Sunday, December 08, 2019

Use your vote wisely

The only important thing that is wrong about Parliament, from the Socialist Party’s point of view, is that it is controlled by the wrong people and for the wrong purpose. Its M.P.s at present have been sent there by electors who want capitalism to be retained. When a majority of the electors have become socialists they will send their delegates to Parliament with the mandate to establish socialism. In the words of our Declaration of Principles, the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, will be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation.

It must clearly be borne in mind that it is a fundamental principle of the Socialist Party that any of its members standing for election would stand solely on the demand for socialism. On no account do we solicited votes on a reform programme.

Our case is not that particular reforms are in themselves necessarily harmful or useless, but that “reformism” (the policy of seeking members and votes on a manifesto of reforms or immediate demands) is useless and harmful in the task of achieving socialism.

Particular measures (e.g., extension of the vote, introduction of a free health service and the improvement of the education system) have been decidedly useful to our fellow-workers and to the task of socialists. If we envisage a minority of M.P.s in Parliament elected simply as socialists, they would take instructions from the Party on the question of voting for a particular measure which clearly was of advantage to the workers or the socialist movement.

If the issue were a clear one of that kind, no confusion would be caused, and there would be no possibility of voters being misled into thinking that at elections socialist candidates were bidding for votes on a promise to support or initiate reforms.

At the present time there are no Socialist Party M.P.s in Parliament, and the Party has, therefore, had no occasion to consider particular questions in that connection.

The lessons learned are:
Firstly, that it is insufficient for workers to aim merely at political control, but that they must obtain political control through their own independent organisation and for socialism;
 Secondly, that socialist action on the political field must be action for the abolition of capitalism, whatever the intentions of the leaders, whilst the mass of the working-class electorate are not socialists, they can only act within the bounds of capitalism. The problems they set out to solve are inherent in the capitalist system: thus at the very outset they are doomed to failure and will be discredited. Having spent their time popularising reform programmes and catching votes they have had no time or energies for spreading socialist knowledge.

The workers blame the existence of such problems as poverty, unemployment, etc., upon the men who hold the reins of government. The Socialist Party is not concerned that these political parties and their leaders should be discredited by their failure, but a serious consequence is the disillusionment and apathy that falls on millions of workers as a result.

The many problems in our present society can only be removed by the world working class establishing a social system which has for its basis the production of wealth solely for the use of all, regardless of race or sex.

This cannot be accomplished by a working class blindly following leaders who have preached to them policies of reforms, nor can violent protest be the method to make up for the unreadiness of the workers.

Only by the mental development of the working class can the suffering and misery of capitalism be replaced by socialism.

 Brian Johnson will be standing for the Socialist Party at Cardiff Central. While in Folkestone & Hythe constituency, Andy Thomas will be the Socialist Party’s candidate.

Against the destruction of the environment

Climate change has loomed large in the news. A great environmental and social catastrophe is brewing. There is now very little doubt that it has become a real threat to the future of human civilisation. Depressingly, it appears that humanity may walk into the environmental catastrophe forewarned and with eyes wide open. The problem is that there are several features of the current capitalist system make the environment’s problems very difficult to address. Capitalism is  based around the idea of competition and the marketplace. Businesses survive and thrive in so far as they can exploit advantages over one another. Rather than attempting to solve the problem, many of the most powerful corporations in the world have focused instead on identifying ways of getting around any measures put in place to address it. The second major problem is that the world is divided up into a separate individual nations or trading blocs who compete with one another for commercial dominance. All solutions to the problem of greenhouse gases will inevitably cause some reduction in economic strength. Any country that imposes strict measures to address the problem runs the risk of falling behind its competitors economically. Hence, international agreements have been routinely flouted by powerful countries whenever they think that they will harm their position compared to their competitors. The over-riding problem is that our world is organised according to competitive principles and maximising the profits of the wealthy. Given this reality, common problems that require cooperation to fix are impossible to agree and achieve. If we can get rid of capitalism, halting and reversing climate change will be possible.

Under all the mass of excuses and buck-passing, the reality is clearly visible. The United Nations COPs have failed.They have produced inadequate and ineffective initiatives and a complete lack of commitment. Yet with each new summit the politicians miraculously become courageous and far-sighted champions of truth and justice while still double-dealing and making their special pleading. Always and again and  again words, it is only words, to make themselves look good. They can't agree on anything meaningful at all. How can they talk about the environment, when they are not even been able to guarantee the survival of millions of people who live without the bare necessities for a decent standard of life? They still hide behind euphemisms like "man made", "human activities", than to say what we all know is true. The environmental crisis is caused by capitalism and unlike its economic crises this is not one it is able to resolve. Thus their claim that we as individuals are to blame for the crisis. We see it in the lifestyle campaigns to make us all responsible for being part of problem.
The capitalists always delay the required action. Capitalist “solutions” to global-warming pushes the cost onto those least able to pay. The prospects for any agreement that is capable enough to slow down much less halt climate change is clear - the climate crisis cannot be solved within capitalism, and that environmental emergency is intrinsic to the capitalist system. This is because capitalism is based on constant expansion. They know that no-one can force them to keep their promises, unless, of course, we the workers and the dispossessed and disinherited of the world take our lives back into our own hands.

Since the days of the Industrial Revolution, there have been countless ecological disasters caused due to the thirst for profit. .Only working people can prevent global warming, by taking control of the means of production from the capitalists to close down the fossil fuel industry and convert to renewable energy sources. For this reason, the Socialist Party urges all  climate activists to take part in the struggle to overthrow capitalism and build a free, fair and just society. We need to create a system which puts humankind's need for a functioning ecosystem before capitalism's need for maximal profit. To achieve this, the environmental movement and workers' movement must organise to create a new society because a society governed by capitalists will never solve the environmental crisis. This cannot be done by carbon credits, green capitalism, cap and capture on industrial pollution, but by the end of capitalism and the liberation of humankind. We need a real Green Revolution and that means a Socialist Revolution.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Our Oceans - Starved of oxygen

The publication from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) shows how the problem known as ocean deoxygenation, driven by global warming and human-caused nutrient pollution, is expanding. Representing the expertise of over five dozens scientists across 17 countries, the report is framed as "the largest peer-reviewed study conducted so far on ocean deoxygenation." The researchers found that from 1960-2010 overall ocean oxygen reserves fell by 2%, and they say the level could drop by as much as a further 7% by 2100.

"With this report, the scale of damage climate change is wreaking upon the ocean comes into stark focus. As the warming ocean loses oxygen, the delicate balance of marine life is thrown into disarray," said IUCN acting director general Dr. Grethel Aguilar.

"We are now seeing increasingly low levels of dissolved oxygen across large areas of the open ocean. This is perhaps the ultimate wake-up call from the uncontrolled experiment humanity is unleashing on the world's ocean as carbon emissions continue to increase," said report co-editor Dan Laffoley, the principal advisor on Marine Science and Conservation for IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Program. "To stop the worrying expansion of oxygen-poor areas," said Laffoley, "we need to decisively curb greenhouse gas emissions as well as nutrient pollution from agriculture and other sources."

Driving the problem is climate change, both directly, as oxygen is less soluble in warmer waters, and indirectly by affecting ocean dynamics. Deoxygenation is also being fueled by nutrient pollution, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, from sewage, agriculture, and aquaculture.

While there were just 45 ocean sites around the world with low oxygen conditions in the 1960s, 700 such sites now exist. The number of areas in the global ocean depleted of oxygen, or anoxic waters, has quadrupled, the report found. That's bad news, because changes in oxygen levels mess with species distribution. Species like jellyfish want low-oxygen areas, but low-oxygen sensitive ones, including most fish, don't.  Those species are then driven to other areas not affected by deoxygenation, but that can leave them susceptible to over-fishing by commercial operations. 

Humans dependent on the affected species, especially smaller-scale fisheries, are adversely impacted. Communities may have a reduced catch or are forced to spend more to obtain the afected species—impacts that threaten not only nutrient loss but cultural loss.

According to Minna Epps, IUCN Global Marine and Polar Program director, "Decisions taken at the ongoing climate conference will determine whether our ocean continues to sustain a rich variety of life, or whether habitable, oxygen-rich marine areas are increasingly, progressively, and irrevocably lost.