SPC Newsletter for 1st January 2015

May 2024 Forums World Socialist Movement SPC Newsletter for 1st January 2015

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    The Secretary’s report for January 1,2015

    Email Report

    – WSPNZ GAC minutes for November received with thanks.

    – WSP India EC meeting minutes received with thanks.

    Good of the Movement

    – 1 Introductory package sent out

    – We will be starting work on the Spring edition of Imagine. Any comments suggestions or articles, however short, will be welcome.

    – Annual dues are due in January. Please send $25 to The Socialist Party of Canada, Box 4280, Victoria, BC V8X 3X8. Dues are needed to keep the struggle for socialism going.


    – Secretary’s expenses for December, $17.78. Donation of $20 received with thanks.


    Karl’s Quotes

    – On the importance of the banking system, Marx writes, " …the banking system, by its organization and centralization, is the most artificial and elaborate product brought into existence by the capitalist mode of production. Hence the tremendous power an institution such as the bank of England has over trade and industry, even though their actual movement remains completely outside its orbit and it behave quite passively towards them. Such a bank, however, supplies the form of a general book-keeping and distribution of the means of production on a social scale, even if only in the form. We have seen that the average profit of the individual capitalist, or any particular capital, is determined not by the surplus labour that this capital appropriates first- hand, but rather by the total surplus labour that the total capital appropriates, from which each particular capital simply draws its dividends as a proportional part of the total capital. This social character of capital is mediated and completely realized only by the full development of the credit and banking system. On the other hand this also goes further. It places all available and even potential capital that is not already actively committed at the disposal of the industrial and commercial capitalists, so that neither the lender nor the user of this capital are the owners or producers. It therefore abolishes the private character of capital and thus inherently bears within it, though only inherently, the abolition of capital itself. Through the banking system, the distribution of capital is removed from the hands of the private capitalists and usurers and becomes a special business, a social function. Banking and credit, however, thereby become the most powerful means for driving capitalist production beyond its own barriers and one of the most effective vehicles for crises and swindling." (Capital Vol. III, page 742, Penguin Classics edition.) So we see the social nature of capital, the reason why we say that the whole of the working class is exploited by the whole of the working class, and the importance of the banking system to satisfy the continual need of the system to grow by pushing production far beyond the limits that individual, private capital could attain on its own.

    Food For Thought

    – Capitalism is defined by competition and there will always be winners and losers in any transaction that takes place between two parties. The drop in oil prices is a case in point. Firstly, the price has dropped mainly because too much oil has come on stream, largely because the Americans have started exporting shale oil. The Americans did not stop to consider this possibility and could not care a damn about it anyway. They would become self- sufficient and gain valuable export dollars anyway. The Saudis refused to cut back on production believing that the cost of producing shale oil would deter its continued and growing production. In Canada, the oil producing provinces such as Alberta and Newfoundland are feeling the economic pinch, but Ontario comes out a winner. Oil for transportation and industry will be cheaper and the resulting lower dollar is good for exporters. Not too far in the future the tide will turn and winners will become losers and vice versa. Makes a lot of sense, right?

    – Recently released figures by Oxfam clearly show the inequalities in society. Eighty-five of the world’s billionaires collectively have as much money as the 3.5 billion poorest people. Between March 2013 and march 2014, those eighty -five had their wealth increased by $668 million – that’s $1.8 million a day just for the increase! Russian mining ‘tycoon’, Vladimir Potanin spent $95,000 on a 1.8 kg white truffle – he’s worth $13.9 billion so can afford it. It would take Bill Gates two hundred and eighteen years to spend all of his money if he spent a million dollars a day, not taking into account interest on what would be left each day. It would take ninety three years for a South African platinum miner to earn the average CEO’s annual average bonus. Sound crazy? You bet. We must get rid of such stupidity.

    – Once again, climate talks have produced little beyond minimal, voluntary actions to avert climate disaster. Once again, countries bickered over their own self- interests until the last minute when the weak agreement was cobbled together to save face. They could not agree to keep the warming to two degrees celcius due to the long-running rift between developed and developing countries. The rich, developed countries can afford to call for sanctions because they have sent their dirty industry to the third world looking for cheaper labour and their capital now sits there collecting high profits. The developing countries see this as their chance to become rich and are therefore loath to consider the strong sanctions necessary. We are still in a primitive world when two hundred countries can forget about the planet as a whole and simply pursue their own petty interest.

    – Our companion party in the UK has informed us that there has been a 163% increase in the use of food banks compared to the previous financial year. Over 900,000 adults and children have received three day’s emergency food and support. Yet the press says we are in an economic recovery. This must be a recovery like no other.

    – Meanwhile, in Toronto, The Star (December 20) asks, " How can a city that’s so rich have so many who are poor? Good question! The author’s suggestion re children going to bed hungry is that it is because we allow them to. We are too preoccupied with our own struggle to stay afloat that we have little time to devote to helping others. There are 150,000 kids living in poverty in Toronto, or 29%. Well, maybe we allow the same parties to run capitalism with the same predictable results, and yes, we are in a struggle to survive. But nowhere is there a finger pointing at a system that is pre-programmed to create inequality and poverty.

    – When speaking about the threat of Ebola, John Ashton, president of the UK faculty for Public Health said, We must also tackle the scandal of the unwillingness of the pharmaceutical industry to invest in research to produce treatments and vaccines, something they refuse to do because the numbers involved are, in their terms, so small and don’t justify the investment. This is the moral bankruptcy of capitalism acting in the absence of an ethical and moral framework." In other words, money counts, people don’t.

    – Here comes 1984 once again. Harper’s federal Conservatives are paying a publicity agent to create and distribute government-approved news items to community newspapers, television and radio stations. The articles must be credited to "News Canada" but there is nothing in this so-called news that lets the audience know that it is sponsored material.

    – Gledhill Public School in Toronto has its grade six students (11/12 years) creating murals for a public information evening on mental health. A spokesperson said, " The reality is, even in grades 3,4 and 5, we do see children with stress, with gender issues and violence issues and in grades 5 and 6 some do have issues around texting and sexting, so the need for mental health supports can be great." If people so young can have serious mental problems, it is an indication of a dysfunctional society that is worth working to abolish.

    – After thirteen years in their low-income townhouse in Regents Park, Toronto, a woman and her children have been forced to move by The Toronto Community Housing Corporation who sold the property to developers who intend to build condominium apartments. The youngest daughter wrote on the wall, " I love this house" and the children have known no other house. Like many of the 7,500 TCHC Tenants who live in the development, they have had to move to a place the agency found for them in a lottery system. There is nothing new in this, it’s been going on for centuries – money will win out in the end because profit is the crux of the system, not security.

    – We all know that viruses mutate to create superbugs (one proof of evolution), and the fact that patients occasionally die from their effect in our hospitals. In India, the problem is magnified many times. Last year, more than 58,000 people died from their effects. Now these superbugs developed there are spreading around the world and without a really well coordinated effort, something hard to do with our world divided into two hundred competing entities, we could see many more deaths. The spread of Ebola has given us a glimpse into this lapse in global health.

    – According to the New York Times of December 14, global slavery has become a growth industry, generating $150 billion in illicit profits (are not all profits are illicit!). Slaves are mostly seen in the construction industry in the Persian Gulf, girls from Nepal trafficked into prostitution, shrimp fisherman on Thai ships, children in India working in brick kilns and garment workers in Bangladesh (not counting the billions of wage slaves, of course). The UN estimates that twenty-one million are trapped in forced labour, more than fourteen million in India, the land of the rising middle class.

    – A few years ago Atlantic City was a boom town with twelve casinos doing a roaring business. Four have them have been shut down this year with a fifth, "The Trump Mahal" (named after Mr. Midas touch), ready to follow. 8,000 casino workers are unemployed and those who have retained their jobs have had their hours cut as the incoming cash from the gamblers has fallen fifty per cent since 2006. The problem is competition and over supply. Overall, more than forty casinos in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and Maryland have opened in less than a decade. This simply emphasizes that when things are going well under capitalism, it’s always temporary. Security is only in the vocabulary of socialism/communism.

    – I mentioned passing by Detroit last month. According to the Toronto Star ( December 13), there are opportunities for young entrepreneurs there as real estate is dirt cheap and that’s an upside of the city (?). From a population of 1.5 million in 1970, there remains just 684,799 while the job market has shrunk fifty per cent. 70,000 properties foreclosed between 2009 and 2013 and there are currently 78,000 abandoned structures The 316 homicides in 2013 made Detroit the highest murder rate in the country. Almost 40% live in poverty. The city filed for bankruptcy in 2013 being $18 billion in debt. Even by capitalist standards, the decline of a once great and rich city is astonishing.

    – For socialism, John & Steve

    – Happy New Year to all.





    Great digest. Says it all. Thanks. Howard MossSPGB

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