Party Activity During the summer months

 Socialist Party members were active leafleting various events, including the Durham Miners’ Gala and the Tolpuddle Martyrs memorial. We reproduce below the texts of the leaflets distributed in July at the two events.

The Durham Miners’ Gala is an integral part of the working-class tradition and history in the North East in general, and County Durham in particular. Although there is now only one working colliery in the North East coalfield, the gala’s pre-eminence as a working-class gathering remains. The crowds may have diminished from its heyday but other things have not changed. The continued attendance of those state-capitalists in socialist clothing, the Labour Party, is still galling.

 Offering much, but delivering nothing. They claim to be socialists but are indistinguishable from the Tories, Liberals and the rest.

 Labour, it should be remembered, between 1964-69 closed 233 pits around the country, and have never been backward in coming forward when it comes to using the full weight of the state against the working class.

 Using troops and the police to break strikes is merely one example. Ask yourself this: for all of the hundreds of billions of pounds-worth of coal which has been extracted from North East mines, with the concomitant cost in terms of tens of thousands of workers still suffering, what has been the reward?

Have miners lived lives of fulfilment, free from stress and anxiety? Free from worry over our and our children’s futures? The answer must be an unequivocal NO!

The wealth represented by coal has been pillaged by a tiny few, for their enrichment. The private coal owners at first, then on behalf of the capitalist class as a whole through state-capitalist nationalisation in latter years and now back to private owners today.

 In all of these periods, even during the spell of nationalisation (which was state capitalism, not socialism) the reward has been poverty, degradation and insecurity. The people who worked and died, and are still dying, to extract the coal, have had scant reward for their toil. The people who have suffered, and who still suffer, react to this by continuing to allow the tricksters of the left to con them.

Blair and his cronies are only the latest edition.

 The solution however is quite simple! It is a solution which is shown quite plainly on the banner of Murton pit itself, reproduced on the front of this leaflet: “Production for use, not profit”

 This is precisely what the Socialist Party advocates and has done since 1904. Socialism: nothing more, nothing less. The common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing the things we need to live. Where we all have equal access to the means of life.

A demand echoed by the above slogan. Only we, as a united working class, can bring this about and if you would like to know more about these ideas, why not get in touch: our address is contained in this leaflet.

Message for the 1999 Durham Miners’ Gala. Message for the 1999 Durham Miners’ Gala.

Tolpuddle Martyrs If gathering together to remember the Tolpuddle Martyrs means anything then it is surely not simply a question of just remembering but of also trying to change things for the better. This is precisely what those six Dorset farm labourers were trying to do 165 years ago.

 There will be many messages put forward today. The trade union and Labour Party leaders will tell us how far we have come since 1834. How much things have changed for the better, how fortunate we are to have a Labour government and how if we are patient and leave it to them things will improve still further.

 Our message is different. Much has changed since the nineteenth century and in some respects things have improved. These improvements have been brought about by people organising themselves and not by leaders.

 However the fundamental problems that faced people around 1834, such as poverty, homelessness, unemployment and so on are still with us today.

 If these problems are considered in the light of the wealth that is created today in comparison with over 150 years ago and if we look at things on a world-wide scale then we have made little headway.

 There is still an enormous growing gap between rich and poor. We still face these problems because one fundamental thing has not changed, namely, the nature of the society we live in. As in the last century we live in a social system where the prime motivation for producing goods and services for profit.

 What has changed is that more than ever we live in a global economy dominated by giant corporations. Many of these corporations have more economic power than some countries.

 We are not pleading with the heads of corporations that dominate the world today to behave a little kinder. We are not asking politicians to attempt to control the corporations. We are not saying let us run this system because we can run it more humanely.

 The present system is operating the only way it can, profits first, human needs second and the politicians have as much chance of controlling it as a two-year-old has of stopping a runaway horse.

Our message is that we need a complete change. At present, the instruments needed to produce and distribute the things we need, are owned by a minority, around 5 percent of the population.

 Our alternative is a system of common ownership and democratic control. Goods and services could then be produced directly for use thus ending the situation where production is geared to the profit motive.

This change cannot be handed down by leaders but will be brought about by a majority acting democratically and fully conscious of what they are doing. Since this society can only function on a global scale, the movement that brings it about will have to be organised on a world-wide basis.

If you are here today because you feel a fundamental change in the way society is organised is needed then you owe it to yourself to find out more about the only political movement which seeks FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE.

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