1990s >> 1993 >> no-1071-november-1993

Sting in the Tail: Too many kids?

Too many kids?

The Socialist Party has always insisted that capitalism and not overpopulation is what causes poverty.

Our view is supported from time to time by TV programmes and items in the press etc. The latest example is a remarkable article in the Guardian on 25 September by Dan Atkinson and Sarah Whitebloom titled ’Don’t blame birth rates’.

The article rebuts the myth spread by the Prince of Wales and other ignoramuses that there is “an iron link between high population/birth rate and poverty”.

The writers point out that parts of Britain which have low population density have “the lowest living standards in the UK” while;

  “Thinly populated Canada boasts one of the world’s seven largest economies. Singapore — which accommodates three million people within a few acres — is similarly one of the richest economies in the world.”

Thus the writers show that “poverty and population are not linked in any way whatsoever” and conclude that “Capitalism, not people, causes poverty”. Right on, Dan and Sarah, but do you have something to put in capitalism’s place? We do.

We still like kids

Anti-abortionists in the USA are turning more and more to violence in order to get their way.

One doctor who performed abortions was shot dead in March by a man who yelled “Don’t kill any more babies”. After another doctor was shot and wounded the founder of Rescue America, an anti-abortion group, said “this shooting, while unfortunate, will result in babies lives being saved”, while a Roman Catholic priest urged the killing of doctors who performed abortions, calling it “justified homicide” (Independent, 21 August).

All this concern for unborn children and yet we wonder if these anti-abortionists expressed anything like the same concern over the killing of living children in Vietnam and Iraq by the US government or its stooges in Nicaragua, Angola and elsewhere.

Come on you reds

“Red tide sweeps across eastern Europe” was one of the headlines which greeted last month’s electoral success by Poland’s ex-communists.

Ex-communists have also won an election victory in Lithuania last year, enjoy growing support in Hungary and eastern Germany as well as uninterrupted rule in large pans of what were Yugoslavia and the USSR. There is a big difference, however. They now have to embrace the market economy and political democracy, both of which they had spent decades denouncing.

No-one should be surprised by this conversion. The norm in all one-party dictatorships, left and right, is for everyone who wants to “get on” to join the party, no matter what their own ideas may be. Thus all those CPs were full of careerists, crooks, egotists and other self-seekers, so it has been easy for them to make the change.

A touch of class

For years now the Spectator has churned out its nonsense about what a lovely society capitalism is and what interesting and worthwhile people make up the capitalist class.

Imagine Scorpion’s amazement then, when some kindly reader (readers of this column read everything) sent in a spoofy Spectator article by one Charles Moore entitled “It’s time for the bourgeoisie to rise against the Capitalist oppressors”. It was in a heavy-handed way supposed to be humorous and satirical. Like most things in the Spectator it was as light as a lead balloon. But surprise, surprise it did contain one gem of truth amidst the usual “All forms of socialism are useless” nonsense:

“The thinking should start with a redefinition of the working class . . . But why shouldn’t the working class mean 90 per cent of those who work or are available for work — the great mass of people who have to live by selling their labour.” (4 September)

Spot on, Charlie. For more information write to Clapham High Street and ask for a copy of “The Socialist Party, Principles and Policy”. It is clear, precise and honest. Something that should prove a novelty to all writers in the Spectator.

Doffin the tammy

From time to time socialists run across members of the Scottish Nationalist Party who claim that they are “a bit of a socialist myself”, or even more outrageously “the only way to get socialism in Scotland is by voting SNP”.

An item in the Daily Record shows how stupid such claims are:

    “A bid to turn the SNP into a republican party failed miserably. The motion which was taken in private session, followed a full scale debate at the Party’s National Council in June, then, it was remitted back, and the call to get rid of the royals failed by 216 votes to 131. Later John Swinney, the party’s publicity vice convenor, said: We felt it was a dangerous course!'” (25 September)

No dangerous course for these lickspittle tammy doffers. God save the Quine!

Bedtime reading

In the quiet of his hotel bedroom the worker who is in transit selling something useless, attending a seminar about how to con people or just being brainwashed in some staff training course can console themself with a Gideon bible.

Ever wondered how that bible got there? It is all due to as association of businessmen who formed the Gideon International in 1899. We are talking big bucks here:

“The association distributes 1 million bibles every 10 days at an annual cost of $53m (£35m). Worldwide there are 600 million Gideons. ‘We are still battling with other competitors like the Koran’,said Brian Hickford, manager of Gideons in the UK.” (Independent, 3 September)

You think that is competition, Mr Hickford? What about the day when there is a Socialist Standard in every hotel bedroom? Put there by men and women of the working class not businessmen.