Saturday, 16 October 2010
The STUC event entitled 'There is a better way' will take place in Edinburgh this Saturday [23rd October]. The march and rally will offer people the opportunity to come together and protest against the austerity measures proposed by all 4 of the establishment parties, but principally the CON DEM Government coalition. Tens of thousands of trade unionists and other are expected to attend.
The Scottish Socialist Party is opposed to all these cuts. We simply do not accept they are necessary. They will have a devastating impact on the lives of millions of working people who rely on those services. Working people are being held responsible for crimes they did not commit. There are better ways of tackling the national debt than cutting services to the vulnerable. These debts were, lets not forget it, run up after the Government bailed out reckless and greedy bankers.
Come along and join the SSP contingent on Saturday. We will be there with our banners. The march assembles at 11.00am in East Market Street [beside Waverley station] and proceeds along Princes Street to a rally at the Ross Bandstand at 12.30pm.
Friday, 15 October 2010
The British people have a long and proud history of defeating repression, tyranny and injustice. They stood up to Hitler in World War Two and defeated Thatcher’s poll tax in 1991 by invoking an inspiring spirit of resistance against seemingly insurmountable forces. And it’s just a well because they need to call on those traditions once again to defeat those behind the unprecedented and brutal cuts proposed for our public services in these countries.
When you stand back from discussions like the one BBC Scotland broadcast last night where Glen Campbell quizzed an invited studio audience on where the axe should fall you realise there’s an enormous injustice at the heart of this debate. It is the people, the masses, the vast majority, who are being forced by the elite, the rich, landowners, factory owners, bank owners and those who ‘own’ our politicians to pay for this crisis. As usual the hired ‘commentariat’ cannot see ‘the wood for the trees’. They are apparently oblivious to the fact the victims of this economic crime are again being punished by its perpetrators.
Neither Glen Campbell nor Brian Taylor asked the one question on everyone’s lips, namely, ‘who is in favour of these cuts?
I mean who says they are inevitable, who says ‘there is no alternative’? Lets look at the facts.
The UK Government ran up debts, we are told, of £580bn after spending £1.3trillion bailing out the banks, £100bn on a second generation of nuclear weapons [of mass destruction], £100bn invading and occupying innocent countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, £600bn on ill advised Private Finance Initiative [PFI] contracts which mean for example that a £300m hospital such as Edinburgh’s new Royal Infirmary actually costs £900m and in granting tax cuts to the obscenely wealthy. All these decisions were hugely unpopular. None of them enjoyed the support of the public yet we, the people, our opinions apparently counting for nothing in this debate, must pick up the tab.
The economic recession [the possibility of which Gordon Brown foolishly claimed to have banished forever] occurred alongside an unprecedented financial collapse. Together they led to the current political crisis. All four establishment parties in Scotland backed those decisions to one degree or another and all four now clamber for cuts in the very services working people rely on.
So those who caused the crisis are forcing those who didn’t to pay for it. That's the blatant injustice at he heart of this debate. It is a con, a 'Con-Dem con'.
The rich and all their kept politicians now insist on two ‘fundamental truths’. First that there is no alternative to inflicting lacerating cuts in our vital public services like health, education , transport, housing and care if we are to reduce our debts.The second is equally false that ‘we are all in this together’.
We could self evidently do much to avoid the cuts. We could own the banks profits, not just its losses. We could take their huge profits and obscene bonuses and invest them in services for us all. We could cancel plans to threaten the world with nuclear annihilation. We can bring home our soldiers from Afghanistan and end our pointless occupation. We could, and should, part company with the private firms who own our hospitals, schools, prisons and roads. We can make the rich pay their fair share of tax for a change.
But we don’t hear any politicians on Glen Campbell's panel make such suggestions, do we? No they all say we [but not them] must make sacrifices. Working people must be paid off. Jobs must be surrendered, houses repossessed and living standards must plummet.
The fact is there are plenty alternatives to making millions more unemployed, denying students the chance to study by enforced indebtedness. Homelessness, increased violence and crime and social disintegration are all avoidable. But only if we jettison Labour, Tory, Liberal and SNP politicians who say the cuts are inevitable and working people must suffer. They are all defending the indefensible. Their system got us into this mess and it now insists the victims not the perpetrators must be punished.
It is not a matter of ‘if’ the British people resist but ‘when’, ‘how’ and ‘where’. Watch this space.
Monday, 11 October 2010
We were delighted to learn of your success from comrade Jorge Aliaga who is both a founder member of our party and a rich source of information about the struggle for socialism in Peru. Jorge is our 'Peruvian Scot' and we are delighted to have him. He is here with us in Edinburgh for the next few weeks until he returns again to be with you in Peru.
We were particularly interested to hear of the high regard in which Susana is held in Lima and the success of the 'vaso de leche' programme from some years ago. We had a very similar campaign here in Scotland when, as members of the Scottish Parliament, we introduced a Bill to provide all children in the country with a free school meal. Through this reform was important to us in several ways. It highlighted the dreadful child poverty and social inequality in this small but rich country of Scotland.
BUt equally we were able to show what real tangible difference the SSP can make to the day to day reality of working class life.
We wish Susanna and Fuerza Social every success in the future and look forward to hearing of further improvements you are able to make to the lives of the people of Lima who depend upon you most of all, its poorest and most vulnerable.
In international solidarity
Saludos para el nuevo alcalde de Lima: Susana Villarán, Fuerza Social
El Partido Socialista Ecocés envía saludos y felicitaciones a la camarada Susana Villarán de 'Fuerza Social' al ser elegida por el pueblo de Lima para servir como su nuevo alcalde. Estamos seguros de que nos va a permitir compartir esta importante victoria de la izquierda con ustedes.
Estuvimos encantados de saber de su éxito por el camarada Jorge Aliaga, quien es miembro fundador de nuestro partido y una rica fuente de información acerca de la lucha por el socialismo en el Perú. Jorge es nuestro 'escocés peruano' y estamos encantados de tenerlo. Él está aquí con nosotros en Edimburgo por las próximas semanas hasta que nuevamente regrese a estar con ustedes en el Perú.
Estuvimos particularmente interesados en escuchar de la alta consideración que tiene Susana en Lima y el éxito del programa del 'vaso de leche' desde hace algunos años.
Hemos tenido una campaña muy similar aquí en Escocia cuando, como miembros del Parlamento Escocés, introducimos un Proyecto de Ley para proporcionar a todos los niños en el país, almuerzos gratuitos en los colegios. A través de esta reforma era importante para nosotros denunciar la pobreza y desigualdad social en este país pequeño pero rico que es Escocia. Pero igualmente hemos podido mostrar la diferencia real, tangible, de lo que el Partido Socialista Escocés puede hacer en realidad para mejorar la vida de la clase trabajadora.
Deseamos a Susana Villarán el mayor de los éxitos en el futuro y le deseamos que implemente las nuevas mejoras, capaces de realizarse, para beneficio de la ciudadanía de Lima y sobre todo para los más pobres y vulnerables.
En solidaridad internacional
Friday, 8 October 2010
A senseless war begins Its 10th year ...an address to the nation from President Barack Obama (as reported by Michael Moore)
Thursday, October 7th, 2010
My Fellow Americans:
Nine years ago today we invaded the nation of Afghanistan. I’d just turned 40. I had a Discman and an Oldsmobile and had gotten really into LiveJournal. That was a long time ago. It was so long ago, does anybody remember why we're even there? I think everyone wanted to capture Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. But he got away sometime in the first month or so. He left. We stayed. Looking back now, that makes no sense.
Needing to find a new reason for the mission, we decided to overthrow the religious extremists who were running Afghanistan. Which we did. Sorta. Unlike Osama, they never left. Why not? Well, they were Afghans, it was their country. And, strangely enough, a lot of other Afghans supported them. To this day, the Taliban only have 25,000 armed fighters. Do you really think an army that tiny could control and suppress a nation of 28 million against their will? What's wrong with this picture? WTF is really going on here?
The truth is, I can't get an answer. My generals can't quite tell me what our mission is. If we went in there to rout out al-Qaeda, well, they're gone too. The CIA tells me there are under 100 of them left in the whole country!
My generals have also admitted the following to me:
1. There is no way we can defeat the Taliban. They enjoy too much popular support in the rural areas, the majority of the country.
2. Even though we've been there nine years, the truth is the Taliban, not us, not the Afghan government, control the country. After nine years, we’ve only completely run the Taliban out of 3% of Afghanistan.
3%!! (Just for reference, it took us only ELEVEN MONTHS after D-Day to entirely defeat the Nazis across all of Europe.)
3. Our troops and their commanders are still trying to learn the language, the culture, the customs of Afghanistan. The fact is, our troops are simply not trusted by the average people (especially after they've killed numerous civilians, either through recklessness or for sport).
4. The Afghan government we installed is corrupt beyond belief. The public does not trust them. President Karzai is on anti-depressants and our advisors tell us he is erratic and loopy on many days. His brother has a friendly relationship with the Taliban and is believed to be a major poppy (heroin) dealer. Heroin poppies are the #1 contributor to the Afghan economy.
The war in Afghanistan is a mess. The insurgency grows -- and why wouldn't it: foreign troops have invaded and occupied their country! The people responsible for 9/11 are no longer there. So why are we? Why are we offering up the lives of our sons and daughters every single day -- for no reason anyone can define.
In fact, the only reason I can see is that this war is putting billions of profits into the pockets of defense contractors. Is that a reason to stay, so Halliburton can post a larger profit this quarter?
It is time for me to bring our troops home -- right now. Not one more American needs to die. Their deaths do not make us safer and they do not bring democracy to Afghanistan.
It is not our mission to defeat the Taliban. That is the job of the Afghan people -- if that is what they choose to do. There are many groups and leaders of countries in this world who are despicable. We are not going to invade 30 countries and remove their regimes. That is not our job.
I am not going to stay in Afghanistan just because we're already there and we haven't "won" yet. There is nothing to win. No one from Genghis Khan to Leonid Brezhnev has been able to win there. So the troops are coming home.
I refuse to participate in scaring the American people with a phony "War on Terror." Are there terrorists? Yes. Will they strike again? Sadly, yes. But these terrorist acts are few and far between and should not dictate how we live our daily lives or make us ignore our constitutional rights. They should never distract us from what our real priorities are in making our country safe and secure: Everyone with a good job, families able to own a home and send their kids to college, universal health care that's coordinated by your elected representative government -- not by greedy, profit-hungry insurance companies. THAT would be true homeland security.
And what about Osama bin Laden? Nine years and we can't find a 6'5" Arab man who apparently is on dialysis? Even after offering $25 million to anyone who will tell us where he is? You don't think someone would have taken us up on that by now?
Here's what I know: Osama bin Laden is a multi-millionaire -- and if there's one thing I've learned about the rich is that they don't live in caves for 9 years. Bin Laden is either dead or hiding out in a place where his money protects him. Or maybe he just went home.
Just like we should do. Now. My condolences to the families of all who died in this war. Most of them signed up after 9/11 and wanted to do their duty because we were attacked. But we were not attacked by a country. We were attacked by a few religious extremists. And you don't defeat a few thugs by shipping halfway around the world thousands of armored vehicles and hundreds of thousands of soldiers. That is just sheer idiocy.
And it ends tonight.
God be with you.
I'm not a Muslim.
Sunday, 3 October 2010
Labour certainly has a great deal to apologise for on Afghanistan. Over the last 9 years some 50,000 innocent Afghan civilians have perished. We continue to occupy their country against their wishes having imposed a hated and corrupt Government upon them. Some 340 British soldiers have also been killed in a conflict which not only shows no sign of ending but which we were assured would 'make the world a safer place.'!
Our Generals all repeatedly warn that this conflict will last for many years to come. There is surely no one who is taken in by David Cameron or Barack Obama's claims that we can begin bringing our troops back home in 6 months? US General David Petraeus told the BBC's Foreign Affairs Editor John Simpson last month on 'Hard Talk' this claim was at best wishful thinking and at worst simple deceit by two western leaders desperate to appease the huge opposition that exists towards the occupation in both Britain and America.
I know from campaigning on this issue on a weekly basis that public opinion in Britain - already registered at 75% against the war - will not stand for any further deceit. Like David Petraeus I do not expect any meaningful 'draw down' of International Assistance and Security Forces [ISAF] in the immediate future not unless 'the back channel talks' with the Taliban, which Western diplomats have freely admitted they are engaged in, have been making a great deal more progress than recent reports would suggest. Either way if we truly are in the politics of a 'new generation' Ed Miliband should quickly add to his apology over Iraq, and use his new position to push for the withdrawal of British forces from another dishonourable war one which grievously damages Britain's international reputation.