Tywyn in Gwynedd, on the Cambrian Coast of Wales, GB
Where the mountains run down to the sea
Where the mountains run down to the sea
Tragically, too many people around the country are simply waiting for all the cuts to magically come to an end and for the British ruling class to return to what they imagine were the Labour politics of 1945. Some well-meaning but essentially deluded optimists hold to the belief that good intentions plus Jeremy Corbyn can make this possible.
Whether it’s in relation to the privatisation of the NHS, an end to foreign wars of aggression or the seven-year freeze on public sector pay, it’s time for workers in Britain to draw a few simple conclusions from the all too apparent reality, so we can get off our knees and start to fight back in a meaningful and effective way.
Labour, Tory - same old story.
It’s class against class - fight for socialism. CPGB(ML)
Doctors speaking out on first principles.
Surgeon Ranjeet Brar and GP Youssef El-Gingihy explain how the doctors' struggle relates directly to NHS privatisation.
All the bourgeois parties, a few of which lie periodically claiming to be somehow socialist and usually with individual representatives demonstrating a class heritage which they have since betrayed, state a narrow desire to help business, often adding to the apparent confusion by talking about "local business". But it's not every day you actually witness business, i.e. capitalists, genuinely and voluntarily attempting to help people, particular its workers.
Let's look at business then, locally and otherwise.
Rural places with small populations and small workforces are not renown for being strongholds of trade unionism. Here, workers, including agricultural workers, find it difficult to organise and obtain support for rights. Exceptions are where there are dispersed units of national industrial service sectors where small numbers of workers at branch level can rely on larger union organisational infrastructure, facilitating them to reciprocate support and integrate within the wider movement irrespective of any antagonistic backward local influences.
A case to examine is a worker forced to accept an employer's contract that deprives them of basic rights and humanity as earned across the country by the working class over years of struggle. Literally they are compelled to sign away their rights.
We are conned that "local" businesses are struggling and require "everybody's" support to survive, that they are more important than the people that work to bring them their profits. These businesses may be small, medium or large, may have further reach than simply "local" and sometimes include foreign ownership. As a class, what is general are the depths they will descend to in order to exploit "their own" workers for the personal gain of the owner, when it is a small business, and to the overriding class advantage of the bourgeoisie.
This usually results in the worker having to somehow cope with the so-called national minimum/living wage, which was once the exception or safety net but is entirely fraudulent and designed to keep workers stuck fast, although the employer will evade even this wherever a loophole can be identified, and of course there will be a proliferation of excuses along the lines of "I can't afford otherwise". Really, then what reason to be in business? In fact, it is the worker that is compelled to try and make ends meet on the often dismal basis of either too few hours, in which case the national minimum/living wage is irrelevant, or too many hours, and not the 35 to 40 that had become the modern norm resulting from the successful demands or the organised working class.
Examine the wage-slave in any random "local" company that deals with supplying the public with food, the most important commodity of all, and without which we cannot exist. Be it production, preparation, retailing or hotel and catering. Often it will be a young worker that, after searching for better, cannot find better. It may be somebody from a national minority, an immigrant, a woman, or even somebody who ought to be doing less work at their time of life or health. The range includes all at the bottom of the heap, that's us - and we are exploited on the basis of what we are.
Drilling down further we are likely to observe meal breaks that are totally unpaid or shifts which are just long enough not to require a statutory meal break. Where breaks are "permitted" (by law) they may be irregular and provided only at times decreed by whim of "local" management (tyranny), subject to the requirements (when they feel obliged to acknowledge them) of statutory law - which means that if, as a human being, you physically or mentally need a rest, or when you are just gearing up to one, you will not be respected and may not actually get a break, or it will be insufficient for purpose in terms of duration, place or potential. This is not the era of Dickens, but now. Statutory requirements, that is hard fought-for workers' rights, may get in the way of business making a bottom-line profit, but note carefully that human needs are willfully discarded easily. Just turning up for your shift may be fraught with so-called zero-hours fake-contracts in as much as the employer's hired flunkey can tell you they didn't want you today, or just at present, or this week, or whatever suits them, including sending you away after just a couple of hours, wrecking your life, despite the trouble and expense you (and perhaps your family too) went to getting there - similar to the system endured by London dockers in Churchill's time! They want us as imbeciles and as a class they have considerable expertise at getting their way, but also the fear they may not get to keep their profit for long.
Ask questions if you are a customer arranging a place to eat. For example, if you have travelled from, say, the Home Counties to a quaint seaside place and feel it's time to eat, enquire something of the working conditions of the people obliged (nobody wants to work under these conditions, remember, and there is no choice when one must work to stay alive) to serve you and about the state of their health. Are they treated decently over long drawn out and late hours, and snatched, if any, breaks - or badly? Are they looked after properly (with pay) when they feel unwell or would they feel obliged not to seek healthcare because asking for time off just to get an appointment is likely to have them feel intimidated by a "local" flunkey about losing their job (yes, the "local" health service plays its part supporting one class or the other and its functionaries make their own choices accordingly about which class in society to put foremost in serving). It's not hard to notice that somebody struggling on a long drawn out shift system, with less than the necessary number of hours to sleep (and once guaranteed by law as well as human decency) between shifts always feels so bad they might not notice when they actually are unwell. In short, are the exploiters a model to behold in society or an absolute disgrace to humanity? Who does the work, who is necessary or not to society, and when will we at last stop putting up with it and successfully organise to rearrange the class basis of society so that it serves and puts the needs of the working class foremost and the exploiting class not at all?
Some employers delight in the idea put forward that part time work is a great saviour - for their own interests possibly. Most people do not want part time work - obviously - because they desperately need full time wages and do not want to get trapped into trying to make ends meet by way of two and sometimes more jobs. It follows all down the chain, too, to the child working in a "local" shop or delivering newspapers, where the normal regulatory forms of inspection do not reach, and not knowing that they have basic human rights as well as children's rights - easy to lose sight of in a "local" situation far from the eyes of the many. Individuals may exclaim "What can we do?". Go figure, because it's high time now for a change in society. Dickens described conditions in class society, Marx explained what to do about it and Lenin demonstrated just how - with many more since.
Cheerleaders for the modern capitalists will make propaganda for the system at every turn that nothing can be done and that if the law, including EU law, is not presently on the side of the exploiters it soon can be altered to fit to make exploitation "legal" wherever it is not sufficiently strongly opposed. When they are not blaming or setting one section of the people against another, you will hear few news broadcasters explaining the objective reasons about calamities that beset people, especially when the topic is one of resistance; rather they will pile in with subjective pronouncements in support of the capitalists. When that doesn't wash, out will come the religious props calling for calm in the face of unexplained mysteries, drug dealers to take away the pain, and agents of the state who will take you away (or out) if you're not careful. None of these will offer any constructive support for the working class whatsoever.
This appalling situation has become worse for workers during the time of the EU which nobody should be deceived: it is a club for the imperialists and not for the workers, it does little to protect people's rights that were won on a more local basis, all under the Tory/Liberal/Labour governments that are the innovators and perpetrators of the present system, supported by a range of smaller parties that claim to be just a bit more "local" or whatever, to suit.
One big business opportunity looming is that of arms supply, if much is to be read from the prospect of increasing public opposition.
But attacking fellow human beings and the already-poor in general will not end the capitalists' crisis. History proves that it is right to rebel. Knowing this inevitability, capitalists in the main hold short term profits close - for tomorrow they may have the fruits of their workers' labour reappropriated from them!
Flying in the face of years of intense, growing class struggle and mass politicisation, workers were forced back onto the defensive: zero hours contracts are an anti-people scandal that force workers and their families into scandalous insecurity - all given the green light under the EU. Equally outrageous, outdated (denounced by the school students' movement half a century ago) and now sanctioned under the EU is the return of specifically lower wages for younger workers, whose needs and demands are frequently no less than of older workers. Even on-the-job training may be done without pay - no training, no job, of course, even when the standard of training is low compared with what it could be. "Local" businesses in food manufacturing, processing, distribution, preparation and presentation - and every other sector - have to be told they may not evade their workers' inalienable rights to be represented and organised in trade unions in every workplace. The EU offers nothing that workers can and always have had to organise for themselves - the workers of all EU states do not benefit from EU arrangements made on behalf of trans-national capitalism. The "local" council is undoubtedly a bad employer, e.g. its managers' Scrooge-like attitude requiring domestic refuse collection crews to labour over public holidays and weekends, as if the job is not hard enough as it is, and certainly not through any sense that - at this other end of the food cycle - the "local" populous needs to have waste taken out of the way of what many see as increasing numbers of rodents. There is so much that people can take, and increasing anger is obvious, particularly while they see their so-called representatives parading around looking increasingly well-off and distant, talking up the "business" class, acting and dressing like them, aspiring to be at one with them. In the short term individuals might respond by lashing out in all directions, even the wrong direction, but the future is bound to see bigger and better organisation than before and the strength of solid revolutionary party leadership.
The EU provides Europe's capitalist rulers with the economic and military strength to safeguard their imperialist status against:
(a) their imperialist rivals (USA, Japan),
(b) the oppressed peoples they exploit abroad, and
(c) the working classes at home.
These are not ideals for which the oppressed peoples of all Europe fought in WW2. The past three decades have seen the return of right wing government influences in Britain and across Europe that many had hoped were gone for good, and not the peace or stability we were told the EU would stand for, but more and more war.
The working classes of all European countries do not need the EU and, in due course, are likely to make their own class-based European and international arrangements to defeat and then consolidate victory over the exploiters. Lenin wrote, in 1915, that "... under capitalism, a United States of Europe would signify an
organisation of reaction."
Post-referendum, the situation remains that the EU will have to go and all countries' working and progressive peoples will have to get rid of the capitalist and parliamentary system that inherently can do nothing but cause misery and strife.
In the conditions in which we find ourselves, any vote made by a worker can only really be a protest at the system; it will not do anything to change the foundations of that system. It will not abolish capitalist economic crisis or imperialist war and yet we do not want to be a part of their club.
That being the case, the best we can do with our protest vote is to cast it in favour of any party that stands on a platform of being anti-austerity and anti-war, and which does not seek to blame immigrants for the problems faced by working people under capitalism.
No progressive person could, in all conscience, give a vote to any party that went along with the racist scapegoating of immigrants or with the imperialist war agenda. If no suitable candidate is available in a particular area and people feel the need to take part in the election, a spoilt ballot paper is a far preferable option than a vote for, say, Labour or UKIP, both of which are racist, pro-business and anti-worker to the core, with hardly a cigarette paper to be got between their true aims and objectives.
Similarly, no votes should be given to the parties of bourgeois nationalism in Wales and Scotland.
Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party may dress themselves in more progressive-seeming colours than UKIP, but their function is the same, to create hostility between different sections of the working class and to seek to blame ‘the English’ rather than the capitalist system for the problems faced by British workers. Both parties have already proved themselves to be as pro-business as all the others.
As was revealed long ago by Marx and Engels, ‘democracy’ is not an abstract or neutral concept, but a class question so that one has always to ask: ‘Democracy for whom?’
The capitalist state, it turns out, is ‘democratic’ only for the big capitalists. For the rest of us, it is simply the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, the means by which we are forcibly held down by our exploiters.
- as cited in the 1940 edition of the Ward Lock North Wales Tourist Guide Book. Towyn (Tywyn) Hospital opened in 1922, adding its Maternity Unit in 1932 and a Continuing Care Ward in 1973 .
Today, after weathering the telephone triage receptionist with your personal, private and worrying medical problems, people are just glad to get to see a doctor, whatever the wait, however far the walk! Some cheer-leaders of the anti-people class would have us accept that the crisis can only be resolved with economies of service, devolution and separation, obfuscation through bureaucracy and commercialisation.
Council executives have a quaint idea of holding citizens ("customers") responsible for their own austerity cuts in a "Have your say about Gwynedd Council cuts" campaign. This is fraudulenty undemocratic and could only have be designed by an idiot, unaware of their own impending doom! Yet, so many people continue to go along with the charade that the ruling class and its mouthpieces continue to maintain their business as usual.