Tuesday, 31 August 2010

New Online Newspapers featuring SSP Campsie

Cuts Daily

SSP Daily

Comrade Daily

Tories, Liberal Democrats, SNP and Labour Unite to attack Scottish Education Again...

Teachers, after suffering the blows of last years cuts in education, are being asked to work an extra half an hour a DAY in front of classes. In a cynical move, Labour run Glasgow City Council has proposed this as a reduction of “marking time” and called for a re-negotiation of McCrone – the agreement that was supposed to ensure teaching staff worked a 35 hour week.

Teachers in Scotland already work an average of 10 hours unpaid overtime and have borne the brunt of cuts that have meant class sizes on the rise and fewer adults in the class. Glasgow has already cut support workers and assistants jobs that help with children needing extra educational input.

Glasgow has also quietly shed 500 teachers in the past two years, and the Labour council also presided over closures of 22 schools last year under the previous scandal riven Labour provost, Steven Purcell.  All of this has impacted on teaching and learning.  Children are being made to suffer because of the neo-liberalist ideology of the combined forces of the Tories, Liberal Democrats and Labour and the apparent capitulation of the SNP.

Locally, this has been a complete capitulation to the Tories and Liberal Democrats by a so called Labour Glasgow Council. Not only have they quietly cut education provision through staffing, but now they are essentially asking teachers to take a pay cut.

Labour along with the Tories and Liberal Democrats are peddling the lie that cuts are necessary. The SNP are keeping a cynical silence and after Salmond and Cameron met shortly after the election of the most reactionary Government since Thatcher (and actually becoming more reactionary by the hour), the SNP seem powerless to criticise the ideological cuts they are telling us are necessary. This is not true. There are huge amounts of money around – but in the hands of the bankers and billionaires who caused this crisis (including the RBS who recently have launched an incredible campaign saying they are giving thousands of pounds to Scottish Education, when in fact they were one of the major factors that have led to the crisis in Education  over the past two years!)

SSP members in EIS wish to unite with other trade unionists in decisive campaigns – including coordinated industrial action – to defend jobs, pay, educational expenditure, and national action to enforce maximum class sizes of 20 across the board, as a pre-requisite to improved education and better conditions of work.

How will this be paid for?

The SSP have long been campaigning for a Scottish Service Tax in place of the Council Tax. This would mean the poorest families would pay nothing, but the highest earners would pay more – a fair tax in other words. The richest would pay a modest extra 10% in tax – which when you realise their income grew by 30% last year alone – is a drop in the ocean. The revenue generated by this tax alone would save our Scottish Education System, save jobs in the Public Sector and ensure the Tories and Liberal Democrats do not return us to the eighties when Thatcher and Major had public education on it’s knees.  See also our alternative budget

The SSP support the ballot for strike action the EIS are calling in March – but urge the union to unite with other unions and stand together in solidarity against these attacks on the working class.

Upcoming events at which teachers and the EIS can unite with others against the Tory and Liberal Democrat cuts:

Sat 4th Sept UNISON-convened anti-cuts strategy conference – aimed at all public sector unions and community groups. More HERE

Weds 29th Sept European TUC anti-cuts day of action.

Sat 2nd October Street Rally against cuts… as a Scottish contribution to the European TUC action, AND as a stepping up of efforts to bring members from across different unions and community groups together – as a means of building towards the STUC demo (see below), AND to begin to crank up unity in action BEFORE either the Tories and Liberal Democrats OR SNP govts set their spending cuts in concrete.

Sat 23rd Oct STUC Scottish Demo (more details soon)

Sunday, 29 August 2010


Bill Newman on the Crocodile Tears shed for Jimmy Reid HERE

Guest Blogger: LEFTBANKER Raphie de Santos - Will the Euro Survive?  HERE

Towards a socialist Health Service (pamphlet circa 1978/79) HERE

More posts HERE

Towards a Socialist Health Service 1978/79

I know nothing about this pamphlet, only that the message from 1978/79 is much the same as now as capitalism struggled to survive and in its struggle, made the working class suffer.  The message in this pamphlet may have dated in the money involved - but the message and lessons from their campaign have not.

The leaflet explains that, "The Sheffield Campaign Against Cuts in the Health Service was formed in June 1977.  the committee came out of the Thornbury Committee which had fought the first successful campaign against the Thornbury closure..."

I hope the successful fighters are still around to share their experience in fighting cuts.  Sheffield and the rest of the UK need their likes again in the face of the worst cuts and austerity measures ideologically imposed by the Tory and Liberal Democrat undemocratic coalition.

Other Pamphlets from the Past can be found HERE

Click on the images of the pages to expand.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Crocodile Tears

by Bill Newman
"Let's gear our society to social need, not personal greed."

The death of Jimmy Reid (above) has produced the predictable eulogies extolling his socialist  principles and consistent morality from many of those driven by motives far removed from Jimmy's beliefs.  The hypocrisy of politicians and journalists praising Jimmy Reid when their own opportunistic actions and utterances are so at variance with his ideals is sickening.  In his famous Glasgow University rectorial address in 1972, Jimmy Reid famously stated that the "a rat race is for rats" and one must wonder what sort of creatures our astonishingly greedy multimillionaire bankers are.
Reading this rightly acclaimed speech, it is extraordinary to recall that it was delivered almost 40 years ago, for the greed exposed and the inability, or unwillingness, of our political masters to curb the excesses of capitalists is now worse and more blatent than it was in 1972.  Bankers who created the global recession continue to enjoy unwarranted massive salaries topped up with unearned bonuses even when those banks are effectively owned, like the Royal Bank of Scotland, by the State (ie you and me).  Similarly, company directors give themselves obscene salary increases while politicians bewail such greed, but do nothing to curb it. 
The Prime Minister and his acolytes proclaim their mission to improve social mobility and deplore the poverty in which so many live, yet their actions to date have only increased the burdens of the growing numbers of the poor while doing nothing to curb the greed of the rich. Indeed, it is just as simple for the rich to evade taxation as it ever was, while the companies they control find ever more simple ways to locate in tax havens to avoid paying tax in the U.K.  Even wealthy footballers are helped to find ways of minimising tax on their earnings through tax avoidance trust funds held overseas.
Moreover, as we all know, politicians who could curb these excesses are only too keen to play games to top up their already generous salaries, as evidenced by the Westminster MPs' expenses scandal and the generous pensions and severance payments they award themselves.  Of course, many of these politicians state that they have done nothing illegal, as though they have no moral responsibility for their actions!  Nor do these immoral games stop at Westminster.  The merry games which Glasgow councillors have played in ensuring their councillor salaries are topped up with payments as directors of 'arms-length' companies (previously run directly by Glasgow City Council) may be perfectly legal, but the morality of such payments is another matter.
How saddened Jimmy Reid must have been to witness the fact that the political, social and economic environment which he railed against in his rectorial address has steadily worsened in the last 40 years.  Yet despite this accelerating decay of moral values, these words of Jimmy Reid remain as true today as when they were spoken in 1972
"Let's gear our society to social need, not personal greed.  Given such creative re-orientation of society, there is no doubt in my mind that in a few years we could eradicate in our country the scourge of poverty, the underprivileged, slums and insecurity."  
We urgently need the honest will of politicians to realise Jimmy's vision, and surely only a socialist programme can bring this about.  No more crocodile tears, no more cynicism, no more hypocrisy; we all need leaders with the consistent honesty and compassion which Jimmy Reid demonstrated in his life.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

SSP Campsie AGM



Guest blogger: Left Banker: Will The Euro Fall Apart?

Raphie de Santos
As it currently exists the Euro as the single European currency is highly unstable. Ultimately it can only succeed if backed by a single European state power and the unification of existing national currency reserves. The latter is not the case but the former is only partially true. A single European state can only be created through a real consolidation of European capital. This is clearly not the case in any of the major European industries such as car production, engineering, and banking. The European capitalists have not surrendered the idea of “national sovereignty” of any of their major industries. So for instance there are German, French and Italian car industries. National states are then used to defend the interests of their own national industries, even though they may be multinational or transnational companies their profits are returned to the capitalists of one national state.
 The purpose of the European Union was and remains to create pan European monopolies to compete with the US and Japan. This has clearly not happened and we have in Europe a diverse set of economies based on the national capital but with a single European currency based on the idea of the complete integration and consolidation of all the economies.
 The European currency is therefore based on this contradiction and should be inherently unstable. These were the fears when the currency was launched but at the time they proved to be unfounded. The low interest rates set by the European Central Bank at the onset of the currency allowed the countries in the Euro to enjoy a boom based on easy credit and a housing bubble. This papered over the contradictions between the national capitals and the wide range of national economies including Germany, Ireland, Spain, and Greece. The latter three countries benefitted from much lower interest rates than the individually weak economies could sustain on their own.
 However, the onset of the credit crunch in 2007 leading to the deepest recession since the 1930s saw these contradictions come sharply to the surface. We are very probably in for a long period of stagnating and slowly declining economies, a second depression of modern capitalism. If so these contradictions will remain with the very probable consequence being the destruction of the Euro in its present form and the return of national currencies throughout Europe. 

What are the current contradictions that are likely to pull the Euro apart?

The Pull of the Weak Economies

The weaker economies of Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland are pulling the Euro in one direction. They initially benefitted from lower interest rates when they joined the Euro. This was an effective devaluation for their economies and allowed them to participate in a boom. In Spain and Ireland in particular this was a property boom. But the credit crunch and the following quasi depression has seen this boom lead to bust and large deficits appear. In the case of Greece the real deficit was concealed by the use of complex derivatives that moved it off Greece’s visible balance sheet.
 The Euro is a neoliberal project and restraining deficits to 3% a year for each member country should increase the rate of profit through higher levels of exploitation. The reduction of the ballooning deficits across Europe and in particular in the weaker economies is designed to put this process back on track under the guise of “prudent fiscal management”. 
 But the fight of the European Central Bank (ECB) against inflation and its desire to impose austerity means that these weak economies have a stronger currency that partially reflects the German and French economies. There are social, cultural and political reasons why they will not be able to impose fully the austerity measures that the ECB wants. If they had their own currencies they could have let them devalue and increase the competitiveness of their economies that way. Their inability to implement the austerity measures demanded of them will put pressure on them to leave the Euro so that this currency devaluation can take place. The pressure to do this will increase if as likely the Euro strengthens against the US dollar on the back of a slowing US economy.
The Pull of the Strong Economies

On the other side of the tug of war over the Euro are the stronger Euro economies of Germany, France, and The Netherlands. Their economies are subsidising the debts of the weaker European economies. This is putting further strain on their own fiscal situations and leading to additional austerity for the stronger economies. There will not only be pressure on these economies from bearing the debt and deficits of the weaker Euro countries but from the electoral disquiet at paying the debts of all the Eurozone countries.
 The debts are likely to be much larger than the ECB and the financial markets are estimating. This will happen on two fronts. Firstly the inability of weaker governments to deal with the huge levels of public debt and secondly the inability of the banking system to deal with further financial stress. 
 Take for example Greece, even if it was able to meet all the three year austerity requirements of the ECB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) it would be still left with a debt at the end of three years of about 150% of GDP. Of course this austerity programme will create a deep recession – estimates for the shrinkage in GDP this year are around 4%. This will mean that Greece will not have the tax revenues to pay any of this debt or refinance the debt on the international financial markets. Debts of this level can only be sustained by subsidies from the stronger northern Euro economies. While the bailout plan will probably see the weak countries through 2010 the next major hurdle will be the refinancing of the weak Euro countries’ debt in mid 2011. At some point in the next few years Greece and the other weak Euro economies will have to reschedule their debt. This will effectively write down the value of their existing debt by around 40% creating huge losses for banks across Europe. The current stress tests on European banks are refusing to acknowledge the scale of these losses and they are being estimated at a much lower level.
 Only seven European banks failed the tests which were supposed to estimate how much money European banks could lose if a similar scenario to the financial and economic crisis caused by Lehman’s bankruptcy was repeated. The test came up with a total capital requirement of 3.5 billion Euros! This shows how divorced from reality these tests were given that the European governments including the British had to fork out hundreds of billions of Euros and Pounds to shore up their banks.
As well as underestimating the losses that European banks would incur from the rescheduling of debt by weak Euro countries there were a number of other short-comings with the tests. The first was that those tests only looked at the front trading books rather than the back loan books where most of the losses were made in 2008-9, mainly on declining commercial and private property prices. Finally, the tests included the banks’ current tier one capital hybrid securities which are government guarantees. Tier one capital is supposed to represent liquid capital which can be quickly turned into cash to cover immediate losses. The tests then overestimated the amount of liquid capital that the banks have at their disposal to cover losses from any new stress to the financial system. 

In conclusion, if as we believe that Europe will enter a double dip recession followed by stagnant growth – in effect a quasi depression – then the dual pulls on the Euro will increase. It is unlikely that in this situation that Euro can survive in its current form. The contradiction of a single currency covering competing national capitalisms which have varying degrees of developments will finally be no longer sustainable. 

Sunday, 15 August 2010


Learning from the Past - SSP member Neil Scott explains how the past is important in informing a fair future. HERE

NEW- 1937 Newspaper "The Fighting Call" HERE

1935 Pamphlet "The Head Fixing Industry" by John Keracher HERE

Guest Blogger - Scottish Green Party blogger, Kristofer Keane on The Case for a Scottish Left-Green Movement HERE

@joswinson - £64,766 (before expense claims) well spent? HERE

Robbing Peter to Pay Peter by Ron Mackay HERE

Review by Alex Miller, The Imperial Controversy: Challenging the Empire Apologists, by Andrew Murray HERE

URGENT APPEAL on behalf of one of the Miami 5 HERE

SSP Campsie BBQ Photos (Updated 4 8 10) - HERE

Latest Campsie Voice HERE

Guest Blogger - The Economic Situation by Campbell Martin HERE

Scottish Socialist Voice Special Budget Edition HERE

More Budget coverage HERE

Pamphlet- the Fighting Call

I am not too sure of the history of the newspaper "The Fighting Call" and would be most obliged for information on it (see contact us section), though it seems to have been published in London and Glasgow.  In Glasgow, the organisation publishing it were The Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation, led by Glasgow Anarchist Communist Guy Aldred.    This issue was published on 1st February 1937 and includes articles about the Spanish Civil War, the fascist threat and a damning article on the Parliamentary Red Clydesider, William Gallacher.  It also mentions a Glasgow Lecture by the anarcha-feminist Emma Goldman.

To buy pamphlets such as these, please visit The Wee Red Bookshop
Click on image for bigger page.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Learning from the Past

by Neil Scott
Browsing through the WEE RED BOOKSHOP in Glasgow I realised there was a huge amount of working class history and knowledge that has not made it online.  Some websites like the fantastic marxists.org try to redress that, but lots of material lies in the collections of older comrades - materials new generations can learn from or compare present day conditions with conditions from an earlier time and read about the response our forefathers had to them.  Reading a lot of these pamphlets you begin to realise we are standing on the shoulders of giants and owe a lot of the gains of the class, like pensions and decent working conditions, to these men and women.  
I believe it is important  in these times of forced austerity - job losses, rising prices, impending ecological disaster and the rolling back of our much fought for welfare state to revisit the fights and struggles, wins and losses from the past.  
As Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight's Economics Editor says in his superb book "Live Working or Die Fighting," about the period since Thatcher/Reagan came into power, "A culture that took 200 years to build was torn apart in twenty... the anti-globalisation movement is not in any shape to supply the narratives - it's oldest legend tells of a day in Seattle in November 1999."  Mason believes the history of the workers movements that were albeit destroyed in the West by neo-liberalist global Capitalism needs to be rediscovered because two sets of people "stand in dire need of knowing more about it: first, the activists who have flooded the streets in Seattle, Genoa and beyond to protest against globalisation; second, the workers in the new factories, mines and waterfronts created by globalisation in the developing world, whose attempts to build a labour movement are at an early stage."
He goes on to write about such giants of the past such as Louise Michel, Li Qi-han, Larkin and Bill Haywood, comparing them to struggles across the developing world today and concludes, "I have seen the young Louise Michel dancing to a samba band in a field outside the Gleneagles summit; her face was painted and she was wearing pink fairy wings.  She still has a lot to learn."  
In publishing pamphlets from the past, periodically, on this blog, I hope some of those who, like me, wish for a better, fair world read, research and compare, contrast and turn knowledge to activity in order to win the world and that in struggle and battles won, we can, in the words of Paul Mason, experience the joy of Larkin et al, "on those rare days when the downtrodden people of the world were allowed to stand up and breathe free."

See HERE for Pamphlets from the Past 

Monday, 2 August 2010

Pamphlet- The Head Fixing Industry

INTRO to series HERE

The first Pamphlet comes from the collection of SSP Campsie member, Ron Mackay.  It is from 1935, written by the Dundee born leader of the Proletarian Party of America, John Keracher. The pamphlet is about the way "public opinion" is formed by the capitalist class. 

From Wikipedia:
 "John Keracher was born in January 16, 1880, in Dundee, Scotland. In his early twenties, Keracher left Scotland for England, where he lived for a number of years. He emigrated to the United States in 1909, settling in Detroit.In Detroit, Keracher was the proprietor of the Reliance Shoe House, a retail shoe store located at 112 Dix Avenue."

More about John Keracher on the marxist.org archive online 

John Keracher on wikipedia HERE
Click on image of page to expand.

Keracher, John ---. The Head-Fixing Industry. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1955. 52 pp. Pamphlet K39 .H4 1955p