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In 2008 the World Bank raised its Global Poverty Line from $1.00 to $1.25 per day, then raised it again to $1.90 in 2015, taking inflation and other factors into account. Using these figures there are now some 700 million people living in extreme poverty. These thresholds tell us nothing meaningful. It should be obvious that even if poverty (at $1.90) is declining, this is a very low bar,
6 hours 43 min ago
We live in dark days where the planet is warming even faster than scientists anticipated, economic inequality is now likely the worst it’s ever been in history, Wall Street investors and large corporations have enormous control over our lives and continues to destroy millions of lives. Capital and the state are fused, and governments are unapologetically the tool for capitalists to enrich themselves and repress resistance. It’s tempting simply to focus on the immediate threat in the shape of Donald Trump and other reactionary populists around the world.Pretending that everything will be hunky-dory with the right leader and the correct policies is whistling into the wind.Socialists must offer a vision worth fighting for, one that people genuinely believe can be carried out. We must break decisively with reformism and palliatives which are perfectly compatible with business as usual and capitalism’s continued functioning. Tinkering around the edges of the capitalist system—increasing the minimum wage or introducing the social wage, increasing taxes on the rich or legislating stricter regulations cannot be our goal. We see this confirmed in the welfare states where capitalism still reigns supreme. We must no longer mince words about what we are against and what we are for. Universal emancipation will only be attained when the capitalist stranglehold over our lives is forever broken.
We frequently hear calls for system change. The necessity of system change is inescapable. The present system is dependent on the exploitation of nature and the enslavement of labour, unaware of its state. The dying days of a civilisation is not coming because of a looming climatic catastrophe. Our task is to claim the future, and this will not be attainable if the current capitalist system persists. If we genuinely wish to combat global warming, which we know poses an existential threat to humanity, this alone will require us to advocate a socialist revolution. Capitalism will not magically solve global warming. Big Oil, Big Coal, and Wall Street banks heavily invested in fossil fuels.
Socialism is a call for a common-sense path that would secure the survival of the human race. Socialism is also a call for humans to recognise their humanity as one people on planet Earth. Mankind stands a better chance of survival when we cooperate, live and work in solidarity rather than in competition and when we build bridges and not walls. We need a movement which allows us to move from the pervasive culture of violence, destruction and death to a culture of non-violence and peace. We require a global social democracy movement, providing an alternative world-view that replaces greed, consumerism and competition as objectives of human life. Socialist change will be born by a convergence of movements. It will not be a matter of either/or, but will be a matter for all of us continually reminding ourselves that our lives are formed by a web of relationships, issues and realities, and that we require diversity of approaches to effectively confront and overcome them, a diversity of movements coalescing around common goal and shared organising principles. This is the time for action to bring about ecological and economic well-being to all our communities. Those who benefit from the unjust and unsustainable system – the handful of men that have more financial means than billions of men and women – will not listen to the needs of the people or hear the demands for system change. Capitalism is a system where the poor, no matter how wise, cannot sit at the conference or boardroom negotiation tables. Our political system needs to be purged of all its undemocratic elementsand the workers movenment must commit itself to democratic socialism: a movement that will finally, thoroughly, and irrevocably democratise economic, political, and social life.
Socialism will come about only if we stand together. It is no time to be silent. It is time to speak up and shout out. Socialism will come about when the power of “We, the People” becomes the rallying call for action. Freedom is not something that is given, it is taken. It is unjust that a small elite exercise power over everyone else’s security, happiness, and well-being.
The principle of profit over all gives us the politics and economics of violence and death. It legitimises the domination of nature. It yields modern-day enslavement in the form of wage labor, which allows capitalists to essentially own human beings. It unleashes a litany of plagues and social problems and the ruthless suppression of anything which endangers the almighty profit margin.War is motivated by the basest profit-seeking. Poverty and inequality kill people and squander the human spirit. Socialists oppose the politics of death and promote the politics of life. Our socialist goal will eradicate poverty, war, and inequality; end militarism, racism and all forms of discrimination; reverse environmental degradation and global warming; and promote joy, pleasure and happiness. Unpleasant but necessary work would be automated as much as possible while pleasant but necessary work would be distributed through a democratic decision-making processes within workers’ councils and cooperative committees and community congresses. A balance would need to be struck between centralised, national economic activity, which can achieve economies of scale and be easily administered, and decentralised, local economic activity, which would give people more direct control over their lives.The leisure time freed up by all this economic rejiggering would be redistributed throughout the population, enabling everyone to work far less, if at all. People would then be free to pursue the things that make life worth living: loving relationships with family and friends; immersion in nature; freely chosen work (as opposed to alienating, degrading jobs); and music, art and learning of all varieties.
The Socialist Party has no illusions about how difficult achieving socialism will be. It’s no exaggeration to say that this will be the hardest task in recorded human history. There has never been an instance of successful peaceful revolution where all forms of oppression are overthrown at the same time but that is not to say it will be impossible. There’s no reason to think that the ugly anti-social aspects of human behaviour are more fundamental than the good ones: compassion, empathy, a passion for equality, and solidarity which are just as basic. What’s more, humanity has incredible powers of reason and has devised countless scientific and industrial technologies which were unimaginable just centuries and decades ago. To think that the human species is in principle precluded from bringing the full force of its rationality to bear on designing equally ingenious social systems is to surrender to despair. Precisely because of how bad life is for so many people socialists have an opportunity to politicise many people who were previously apathetic and disengaged. Anxiety, rage and resentment are powerful political forces and they are present in large swathes of the population. Capitalism was partially discredited by the 2008 collapse; the inevitable next crash may discredit it even further, if not completely.
Movements need to be capable of recruiting, educating, organizing, and coordinating people locally and nationally. To do this, it’s necessary to have structures in place that create community and foster bonds between members of the movement. These structures need to have a high level of internal democracy. To efficiently coordinate a peoples' movement, delegate democracy is necessary, but which must be democratically accountable. Social movements often require decades of careful planning; organising isn’t necessarily something that happens overnight. Non-violent civil disobedience can be quite effective in exposing the contradiction between a nominally democratic society’s professed values and its reality, but marches, protests, and demonstrations need to be strategic: they must be directed toward specific goals. We can learn from past class struggles. Politics is a battle of ideas, a struggle over power, and it requires power to win. It relies on culture, a sense of personal involvement, symbolism, and emotion just as much as on reasoned argumentation. Organised people can defeat organised money, but we have to be disciplined to overcome the many hurdles that confront any movement for significant change. We must thoughtfully organise. Our environmental, political, and economic systems are all in crisis right now, and we can’t afford to wait for change.
Adapted from here and here
6 hours 43 min ago
The four richest men in Indonesia own as much wealth as the country’s poorest 100 million citizens, despite the nation’s president repeatedly pledging to fighting “dangerous” levels of inequality. Oxfam highlighted Indonesia as one of the most unequal countries in the world, where the number of dollar billionaires has increased from one in 2002 to 20 in 2016. The development charity
9 hours 46 min ago
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report The Future of Food and Agriculture: Trends and Challenges, warns mankind’s future ability to feed itself is in jeopardy due to intensifying pressures on natural resources, mounting inequality, and the fallout from a changing climate. It says almost one half of the forests that once covered the Earth are now gone. Groundwater
9 hours 46 min ago
Imperial College London and the World Health Organization analysed lifespans in 35 industrialised countries. The USA is on course to have the lowest life expectancy of rich countries by 2030. The study predicts an average age of 80 for men and 83 for women - roughly the same state Mexico and Croatia will have achieved. The US will be overtaken by Chile, where women born in 2030 will expect
12 hours 49 min ago