SPC Newsletter April 1st
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April 2, 2012 at 10:50 am #81253Socialist Party Head OfficeParticipant
The Socialist Party of Canada
Secretary’s Report for April 1, 2012
– Left Streamed – Transit Forum 2012.
– The Bullet – After the Durban Climate Talks.
– The Bullet – Mexico: Why Lopez Obrador?
– The Bullet – Massive Demonstrations Support Quebec Students.
– The Bullet – Capitalist Life Crises and the North American Left.
– The Bullet – The Consequences of the EU Bank Rescue.
– The Bullet – Decolonization Against Austerity.
– The Bullet – Austerity in the Mind Factory
– Please note the above publications are not based on scientific socialist principles but are available on request for information purposes.
Good of The Movement
– Due to my absence, the March GAC meeting did not take place but will
go ahead immediately. Any topics, please reply to this report.
– The March activity will be a video and discussion night at the Reference
Library in Toronto, March 19. More details to follow.
– Work on the Spring Imagine continues.
– Secretarial expenses for March, $6.66. Donations, $70 received with
– From Volume III, Chapter 2, “The general formula for capital is M – C – M’, i.e. a sum of value is cast into circulation in order to extract a greater sum. The process that creates this greater sum of value is capitalist production; the process that realizes it is the circulation of capital.” (p.132). On where profit comes from, Marx writes, “ The value contained in a commodity is equal to the labour-time taken in making it, and this consists of both paid and unpaid labour. The costs of the commodity for the capitalist, on the other hand, include only the part of the labour objectified in it for which he has actually paid. The surplus labour contained in the commodity costs the capitalist nothing, even though it costs the worker labour, every bit as much as their paid labour does, and even though both paid and unpaid labour create value and enter the commodity as elements of value formation The capitalist’s profit, therefore, comes from the fact that he has something to sell for which he has not paid.” (i.e. exploitation, theft) (p.133).
Food For Thought
– Drones are going mainstream in the US. According to an Associated Press release, February 27, civilian cousins of the unmanned military aircraft that have tracked, spied on, and killed terrorists in the Middle East and Asia are in demand by police departments, border patrols, power companies, news stations, and news papers, all wanting views that are too dangerous for planes and helicopters to get. It matters nothing to these groups that the ordinary citizen may object to being spied on. The only worry that the US government has is that they could collide with planes or come crashing to the ground. Better that capitalism takes the nose -dive!
– Toronto Hydro is laying off almost two hundred workers as it struggles to trim $20 million in costs. John Camilleri, head of C.U.P.E. Local One, told demonstrators that cuts are raising questions about whether there will be enough staff left to do the work, “ There’s no shortage of work. In fact, there is a back-up of maintenance work to be done.” So workers are being laid of when there is plenty of work to keep them busy. One thing about capitalism – it’s sooo logical.
– A recent Toronto Star article focused on the plight of gold miners at La Rinconada in Peru, which, at 5 200 metres above sea level, is the highest mine in the world. Corporation Minera Ananea S.A., the owners, allow groups of young men to work for two weeks for no pay, and, if productive, are allowed to work for a day or two for themselves. Like all mining, it’s dangerous work with a constant fear of rock falls, inhalation of toxic gases ,and the need to extract the gold by hand using mercury, itself a highly toxic chemical. A group of miners excavated 65 grams that brought each of them $238.50 It might be several weeks before they are so lucky again and several months before the UN environmental program decides on a legally binding global mercury treaty. Nobody forces these men to work for so little, for so long, and in such dangerous circumstances. So what does? It’s something called economic necessity, bearing in mind they have families to support. Let’s speed the day when such conditions of work will not be necessary.
– Nobody could be more thrilled at the melting of the polar ice caps than the capitalist class who want to get their hands on the vast deposits of oil, natural gas, nickel, palladium, and other minerals beneath the arctic ice. Though some governments have established a claim to some territories, others are disputed. Both Canada and Russia have competing claims to a patch of seabed near the North Pole. Already Russia has a system of security forces, ice-breaking ships, bases and ports across the arctic and is planning on bringing in new nuclear submarines. The Harper government has said that it will establish a new coats guard HQ in the arctic in 2013 and send eight ice-class patrol boats there at a cost of $3 billion. Another war in the making and one the working class has no stake in.
– Every second of every day a river of poison consisting of mercury, iron,
aluminum, and nickel flows down the hillsides of San Carlos Creek, twenty miles south of San Jose, California. This is from the now neglected New Idira mine, once the second largest mercury mine in the US. The Environmental Protection Agency has measured the mercury that flows into the creek at levels that are toxic to wild life for more than thirty kilometers. It is five times more than the safe level for humans and affects the nervous system, the brain, kidneys, lungs, and the immune system. During the rainy months, the creek’s water flows into the San Joaquin River that flows into the San Francisco Bay, a source of drinking water for two-thirds of California. The EPA and the state have been pressured for fifteen years to clean it up but the first stage alone would cost $10 million. Money counts, people don’t.
– A new study shows that rich people are more likely to engage in unethical behaviour than poor folk – like cutting off motorists, lying in negotiations, and cheating to win a prize (really!). These were the findings from researchers at the universities of California and Toronto that were published in the proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of the USA. They also found wealthy people were more likely to steal valued items than poor people. Another good reason to abolish a system that creates rich and poor.
– Not even ‘the lord’s work’ is free from lay-offs. The Billy Graham organization, that only brought in $91.6 million in 2011, announced job cuts owing to a need to emphasize its ‘airline ministry and other priorities’. Fifty-five were let go in February but the company said that the move, “…in now way reflects the financial health of the organization…and the Lord will protect.”
– Russell Hancock, whose Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Group produces an annual State of the Valley report said, “Something has changed here, something fundamental, because the technology we’ve invented here in Silicon Valley has rendered a whole class of jobs obsolete.” In other words, technology can’t solve poverty and unemployment.
– On March 14, Greg Smith quit his job as a director of Goldwyn-Sachs (GS). He said, “It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off.” GS was rescued as part of the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street in 2008-9. If the executives at GS and their partners in crime won’t change, there’s no hope for the financial system and every reason to believe the experts who say it will crash again soon. There is every reason to work for its abolition.
– Recently the New Democratic Party elected a new leader, a former Liberal. That means that while the NDP is led by a former Liberal, the Liberal Party is led by a former NDP provincial premier. Can you spot the difference?
– UNICEF’s recent report, “State of the World’s Children 2012” reveals that poverty affects children everywhere. According to Davis Morley, CEO of UNICEF Canada, “We often think of poverty-stricken rural areas in Africa, Latin America, Asia, but you can be in cities almost like middle-class Toronto, and hidden in valleys there are people living in shacks made of tin. We recognize this is where economic and population growth is going to happen and how do you make sure that children don’t get squeezed out in the process? It is often thought that opportunity abounds in cities. Families may be closer to schools or health services, but that doesn’t mean that all have the same access. The wealth divide between rich and poor is massive. Many can’t afford the cost of uniforms and books or pay the fees for schools.” Well said Mr. Morley but why waste your talent dealing with effects when it could be better used tackling the cause.
– Grey Power surprise – The Toronto Star reported on the economic resurgence of 2009. Nobody could figure out who was getting all these new jobs, not unions, not the unemployed. Now we know – seniors. Since July 2009, Canadians over 60 have accounted for 30% of the country’s job gains although they make up just 8% of the labour force. Most gains were in the low paid retail sector. Three cheers for Walmart!
– In Zimbabwe, the Independent Lawyers for Human Rights said an unidentified man was arrested in a bar on Feb 22 while watching the 88th birthday celebration for President Mugabe. The lawyer group claimed he has been charged under laws making it an offence to insult the president. He is accused of asking whether or not Mugabe had the strength to blow up any balloons at his party. The accused is to appear in court, March 12, and if found guilty will be fined. Well-meaning people have fought for civil rights for two hundred years and the struggle continues. Why not remove the cause?
– It’s old but worth noting again, from Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” “ What do ya think a guy in business is? Like he says, he ain’t in it for his health. That’s what business is. See that sign ‘longside the road there? Service Club. Luncheon Tuesday, Colmado Hotel? Welcome, brother. That’s a service club. Fella had a story. Went to one of them meetings an’ told the story to all them businessmen. Says, when I was a kid my ol’ man gave me a haltered heifer an’ says take her down an’ get her serviced. An’ the fella says, I done it an’ ever’ time since then when I hear a businessman talkin’ about service, I wonder who’s gettin’ screwed. Fella in business got to lie an’ cheat, but he calls it somepin else. That’s what’s important. You go steal that tire an’ you’re a thief, but he tried to steal your four dollars for a busted tire. They call that sound business.
For socialism, John
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