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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: A Tale Of Two Cities

Proper Gander

You’d be forgiven for thinking the world was turning into some kind of dystopia, like the old Cold War again but with creepier people in charge. Dystopias have come back into fashion on the telly as well, following the popularity of the adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale (see July 2017's Socialist Standard). Less striking, but still worth a watch is BBC2’s recent The City And The City, a mash-up of a police procedural and dystopian thriller, based on the 2009 novel by China Mieville. The main criterion of a dystopia is that it’s set in a fictional society somehow worse to live in than our own. The City And The City gives us two joyless settings for the price of one. The cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma share the same space, but are divided. They’re not separated by Berlin Wall-style fences and soldiers, but by the citizens of each city being trained to ‘unsee’the other.

Proper Gander At The Movies: Red Carpet Campaigning

Proper Gander

Over the years, film awards have become ever more politicised. It used to be that the occasional comment on an issue like the Iraq War would slip in to acceptance speeches, but recently, Golden Globe and Academy Awards ceremonies have been used as platforms for whole campaigns, focused more inwardly on the film and awards industries themselves.

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