; the biggest influx in history.
The hostility to these new 'incomers' has grown - sometimes from 'second generation' immigrants from the Caribbean and South Asia. This was the case even before the onset of the crisis and this view has been reinforced, if anything, as workers has been severely affected economically and, in the absence of any explanation or solution to their problems, look for scapegoats.
Sometimes workers simply say: 'We are full up'. Neither New Labour nor the trade union leadership have really answered the avalanche of anti-immigrant, racist lies, particularly from the gutter press.
On the contrary, sometimes New Labour figures like Margaret Hodge and the discredited Phil Woolas, have reinforced some of these prejudices.
The neo-fascist British National Party (BNP) and, following the BNP's internal splits, the English Defence League (EDL) have attempted to whip up an anti-Muslim mood, especially amongst layers of discontented - sometimes lumpenised - youth.
This has met with little success, not least because anti-fascists - including us - have confronted them. The ruling class is at a quandary over immigration.
Politically, they need to echo opposition to immigration in order to secure their base in the conservative strata of the population. But they required an influx of cheap labour to take up jobs, which, previously, British workers were unable or unwilling to do.
This also furthered their aim of a race to the bottom in cutting wages. In this crisis, they need this even more, especially if it allows them to pursue a policy of divide and rule.
) The BNP is stagnant or has declined in effectiveness recently, partly because the 'electoral' strategy of Nick Griffin failed in Barking. The ruling class in any case needs them more as an auxiliary to the Tories rather than a serious force in its own right.
At the moment, the 'reborn' Thatcherite Cameron is 'doing the job' with promise to 'cap immigration'. This, in turn, has led to opposition from the City and big business which needs cheap labour, particularly skilled labour, from Eastern Europe and Asia.
It is possible, even likely, that the issue of immigration will feature more prominently in the next period as the cuts bite and workers are thrown out of jobs.
The neo-fascist right could make a comeback if we fail to develop a powerful left alternative.
We have to approach this issue skilfully from a propaganda point of view. We totally reject the ultra-left's dismissal - or even the adoption of an initially hostile approach - to workers who blame immigrants for their economic woes.
In fact, many Eastern European workers, tempted by the prospect of jobs in Britain, have also been made unemployed. Some have returned to their native countries but homelessness and rough sleeping now afflicts many migrant workers.
We need to explain - as we do - the reality of immigration: what causes the shortage of housing, jobs, schools, etc. We must point out that there are no fences big enough or rivers wide enough, which can stop the desperate from searching for a 'better life'.
We can create that new life only through socialism. This, in turn, is only possible if we fight to integrate all those workers - immigrants included - on the programme of trade union rights for all and the rate for the job.

Only with a mass movement of the labour movement attracting workers to a working class socialist alternative we will be able to defeat the ideas of turning worker against worker and creating a better world for us all.

misrepresenting socialism, answering the critics

Socialism is a system that is often misrepresented on purpose and accidentily by various groups of people.

If you’re a capitalist or a person who supports capitalism you will look for any way at all to discredit Marxism and socialism that it cannot work and is doomed to failure.

I thought I’d look at some of the most common attacks that are made on socialists and others who see a future in a alternative system of socialism.
People tend to accept as true the things they hear over and over again. But repetition doesn't make things true. Because the truth and the facts often contradict "common knowledge", socialists have to show that "common knowledge" is wrong. That takes more words than just accepting the status quo.

How would a socialist economy work?
Under capitalism, institutions where immense wealth is concentrated (corporations) run the economy, exploiting working people to increase their own concentrated wealth. The essence of a socialist economy is to flip this relationship upside-down, with working people running the economy, utilizing the enormous wealth and productivity of society to enrich their lives. To do this, we would have to take over all the biggest banks and corporations and put their resources into public ownership and democratic control.

Employing those out of work and reallocating investment and jobs towards social priorities – healthcare, education, clean energy, etc. – would give a huge boost to productivity and wealth in society. Democratic planning of the economy would allow us to make sure everyone had a good-paying job, high-quality health care, free education at all levels, and, of course, basic physical necessities like food and housing. It wouldn’t be limited to just the basics, though; we could choose to invest in empowering people to make music, art, writing, film, fashion, and all sorts of other forms of cultural development.

This type of economic system would require conscious planning, but this is already true to a large extent under capitalism. Corporations, with economies larger than entire countries are able to plan out their levels of production, spread of distribution, pricing schemes and so on without falling to pieces, so there’s no reason working people shouldn’t be able to do the same.

The difference is that planning under capitalism is fractured, incomplete and undemocratic, with the goal of maximizing profit for the individual firm. Under socialism, we could structure investment of the world’s wealth with a big picture, bird’s eye view of the whole economy, with the goal of fulfilling human needs, sustaining the environment and enabling a liberated human existence.

A socialist economic system would have to be globally integrated. This is also the case already under capitalism, where we live in a globally interdependent world. Right now globalization on a capitalist basis means brutal exploitation of the weaker economies, and a race to the bottom for workers everywhere. Under socialism, global economic integration would be part of the plan to enrich people’s lives on a global scale.

A socialist economy would handle the environment very differently. Today, companies don’t care about environmental costs because they are able to externalize them onto the public. The costs associated with contaminated air and drinking water are real, but they don’t show up as a red number on Monsanto’s balance sheet. That is why no corporation will ever undertake the necessary steps to save the environment on the basis of “free market” principles.

Democratic planning of the economy would eliminate the profit motive behind externalizing the costs of pollution. Instead, efficiency, environmental sustainability and meeting the basic needs of all would form the core principles of economic decision-making. Instead of inadequate measures like energy-efficient light bulbs and recycling-awareness programs, a socialist economy could invest in completely overhauling the way everything is produced, utilizing all the latest green technologies for maximum sustainability and creating millions of jobs in the process.

How would a socialist democracy work?
As most of us currently experience it, “democracy” boils down to voting once every couple years for which wealthy career politician will make all the decisions for us. Of course, there’s nothing democratic about this at all, especially when the whole process is corrupted by corporate money.

In contrast, socialist democracy would take place day to day, week to week, in every workplace, school and community. Workers would rotate management tasks, and elected managers would be subject to recall and replacement whenever the workers saw fit. All decisions could be overturned by majority vote.

School curriculum and policy would be jointly agreed upon by parents, teachers and students, rather than imposed by distant administrators and bureaucrats. Neighborhood assemblies would decide who is and is not empowered with policing authority and instruct elected officers how to prioritize their efforts.

All investment and economic decisions should be made democratically. Workplace and neighborhood assemblies would elect representatives to massively expanded local and regional councils, which in turn would elect national representatives. Elected representatives should have no special privileges or pay above their electorate, and they should be subject to instant recall.

In order to facilitate this process of democratic decision-making, there should be space roped off in regular work and school schedules for decision-making meetings and discussions. With the increased wealth created, the work-week could be shortened without loss of pay to allow people time and energy to become engaged politically, and to pursue their other life goals outside work and school.
Wouldn’t a bureaucratic elite just take over?
Undoubtedly, in the first stages of a socialist society, a struggle against careerists and corruption within the system would be necessary. The poisonous ideological baggage inherited from centuries of class rule would not just fade away overnight. However, by establishing public ownership of society’s productive resources, eliminating privileges, and creating bottom-up structures of democratic management and control, the obstacles to prevent aspiring bureaucrats seizing power would be immense.

The main example driving fear of a bureaucratic takeover is Stalin seizing power in the Soviet Union only a few years after Russia’s working-class revolution in 1917. This tragic degeneration of the Russian Revolution is something Marxists have grappled with in numerous books. The basic conclusion supported by a serious historical analysis is that this degeneration was neither natural nor inevitable, but the result of particular circumstances.

Russia was among the poorest countries in the world at the time of its revolution, and it was even further devastated when the deposed capitalist rulers, backed by 21 foreign armies, tried to violently retake power from the democratic workers’ movement, resulting in a bloody civil war. Though revolutions took place elsewhere across Europe, most notably Germany, they were all defeated, leaving Russia poor, broken and alone.

This was not a healthy ground upon which socialism could be built. The whole basis of socialism is having enough to go around, but Russia didn’t have that. In this context, the democratic structures in the Soviets (workers’ assemblies) ceased to function. Who wants to go to political meetings when you’re worried about where your next meal is going to come from?

It was this vacuum of workers’ power from below, fueled by the isolation and economic starvation of the country, that spawned the bureaucratization of Russian society and the rise of Stalin as this bureaucracy’s dictatorial figurehead. Even then, it was not a natural progression. Stalin had to jail, murder, exile, or otherwise force into submission literally millions of people whose only crime was adherence to the democratic principles of the 1917 revolution.

This experience shows the importance of building the fight for socialism as a global movement. Because of imperialist plundering of resources around the world, some countries may lack a stable economic basis for socialism, and will need to trade with and get help from the richer countries. If Russia had been joined by a successful revolution in even one other country, such as Germany, history would have turned out very differently.
Wouldn’t it be easier to reform capitalism?
Unfortunately, contrary to official accounts, the history of capitalism is not one of consistent progress towards ever loftier heights of democracy and prosperity. Rather, every serious reform has required mass struggle, often shaking the system to its core.

Reforms are not granted out of the kind hearts of well-meaning politicians, but are concessions grudgingly granted to appease or distract rising movements of working people hungry for real change. Whether we’re talking about civil rights, the weekend off, or the right to organize a union, every one of these required an all-out fight against the profit-driven logic of capitalism, where countless innocents were murdered by elites desperate to put down their struggles.

Under capitalism, even these partial reforms are not permanent, not a foothold or new baseline to work from. As we have seen in the last few decades, the capitalists and their politicians will roll back reforms as soon as they think they can get away with it.

Social programs that people fought tooth and nail for in the past are being dismantled or undermined via budget cuts. After almost destroying unions in the private sector already – where less than 7% of workers in the US are in a union – corporate politicians in state after state are now going after the public sector, where over a third of workers are still unionized.

A stable basis for ongoing reforms will require working people to take political power out of the hands of the capitalists and wield it themselves – that is, overthrow capitalism and establish socialism. There’s no way around it; the fight for reforms and the struggle for socialist transformation are one and the same.
Socialism sounds great on paper, but is it realistic?
The only constant in history is uninterrupted change. From ancient slave states to the feudal landowner lordships to the global capitalist system of today, people have repeatedly overthrown old systems after they became a brake on progressive development. The truly unrealistic and utopian idea is that problems like war, poverty and environmental devastation will be solved on the basis of capitalism.

Though socialism is realistic, it’s not inevitable. Again and again, crisis-ridden capitalism has forced workers and the oppressed into revolutionary uprisings. Several have happened in the last year, most prominently in Egypt and Tunisia. But while many revolutions succeed in toppling governments, few have achieved system change. Capitalism will always find a way out on the backs of workers, youth and the poor if we fail to replace it with something better.

That’s where socialists come in: We take seriously the study of history, learning from both defeats and successes of revolutions and mass movements. We aim to spread these lessons widely so that future revolutions succeed in establishing socialism. That doesn’t just mean reading a lot of books. It means actively building and engaging with the movements that exist right now, boldly bringing in socialist ideas while learning from others in struggle, working out the way forward together.

If you agree with these ideas, consider joining the Socialist Party today.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The degrading of young people in society

So often we hear that young people are apathetic and not interested in the world around them. Since i have been heavily involved in politics and socialist politics in particular i have seen nothing of the sort. I have wittnessed a wide layer of young people wishing for a change in the way things are and a willingness to do something about it.

Only just before the student demonstrations against tuitian fees in december 2010 many news agencies of the capitalist pursuasion were making out no young people were interested in what was going on at the time.

How wrong could they be with up to 50 thousand plus on a march against tuitian fees and education cuts and attacks on young people as a whole hit London that year.

Since then young people have lead the way in the movements against this financial crisis. Showing a lead for trade unions and the labour movement to follow.

I am only 23 myself but i already have huge respect and solidarity for those younger than myself who for the first time are facing a worsening situation and will actually face a worse situation than their parents.

Children growing up today do not have a clue waht they are set to face with deeping youth unemployment and further education more a dream than a reality for many now
what is the future for many young people ?

Well youth fight for jobs along at www.youthfightforjobs.com and on twitter @youthfight4jobs are organising around the workfare scheme at the moment. Focusing their attacks on companies who wish to exploit young people paying them nothing just so they have a job but yet get paid nothing for it only recieving their benifits which they should get anyway.

All this results in a severe degrading of young peple and a feeling that we dont need young people we'll just make the older workers work longer in their jobs but pay them less.

Its not on, and youth fight for jobs aswell as others campaign for real jobs for young people , a reintroduction of EMA , free education for all and a mass job system paying decent socially useful wages for all to live on.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Why i joined and am a member of the socialist party

I have been a member of the socialist party of England and Wales for just over a year now and people may wonder why and how i came to be a member.

I have always taken a interest in current affairs and waht is going on in the world listening to phone in's on the radio and tv shows about politics. I only really got active though in recent years. Seeing the global financial crisis unfolding and governments all around the world making ordinary people pay fora crisis not of their making. It was clear to me right from the start that we were not all in this together and felt this was a start of a new period. A new period of struggle.

I have to admit i was a member of the labour party briefly in 2010 but soon left when i found out what they were really like. I have since come rto realise that they are just as much in favour of making ordinary people pay as the tories and the rest.

I came to the socialist party by looking online, that modern recruiting tool it seems these days seeing as we've recruited record amounts this last year that way through the internet. We will be looking to push our internet image a lot more in the coming months and years i am told.

But reasons for joining the SP were simple they had a fighting programme that involved action rather than just sitting in meetings all the time and never actually going anywhere. I read their "what do we stand for programme" on their website and arranged to go to one of their public meetings.

It was on how to fight the cuts and they were the only party that first came out with the "no to allcuts" line which to others on the left sounded like utopian and maddness you cant oppose all cuts they cried at us your mad. But we stood by that and we have gained support with that view with the likes of the PCS and the RMT who support the call for not a single penny cut. I like the socialist party agree that not one cut is nessesary with billions going evaded each year by rich multi nationals alone could cover all of the cuts. With a massive investment in public services and a new council house building scheme there are alternatives out there .

I found the SP members very welcoming and encouraging they actively encouraged you to get involved and have a voice in the party, in the branch and nationally.
There was never any poking fun or belittling you if you were new and wanted to find out more. I was never pressured to join or get involved but told if i wanted to i can so i did as i liked what i heard.

I have now been recently elected branch secretary of harlow socialist party and feel honoured to be so. Having roles in the party are mostly unpaid as as a party we do not join to benifit financially or further our careers at all we join and get involved as we believe in wanting to change society.

We join a party as we feel stronger together we may have small numbers at the moment but we have had bigger numbers in the past and we are rapidly growing again now. Our membership tends to go up and down and reflects the current class contiousness and the level of struggle we are at.

But at this time i can only see a opening for us if we continue to raise the ideas of socialism and marxism. Giving people an alternative if they are looking for one.

I am a member of the socialist party as i believe we have the correct ideas, of course we are not perfect no organisation is i dont think we are 100% right all the time at all but i do think we are very democratic and give everyone the chance to get involved and have their say.

Whereas when i was in the labour party all be it briefly there was no discussion, no debate and very much being talked down to by your branch secretary and if you stepped out of line by even daring to mention the word socialism you were looked at oddly and asked if you were sure you wer in the right place. In the end i made up my mind i was not and could not continue being a member of a capitalist party which looks to screw people a little bit slower and a little less deeper than the tories.

So for a genuine alternative a genuine democratic organisation which is making in roads in new areas of the country please do give the socialist party a second glance and have a look at

for more information on us.


Water shortages and droughts in the UK, what is the solution ?

On Monday the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) revealed that much of southern and eastern England was officially in a state of drought.

Hosting a drought summit Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said groundwater levels in parts of south-east England were lower than in the infamously dry summer of 1976.

So with water shortages and droughts a real possibility now in the south east of England in particular with this being the most densely populated area in the country to we are left wondering what we shouldd o.

As socialsits we reject the idea that natural resources like water and sunlight should be privatised to enable rich boss's to cream off profits for a select few.

We would agree with the capitalists who are starting to make noises of moving water around the country to share out resources. But where we differ from them though is that we would base this on need not profit. We would put forward the idea of nationalising the water companies and bringing them into public ownership. This would enable ordinary water workers to draw up the needs of the people in a given area of the country and work with other parts of the country to best divide the resources that we need. This would all be possible as the money would be there as it wouldnt be being pocketed by rich boss's only interested in profits.

With extra money there to invest in decent water resources we could then become far greener by investing in purification systems to recycle water from the seas around us which we are surrounded by to then meet the needs of the people. This would all be possible under a socialist planned economy where the need for profit was taken out of the mix.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Am i a "job snob" now ? Say NO to workfare !

Today we have heard the patronising phrase from cabinet minister Chris Grailing. Who earns upwards of 65 k a year plus expenses as a minister for parliament. If that isnt eye watering enough he has now suggested that all those who would turn their nose up at working stacking shelves for their benifits, their doll in otherwords to be "job snobs".

Wel in my view if this scheme which was originally introduced by the labour party to get people back into work, workfare as i blogged about at the weekend continues it will be very damaging for these retailers. But i dont think that worries them in the least. They are rubbing their hands at the chance of free labour who they can squeeze surplus labour value out of increasing their profits as a result.

It is a absolute disgrace quite frankly for a tory minister who has probably never done a real days work in his life to attack the poor and the desperate like this.

It is also disgraceful that such unions as USDAW have sat on their hands over this and not threatened any mass action over this. Where are they over workfare ? very quiet indeed. Slight mummerings are not enough frankly we need action over workfare to say not to slave labour working for nothing is not on.

Britain is a very wealthy country no one should have to work for nothing i believe in a fair days work for a fair days pay as a demand for creation of millions of new jobs that are socially useful and pay decent pay too.

If this results in me being a snob about it and thinking people should not be exploited for their labour then so be it.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Millions being wasted on medicines, provide for need not profit in the NHS

As the NHS privatisation bill makes its way through parliament which looks likely to win support their from the 3 capitalist parties. A news item came to my attention
The NHS in the South Central region says wasted medicines are costing it £20m a year.

Health chiefs said the money lost across NHS Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Isle of Wight could pay for 785 more nurses.

Unused or partially used medicines cannot be recycled and have to be thrown away.

An NHS spokesman said patients should think about what they were ordering and only ask for what they needed.

He added: "Any other medicines can be dispensed when needed at a later date."

Nationally it is believed people store about £90 million worth of unused prescription medicines at any one tim

Further proof i'd say taht there is huge waste in competition and further dose's of competition introducing more market forces into our NHS will result in more results like this. Leading to waste and more bureaucracy .

The NHS and medicine should be produced and services met with the idea of meeting peoples needs not creating vast waste in competition sake for the benifit of a fews profits.

This NHS bill mthe government wants to put forward will increase the chances of this sort of event happening if thebill is not stopped.

Only united mass action on the scale we havent seen for a long time with trade unions, workers and service users with strike action a threat at the heart of it can defeat this bill and save our NHS.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The importance of theory in the class struggle

We often hear many people out there in the wider movement ask ourselves well what is your theory to back up your politiacl ideas.

We as socialists and more specifically marxists are very keen to learn the lessons of history and keep a keen eye on theory at every stage of the class struggle.

i personally enjoy theory and learning about the working class history and class struggles that have erupted over the years and decades in the past. I am almost to the end of Das Capital Volumne 1 its been a fantastic read with so much strength in depth in its theory and understanding.

Karl Marx one of the greatest revolutionary thinkers ever wrote this book along with his good friend Frederich Engels in the 19th century and is still to this day the best explaination of capitalism as it is today. I am not saying all of what Marx wrote back then in the 1800's is relevant today as it is not but the lessons and the teachings of how capitalism works are as true today as they were back then.

It is avery well put together study and analysis that has never been disproved even by economists and capitalists today.

But theory is fantastic but cannot be a idol proccess and a stand alone method to the class struggle it must be applied and go hand in hand with practical day to day struggles and applying marxist theory and lessons learnt by Leon trotsky and Lenin to todays struggles by workers in everyday situations.

Capitalism and our version of it as our particular version is quite unique in a sense in Britain having its full rich history based here we as working class fighters have a wealth of historic events we can study and learn from to make suer we do not repeat the mistakes of the past in the future.

As Marxists we do not live in the past as many opponents of our ideas throw at us instead quite the contary we look to the past to fuel us with ideas and lessons to make the right and correct analysis for todays situation and current class contiousness. Knowing at what period are we passing is key. Having good theory and failing to draw the correct conclusions from a ebb or a flow in the class struggle can leave you marooned on the wrong side of history.

For example some on the left saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the soviet union as a step forward and a great victory for the working class at that time. Whilst we'll always support the falling of a iron fisted dictator we in the CWI at the time correctly saw that this was a massive defeat for the working class as much of their gains including nationalised industry and free health care and transport for example are under great threat from the capiatlists who were looking to reafirm their grip on the world market in the late 80's and this consequently saw a reemergance of capitalism in Russia and the former Eastern block countries.

TO think that this period was a big victory for the working class and they can now go on the offensive looking to make gains was a huge mistake and still many on the left are still coming to terms with the realities of that big mistake. So as i say theory is important but drawing the correct conclusions from new events in the class struggle globally not just on a national basis is key to drawing support and influence in the movement .

As lenin told us quite rightly "Without a revolutionary theory there cannot be a revolutionary movement. "

Politics begin where the masses are, not where there are thousands, but where there are millions, that is where serious politics begin.
(Vladimir Lenin)

"It is impossible to predict the time and progress of revolution. It is governed by its own more or less mysterious laws" (Vladimir I Lenin)

But as lenin correctly pointed out a ounce of practical action in struggle is worth 10 times the amount of theoritical struggle, what he was trying to say that there is no greater expereince to the class struggle than actually getting out there and living it fighting it on a day to day basis.

Working for your doll ? join the fight for real jobs that pay

Over the past few months the government's work experience scheme has come under increasing scrutiny. The scheme attempts to introduce slave labour for the young unemployed, with young people working 30 hours a week for eight weeks and receiving no additional pay on top of their Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), which they are threatened with losing if they do not participate.

The case that has received the most media attention is that of Cait Reilly, a geology graduate who had been volunteering in a museum to try to get a job there, but was forced to work in Poundland.

The scandal reverberating from this has prompted Sainsbury's and Waterstones to pull out of the scheme.

According to the government's propaganda this 'experience' will give young people the skills to make employers take them on.

But there is no guaranteed job at the end of the 'experience'. Tesco has already taken on 1,400 'volunteers', but only 300 have received jobs and who's to say that they wouldn't have been taken on anyway.

Tesco has now started advertising jobs as 'JSA + expenses' in the job centre plus system, including one dated 9 February for night shift workers (usually premium rates) in East Anglia.

The truth is that this is a massive attack on pay, terms and conditions of retail workers. Instead of filling vacancies with real jobs, companies can bolster their profits by taking on conscripts for a month or two.

It is welcome that shopworkers' union Usdaw has now heeded the call made three months ago and has come out in open opposition to the scheme, with general secretary John Hannett being quoted in the press as demanding 'the rate for the job'.

Usdaw putting pressure on companies it has agreements with is a step forward, but it shouldn't be left there.

Activists and reps should link up with unemployed campaign groups such as unemployed workers' centres and Youth Fight for Jobs to build a campaign linking those in and out of work to scrap the 'work experience' scheme and replace it with real jobs with union rates of pay and conditions.

Youth Fight for Jobs is organising actions around the country for the 'Boycott Workfare' campaign national day of action on Saturday 3 March. Get involved if you can.

contact youth fight for jobs on twitter at @youthfight4jobs and on their website at http://www.youthfightforjobs.com

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Murdoch, the real capitalist media barron

As the Murdoch empire lurch's from one crisis to the next Rupert Murdoch and his cronies invlved at the top of news corp and news international have not learnt their lessons and continue to plague ordinary working people.

The fall-out from the Murdochgate scandal has continued following the arrests of ten top editors and journalists who currently work for or have worked for the Sun newspaper.

These arrests are part of the police investigation "Elveden" into suspected bribery and corruption of police officers. It will come as no surprise to anyone aware of the methods of News International that journalists routinely paid police officers for information. Bribing a public official is a criminal offence, but that never stopped the Sun or the News of the World in the past.

Trevor Kavanagh, the associate editor of the Sun has claimed there is a witch-hunt against the paper and News International. He blames elements of News Corp, who owns News International, for handing over a portion of the 300 million internal company emails to the police that led to the arrests.

There is growing evidence that some within News Corp, who are involved in a power battle with Rupert Murdoch, are looking to get rid of large parts, if not all of the toxic News International.

Kavanagh complained that Sun employees had been subject to dawn raids by up to 20 police officers who went through children's clothes drawers looking for evidence. No doubt the Met police, who lost a police commissioner and deputy commissioner already due to the scandal, are trying to prove their independence from the Murdoch Empire.

However, Kavanagh was not so forthcoming in his criticisms of police methods when socialist Tommy Sheridan was the subject of a widely condemned police and state vendetta. This included having his home raided and young child traumatised. He was arrested outside his place of work and faced years of persecution, not least by the Scottish Sun and the now defunct News of the World, who he defeated in a defamation case in 2006.

The Socialist party continues to call for a genuine democratic public inquiry, involving representatives of the trade union and labour movement, into the actions of the Murdoch empire. This must include the handing over of all documents, emails and other information to allow a full expose of the relationship between News International, the police and the political establishment.

There is no doubt the political elite, the metropolitan police and our cosy media barrons have got far to close in recent years. This is no surprise to me as as a socialsit it is clear to me that the capitalist currently own all of the media, control and influence the police and have a strangelhold over all 3 major political parties. This is no coincidence that Murdochgate flared up to me as there was always dodgy going's on in the media world and the political elite including Tony Blair who chased after Rupert Murdoch for years practically begging him to support his party in their rise to power in the late 90's.

The hypocrisy of Ed Milibanda nd the Labour party to now try to distance themselves from the Murdochs is frankly sickening considering the sucking up they did in their time in government and after. Even untill recently Ed Miliband met with senior representitives of News international. He only opposed and jumped on the phone hacking scandel bandwagon when there was public support for it. Not before. Confirming my thought that the political elite media and police are all in it together with eachother covering eachothers backs whenever there is the need.

It is simply the capitalist world playing its hand.

What's in a name ?

With todays labour party quite clearly not supporting workers or working class people at all i wondered should they be forced or even not think about dropping the name labour ?

To me a young person involved in politics i have only known a pro market, pro privatisation, pro imperialist war labour party and for them to rest on their past success's if you can call them that is a insult to ordinary working people.

It is a fraud to be quite honest for the labour party today who no longer has a working class base like it used to. lenin was right labour was never a socialist party yes but it always had a duel complection having a workers base with a bourgeois leadership. Even in Militant we realised this for those who thought we were reformist for working inside the labour party. But today how anyone can seriously suggest labour represents ordinary working people or is vaguely socialist at all is living in cloud cookoo land to be quite honest.

The likes of the LRC and other good socialists point to the fact the labour party still have the trades union link. This is all very well if this hadnt been severaly hampered by many many anti trade union laws incidentily not repealed by a labour government in power for 13 years.

Small cabals - who have no connection with the radical and heroic periods of Labour - run a machine totally alien to working class people. Any socialist - inside or outside the Labour Party, and it is mostly the latter - is bound to come into collision with them.

This does not preclude "heated debate", not just with the Con-Dems but also with and against Labour councillors and the majority of Labour MPs who are doing the dirty work of the government in justifying cuts and carrying them out at local level.

It is unrealistic to think that workers who are losing their jobs - some of them never to work again - and many seeing vital services destroyed should engage in polite exchanges with 'Labour... Yes Labour councils and councillors'. It is legitimate to express anger and, yes, rage - not just against the Tories and Liberals - but against a Labour caste at local level which is inflicting terrible punishment on working people.

It is also necessary to forcefully take up and oppose those who seek to excuse Labour sell-outs. Some on the left refused to endorse the Socialist Party's implacable opposition to 'all cuts'. But we were at one with those like Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS civil servants union and Bob Crow, leader of the RMT transport workers union. Those who are prepared to accept 'some cuts' are acting as a left flank, apologists for Labour councillors and councils who are betraying everything which the Labour Party originally stood for.

For instance, Waltham Forest council - controlled by Labour - has inflicted £3 million of cuts to wages and conditions of its workers yet £18 million has been paid to 'consultants' whose main job is to make these cuts to jobs and services! And this is as typical of 'Labour' councils as Tory or Lib Dem.

Will local government emerge at the end of the 'cuts programme' in the absurd position of the NHS where "in 2006, Accountancy Age reported that the NHS was spending more on consultants than all Britain's manufacturers put together"?

This scandal was pushed through by the likes of New Labour health ministers Alan Milburn and Patricia Hewitt, who then got cushy, well-paid jobs in the health private sector!

However much of the debate in the labour movement at present is on the character of the Labour Party at present and whether is it possible to reclaim it in the future. We can never say never where politics are concerned. Nor is it theoretically excluded that if a mass workers' party is not urgently built, the impulse for a new party could come from within even a bourgeois party.

Such is the depth of the present economic and social crisis that, in time, this can find an expression even in such a party leading to a left split, out of which could come the basis of a radical or even a new mass workers' party.

Something like this happened in Greece where the 'left-wing' of the liberal capitalist party the Centre Union - led by the late Andreas Papandreou - came out of that party following the overthrow of the Greek military junta in 1974.

Such was the sweep of the revolution in the post-1974 period and the colossal changes in consciousness which this evoked that the objective basis for the new mass socialist party Pasok was created. The present 'Pasok' is a million miles removed from its socialist origins.

But we do not think that it is likely that Labour could be transformed in Britain in the next period. We cannot just 'wait' for future events to hopefully change the Labour Party, while in the meantime the working class goes to hell in a handcart.

We have to seek to exert pressure now through a new workers' party, no matter how small initially. The Labour party has been transformed under the New Labour counter-revolution carried out first by Blair, then by Brown and today by Miliband into a capitalist formation.

In fact, Tony Blair recognised this when he declared that New Labour was an entirely 'new party'. Conversely if Labour is to be 'transformed', as some still hope, then this would effectively mean setting up a new party, which by standing on clear socialist policies would represent a clear break.

Labour's current policies are a continuation of Blair's pro-capitalist agenda. This is expressed in terms of policy; witness Miliband's completely pro-capitalist assault on the trade unions at the TUC. It is reflected also in the internal organisation and character of the Labour Party which is fundamentally different from what existed in the past.

The old Labour Party, of which we were a significant force (through Militant - now the Socialist Party), involved the participation of the working class and the trade unions. It was a 'bourgeois workers' party' - with a pro-capitalist leadership at the top but a base among workers below. But it was also very open and democratic, and the leadership was forced to take account of the rank-and-file and its views.

Those who seek to argue that 'nothing has fundamentally changed' in the character of the Labour Party are mistaken. Compare the present situation in the Labour Party to the 1960s. Harold Wilson, supported by Barbara Castle the Labour minister at the time, tried to push through anti-union legislation.

This was massively opposed by the rank-and-file of the party and the majority of the National Executive Committee. If Wilson had not retreated he would have been compelled to resign. Neither could he militarily support US imperialism on the Vietnam War- despite the urgings of the then US President Johnson - for the same reason.

Tony Blair, however, got the support of Labour's conference delegates - who in the past were solidly to the left of the leadership - for the obscene and criminal Iraq war.

Some object that to describe New Labour as 'capitalist' is an 'exaggeration', because workers are still voting Labour. This, it is argued, indicates that Labour - 'warts and all' - is 'different' from the other two capitalist parties.

Yes, Labour is 'different', in the same way as the Democratic Party in the US differs from the right-wing Republican Party. The Democrats are more 'liberal' but are still a pronounced capitalist party.

So also was the Liberal Party in the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. Sections of the working class and the trade unions in Britain saw it as an alternative until mighty events - the decline of British imperialism and its inability to continue to grant concessions to the working class - undermined this. This prepared the way for the rise of the Labour Party itself as a mass political expression of the trade unions.

Those who furnished the mass basis for the Labour Party were the sons and daughters of workers who previously voted Liberal. This will happen with the building of a new party. Those who have voted Labour and still do can be won to a new mass workers' party.

Even to those who hope that Labour can be changed, we pose the questions: 'What do we do now in the political and electoral arenas? How does the labour movement exert pressure on Labour in order to defeat and change its present craven capitulation to big business, which is disheartening its former and present supporters? By propaganda or vague hopes for the future alone? The bureaucratic caste which dominates Labour is totally impervious to this.

So i would suggest all that are serious about a new workers party should suggest that any new workers party in the future which i'm confident will happen should not include the name labour as it has been shamefully wrecked by the current party which claims to stand for working people but clearly does not.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Can councillors do anything to fight the cuts ?

Socialist-led Liverpool city council’s struggle in 1983-87 led to mass demonstrations and thousands of new council houses built
At the same time councils will be expected to administer many of the cuts announced under other budget headings. These include the cuts to housing benefit funded from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) budget but administered by councils; the Department for Education’s 12% cut in ’non-school’ spending on young people (including the abolition of educational maintenance allowances for 16-19 year olds); and a ’re-adjustment’ of NHS social care funding.

Setting council tax benefit, averaging £900 a year and currently paid out by councils on behalf of the DWP, will be devolved to councils, but with a 10% cut in overall funding.

Councils will also become the final agency to apply the £500 ’total household benefit’ cap, through housing benefit deductions. "Outsourced", was an apt headline in The Guardian - "town halls must do Osborne’s dirty work", it went on.

To say councils "must do" this dirty work, however, is wrong. Not unexpectedly, Labour councillors are saying there is ’nothing we can do’ to stop the cuts from being implemented locally, even where they control the council. But that is just not so. Councillors have a choice.

That’s why the decision of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC to facilitate the widest-possible challenge in the local elections that will take place in England this year is an important part of building the anti-cuts movement. With the London GLA and mayoral elecctions and several towns and city seats up for elections.
The basic TUSC programme of few points a very basic programme of no to all cuts is the basis of our programme.
It starts from the basis that councillors can refuse to pass on the cuts. Voting in May, it argues, can be not just a ’protest vote’ but can actually stop cuts to local jobs, benefits, and services. Building support for TUSC candidates can be an important means of putting pressure on current councillors when they decide council budgets , and in shaping how they respond to the ’new responsibilities’ they will have to administer.

What can councils do?
WHAT ROLE could councils play to stop the cuts, if the political will was there to seriously oppose the Con-Dem government’s austerity measures?

Over the years councils have been stripped of direct funding responsibility for many different services. The TUSC election platform notes that former Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who began this process, famously said: "I must take more power to the centre to stop socialism" - in other words, that public services that ’crowded out’ the private sector should be curbed or, where they exist, should be opened up to private companies to make profits from public needs. New Labour continued this process throughout its 13 years in office - the turnover of private companies running public services reached over £80 billion in 2008, for example, 126% higher than 1995-96 under the previous Tory government. Now the Con-Dems’ spending review announcement includes plans for ’private provider quotas’ for councils’ elderly care, early years, youth and family support services.

Despite this however, as the TUSC election platform states, councils still have enormous powers and responsibilities. They control budgets totalling billions of pounds spent on services from housing to schools, youth clubs, libraries, adult social care, crime reduction, sports centres, highways maintenance and refuse collection, to name but a few. They have legal powers over non-council provided services, including many of those now ’outsourced’ that could be used, if the will was there, to defend jobs and services.

Councillors could - and TUSC councillors would, as the policy platform states - "vote against the privatisation of council services, or the transfer of council services to ’social enterprises’ or ’arms-length’ management organisations, which are first steps to privatisation". They could - and TUSC councillors would - push for councils to "use all their legal powers available" to "oppose both the cuts, and government polices which centrally impose the transfer of public services to private bodies".

That could mean that, for example, faced with the Con-Dems’ housing benefit cuts, councils would refuse to evict council tenants who fall into arrears as a result of the changes - and withdraw from ’partnership agreements’ with housing associations (HAs) and other ’social landlords’ who fail to do likewise (and actively support HA tenants’ organisations to fight for this policy).

Councils could also intervene in the private rented sector. The government hypocritically claims that its aim is to ’bring rents down’, after housing benefit payments have ballooned to £21 billion - although the Tories began this by abolishing rent controls in 1988 and slashing council house-building (policies not reversed by New Labour). Councils cannot impose a legally-binding private rent limit but they could, for example, threaten compulsory purchase proceedings against multi-property landlords who move to evict tenants suffering housing benefit cuts.

But housing is just one area where councils with the political will to oppose the Con-Dem government could play a key role in resisting the cuts. They could use their powers to ’call in’ and refer local NHS re-organisation proposals, for example. With a King’s Fund survey showing that fewer than one in four doctors believes the government’s new GP consortia commissioning plans - opening up £80 billion of NHS primary care funding to private companies - will improve patient care, councils could galvanise opposition to the Con-Dems’ dismantling of the NHS.

Defending councils’ budgets
Even some Tory and Lib-Dem councillors are criticising the government’s ’free schools’ plans (particularly in relation to faith schools) as endangering socially cohesive local education. Councils could use their ’schools organisation’ and admissions monitoring powers, governor appointments etc - and initiate consultative parents’ ballots, for example - to build a public campaign of opposition to these and the equally divisive accelerated academies programme. Councillors, it is clear, have a choice - they don’t have to do the government’s ’dirty work’. They can resist.

But what can councils do when faced with government cuts to the centrally allocated ’revenue support grants’ they receive to pay for council-funded services? The TUSC draft election platform states that councils should refuse to implement these cuts, and reject above inflation increases in council tax, rents and service charges to compensate for them. If even a handful of councils were to make such a stand it would electrify the mass opposition to the cuts that is developing.

As Margaret Thatcher’s resignation 20 years ago last November shows, in the face of mass non-payment of the poll tax, even the seemingly most imposing government - and the Con-Dem coalition is not that - can be forced to retreat if it faces a sufficiently powerful mass campaign of opposition. Not only was Thatcher removed but the Tories were forced, within weeks of her downfall, to put an extra £4.3 billion into local government funding (around £7 billion today) to finance the abolition of the poll tax.

The TUSC policy platform argues that the best way that councils can contribute to mobilising the mass campaign necessary to defeat the cuts is to set budgets that meet the needs of their local communities, without massive council tax hikes, and combine together to demand that the government makes up the funding shortfall. That is the ’Liverpool model’ which in 1984 enabled the city’s Labour council, led by Militant supporters, the predecessor of the Socialist Party, to compel Thatcher’s government to concede extra resources to the city worth up to £60 million (£98 million today).

The campaign built by Liverpool city council in 1983-87 to win extra funding inspired thousands of workers, photo Militant
But the campaign in support of Liverpool’s ’needs budget’ had been long prepared, even before Labour won a majority on the council in 1983. A 25,000-strong demonstration was organised in November 1983 and the budget meeting itself, in March 1984, just weeks after the start of the miners’ strike, took place against the backdrop of a city-wide one day strike and a 50,000-strong march to the town hall. The anti-cuts movement will grow rapidly, given confidence by events such as the 24 hour public sector general strike last November and the combative stance of unions such as the Fire Brigades Union, the PCS civil servants’ union and the RMT transport workers, but it is still at an early stage. There is certainly no group of councillors who have prepared the ground as the Liverpool councillors had in 1984.

So, for the next budget-setting period, the draft TUSC policy platform also includes support for councillors who are prepared to use councils’ reserves and ’prudential borrowing’ powers to avoid passing on government cuts. Such a policy is completely within a council’s legal powers.

Council finance officers can challenge a budget they believe to be ’knowingly unbalanced’, in other words, a planned deficit - which a ’needs budget’ without massive council tax rises would be - but they can only question an individual council’s ability to meet short-term debt re-payments. The use of reserves to meet such initial debt re-payments, for example, is legally a ’matter of judgement’ for councillors to make. Councillors have a choice.

In some respects this approach would be a ’Liverpool in reverse sequence’. In 1984 the mass campaign led by the council was able to extract extra resources from the government. The campaign continued in 1985 but, with the defeat of the miners’ strike, and under ferocious attack from a Labour Party leadership doing Thatcher’s work for her - effectively, with Liverpool left isolated - the council had to resist cuts and sustain its house-building programme for a second year by using its borrowing powers.

COUNCILS USING their reserves and borrowing powers to avoid making cuts in this budget-setting period would only be buying time before they faced an inevitable showdown with the government for extra resources. Ultimately, there is no ’clever tactic’ that can avoid the need to build a mass campaign against the cuts.

There is, of course, no guarantee in any struggle. Most Labour councillors are ’New Labour’, indistinguishable from the Tories and the Liberal Democrats in their pro-market policies and outlook. But even those who sincerely want to oppose the cuts still hesitate before the Liverpool road. Eventually, having defied the government for four years and won lasting gains for the city, the Liverpool councillors were surcharged and dismissed from office in March 1987.

The law has changed since the 1980s. The 2000 Local Government Act abolished the power of surcharge, for example, except for cases of personal gain. As importantly, the actual course of the events in Liverpool needs to be rescued from right-wing myth-making. It was not the setting of a needs budget or the later decision, in 1985, to fall back on the council’s borrowing powers, that the councillors were surcharged for. It was the decision to delay setting a rate at all (rates were the local tax levy then), that was used as the legal pretext to charge the councillors with ’wilfully incurring financial loss’ to the city.

This ’no rate’ strategy was decided on by the leaders of 20 other Labour councils, ironically against the Liverpool councillors’ advice (Liverpool went along with it to keep a united front), who then all - bar Lambeth council - backed down to leave Liverpool to fight alone. Nobody is proposing not setting a council tax rate today.

It was also significant that the councillors were only taken on by the district auditor in 1985 and not in 1984, when they had also delayed setting a rate (as some Labour defections meant no party had been able to get a majority for its budget in the council chamber). It was only when the mass campaign had ebbed - not in Liverpool but elsewhere - after the miners had been defeated, the other Labour councils had capitulated and Liverpool had been attacked and left isolated by the Labour Party leaders, that the Thatcher government felt confident enough to ’apply the law’.

The situation today is different. The Con-Dem cuts are the worst in generations, permanently changing life in Britain, as Cameron himself has explained. They will be resisted, no matter what the axe men decide - in parliament or the council chamber - and the opposition has only just begun. Councillors who are prepared to fight could play a historic role in the inevitable resistance

THE CLAIM that there is ’nothing Labour can do’ to stop the cuts ’until the next election’ - leaving aside its support for ’less deep and fast’ cuts if it did come to power - is disproved by one simple demand.

If Ed Miliband was to stand up tomorrow and commit an incoming Labour government to meet the debts incurred by councils who borrowed rather than made the savage cuts demanded of them, then not one council would have a reason to make the cuts. The same pledge could be made to other public and semi-public bodies like universities, health authorities, school governing boards, housing associations etc which incur ’temporary’ deficits to avoid implementing cuts.

Many trade union leaders still hope that ’Labour will listen’ and resist the cuts. Let them ask for such a pledge, which would, in local government, save the 100,000 jobs at threat and the services they provide. But if, as is almost certain, they don’t get it, then they must admit that the only option is to fight and build a mass campaign, including standing or backing candidates in the 2012 local elections who will fight the cuts.

Some Labour councillors will no doubt sincerely wish to oppose the cuts but draw back at the prospect of taking a bold stand. They should resign and make way for those who will. Whatever, it should be made clear to all councillors: councillors can fight the cuts and TUSC candidates will - and will contest the seats of those councillors who vote for cuts.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition was set-up in 2010 to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists who wanted to resist the pro-austerity consensus of the establishment parties to stand candidates in the 2010 general election. By registering TUSC with the electoral commission, candidates could appear on the ballot paper as Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition rather than as ’Independent’ which they would otherwise have to do under electoral law.

TUSC came out of a series of discussions by participants in the No2EU - Yes to Democracy coalition, which contested the 2009 European elections with the official support of the RMT transport workers’ union, the Socialist Party, Solidarity - Scotland’s Socialist Movement, and others.

TUSC is a coalition with a steering committee which includes, in a personal capacity, the RMT general secretary Bob Crow, and fellow executive member Craig Johnston; the assistant general secretary of the PCS civil servants’ union, Chris Baugh, and the union’s vice-president, John McInally; the vice-president of the National Union of Teachers, Nina Franklin; and the recently retired general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, Brian Caton. The Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party are also represented on the committee.

TUSC was established as a federal ’umbrella’ coalition, with an agreed core policy statement endorsed by all its candidates but with participating organisations accountable for their own campaigns. Its core policies include, amongst others, opposition to public spending cuts and privatisation, student grants not fees, the repeal of the anti-trade union laws, and a clear socialist commitment to "bringing into democratic public ownership the major companies and banks that dominate the economy, so that production and services can be planned to meet the needs of all and to protect the environment".

The role strikes have on class contiousness , lessons from 1926 ?

When the working class or part of the working class go out on strike it is not done lightly. Many reactionaries think workers love going out on strike and do it at the drop of the hat. This is not true. Many take it very seriously indeed.

The act of withdrawing your labour is a very powerful and symbolic one indeed where it hands the power back to the worker that work cannot be done if they do withdraw their labour.

It focus's the mind and concentrates their class contiousness.

At our socialist party branch meeting last night we discussed the 1926 general strike in Britain where the question of power and who holds it was posed and this frightened the establishment and the ruling class, including the trade union bureaucracy

last thing the TUC leaders wanted was a successful general strike. When it started they did everything to end it.
calling a general strike.
1926 general strike
TWO DAYS after the strike was called off, 100,000 more workers were on strike than at the beginning.

"There were no trains, no buses, no trams, no papers, no building, no power. In a strike, 100% is an unobtainable figure generally, but even this real 100% was frequently achieved". (The Common People, Postgate and Cole.)

Winston Churchill summed up the attitude of the ruling class: "It is a conflict which, if it is fought to a conclusion, can only end in the overthrow of parliamentary government or in its decisive victory, there is no middle course open".

British capitalism was weakened after the First World War. Simultaneously the British working class had been radicalised by the Russian revolution and the European-wide revolutionary movement which followed the war.

The British capitalists were forced to concede their dominance in world markets to American imperialism, the real victors of the war.

By 1925, exports from British industry had fallen to 76% of pre-war levels and imports had grown to 111%. The ruling class went on the offensive to attack working-class wages and conditions to boost profits.

The miners had elected a new union leader, Arthur Cook. He was a giant in comparison to other union leaders at the time.

He considered himself a follower of Lenin but he did not fully understand Lenin's methods, in particular the need for a revolutionary party.

In March 1925 the coal bosses cut the miners' wages and demanded they work an extra hour a day without pay. In a refrain familiar to Corus or Vauxhall workers, the capitalist press raged that this was the only way the coal industry could be saved.

Also, Baldwin, then Tory prime minister, made it clear that this was a prelude to a general offensive on all workers' wages and conditions: "All the workers of this country have to take reductions".

In response, Cook coined the slogan: "Not a penny off the pay not a second on the day".

The miners appealed to the TUC, who threatened a general strike.

The government, faced with a militant working class, was unprepared for a showdown. To give themselves some breathing space they proposed a commission under Sir Herbert Samuel to examine the coal industry.

Meanwhile, they gave the coal bosses a nine-month subsidy to forestall any moves by them against the miners. They then used these nine months to prepare for a fight to the finish with the working class.

In 1981, Thatcher also retreated in the face of miners' strikes against pit closures. She then spent the next three years building up coal stocks and preparing an inevitable struggle with the miners.

Churchill, a member of Baldwin's cabinet, organised a scab army to break the strike. Lord Londonderry, the chief spokesman for the coal bosses, summed up the attitude of the ruling class: "Whatever it may cost in blood and treasure we shall find that the trade unions will be smashed from top to bottom".

The ruling class's ruthless determination stood in stark contrast to the faint heartedness of the TUC leadership, both Right and Left. Jimmy Thomas, the rail union leader, boasted that he had "groveled" before Baldwin in an attempt to avert the strike.

Left-winger Purcell condemned as "damned Russian gold" the £1.5 million collected by the Russian workers in support of the British workers.

The strike begins
IN MAY 1926, with the subsidy ended, the mine owners launched their attack on the miners' wages and conditions. One million miners came out on strike and demanded that the TUC call a general strike.

But the TUC only called the first meeting of the general council strike committee six days before the deadline.

Jimmy Thomas spoke on 19 April 1926 about: "loose passions being let loose" and "every sane miners' leader wants, as every employer wants - peace". But the only peace the bosses wanted was a complete victory over the miners and the working class.

The ruling class mistook the cowardice of the union leaders for the workers' mood. Millions answered the strike call and hundreds of thousands of others demanded to be called out. The TUC tried to control the strike but the movement developed its own momentum.

Non-trade unionists struck. 100 trades councils became 'Councils of Action'. The employers were forced to ask them for permission to move essential goods.

The Councils of Action had the means of overthrowing the capitalist order and instituting a workers' government, just as had happened in Russia in 1917.

But this would only have been possible if a revolutionary party had come to the head of the movement. Such a party would have called for the Councils of Action to be linked up nationally.

The Councils of Action would have made a class appeal to the rank and file of the army to assist the working class. A workers' government, based on the Councils of Action, could have gone on to take state power and carry through a socialist transformation of the economy.

THE YOUNG Communist Party, formed a few years before, was found wanting. This wasn't just through inexperience, it was under the influence of the increasingly Stalinised Communist International.

Trotsky, who at the time was isolated in Russia by Stalin, was a lone voice in the Communist International, warning that the British ruling class was preparing for a showdown.

Under Stalin's influence the Russian leadership, instead of warning the British workers against their own leaders, created illusions particularly in the left of the TUC leadership by forming an Anglo-Soviet committee.

From the beginning of the strike, the general council conspired with Samuel. He recommended big cuts in the miners' wages and all except Cook on the general council went along with this as they called off the strike.

Workers were stunned when they heard the news, the strike had won nothing for the miners, who continued their strike for another six months before being forced back to work.

The TUC did not even get a 'no victimisation' agreement, so even more rail workers, dockers and others came out again when they heard the terms of the surrender.

Power or defeat
THIS WAS more than a strike over wages and hours, which was recognised by all but the union leaders.

Trotsky had warned that inevitably an all-out general strike poses the question of who rules. Either it leads to power or becomes a severe defeat for the working class.

Marxists do not lightly raise the demand for a general strike. In periods of heightened class struggle we have called for a one-day general strike, such as during the miners' strikes in the 1980s and the pit closure crisis in 1992.

The demand for a 24-hour general strike is a means of demonstrating its own power to the working class. It sends a shot across the bow of the ruling class, that unless they back off more serious action is likely.

The 1926 general strike affected all classes and demonstrated the potential power of the working class to run society. But its failure showed the crucial need for revolutionary leadership.

Without such leadership, even the working class's most heroic efforts to rid itself of capitalism are unlikely to succeed. Without a revolutionary party, firmly rooted in the working class and its mass organisations, the reformist trade union and labour leaders will betray the movement.

We must ensure that this does not happen again by building a mass socialist revolutionary party that can play this vital role in the future.

With extracts taken from Bill Mullins, Socialist Party Industrial Organiser excellent pamphlett on the general strike.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Greece on the edge, will the EU leaders let them go ?

At the present time, foreign creditors and the Troika (IMF, ECB and EU) are trying to impose a new round of severe cuts on Greece, including 20% wage cuts in the private sector and an immediate slaughter of 15,000 public sector job as part of the destruction of 150,000 jobs by 2015. At the same time, support for the parties supporting the technocrat government of Papademos is in sharp decline. In one recent poll, Pasok, the now neo-liberal former social democratic party, is down to 8%, from 44% in 2009, when it returned to power! The anger and fury about the cuts is now reflected in the hesitancy that ND, the traditional conservative party, and Laos, a right-wing populist force, - in alliance with Pasok behind the Papademos government - are trying to present to the public, before again surrendering to the demands of the markets. “I will not contribute to a revolution out of misery that will then burn the whole of Europe”, Georgios Karatzaferis, the leader of Laos, was quoted, trying to distance himself from the government he supports.

General strike, 7 February 2012

The former banker, Lucas Papademos, was presented in November as a ‘neutral’ technocrat, above the different parties to save Greece after the fall of the Pasok government. On taking over the job of Prime Minister, he had approval rates of 60% or more. Now his support is shattered, and the parties supporting him – Pasok, ND and Laos – have fallen from 83% combined in October 2009 to less than 45% today, with ND on 31% (from 33.4% in 2009) and Laos 5% (5.6%).

Still, the ruling class and their politicians can feel that the mood is explosive.

The failure of two years of severe austerity after decades of stagnation and crisis in Greece is now obvious. The capitalist media and TV channels openly discuss the vicious circle of cuts and further economic decline. It’s widely acknowledged now, that this policy of austerity is a blind alley and capitalist commentators now raise the idea of limiting austerity to allow some limited measures promoting growth. The Troika is more and more criticised for imposing their policies and making the situation worse.

Still no significant part of the Greek capitalists wants Greece to leave the Euro-zone, but the debate is in full swing now on what would happen if Greece is kicked out of the Euro or leaves the common currency itself. Parts of the Greek capitalists are trying to use this as a tool to demand more concessions from the Troika.

With the narrow vote of the Greek parliament last night narrowly voting through new austerity measures mentioned above to be able to qualify for the next installment of the bailout from the IMF. This looks dire for Greecea s it is. They are effectively bankrupt already huge huge unemployment and the suicide rate is shooting up in the last year.

Greek gdp fell 7.3% in 2Q 2011. Est. -5% for 2011. Unemployment est. to be at 1.2M in a country of 12M how can they pay the debt?

Answer is they simply cant. I have a feeling that the EU leadership the ruling class's in germany and France are preparing the ground now for a exit of teh Eurozone for Greece. To me the EU cannot afford to bail out Italy and spain and Greece i think they will sacrifice Greece to try and save the rest of this failed capitalist project.

As for democracy in Greece i think now its long gone. With elections called for April time but all parties manefesto's has to be passed by the IMF. If you think that is democracy having your manefesto passed by the markets first you can think again.

Its time for the greek workers to over throw their government once and for all and to refuse to pay any more of the debt. To urge the cancelation of the debt and the bringing into public ownership the commanding heights of their economy to begin to rebuild Greece under a socialist planned economy.

How is the value of labour power set ?

Labour Power as a Commodity: In order that labor power is a commodity, the following conditions must be met:

[1] The individual whose labour-power it is... sells it as a commodity. In order that he may be able to do this, he must have it at his disposal, must be the untrammelled owner of his capacity for labour, i.e., of his person. He and the owner of money meet in the market, and deal with each other as on the basis of equal rights, with this difference alone, that one is buyer, the other seller; both, therefore, equal in the eyes of the law. The continuance of this relation demands that the owner of the labour-power should sell it only for a definite period, for if he were to sell it rump and stump, once for all, he would be selling himself, converting himself from a free man into a slave, from an owner of a commodity into a commodity.

The second essential condition to the owner of money finding labour-power in the market as a commodity is this — that the labourer instead of being in the position to sell commodities in which his labour is incorporated, must be obliged to offer for sale as a commodity that very labour-power, which exists only in his living self.

For the conversion of his money into capital, therefore, the owner of money must meet in the market with the free labourer, free in the double sense, that as a free man he can dispose of his labour-power as his own commodity, and that on the other hand he has no other commodity for sale, is short of everything necessary for the realisation of his labour-power.

How the Value of Labour Power is Determined:

The value of labour-power is the value of the means of subsistence necessary for the maintenance of the labourer.

The value of labour-power is determined, as in the case of every other commodity, by the labour-time necessary for the production, and consequently also the reproduction, of this special article. So far as it has value, it represents no more than a definite quantity of the average labour of society incorporated in it. Labour-power exists only as a capacity, or power of the living individual. Its production consequently pre-supposes his existence. Given the individual, the production of labour-power consists in his reproduction of himself or his maintenance. For his maintenance he requires a given quantity of the means of subsistence. Therefore the labour-time requisite for the production of labour-power reduces itself to that necessary for the production of those means of subsistence; in other words, the value of labour-power is the value of the means of subsistence necessary for the maintenance of the labourer....

In the US and the Uk certainly there is what is known as the povety line where every so often it is re examined to how much the minimum level of the cost of surviving for a worker. This varies country to country of course and is hard to work out an actual set figure but each country sets its own povety line which it can move up and down depending on how left or right the government are in power at the time who seak to manage capitalism the best they can by keeping wages low and production high.

The owner of labour-power is mortal. If then his appearance in the market is to be continuous, and the continuous conversion of money into capital assumes this, the seller of labour-power must perpetuate himself, "in the way that every living individual perpetuates himself, by procreation." The labour-power withdrawn from the market by wear and tear and death, must be continually replaced by, at the very least, an equal amount of fresh labour-power. Hence the sum of the means of subsistence necessary for the production of labour-power must include the means necessary for the labourer's substitutes, i.e., his children, in order that this race of peculiar commodity-owners may perpetuate its appearance in the market.

The minimum limit of the value of labour-power is determined by the value of the commodities, without the daily supply of which the labourer cannot renew his vital energy, consequently by the value of those means of subsistence that are physically indispensable. If the price of labour-power fall to this minimum, it falls below its value, since under such circumstances it can be maintained and developed only in a crippled state. But the value of every commodity is determined by the labour-time requisite to turn it out so as to be of normal quality.

Karl Marx
Capital, Vol. 1: The Buying And Selling Of Labour-Power

The battle of capitalism

Capitalism is a peculiar form of class society. Like previous class societies it involves a minority section of society grabbing the surplus created by the toil of the rest of society. But there are important differences. Previous ruling classes simply seized the surplus, while capitalists get it by buying people's capacity to work (what Marx called 'labour power'). And previous ruling classes used almost all the surplus on their own luxury consumption or on fighting each other. The use of any of the surplus to improve the means of production was spasmodic. Economic growth was usually slow, often non-existent, sometimes negative for centuries at a time. Capitalist ruling classes, however, are driven by economic competition within and between themselves to plough a sizeable portion of the surplus back into expansion of the means of production. There is not merely economic growth, but compulsive accumulation. It is this which has enabled capitalist ruling classes that two and a half centuries ago controlled only fringe areas of north western Europe to engulf the globe today.

Class societies began to emerge in various parts of the world from around 5,000 years ago onwards. Over a period of several centuries, what had once been communal production fell under the control of ruling minorities who ensured it provided them with an increasingly luxurious and leisurely lifestyle. At first they tended to exploit the rest of society collectively, as temple priests or royal households, rather than through private property. On this basis civilisations as diverse as those in the Nile Valley, ancient Iraq, northern China, the Indus Valley, central America, the Andes, Crete, Ethiopia and west Africa developed.25 Over time central control tended to weaken and a class of 'aristocrats', 'gentry' or 'lords' to emerge which exploited direct cultivators in each locality. At the same time, the polarisation of society into classes found its reflection in greater or lesser degrees of disintegration of the old communal forms of agricultural production and the emergence of peasant households as the main productive units. There would then be a continual tussle between the central state administration, with its corps of tax collectors, and the local rulers over who got the lion's share of the surplus which was taken from the peasants in the form of labour services, crops or, sometimes, cash. All these societies had one thing in common--the ruling class, whether made up of lords and aristocrats or of state administrators, took the surplus directly off the peasant producers, without any pretence of exchange of goods.

Such ruling classes increasingly felt the need for products that could not be obtained simply from the local cultivators. They needed materials for palace and temple building, for the making of armaments and for luxury consumption. Such things could often be obtained only by looting distant peoples, or through some sort of exchange with them.

There was some exchange long before the rise of classes. Archaeologists have found artefacts that must have been made many hundreds of miles away among the remains of hunter-gatherer settlements of southern France more than 20,000 years ago, and the circulation of the products of human labour was even more widespread in the agricultural societies that began to emerge ten millennia later. There was no other way, for instance, that the villagers of the river plain of southern Iraq could get metal ores and even wood (since the lower valley of the Tigris and Euphrates was virtually treeless). But the circulation of products in pre-class societies was not trade in the sense that we know the term today. It was not carried out according to strict calculations of profit or loss, but according to traditions of gift-giving and gift-taking, based on customary rites, much as continued to happen in pre-class societies in places like Polynesia right into the 20th century.26

The rise of the ruling classes of the new civilisations transformed this situation. They demanded distantly-obtained products on a scale that could not be satisfied by the old-established customary networks. At the same time, they were rarely prepared to face the hardship and risks involved in procuring such things themselves. People soon emerged who were--in return for a share of the surplus the ruling class had obtained through exploiting the cultivators. So specialised traders got a 'mark-up' by selling to the ruling class goods from a great distance away. Some were individuals from the exploited cultivator class, others from the nomadic peoples living between the centres of civilisation. But regardless of their origins, they began to crystallise into a privileged classes separate from the old ruling classes.

Such merchant classes emerge in similar ways in societies with little or no contact with each other: in second millennium BC Babylon and Egypt; in India, China, Greece and Rome by 300 BC; in Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico by AD 200; in the Arabian peninsular by AD 600; among the Mayas of the Yucatan Peninsula by AD 1000; on the northern coast of the Andean region by 1500 BC. Once in existence such a class usually left its mark ideologically and politically as well as economically. The spread of each of the great world religions--Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam--was along trade routes travelled by the merchants. The world's major languages often developed out of the vernacular forms by which people communicated with each other along trade routes and in marketplaces. And sections of the established agrarian ruling classes repeatedly found the merchants useful allies in struggles with other sections for dominance: the rise of the Ch'in kingdom and then empire in northern China and of the Mauryan empire in India in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC depended on such manoeuvres, and the Arab dynasties that ruled the Middle East a millennium later owed their success to reliance on merchants as well as tribal armies and landed exploiting classes.

But in these alliances the merchants were always the junior partners to the rulers, and much mistrusted by them. Merchant wealth came from siphoning off some of the surplus under the control of the old ruling class, and this was resented. So the most powerful merchant could suddenly be thrown into prison, lose his head or be cut in half. He lacked the independent base in production and exploitation to do much more than kowtow to the old rulers.

Marx made a distinction between merchant capital (that profits from financing trade), usurers' capital (that makes profits from interests on lending) and productive capital (that profits from employing workers to operate its means of production). Merchant capital and usurers' capital existed under all the old empires, wherever there was large-scale trade or moneylending. But productive capital made only a rare and fleeting appearance. In ancient Rome, for instance, the most successful 'capitalists' were the 'tax farmers', whose wealth came from the contracting out of tax collecting by the state. In Ch'in and Han China (300 BC-AD 300) the merchants collaborated with the state in running the salt and iron monopolies. In the Arab empires of the Middle East the goods traded by the merchants were produced by peasants exploited by big landowners, by self employed artisans or, occasionally, by state enterprises--not by enterprises run by the merchants themselves.

The system as we know it today could only come into existence because at some point a capitalist class emerged that did directly control production and was therefore able to directly exploit people on its own account, rather than simply being an intermediary between other exploiters.

One precondition for the emergence of true capitalism, as Marx showed, was the separation of the immediate producers (those who did the work) from the means of production, which passed into the hands of the new exploiting class. The producers then had only one way to get a livelihood. They had to persuade the members of this exploiting class to make use of their capacity for labour (their 'labour power') in return for a remuneration sufficient to keep them alive and fit for work. But the level of that remuneration was substantially lower than the value of the goods produced by their work. The difference, the 'surplus', went straight into the pockets of the owners of the means of production. They gained the fruits of the exploitation of labour, even if it was legally 'free', just as much as the old ruling class that exploited unfree labour.

Marx described in Capital the forcible separation of the workforce in Britain from control over the means of production by the driving of people from the land with the enclosures of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries and the 'clearances' of the 19th century. In many parts of the world the process continued right into the 20th century with the seizure of 'native' lands in places like southern Africa by white colonists--and also with the so called 'collectivisation' of agriculture under Stalinism.

Without such a separation of the workforce from the means of production the spread of production for the market could lead, not to capitalism, but to a new variant of serfdom, the so called 'second serfdom' of eastern and southern Europe, or to the encomienda system in Latin America. The output of production in these regions was directed towards world markets, but the internal dynamic was very different to that of capitalism, with its drive to competitive accumulation.

Productive capitalism was not possible before a certain point in human history. This was when there was a massive escalation of the use of the products of past labour to increase the productivity of present labour, when the use of relatively simple tools began to give way to the first mechanisation, in the broadest sense of the term.36

This could have a fourfold effect. It (1) increased the output--and therefore the potential surplus--to be obtained from a given quantity of labour. It (2) increased the cost of equipment and materials needed to undertake production--and therefore the likelihood that the individual producers would not be able to supply them themselves. It (3) increased the dependence of production on the initiative and commitment of the producer (if only because more care needed to be taken on the expensive equipment) and therefore the advantage of exploiting 'free' as opposed to serf or slave labour. And it (4) increased the importance of trading networks which could supply raw materials and dispose of the increased output.

Where 'mechanisation' had all four effects it separated immediate producers from control over the means of production on the one hand and encouraged the use of 'free' labour by the new class of controllers on the other. It also increased the integration of the whole production process with the market.

All four effects were not always present. Often in the early stages the individual producer still partially owned and controlled the means of production, although becoming increasingly dependent on merchants, landowners or moneylenders for funds and raw materials. In these cases transitional forms to fully capitalist production flourished--for instance, the putting-out system in the towns, share-cropping in the countryside. As we have seen, there were also many cases in which slave or serf labour was used in early forms of industrial production. And in some cases at least, mechanised forms of production were quite compatible with the denial of any initiative to some groups of labourers. This was true on the sugar plantations of the Caribbean in the 18th century and the cotton plantations of the American South through the first half of the 19th century.

Yet once 'mechanised' processes were under way the possibilities of a transition to capitalist forms of production were there. The development of productive capitalism depended on such developments in the forces of production. By contrast, where such developments did not occur, merchant and usurer capitalism were possible, but not productive capitalism.

This explains why capitalism did not develop in the ancient civilisations of the Middle East and the Mediterranean lands or in the pre-Hispanic civilisations of the Americas. In neither case were the forces of production sufficiently advanced for a new class of capitalist exploiters independent of the old ruling classes to emerge.

But back to Britain today we are currently living in a finance based capitalism based on merchant capital. This has been the more favoured system since the 1960's when Harold Wilson the labour prime minister decided to favour finance capital over industrial capital. This was due to various things really the fact that the workers were getting strong in the industrial field with mining strikes frequent and workers gaining confidence this had to be smashed and a turn to more finance capital where union uptake was sparse and fragmented. The battle for the more dominant form of capitalism was born out and today we survive on a service/finance capitalism system where little value is produced rather than money is transfered and borrowed and delt with. This as Marx tells us produces no long term value as it doesnt have much labour value embodied in what finance capital produced if at all.

In the coming period we may see another battle between finance and industrial capital as i've explained on another post the finance capitalists may be forced to take the wrap for getting the people striking and rioting. To quell this anger the financial sector may be tempered down a bit to relieve the anger but industrial capitalism which may come back into play in the future with an experiment in Greece taking place right now to see if Greek workers will accept very low wages if so they may become competitive with the likes of China in terms of wages.

I cant see this happening myself so a huge class struggle will braek out bigger than what we have at the moment. It is just the start of this crisis in capitalism and the ruling class's have very little answer to the problems they find themselves with.

The only way out of this crisis as we continue to say is a socialist answer a planning of the economy based on needs not greed of a few.