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Mike Foster

A Better World For Everyone

TO AIM for a better world, we first have to explain how our present society is arranged. For the last few hundred years, society has been divided into just two main groups, or  classes. There’s the overwhelming majority of us – possibly up to 95 percent – who don’t own much in the big scheme of things and can only get what we can afford through our wages, savings or state subsidies. If we’re able to find employment, we get our money by selling our time and our abilities to companies and organisations. These same companies and organisations then sell the services we run and the products we make back to us. But collectively, we don’t get back all that we put in. It’s a lop-sided arrangement in favour of the corporations and land owned by a tiny minority of people, around 5 percent. Owning the means of production allows them to cream off a profit or a surplus for themselves, and they do this by exploiting the rest of us. Their economic power is backed up by  political power.

Why I Wouldn’t Make a Good MP

On 8 February Mike Foster, the Socialist Party candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon was invited to address a group of electors in Oxford. Here is what he said.

Thank you all for taking the time to come along this evening to hear why I wouldn’t make a very good MP. Definitely don’t put a cross in the box for the Socialist Party of Great Britain if you somehow come to the conclusion that I would play the Westminster game for the benefit of everyone. Because I couldn’t, even if I tried. No-one can. The state, and the very way that our society is put together, can’t be made to work in the interests of the vast majority of people. MPs who start out with good intentions about reforms and representing their constituents soon get stifled by the cumbersome bureaucracy and made to follow vested interests or the dictates of the elite. MPs who don’t start out with good intentions probably have an easier job.

Proper Gander: Nutters and Putters

Proper Gander

Television programmes (and magazine articles) about Donald Trump are rarely in short supply, thanks to his knack for being a symptom of just about everything wrong with society. The upcoming anniversary of his presidency starting has given another opportunity to try and explain how on earth he got where he is. For starters, Channel 4 have broadcast an epic four-part account of his life called 'Trump: An American Dream', although 'nightmare' would be a better description. Other shows have focused on particular aspects of his rise, such as who his supporters are and his relationship with Scotland.

Proper Gander: Music For The Masses

Proper Gander

The most oppressive regimes of the last century didn’t only use their military strength to maintain a hold over people. As the documentary Tunes For Tyrants: Music and Power with Suzy Klein (BBC4) shows, both the Russian and German states used music to reinforce compliance. The series’ three episodes cover the years between the end of the First World War and the end of the second, when both states were moving towards totalitarianism, reminding us of the similarities between the extreme left and right wings of capitalism. They endorsed and encouraged particular styles of music, but the styles they suppressed reveal just as much about politics and culture during this turbulent era. In the programme, alongside archive footage and performances by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Klein talks with experts and people who played music at the time.

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