Friday, May 06, 2005

Over to our resident psephologist

Although of course, at this stage, we are not concerned with the number of votes we get at an election but with how much and how effectively contesting allows us to get across socialist ideas, the result both in number of votes (240) and percentage (0.6) terms is the "best" (relatively speaking) we have had in London since 1970, also, coincidentally, when we contested the seat into which fell our head office at 52 Clapham High Street (then called Clapham Wandsworth). In between, in the 1974, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992 and 1997 general elections (we didn't stand in London in 2001) our vote and percentage was only half this.
By way of comparison, the result for the other candidates calling themselves "socialist" (but actually standing for reforms and state capitalism) in the area covered by the South London Press was: Scargill Labour Party 149 (Dulwich & West Norwood) and 132 (Camberwell & Peckham); "Workers Revolutionary Party" 127 (Streatham) and 113 (Camberwell & Peckham) ; Councillor Ian Page of the "Socialist Alternative Party" 742 (Lewisham & Deptford); and Respect 700 (Tooting), no doubt mainly Muslim votes.
We make this point to show that there is nothing to be gained even in terms of votes by having an attractive programme of reforms. We contested this election (as we do all elections) on a straight socialist programme of common ownership and democratic control of the means of life, with production to satisfy people's needs not profit, and distribution "from each their ability, to each their needs", with the disappearance of the market and money. They promised higher pensions, minimum wage, etc, etc. Yet they don't do any better in terms of votes, probably because if people want reforms they're going to vote for a party that they judge has got some chance of being able to implement them.
Another example of this was in Swindon North, where there was an independent candidate, Ernie Reynolds, standing on an "abolish money now" platform (even if, confusedly, only in Britain). He got 195 votes compared to 208 for a "Socialist Unity" candidate (rump of the old "Socialist Alliance" after the SWP dumped it) offering the full range of reforms that Trotskyists always do.
So we shall continue to plug away, in between as well as during elections, at putting across the case for socialism and nothing but.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The result is in!


Lambert (Socialist): 240
Hoey (Labour) : 19,744
Anglin (Lib-Dem) : 9,767
Heckels (Con) : 5,405
Summers (Green) : 1,705
McWhirter (UKIP) : 271
Polenceus (English Dem.) : 221
Spoilt: 163

Well, the count was fascinating.

The counters were energetic, efficient and effective. The hall was packed with cheerful polling agents of the other parties, and I did my best to stay clear of the UKIP Dalek, who was trying to convert the vote counters to his cause, even when all the votes were in.

As agent, I had to view the rejected ballots - a good many were simply spoilt with all candidates crossed out, or minor technicalities. I did notice a good couple of voters who put too many marks on their paper were either voting for us and the Greens or us and Labour.

One vote was someone who had written BNP next to our candidates name, I insisted that we didn't want that vote! There were a couple more we could have blagged but my attitude was that we only wanted clear conscious votes. 240 in the end.

I managed to raise a wee laugh - one rejected ballot had Tony Blair, Iraq Liar next to Hoey's name, and I suggested it was a clear vote for her - sadly the returning officer disagreed.

240 isn't a bad number, we didn't come last, and we came within an ace of the vile nationalists of UKIP who had so much media coverage.

Overall, it was worth doing, lets see how it all looks when the dust settles, but we can say already, people in Vauxhall had a chance to vote for a clear socialist case, and 240 took up the opportunity.

Marx's birthday

This day, in 1818, Karl Marx was born in Trier in Germany. It is also, this year, the western Christians' "Ascension Day" which, for Catholics, is a "holy day of obligation". It's also voting day, though there are no penalties either in this world or the imaginary next for not voting. Some in fact have already voted, by post, some even, Laborites in Birmingham and Tories in Bradford, seeming to have followed the good old Northern Ireland tradition of "vote early, vote often".
Election days are the occasion when the capitalist class ask the working class to endorse their control of political power which is used to maintain their dominant position in society, and in particular their ownership and control of the means of production. Canvassing returns and opinion polls suggest that, unfortunately, 98 per cent of those who vote will vote to keep capitalism going by voting for one or other of the political parties that represent capitalism in one form or another. The only counter-information we have is the result of a school election in West London where an 11-year old candidate, standing for "a moneyless world community" won.
Except in Vauxhall, those who reject capitalist rule and want to see established a society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of wealth production, with production geared to meeting people's needs and not for profit, and distribution according to the principle of "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs", only have a choice of not voting or (better) going to the polling station and casting a write-in vote for socialism by writing "SOCIALISM" or "WORLD SOCIALISM" or something like that across the ballot paper. Or they can do what one Socialist Party member used to do: take the ballot paper, go into the booth, and then return to ask the polling clerk in a loud voice how to spell "Bastards".
In Vauxhall, those who want socialism don't have to go to this extreme but can show this by putting an X against the name of Danny Lambert, the Socialist Party candidate.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Rain stops play

Well, we've had rotten weather this election - I much prefer leafletting in the brilliant sunshine.

Anyway, this morning, I hiked round the constituency. Last minute requests for info-packs as a result of our election mailout. Well, since the mail wouldn't get to them till tomorrow, I thought it best to drop the packs off by hand.

I got lost a couple of times, found myself in a couple of pubs - to use the lavatory, but I bought a courtesy half while there, your honour - and eventually found my last point of call to be some sort of gated old folks community, so I asked an old woman to pass the packet on, because I couldn't get to the door.

I'm now knackered, so that and the weather puts me off that little bit of canvassing we were going to do this afternoon. but, seeing as how that was largely just a token effort it doesn't matter much.

More important is that Danny is on the Interweb radio again tonight, via

Me? I'm gonna go home and sleep, things to do tomorrow, not least of which is stay up until an unbobly hour watching the votes get counted.

Labour posters say If you value it, vote for it, wel...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tony Blair is irrelevant

Yesterday we received the following email:

"Subject: Appeal to vote the Labour Party minus Tonny Blair
Date: Mon, 2 May 2005 20:55:52 +0100 (BST)
Dear friends,
Please cast your Valuable vote in favour of the Labour Party for protecting the interests of the Workers, Women and Children. But defeat Mr. Tony Blair in his constituency, because he with his God Father Bush has killed hundreds of children in Iraq war, which was initiated by him and Bush by giving false information to world. If you support this idea of ours, please forward this e-mail to at least 10 friends of yours through e-mail within 4th May, 2005.
In solidarity with,
Malay Dewanji
For and on behalf of the World Socialist Forum"

Judging it to be genuine (a not a clever attempt by the Labour Party to get doubters to vote Labour, in the full knowledge that Blair will be re-elected in his own constituency) we sent the reply below. We should add that the "World Socialist Forum" is not to be confused with the forum of the same name, sponsored by the World Socialist Movement of which the Socialist Party here in Britain is a part, and which can be found at

Thank you for this email, but we cannot agree with what you say. The decision to go to war in Iraq was not just that of Blair but of the whole Labour Cabinet and was endorsed by a majority of Labour MPs. In other words, the Labour Party as a party supported the war. This was normal in view of the fact that governments under capitalism have to run the capitalist system in the only way it can be: as a profit-making system in the interests of the tiny minority of profit-takers in the country concerned.
The Labour government, supported by a majority of its MPs, judged that the Saddam regime was such a threat to the security of oil supplies from the region for western capitalism that participation in the US attack on Iraq was justified. In similar circumstances, they would do it again as they have in the past (for example, the colonial war in Malaya in the 1940s, the Korean War).
In any event, changing leaders changes nothing. In fact, changing governments changes nothing. In the unlikely event of Blair losing in his own constituency, another Labour Leader would emerge who would do the behave in the same way, because obliged to by the nature of being a government within capitalism. It's not bad leaders that are the problem, but a "bad" social and economic system. Wars are built-in to capitalism because capitalism involves competition and conflicts of interest between rival groups of capitalists, backed by governments, over sources of raw materials, trade routes, markets and innvestment outlets and strategic points and areas to protect these. Normally, these are settled by diplomatic methods (in which armed might, ie the threat of force, is a factor, which explains why the waste of resources on weapons of destruction and preparations for war is also built-into capitalism), but, when a particular State feels that the "vital interest" of its capitalists are at stake (as the Bush administration judged in Iraq) it goes to war. This means that, as long as capitalism lasts, there will be the continual threat of a war breaking out somewhere and a continuous waste of resources on arms.
World socialism, where all the resources of the Earth, natural and industrial, would have become the common heritage of all Humanity, is, quite literally, the only way to have a world without wars, the threat of war, and preparations for war. In such a world the resources now wasted in this way could be used to contribute to the satisfaction of people's needs, so that no man, woman or child in any part of the world goes without proper food, clothing, shelter, education or health care.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Yesterday was May Day

We only went to the starting point of the WRP's march in Kennington Park because it was something happening in the Vauxhall constituency. Frankly, it turned out to be a pathetic affair. Not more than 30 people. We did give out some leaflets and talk to a few people, including Sanjay Kulkarni, the WRP candidate in Camberwell & Peckham. Their other candidate (in Streatham), John Colvill, wearing a big red rosette (how these Trotskyist groups which accuse us of "parliamentary fetishism" really play the vote-catching politicians when they contest elections), made it clear that he resented our presence, possibly because on Saturday in Brixton our candidate had denounced him to his face as a Vanguardist who wanted to come to power on the backs of the working class. But he ought to have welcomed us since our presence swelled the numbers by over 13 percent. We were never going to go on their march of course, so we left, leaving the 30 of them to march to Brixton with a police escort of one copper for every two marchers.
After calling in at 52 Clapham High Street to pick up a paste table, we headed for Trafalgar Square where the official TUC rally was taking place. The first thing that struck us was the absence of the usual paper-sellers from the SWP and Militant. Presumably, they were all out trying to win support for the candidates of, respectively, RESPECT and the "Socialist Alternative Party". Anyway, this cleared the ground for people with other ideas such as "action not ballots" (anarchosynicalists), "withhold your vote" (some sort of Maoists), and of course us with "cast a write-in vote for socialism (except in Vauxhall)".
The theme of the rally was "unite against racism" and the official stewards were handing out a leaflet saying "use your vote against the BNP". The basic idea seemed to be to get a high turnout by voting for "any of the democratic parties" so that the percentage (if not the actual)vote for the BNP would be reduced. A high turnout is generally thought to favour the Labour Party, so this advice might not have been so innocently naive as it seemed. In any event, the organisers clearly saw the rally as a pro-Labour (though not a pro-Blair) exercise since speakers such as Jeremy Corbyn MP and Tony Benn were unlikely to urge people to vote for any other party (and didn't). But, to give them their due, they didn't go as far as one of the other speakers who declared that a vote for any small leftwing party would be a vote for the Tories. This was greeted by a chorus of boos, some no doubt from people who thought that a vote for Labour was the same as a vote for the Tories.
Although our main aim was to hand out free leaflets and Socialist Standards, we did sell a number of pamphlets, the best-seller being "How The Gods Were Made" by Keracher. We don't know why. Perhaps it had something to do with a neighbouring stand, from some Leninist group from Iran, playing Lennon's "Imagine there's no heaven . . ." Not something RESPECT is likely to encourage. We must confess to changing the words and singing "Imagine there's no leaders", but are not sure if our Leninist neighbours got the point.
The afternoon ended in the nearby "Sherlock Holmes" put where we went through the leaflets we'd been given and discussed with a former SWPer how the SWP worked internally as a top-down organisation. And we understood why there were hardly any people there trying to sell "Socialist Worker" (now headed "Vote Respect"). They had been ordered to be elsewhere, preparing to return George Galloway to Westminster.
Somewhat disappointedly our ex-SWP drinking companion, a GMB shop steward, said he was considering voting for the Lib-Dems. To tell the truth he hasn't been the only person who has told us this. It seems that ex-street fighting man Tariq Ali's call to "vote Lib Dem without illusions" is finding some echo, but of course a Lib-Dem government would be no more able to make capitalism work in the interest of the majority class of wage and salary workers than have Labour and Tories ones and would end up, like them, managing capitalism in the only way it can be: as a profit system in the interests of the profit-takers (for the record, the last Liberal government, before the first World War, was the last government to shoot down striking workers. See "Remember Tonypandy"
A vote for the Lib-Dems is just as much a vote to hand over political power to the capitalist class and keep capitalism (and its problems) going, and so should be out of the question for anyone who wants to see established a society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of wealth production so that things can be turned out and services run just to satisfy people's needs and not for profit. OK, there's only one candidate in the general election standing for this. But, as our leaflet said, if you don't live in Vauxhall you can show you want socialism by writing the word "SOCIALISM" across your ballot paper. That's a far better gesture than voting Lib-Dem in a bid to give Tony Blair a bloody nose.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Mayday greetings!

Supoer saturday went well, fifteen comrades turned up and helped out, helping us reach out across teh constituency.

Today me and Danny went down to Brixton - the very bottom of the constituency and one of its most lively social centres - to do a bit of manic street preeching, and for photo opportunities for the party archive - got what I hope will be some nice ones of Danny in front of Lambeth Town Hall.

Sadly, people were too busy getting from A to B to stop and listen, but at least we tried.

Otehr comrades have gone to see a Workers Revolutionary Party march, and then off to the official TUC march at Trafalgar square.

Just remember, 364 days of the year are the capitalist's days, tyoday is our day.

Speaking of days, Danny made an appearance on Raiders Broadcast internet radio last weeek, and is due on again on wednesday coming...

This week, we go into wind down, it is almost all over, just a couple of days canvassing, and then a possible bunfight on Thursday before the count, to say thankyou to everyone...

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Super saturday

As I write, party members are out at all corners of the constituency, handing out leaflets - our candiate is in briwton - go find him if you can!

I'm stuck here minding the phone - we're onour way to having given out all our leaflets - and what a joy it is to be told people don't want a leaflet because they've allready had one through the door.

If anyone out there, though, wants more information about our party and policies, please, ring, e-mail, drop us a line, and we'll rush an info pack out to you the day we get it - that's one of the reasons why I'm here.

It is a big old constituency, and we are quite few in number, but at least, for once, people are heariung and reading the socialist case who wouldn't otherwise.

One woman told us she was going to South America to follow in the footsteps of Che Guevarra and start the revolution - I didn't have time to tell her that we don't have that high opinion of Geuvarra's geurilla politics of revolution down the barrel of a gun. The thing is that revolution doesn't begin in the mountains and forrests of a sun-drenched land, it begin on grey high streets on warm April afternoon, with someone reading your leaflet while leaning against the railings.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Pressing issues...

Well, I sent this letter last friday to the South London Press:
Dear Friend,

Your article 'Reformers bemoan lack of electoral competition' attributes the
problem of low electoral participation to the voting system.

The problem of super majorities, though, is not intractable. Just because
people voted one way in one election does not mean they will not change
their mind in another. What that would require, though, is that they have
the information to change their minds.

Reading the South london Press, it would be easy to imagine that a national
election is not happening - only two pages a week dedicated to it (and over
a third of that space is taken up with photos). This is hardly the actions
of a news service providing the inormation needs of a local community.

Without information, there is no democracy. Without information, the
democratic principle of giving minorities the chance to become majorities is

Yours for World Socialism,

Bill Martin (Election Agent for Danny Lambert, The Socialist Party,

Well, it was printed today, and seems to have had some effect - they've cut their election coverage down to one column of letters!

On top of that, where they used to have election coverage, instead they have a two page photo spread on roof gardeneing, featuring the beaming face of a charity Patron, Kate Hoey! No mention of her political role, but given her face is plastered all over Labour election material, this must surely help her campaign, and give her positive coverage.

Anyway, I sent this letter:
Dear Friend,

I see my letter of last week on the lack of election coverage in your pages had some effect - you cut coverage from two pages to one column.

At least no coverage could be said to be fair coverage, if it wasn't for the fact that the usual election pages were replaced with a two page photo spread of one of the candidates acting in her role as a charity patron.

Unaccountable journalists should really sit down and examine their due role in helping the community decide its future. Without coverage, minor parties, parties without bundles of money or who are not already incumbant cannot hope to compete or put across to the electorate the alternatives they may well want to hear.

Bill Martin
(Election Agent for Danny Lambert, The Socialist Party, Vauxhall).

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Remember the dead, fight for the living.

Today is International Workers Memorial day.
'Preventable accidents'
The T&G union says 235 workers died at work in the UK
in 2004 - an increase of 4% on 2003 - with 30,000
suffering major injuries.

Other surveys suggest 70% of those deaths are preventable. Considering the number of actual horrific murders in the UK aren't that much higher than that, the amount of news space given to deaths at work is shockingly negligible. But then, it would swim against the tide of profit to try and make work a safe enjoyable place to be rather than a, well, gulag based ont he threat of poverty.

Via BBC.

War, Oil and Lies

Is Tony Blair a liar? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is clear: for the last 8 years he has been the head politician charged with looking after the interests of the British capitalist class. When, in late 2002, the Bush administration in America decided on going to war in Iraq to secure Iraq's oil reserves for the US capitalist class, the British government under Blair decided (rightly or wrongly) that it was in the interests of British capitalism to support this. After that, it was just a question of finding a political and legal pretext for going to war. That Iraq had weapons of mass destruction seemed a good enough one. Whether Bush and Blair believed this is open to question. In all probability, Bush at least didn't since his advisers would have told him that the real reason for going tp war was oil. Once the Blair Labour government had decided that it was in the best interest of the British capitalist class to throw in its lot with America (with more to gain by being on the side of the world's only remaining super-power than by being neutral or against it) Blair may well have genuinely believed the lie about WMDs put out by Bush, the CIA and the rest of the US war propaganda machine. Perhaps he was fooled, though on other matters he doesn't seem to be a fool.
In any event, whether or not he was a fool or a liar is irrelevant, as is the argument as to whether or not the war was "legal". Of course, once war had been decided upon this was not going to be changed by any legal niceties. And of course the Attorney General was leaned upon to say it wouldn't be illegal. As the German Chancellor declared in 1914, pieces of paper are not going to stop a state that has decided on war from going ahead. Howard of course is just a hypocrite. If he'd been Prime Minister he wouldn't have behaved any differently. Or would he have had the honesty to come out and said that the war (which he supported) was about oil and about the British capitalist class gaining by being on the side of the big battalions and that was why he was sending British workers to die and kill and destroy in Iraq? Kennedy is not so bad, but it doesn't make any difference to those killed in a war that the formal reason given for it could be deemed to be compatible with the scraps of paper known as "international law".
Even Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector, has now realised that the Iraq war was essentially about oil. As a Sweish news agency reported earlier this month:
"STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said Wednesday that oil was one of the reasons for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, a Swedish news agency reported. "I did not think so at first. But the U.S. is incredibly dependent on oil," news agency TT quoted Blix as saying at a security seminar in Stockholm. "They wanted to secure oil in case competition on the world market becomes too hard." Blix, who helped oversee the dismantling of Iraq's weapons programs before the war, said another reason for the invasion was a need to move U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia, TT reported." (
The Iraq war confirms the socialist analysis that the underlying cause of wars under capitalism is the competition built-in to it between capitalist groups over sources of raw materials, trade routes, markets and investment outlets and strategic points and areas to protect these. Normally such disputes are settled by diplomatic negotiations, but when these fail, and a state feels its vital economic interest is at stake then it resorts to war.
If you are against war the only consistent course of action is to be against capitalism and for a world community without frontiers based on the natural and industrial resources of the Earth being the common property, under democratic control, of all Humanity. That's what we're standing for in this election.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The cheque is in the post...

Well, let's look at what we have received at the Campaign office today.

1) A cheque for £10 towards our campaign from a well known anarchist, with a note attached stating: Herewith, whatever my reservations about elections, a contribution to your campaign expenses...

2) The election communication from the English Democrats. Apparently they want A strong, democratic England, united and gverned by its own people from an English parliament within the UK. They want no voting or welfare rights for non-citizens. I know my parents used to joke about Unilateral Independence for Yorkshire, but I think these people mean UDI for England. They are the product of the sad delusion that people can shut themselves off from the rest of the world and all will be well. Without labouring the point, the fact is that England cannot be united, but is divided by class, and that the English workers have more in common with Scots, Irish, israeli, palestinian or American workers than they ever will have with an English capitalist. Sad.

3) we also have the Tory leaflet - a real ragbag of promises and pretty pictures. Apparently, they want to improve the Tube, cut down on police Political Correctness and foriegners. Our party is not only prepared to TAKE A STAND ON issues like immigration or school discipline... Secretly, I think they all want to choose to be spanked by foreigners, screaming Discipline! Discipline! A sign of their desperation is that they have to devote a paragraph to a vote for the Lib-Dems being a wasted vote. On this, we agree, but so is a vote for the Tories.

Last weekend

The life of this Blog draws to a close. I've just sent this circular round members, but you can join in as well.
Lo All,

well, it is the last week of campaigning, and it's a bank holiday
weekend, so there's every chance for members in London (and beyond) to
come down and help out in Vauxhall.

The procedure is simple, someone will be at HO all day, and you turn
up, we bung a handful of leaflets in your hand and shove you out the
door, go forthe and distribute, as God didn't say.

Next week, we aim to canvas, the more pairs of canvassers the better,
so come one come all, to the greatest show in the galaxy.

Bill M. Election Agent.

We'd also appreciate anyone who gets our election communication getting in touch with us...

Activity report

It's not that we've not done anything since last Friday, only that we locked ourselves out of our office -- twice. Some might say that this is proof that the Socialist Party couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery or, as Ernie Reynolds, independent "abolishmoneynow" candidate in Swindon North, wrote to us in a letter received on Saturday: "I don't think you are anywhere near ready to govern and do not attract the calibre of people who could well do so provided they believed in the removal of all forms of money to the extent that we do". This may well be true, but we do not want to form a government that will (as Ernie seems to mistakenly envisage) introduce socialism for people. We want people to act for themselves, using the existing political machinery, to establish the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production, which would mean a society in which there would be no government as we know it today (government over people) but merely administration and participatory democracy. We want people to organise the piss-up themselves.
Anyway, back to activity.
On Monday we delivered 59,400 copies of our candidate's election communication to the Royal Mail centre at Nine Elms. These will be distributed free to each household in the Vauxhall constituency and is one of the advantages of contesting an election since £500 (the election deposit which you don't get back unless you get 5 percent of the votes cast) is cheap for distributing that many leaflets. While we were there we noticed those of the other parties, including a bundle of soaked ones from the WRP candidate in Streatham, the other Lambeth constituency, advocating "nationalise all failing businesses" --Keynesianism gone mad, just print money to keep the capitalist economy going. We've bad news for the WRP: it won't work, but would make things worse. There was also a pile from the UKIP candidate for Greenwich which screamed "STOP UNLIMITED IMMIGRATION". Apparently, under EU laws, the whole of the population of the Common Market could decide to come to settle in the UK. Maybe in theory, but then the whole of the population of the UK could -- in theory -- decide to go and settle in Spain, but neither is likely to happen because the labour market doesn't work that way. In any event, UKIP is more concerned with what Enoch Powell used to call "coloured immigration". They're a nasty little racist party on the same level as the BNP combined with the anti-working class attitide of the Freedom Association. But they could pick up a few votes from the Tories.
On Tuesday, the Socialist candidate went by public transport (he left his car at 52 Clapham High Street) to a "Sustainable Transport Election Question Time" organised by the London Cycling Campaign in a dingy room round the back of Vauxhall station. It turned out to be a complete flop. Advertised to commence at 7.30, by 8.00 there were only 4 people present and only one other candidate (the pompous ass from UKIP). After a discussion with the chairwoman, who made it clear that they were only interested in discussing cycle lanes and not socialism, our candidate returned to Clapham.
For the record, the short answer to the written questions they had previously put to us by email such as "are you in favour of a cycle helmet compulsion law", "do you support a 20 mph speed limit across London" (!) and "should the fuel tax escalator be re-introduced" is that we don't do reforms. The long answer is that a Socialist MP would take instructions from the members of the party in his/her constituency as to how to vote on specific measures proposed by others (for, against, abstain) in the light of how it was judged the action would further the cause of socialism and/or the interest of the working class.
Nothing about the election (certainly not about us) in Tuesday's South London Press while the previous Friday's only gave a list of the candidates standing in the 10 constituencies that make up the paper's market. At least readers now know that we're standing. There are also a number of other candidates claiming to be socialist (but actually advocates of state capitalism) standing in the area: the Scargill Labour Party in Dulwich & West Norwood and in Camberwell & Peckham; Militant (as the "Socialist Alternative Party", the electoral law does not allow them to usurp our name on the ballot paper as they would like to do) in Lewisham Deptford; the WRP in Streatham and in Camberwell & Peckham (voters here have 2 state-capitalist candidates to choose between). And, last and least, RESPECT is standing in Tooting but then they have had the decency not to call themselves socialist, even if this is only so as not to frighten off Muslim voters.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Husting last night

Well, we met (almost) all our opponents last night - at a hustings organised by Churches Together in Clapham, in a Methodist hall.

As we expected, the candidates from the Capitalist Party all praised Freed Trade (except the Green Candidate who banged on about fair trade - something which is impossible in Capitalism. It's not the rules of the game that are rigged, but the game itself. The name of the game is Capitalism, and wealth gravitates to the economies with lots of capital investment - money makes money.)

The Lib-Dem was slick, the Tory clear, the incumbant was cunningly at pains to remind us of incumbancy. The green candidate was a refreshing speaker, and the UKIPper sounded like a Dalek (with similar monomania - he puported to also be a candidate for the Freedom Association nasty right-wing bunch who were instrumental in defeating the Grunwick mass picket in the 1970's).

The so-called English Democrat didn't show up, so he clearly didn't want a democratic debate on his policies.

Our candidate stood up and described the aleination of capitalism, the impossiblity of freedom in a commodity society, and the need for co-operation and common ownership. He receieved the only serious heckling of the night from some Tory yob at the back who's programming couldn't handle the idea of ffreely associating producers building homes for need without needing to be bribed first.

We've been invited to another hustings on Monday: Monday 25 April from 7:30 - 9pm in the St Peter's Heritage Centre, Kennington Lane, SW8 - on sustainable transport. We plan to be there. If you missed last-night, you have another chance.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The sorcerer's apprentices

According to the papers, George Galloway was treated with the utmost disrespect -- dissed, in fact-- a couple of days ago by a gang of Islamic extremists. Apparently, they called him a "false god" (true, but a bit cruel) and drew attention to the similarity of his name to the word "gallows". But what did he expect? He, backed logistically and ideologically by the SWP, has decided to play the sectarian, Islamic card in order to try to stay in Parliament. He, together with the SWP, has mounted a campaign, backed by Muftis and other Muslin clerics, to get out the Muslim vote in much the same way as the BNP has set out to get the "poor white" vote. Both of them are encouraging sectarian tensions amongst the working class and are to be condemned on that account.
The SWP, then flying under the "Socialist Alliance" flag, stood a candidate in Vauxhall in 2001 and got 853 votes. What do they think of the SWP's turn towards religious sectarianism? Presumably, the SWP, now flying under the flag of "Respect", decided not to stand here again because they are not enough Muslim electors (but there is an Islamic Centre in Edgeley Road, round the corner from our offices at 52 Clapham High St). There is one advantage in the SWP's latest flag of convenience, though. It doesn't mention the word "socialist", so at least they're not dragging it through the mud by associating it with their latest tactic.
Socialists stand for the unity of all those forced to work for a wage or salary to live, irrespective of their nationality, language, skin colour or legal immigration status, on the basis of socialist understanding -- which involves a rejection of all religion (all gods are false gods) and its reliance on some mythical super-being to improve things. Socialists can have nothing to do with religious sectarianism or seeking support by appealing to religion. As a certain Bishop Brown put it in the 1920s: "Banish Gods from the Skies and Capitalists from the Earth".

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Now we know

OK, here are the names of the members of the various factions of the capitalist party we're opposing in Vauxhall. nominations closed today, all these peopel will be on the ballot paper.

Charle Anglin - Liberal Democrat Faction.
Edward Heckels - Tory Faction.
Kate Hoey - Labour Tendency.
Robert McWhirter - UKIP Fraction.
Janus Polenseus - English Democrats External Fraction.
Timothy Summers - Green Platform.

Our Candidate - Danny Lambert - The Socialist Party.

So, there we go, I hope we'll see them all at the hustionmgs on Thursday night.

Monday, April 18, 2005

We're official!


1) Our nomination papers are in, and have been accepted by the Returning officer - along with the description The Socialist Party - so we've got our proper name on the ballot paper.
2) Our leaflet has been approved by the Royal Mail, so we can go to print as soon as we want, really.
3) We've got our way onto our first hustings stage - a meeting at Clapham Methodist church on the high street at 8 p.m. thursday this week!

All systems are go.

From Clapham with Love

Well, I saw our rival candiates from the Lioberal and Labour parties while out on Clapham high street on Saturday.

I also had a chance to chat with a Bellorussian lady who started telling me how wonderful life was in the old Soviet Union - famillies could have a room to share, and for free! The sort of Trot groups my comrades in Brixton encountered would have been enthused by such a character. I could only think of the millions of Bellorussians slaughtered by Stalin's famines, and the 1.4 million people he had shot in the Prisons of the Soviet Great Terror of the 1930's (Not Nazi style mass sslaughter, 1.4 million people shot one at a time).

Of course, she probably never saw any of this - I suppose if you kept your nose clean and weren't a famine victim life could be alright under Soviet gangster tyranny. Which could be said of much of the world today - most people muddle through, and get by, despite the horrific numbers of victims of starvation war and pandemics spread through greed, fear, and ignorance, but who don't directly touch their lives.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Reply to a questionnaire

Our candidate's reply to the "Socialist Unity" questionnaire can be found at:

From Clapham to Brixton

Yesterday was the first weekend of socialist election activity in the constituency since the general election was officially anounced. Some comrades stayed in Clapham High Street to distribute leaflets (in competition with the Labourites and Tories) outside Sainsbury's and to do a stall outside our offices at No 52. Others ventured to Brixton to hand out leaflets. They did so with some trepidation in view of Bill's description of what it was like a month or so ago, expecting to find the exit from Brixton tube station blocked by massed ranks of paper-sellers chanting "Defend the Russian Revolution" and "All Power to Trotsky". As it turned out, the only people there were from a group calling on people to boycott Coca-Cola for something they were doing in Colombia (from where presumably coke comes from).
It is true that on the other side of the road there was a stall run by the "Workers Revolutionary Party" to promote their candidate in the nearby Tulse Hill constituency. Being readers of the only local paper, the South London Press, which thinks that only three or at most four political parties exist, we didn't know of this. In fact, we suspect that when nominations close the journalists on the South London Press are going to be shocked by the extent of their ignorance and the extent to which they kept their readers in the dark.
The WRP programme of "policies for the General Election" was rather negative to put it mildly, "end ... defend ... no ... scrap ... stop ... restore ... repeal" being the keywords. The only things they said they were "for" were "nationalise MG Rover and all firms threatened with closure", "renationalise the railways", "nationalise the banks to provide decent pensions for all" (?), "a decent future for youth and not one of debt, hardship and war", "one socialist secular state of Palestine", and "a workers government to implement socialist policies".
We know the WRP of old. When they were called "the Socialist Labour League" they used to have their office just up the road from us, at 180 Clapham High St (now a greengrocer's, also about to close). In those days, by "workers government" they used to mean a "Labour government". They probably still do since they're not putting up enough candidates of their own to be able to win a majority in the House of Commons and form a government. If so, which planet are they living on if they expect a Labour government to implement their list of reformist and state-capitalist policies that they erroneously label "socialist"? Erroneously, because of course there's nothing socialist about a society where there'd still be "students grants", "pensions", "average wage rises" or "trade union rates of pay". And nationalisation was just state capitalism, and would be again.
As we said in the leaflet we were handing out, socialism is a society based on:
"* The common ownership of all resources by the whole community, not just a rich minority.
* Democratic control of the community by everyone, without distintion of age, race or sex, instead of rule by unelected company directors or state bureaucrats.
* Production purely to meet people's needs, not profit.
* Free and equal access to all goods and services -- and end to the market and to money."
A young French bloke told us he agreed with this (his father had been in the Communist Party), but that it was a too utopian for the people around us on the street. He suggested we should be advocating practical measures they could understand and which would improve their situation today, as put forward for instance by the people across the road (pointing to the WRP stall). We pointed out that a decent education and a decent health service for all such as he said he wanted were not possible under capitalism as inequality and austerity were built-in to the profit system. And we denied that socialism was too complicated for people to understand. Besides, we added, the WRP no more believed that a decent education or health service for all was possible under capitalism than we did; their "practical measures" (or "transitional demands" in Trotskyese) were just bait offered to attract followers with the ultimate aim of seizing power and establishing the rule of their vaguard party. Fortunately, this is never going to happen but, unfortunately, thanks to Trotkyists of all hues, this is what many people think that socialism would mean. If socialism did mean this, then we'd be against it too. But it doesn't, which is one of the things we want to get across in contesting this election.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Street politics

The 25-minute walk from our office at 52 Clapham High Street via Ferndale Road (John Mayor's old hunting ground) to Brixton Town Hall (as it is still known) to deliver the nomination papers to the acting deputy returning officer (it's the mayor who's the actual returning officer and gets to read out the result before the cameras) provided a chance to guage political activity in the area from the stickers.
One from Greenpeace denouncing ESSO as a "CO2 Criminal", one calling for an anti-war march on 19 March, another for a commuters protest march on 9 April, and one proclaiming "NO MUGGERS BURGLARS! THIS IS A WORKING CLASS AREA. DON'T RIP OFF YOUR OWN", a good idea but not likely to be any more effective that the appeals to love thy neighbour proclaimed from noticeboards of the churches on the way. Or from a "Mr Amine, Astrologer, Medium, Clairvoyant" whose sticker promised "Protection against all Dangers, Making your business more successful, Luck, Money, Love and Sexual Power. I will protect you from all Jealous Enemies and make your Business more Successful. I will read you Past, Present and Foresee what the Future holds for you. 100% Guaranteed". If you believe that, you'll believe all the promises in the manifestos of the Labour, Tory and Liberal parties (splashed all over two pages of today's South London Press, which still hasn't mentioned we're standing) -- or vice versa. If you want to give it a try, phone 020 8769 5123. Or vote Labour, Tory, Liberal, Green, Respect or one of the other promise-mongering parties.
On arrival at the town hall at 10 am, the acting deputy returning officer already had an appointment with another candidate, who turned out to be the outgoing MP, Kate Hoey, who said "good morning". The acting deputy returning officer said that the nominations were in order, that he would check that we were a registered political party, but that he could not accept the papers without the deposit of £500 (which hadn't arrived in the post). So, Danny Lambert, the Socialist candidate, will have to go back on Monday with the dosh.

Nomination's what you need...

Right, after banging on doors for an hour, we've got ten signatories for our nomination papers. Someone is going to go over to the electoral services dept at Lambeth town hall and check if they'll accept the signatures and our description as 'The Socialist Party' (the rules on Party Names on ballot papers are strictly controlled by law).

We can't register yet - the deadline is the 19th April - because our bankers' draft for £500.00 hasn't shown up at the foffice to pay our deposit - fingers crossed it shows up soon....

We gave some free magazines away, and generally outlined the case for common ownership, before being called to the bar...

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Someone stuck two stickers on the front window of our office at 52 Clapham High Street last night. The first had a picture of a gallows with the words "May 5, Tyburn Blair". If it hadn't been for the other sticker we might have assumed that this was put there by some Tory or other Daily Wail reader. But the second sticker had a drawing of a hairless individual and the text: "BALD EX TOP MET COP SIR JOHN STEVENS: 'Terrorist Threat Makes My Hair Stand on End' (March 20, 2005)" and the comment "More police bullshit". Which doesn't suggest a Tory or a Wail-reader, rather, perhaps, someone from the criminal fraternity. But we suppose it came from some anarchist or semi-anarchist. If so, they are foolishly living up to their caricature of a person in a floppy hat with a bomb under his cloak. And thanks for putting us to the trouble of scraping our window clean. And to think we bricked up most of the front to stop the National Front putting bricks through our window in the mistaken belief that we had something to do with the SWP.

Taxing issues

Always a difficult one - tax is extracted through so many variable methods and rates that its easy for politicians to lie about it. They are, again, trying to make it a central issue of the election campaign.

We don't care, though.

See, some people on benefits are given a Council tax benefit to help them pay it. Now, while they hand the money over, actually pay it to the local authority, really, that is one arm of the state giving money to another - central to local. That is, the burden of council tax is not falling on the person who pays it.

Likewise with the rest of us. We sell our skills and abilities to get money to live on, and achieve a market living wage. If our living standards fall, we either strike to push them back up, look for new work, or stop working as hard as we once did - that is, we try and restore the market price of our labour power. Thus, when taxes go up - as they did for me with national insurance last year - we push our wages up so that our take home pay compensates - which is, again, what happened to me.

That is, like the central government, our employers are giving us money to pay taxes. We pay them , legally and physically, but the real burden falls on our employers. Which is why they like taxc least of all.

So far as socialists are concerned - when we have common ownership, a sociuety administered for need that doesn't require money, there will be no taxes at all, and we can end the sham and simply have the conscious debate over allocation of the common resources - wouldn't that be much more sensible?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Blog update

I've added a link to another video by party members available over t'interweb.

BBC Poll Page

The BBC website has this constituency page to track the election - I note that the English Democrats have joined the race - a nasty nationalist bunch, but anotehr faction of the capitalist party. We can expect UKIP to join in, so we're looking at at least seven candidates, possibly as many as ten...

Campaigning onwards

Right, so on the Tories have unveiled their manifesto, and today it's Lavbour's turn to set out their pie in the sky promises - but what have we been up to.

Apart, that is, from more leafletting.

Well, I submitted our leaflet to the Royal Mail for vetting - to ensure it qualifiies as a genuine canndidates mailout for free delivery. Details of the process can be found here.

I also mailed out to our comrades taking part in Operation Vauxhall - so the good burghers of North Lambeth can soon be expecting personalised letters to wend their way through the door.

Tomorrow, the quest for signatories continues...we will be nominated!

What the paper said

Here's what the South London Press said in last Friday's (8 April) edition. Note the absence of any mention of any Socialist candidate.

Candidates: Labour, Kate Hoey. Conservative, Edward Heckels. Liberal Democrat, Charles Anglin. Green, Tim Summers.
Labour's Kate Hoey held this seat in 2001 with a 13,000 vote majority. The outspoken pro-hunting politician was first elected to this inner-city seat in 1989. Public affairs consultant and councillor Charles Anglin challenges for the Liberal Democrats this time around.
The Tories have fielded Edward Heckels, chairman of Vauxhall Conservative Association. The Liberal Democrats and Tories could both gain some ground here but it would take a landslide to topple Hoey.
Prediction: Labour hold.
2001 result: Labour, Kate Hoey - 19,738 Liberal Democrat, Anthony Bottrall - 6,720 Conservative, Gareth Compton - 4,489 Green, Shane Collins - 1,485 Socialist Alliance, Theresa Bennett - 853 Independent, Martin Boyd - 107 Turnout 44.8 per cent

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

General Leaflet

Below is the text of our general leaflet we will be handing out on the street:
Vote for yourself - for achange!

Most people think that whichever government is elected it will make no real difference to their lives.
Most people are right.

Most people think that political leaders are dishonest timewasters.
Most people are right about that.

Most people think that the world is in a mess: jobs losses, pressure at work, unaffordable housing, transport chaos, kids on the streets, a collapsing health service, wars, ecological destruction, countless millions starving while farmers are paid to let food rot.
Yes, society is in a hell of a mess.

Most people think that little can be done to change it.
They’re wrong.

Society does not have to be like this.

We live under a system where:

Production is for profit, not primarily for need.

The richest 10 per cent own well over half of all personal marketable wealth.

The richest one per cent own nearly four times as much as the poorest 50 per cent added together.

The economy is run to make the rich stay rich at the expense of the rest of us.

The market can never be run in the interest of the majority of us who produce the wealth but do not possess the major resources. No tinkering with the profit system by any government can ever make it comfortable, secure and happy for the majority of us.

All of the politicians in this election are asking you to vote for them so that they can run capitalism – continue the mess – piling on the misery.

What we need is a new way of running society based on:

+ The common ownership of all resources by the whole community, not just a rich minority.

+ Democratic control of the community by everyone, without distinction of age, race or sex, instead of rule by unelected company directors or state bureaucrats.

+ Production purely to meet people‘s needs, not profit.

+ Free and equal access to all goods and services – an end to the market and to money.

Only the Socialist Paryy stands for that alternative: genuine socialism.

A vote for the Socialist candidate means that:

+ You reject the policies of the profit system.

+ You understand and want the real socialist alternative.

+ You do not need leaders to do your thinking and run society for you.

+ You are going to vote for yourself – for a change.



Right, so, yeah.

1) We held our first election meeting of the campaign, and we've agreed generally it's free-fire saturdays till the election, people will be at our campaign office - 52 Clapham High Street - every saturday to organise leafletting and campaigning - pop along if you want to meet and greet us.

2) We've been out collecting signatures for our nomination papers - they have to be in by the 19th April - so plenty of time.

3) Operation Vauxhall - we have the list of electors now,a nd this week I'll be sending out addresses for our members to write to so they can get involved - thanks to SAwansea branch for so many members volunteering to help.

4) Party Name - it looks like we may have to put Socialist Party of Great Britain on the ballot paper, but there's still scope for argument on that score. We want The Socialist Party because the of Great Britain is just our international name, really.

5) We had a nice phone conversation with South London Press, a feller called Greg Truscott, who is running the election coverage. We've been promised to finally get our fair crack of the whip. They had a preliminary listing of candidates, see, and we weren't included, despite having contacted various people at their office to try and tell them about our campaign. Anyway, we have a hotline now.

More soon, getting very busy.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Random Notes

Friday's South London Press -- which has a monopoly of local news in the area -- published an alleged list of candidates in the constituencies in the area it covers. Apparently, they are only 4 candidates (Labour, Tory, Liberal, Green) standing in Vauxhall. In fact, if you believed the South London Press you would think that there were only 4 parties and only 4 candidates in each of the constituencies mentioned. The printed media were only excluded from the "public service" obligation imposed on radio and TV of mentioning all the candidates in an election because they said they would do this on a voluntary basis. Well, the South London Press has not done this but has instead provided an untruthful and deliberately misleading information on the candidates standing in Vauxhall (and probably elsewhere too), deliberately because they have been informed at least three times that we were standing too.
A blue leaflet came through the letter box of our office at 52 Clapham High Street on Saturday (the "main parties" had suspended canvassing for the funeral of the Supreme Witch Doctor of Rome but not, it seems, for the re-marriage of Mr Charles Windsor) headed "Introducing Your Next MP". This is to be a certain Edward Heckels, described as the local Tory candidate. If he believes that he really is going to be the next MP for Vauxhall then he's either a fantasist or a liar. Boasting of being a governor of Clapham Manor Primary School, "Edward" (as we are invited to call him) is photograph shaking hands with "Shadow Chancellor Oliver Letwin" whose views on schools in Lambeth are well-known. As he said during the Tory Party Conference in 2003 about his kids' education: "In Lambeth where I live, I would give my right arm to send them to a fee-paying school. If necessary I would go out on the streets and beg rather than send them to a school next to where I live". "Edward", incidentally, has had to face Socialist opposition at the polls before since he was one of those standing against us in Clapham Town ward in the council elections a couple of years ago.

Friday, April 08, 2005


If it’s possible to lead the workers to socialism, it’s possible to lead us away from it.
One of the most pernicious aspects of capitalist society is its patriarchal nature, that is, we are conditioned to view certain ‘special’ people, usually but not exclusively men as not only cleverer but more mature and so therefore more able to shoulder the responsibility necessary for the running of society. Whereas we workers, the class that in effect does all the work needed to maintain and develop the society we inhabit are considered immature and so unable to shoulder the responsibility for our own lives.
Now all this contradicts the iron law of responsibility, which states ‘The only way to deal with responsibility responsibly is to share it’. If you claim that you can exercise social responsibility for others, or if you allow someone else to exercise responsibility for you, that’s irresponsible!
So what we have with politicians making all kinds of impossible promises in competing for our votes, is the blindfolded leading the blinkered, the berserk leading the bewildered.
History can be seen in many ways and so here’s a couple, first, as an ascent, a journey out of ignorance, the more we know the more we can do, the better we know the better we can do. Second, as a rite of passage, in discovering our identity we come of age, and so are ready to take the responsibility for securing the future by sharing it.
Socialism will be a society that has come of age created by a majority of humans who have come of age. The information is out there.

Notice of Poll

People walking down Clapham High Street will now see a notice on the board outside our office at No 52 there saying:


The Socialist Party is standing a candidate in this constituency (Vauxhall).

Our aim is to put across the need for a society of common ownership, democratic control and production solely for use as the alternative to the existing profit system, a society where we collectively make the decisions that affect us without needing to worry about how to pay for what we want, since meeting our needs will be the one and only priority.

The Socialist Party cannot bring this about for you, and we're not promising to. If you want to get rid of capitalism this is something you will have to do yourselves, without leaders. We make no promises, offer no pat solutions, only to be the means by which you can remake society for the common good.

Our candidate is Danny Lambert.

If you want more information on this campaign, or want to help, this is our campaign office. Ring the bell or phone 0207 622 3811 or email Our website is:


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Oil and Water

Some people tell us that mixing religion and politics is like mixing oil and water. Particularly, as for a long time we have been taking a very firm stance in promoting a scientific materialistic world view as opposed to a relgisious or spiritual one. For instance, this was a pamphlet written by our comrades back in 1911 on Socialism and Relgion.

It's not our fault, though, because clearly the religious are trying to muscle in on politics all the time. In Iraq, for instance, Grand Ayatolah Al-Sistani is trying to set himself up as an ideological power behind the throne - no formal political role but the weight of his fatwahs (religious edicts) can't be ignored.
Shortly after the American occupation began, Sistani issued fatwas calling on Shia clergy not to get involved in politics. However, as the summer of 2003 approached, Sistani became more involved, though always through representatives, never directly. He began to call for the formation of a constitutional convention, and later demanded a direct vote for the purpose of forming a transitional government, seeing this as a sure path to Shiite dominance over Iraq's government, since most observers say that Shiites make up about 60% of Iraq's population. Subsequently, Sistani has criticized American plans for an Iraqi government as not being democratic enough.
Quote from Wikpedia.

But it's not just overseas that religious leaders are trying to intervene. Over here, religion has been wheeled out. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has called for a clean election fight, and it has been reported dilligently, as if his views mattered. Prior to that, he joined the Catholic Primate in England in calling for abortion to be an election issue. Both are playing the same game as al-Sistani.

Further, Labour has flirted with trying to attract the religious vote with it's proposterous 'religious discrimination laws' which - mercifully - will fail to make it onto the statute books. And Tony Blair cretinously tries to wheedle out of his pronounced religious convictions, which he has claimed inform his politics, by saying that religion should be brought into politics.

Socialists are quite clear - religion was a valuable branch of science once, it's insights informed humans of the world around them and of how their own society worked. That science, though, has been superceded, and to live freely in this world, we need to unfetter ourselves from the mind-forged manacles of religious thought.

We don't advocate repressing or supressing relgion. Nor do we fail to recognise that it is hugely important to many people. But what we will do, is argue with the confusionists and dissemblers spreading relgious ideas that serve only to blunt the very intellectual instruments which we must use to liberate ourselves. Socialism is for all human beings, not just for the chosen followers of the right God.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

And they're off...

Well, following a day's delay for the dead Pope, it seems the Election will be formally announced today. Hopefully that means that the local press will begin to actually take notice of our candidacy.

Tony Blair will comply with the feudal relics of our constitution and ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament, that's expected for Monday next. Then we will be formally into election time.

Notices of election will be published, and we will go round knocking on doors asking people to sign our election nomination - we need ten nominees - in order to be able to submit it. We'll also need to fork out £500 deposit.

By the way - if any readers are electors in Vauxhall and want to get in touch to be a signatory, do contact us - either in our comments box or at - or pop into 52 Clapham High Street - that'd be very kind.

After that, we'll get our election leaflet approved, printed and distributed. We'll go knocking on doors, posting leafltes and yelling on street corners, and we'll go hassling the press to let us in.

Being workers, though, we're going to have to use up some of our hollidays for this venture, which means we probably won't be hitting the streets in force until about the 18th (that's when I'm booked from).

Saturday, April 02, 2005

How to vote anti-war?

Some people favour voting for something you don't want in the coming election on the grounds that you can't vote for what you do want (or that this has no chance). One such group is Strageic Voter which aims to "hold New Labour to account for the illegal invasion of Iraq" by unseating MPs who voted for it. On their website ( they make recommendations constituency by constituency "to steer towards a balanced (or 'hung') Parliament. We want to punish the government, but not finish up with a Tory majority either".
On Vauxhall, they say:
"A special situation makes this seat hard to categorise.
The following discussion relates specifically to this constituency
We apologise to our visitors and the Labour candidate for having given poor advice in this seat but trust that it is sorted out now (March 15th). Thanks to those who pointed out the problems.
Here we have a candidate from a pro-war party who deserves immense credit for resisting the party line and voting against the illegal invasion of Iraq. However they are being opposed by someone from an antiwar party who may have been active in the antiwar movement and may well also have voted against the war. You may want to take their respective position on other issues into account. StrategicVoter does not have strong views, just so long as a pro-war candidate isn't returned."
This is all rather cryptic. Who is this mysterious candidate who may oerhaps have done various things if they had had have been an MP? And which party are they standing for? Our interpretation (and we may be wrong, not having any qualifications in interpreting oracles) is that they are trying to say that if you are anti-war (or rather against "the illegal invasion of Iraq") you've got a free hand in Vauxhall.
For the record, we in the Socialist Party only want the votes of those who want socialism (a worldwide society of common ownership and democratic control where things are produced to meet people's needs not to try to make a profit). If you are just against "illegal" wars and would be in favour of a "legal" one; if you are against war but not against capitalism (i.e., are against the symptom but not against the cause); or if you want a hung parliament and a resulting coalition government for British capitalism, please feel free to vote for one of the other candidates. But, be warned, in voting for them you'll be voting for capitalism and capitalism is the root cause of wars, preparations for war and threats of war because built-in to it are conflicts between rival groups of capitalists backed by their governments over sources of raw materials, trade routes, markets and investment outlets. Normally, this competition is commercial and diplomatic but, when push comes to shove, the conflicts are settled by forces of arms. This is why Britain and America (or, rather, America and Britain) invaded Iraq where the former regime represented a threat to their supply of oil, a key raw material. Capitalism means war, so the only consistent anti-war stance is to work to get rid of capitalism.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The case against the profit system

Very few people would deny that the present state of the world leaves a lot to be desired. Humanity staggers from one crisis to the next -- from war to famine to slumps to repression . . .
Capitalism has developed a huge productive capability but its social organisation and relationships cause extremely serious problems and render it incapable of meeting the basic needs of its people.
A vast amount of the world's resources is expended in the production of weapons of war, from bullets and bayonets to nuclear and chemical weapons. Alongside these weapons are the armed forces which every state organises, clothes, feeds, trains and deploys. This is a massive waste of human effort; it is all intended to be destructive and none of it to create anything useful to human beings.
In a world which could produce more than enough to feed and care for its population millions are homeless and tens of millions die each year because they don't have enough to eat or for lack of proper medical treatment. None of this is necessary. It happens while farmers in Europe and North America are being paid to take land out of cultivation; from time to time even food that has been produced is destroyed or allowed to rot. This makes sense to the profit motive; in terms of human interests it is wildly insane.
The environment is increasingly under threat from pollution and from the destruction of some of its natural, ecologically vital features. We hear well-informed warnings of an ultimate impending disaster unless we act to eradicate the problem but these warnings are always met with the objection that to save the environment can be a costly, profit-damaging business. Yet it is not necessary for industry and agriculture to pour out noxious effluents into the air, the earth, the rivers and the seas. They do this today because pollution is seen as being cheaper, which means more profit-friendly and to a society where profit is the dominant motive for production that is justification enough to override human welfare.
These are a few examples of how capitalism works against the interests of the world's people. In contrast, socialism -- real socialism, that is, not the obscene caracicatures we've seen in Russia and elsewhere -- will have fundamentally different social relationships, motives for production and concepts about the interests and security of human beings.
All the programmes now being daily advanced by the professional politicians for dealing with the problems of capitalism through reforms must fail because of their essentially piecemeal approach. They attempt to treat symptoms instead of going for the basic cause. That is why, after a century or more of reformism the problems the politicianss claim to deal with are still here. A far more radical, fundamental change is needed to create the framework within which they can be solved: the common ownership and democratic control of the means of producing wealth so that production can be geared to meeting people's needs, not making profits for a wealthy elite.

School dinners

Warming to an old theme.

Of course, kids shouldn't eat junk, should have to, especially.
Of course, diet affects behaviour - it's been well documented that changes in prison diets change the incidence of behaviour among inmates.

No-one in their right mind could object to ensuring that, since kids have to go to school, they should be well fed there, and school dinners could and should be able to overcome dietry deficiencies from the home.

So, of course, that's what the Capitalist Party and it's faction in power are now offering. Except, it's been offered before, we used to have quality school dinners regulated by law - and free, even (for some kids). But in the 1980's, the Tories scrapped that law. As would any Government grubbing for savings in future, Labour or Tory. Reforms and benefits given with one hand can as easilly be snatched away by t'other.

And, of course, even if regulations aren't removed, they have to be enforced. That costs money, on top of the meals. Otherwise, contract caterers will try to cut corners, or well meaning school governers and head teachers desperately trying to stretch a budget.

And ultimately, this is not a free gift, not a gain for the workers. It is the people who own our world trying to allocate the money they pay in wages which is meant for raising a new generation of workers more efficiently. It'd be sntached back in taxes on lower pay rises over time.

The alternative is to ensure that everyone, children included, have free access to the food they need, at all times, not just in school. To ensure that we have sufficient time for ourselves to make cooking worthwhile. To base this on common ownership which cannot be revoked by the stroke of an accountants pen.

We've been here before, lets not go through it all again.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Two useful sites

Well, while I'm on the theme of wealth distribution. Perhaps these two sites may help:

Your place in the UK
Your place in the world

Both, it has to be said, measure wealth in raw monetary income, rather than disposable - for instance they include income before housing costs and work-travel costs eat away at it, etc. What they illustrate, though is the obscene misdistribution of wealth in the world.

Obviously, we'd say rather than feel guilty, or give to charity, you should join us in levelling the world up through common ownership.

Results of War

this from the Guardian today illustrates the socialist case against war quite strongly:
Jean Ziegler, the UN Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food, said more than a quarter of Iraqi children do not have enough to eat and 7.7% are acutely malnourished - a jump from 4% recorded in the immediate aftermath of the US-led invasion.
Modern war disrupts the intricate web of production upon which millions depend for existence, and so often proves to be greater than any of the ills it is supposed to solve.

As a fotnote, it's worth saying that Blair has often proclaimed his crusade to end child poverty in the UK, and this story contrasts with the whole school dinners story (on which more tomorrow.

Life expectency

It would be clear, if someone were going round with a hammer smashing people's skulls in, that they were being murdered, having their lives foreshortened by the work of human hands.

When, though, people are having the span of life cut becauase of poverty, people don't start to consider this to be a breed of mass murder. It is the silent killer.

I'm not just talking about the fact that a person ins, say, the Gambia has a life expectency of about 55 years - a horrendous statistic in itself, though. Within the UK there are vast disproportions of longevity.

This PDF from the Office of National Statistics shows a division of life expectency witthin England & Wales by what they term class - which is actually by braod occupation type. Nonetheless, it shows that male unskilled labourers can expect to live on average to 71.1 yrs as compared with a professional who may expect 78.5 yrs. A difference of 7.4 years. the asstonishing thing, though, is that since 1972 that gap has grown. Although life expectency has risen overall, the gap has increased further. In 1972 unskilled manual labourers could expect to live to 66.5 yrs as compared with a professonal's 72.0 yrs.

Here is a nice chart of the same story.

This isn't all though, a swift look at regional disparities (with all the attendent distortions they bring taken into account, for instance that there are many many poor people in teh south, it's just there are also a lot of richer peopel down here than compared to the north) shows that there is a signbificant difference in life expectency within the UK alone.

Simple facts, but not ones that will come up in the Capitalist Party's campaign, nor will it be an election priority at all. It seems we are being hammered by capitalism.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Trying to make capitalism history

Here is the text of a letter sent by email to the South London Press on 21 March:

"Make Poverty History" writes Roger Elbourne of OXFAM (Letters, March 18). Yes, but I'm afraid it's going to take a lot more than charity shops and the sale of "fair trade" goods. Since the cause of world poverty is the capitalist system which puts profits before satisfying human needs, the only way to end poverty is to make capitalism history.
Danny Lambert, Socialist Party candidate for Vauxhall.

The aim was to draw attention to the fact (of which the South London Press has not yet informed its readers) that the Socialist Party is standing a candidate in Vauxhall, but the letter did not appear in Friday's (25 March) edition. So, people in Vauxhall (except those who've received one of the thousands of leaflets we have been distributing) still do not know this. Friday's edition did, however, contain a second letter from the Green Party candidate. So people have been informed two weeks running that they can vote for capitalism with a green face if they want to.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Paid for not producing food

According to a news item in today's Times (and other papers):
"The scale of handouts from Brussels that line the pockets of some of the country's richest people, including the Queen and the Prince of Wales, was exposed for the first time yesterday.
The biggest landowners, including members of the Royal Family, a clutch of dukes, and agrifood companies, are able to pick up hefty amounts of cash under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Tate & Lyle topped the payments league with more than £127 million, while Farmcare Ltd, a subsidiary of the Co-operative Group, received the most in direct farm handouts. The company was paid a total of £2,601,757.
The Queen received £545,897 for farming interests on her Sandringham House and Windsor Castle estates, and the Prince of Wales received £134,938 for his Duchy of Cornwall estate and £90,527 for the Duchy Home Farm on his Highgrove estate.
The Duke of Westminster, ranked second in The Sunday Times Rich List, was also paid £448,472 for his 6,000-acre estate through Grosvenor Farms Ltd.
All the payments were made during the financial year 2003-04 -- the most recent for which figures are available. "
The figures are totals for all the subsidies paid to landowners and agribusinesses (Tate & Lyle, for instance, is paid "compensation" for having to sell sugar at a lower price on the world market), but those to landowners include payments under the notorious "set-aside" scheme under which, in a world where billions are starving, farmers are paid NOT to produce food.
If you want to claim money for not growing food, information, and forms, can be found on the site of the Department for the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs at
But be warned, you have to be what the ministry calls a "large farmer"; in fact the larger you are the more you'll get. Which is why the list of CAP subsidy scroungers contains so many dukes, earls and marquesses, whose antecedents were able, in one way or another (some came over with William the Conqueror, others were the offspring of Charles II's mistresses) to appropriate large tracts of land
This is flagrant evidence of what socialists have always said about capitalism: it puts profits before meeting human needs. The set-aside scheme aims to restrict production so as to maintain prices at a profitable level. There is no profit to be made out of producing food for people who can't afford to pay for it. So, production is limited, by "set-aside" and "land bank" schemes, to what can be sold at a profit. In other words, capitalism solves the problem of poverty amongst plenty, not by distributing the plenty to the poor but by taking measures to prevent the plenty being produced in the first place.
In a world geared to meeting human needs, such as socialism will be, food would be produced to feed people and would go on being produced it until every man, woman and child on the planet is properly fed. This is technically possible today but is prevented from happening by the profit system.

Sects appeal

Just been doing some more research about the local area on Wikipedia - I looked up Clapham - where our campaign office is (in the Party's Head Quarters on Clapham High Street - see if you can spot it...). I found an interesting link to the Clapham Sect - an 18th Century group of abolitionists, who resided in the area.

Now, in left-wing circles, a party such as ours is known as a sect - because we are small compared to say, the Labour Party, and because we privillige keeping our ideas and principles consistant over grabbing members at any cost. We prefer to be small with conscious socialist members rather than big with large numbers of confused but wantiong to be radical members.

Much like the Clapham Sect we are abolitionists. That is, we want to abolish wage slavery, the situation in which the vast majorityy are compelled under threat of poverty and immiseration to prostitute themselves for a wage or a salary.

Unlike the original Clapham sect, we aren't benevolent philanthropists wanting to lift the chains off others, we believe they can do so for themselves - once the agree to organise to take control of the wealth of the world and establish common ownership and democratic control.

Do you want to be an abolitionist?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Letter commentary

Well, it seems the Green candidate in Vauxhall can declare himself as such in the letters pages of the South London Press. I find his idea that they should put up a statue to CLR James in Brixton interesting. I know the connexion is obvious, James spent his final years there, but why should Greens - who deliberately and consciously support capitalism - want to errect a statue to someone whose avowed aim was to abolish it.

James was a Trinidadian Marxist, originally joining the ILP in the 1930's he became a Trotskyist - and quite a prominent one, too. He rose within the ranks of Trotskyism to be a confident of the Grand Old Man himself, dealing with 'The Negro Question' - in the 1940's he broke with Trotskyism over the issue of the continued existence of capitalism - albeit a state managed form - in the Soviet union. He further went on to reject his old allegiance to Romantic notions of revolution and vanguards, in favour workers' councils and conscious majoritariuan revolt.

While there are many things with which we would disagree with him - such as his support for national liberation movements, for Fidel Castro, etc.- on rejection of elite revolutionary leaderships at least we'd agree. In fact, we'd probably go as far as to suggest that rather than errect a statue to him, the best way to remember his contribution would be to abolish capitalism by our own hands, together. But then, that might be why pro-capitalists would prefer to errect a statue.

A lot of his work can be found here

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Well, now we've got a text for our leaflet we're spending some time trying to draw up a decent design. Fiddly business - there's always someone who will complain.

Anyway, we'll need to print about 54,000 leaflets to reach every home in the constitueency - I reckon less than 10% of them will veer get read, but at least we'd be reaching a few thousand people, and they'd be the ones actively paying attention to politics anyway.

Given that the sitting Labour MP won with only about 18,000 votes last time, we know there's a lot of people out there to tempt into the arena.

Anyway, next stage will be to get the leaflet approved by the Royal Mail - it has to be solely an election statement that passes guidelines on taste and decency. After that, get them printed and sent out.

I'll try and arrange a downloadable version to go on the party website once it's done.

I think it's looking good anyway.


Members of the West London branch were out distributing leaflets at the Waterloo end of the constituency. Other members were leafleting the anti-war demonstration in Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square. On the way there two members carrying the party speaker's platform were accosted at a tube station where they had to change by an individual who gave them a leaflet headed "The Case for a Boycott of the Next General Election".
Obviously, we're not for a boycott of the election in Vauxhall, but what about in other constituencies, where there will be no socialist candidate standing?
Basically, there are four options:
1. Vote for one of the candidates as "the lesser evil".
2. Just stay at home and not bother to vote at all.
3. Go to vote but cast a blank or spolit vote.
4. Actively boycott the election.
Obviously, option 1 is out. As the early American Socialist Eugene Debs once pointed out, why vote for something you don't want just because you can't vote for what you do want. Besides, which party would be the famous lesser evil? And is the way capitalist profit system operates affected by which particular party forms the government? Do parties control capitalism or is it the other way round? [Answers: "No" and "It's the other way round".]
The case for option 4 was set out in the leaflet we were given, which seems to have been the work of an individual rather than a group, not that that makes it less valid. Anyway, here's the argument:
"What a boycott will do. It will throw into sharp relief what contempt the masses have for parliament! If the turnout falls below 50%, in theory, the electorate could then deem the election null and void. It would create a crisis of legitimacy for the ruling class! It won't change things over-night but will create conditions for change".
Since only 59% voted in the last election in 2001, it would only takes another 9 or 10% of the electorate to abstain from voting and the leaflet's goal of reducing the turnout to under 50% would be achieved. But what would this mean? It would certainly create a mini-crisis of legitimacy for the ruling class (though this doesn't seem to be a problem in America), but would it show "what contempt the masses have for parliament" or "create conditions for change"?
There is no evidence that "the masses" (what a horrible term for our fellow workers!) do have a contempt for parliament. In fact, the leaflet itself quotes a worker complaining about there being no difference between Tory rule and New Labour rule by saying "we've been disenfranchised" and later denounces compulsory voting as an attack on people's "democratic right". Not voting certainly shows an element of contempt, but it's for the mainstream political parties which all end up behaving in the same way ("Labour, Tory, Same Old Story"). It's not a contempt for "parliament" or rather not for democracy and democratic decision-making. It's a protest at the lack of real choice at elections. People, rightly, value the vote and, if it disappeared, what alternative to winning political control to change society would there be other than violence (which people, again rightly, don't want)? Encouraging contempt for voting is the last thing those who want peaceful, democratic change should want to encourage.
Would a less than 50% turnout "create conditions for change"? That depends. If this was due to indifference or apathy the answer would be "no" and, in fact, there is no evidence that the 41% who abstained in 2001 were more opposed to the capitalist status quo than the 59% who voted. On the other hand, if the 51+% had abstained as a deliberate protest against the capitalist status quo, that would be a different situation. But if that was the degree of consciousness amongst people, would it not be better to have put up anti-capitalist candidates against the pro-capitalist Labour-Tory-Liberal Party? In fact, surely this would happen and there would then be a real choice -- capitalism or socialism -- at an election. But, unfortunately, we are nowhere near there yet.
So option 4 falls too. So, what about option 2 (not bothering to vote) and option 3 (casting a blank or spolit vote)? We favour going to the polling booth and writing "I want world socialism" across the ballot paper, ie casting a write-in vote for socialism. (But don't do this in Vauxhall since here you can vote for socialism). The leaflet is against this, saying "beware spoiling your ballot paper, and there will be many of those, will raise turnout". True, but a 54% turnout with 6% spoilt votes would have the same political impact, if that's what you want, as a 48% turnout.
Option 2 is the lazy option, but we can't be too critical of it as, to be honest, that's what some of our members do.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Election Address

It's finally been agreed:
The Socialist Party
is contesting this election as a part of our campaign to establish a new system of society:

One based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.

That is our sole object.

By common ownership we don’t mean that everyone should have to share a toothbrush, but that in a society built upon our mutual effort, we should all benefit and have a say in how it is run.

We currently live in a system of society based on a tiny number of people owning the productive wealth of our world, organised and run by a handful of bosses for their benefit. Their profits come first, our needs come second.

In Vauxhall nearly half of all workers are employed in administering business as compared with only a quarter in social services and looking after ourselves (derived from 2001 Census).

It seems we’re so busy taking care of business that we don’t have time to take care of ourselves.

Because of this we have endless problems of poverty, poor services and all the issues politicians love to spend time telling you they can solve, if only given the chance.

We don't believe any politician can solve these problems, as long as the flawed basis of our society remains intact. In fact, we believe only you and your fellow workers can solve these problems.

We believe that it will take a revolution in how we organise our lives, a fundamental change. We want to see a society based on the fact that you know how to run your lives, know your needs and have the skills and capacity to organise with your fellows to satisfy them.

You know yourselves and your lives better than a handful of bosses ever can.

With democratic control of production we can ensure that looking after our communities becomes a priority, rather than something we do in our spare time.

We all share fundamental needs, for food, clothing, housing and culture, and we have the capacity to ensure access to these for all, without exception.

If you agree with this aim, then we ask you to get in touch with us, get involved and join in our campaign to bring about this change in society. Together, we have the capacity to run our world for ourselves. We need to build a movement to effect that change, by organising deliberately to take control of the political offices which rule our lives, and bring them into our collective democratic control.

Our candidate makes no promises, offers no pat solutions, only to be the means by which you can remake society for the common good.

Dan Lambert
The Socialist Party Candidate

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The crumbs or the bakery?

Politics today is a game of Ins and Outs in which gangs of professional politicians compete with each other to attract votes, the gang securing a majority of seats in parliament assuming responsibility for running the political side of the profit system.
To win votes the politicians have to promise -- and be believed -- to improve things both for the population in general, as by managing the economy so as to avoid slumps and crises, and for particular groups within the population.
When the economy is expanding or even just ticking over the Ins have the advantage. They can claim that this is due to their wise statesmanship and prudent management. Such claims are false as the economy goes its own way -- expanding or contracting as the prospect of profits rises or falls -- irrespective of which gang of politicians is in office. But making such claims can backfire as, when the economy falters, the Outs can blame this on the incompetence and mismanagement on the Ins. But that's not true either since politicians don't control the way the economy works.
The Labour politicians who took over from the Tories as the Ins in 1997 have been lucky in this respect. In the past, Labour periods in office had happened to coincide with the downturn phase of the economic cycle, but the last election in 2001 and the coming election this year have happened to coincide with the economy ticking over. So, instead of having to live up to their previous reputation of being the party of austerity, they have been in the position of being able to offer a few crumbs to voters.
But throwing crumbs to the people (or to carefully targeted sections of the people whose votes could swing things) is not the main purpose of government. Marx once wrote that the government is "but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie". And it's still true. The function of any government is to manage the common affairs of the capitalist class as a whole. This involves a number of things. Sustaining a context in which profit-making can continue. Spending the money raised from taxes (that are ultimately a burden on the capitalist class) in a prudent way on things that will benefit the capitalist class as a whole, such as providing them with an educated, relatively healthy and so productive workforce. Maintaining -- and if need be using -- armed forces to protect sources of raw materials, trade routes, investment outlets and markets abroad. That's what most government spending goes on, and balancing this against income from taxes is what budgets are essentially about.
It is only because wage and salary workers, active or retired, have the vote that, occasionally if there's a small margin of money spare, a few crumbs are offered to some section or other of the electorate. No doubt, the pensioners, the home buyers and the families offered a few hundred extra pounds a year will accept these crumbs cast before them by Gordon Brown in yesterday's pre-election budget. Hopefully, they won't accept them as bribes to vote for his particular gang of politicians, but simply because it would be stupid not to pick them up.
Nowadays most people have learned by experience and are, rightly, just as cynical about the politicians and their promises -- and crumbs -- as are politicians about how they get people to vote for them. But cynicism is not enough. This should be turned into rejection. The game of Ins and Outs, to decide which gang of professional politicians should manage the common affairs of the capitalist class, only continues because most of us agree to take part in it. But by voting for them we in effect give them the power to keep the capitalist system going. And that, not which particular gang of politicians happens to be in office, is the cause of today’s problems since built-in to capitalism is putting making profits before satisfying people’s needs.
Socialists are only too well aware that most people put up with capitalism, and go along with its political game of Ins and Outs in the hope of getting a few crumbs out of it, because they see no practicable alternative. But there is an alternative, which is what we are trying to put over by standing a candidate in Vauxhall. Politics should be more than individuals deciding which politicians to trust to deliver some crumbs that they think will benefit them individually. It should be about collective action to change society. About taking over the whole bakery.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Local politics for local people...

I just thought I'd try and find out what the Capitalist Party in Vauxhall was saying about the campaign.

I tried looking at the Vauxhall Liberal Democrat Tendency's web site, but couldn't see anything about their candidate or the activity - too busy defending their coalition with Tories in the council. I had to visit their national site to discover that their candidate is Charles Anglin - Anglin' for a job maybe? Given the thumping Labourite majority, he's clearly on the suicide run until a better seat turns up. But, given that liberal democrats care you'd think he'd be more prominently campaigning already on the ishoos.

I tried Labour - they don't have a constituency specific site - but they do have the Lambeth Labour Fraction of the Capitalist Party, a website dedicated, it seems to attacking the the Tory/Lib-dem coalition in Lambeth. Strange how it's always the party in power that is wasteful and incompetent - couldn't be because there are no real issues of principles or policy to divide the warring careerists? I couldn't find a dedicated homepage for Kate Hoey The sitting Labour Fraction's MP, so that puff peice from the Lambeth site had to do. Her record as an MP wasn't hard to find - though it doesn't mention her continued support for capitalism.

The Tory Campaign Group at least have their candidates on their local front page - they at least look like their making an effort and mention the coming election. Looks like Edward Heckels (yes, I'm sure he does) - will be their candidate.

Of course, the reason why they are putting so little effort into campaigning, is because they have national campaigns and free access to national media to do their campaigning for them - to actively organise, get out and prosyletise for their parties is unnecessary. Though I'm sure a token effort will be made.

I wouldn't be entirely surprised if Movement for Justice threw their hat in the ring, and possibly the Green Party - plenty of choice - apparently - yet only the Socialist Party offers the choice of whether to continue with capitalism or not.