Latest News and Comment

Internal strategy documents prepared by a public relations firm on behalf of Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada reveal details of an enormous and well-organized effort by the oil industry to neutralized the transnational grassroots movement which has grown up around the industry's effort to expand tar sands mining and the building of huge infrastructure projects designed to get "the world's
7 sec ago
If you’d like a sense of what a boss’s campaign to try to destroy a union looks like in the 21st century, take a look at a recent NLRB decision against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). On Friday, November 15, a judge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that the UPMC has engaged in a series of discriminatory practices against workers who have been trying
7 sec ago
Family farmers, FAO say, manage 70-80% of the world's farmland and produce 80% of the world's food. But on the ground - whether in Kenya, Brazil, China or Spain - rural people are being marginalised and threatened, displaced, beaten and even killed by a variety of powerful actors who want their land. All over the world, small farmers are being forced off their land to make way for corporate
3 hours 43 sec ago
Sir Bob Geldof’s reissued Band Aid 30 charity single, Do They Know It’s Christmas?, has reignited the debate on what is patronising and what is empowering.
Africa is the birthplace of humanity and the home of some of the earliest civilisations such as Ancient Egypt. It is the world’s second-largest continent of 54 countries speaking more than 2,000 languages, and boasts some of the largest quantities of crucial minerals such as copper, diamond, platinum, gold and bauxite, or aluminium ore. Then, of course, is its oil supplies in Nigeria, Libya and Angola. Yet its international image is one of poverty, a continent in constant need of charity from philanthropists.
An open letter from Race Equality: In Music Industry – signed by academic Dr Robbie Shilliam and Hugh Francis, chair of UK Black Music, among others said of Band Aid “…what many within the African British and black music communities see from the published lineup is another form of Eurocentrism – the European off to help the African, without engagement with African musicians in Britain, let alone on the African continent.”  
 It is a flawed idea that Western nations are constantly aiding Africa when in fact it is Africa that is aiding the rest of the world. Health Poverty Action director Martin Drewry said of a recent report entitled Honest Accounts “This report – looking at the amount Africa loses to the rest of the world, in comparison with what it receives in aid and other inflows – is a response to a growing unease we have at Health Poverty Action that the UK public is not hearing the truth about our financial relationship with Africa. The truth is that rich nations take much more from Africa than they give in aid – including through tax dodging, debt repayments, brain drain, and the unfair costs of climate change – all of which rich nations benefit from.”
It estimated that while $134 billion flows into the continent predominantly in the form of loans, foreign investment and aid, $192 billion is generated through Africa’s natural resources, but lines the pockets of foreign companies or goes to pay off global debt.
The report noted: “For years the British public have been asked to donate money to Africa, yet the end to poverty is nowhere in sight….It is time for the British government, politicians, the media, and NGOs ourselves to stop misrepresenting our ‘generosity’ and take action to tackle the real causes of poverty. This includes urgent government action to close down the UK’s network of tax havens; an end to the plundering of African resources by multinational companies; an end to ‘aid’ as loans and greater transparency and accountability in all other loan agreements; and ambitious and far-reaching climate change targets.”
Socialist Banner can add that Band Aid activist Bono is an expert on tax evasion.
From here
3 hours 43 sec ago

Socialists are internationalists. Whereas nationalists believe that the world is divided primarily into different nationalities, socialists consider social class to be the primary divide. For socialists, class struggle--not national identity--is the motor of history. And capitalism creates an international working class that must fight back against an international capitalist class. Capitalism is a world system and socialism can’t survive in one country, it has to be worldwide. For that reason the Socialist Party is implacably opposed to nationalism, which ties working people to our rulers and divides us from working people in other countries. The “national interest” propaganda binds workers hand and foot to their employers, blinding them to their true interest in working-class solidarity. Socialists argue that workers have no interest in the nationality of the factory owners or the land owners. We are working towards the working-class majority taking power and implementing common ownership. Once freed from market forces, the world’s resources will be used to meet human need.
Consistent international socialism as represented, for instance, by Rosa Luxemburg, opposed Bolshevik “national self-determination.” For her, the existence of independent national governments did not alter the fact of their control by the super-powers through the latter’s control of world economy. Capitalism could neither be fought nor weakened through the creation of new nations but only by opposing capitalist nationalism with proletarian internationalism. It is not the function of socialism to support nationalism. Contrary to earlier expectations, nationalism could not be utilized to further socialist aims, nor was it a successful strategy to hasten the demise of capitalism. On the contrary, nationalism emasculates socialism by using it for nationalist ends. It is not possible to support nationalism without also supporting national rivalries and war. No matter how utopian the quest for international solidarity may appear no other road seems open to escape fratricidal struggles and to attain a rational world society.
Although socialists’ sympathies are with the oppressed, they relate not to emerging nationalism but to the particular plight of twice-oppressed people who face both a native and foreign ruling class. Their national aspirations are in part “socialist” aspirations, as they include the illusory hope of impoverished populations that they can improve their conditions through national independence. Yet national self-determination has not emancipated the laboring classes.
Socialism will rise again as an international movement - or not at all. Those interested in the rebirth of socialism must stress its internationalism most of all. While it is impossible for a socialist to become a nationalist, the fight against colonialism does not imply adherence to the principle of national self-determination, but expresses the desire for a non-exploitative, world socialist society. While socialists cannot identify themselves with national struggles, they can as socialists oppose nationalism, colonialism and imperialism. It is not the function of socialists to fight for a nation’s independence but to strive for a socialist society. A struggle to this end would undoubtedly aid the liberation movements yet it would be a by-product of and not the reason for the socialist fight against neo-colonialism. The success of that struggle depends on achieving the greatest possible unity of the working class, it is utterly ridiculous to argue that the working class ought to divide itself into different countries in order to accomplish this unity. It is completely absurd to justify this with the false argument, disproven many times, that the battle for socialism would be easier if it were led by a more nationally “pure” and homogeneous working class.
Working class unity is a must right now if effective resistance is to be mounted to the crisis measures imposed by the capitalists. Unity is necessary to stand up against all the attacks on our democratic rights. Unity is the key in putting an end to the discrimination suffered by the oppressed. The working class faces a powerful and aggressive enemy which is solidly united despite the real contradictions within its ranks. The people are not going to win by dividing themselves. Those who dress up as socialists in order to push nationalism in the working class are the objective allies of the capitalists. The “left” nationalists would have us believe that the national demands of the people can only be met through independence. Thus, they claim, the task is to transform bourgeois independence into a socialist independence. In reality, they find themselves in the camp of those promoting division of the working class. The difference between nationalists and the other capitalist parties is not that they call for a different social system. What’s different is that they are looking for a new sharing of powers. The sharing will just be between groups of capitalists. Supporting nationalism in the name of the light for socialism is a monumental hoax. It flows from the same kind of logic that leads others to preach the nationalization as the cure for all our ills. It is up to the working class to show that it will not be duped by their political nonsense and deceitful rhetoric. Socialists have a responsibility to the working class to warn the workers as tactfully as possible of their mistaken course. At the present time, the capitalist class is launching a furious ideological counter-offensive against the ideas of socialism, it is our duty to stand firm in defence of the fundamental ideas and principles. We must reject the false road of shortcuts and panaceas, which leads to the quagmire of opportunism.
The Socialist Party cedes no concessions to the ideas nationalism and we continue to fight for the ideas of class unity and internationalism as the only way forward for the workers everywhere.

3 hours 43 sec ago