SPC Newsletter March 1st

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                      The Socialist Party of Canada

     

    Secretary’s Report for March 1, 2012

     

    Email Report

    –           The Bullet – Labour Leadership Squabbles in Ontario.

    –           Left Streamed – Debunking Anti-Union Myths.

    –           The Bullet – Canadian Health Care – Privatization and Gendered Labour.

    –           The Bullet – Greece – From Despair to Resistance.

    –           The Bullet – An Excess of Democracy?

    –           WSPNZ EC minutes for January received with thanks.

     

    Note that The Bullet and Left Streamed are not based on scientific socialism but can be forwarded to you for information purposes.

     

    Good of the Movement

    –           We have secured a booth again at Word on the Street, Toronto, scheduled

    for September 23rd. More information later.

    –           We are preparing another issue of Imagine. Any contributions,

    suggestions welcome.

    –           Five introductory packages sent out.

    –           January elections of officers leaves the executive untouched except for three new members of the General Administrative Committee (welcome Mercedes Martinson of Saskatchewan, Tom Coles, and Philippe-Antoine Cormier, both from BC). Also Steve Szalai is performing the duties of treasurer, many thanks.

    –           There will be a General Administrative Meeting in March. Send in any topics, issues, etc.

    –           February coffee meeting went well with planning for activities this year and some exciting possibilities.

     

    Finances

    –           Secretarial expenses for February, $48.29. Donations, $30.

     

    Karl’s Quotes

    –           Now we turn to “Capital”, volume III. In case you haven’t read it for a while, Mandel, in his introduction writes, “What he (Marx) wants to show here is how specific sectors of the ruling class participate in the distribution of the total mass of surplus-value produced by productive wage labour, and how these specific economic categories are regulated. His inquiry deals fundamentally with four such ruling groups: industrial capitalists; commercial capitalists; bankers; capitalist landowners. Five categories of revenue, therefore, appear in volume 3: wages; industrial profits; commercial (and banking) profits; interest; land rent. These are further regrouped by Marx into three basic categories; wages, profits and land rent.” (page 16, introduction, Capital Volume III, Penguin Classics edition).  In chapter I, Cost Price and Profit, Marx writes, “The value of any commodity C produced in the capitalist manner can be depicted by the formula: C= c + v +s (where c=constant capital, v= variable capital, and s= surplus-value). If we subtract from the value this product the surplus-value s, there remains a mere equivalent or replacement value in commodities for the capital value c + v laid out on the elements of production…The portion of the commodity’s value that consists of surplus-value costs the capitalist nothing, for the very reason that it costs the worker his unpaid labour.” (pp.117, 118, as above), i.e. the very source of exploitation.

     

    Food For Thought

    –           Ontarians are being prepared for austerity measures by the publication of the Drummond Report by the governing Liberals. Prime targets are the public employees and their services, health care, and education, including the scrapping of all-day kindergarten. The cuts will all be massive steps backward, aimed, of course, at the most vulnerable in our society. No cuts to profits or dividends are planned, as far as I know. While the opposition Tories are screaming for public sector wage cuts and blaming Liberal profligate spending, the fact is even the report credits Ontario with one of the lowest-cost provincial governments. Meanwhile, even if you have a job, you are not out of the woods. Between 2000 and 2005 the percentage of poor among Toronto’s workers grew 42% to 113 000 people, and we haven’t yet got statistics for the recession. The warriors of the capitalist class have the workers on the run and are using the Greek example to get in their cuts. In Greece, the minimum wage is to be cut by 22% and unemployment officially stands at 20.9%, a staggering 48% for the under 25s.

    –           It’s no better around the world either. The US has become the Food Stamp Poster Boy. In 2006 there were 26.7 million Americans relying on food stamps to survive. Now there are 46.3 million, far larger than the total population of Canada, and if they constituted a country, they would be the 27th. largest nation on the planet.

    –           Those aged 16-24 are taking the brunt of the recession. World-wide, there are 75 million unemployed in that group. That’s seventy -five million not needed by capital and tossed away! What a system! In some Arab countries 90% of that group are unemployed, and over 50% in Spain. The social implications are going to be huge. (Toronto Star, 4/Feb/12)

    –           It’s not news to socialists that the state government works in the interests of the capitalist class. Occasionally, the truth leaks out. At a researchers’ conference in Vancouver, the fact that our government is muzzling scientists came out. These experts who are published in some of the world’s most prestigious publications, are being told by Ottawa to get clearance from the government before talking about their research. They work for Environment Canada, the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, among others. One can only imagine what the government doesn’t want to be made public in those domains. Scientist, Francesca Grifo said, “…scientists must be allowed to speak about their work so that the public can stay informed about research to safeguard water, protect the environment and ensure pharmaceuticals are regulated.” That, of course, is the last thing the capitalists want, so government complies.

    –           The Harper government is also responsible, like many governments around the world, for using scare tactics to try to reduce pensions. That’s benefits for those who have worked a lifetime. Canada’s Old Age Security (OAS) costs are set to triple by 2030. By then the economy is expected to have doubled, and after that, when the baby boom generation has gone, costs will go way down. The threats to increase the age of eligibility and claw backs are simply tactics to get the capitalist class off the hook and increase their bank accounts. Freedom 67 is becoming a global trend.

    –           Capital has no ethics or scruples. Israel and Iran definitely have no trade agreements due to their religion, world view, being enemies etc., but money will always find a way. In The Canadian Jewish News, Professor Bialer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem comments, “Trade with Iran is an ancient story. Money has no smell. Iranians always try to do business, and there have always been Israelis with an eye for making money.”

    –           The attack on workers wages and benefits continues. The city of Toronto gave its workers an ultimatum as contract renewals came up – surrender almost all job security, or have concessions imposed anyway. This is a highly unusual way to bargain collectively but recession time puffs up the chests of the toadies of capitalism, workers themselves, who feel emboldened enough to make the threats. It means accept or go on strike in the middle of winter and lose anyway. Nice guys! Add this to the Caterpillar fiasco noted last month and others and you can see this is becoming a general trend.

    –           Of course with a mayor like Ford in the city of Toronto, it is to be expected. Recently, the highly respected general manager of the Toronto Transit Commission had the temerity to disagree with the mayor’s plan re subways over light rail transit. The mayor persuaded the councilors sitting on the transit commission to fire the manager after 35 years service. Ford said, As far as I’m concerned, the TTC needs an enema”. His councilor brother weighed in with, “The TTC? Please, give me a break. They are just justifying union jobs. LRTs destroy neighbourhoods.” This passes for negotiation and consensus today in Toronto.

    –           A delicious irony and piece of gossip. Vic Toews, Public Safety Minister, described as ‘a severe, humourless man’(Toronto Star 18/Feb/12) has introduced a bill for online surveillance of Canadians (Are we the enemy?). Unfortunately for him Twitter has detailed an account of his alleged infidelities, a love child, and a subsequent messy divorce. Toews, an alleged family man, (“Heterosexual marriage has a unique social purpose that other relationships simply do not share.” – we all know what he’s been sharing) is angrily demanding an investigation how this all got on Twitter. What comes around, goes around! Good on Twitter.

    –           Former comedian, Victoria Jackson. On the far right of the Republican Party (say, close to Hitler) has been using the Primaries as a stage to sound off, for example, conducting an interview with a reporter while racing around in her car because,  “The nation if Islam wants to kill me”. She also came out with, “If you’ve noticed, everybody in comedy is from Canada. Why didn’t they become a star in Canada (most did to my knowledge – ed)? Because they don’t have the American free enterprise system. They’re Socialists!” No comment necessary.

    –           While on the subject of American politics, this year’s presidential and Congressional elections will cost $6 billion.

    –           Capitalism and sports – now there’s a combination. At Super Bowl time NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, gave forth on the recent publicity on the rash of concussions in the sport, “Player safety and health is the number one priority of the NFL.” Writer, Cathal Kelly (Toronto Star, 4/Feb/12) retorted, “Making money is the number one priority of the NFL and every other successful business on earth. If safety was the priority, it would be called the National Flag Football League and everybody would play it for free in the parks.” For the uninitiated, flag football refers to grabbing a flag from an opponent instead of trying to run him over, and it is played in many parks.

    –           Still with the Super Bowl, and talking of being run over, The Toronto Star reported that 27 players taking to the field in that game weigh more than 300 lbs. Would they be that big and unhealthy without the incentive of money? Not likely.

     

    For socialism, John

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