Why are we waiting?

Reflections of a man in a queue

 What are you waiting for? For a certain little lady to come by? For world peace? For that moment when you can slap a parking ticket on that stationary vehicle whose owner has committed the heinous crime of being one minute longer than they should have been? For the chance to appear in ‘Big Brother’? For the dentist to call you in and prove that you have nothing to fear but fear itself? For the weekend when your life feels like it belongs to you and no one else? For the arms of Morpheus to envelop you? For the price of petrol/train season ticket to become more affordable?  For your team to win promotion this season? For someone to bid on that eBay item you’re trying to sell? For the replacement of a social system predicated upon the pursuit of profit, profit and more profit?

T he local newsagents/post office.  Lunchtime.  Three counter positions. Two of them closed.  Surprise, surprise! Long queue building up behind me.  Metaphorically, I pull out my flask, sandwiches and copy of the Beano and settle down for a long wait. I try uttering the mantra, “patience is a virtue,” but this doesn’t work as my concentration is disturbed by the mucky magazines in my eye line. Ian Drury’s song, starts running through my head, “In my yellow jersey, I went out on the nick. South Street Romford, shopping arcade, Got a Razzle magazine, I never paid, Inside my jacket and away double quick.” (Razzle in my pocket)
 Last time I was rooted to one spot for so long without moving was in a traffic jam just outside Worcester. On the satnav I watched an hour of my life go to waste as I fumed in the queue.  I’m just on the point of turning to someone and saying, “When I was a lad we didn’t have queues this long you know!” Fortunately, I manage to avoid turning into bore number 147.
I move through ninety degrees and peruse those behind me. I’m not that sensitive to other people’s moods but even I could sense their resentment. Their blood pressure is rising exponentially with every minute of inactivity that passes. I gauge this by the angry flush which is appearing on their faces and the muttered imprecations which are beginning to sound more and more and like an audition for a collective of Wiccan worshippers in that Scottish play by Shakespeare.
 I too join in the muttering. I am debating with myself whether I should give in to an overwhelming urge to fix them with a glittering eye and expound upon the benefits of a social system based upon production for use, not profit. After all, my fellow wage slaves are the ones who actually run the system on behalf of a minority.
 Waiting for Godot is a play by Samuel Becket. There are two characters called Estragon and Vladimir who, in a two day time frame, engage in various activities whilst waiting for a character called Godot to arrive. In the first scene Estragon after trying hard to remove his shoe, and failing, says, “Nothing to be done.”

 “Nothing to be done!” has resonance amongst those who are constantly propounding empirical reasons why this global social system, capitalism, has fulfilled its historical purpose and needs to be replaced. “Nothing to be done!” is an oft-repeated response from other members of the working class when real socialism is explained to them.

 Go on the comments section of some internet blogs or media sites. Amongst the jeering, insults, and  puerile name calling you will find countless posts complaining how tough times are and how they are going to get tougher. These tirades are often directed at individuals, e.g. politicians, organizations, e.g. political parties, or institutions, e.g., the European Union, who appear, in the eyes of those posting, to hold some malignant influence over their lives. For the sake of veracity, it has to be said, that ‘socialism’ is often cited in less than complimentary terms.

 It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the ‘socialism’ referred to as being more scary than the bogeyman is state capitalism as practised by the ex-Soviet Union and by regimes such as North Korea, Cuba and others today.  Moaning and whinging seems to be becoming an art form.  In the art of not doing anything. A pervasive fatalistic air is apparent. Amongst many who are who are posting on the internet anyway, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it,” (Karl Marx). Well, here’s the tough love; whining about it ain’t gonna change anything!

 The local branch of the bank that likes to be international and local at one and the same time. Mid-morning. Once upon a time there were five counter positions. Now there are only two. One of which is shut. Yet another queue. The frustrations emanating from the increasingly exasperated wage slaves wasting time trying to avail themselves of the banks ‘services’ are palpable. Are those queuing behind me are aware of their role as wage slaves within a capitalist system that daily exploits them in its ever more desperate attempts to fulfil it’s raison d’être? The thing about capitalism is that it’s fulfilled its historical function to lay down the necessary social conditions for a transition to a wageless, moneyless, leaderless, classless, stateless society. It’s just that the vast majority of paid and unpaid members of the working class don’t know that yet.
 The couple at the counter finally sorts out their business. She apologies to us all for keeping us waiting. I say out loud, it’s not your fault, it’s the banks. In my mind I’m screaming, “We don’t need banks!  Abolition of the wages system! Free access of goods and services! From each according to his/her abilities, to each according to their needs! Had I said all this aloud in one of the temples of the moneychangers what response would I have got? Would I have been dragged kicking and screaming into a police van or into a conveyance to the local mental health hospital. Well! What a looney!  (Political correctness in the use of language hasn’t permeated to my part of the world). Elimination of money?  Cor, we might be getting seriously peed off wasting our life in this queue but that suggestion is just ridiculous. Isn’t it? Hell, I don’t want to bring back more counter positions in banks and post offices. I want a social system where money and the need for financial transactions of any kind are no longer necessary.

 “I'm so tired, Tired of waiting, Tired of waiting for you.” (Ray Davies and The Kinks). I’ve reached an age where “Time’s winged chariot hurrying near” resounds much more loudly nowadays.  I think I can legitimately describe myself as a ‘grumpy old man.’ Thing is, I don’t think that you have to be old to be grumpy and dissatisfied to know that there’s something wrong with the way that we live. Like the Kinks I’m getting increasingly frustrated waiting for the transition to a better social system which will supersede the one we have now. Capitalism has outlived its usefulness and is inhibiting the personal, and collective, growth of everyone on this planet. The problem is this better life isn’t going to happen without us all putting in some serious effort to bring it about. “It's your life, And you can do what you want.” So what do you want to do? Are you happy with your life? It’s down to us all. What are we waiting for?

 (from the Socialist Standard September 2009)

Close this  article

Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World’.
An analysis of the US report designed to guide strategic thinking and
inspire political action on behalf of the U.S. ruling class and its allies.

from The Socialist Standard.

Stop and search Banksy
The above is one of Banksy's .All his stuff is terrific.
Here is his Website
Monkey Business

I spotted the link to that one above in the WSM_Forum on Yahoo.
The description
              "Humanity is finally outgrowing capitalism, and it's time for a major upgrade. The future is one of post-scarcity common ownership, free access and democratic control, and it's on the horizon now. Join this Forum to find out about the World Socialist Movement and the biggest change in society since the discovery of electricity."

 It is all in that last link.
Introductory material here
What is capitalism?
What is socialism?
Revolution or reform?
More introductory articles…


Every day in the newspapers and on the TV we are confronted by earnest politicians who assure us that they are doing everything possible to lessen the prospects of another nuclear horror story like Hiroshima or Nagasaki. A great deal of concern is being shown by these politicians as to whether Iran has a nuclear bomb. This concern seems a trifle ludicrous when the USA has 9,400 nuclear warheads and Russia has 13,000 of them. In fact when they are being frank, as the writer of this newspaper report is, they know that nuclear disarmament is an impossibility inside capitalism.
"Later this month United Nations inspectors will visit Iran's secret nuclear facility near Qom to find out if the Islamic republic is about to become the world's tenth nuclear power. Whatever they find, the world already has enough nuclear weapons to destroy every single nation on the planet. With approximately 23,000 warheads, there is enough deadly material for 2.3 million blasts the size of Hiroshima. ... The world is committed to nuclear disarmament in principle, in practice it will never happen." (Times, 6 October) RD


"For all the recent uproar over Iran's nuclear program, little attention has been paid to the fact that the country which first provided Tehran with nuclear equipment was the United States. In 1967, under the "Atoms for Peace" program launched by President Eisenhower, the US sold the Shah of Iran's government a 5-megawatt, light-water type research reactor. This small dome-shaped structure, located in the Tehran suburbs, was the foundation of Iran's nuclear program. It remains at the centre of the controversy over Iranian intentions, even today."
(Yahoo News, 2 October) RD

Friday, October 09, 2009


"Castles in France. Islands in the Caribbean. Private jets. With a collective $1.27 trillion at their disposal, the members of The Forbes 400 could buy almost anything. How about a country? A quick glance at the CIA Fact Book suggests the individual fortunes of many Forbes 400 members are as big as some of the world's economies. Bill Gates, America's richest man with a net worth of $50 billion, has a personal balance sheet larger than the gross domestic product (GDP) of 140 countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Bolivia and Uruguay. The Microsoft (MSFT) visionary's nest egg is just short of the GDP of Tanzania and Burma. Warren Buffett, who lost $10 billion in the past 12 months and is this year's Forbes 400 biggest dollar loser, still has a fortune the size of North Korea's economy at $40 billion." (Yahoo Finance, 2 October) RD

In case you missed it

B.A. staff loyalty

British Airways recently suggested to their workers, that during these hard times they might like to work - for free. Many of the staff, apparently concerned about their bosses profits, seemed to think it was a good idea. From cabin crew to engineers, they donated their time and skills, up to a months work in some cases - for nothing. So, are the bosses happy, and how have the workers additional unpaid labour and efforts been received?

Well, chief executive Willie Walsh has come up with some plans. A report in the (Guardian 11 July) suggested that the airline was now looking to replace existing cabin crew with new, lower paid staff. And to save more money, it wants to make 4,000 job cuts across the workforce, plus sweeping changes to working conditions. You can't do too much for a good boss they say.

The not-so-free press

Businesses constantly have to find innovative ways of staying ahead of the competition, and the red-top newspaper industry, which creates and sells sensational stories is no exception.

Devious practices (known in the trade apparently, as the 'Black Arts') can prove expensive however. It emerged in July that News International have had to pay £700,000 to a football personality to settle a breach of privacy claim out of court. Expensive, but it buys silence. The settlement includes a gagging clause.

As this article is being penned, the story of the widespread use of private investigators for illegal hacking and phone tapping to get the dirt on people in the public eye is just emerging. The alleged involvement, or knowledge of this by Andy Coulson, ex-editor of the News of the World (and now Tory Party director of communications) and other senior tabloid figures is being questioned.

Wensley Clarkson, a journalist with years of experience in the red-tops, claims that these practices have been widespread practice for years. "When I started out, in the late 70s" he writes, "it was quite innocent - the odd £50 to a tame copper. By the 80s we'd do anything".

The business of religion

Before retiring, I was a member of the MSF union. (MSF stood for Manufacturing, Science and Finance). One month the union newsletter carried an article about how membership was being boosted by the recruitment of clergymen.

I wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury asking that, as neither Manufacturing nor Science covered the activities of god's representatives, could I assume-ttheir efforts were chiefly concerned with Finance? He didn't reply.

However, God apparently does have to take his finances very seriously. In common with numerous other multi-millionaires, his wealth is not what it was. And as always, it's the workers who suffer when the bosses money isn't rolling in fast enough. As a cost cutting measure, the Church of England is now looking at proposals to shed the jobs of some of my ex-fellow union membersrbishops and senior clergy.

It is concerned that the value of its investment portfolio last year was only £4.4 billion. (Yes, 4.4 billion). In 2007 it was £5.7 billion. Another proposal under consideration which might save your local bishop from having to sign on, is to encourage congregations to be more generous with their donations. Although they currently provide the C of E with £600 million a year, it has been estimated that if they contributed 5 percent of their income, an extra £300 million a year would be generated.

It has also been suggested, in all seriousness apparently, that priests should preach more about the value of generosity. The Rt Rev John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, worried about his job perhaps, is quoted as saying "A time of recession is also a time of opportunity ..."

Now that's what you call opportunism.


Capitalism is working as normal

1.02 billion people hungry

The faces behind the numbers.

 One sixth of humanity undernourished - more than ever before

19 June 2009, Rome - World hunger is projected to reach a historic high in 2009 with 1 020 million people going hungry every day, according to new estimates published by FAO today.The most recent increase in hunger is not the consequence of poor global harvests but is caused by the world economic crisis that has resulted in lower incomes and increased unemployment. This has reduced access to food by the poor, the UN agency said."A dangerous mix of the global economic slowdown combined with stubbornly high food prices in many countries has pushed some 100 million more people than last year into chronic hunger and poverty," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. "The silent hunger crisis — affecting one sixth of all of humanity — poses a serious risk for world peace and security. We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world and to take the necessary actions.""The present situation of world food insecurity cannot leave us indifferent," he added.Poor countries, Diouf stressed, "must be given the development, economic and policy tools required to boost their agricultural production and productivity. Investment in agriculture must be increased because for the majority of poor countries a healthy agricultural sector is essential to overcome poverty and hunger and is a pre-requisite for overall economic growth."
Full report below.
Capitalism is working as normal.Let us work to get rid of this foul system and establish a free access society of socialism/communism.Production for use based upon, voluntary labour, access to its produce based upon, self determined need.
A democratic society without nation states ,elites,leaders,markets and their corolary, buying and selling.

The above a Max classic.

We contested in London but urged a write in vote elsewhere.

Frederick Engels A Lifetime's Service

There is a new biography of Friedrich Engels which if half as good as the superlative one of Karl Marx by Francis Wheen,
should be worth reading. 'The Frock-Coated Communist' may well be reviewed in a future edition of the Socialist Standard. Meanwhile, for those wanting to know more about Engels, read on.

Labour, Liberal or Tory,
      it's business as usual.

The toady William Rees-Mogg reminds us that thirty years ago today the Conservative Party leader Margeret Thatcher became Prime Minister. Click here for his sycophantic drivel.

The outgoing Labour PM Callaghan warned that the Tory government would be a "national catastrophe', but, as we said at the time,..read >

DON'T recycle Capitalism - Bin it.

This is what Marx wrote about the credit system, all those years ago...

The credit system reproduces a new financial aristocracy, a new kind of parasite in the guise of company promoters,speculators and merely nominal directors; an entire system of swindling and cheating with respect to the promotion of companies, issues of shares and share dealings.

The credit system...accelerates the material development of the productive forces and the creation of the world market, which it is the historical task of the capitalist mode of production to bring to a certain level of development, as material foundations for the new form of production. At the same time, credit accelerates the violent outbreaks of this contradiction, crises, and with these the elements of dissolution of the old mode of production.

The credit system has a dual character immanent in it: on the one hand it develops the motive of capitalist production, enrichment by the exploitation of other’s labour, into the purest and most colossal form of gambling and swindling, and restricts ever more the already small number of exploiters of social wealth; on the other hand however it constitutes the form of transition towards a new mode of production.

Capital Volume III - Chapter 27 - The Role of Credit in Capitalist Production

Swazi King's Birthday

The media are having a field day exposing the hypocrisy of millions ,officially put at $2.5 million though widely believed to be five times higher , being spent on celebrating King Mswati III's birthday .

He will be 40 .

unemployment, 40 percent
HIV rates: nearly 40 percent among adults. Life expectancy has nearly halved since 1998 because of the AIDS epidemic and is now less than 31 years, according to the most recent U.N. figures.

70 percent live below the poverty line, and 20% depend on international food aid.

A new constitution took effect in 2006 maintains the ban on political opposition parties. The king appoints the prime minister and the cabinet. A previous king ,Sobhuza , declared a state of emergency in 1973 which Mswati has never formally lifted.

About 5,000 trade union members took to the streets Wednesday to protest against the expenditure

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Tribes or Nations ??

From The London Times

" Siphiwe Hlophe, founder of Swaziland for Positive Living (Swapol) led a 1,000-strong demonstration in the capital Mbabane to protest that eight of his 13 wives, plus their children and an entourage of bodyguards, maids and hangers-on, had chartered a plane to Dubai for a shopping spree. English public-school-educated King Mswati III, whose personal take of the national budget is half the health budget, is estimated to have spent £2.2m on the trip and is planning a huge 40th birthday party.

Swaziland has the worst HIV infection rate in the world; 31% for women.
It is also pathetically poor, with nearly 70% of its people living on less than 50 US cents (about 27p) a day.

In Swaziland the king and the ruling elite refer to the Swazi nation but pretend that Swazis are a traditional tribe, utterly obedient to the king and his chiefs. The king misuses tradition to appropriate the country’s meagre resources, prevent development and keep the people subservient.

What is the difference between a tribe and a nation anyway? Tribalism describes a frame of mind all human beings suffer from: a pig-headed “my group, right or wrong” attitude. In Africa people are always referred to as members of tribes, but how can 25 million Yoruba or 33 million Hausa people be called tribes? If they are, then surely the English, Welsh and Scots must be British tribes. Does the media refer to former Yugoslavia as tribal or the Israel-Palestine conflict as a land dispute between two semitic tribes. That’s how it would be described if they lived in Africa.

Africa’s problem is not tribalism as such, but the utterly incoherent nation states cohabited by different ethnic groups bequeathed to Africans half a century ago. Africans had no part in the creation of their nation states. At the end of the 19th century, Europeans drew lines on maps of places they had never been to. Fifty years ago the filled-in spaces became Ghana, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, countries that had never existed before. Suddenly pitched into independence, they had no sense of common nationhood. By contrast the ruling Europeans had always emphasised ethnic differences and suppressed any sense of nationalism.

Beneath the surface of Africa’s weak nation states lie old cultures, old communities, very different societies with their own laws and languages. Nigeria contains some 400 different ethnic groups. Uganda has more than 40. They lack what we take for granted: a common conception of nationhood and national citizenship. The unification of Africa remains a distant dream, and separatism is frowned on because it could lead to bloody disintegration..."

We also read that a meeting of more than 200 African kings and traditional rulers has bestowed the title "king of kings" on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The rulers, wearing gold crowns, sequined capes and colourful robes met in the Libyan town of Benghazi. Sheikh Abdilmajid from Tanzania told the BBC that the traditional rulers could play an important role. "The people believe in the chiefs and kings more than they believe in their governments,"
While Col Gaddafi told the assembled dignitaries "We want an African military to defend Africa, we want a single African currency, we want one African passport to travel within Africa,"

Socialist Banner declares that only through democratic de-centralised world socialism can the African peoples become united but also Africa will be unified with the rest of the world and enjoy common ownership of the worlds treasury.

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Political whores

In Kenya there is a proposal to pay hefty salaries to the wives of the prime minister and vice-president. A leaked document says the head of civil service Francis Muthaura has directed that they each be paid $6,000 (£3,000) every month.

A government memo leaked to the local media directs that Ida Odinga and Pauline Musyoka, wives of the prime minister and vice-president respectively, will be rewarded for their roles as hostesses.
The pay is also supposed to recognise their role for upholding national family values.

Socialist Banner believes it is more the rich and powerful feathering their own nests at the expense of the poor and vulnerable . We can only agree with Transparency International's Gladwell Otieno who said the move is a confirmation that Kenyan politicians are just a greedy caste, looking after themselves at the expense of poor Kenyans recovering from the effects of post-election violence.

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posted by ajohnstone at 6:53 AM 0 comments

Socialist Standard July 2009

Britains oldest Socialist Journal
  published since 1904
Available soon
Out Now!
This issue of  the Socialist Standard   is now available . Click on image to access links.

A cold thought

According to the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, the number of households in fuel poverty – where more than 10 per cent of income goes on heating and lighting – has trebled in five years, from 1.2 million in 2003 to 4 million last September.

Polling of pensioners by the charity Age Concern found that 38 per cent were cutting back on gas and 41 per cent on electricity this year because of fears that they could not afford the prices. With 13 million pensioners in the UK, the charity's findings suggest that 5.2 million people over 60 will go cold at some point this winter.Faced with a choice between food and fuel, many opt not to switch on radiators or gas fires – at a cost to their health.The Office for National Statistics has calculated there were 24,995 "excess winter deaths" between December 2007 and March 2008. Three quarters of those that die each year are aged 75 or over.

Age Concern spokesman Stefano Gelmini said: "If older people cut back on their heating during a colder winter this could raise the numbers affected by cold-related illness, which contributes to thousands of excess winter deaths of older people each year."

Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, explained: "If people live in the cold – particularly the elderly and those living alone – they are more likely to to get cardiovascular problems, heart attacks and strokes, and chronic lung conditions like bronchitis.They can become less mobile. They try to keep one room warm, and because they don't move about so much and don't go out so much they can get quite depressed, so there are mental health problems too." He added: "The harder it is for people to heat their homes, the more deaths there will be. A particular concern for the Faculty of Public Health Medicine is that higher energy prices are unequal in their impact and hit the poor more."

According to the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, rising fuel prices mean ministers now have no hope of hitting their target of removing all "vulnerable" households from fuel poverty by 2010.

Another broken promise , another failed palliative .

Slumming it

Further to an earlier post on poverty tourism we now read this report

Rich tourists are being offered a chance to live like a beggar in India to teach them about poverty.

For £150-a-night they can live with members of the so-called untouchable Dalit community, eating their food, and sleeping in one of their makeshift homes made of cardboard and plastic.

But the squeamish can pay a £100 supplement for an upgrade to a deluxe beggar's home - complete with clean sheets, a brand new mattress, fresh mineral water and insect repellents.

The holidays - in India's poverty stricken Uttar Pradesh state - are designed to mark the 140th anniversary of Indian human rights hero Mahatma Gandhi's birth.

The above is one of Banksy's .All his stuff is terrific.
Here is his website


"London Mayor Boris Johnson dismissed the £250,000-a-year he earns from a second job as "chicken feed". Mr Johnson also insisted it was "wholly reasonable" for him to write newspaper columns on the side because he did them "very fast". The comments risk infuriating millions of Londoners struggling to make ends meet amid the economic downturn. And they are unlikely to please David Cameron, who has ordered his shadow cabinet to give up extra work in the run-up to the general election to show their "commitment". Mr Johnson, who is paid nearly £140,000 for his day job, was quizzed over his lucrative contract with the Daily Telegraph during an interview for the BBC's HARDTalk programme. He responded: "It's chicken feed." (Independent, 14 July) RD


"In 2000, Jon Corzine spent tens of millions of his personal fortune to vault himself from political obscurity to the United States Senate. In 2005, he spent millions more to jump from Washington to Trenton and become New Jersey's governor. This year he's opening his wallet again as he looks to overcome a steep deficit in the polls to win re-election, in what could be the ultimate test of whether money trumps all in politics today. Throughout American history, personal wealth has often played a significant role in winning political office. But as campaigns are increasingly decided by 30-second TV ads and sophisticated get-out-the-vote efforts, the two major parties are increasingly looking to recruit individuals with personal fortunes that can help bankroll campaign costs that now more often than not run into the tens of millions of dollars."
(Yahoo News, 9 July) RD


"Foreign fruit pickers are taking home as little as £45 a week at a company which provides some of Britain's largest supermarkets with thousands of tonnes of fruit, an investigation by The Independent has found. S&A Produce, which supplies both Tesco and Sainsbury's, employs thousands of eastern Europeans who are given a specific work visa allowing them to work for the company. They are attracted by the prospect of earning up to £200 a week by picking fruit on its farms in Herefordshire and Kent. The workers are officially paid the minimum wage of £5.74, a comparatively high sum for foreign nationals who often have an average annual income of less than £3,000 in their own countries. But employee pay slips obtained by The Independent show that the real hourly rate for the company's fruit pickers often amounts to less than half the minimum wage once a series of obligatory charges has been deducted." (Independent, 10 July) RD


"The number of homes repossessed in the UK rose to 12,800 in the first three months of the year, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has said. This was up 23% from the 10,400 in the previous three months and 50% up on the 8,500 in the same period last year. The CML has predicted that 75,000 homes will be repossessed in 2009, almost double the 40,000 of last year." (BBC News, 16 May) RD


The US Government, like every government in world capitalism spends billions of dollars in weapons of war and research into more and more deadly ways to kill and maim, but when it comes to spending two cents to save a child's life they remain strangely reluctant.
"Americans pretty much take vitamin A for granted, but many of the world’s poorest people lack it. And as a result, it is estimated that more than half-a-million children die or go blind each year. There’s a simple fix: vitamin A capsules that cost about 2 cents each."
(New York Times, 13 May) RD


"Tens of thousands of landlords are struggling to meet their mortgage repayments as the economic downturn devastates the buy-to-rent market, according to a new report. Moody's, the rating agency, released figures yesterday showing that 3.55 per cent of landlords were at least three months behind with mortgage payments in the first quarter of the year - compared with 0.95 per cent in the same period a year ago. Repossession of buy-to-let loans had also risen marginally, to 0.18 per cent in the first three months of this year from 0.13 per cent in the first three months of last year. There are about a million buy-to-let landlords in the UK, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders."
(Times, 13 May) RD


"Talk about kicking a man when he's down. Moody's ( the rating agency)yesterday downgraded the credit rating of L'Aquila, the Italian city, from A1 to Ba1 and placed it on review for possible further downgrades after last month's devastating earthquake. The agency said: "Moody's views these developments as affecting the city's ability to meet its financial obligations on a timely basis." Well, it's an accurate assessment, albeit a rather cold and clinical one."
(Times, 13 May) RD


The World Bank recently estimated that 2.8 million children could die by 2015 if the global financial crisis is not checked. Commenting on this the Prime Minister Gordon Brown commented: "It is as if the entire population of Rome were to die in the next five years." (Times, 21 February) This from the leader of the Labour Party who vigorously defend the killer society that is the buying and selling of capitalism. Hypocrisy cannot go further surely when Gordon Brown suspends parliament debate because of the death of the child of one of his opponents in a vote catching move. He will not of course suspend the running of capitalism or its parliament about the possible death of 2.8 million kids.


Stoked by the relentless drive for profits every developed capitalist nation in the world is armed to the teeth in preparation for possible armed conflict with its rivals. Now it transpires that it is not only its rivals that should fear this growing arms race. Radioactive waste from the Faslane base is polluting the Clyde near the large city of Glasgow.
"Britain's nuclear submarine fleet has been hit by a series of serious safety breaches involving repeated leaks of radioactive waste, broken pipes and waste tanks at its home base on the Clyde, the Ministry of Defence has disclosed. In a confidential report released under the Freedom of Information Act, the MoD has admitted that safety failings at the UK's main nuclear submarine base at Faslane, near Glasgow, are a "recurring theme" and ingrained in the base's culture. The worst breaches include three leaks of radioactive coolant from nuclear submarines in 2004, 2007 and 2008 into the Firth of Clyde, while last year a radioactive waste plant manager was replaced. It emerged he had no qualifications in radioactive waste management."
(Guardian, 27 April) Truly, capitalism is a dangerous society. RD


"Washington – The Army has approved new guidance to military commanders in an effort to stem the rising toll of soldier suicides, officials said late Thursday. The plan includes hiring more mental health workers and tightening the way officials handle drug testing, health screening and a host of other long-standing procedures that in some cases became lax, according to officials, as the Army focused on fighting two wars. Army leadership has become more alarmed as suicides from January through March rose to a reported 56 — 22 confirmed and 34 still being investigated and pending confirmation. Usually, the vast majority of suspected suicides are eventually confirmed. The 2009 number compares to 140 for all of last year, a record blamed partly on strains caused by repeated deployments for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
(Yahoo News, 23 April) RD


You have just received a leaflet from an organisation called "WaterAid" . It could break your heart. Here is what it says
"Every 17 seconds a child in the developing world dies from water-related diseases. In around the time it takes you to read the next paragraph, a child somewhere will die. ...In just two minutes, seven more children will have died. Please help now."
It is powerful stuff but of course it is pointless. Socialist for over a hundred years have pointed out that charity does not help the problems of capitalism - it keeps them going. If you really wish to help the underprivileged, poor, starving and thirsty children of this world you will organise for a new society that makes charity impossible. We call it socialism. RD

Karl’s Quotes

On the Value of labour-power, “ What, then, is the value of labouringpower? Like that of every other commodity, its value is determined by the quantity of labour necessary to produce it…A certain mass of necessaries must be consumed by a man to grow up and maintain his life. But the man,like the machine, will wear out and must be replaced by another man. Beside the mass of necessaries required for his own maintenance, he wants another amount of necessaries to bring up a certain quota of children that are to replace him on the labour market and to perpetuate the race of labourers. Moreover, to develop his labouring power, and acquire a givenskill, another amount of values must be spent…As the costs of producing labouring powers of different quality do differ, so must differ the values of the labouring powers employed in different trades. The cry for an equality of wages rests, therefore, upon a mistake, is an inane wish to be fulfilled…Upon the basis of the wages system the value of labouring power is settled like that of every other commodity; and as different kinds of labouring power have different values, or require different quantities of labour for their production, they must fetch different prices in the labour market. To clamour for equal or even equitable retribution on the basis of the wages system is the same as to clamour for freedom on the basis of the slavery system. What you think just or equitable is out of the question. The question is; What is necessary and unavoidable with a given system of production?”
(from “Value, Price andProfit” pp39/40. In other words, inequality is part of the capitalist modeof production and can only be rectified by an end to the wages system.
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