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The prosperous countryside of east Dorset is home to Britain’s longest living residents, with the average male at birth expected to survive 82.9 years. Maybe it won’t make too much difference to their financial futures that the government said this week that it would raise the state pension age to 68sooner than planned. They will still be collecting their state pension for nearly 15 years after retiring, picking up around £124,000 assuming the new state pension stays at £159.95 a week. They are certainly getting good value from their national insurance payments when they were working. Along the way they will also enjoy a £3,000 winter fuel bonus and once they reach 75, as they nearly all will, the TV licence is free, saving £147 a year.

Now compare that with the deal for someone born in Glasgow. It has Britain’s worst longevity figures, with the average male expected to live just 72.6 years. The new retirement age of 68 means our typical Glaswegian male will pick up a state pension for only four to five years, pocketing just £38,000 in total. That winter fuel payment, more needed in Glasgow than Dorset, will be more like £800, while on average they cannot expect to ever get the free TV licence.

As the state pension age creeps up and up, with experts saying further rises to 70 are inevitable, workers with poorer longevity prospects – those in manual trades in particular – may legitimately ask why they are expected to pay loads of NI when their prospects for much of a payout are rather limited. 

https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2017/jul/22/one-size-fits-all-sta...
12 hours 7 min ago
Refugees make up a mere 0.4% of the total population of the EU.  85% of all refugees live in developing countries. 
18 hours 7 min ago
 Councils across England are providing temporary housing for around 120,540 children with their families - a net increase of 32,650 or 37% since the second quarter of 2014. It said the increase equates to an average of 906 extra children every month. The Local Government Association (LGA) said placements in temporary accommodation can present serious challenges for families, from parents’
18 hours 7 min ago
More than 20% of the Democratic Republic of Congo's mining revenue is being lost due to corruption and mismanagement, a campaign group says, according to a Global Witness. At least $750m (£580m) has gone missing over the past three years, it says. If the money not reaching the state coffers through corruption, mismanagement and an ineffective tax system was collated, from 2013 to 2015, then the
21 hours 10 min ago
Capitalism should be put in a museum.
When socialism is established people will look back on today’s society and wonder how everything was topsy-turvy. This strange social system we live under today completely distorts our way of looking at things and makes double think a necessity. The amount of wealth wrung out of the wage-slaves has increased so greatly and so rapidly that it has enabled the plutocracy to run their lives with a magnificence and greater than ever before. There is no limit to the plausible but futile schemes for reforming Capitalism put forward by professional politicians and well-meaning but badly-informed would-be saviours of the working class, and that nothing but Socialist knowledge will make the workers secure against these political frauds and cranks. 
Much can be learned about the aim and method of a political party from a study of its history. A look at the history of the SPGB shows complete adherence to a certain object and declaration of principles. We in the SPGB have been in politics for a very long time and we have more than a nodding acquaintance with the theories of Karl Marx, but we must confess our ignorance when we say that the Marxism referred to by the left-wing is unknown to us.  Long before environmentalism became fashionable, the socialist indictment of capitalism included the waste of the profit system of market production where a small minority own the means of production, that is the land, raw materials, factories, communications etc. Through this ownership, they are able to buy from the majority, the working class, their working ability.

It is ourselves, the members of the working class who run the transport system, who run industry from the gate to the board room, who research, design and make every kind of commodity etc. In other words, it is the men and women of the working class who co-operate to perform all of the work necessary to the running of capitalism. But it is not done on their own behalf. All of this work is geared to the profit of the owning class.
Every kind of product, including food, has sale at a profit as the first motive for its existence. It may be thought that it is because commodities are useful that their sale will realize a profit. The fact is that goods are not produced to fulfill human need, on the contrary needs are stimulated so that the results of enormous productive capacity can be sold. A remarkable feature of modern society is the small number of the population who actually engage in wealth production. The percentage of the population who are really producing is declining daily. The use of improved machinery and more scientific and economical methods has made it possible to produce wealth in superabundance, and with fewer workers than were formerly required. Thus we have seen want forced upon them on account of the very improvements our class has made and their skills have put in motion.
Society does not have to be organised this way. Capitalism is not the natural order of things and it has outlived its usefulness. When an immense majority of working class men and women become aware of their position in capitalism they will join with us in consciously organizing to elect for Socialism. Thus to carry out the legal formality of abolishing private property. Then the means of production will be owned and democratically controlled by the whole, worldwide, community. This vital fact of common ownership and control will mean production at last geared to human needs. The one reason for making any articles and supplying any service will be that they are of use to human beings. Only the best quality need be made and with due regard to the careful use of raw materials.
Capitalism, the private ownership of the means of production, is responsible for the insecurity of subsistence, the poverty, misery, and degradation of the ever-growing majority of our people; but the same economic forces which have produced and now intensify the capitalist system will necessitate the adoption of socialism, the collective ownership of the means of production for the common good and welfare. The present system of social production and private ownership has created two antagonistic classes — i.e., the capitalist class and the propertyless class. Independent political action and the trade union movement are the chief emancipating factors of the working class, the one representing its political, the other its economic wing, and both must cooperate to abolish the capitalist system. While the Socialist Party welcomes every sign of revolt against oppression on the part of the workers, we hold that revolt is useless and dangerous unless based upon a knowledge of the cause of their condition and its remedy. It is necessary to capture political power to install socialism and to do this, workers must organise themselves as a political party having socialism as its sole aim and send elected delegates to Parliament or its equivalent. However, it is important to bear in mind that the objective to obtain a socialist majority in Parliament is totally subordinate to the need for a majority of workers to want and understand socialism. Marx hailed universal suffrage as a “socialistic measure” in England and claimed that “Its inevitable result, here, is the political supremacy of the working class” (The Chartists 1852). Yet many so called “marxists” repudiate the “parliamentary road” to “socialism” even where such a road is open to them. Some of these critics indulge in flagrant hypocrisy in damning Parliament as a “farce” whilst exhorting workers to “vote Labour” or even contesting elections themselves! The Socialist Party have never asserted that Parliament controls capitalism — indeed it is part of our socialist case that capitalism controls Parliaments and dictatorships alike. Parliament does, however, control the state. It would be very wrong to attribute political impotence to Parliament, as many "leftists” confusedly do, on the basis of its inability to solve the problems built into the capitalist economy. The political machinations of capitalist parties which involve attempting to solve these insoluble problems while conveying to a non-socialist electorate the illusion that they can be solved are inevitably farcical. For the Socialist Party, the end and the means are in harmony. If political power relies on mass consent then likewise the methods to capture political power must be socially recognised and that means contesting elections — anything other than this would mean the forcible imposition of the will of a minority on the majority. The creation of alternative structures like workers’ councils, does not constitute a positive rejection by the majority of the rule of the capitalist class through its state machine and leaves state power intact in the hands of a capitalist Parliament. Any attempt to appropriate this state power would constitute a direct threat to the state and would inevitably founder. The attainment of a majority of socialists in Parliament is the only practical way to unambiguously and democratically signal the existence of a mass socialist consciousness which is an absolute prerequisite for what can only be a clean-cut, change-over to a new social system. The formation of a revolutionary party to contest elections with a built-in anti-reformist democratic constitution is the only practical way to clearly demonstrate the extent of socialist consciousness in isolation from reform- mindedness and to unite and coordinate socialists, thereby welding them into a political force to capture the state. The fundamental function of the socialist delegates in Parliament would be the political act of declaring capitalism abolished. Indeed, as delegates (as opposed to representatives) their actions would be wholly subordinate to the active control of the whole working class. For the Socialist Party what matters is not the activity of a few delegates but majority understanding.
In the co-operative commonwealth that socialism will herald in, wage slavery and servitude will disappear. Then only will men and women have a chance to live a full life, unhampered by the cares and anxieties that now distract them. There is plenty of work waiting with fellow slaves to be aroused, and educated in the principles of socialism, and organised for the fight for the emancipation of our class.


21 hours 10 min ago