The Socialist 7 November 2018 |
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The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, photo Suzanne Beishon (Click to enlarge)
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Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.
Gentrification killing music
Popular Brighton music venue Sticky Mikes Frog Bar announced that it is to become the latest in a long list of recently closed venues in Brighton, with others such as the Haunt (the city's main rock club) also facing a similar fate.
The rising cost of rent makes music venues difficult to run under normal circumstances, but high-end property developments such as new apartments and hotels have pushed them to breaking point.
Gentrification is having a disastrous effect on social spaces for young people. Councils should make an effort to provide funding for these important parts of the community and restrict developments that damage them.
Ultimately though, democratic, socialist planning is the only real solution to protect music venues and other social spaces, and ensure the needs of the community come before private profit.
Connor Rosoman, Brighton
While most workers and poor people around the world struggle to exist under the constant pressure of capitalist exploitation, the insatiable thirst for profits knows no limits.
Over several decades a small number of private equity companies have been allowed to amass more money than some countries' GDP - which gives them enormous power. These companies recognise no borders and hold no allegiance except one - profit.
No industry is safe from the tentacles of the private equity company which will buy it, suck it dry and then dispose of it in a blink of an eye.
Rebel with a cause Rotherham
One of capitalism's great attributes according to its supporters is its ability to offer choice through competition. Forget for a minute that many goods are actually produced by the same company trading under different names.
How do you know which is the best product? Well, how about some more companies seeking to make their own profits by trading as the arbiters of what's best for you? Like price comparison websites for example.
But hold on a minute. The most well-known company (the one with the supposedly cute, but frankly bloody annoying, meerkats) has breached capitalism's own competition rules by insisting companies who use its services don't then advertise goods at a lower price elsewhere.
Consumers are not only not getting the best price available, they're contributing to the profits of big business making and trading such goods and also to the profits of a company supposedly regulating prices but actually keeping them artificially high!
Dave Gorton, Chesterfield Socialist Party
The first episode of the new podcast by the Socialist Party received a positive response from newer members and supporters as we listened through it at a recent Coventry East branch meeting.
We listened to the questions from Sarah Wrack, then paused to discuss how we would go about answering them, before continuing and hearing a more comprehensive reply from deputy general secretary Hannah Sell.
This was a really effective tool for exploring the party's core ideas and political perspectives, and a good test for the more experienced members! I would very much recommend going through all or part of an episode at branch meetings.
Adam Harmsworth, Coventry East Socialist Party
Jobs and nukes
Anti-Trident demo, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
The socialist arguments against the Trident nuclear missile system and nuclear energy are vast, but many activists often come up against a common stumbling block - jobs.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) found that of the 30,000 jobs claimed to be dependent on Trident, 11,520 of them are civilian. The argument that these mostly engineering positions could not be shifted anywhere seems wrong.
Could these skills not be put to use in, for example, the building and maintenance of wind turbines in the renewable energy sector?
The case for the transfer of jobs being possible from the nuclear power is even stronger. Nuclear power plants use steam turbines to create electricity, with around two-thirds of the heat energy produced being wasted. Why not the cheaper and cleaner solution of renewable energy?
However, without a socialist government this alternative is fantastical. A Corbyn government would need to work to convince workers in these sectors that they would be guaranteed suitable, well paid, and local jobs.
For this vision to be achieved we would need full nationalisation of the energy industry in order to ensure the transition into renewable energy - as well as to avoid the artificial inflation of energy prices.Democratic socialist planning of the economy is key.
Tom Vale, Youth and Student CND committee and Lincoln Socialist Students chair