Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/13840

Posted on 18 February 2012 at 10:31 GMT

squashdonkey.co.uk

squashdonkey.co.uk

'Capitalism fails the poor' agree Oxford University students!

The world famous Oxford Union was the setting for a debate on the proposition: "This House Believes That Capitalism has Failed the Poor".

Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party, was a speaker for the motion. Alarm bells must be ringing in the circles of the ruling class that, in one of Britain's most privileged universities, the motion was accepted.

If the Oxford Union has such a negative view of capitalism, then change is truly in the air!

Peter argued that capitalism has not only failed the poor, but also the working class and society as a whole; that this crisis was not episodic, but systemic; it was failing the peoples of the world and needed to be replaced by a more rational system of democratic socialism.

Amongst the speakers - both for and against - this was a unique position which, surprisingly, was welcomed by sections of the almost 500-strong audience.

For example, there was applause when he supported the Greek workers' call for the cancellation of the debt and the nationalisation of the banks.

The other speakers arguing for the motion, Sir Ronald Cohen, by his admission a venture capitalist, Michael Brindle QC and student Scott Ralston, all made damning points about various aspects of capitalism's quite obvious deficiencies. They wanted to make capitalism work more humanely.

Opposition speakers

However, the opposition crudely justified even the worst aspects of capitalism. John Longworth, director of the British Chamber of Commerce, incredibly suggested that British workers should be happy that the gap between rich and poor in this country was not as great as elsewhere! No recognition here of the class division of the 99% versus the 1%.

He was outdone, however by the musings of Dr Madsen Pirie, whose claim to fame was that it was he who suggested to Margaret Thatcher the introduction of the poll tax.

Peter Taaffe reminded him that we represented the force that buried the poll tax and consequently Thatcher too.

Pirie informed us that capitalism was "beautiful", that he "loved capitalism" and he went to bed "dreaming about capitalism".

Andrew Brigden MP revealed the Tory Party's brutal right wing face. He denied there was any real poor in Britain; the high figures on poverty were just a statistical scam; that family breakdown, failing teachers, and immigration were to blame; and that bad government and the corrupt state were untrustworthy forces to solve problems.

In fact the theme of all the pro-capitalist speakers was that capitalism should be allowed to operate freely without the slightest government or state interference; that capitalism was the only viable system and was still progressive.

No mention of course of the massive state bailout of the banks - socialism for the rich! They buttressed their case against democratic socialism with references to Stalinist North Korea!

Peter Taaffe pointed to mass unemployment and the events in Greece to demonstrate that capitalism was now an absolute fetter to the further development of society.

Students reinforced this case in their contributions, with one female student pointing to Marx's analysis of "surplus value", which is a product of the labour of the working class and which the capitalists then accumulate for themselves.

Lord Grantley fittingly summed up for the opposition the real prospects for capitalism with the immortal words: "Let's pray for a miracle; grab a glass of whisky as the ship goes down!"

Linda Taaffe

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 18 February 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Oxford:

triangleOxford Socialist Party: The election result and what comes next

triangleSouthampton Socialist Students: The election result and what comes next

triangleOxford Socialist Party: Tories Out! Jeremy Corbyn can win with a socialist programme

triangleCar workers strike at BMW in defence of pensions

triangleBus drivers' strike: Huge anger at bosses' attacks

University:

triangleUCU members balloting for action on pension cuts

triangleMobilise against rip-off executive pay

triangleHousing victory for Sussex students

triangleBrighton victory

Capitalism:

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Women - fighting sexism, violence and capitalism

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleDebate: should tower blocks form part of socialist housing policy?

Socialism:

triangleSouth-East London Socialist Party: USA - Resisting Trump and fighting for socialism

triangleCarlisle debate: The way forward - Socialism or Social Democracy?

Peter Taaffe:

triangleMass rally to commemorate 1917 Russian Revolution

Rich:

triangleWidening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

Capitalist:

triangleSocialist sales highest in years as mistrust in capitalist media hits record levels

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

22/1/18

Sudan

Sudan: Free Mohamed Satti

22/1/18

London

Women rally defiantly

22/1/18

Obituary

Red Mary - a Force of Nature

17/1/18

Women

Socialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

17/1/18

Newham

Packed Newham meeting against academies

17/1/18

Liverpool

Lobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

17/1/18

Barking

Heating scandal on east London estate

17/1/18

Policing

Undercover policing legal challenge

17/1/18

Woolwich

No to the Woolwich monster block

17/1/18

Union

Workplace news in brief

17/1/18

Union

PCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

17/1/18

Hackney

Hackney school cleaners strike

17/1/18

RMT

RMT strikes against driver-only operation continue

17/1/18

Yorkshire

Ferrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages

17/1/18

Cuts

We must fight all council cuts!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle22 Jan Women rally defiantly

triangle22 Jan Red Mary - a Force of Nature

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2