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Beyond Their Empty Promises

The Socialist Party is standing one candidate in the general election, in Jarrow. Here is our manifesto

By now, you will have had the chance to hear the various politicians in this General Election put forward their views as to how they intend to make our lives a lot better if we elect them. At every opportunity they will have quoted facts and figures, belittled their opponents and made the usual mundane promises.

Well, we may quote a few facts, but we'll not attack our opponents or make you rash promises. All we will do is ask you to think, and perhaps encourage you to begin using the most subversive word in the English language-"why?"

This is the first General Election of the 21st century and the first real chance you will get this century to send a local MP to Parliament to fight for issues you think are important. So, is it not worth just pausing to recall the previous century and the empty promises it is littered with.

In spite of continual promises of peace from politicians, the last century witnessed two world wars and over 400 smaller conflicts, resulting in 220 million deaths. Some 30 conflicts still rage.

With great advances in food production in the 20th Century, politicians, in the 1970s, promised a world food summit that global hunger would be eradicated within 10 years. There are now over twice as many chronically malnourished people on the planet-800 million-"and the World Health Organisation estimates that more people died of malnutrition between 1999 and 2000 than were killed in the two world wars.

In spite of breakthroughs in medical science and technology, UNICEF can still report that 1000 children die every hour from easily preventable disease.

In truth, we have entered the 21st century taking with us every social problem that plagued us in the previous one, yet still we give our support to a system in which a majority of these social ills are rooted. Crime, unemployment, drugs, war, homelessness, and environmental decay-these are still with us and in many cases accentuated, despite the myriad promises to solve them.

All the politicians will tell you they have the answers. But their answers continually fail to solve the problems society faces. Socialists say that if the politicians' answers are worthless, perhaps they are answering the wrong questions. Maybe we are asking the wrong questions.

If we ask politicians why there is crime and unemployment, war and strife, homelessness and starvation, pollution and environmental destruction, they'll prevaricate, change the subject or give an answer a mile off the mark. Very few will locate the problem in a wider social and economic context-in the way our society is organised for production : profit before needs.

But this is what the vast majority of our problems boil down to-the undemocratic control and distribution of the world's natural and industrial resources and the fact that every aspect of our lives is subordinated to the requirements of profit. The golden maxim of our age is "can't pay-can't have. It is the logic that finds hundreds of millions living lives of abject poverty in a world of potential abundance.

In socialist society, the artificial constraints of profit will be removed and the productive processes will be used to their fullest potential and with the aim of satisfying needs first and in an environmentally friendly way.

Socialist society will mean a world without borders or frontiers, states and armies, exploitation and oppression. It will be a world devoid of monetary transactions in which people give of their abilities and take freely according to their needs.

We are not demanding the impossible. Our case is simple: our world would be a much better place to live in if we had a real democratic say in the decisions that effect us and real control over the means and instruments for producing and distributing the things we need to live in comfort.

We are not demanding the impossible. Our case is simple: our world would be a much better place to live in if we had a real democratic say in the decisions that effect us and real control over the means and instruments for producing and distributing the things we need to live in comfort.

John Bissett, Socialist Party candidate for Jarrow