Saturday, May 30, 2009

Euroelections: the case for the Socialist Party of Great Britain

Originally posted on the Labour supporting blog, Dave's Part

We don't want your vote. We don't want your vote if you think socialism means nationalisation, higher taxation, welfare state, council estates, national liberation, legalising marijuana or anything of that sort. In short, we don't want your vote if you think we need to keep and act within existing capitalism.

On the other hand, if you do want a sociaty of common ownership and democratic control; a worldwide co-operative commonwealth; the emancipation of labour from the chains of capital; then we're your people, because that's all we stand for.

Well, there's a further catch, because all we're doing is holding the banner aloft. If you want to make socialism happen you've got to prepared to do the work yourself - we're not leaders, and don't want to be. If you need someone to lead you into the promised land, some other bugger'll lead you straight back out again.

That's the choice in this election in a nutshell. A choice between confusing the issue, like whether it's better to be dominated by British capitalists or European ones; whether it's better to only allow capitalists to exploit us for a third of our waking hours, rather than a half; whether the state is the one that extracts profits from our labour, or private employers; or, making our demands crystal clear.

If you call yourself a socialist, why do you want to waste time trying to figure out how to make capitalism run better, anyway? The power to change the world lies in your hands, you don't need to be bound by accepting things as they are – the point is to change them. If a majority decided to remake the world, no force on Earth could stop them.

A vote for the Socialist Party is a vote that says you are ready to act to make this change. A signal to your fellow socialists that they are not alone. A signal to your fellow workers that some people take the actual idea of socialism seriously, rather than relegating it to some bedtime fairytale never-never for after the work of running capitalism is done.

Let's end on William Morris:

“One man with an idea in his head is in danger of being considered a madman: two men with the same idea in common may be foolish, but can hardly be mad; ten men sharing an idea begin to act, a hundred draw attention as fanatics, a thousand and society begins to tremble, a hundred thousand and there is war abroad, and the cause has victories tangible and real; and why only a hundred thousand? Why not a hundred million and peace upon the Earth? You and I who agree together, it is we who have to answer that question.”

Pik Smeet

The Socialist Party of Great Britain is contesting the London constituency in the forthcoming Euroelections. You can view its election manifesto here.

Socialist Party candidates will be speaking at the following hustings meetings:

On Monday 1 June there'll be two, organised by local trade unions:

(1) Council Chamber, Stratford Town Hall, 29 The Broadway, E15 at 6.30 pm. Pat Deutz will represent us.

(2) Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Road, East Finchley, N2 at 6.30. Bill Martin or Adam Buick will represent us.

On Tuesday 2 June at 6pm Danny Lambert will represent us at a meeting organised by the Public & Commercial Services Union in Committe Room 14 in the House of Commons. Don't know if any "ordinary" members will be allowed entry but if you try don't forget to bring a nose-peg with you.

On Wednesday 3 June at Harrow Baptist Church, College Road, HA1 (nearest tube: Harrow on the Hill). Our representative will be Adam Buick.

Be sure to also check out Vaux Populi, the SPGB election blog.

Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (99)

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 99th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

We now have 1498 friends!

Recent blogs:

  • Flying pigs and the Euro elections
  • Orwell's nightmare
  • The Class Struggle
  • Quote for the week:

    "Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Too late?

    Book Review from the May 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard

    Too Little, Too Late. The Politics of Climate Change. By Colin Challen. Picnic. 2009

    It’s not going to happen. CO2 emissions are not going to peak by 2015 which, according to some scientists, will mean that the average world temperature will rise by more than 2ºC by the end of the century. Will rise? Actually, what the scientists say is that, according to the assumptions of their computer models, there is a high probability that this will happen. It is not a definite prediction. It is only amateur environmentalist campaigners who say that it will happen and that the end of the world is just about nigh.

    The fact is that we don’t really know. We don’t know how realistic the scientists’ models really are and we don’t know what other, relevant events might happen between now and 2100, including what people and governments might do. To influence governments to do something is of course why campaigners sometimes exaggerate the dangers. They may well sincerely believe their own exaggerations.

    If you really believe that civilization will collapse in 2100 as a consequence of the effects of global warming, then it’s logical for you to see this as the only issue worth campaigning on. You will be led, like James Lovelock, author of the Gaia hypothesis, to embrace nuclear power, despite its dangers, as the main alternative source to burning fossil funds for generating electricity. Or, like the author of this book, Colin Challen, Labour MP for Morley and Rothwell and chairman of the All Party Climate Change group, to envisage a coalition government and a committee presided over by the monarch – King Charles III? – to deal with the issue. You will certainly tell us – as we were told by CND in the 1960s – that we can’t wait for socialism as this won’t come in time, so that we should suspend campaigning for socialism in favour of campaigning on the single issue of climate change.

    But this is to assume that this could be avoided without getting rid of capitalism. Challen himself provides grounds for seriously doubting this: that, in intergovernmental negotiations, “trade always trumps conservation” (p. 71) and that competition impedes agreement (“Nobody wants to see their economy damaged by another’s which itself dos not face the extra costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions”, p. 93).

    Which is why he himself is rather pessimistic about the prospects of CO2 emissions peaking by 2015. But even on the worst scenario – rising sea levels, displacement of populations, shifts in the balance of geopolitics – only socialism would provide the framework for dealing with the problems.

    Adam Buick