Sep 21 2011

Capitalism offers us no future

Since the current economic crisis broke out in 2007, the bosses and their paid politicians have tried to persuade us that if we tighten our belts and accept painful cuts, then the ‘good old days’ will return. However, it has become increasingly clear that their imposed cuts have only made the situation worse, as we enter a second recession. Whether in Greece or Ireland pro-capitalist governments keep coming back for more cuts, but still their economies decline. This is as good as it gets for the exploited under capitalism – more austerity, more wars and more environmental devastation.

We need to argue for, and take action, so that we can move towards a new form of society. A genuine communism (not the aberration which failed in the USSR) based upon the principle of from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs. Capitalism’s days may be numbered, but unless we act, it could drag us all into barbarism or worse. Only if people have confidence that there is a real alternative, will they take the necessary action to defeat the cuts promised by Con-Dems, Labour and SNP alike.

We need to control our organisations

Adopting a defensive posture is a strategic error. We need to go far beyond opposition to further cuts and present a vision of an alternative and outline how that can come about. We need to spell out the obstacles to be overcome. First among these are the Trade Union and Labour Party leaderships. For a century their timid and limited reformism has squandered a wave upon wave of rank and file militancy. New Labour barely pretends to care any more. It is time to build and control our own independent organisations – a real alternative to top-down manipulated, dead end, ‘day of action – back to work tomorrow’ fronts. These just dissipate our energies and offer us up for New Labour’s cuts tomorrow.

Women

The cuts which have descended on the public sector fall heavily on women, resulting in violence against women in all its forms. It is likely to be women that are most severely affected by the changes to housing benefit, to child benefit and to working tax credit. It is likely to be women who will pick up the slack as social care is slashed and subsidies for childcare disappear. It is likely to be women who absorb the rising anger of a generation of youth cast aside unable to obtain either employment or further education. Women have been disproportionately affected by the public sector cuts. Our position is clear: capitalism and patriarchy breed violence. What we are confronting today, in these austerity budgets, is systemic violence that includes poverty, unemployment, and inadequate housing, childcare, social services and access to education – coupled with discrimination based on gender, age, sexual preference and ability. We need to counter this with free, quality social provision for all. There needs to be a policy of zero tolerance of violence against women and resources allocated needed to achieve this goal.

Make capitalism history

Implementing these measures will start to create a just and humane society, but only a start. While a few privileged families own great wealth and control the productive capacity of our country, the vast majority of people will be exploited by the few. Only a socialist transformation of society can change this. We need to move rapidly to a communist society. Cooperation will replace competition. Working people will be motivated by the desire to make quality goods and provide quality services while ensuring the well-being of the entire society, rather than each individual trying to acquire the most material goods. Instead of a profit-based market, the economy will rely on democratic planning. In a communist society, hierarchy and discrimination will be abolished. Gender relations will be transformed and women will participate in every aspect of the society on the basis of full equality with men.

Communism is not a utopian vision, but rather an immediate necessity if disaster is to be averted. It can only be achieved through the conscious actions of a mobilized working class. Only the militancy of a rank and file insurgency based in the workplace linked to direct action in the community can establish the basis for the mass movement that we need.

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Mar 25 2009

SSP Conference Bulletin March 2009

The RCN urges Conference delegates and visitors to apply the following principles when they discuss, debate and vote on this year’s Conference motions.

  • Do they enhance the political independence of our class?
  • Do they promote greater democracy both in our own organisations and in wider society?
  • Do they develop genuine internationalism?
  • Do they oppose British unionism and Scottish nationalism and promote a republican socialist ‘internationalism from below’ approach
  • Do they help us recognise that capitalism is based on both exploitation and oppression and develop democratic, secular and non-sectarian methods to promote greater socialist unity?
  • Do they point the way towards distinctive socialist solutions to the current crisis of capitalism, and open up the prospect of creating a new society based on human emancipation and liberation?

We encourage comrades not just to buy and read our new Conference issue of Emancipation & Liberation, but to get your hands on other comrades’ material, and get involved in the debates both formally and informally.

We have highlighted just a few motions for delegates and visitors’ attention. There are other motions which also deserve your support, and motions where RCN members are keen to hear the arguments before deciding how to vote.

Section 2 – International

European elections

Support Motion 2 from Edinburgh South (with the Campsie amendment) and Motion 3 from the RCN platform (oppose the amendment from Glasgow North East)

These motions emphasise the importance of using the forthcoming Euro-election for the SSP. We should use the occasion to put forward an independent socialist voice to address the current crisis of capitalism. This would highlight the SSP’s active participation, alongside other European socialists, in promoting international solutions to counter the austerity and war-mongering drives being promoted by European capitalists and New Labour, especially Mandelson; the Union Jack chauvinism of the BNP, UKIP and the Tories; the British labour nationalism of the trade union bureaucrats behind No2EU; as well as showing those committed to genuine Scottish independence that this can not be achieved by the SNP hanging on to the coat-tails of the likes of Matthewson, Souter, Trump, et al.

Palestine

Support Motion 5 from Glasgow North East motion as amended by Dundee West, Motion 6 from Dundee West and Motion 7 from East Kilbride.

The recent invasion of Gaza has highlighted the continued racist and imperialist nature of the Israeli state. This has led to increased recognition of the apartheid features of Israel, and the growth of an international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions, which the SSP should throw its weight behind.

However, as socialists, we must go beyond active solidarity with the oppressed Palestinians and give our support to those socialist and democratic forces in Palestine and the wider Middle East, which alone can bring an end to all forms of oppression – national, religious, gender and sexual orientation.

This also means joining with those increasing numbers of Arabs and Jews who realize that the various attempts to promote a two state ‘solution’ have just led to continued ethnic cleansing. Such attempts at partition, always promoted by imperialist interests (e.g. in Ireland, India, Bosnia), can only lead to further bloodbaths. Real unity can only arise in a national democratic and secular movement, involving Arabs, Jews and others, for the whole of Palestine. Such a movement needs the active support of the other exploited and oppressed peoples of the Middle East, in a struggle against US, British and Euro imperialism and their allies – Israel and the corrupt semi-feudal and police Arab states.

Section 3 – Rebuilding the Left

(and Section 4, Motion 14)

This is an important issue at Conference and we urge all delegates to pay careful attention to the various proposals being advocated. If we had been allowed further amendments, we would have highlighted the importance of the successful Republican Socialist Convention, organised by the SSP’s International Committee, held on November 29th in Edinburgh, and emphasised the need for the SSP to build on this. This Convention brought together key activists from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales and England. However, we feel confident that the incoming International Committee will continue the good work of building international solidarity on the basis of ‘internationalism from below’.

Motion 14 and its amendment from Edinburgh South make the constitutional changes necessary to set-up a John Maclean Association for SSP members and supporters living outside Scotland. This would help us develop the ‘internationalism from below’ alliances necessary to bring about the demise of the British unionist, capitalist and imperialist state.

Section 5 – Policy and Campaigns

Motion 21 from Glasgow Kelvin, Candidates religious beliefs

We hope this issue will be addressed at Conference in a mature and non-personalised manner. It has arisen as a result of Morag Balfour, our candidate in the Glenrothes by-election, describing herself as a Quaker in the election material. There is no SSP policy on such matters, so Morag was quite entitled to do this. However, the RCN thinks that SSP candidates should not use official campaign material to put forward their particular religious (or, for that matter, their platform) beliefs. We support the proposed rule change. Do we really want SSP candidates in Glasgow or the West, officially describing themselves as Protestants, Catholics or Atheists? We are a party open to people of both non-religious and religious persuasions, but we advocate secular methods to achieve wider unity.

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