December 2020

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Peter Tatchell vs The Socialist Party of Great Britain
– What Are We Going To Do About Capitalism?

Public Debate at Conway Hall, London, between…

Peter Tatchell (Human Rights Campaigner)

Clifford Slapper (The Socialist Party of Great Britain)

with thanks to Stephen Oberauer for filming the debate – https://www.youtube.com/user/soberauer

Check out all of our audio and video broadcasts here.


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No. 1396 december 2020
Socialist Standard No. 1396 December 2020 PDF version
Regulars
The Socialist Standard is a monthly socialist newspaper published without interruption since 1904 by the Socialist Party of Great Britain.

Socialist Standard Archives

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The newspaper is written in a simple, direct style and focuses mainly on socialist advocacy and Marxian analysis of current events, particularly those affecting the United Kingdom from 1904 until the present..

Features

Covid and capitalism’s unnecessary dilemma

The crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic has brought out clearly the nature of capitalism as a system where most people depend on the income they get as wages from employment. They are in this position because they are excluded from ownership and control of the places where they work and where wealth is produced. These are in the hands of a minority, generally through joint-stock companies, who use them, in fact only allow them to be used, to produce goods and services for sale with a view to profit.

To obtain the money to buy what they need, the excluded majority has to go out on to the labour market and successfully sell their ability to work in return for a money wage (sometimes called a salary). Read


US politics: what to expect from Biden and Harris

What can we reasonably expect from the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris?

Kamala Harris & Joe Biden (Getty Images)

An assessment of the likely policy orientation of the new administration would ideally take into account the record of the political careers of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the sources of finance for their campaign, the appointments that Biden makes to cabinet post, and – last but not least – the political and economic circumstances in which the Biden White House will have to operate. .. Read


A Lesson from Trump

The day after the outcome of the American presidential election became clear, someone wrote on our party’s Facebook page: ‘I can’t help but feel a lot happier this morning, knowing that the odious vile strange orange man has been sent packing’. There can be no doubt that, on a visceral level at least, many other workers worldwide felt a similar sense of relief that the unspeakable individual in charge of America had been dismissed from office. ..Read


Labour’s Internal Conflicts

Corbyn’s crucifixion

The suspension from the Labour Party of its erstwhile leader Jeremy Corbyn initially appears to be of little note for socialists. There can be sympathy for the hounding of an apparently decent man, , but hey-ho that’s capitalist politics for you.

But actually, this is a little more serious. While Corbyn does not in any sense meet the criteria set out in our principles of what is required to be a socialist, he is identified throughout the media and in the popular consciousness as just that. Indeed he probably self-identifies as a socialist. . Read


50 Years in the Party

I first heard about the Socialist Party of Great Britain in 1970 when I was a student in Hull. A couple of fellow students in the house I lived in were always going on about it. Until then I’d followed my parents in being a Labour supporter and saw the nationalisation of industry as the thing to support. But now I was being told that wouldn’t make any difference and I needed to look beyond it to an entirely different kind of society – and on a world scale. This was a society of common ownership and free access to all goods and services.  Read


Capitalism vs the Environment

Climate change protestors hold their placards high.

Ever since the dawn of the industrial revolution, capitalism has had a relentless impact on the environment, causing devastating climate change. With production motivated by making money rather than safeguarding the environment or satisfying people’s, needs wasteful and polluting methods will be used if they minimise costs and maximise profits. Any legislation which aims to curb environmental damage still has to fit into this framework. We in the Socialist Party do not shout for minimum reforms or minor changes to current worldwide production methods in an attempt to mitigate or offset the damage already done. Instead we believe that the only real solution is an end to the root cause of the problem, that is capitalism itself – nothing more, nothing less. ..Read


Merry Christmas?

Is your stocking hung upon the wall? Are you all pepped up waiting for your fraction of a family (depending on the apparatchiks latest government edict) to arrive and share the festive fun with you? Or will they be deterred from coming by the incessant government propaganda pouring out of the telescreens – Obey! Disarray! Dismay! Rule of Two Four Six Eight! Or will they be dissuaded by the militarised police cruising up the street on the lookout for unessential food purchases such as Christmas pud?…. Read


 

Many aspects of a person’s life can be expressed in numbers: height, weight, income, savings. But what about how happy they are? Can this really be expressed by a score out of ten and compared with how others in the same country felt a year ago or how people living elsewhere feel? That is precisely what is done in the World Happiness Report for 2020, the eighth in the series (online at worldhappiness.report). The period covered is 2017–19, and the main source of data is the Gallup World Poll (www.gallup.com). Typically, a thousand people are asked a set of questions in each country each year, and this smallish number is claimed to give reliable estimates, though no evidence for this is provided…. Read


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December 2020