Saturday, October 31, 2020

They share the same hypocrisy

Since its foundation the United States
 has been a battlefield between the classes and been involved in a perpetual conflict. The privileged few have triumphed and have the rest of us at their mercy. The privileged few control the political machinery. Their money and their political servants write the platforms and dictate to the politicians. There is no attempt to conceal the fact that both the Republican and Democratic parties are financed and controlled by representatives of the plutocracy which owns and rules the land. Political parties are responsive to the interests of those who funds them. They get donations from the capitalist class only for the reason that they represent the interests of that class. Professional politicians of whatever party serve the interests of their masters. He who pays the piper calls the tune as the old saying goes. The policies of  politicians reflect the material interests of their masters, regardless of any theatricals to disguise the fact. Presidential election campaigns show a lot about the country’s politics that the ruling classes’ political representatives produce for public’s consumption to manipulate the public perception. It’s the power of the ruling classes to distract the voters with scandals and diversions than for the media to concern itself with genuine class interests, irrespective of the capitalists’ feuding factions.

We are living under a system which is more and more clearly revealed as the enemy of humanity. Capitalism only means poverty and oppression.  It imposes draconian cuts in living standards on the already poor, simply in the interest of still greater profits for the capitalist class. Capitalism is responsible for the thoughtless destruction of the environment. The profit motive is incompatible with safeguarding the world’s resources. So long as it is profitable, environmental destruction is perfectly ’logical’ under capitalism. 

Humanity’s problem is not limited resources but the waste of resources which is an essential part of the process of capital accumulation. Its armaments industry monopolizes most of the world’s research and development and cynically profits from wars of unparalleled destructiveness. Capitalism’s guiding principle, the quest for profit, takes precedence over any human interest. Capitalism undermines the future of humanity. Capitalism cannot be reformed. It has undergone many changes in its history, but these have simply meant finding new ways to exploit the laboring people. Capitalism is red with the blood of workers. The only solution is to destroy it and build a new social system.

Socialism means liberty, leisure, literature, art, fellowship, life itself. Society must have a new economic basis. The class conflict and political corruption must end. The Republicans and the Democrats are composed almost entirely by those in the service of the ruling class. The Republican and Democratic parties stand for private ownership and competition.

The World Socialist Party alone stands for common ownership and co-operation. The Republican and Democratic parties uphold the wage system; the World Socialist Party demands its end. What have the Republican or Democratic parties got to offer to the wage-slaves of the United States? The millions of us, male and female, black and white and yellow and brown,  produce all this nation’s wealth. The World Socialist Party demands the machinery of production in the name of the workers and the control of society in the name of the people. We demand the abolition of capitalism and wage-slavery and the surrender of the capitalist class. We demand equal rights of all the people regardless of race, color, creed or nationality. Socialism will end war by ending the war-producing system. Socialism will end this atrocity. We demand that poverty shall cease once and forever and that all children born into the world shall have equal opportunity to grow up, to be educated, to have healthy bodies and trained minds, and to develop and freely express the best there is in them in mental, moral and physical achievement. We demand complete control of industry by the workers; we demand all the wealth they produce for the enjoyment of all the people. We demand the earth for all the people. 

We know our cause is just. Forward to lay the foundations for a new society.


Chagos Islanders go to the ICC

 This blog has had a number of posts upon the injustice of the compulsory re-location of the inhabitants of the Chagos Islands to make way for the establishment of a huge US air-base at Diego Garcia, The Chagossians have won several key legal battles and the UK government under both political parties have defied rulings against it, eventually resorting to the royal prerogative to avoid obeying the courts. However, that unique British escape-clause has no standing under international law. 

 The International Court of Justice ruled against the UK and the United Nations General Assembly demanded that Britain “withdraw its colonial administration … unconditionally within a period of no more than six months.” 116 states voted in favour of the resolution, 55 abstained and only 5 countries supported the UK. 

But once again Her Majesty's government refused to acknowledge the authority of world opinion. Such behaviour from any other nation would normally be condemned by the British government and some form of sanction imposed upon it. 

Now,  another stage in the campaign for Britain to follow the rule of law has been reached. Charges have been filed with the International Criminal Court alleging the London based administration of the British Indian Ocean Territory and its military representative at Diego Garcia, Commander Kay Burbridge, RN, are engaging in the crime of apartheid and should be arrested and brought to The Hague for trial. According to the submission to the ICC the British administration has instituted laws that prevent the Chagossians from living in the Chagos islands and they may visit only under military escort.

The Chagossians despite having lived on the disputed islands for up to 8 generations have been stripped of property rights and citizenship. They fear retaliation and are asking for protection from the International Criminal Court.

The Chagossians’ lawyer, Dr. Jonathan Levy, notes: “Racism is the enemy of all mankind and Apartheid is the highest form of racism.  For officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and their legal advisors to promote racism is completely unacceptable. The Chagossians only seek to return to their homes and property; the secret US/UK base at Diego Garcia can coexist with the Chagossians.”

Why not free meals for all?

 That free meals for children during school breaks was ever an issue is surely a brazen example of the iniquities of capitalism.


The story ran like some synopsis for an updated staging of the musical ‘Oliver’, only it isn’t fiction. Why is it that the sixth largest economy in the world, that has borrowed, and will continue to borrow, many billions of Covid pounds, jibs at a few relatively measly millions to feed children plunged into poverty through no agency of their own?


A more pertinent question is, why should a resource that’s as vital to life as is air be rationed by the ability to pay?  A society that is struggling with the present pandemic to keep people breathing would not tolerate a system denying oxygen to those without the requisite bank balance.


Yet that is the logic of capitalism. Children, many of key workers on pathetically low pay who daily put themselves at risk of infection, are at the mercy of a squabble between national and local governments as to who will provide a meal a day for them.


The logic of socialism is that food will be available to freely supply the needs of everyone, adult or child. As it will be for all necessities of life. People will take what they need because they won’t have to take or hoard more, just in case. After all no one deliberately tries to breath in more air than they need.


Such will be the outcome of socially organising production to satisfy self-determined needs, rather than the capitalist need to satisfy profit taking and the restrictions on access this necessarily entails. Surprise, surprise, this option is not being promulgated in any of the media coverage of children and their inconvenient urge to eat between term times.

Corbyn’s crucifixion

 The suspension from the Labour Party of its erstwhile leader Jeremy Corbyn initially appears to be of little note for socialists. There can be sympathy for the hounding of a decent man, but hey ho that’s capitalist politics for you.


Actually, this is more serious. While Corbyn does not in any sense meet the criteria set out in the our principles of what is required to be a socialist, he is throughout the media and in the popular consciousness precisely that. Indeed he probably self-identifies as a socialist.


During the lead up to the 2019 general election, in a number of BBC Radio 4 vox pops. he was frequently cited as the reason for Labour voters of many years standing insisting they would not vote for the Labour Party. Corbyn was too extreme, to the point him being denounced as a ‘communist’.


As socialists who state that socialism and communism are synonyms, that the Labour Party never was, is not and never will be a socialist party, such prevalent sentiments as expressed in those vox pops. are of concern.


Capitalism’s defenders are none to discerning when it comes to identifying perceived socialist threats. The faintest whiff of red smoke and any vaguely smouldering embers are to be stamped on. If possible the word socialist, never mind the concept, is to be anathema.


Socialist understanding of the Soviet Union from its inception is that it was state capitalist and not socialist/communist in any sense. Yet there can be little doubt that Lenin, who thought himself a socialist, found himself through circumstance as head of a ruling regime that had no way of pursuing socialism.


Thus the compromise of state capitalism proved to be no pre-emptor of socialism as perhaps Lenin hoped. However, it did allow for an ideological claim of communism in the making, an iron curtain indeed behind which the nomenclature became the capitalist class spawning the oligarchs of Putin’s non-Soviet Russia.


By posing as communist for over 70 years, the Soviet regime has been responsible for considerable ideological damage that actual socialists have to deal with. Present-day inheritors of Lenin’s legacy continue to serve to obscure the ubiquity of capitalism throughout the world, be it ‘free market’ or state capitalism.


This serves ‘free market’ capitalism particularly well politically as those state capitalist countries who continue to don the communist mask tend to the brutally authoritarian, thereby confirming the popular conception.


There is, though, a risk in all this for capitalism in that the concept of socialism may be traduced, but it continues to exist and where that may lead is unpredictable. For example, while the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 could not of itself have led to socialism, had the idea inspired the working class around the world to seriously consider what was possible for it to achieve, then capitalism would have had a problem.


Therefore, any hint of socialism succeeding, however erroneous, must be pilloried and, where possible, crushed. Even politicians who are merely trying to ameliorate the worst effects of capitalism without challenging capitalism itself must be thwarted and shown to fail. All the better if those politicians self-identify, or failing that can be branded, as socialists/communists/Marxists.


Thus the case of Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour Party takes on a significance for socialists. On his being elected leader a whole mechanism of vilification was slipped into gear. Ironically, it was his declared support for a beleaguered Semitic people, Palestinians, which ultimately led to his downfall, branded a denier of anti-Semitism.


As a case study in character assassination, it should serve as a warning as to the opprobrium that will be manufactured and freely distributed to the public should anyone appear to be gaining influence contrary to capitalism’s well-being.


The synthetic outrage produced through blending anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism has proved to be powerful. It has placed a brand of aggressive ultra-nationalism beyond criticism and forged a potent political weapon to strike down opponents, leaving them apparently morally, as well politically, compromised.


The wider impact is to identify anti-Semitism with socialism. It doesn’t matter that Corbyn really isn’t a socialist, just another would-be reformer of capitalism. If this is indicative of action that can be so vigorously pursued against a reformer, what can those expect who do wish to replace capitalism with socialism through the agency of a self-aware working class acting on its own behalf.


Once the working class is so motivated, then such a political weapon will be blunted. But until then, those who have accepted the task of propagating socialist ideas need to take heed of what could be the personal consequences of becoming more influential.


There is the further, perhaps more important, point concerning democracy. Socialists do not advocate the suppression of ideas, rather they should be brought out into the open and subjected to scrutiny. Through debate erroneous notions can be exposed and correct ones clearly identified. This does not preclude individuals continuing to expound erroneous ideas, the safeguard being their dismissal by the majority. That is democracy.


This most definitely applies to socialists. If some, or even all, we advocate can be demonstrated objectively to be wrong, then so it must be. It would be utterly pointless finding some mechanism whereby such a demonstration could be suppressed. This applies to all bodies of ideas and ideologies. Any agency working to frustrate this for self-serving purposes is opposed to democracy.

The Socialist Party was vigorously opposed to Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. However well meaning, his ideas would not have brought the benefit of socialism to the working class. This for the very good reason that socialism is not something that can be conferred, it must be achieved by the working class itself.


This opposition was open and political, not personal. His subsequent vilification though the media, and by many of his own backbenchers, served the interests of the working class not one iota. But it has most definitely served the interests of capitalism by casting guilt by association, however vague and erroneous that association may be, with socialism. The juicier story is proving to be the ongoing, and rather laboured (pun intended) anti-Semitism row. If there is a strand of anti-Semitism running through the Labour Party it would be one of the threads of racism sown into all societies based around national identities.


Zionism is but one manifestation of this and it is quite possible that those who take a specifically anti-Zionist stand slip into expressions of anti-Semitism without recognising they are doing so. While the world continues to be divided by national boundaries, so will the curse of casual, as well as intentional, racist comments and behaviour.

Suspending Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party not only won’t cure the problem, it deflects from the root cause. It would well serve those who are celebrating Corbyn’s predicament to examine their own attitudes as to whether they can honestly acquit themselves of ever having had a racist thought. To quote a statement attributed to a Jewish teacher, ‘Let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone.’


Perhaps Jeremy Corbyn will now take stock and come to realise that the best interests of society are to be served through pursuing actual socialism, not some reformist parody. In which case he may come to realise suspension, perhaps expulsion, from the Labour Party is a blessing, even if initiated by dark deeds.


A Dis-Spiriting Election

The U.S.  presidential election approaches, a lesser evil contest between Trump and Biden.

Do I vote against Trump or help Trump?” Noam Chomsky asks.

The truth is that the choice offered is an illusion. Voters are held hostage by both parties. The Democratic Party is positioned against universal healthcare, ending military aggression, stronger environmental protection, and fair distribution of wealth. By voting for the Democrats at the ballot box, the electorate validates and legitimizes a party that perpetuates war, racism and exploitation which existed long before Trump appeared on the scene.

Americans are programmed every four years for participation in an election that is usually described as the most important since the last one. Eligible voters will choose neither the ruling power’s candidates who act as  puppets for Wall St. This time around the liberal media are telling us that the fear of fascism and end of our democracy is reason to vote the lesser evil. Talk of “our” democracy is like the slaves referring to “our” plantation. The fact is that plutocrats and the oligarchs own and control America’s democracy. “We, the people” have learned only too well how to be slaves. Worse, we have come to think of our servitude as liberty. We, the people” are asleep. Time to wake up, fellow-workers, and break free of our chains. Election issues such as Trump’s personal taxes or Hunter Biden’s business speculation are irrelevant to the real interests of working people which do not feature on the media agenda. People seem content to sit back and watch the reality TV that passes for politics today. It’s the equivalent of bread and circuses, a carefully calibrated exercise in how to manipulate, polarize and control a population. upcoming election will keep workers divided and at each other’s throats, so busy fighting each other that they will never unite against capitalist tyranny. It is time for us all to refuse to be pacified, patronized or placated. The poor are growing. Racial justice and human rights are increasingly non-existent. We are sheep. We are being bred to be followers.

The American political system, from its very inception, was never intended to be democratic. It was designed to be always in favor of the wealthy despite the noble ideals of many of the participants and ever since the history of United States contains the dark shadows of oppression and repression. The deep injustices were covered up by patriotic symbols: the flag, the national anthem and legends that turned the founding fathers and the industrial barons into heroes. Regardless of who is president or the party which controls Congress the official narrative remains one that glorifies the military and worships plunder, justified in the name of Manifest Destiny. The culture of indigenous peoples and the ecology of nature are destroyed in the pursuit of profit for the corporate masters behind the scenes.

One’s refusal to submit to the choice that is offered on the ballot is not throwing one’s vote away nor a mere gesture. It is an act of civil disobedience. Another world is possible, but not without us fighting for it. We must defeat this malignancy of the “lesser of two evils” politics so that we claim our own power.

Still-Births and Poverty

 Poorer mothers are three times more likely to have stillborn children than those from more affluent backgrounds, according to a new study.

The wide-ranging research also found that high levels of stress doubled the likelihood of stillbirth, irrespective of other social factors and pregnancy complications. Unemployed mothers were almost three times more at risk.Stillbirths, which refers to when a baby is born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy, occur in around one in every 200 births in England. The stillbirth rate in the UK is 24th out of 49 high-income countries.Researchers said getting more antenatal care can stop women from having a stillbirth — with mothers who went to more appointments than national rules stipulate having a 72 per cent lower risk.

Jane Brewin, Tommy’s chief executive, said: “This research shows that stillbirth is not a problem we can solve with healthcare alone. The complex relationships identified here between stillbirth and social stresses make it clear that the government’s prevention strategy must extend beyond the NHS to tackle these deeper underlying issues within society.”

Ros Bragg, director of Maternity Action, told The Independent there is an “urgent need” for the government to take measures to tackle poverty and deprivation in pregnancy.

She said it is known that “good employment, decent housing and well-funded maternity pay and benefits” are crucially key to ensuring the good health of pregnant women and their babies.

Friday, October 30, 2020

No Change


“The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.” - Julius Nyerere, first president of Tanzania

The Democratic Party decided to risk another Trump term to nominating Bernie Sanders despite his popularity and majority support for his policies, Green New Deal, Medicare for All, free public education through college, demilitarization, and massive taxation of corporations and billionaires. Instead they chose to run against Trump a corporate-friendly candidate who was polling more weakly against Trump. Now millions of people have signaled that they will not vote for either rotten candidate on November 3. 

Meantime, the Left insist that Trump is the anti-Christ and working people should vote for a lesser evil, a saintly grandfatherly figure such as Biden, and yet begin organizing campaigns to try to save the world from that evil they just recommended you to vote for and hopes to get into office. The World Socialist Party of the United States has maintained its integrity and honesty about both candidates, which has angered our opponents who believe that part of supporting a candidate is lying about him.

If you place trust in a Biden presidency believing in him, his presidency will turn out as disappointing as Clinton’s or Obama’s and lead straight to yet another Republican right-wing as Bush’s or Trump’s victories.

For the Democratic Party, Trump has been the perfect pantomime villain and he has served as the Pied Piper for the Right. The Democrats are aligned with Wall St. And much of their opposition to Trump has merely been media PR stunts without any actual political opposition, hence their support for border security, the defense budget and the Patriot Act, as well as Trump’s foreign policies. Real resistance to Trump, top would threaten the Democrats own cozy relationships with the corporations that fund and run the government. And that’s just not something they’re willing or able to do.

Many on the Left will hold their noses when voting for Joe Biden as the saying goes because the lesser evil is still an evil, especially Biden who has a record of war-mongering, being an errand boy for big banks and facilitating the incarcerations of many thousands with his crime bill. Not only have over the years been given abysmal choices for president but they have grown worse with time. It is the ability of industrialists and financiers to buy Republican and Democratic politicians and their control over the news media to choose the campaign issues. The Democratic Party leadership obeys the wishes of its corporate benefactors. Who pays the piper calls the tune. Sanders, a liberal in the tradition of FDR and not actually a socialist (despite what he calls himself) was easily beaten in his two attempts to become the Democratic Party nominee. Many Democrats would have followed the example of Blairites in the British Labour Party who would rather have Tory government than a have Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. Even if Sanders had somehow managed to become President, the corporate Democrats with the enthusiastic assistance of the Republicans would undoubtedly have undermined him and defeated his policies. 

The American Republican-Democrat duopoly is foolproof way keeping power with Wall St. And it is helped by an anachronistic hopelessly out of date Constitution. Has it never occurred to American the general unwillingness of Democrats to amend the Constitution, to make the Electoral College more reflective of the actual will of the voters? Most any other system would be more democratic but replacing it with a more representative proportional multiple-party system would require fundamentally changing political structures. Not totally democratic as  as capitalism’s built-in inequalities and power imbalances can’t be wished away but must be eliminated through the construction of a better world. However, it would be a be at least an improvement.

 The ultimate reason for the two-party system winner-take-all electoral process is that it was designed by the privileged few to serve the privileged few.  It may offers the illusion of democratic choice, in contrast to a one-party system but if the candidate standing for one of the parties is objectionable, then our choice is between the “lesser of two evils.” Voting for a party or an individual becomes a sterile exercise in ensuring the other side doesn’t win. The election campaign strategy is to attract away voters from the other party, thereby encouraging the parties to draw closer to one another, lessening differences between them. The importance of the candidates’ character and personality comes to the fore, blurring political principles.

The Democratic Party and the Republicans may compete fiercely against one another to win elections and that is because they represent different groupings within the capitalist class. But they still remain accomplices and collaborators for their masters on the many issues that the ruling class are at one.

If we are to ever have elected bodies that are responsive to non-manipulated popular will we must overthrow capitalism itself.