Brave Politics – Now Labour Must take on The Banks

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We see it, we fear it – the future of our planet, its sustainable resources, and life as we have known it, collapsing, because of the money system. Can we stop it?

HOUSING:

We are invited to buy property,  pay interest to bankers, who have the ability create money, out of thin air, at the click of a mouse. ( What is Money , Positive Money ?) If we all tried that, what do you think would happen? Reckless, unethical bankers are happy to arrange mortgages stretching people to and beyond the limit. Is there such a thing as  ethical banking? Many of us have relied on mutual building societies and  supposedly “ethical banks” such as the Co-op bank. That trust soon evaporated as the headlines in the media reported the takeover of the Co-op bank  this month.

People, now happily moving into homes face rising interest on mortgages as the banks will force rate rises, just as energy companies have raised charges.  How will they manage? The Guardian is reporting possible interest rate changes by 2015. Who will the media blame then?

It is essential for that any incoming governments are brave enough to confront bankers and money-lenders  who prey on people. Governments must address the way money is created used and distributed. Money should be serving us, not us serving money.

airmoney

We are The Debt Generation. Money is a tool, not a resource. And it’s a broken tool.  We need Positive Money to be fit for the purpose.

EDUCATION:

We can thank some brave politicians in history that health care and education for all is no longer just the domain of the rich and privilege, but universal. It should be a priority for Labour.  Harold Wilson’s Open University widened the access to education such had never been seen before. The provision of maintenance grants enabled students to concentrate on study.

Doctors, engineers, scientists and lawyers from working class families had access to education  and all of society reaped the benefits. Every person’s life is enriched by high quality education. We need quality training too and we need specialists; engineers, doctors, road builders, teachers, builders and firefighters.

We can all see these benefits, so provision of maintenance grants, and universal access through the Open University is investment in the future. 

But today, the Open University is too costly for many. Students are taking on massive loans, and debt. If they finish their course, and find employment, then it’s a struggle to pay for a home, or for a car. And what next? A loan for health? For childcare? A loan for elderly care?  And so it goes on to the next generation.

Every part of our lives is now at threat because of the banking system. The financial system is so invasive, all consuming, and  like a flawed  parasite, greedy and foolish, and is destroying it all.  The reality is a lifetime of paying for money which magically came from nowhere. It’s a far cry from care from cradle to grave.

So where did all the brave politicians go?

Real-Economy-Syphoning

BANKING AND INTEREST  

Whether it is business, or individuals, the banks are in a win-win situation. The financiers maintain control because the system is so heavily biased in their favour. The money made up from nothing, can grow, like a weed out of control. Debts become unsurmountable…  and all because of interest. 

In this video, Professor Dr. Margrit Kennedy describes how flaws in the money system cost us all about 40% extra for everything – interest costs. Interview by Dimitri Devyatkin. 

youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ixgt4syL9U&w=420&h=315%5D  

Not all loans charge interest. In Islamic Banking, there is no interest charged.

Islamic finance is all about sharing risk between financial institutions and the individuals that use them. To do that, the two parties are tied into a longer-term relationship with each other that is supposed to shift incentives and avoid cut and run financial deals. So how can banks that don’t charge interest survive? It’s a question worth answering, not least because academics have argued that the financial crisis wouldn’t have happened if the global economy was regulated by Islamic finance.

(Guardian)

 

This is an interesting idea, but still retains the control to the banks who hold the money, and not collectively by all, which is how it should be in a democracy.

While Islamic finance addresses the problems caused by interest, I would prefer to see a government owned bank retaining  democratic control.  Power should be returned to the people – and so should the money system. The majority now despise the banking system with suspicion, and want to see real change – not more of the same faux-governments, too weak against the financial institutions.

Like a few in history, future politicians brave enough to present and adopt the proposals of Positive Money will be welcomed. It is time for Labour to be brave, and let the people know where it stands.

Speak up, Ed! Positive Money, Positive Labour.

Support the Labour Assembly against Austerity Campaign

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Labour Assembly Against Austerity

Published by Socialist Economic Bulletin

Labour Assembly Against Austerity

Speakers


9am – 5pm, Saturday 9th November
Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX

Speakers include:

 

Ken Livingstone
Owen Jones
Francesca Martinez
Steve Turner (Unite)
Ann Pettifor

Diane Abbott MP
Katy Clark MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Frank Dobson MP
John McDonnell MP
Michael Meacher MP

Professor Keith Ewing
Tosh McDonald (ASLEF)
Peter Willsman (CLPD)
Adrian Weir (Campaign for Trade Union Freedom)
Catherine West PPC
Cat Smith PPC
Murad Qureshi AM
Heather Wakefield Unison

Shelly Asquith
Daniel Blaney
Michael Burke
Mike Hedges (Unite)
Conrad Landin
Cllr Alice Perry
Christine Shawcroft (NEC)
Cllr Kate Taylor
Marsha-Jane Thompson (Defend the Link)

Sessions:

  • The economic alternatives to austerity
  • Housing – solving the crisis
  • No to privatisation – keep health and education public
  • Opposing austerity – defending public services and the welfare state
  • Defend the link – defend trade union rights
  • No scapegoating – immigrants and claimants are not to blame
  • Fund public services not war
  • Ending austerity – Labour policies to win in 2015

£10 full price / £5 concessions
Register now

Visit LabourAssemblyAgainstAusterity.org.uk

Speakers

Labour Assembly Against Austerity –  a forum for Labour Party members to discuss alternatives to austerity and the policies Labour needs to stimulate growth, jobs and rising living standards.

The Labour Assembly Against Austerity is an initiative of Next Generation Labour in support of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity movement and is supported by Unite, UCATT, BECTU, CLPD, Labour Representation Committee, Left Futures, Chartist, Labour Briefing Co-op, Morning Star, Red Labour & Sinistra Ecologia e Liberta UK.

Words, Words, and the Meaning of Socialism

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Words, Words, and the Meaning of Socialism

During Thatcher years, the word socialism was blackened by the press, and it became a dirty word in Britain, and in the US. That is how the propaganda machine works. Indeed the meaning of the word has evolved since its inception.

Socialism’s meaning can be said to go back to early religious sects of the ancient world and was taken up by religious dissidents in mediaeval times. Words attributed to John Ball during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 capture its meaning very well: “My friends, things cannot go well in England, nor ever, until everything shall be held in common, when there shall be neither vassal nor lord and all distinctions levelled, when lords shall be no more masters than ourselves.” (Socialist Party, Words)

Words are unhelpful if they are ambiguous. What is important is building a fairer society in which people  hold the power and make decisions, share in the wealth derived from their labour and not governments who represent ruling classes. The confusion and  misinformation and miscommunication which is caused by focusing on an ambiguous word to describe our philosophy and our aims, holds back progress as emphasised in Words, from “Socialism or your money back“. While it  inspires unity and solidarity for some of us, others are turned away. So,  ironically, the words socialism and solidarity are dividing us, yet our philosophies are much the same.

In winning the argument – leading to the defeat of  capitalism, and building a better society, clear unambiguous terms, and a shared vocabulary are necessary, as Julijuxtaposed points out in the article, Take Socialism., full article here. Juli emphasises the priority is to transform society, and is appalled that differing vocabularies prevent this.

“.. Few have ever moved away from the emotional knee-jerkery of old, pre-conceived, received and doggedly fixed propaganda. It’s of no more practical help than it ever was, unless you like popping human nature into simple boxes.

Take Socialism. This is described as Anarchism, Communism, Libertarian, Democratic, Marxist, Religious, etc, etc. (Not forgetting, of course, that Anarchy, Libertarianism and Religion function equally well under fascistic systems.) Socialism is touted as a 19th Century concept – by virtue of a bloke adding ism to a previously perfectly understood word. Social: from Middle English which is from Old French, which is from the Latin:socialis, meaning ‘allied’ and socius, meaning ‘friend’. We all know what it means to be ‘social’ – to engage, participate, accommodate, include, share… It is a concept which is at once, both commonly understood and subjectively experienced.”

Opponents to socialism are rabidly irrational in their disdain: to even the most benign and rational form, they having nothing but sneers and smears. They have strongly seeded notions of a totalitarian community in which every one stays at the same level of banality and that the price for this is the sacrifice of a person’s individuality. This is amusing when you think of how the last few decades have shown that socialism is not the culprit in this – unless, of course you count the welfare of self-preservation in the upper tiers but that is a satirical distraction from the world of the masses in spite of its ironic reality. Rabid advocates of markets (free or manipulated) and private money as the answer to all our ills hold the idea of ‘big’ government in contempt and yet, has any government ever been so nannying, moralising and prescriptive as this one? This is something they conveniently overlook as they insult our intelligence.”

The State is us – why the bloody hell should shrinking it be part of the equation? Necessity, efficiency and competency are the instruments by which it should be measured.

When I think of socialism, I don’t assume authoritarianism, race to the bottom, death of innovation. Hell, I don’t even think death to the markets. What I envisage is a place where the State is the People; where the people are beneficiaries in common; where the land that should be, infrastructure, public services and resources are of the people, by the people and for the people as much as is practically possible. That’s it. It doesn’t have to negate a free market, private wealth, personal assets, creativity, entrepreneurialism, innovation, culture, progress or individuality. And it certainly doesn’t destroy liberty. On the contrary: it frees us. I can be both an individual and a citizen participant in a socially conscious country and world just as easily as I can be English, British and European. Personally, though I have a big problem with profiteering, I’ve no issue with the profit-seeking private sector, so long as it is incapable of undermining the collectively common and basic good. Both private and public serve a social purpose and so both have their economic places. What we have now, however, is a form of anarchy; economic and social nihilism, even. The consensus is growing that we should collectively own, control and maintain the essentials upon which we all depend, as a matter of economic and social common sense. Let the rest (the capitalist/private sphere) purchase its place in the gaps if it is sufficiently viable to do so. And it will. For that, we need a State which serves our best and vested interests not vested interests which serve themselves best and leave us in a state. Whether this view has a label or even ten labels; whether it is called Socialism or something else, I really do not care.

Yet for some, it remains, though, a word worth fighting for, for its history, for its associations of co-operation and mutuality, and because it describes something positive, a situation to be aimed for – a just state of society. Socialism remains a good word to put our arguments across. Because of our different understanding of it, people are surprised by our answers and perspectives, and become genuinely interested, broken out of the stale old left-wing right-wing arguments. And just as words such as “queer” have been wrested from negative senses to have positive meanings, thus can socialism , with all its history and associations be wrested back as well. (Words) .

It suits the ruling classes that the people remain divided, whether it is by words, by fear, or suspicion of one another. Consider the term “working class”. Many are proud of a working class heritage, while others need to separate from the memories and association. In the 1990s many accepted  idea of New Labour, as they were weary from successive Tory governments, and failure General Elections. The Tory press had won the day, and Margaret Thatcher claimed it as her great success. Ironically,  was nothing “new” or “Labour”  about New Labour, and now stands as an example of how the misuse of words leads to confusion. In the aftermath of New Labour, many “socialists” left the party, to look for alternatives. Some looked to the LibeDems, only to find them support a Tory Coalition. Others looked to the Green Party. Undoubtedly, environmental issues are a global priority – or should be – yet the Greens are being torn apart by political polarisation within their ranks.

For the future, we must put aside terms which divide us. We  must not be afraid of change. Where coal was our heritage, green is our future. Coal miners  may have helped  built the Labour movement, but a return to coal mining is not going to save the planet. And we must progress together, as we are ineffectual divided by party titles, and misunderstood words.

Tony Benn describes himself as a socialist, and remained within the Labour Party while many did not. 

In Labour Governments we did our best to make capitalism work in a civilised way. And we failed. It never can work. It will always exploit and oppress the people.’ ‘Whether you win or lose in a campaign is not the point. Were you there? Did you join the fight for justice? Those are the questions to ask.’ ‘Looking to the future, we have to choose between socialism and barbarism. I’ve made my choice.’ ‘My job is to give people hope. Without hope they’ll give up.”

More than once he said, ‘When Margaret Thatcher was asked what her greatest achievement was she answered “New Labour.” Nevertheless, “we should stick with the Labour Party: it’s the only instrument we have for making the world a better place.” No – we should not be disillusioned about parliament: “if we convince the people, the MPs will have to listen.”   

Benn says the  most revolutionary idea is democracy. If you have power, you use it to meet the needs of your community. As Tony Benn explains here  ”People who are poor, demoralised and frightened are easy to control.” This is how the very rich exert control – ensuring people are so downtrodden, so much ridden by debt, misery and pessimism, they have no desire to vote. “If the poor were to turn out and vote for people who represented their interests, that would be a real, democratic revolution.

Revolution is the word of the day,  but  not a violent, bloody destructive change, but organisation of the opponents to neo-liberalist system. Capitalism is clearly flawed, and accepted as such. An organised opposition, non violent civil disobedience and protests, a united Labour Party – it’s time to take  parliament back to the people. This is about a real democracy, about  people governing themselves, leading to a real social democracy, where the land and resources are owned by us, the people and where wealth, opportunities and participation are shared – that is what socialism is to me. 

We’re all ROARing for Teachers and Education #teacherROAR #GoveMUSTGo

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ROARING for Teachers on Eve of the strike 

Join Teacher ROAR in sharing this message together at the same time – automatically. Thunderclap Link here.

 It is planned  for 9pm on 16th October, the eve of the teachers’ strike. Please add your name *now* by clicking on that link. Then it  will tweet automatically from your account.

“I’m ROARing my support for teachers, striking tomorrow for a better education system! #GoveMUSTgo #teacherROARhttp://thndr.it/1gr9896

 GOVE Must Go!  Please support the teacher’s strike.

Because Teachers are standing up for teachers’ rights and for education.

On 17 October teachers from the NUT and the NASUWT will take strike action in the North East, Cumbria, London, South East and South West. Michael Gove will try to say that parents and the general public don’t support the teachers, and will attempt to pit private sector worker against public. We want to use the power of the Thunderclap to prove him wrong. Help us do that by signing up and ROARing you support for teachers on the eve of the strike.
Here’s why everyone who cares about education and workers’ rights should support the strike. See: Reasons to support the Teachers’ Strike #TeacherROAR

ROARing support for teachers!