Monday, 27 September 2010


Edinburgh University Socialist Society Presents

Latin America
The Eco Socialist Alternative
Hugo Blanco

Speakers and Workshops from
Scottish Socialist Party
Green Left (England & Wales)
Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign
Cuban Solidarity Campaign
Scottish Socialist Youth
Saturday 16th October 2010
10:30 – 13:00
The Dining Room           
Teviot House
 Bristo Square

A Word About Hugo Blanco        
Hugo Blanco is a historic leader of the Peruvian peasant movement who has been politically active since the 1950s.  In the 1960s he played a central part in the ‘Land or Death’ peasant uprising in the southern highlands of Peru. He was captured, and sentenced to 25 years. He wrote the book “Land or Death: the peasant struggle in Peru” during one of his many periods in prison. In 1976 he was released and deported to Sweden. On returning to Peru in 1978, he was elected to parliament. He was a member of the Peruvian Senate until 1992, when he was forced to seek political asylum in Mexico following Alberto Fujimori’s “self-coup”. 

Hugo Blanco has been at the forefront of a huge struggle in the Peruvian Amazon where the government has sold off the rain forests to the oil corporations and the indigenous people are resisting the devastation this brings. He is working on the newspaper “Lucha Indigena” (Indigenous Struggle). The struggle in Latin America today is an international beacon of hope for all socialists including Eco socialists.

The people’s summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2010 showed an alternative to the total failure of the world’s governments – especially those of the US and the European Union – to meet the challenge of climate change. In a world where profit is the motor force rather than human need, it has been an inspiration that social movements in Latin America have won important victories. Indigenous peoples have been key to the strength and success of those movements. Hugo argues that indigenous peoples across the planet are in the forefront of fighting climate change and conserving the local environment. This is true of those struggling to preserve the lungs of the world in the Amazon, to defend the rainforests in Borneo or against the uranium mine in the Grand Canyon.

Schedule for the Day
10:45              Introduction to the day’s events from Cat Grant
10:50              Opening address from Hugo Blanco
11:10              Workshops Round One
11:50              Workshops Round Two
12:30              Report back from workshops
12:50              Closing address and summary from Hugo Blanco

Workshops Round One: The Bolivarian Revolutionary Process - Ewan Robertson (SSP); Young People and the Climate Camp - Jack Ferguson (SSY); Saving Our Land in Scotland - Cat Grant (SSP); and Eco Socialism or Barbarism - Liam Young (SSP).

Workshops Round Two: Building Solidarity with Venezuela - Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign
Building Social Forums in Latin America and Britain - Keith Baker (Green Left England & Wales); Cuba: The Green Island – Brian Pollitt (Cuban Solidarity Campaign) and Uruguay: After the Dictatorship - Patrick O'Hare (SSY).

For more information:!/event.php?eid=146635088705507 or email

Sunday, 26 September 2010


Leftbanker - Do we need the Rich? HERE

Leftbanker - slideshow -The Economy of the Coalition HERE

Letter - Perpetual war, Impoverished People - HERE

Campsie Radio HERE

Fighting the Cuts: fine words and defiant deeds by Richie Venton HERE

More recent posts HERE

Leftbanker - Do We Need the Rich?

by Raphie de Santos

The cry that goes out whenever a fair tax redistribution system is suggested that if one was implemented the rich would leave the country in droves. The implication being that we either could not function without them and that our economy and our society would crumble. Is this really the case? The facts would point to a completely different picture.

Figures derived from the HM Revenues & Customs report show that the majority earn most of the wages in Scotland.

Income Earners
% total Earners
% total Income
No of earners
£5k – £20k
£20k – £30k
£30k – £50k
£50k – £70k
More than £70k

However, the top 7.7% of earners take home 26% of the total  wage pot. Would increasing their taxes make them all leave the country? This is very doubtful as there would not be sufficient jobs, there are 193,000 of them, which pay this level of these wages in other countries. These people have family and cultural ties that would make them not want to leave Scotland on this scale. The other interesting thing about this table is that the top 20,000 of earners take home about £4 billion before tax a year. Yet the richest 100 Scots have a personal wealth of over £16 billion.

This rich elite are contributing very little  to the country through earnings and taxation.  It would be them that had the financial ability and incentive to up sticks and leave but losing them would be no real financial loss to the country. But we would want to hit them with a one off 10% tax on their wealth before they could scarper. They have benefited from a massive redistribution of wealth over the last thirty years that has seen the liquid wealth of the bottom 50% of society fall from 12%  to 1%  while the top 0.01% have seen their incomes go up by 500% in the same period. This income inequality goes much deeper with the top 20% of households earning 15 times the bottom 20% of households (£73,800 to £5,000). The rise of credit over the last three decades that resulted in the great credit bubble is largely down to this redistribution of wealth. How else could we pay for anything?

But where would our industry be without the investment of the very rich? Figures published by the office of national statistics show a very different picture. Most of the investment in UK companies comes about to provide working people in the UK and overseas with their retirement and to protect them against future unknown risks through their pension and insurance funds.  68% of the ownership of UK shares in the hands of UK and overseas and pensions and insurance funds. Only 10% of UK shares is held by private individuals. The bulk of this 10% has not come from the rich ploughing money into companies but from  companies giving shares as part of a bonus package to their senior personnel within these companies. It is part of the transmission belt of the redistribution of wealth we have seen over the last thirty years.

Finally, we are faced with a public debt of £935 billion, £305 billion has to be renewed in the next five years, which the government is forecasting will grow by £535 billion over the next five years despite the cuts and on top of that interest repayments of £250bn over the same period. How are we going to pay for this?  Is it the rich who have benefited from the credit bubble economy or the majority of us?Well it will be largely us. UK pension funds own 33% of UK public debt while the Bank of England (BOE) holds another25% and foreign central banks hold 28%. The BOE of is owned by people of the UK and acts as its’ central bank by being the UK government’s bank.  No rich individuals are stumping up any sizeable chunks of their money to pay for the public debt. Debt that was and is largely being run up by the financial crisis and the resultant recession which the rich had a big hand in causing.
Do we need the  rich?

The answer is no but they clearly need us!

Left Banker - Slideshow - The Economy of the Coalition

by Raphie de Santos

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Perpetual War - Impoverished People

The following letter appeared in the Glasgow Herald ( 16/9/10 ) and for those who missed it we regard it as meriting a wider circulation.

“The UK ranks fourth in the list of countries with the highest defence expenditure ( 3.8% of world total expenditure), outranked by France (4.2%), China (6.6%)and the United States with 43% of world expenditure on defence. We spend about 2.5% of our GDP on defence.

In contrast most of our neighbour s spend much less – Germany 1.3%, Italy 1.7%, Spain 1.2% Netherlands 1.4%, Norway 1.3%, Sweden 1.3%, Belgium1.2%, Denmark1.4%, Portugal2.0%, Ireland 0.6%

. The UK, however, is right up there with the paranoid nations, where Eisenhower's forecast of the domination of the military/industrial complex has become a nightmare reality. We had not yet reached the dizzy heights of the US or Israel (7.0%), but were on our way until the financial crisis forced us to realise that we could not persist in faded dreams of empire and the UK as a world power any more.

Any society committed to a state of perpetual war as the operating principle of the state is fated to ultimately impoverish the ordinary people while enriching the minority. A commitment to the production of weapons of war and mass destruction as a job creation scheme and economic driver of the economy of a state can only be sustained by the creation of external threats to frighten the population into supporting such a strategy, allied to the pretty blatant threat/bribe offered to those employed by the armaments industry.

It also ignores the fact that this is not true productive economic activity – it has to be financed by a levy on the people, and at the sacrifice of the standard of living and them benefits of the many, while enriching a few.

Scotland, freed of the commitment of the defence needs of the UK delusional foreign policy would also be free to redirect effort and money into more life-enhancing and economically beneficial activities. The militarist state, with war as it's central policy, leads inevitably to fascism, even though it may last for many years under the cloak of democracy.

But politics is self-interest writ large, and the pressing task for real democrats is to show the electorate how they are being manipulated by powerful interest groups. We live in interesting times and, as we move into autumn and winter, they are set to become more interesting still. The trades unions with members in the defence industries are, unfortunately, caught up in a terrible paradox in pursuing their members interests.” Peter Curran.

As a postscript let me add, exactly one week before the above letter appeared, a motion was set before the Westminster Parliament calling for support for the deployment of UK troops in Afghanistan. Of the 310 M.P.'s ( less than half) who turned up, only 16 voted against of whom 2 were the Scottish Labour M.P.s -Katy Clark and Mark Lazarowicz.

Ron Mackay SSP Campsie Branch

Sunday, 19 September 2010

SSP Campsie Radio - episode 2!

New episode of the SSP Campsie podcast HERE

Contact us email – , twitter – @sspcampsie or leave a message by phoning or texting– 075 413 925 22 – your standard charges apply!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Guest blogger: FIGHTING THE CUTS: fine words and defiant deeds

By Richie Venton, SSP national workplace organiser 14 Sept 2010

The fiery speeches at the TUC congress in Manchester dominated the media headlines. People at work talked about the prospect of widespread strikes. Women at the school gates picking up primary kids commented “we’re all going to be out on strike”. Many workers relished the idea of action, together. And the very fact they had noticed the TUC debate on the ConDem cuts is a reminder of the potential power of the trade unions to give a lead. That potential now needs to be tapped into through action, not just fiery speeches.
The devastation looming towards communities and workforces – both public- and private-sector –is beginning to sink into the minds of millions. In recent days, a series of hard-hitting facts and studies have exposed the realities we face, unless a mighty movement of rallies, demonstrations and ultimately coordinated strikes (alongside civil disobedience) is built to halt the Millionaires’ Cabinet.

Poorest hit hardest
The planned slaughter will hit the poorest hardest – and ratchet up the obscene levels of inequality still further. The poorest 10 per cent of the population will lose 13 times more by the cuts than the richest 10 per cent.
Pensioners, low-paid families, the sick and unemployed will pay a terrible price for a crisis created by the bankers and billionaires. Meantime profits, perks and downright pilfering of public funds by top bankers, bosses and bureaucrats in quangos and the public sector run riot.

As the TUC warned, a million jobs could be wiped out if the Tory-LibDem butchers get their way. Around 72 per cent of the cuts will be borne by women, who make up 65per cent of public sector workers. Young people will be hammered – with a million under-24s already on the scrapheap.

And the catastrophic loss of 10,000 Scottish jobs threatened in the shipyards as a result of Defence cuts is a harsh reminder that public sector cuts mean private sector redundancies too.

Shift in opinion
Since the day they were NOT elected, the Twin Tories have bombarded the population with daily propaganda that the cuts are necessary, unavoidable, and therefore inevitable – all for our own good! That makes it all the more remarkable that in a Populous poll for the Times newspaper, 3 out of 4 people reject the ConDem cuts strategy. That is a powerful starting point for the trade union leaders - who have rightly lacerated “the demolition government” - to mount a serious, systematic campaign not just of explanation, but also of united action.

Winter of our discontent
The media headlines about the TUC debate on cuts painted lurid - and mostly viciously inaccurate - pictures of the 1979-80 ‘Winter of Discontent’. Their aim was to scare the living daylights out of the middle class, and even sections of workers, with images of rubbish piling up in the streets and the dead left unburied … to try and stop a wave of support for the “coordinated campaigning and industrial action” that the TUC motion calls for.

Unity is strength
We need a sober, serious examination of some key issues if we are to help defeat the wild axe-men of Westminster, not to mention the little axe-wielders in Holyrood and every one of Scotland’s 32 councils.
Unity against the cuts is critical. Tory Chancellor Osborne’s vicious, oily lie that “we are all in this together” is ripped apart by the facts, as reinforced by the various recent reports. The rich will get richer, the rest of us poorer, if they’re not stopped. Divisions between workers and those on benefits, private- and public-sector workers, pensioners and pupils, would be the death of any resistance – and the government are relentlessly trying to whip up such division.

So the motion agreed (with only the one Airline Pilates’ Association delegate against!) at the TUC, - which has 7 million trade unionists in its ranks - for coordinated campaigning and action is extremely welcome to all who care for the defence of a half-civilised society.

Trade union right-wing hesitate
But what did the central leaders of the TUC actually agree? Here there’s a distinction to be made between left and right union leaders.

The right-wing of the unions has stubbornly resisted calls for a demo in London on 23 October, days after the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. They instead talk of a demo in March – when the cuts will be signed, sealed and delivered!

Contrary to the more colourful media headlines, they mainly want “coordination of a campaign” against the government’s arguments – and that in itself is a vital part of the battle; to build on the growing scepticism about the case for the cuts; to demolish it in the minds of millions, and critically to put forward a convincing economic alternative.

But the reluctance of the TUC right-wing to go for actual action, sooner rather than later – even initially in the form of a demo – should ring alarm bells for trade union members. It reveals an unhealthy reliance on “fine words” convincing the government to change tack, when we all know this ruthless capitalist coalition will only retreat if confronted by a mass rebellion.

Underlying this approach is a mind-boggling reliance on working for the return of a Labour government – as blurted out openly by Derek Simpson of the country’s biggest union, UNITE. As if we hadn’t just experienced 13 years of New Labour! And what are workers and communities meant to do for the next 4 years, ‘til the next election?

Poll tax rebellion
Top TUC leaders, like Brendan Barber, grab the headlines with talk of a rebellion like that against the poll tax – but then criticise calls for mass, peaceful civil disobedience against the cuts, from unions like the RMT. But it was precisely mass civil disobedience, a refusal to obey Thatcher’s laws and the collection of her government’s hated poll tax, which tossed it (and her) in the dustbin of history.

Unions and communities
One of the key differences however, is that the anti-poll tax rebellion, in the form of mass non-payment, was overwhelmingly community-based, whereas the unions are far more centrally positioned as organisers of 620,000 public sector workers in Scotland alone, when it comes to fighting the cuts.

Of course, community-rooted anti-cuts campaigns are critical, and will flourish as the material effects of the cuts impact fully on people. But the unions have a greater onus to give a lead, in united action, and in unison with community, pensioners’ and youth organisations, than they did in practice against the poll tax.

Green light for action
The TUC decision gives the green light to union branches, activists and left-led unions to put fine words into defiant deeds. As Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, rightly told delegates at the TUC, none of the coordinated action and strikes will happen unless left-led unions and rank-and-file activists fight for it through their unions.

It is to their credit that the Scottish TUC (unlike the British TUC) has called a Scottish demo in Edinburgh on 23 October, as an immediate response to the government’s Spending Review on 20 October. That must be built as a mass show of united resistance, to boost the confidence of individual workers and workforces that we are “all in this together”, that we do not stand alone, that the massive latent power of working people will stand up in resistance.

Street Rally and STUC Demo
But building it requires more than a few circulars to union HQs. That is one of several reasons a big turnout to the Street Rally on 2 October in Glasgow, called by several union branches and community groups, is a critical contribution to building up the sense of strength through united action.

When some on the right of the trade unions baulk at calling strike action or committing to peaceful civil disobedience – as happened in the TUC debate – they often quote “the need to win over public opinion” Surely one of the best methods of doing that is to reach out to the public, show them action in the streets, spell out the case for no cuts on any job or service, as this Street Rally will seek to do?

And why wait ‘til after the Twin Tories – and in turn the Tartan Butchers in Holyrood – have set their cuts plans in stone in late October and November respectively?

United shows of opposition will help to rock a government that is far from strong, with glimpses and whispers of turmoil in the treacherous LibDems leaking out even before the storm hits them.

Defiance Budgets
And the political situation in Scotland is far different again, to the great advantage of workers and communities who seek to stop the cuts.

The Scottish government, and virtually all 32 councils, are run by parties other than the Tories and LibDems. If any of them are worth a carrot they would declare their refusal to pass on Westminster’s cuts, set No-Cuts Budgets, Defiance Budgets, and rally masses of workers and communities round a fight for the funds to retain every job, every penny in pay, and every single local service.

That is what SSP councillor Jim Bollan will demand and pursue in West Dunbartonshire council. It is what SSP members and others in local government unions will demand of councillors and MSPs. And it got a tremendous response at the Scottish UNISON anti-cuts conference, with UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis stating “I agree with every word that was said” when this proposal was put forward by NUJ president and SSP member Peter Murray.

Scottish Service Tax – an extra £1.6bn
Those union leaders – including STUC general secretary Graham Smith – who emphasise the need to win over public opinion - should also embrace the dynamite that is contained in the SSP’s proposed alternative to the hated, unfair Council Tax. As detailed in the last issue of the Voice, by scrapping the Council Tax and replacing it with a Scottish Service Tax, based on ability to pay, with rising bands of taxation on income, most Scots would pay less than now and yet an extra £1.6bn would be raised to fund council jobs and services.
One simple step, which the SNP government could legislate for through an emergency Bill, demolishes the excuses for cuts, and creates a surplus for services whilst also re-distributing some of the obscenely bloated incomes of the very rich to the rest of us.

Pound the politicians
Trade unionists, pensioners’ organisations, community activists, youth groups, women’s organisations – “all in this together” – should pound the SNP government with demands for a defiance budget rather than meek compliance with the Westminster slaughterhouse, alongside demands that they legislate for an income-based Scottish Service Tax – with reminders that they face an election in seven months. Likewise they should bombard councillors with demands for Defiance Budgets.

And the bigger the 2 October Street Rally, the bigger the 23 October STUC demo, the more confidence workers in the front line of assaults will gain in squaring up for future coordinated strike action against the cuts.

The enemy prepares for war!
The powers that be are not twiddling their thumbs in preparation for the widespread strikes that many commentators – and the STUC - have declared to be inevitable.
Tories and employers’ organisations are escalating their campaign to ban the right to strike in “essential services” – the same services which they brand non-essential, ‘back-office’ and dispensable when it comes to cutting them!

And the Police Superintendents’ Association president, Chief Superintendent Derek Barnett, has spelt out the reason his organization is calling for top coppers to be protected from the cuts: so the police can assist the government on the picket lines as social and industrial unrest rises with the savagery of the cuts planned.
A war has been declared on workers and their communities. Every concrete step to unite the opposition in action, not just words, is as important as a mass campaign of explanation of economic alternatives to any and all cuts.

The unions have a vital part to play, in full collaboration with those who rely on the services threatened. The fiery speeches at the TUC which captured the imagination of many now need to be matched by actions that put the SNP government and every local council on the spot – before it’s too late.

Monday, 13 September 2010


Campsie Voice August / September HERE

Campsie Socialists Radio (podcast) HERE

Photos from Bill and Willie's Birthday do... HERE!

Public Sector Workers Voice for Unison Alternatives to Cuts Conference 4 Sept 2010 HERE

Glasgow City Council Capitulate to Tory / LibDem Coalition on education cuts HERE

Last weeks Campsie Car boot sale HERE

Pamphlets from the past

Wall Street's Drive to War; May 1950 HERE
International Socialist Review,September-October 1968-May 1968 First Phase of the Socialist Revolution HERE

Views on the Soviet Union

Scottish Miners in the Soviet Union 1953 HERE
The People on the March; Harry Pollitt, 1954 HERE
The Great Lie; Abbie Bakan 1981 HERE

More pamphlets from the past HERE
More articles etc HERE

Wall Streets Drive to War by James Klugmann; May 1950

This pamphlet was written by the leading British communist writer, James Klugmann

Notes on this pamphlet:

"Why they want War – They want war because, as Lenin once said, war is terrible, but it is also terribly profitable."

“It is because America does not belong to the American people. The wealth of America, its mineral resources, its great plants and factories, its banks, its press, its government, are in the hands of a tiny group of great capitalists, whose aim is profit and not the welfare of the people.”

This is true of the missiles on the Gare Loch here in Scotland – we don’t own or control them. Instead, the millionaires and corporations controlling our democracy through ownership of the press and their ability to use their financial power to lobby the mainstream parties own and control the weapons of war here.
Back in the dark days of Blair and Bush, millions trod the streets of the UK in opposition to war in Iraq – yet the profitable thing to do for the oil corporations and the weapons of war manufacturers was to sex up documents that in their original form had shown no call for war. Blair’s wars were fought for the capitalist elite. No working class person profited… in fact the majority by far of the hundreds of thousands of people who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the very poor. The majority of the soldiers who have died on all sides are working class people, driven to fight other poor people in the interest of shareholders and millionaires who sit comfortably and increase bank accounts that were used to bring down the economy across the globalised world. How much good would the monies used to build these weapons do for the poor and working class?

“Armaments can always be pushed if private (business) activity slows. War scares are easy to create and are nearly sure-fire producers of money for more and more arms.2 (The business journal US News and World report 17.2.50)

After WW2 bankruptcies in small business in the US increased, whilst because of the “red scare” mongering, large corporations connected with war (who had a 90% share in the national press) increased their sales by 5% by 1948. In a call reminiscent of the present cuts agenda of the ideologically driven Tories and Liberal democrats, the Magazine of Wall Street said about social welfare in 1950 – “this is not the time to strain the economy by pushing ahead with all kinds of social experiments which would add billions to the budget.”

This pamphlet is a great read. A fantastic expose of the post WW2 capitalist ecomomy and a great tract against the use of nuclear power for war.

Click on the pages to expand.

More pamphlets from the past HERE

Sunday, 12 September 2010

SSP Campsie Radio!

SSP Campsie Radio!

Click on the link to go to our test podcast! This is also available on itunes...

This is the first foray into podcasting by SSP Campsie. Please leave comments/suggestions below; by email; by Twitter - @sspcampsie or by text - 07541392522

Be kind!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

International Socialist Review 1968

The International Socialist Review ran between 1956 and 1975.  It was a Trotskyist publication produced by the Socialist Workers Party (United States – not to be confused with the SWP in the UK)from 1956 to 1975 in magazine format, and until the 1990s as a supplement to the organization's weekly newspaper, The Militant. This publication succeeded the organization's theoretical magazine, Fourth International.

May 1968 refers to the strikes and demonstrations that rocked France during that time.  These events are said to have influenced demonstrations and actions against tyranny across Europe and indeed the world.  

This edition was written by the famous french Trotskyist, Pierre Frank. 

Click on the pages to expand.

More pamphlets from the past HERE