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The Complex Loaf of Bread

 Bread is in the news again. Britain has increased the price of the loaf. Meantime here is an item of news from America.

"If you loaded America’s surplus wheat on to a train it would stretch for 4,200 miles—from San Francisco to New York and back again to Kansas City.” (South Wales News, February, 1956.). This fact concerning the most basic food stuff in the world is a sure testimony to the productive ability of Capitalist society.

 Wheat is going to be costlier in Britain whilst there is a tremendous surplus in America. Unfortunately America’s surplus wheat is not really available to the world’s people, vast numbers of whom are starving.

A Thought From George Jackson

     Twenty years ago this month the militant American black nationalist George Jackson was murdered during a prison riot. Although his politics were generally confused—he was a Maoist and supporter of the late unlamented Albanian government—he did express the following view in one of his prison letters:

"Consider the people's store, after full automation, the implementation of the theory of economic advantage. You dig. no waste makers, nor harnesses on production. There is no intermediary, no money. The store, it stocks everything that the body or home could possibly use. Why won’t the people hoard, how is an operation like that possible, how could the storing place keep its stores if its stock (merchandise) is free’’

Marx's Conception of Socialism - Part 2

The second part of a talk transcribed from a recent conference. [Part 1 can be read here]

There is a useful book — David McLellan's Thought of Karl Marx, (Macmillan 1971) — which has a chapter in which has been brought together a number of Marx's references to socialist society. One of the points mentioned is Marx's view that in socialist society you would not have workers tied to one job all their lives, that it would be possible to change from one job to another. Marx used a very fanciful example. He said it would be possible to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening and criticise after dinner. But I don’t think we should take this literally. (I don’t know if he put in the hunting because Engels was fond of fox hunting, but the basic idea is alright.)

Marx's Conception of Socialism - Part 1

(The following is a transcript of a talk given earlier this year)

As Marx envisaged society moving forward from capitalism to socialism, anything he had to say about the society of the future is of interest, but it is important to notice two things about what he said. Firstly, he never set out a comprehensive outline of socialist society. Secondly, he made scattered incidental references to the society of the future at different times in his life and in dealing with different subjects, so a lot of these ideas are in the air, as it were, and we have to do our own thinking about them.

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