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And on a related note, FYI: Hello to all of you who have purchased or watched any or all of my Money as Debt Trilogy movies. I HAVE A NEW MOVIE! It is FREE online and I am asking for your help to make it go viral as quickly as possible. The title is “What the Heck is a Bailout?” a question that might be puzzling a lot of people right now. I compress information and logic from the Money as Debt Trilogy into 9 minutes of widescreen HD animation that provides my answer to that question,and, in the process, concisely explains the core of my analysis of the banking system and why the business cycle is so destructive. I invite you to watch it and, if you think it worthy, send the remainder of this message on as far and wide as you can. Thank you, Paul Grignon
Here’s another such opportunity:Graham Hodgson writes, “One paragraph from the Socialist Standard article contains the key insight that the writer has completely missed:”One thing banks do is to reduce the need for cash. They have done this ever since, in the 17th century, they became an important feature of the capitalist economy. In addition, through clearing houses, they settle payments without the actual transfer of cash.”….There are no new arguments in the SS article. The whole piece is just a “no it isn’t” reaction to the PM/NEF critique of the conventional view of banking. They are further hampered by their underlying ideology that economic relations are materialistic, that they necessarily relate to material exchange, even though they admit that symbols can for a time stand in for the real thing. This makes it very difficult indeed to think of money as fundamentally immaterial.” Join the debate.
Have you seen this from our ever-growing archive?The Making of the English Working Class, by E. P. Thompson. Pelican. 18s.Thompson’s excellent work, 800 pages long and first published in 1965, has now been brought out as a paperback. Applying the Marxist view that men make their own history but only out of the materials at hand, Thompson traces the formation of working class consciousness (by which he means the awareness among industrial workers that they were a separate class in society apart from the ruling landed and commercial oligarchy and manufacturing middle class) under the impact of the industrial revolution between 1780 and 1832. But this was not a passive process; working class consciousness was forged out of the struggles of London artisans, weavers, field labourers and Irish migrants against oligarchic government and the factory system.The early working class is often seen as an ignorant rabble. Thompson exposes this myth and shows how the independent craftsmen who spearheaded the resistance to capitalism, in the Midlands and the North as well as in London, were in fact well-informed and literate with their own view of what society should be like – basically a simple and stable community with a secure place for all.Wilkes and Liberty, Tom Paine and radicalism, the Corresponding Societies, the pernicious effects of Methodism, Peterloo, the early trade unions, the Cato Street Conspiracy, Robert Owen and Owenism are among the names and events in radical and working class history examined in detail.Thompson’s book deserves a place on every socialist’s bookshelf alongside Thorold Rogers’ Six Centuries of Work and Wages, the classic history of the workers in England which it (to a certain extent) replaces and certainly supplements.ALBSocialist Standard No. 772 December 1968›
This is a film version of spot the odd one out! Sorry to say that even though I joined the old Islington Branch just two years after this film was made, I do not recognize any of the other Comrades present….
Hi!Hopefully, a member of your Branch will be nominated for the Blog Department…YFS.,R
FYI here is a reply from Comrade Rab WSPUS on this matter:
Thank you for calling that post to the SPGB Forum (which I never have visited) re WSPUS activity. He must have e-mailed Darren ONeil who is our only comrade in NYC. I don’t know why Darren didn’t reply but I think he’s pretty busy being a full-time Dad.Below is a copy of my reply to Patrick Ndege, who asked a similar question last February:
The WSPUS is active mostly on line. Over the last year, our Website (WSPUS.org) has averaged between 4500 and 9500 unique visits a month. We also maintain a Googlegroup for our membership to keep in touch and discuss issues that come up. (I am copying your message and this response to that group of comrades.)It is possible for people to buy socialist literature directly from our Website, and also to download material. If you browse around at WSPUS.org, you will find many articles to read, which can be printed out and reproduced for distribution.Regarding local activity on the ground, I can’t tell you much about other parts of the country, but here in the Boston area we distribute books, pamphlets, leaflets, magazines and DVDs regularly at local fairs, festivals, etc. Occasionally we will have a meeting where we invite new contacts to join us for a viewing of the SPGB’s DVD Capitalism & Other Kids Stuff.Since the postal address of the WSPUS is here in Boston, we also handle all the incoming postal mail; but lately that has slowed down to a trickle since so many people are on line. The postal correspondence carried on is mostly with American readers of the Standard who are incarcerated.In summary, we wish we could do more, but we do as much as we can. The USA is a large country and the WSPUS membership is only about 50 (although there is a much larger number of sympathizers).I hope this satisfied your curiosity! May I ask what’s going on in your neck of the woods? No matter how much or how little one is able to do, it’s important that all of us socialists ‘keep on keeping on,’ as they say. There is no activity more important than spreading knowledge and understanding of the case for socialism.
…I do not want to get involved in the SPGB Forum, as I already have enough on my plate!
KarlaJanuary 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm in reply to: 2 STW Propaganda opportunities in London: 28/1 & 3/3 #87632
“The only people consistently offering opposition to the knee jerk reaction of going to war is the Stop the War Coalition but they urgently need funds to support their work. I urge those of you who wish for a more peaceful and harmonious world to donate as much as you can afford to help them sustain their work.”- Roger Lloyd PackThis plonker will be one of the speakers at the first event. Please present him with a relevant Standard. Resist the tempation to hit him with it: use a bound volume instead
Dear Comrade,I hope the library at HO has a copies of Chushichi Tsuzuki’s “The ‘Impossibilist Revolt’ in Britain – The Origins of THE SLP and the SPGB’ (International Review of Social History, #1, 1956) and Steve Coleman’s 1984 UCL PhD thesis: The Origin & Meaning of the Political Theory of Impossibilism, as I think you will find both to be of interest.Yours for Socialism,Robert StaffordNovember 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm in reply to: Review of The Political Economy of Development (November Socialist Standard) #87117
Hi!These are possibly the last words on this subject from Professor Fine:”this is like saying something is cheese or it is not cheese. so either you believe money should be cheese or you do not believe money should be cheese. as we clearly do not believe money is cheese, we will just have to accept money is not cheese. in case you do not follow, you are putting yourself in a straitjacket of seeing those other than yourself as keynesian or monetarist. but others are not and do nto see themselves in this way. have fun.”YFS.,Robert StaffordNovember 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm in reply to: Review of The Political Economy of Development (November Socialist Standard) #87115
Hi!Comrade LEW has also reviewed two other books written or co-authored by Professor Fine:Marx’s Capital. By Ben Fine and Alfredo Saad-Filho, Pluto Press, 2004. This book was favourably reviewed in the Socialist Standard when it was first published in 1975 and again with the third edition of 1989. This fourth edition is substantially rewritten, doubling the text length, yet still coming in at under 200 pages. This is quite an achievement for an introduction to the thousands of pages in the three volumes of Marx’s Capital, as well as some of the multi-volume Theories of Surplus Value, the so-called fourth volume of Capital. As the authors point out, “Marx is not interested primarily in constructing a price theory, a set of efficiency criteria or a series of welfare propositions; he never intended to be a narrow ‘economist’ or even a political economist”. Rather, they argue that Marx sought to challenge the assumptions that political economy (the older and more accurate term for economics) makes about capitalism:“the monopoly of the means of production by a small minority, the wage employment of the majority, the distribution of the products by monetary exchange, and remuneration involving the economic categories of prices, profits and wages”. As an introduction to Marx’s Capital, this book offers a much more reliable guide than the late Ernest Mandel’s 1976 introduction in the current Penguin edition of Capital. Mandel, in common with other Trotskyists, defended the then USSR in the misguided belief that it had overthrown capitalism.http://tinyurl.com/72epwuz Social capital? Theories of Social Capital. By Ben Fine, Pluto Press, 2010 In Marxian economics capital only exists when the appropriate historical and social conditions are present. Specifically, when the means of production are generally used to exploit wage labour for profit. In capitalist economics capital is one of the ‘factors of production’ along with land and labour (and, in some definitions, entrepreneurship or management). Capital is money invested in production with the expectation of profit, though in capitalist economics capital is primarily a timeless asset. This is why those who have been exposed to capitalist economics will sometimes express bafflement at the socialist proposal to abolish capital. ‘But any society must have capital,’ they exclaim, as if we propose to physically destroy means of production. No, any modern society must have means of production (land, factories, railways, etc.), but it is only in the capitalist system of society that the means of production takes the form of capital. Socialists want to abolish capital by establishing common ownership of the means of production, replacing production for profit with production solely for use. In the last 20 years or so, in an attempt to promote the illusion of the inevitability of capital, the term has been widened to include ‘social capital’. Fine defines social capital as ‘any aspect of the social that cannot be deemed to be economic but which can be deemed to be an asset’. It can be anything from your personal acquaintances, through communal or associational activity, to your identity or culture, and so on. The objective, whether clearly recognised as such or not, is to get the notion of profit into every aspect of our lives. It should come as no surprise that one of the main sponsors of the idea of ‘social capital’ is the World Bank, though its use is now well-established in certain academic disciplines, such as management studies. Fine has also written, along with Alfredo Saad-Filho, a highly recommended work on Marxian economics called Marx’s ‘Capital’. Now in its fourth edition (2003) it is a remarkably succinct summary (216 pages) of Marx’s multi-volume Capital. http://tinyurl.com/86kwxo6 Yours for Socialism, Robert Stafford