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:

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleUniversity of Leeds workers walk out

triangleFreshers week campaigning reports

Capitalism:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

Socialism:

triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

Peter Taaffe:

triangleHow to help the struggle to change the Labour Party

Rich:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

Capitalist:

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 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