Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Law of The Tendency For The Rate of Profit To Fall - Part 44

The Rise In The Rate of Turnover (9)

The merchant capital that is being considered here is comprised only of the capital advanced by the merchant to buy commodities from the industrial capitalist. It does not include the capital required for shops, shop staff and so on. That will be considered later. How can it be then that the merchant capital can offer a saving, and facilitate a rise in the general annual rate of profit, if all they do is to buy commodities, and sell them? The answer is that the merchant is able to buy and sell more frequently, and so needs to advance a smaller quantity of capital to circulate any given value of commodities.

One reason that the merchant is able to buy and sell more frequently, is because they specialise in that function. As with any form of division of labour, the specialisation that derives from it brings savings in time and productivity. But, there is another reason. Any given productive-capital if they take on the task of selling their own commodities, has to tie up capital in the form of those commodities until such time as they are sold. But, equally they cannot sell commodities until they have produced them.

A merchant has no such restriction, because merchants sell the commodities of many different producers. If producer A, requires 4 weeks as the production time for their commodities, at the end of this period, they sell them to the merchant, for £1000. At the end of the next week, the merchant has sold these commodities for £1,002. They have turned over their £1,000 of capital with a profit margin of 0.2%. A is still 3 weeks away from being able to complete their production period, and so during this period would have no commodities to sell. But, the merchant with no such restriction, uses their £1,000 of advanced capital that has now returned to them, to buy £1,000 of commodities from producer B. They sell these by the end of the following week for £1,002, and so on.

The productive-capitalist could only advance their commodity capital 12 times during the year, because they can only advance it when it has been produced, i.e. completed its production period. Or put another way, for the four productive-capitals to circulate their capitals, on successive weeks, would require £4,000 of circulation capital. But, the merchant capitalist because they can buy from a whole range of producers, can turn over their capital 50 times during the year. £1,000 of merchant capital then circulates as many commodities here as would require £4,000 of capital to be advanced by individual productive-capitalists.

At the end of the year, the merchant has accumulated 50 lots of profit of £2 = £100, giving them the general annual rate of profit. But, had their capital only turned over at the same rate as the productive capital, four times as much would have been required. But, because the general annual rate of profit is calculated on the basis of the total capital advanced by both merchants and productive-capitalists, this greater amount of advanced capital would mean that the general annual rate of profit would fall. Its on this basis, described by Marx, that although merchant capital, does not directly produce additional surplus value, it does act to release capital for additional accumulation, and also thereby raises the general annual rate of profit.

It can be seen then why the increasing concentration of merchant capital into larger agglomerations, with an ability to turn over advanced capital at an ever increasing rate, particularly as a result of the rises in productivity that modern logistics, stock control systems, and overall revolution in ICT has brought about, is able to reduce considerably the quantity of capital that must be advanced to circulate a growing mass of commodities, and thereby to sell this mass of commodities at ever lower profit margins, whilst simultaneously bringing about a rise in the general annual rate of profit.

But, this is simply looking at how this is achieved on the basis of the capital advanced to buy those commodities. In reality, capital faces costs of circulation too, be they for the transport of commodities to markets, which increases the value of commodities, or the costs of storing, handling and selling those commodities, which does not add additional value, but is nevertheless a cost that must be recovered.

I will examine the role of merchant capital, and the transport industry in that respect next.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Capital II, Chapter 20 - Part 5

2) The Two Departments of Social Production 

All of the production of industries within the economy can be grouped together as part of these two Departments. Obviously, the production of some industries can go to either means of production or means of consumption. Coal can be used as means of production, to power steam engines, or means of consumption, as fuel for domestic fires, for example. But, the output of all these industries can be divided as belonging to either of these two departments.

The point is perhaps more clearly stated by the fact that all commodity-capital in the economy constitutes either means of production or means of consumption. Similarly, all of this capital, composing the two departments, in aggregate, comprises one single department, which is the total social capital.

The capital employed, by either department, breaks down into the same two components – variable capital and constant capital. The variable capital, considered solely from the standpoint of value, is equal to the sum of the wages paid within that department. Considered from the material point of view, it comprises all the concrete labour employed within the department.

The constant capital comprises all of the materials and instruments of labour, including buildings etc. used in production. However, although the fixed capital component of this is employed, i.e. it has to be present in its entirety, for production to occur, as seen previously, it only transfers part of its value to the end product, or here to the value of the commodity-capital of the department. Only that part of the constant capital that replaces the circulating capital, and that reproduces the fixed capital value, transferred as wear and tear, is included in the value of the commodity-capital.

“The value of the total annual product created with the aid of this capital in each of the two departments consists of one portion which represents the constant capital c consumed in the process of production and only transferred to the product in accordance with its value, and of another portion added by the entire labour of the year. This latter portion is divided in turn into the replacement of the advanced variable capital v and the excess over and above it, which forms the surplus-value s. And just as the value of every individual commodity, that of the entire annual product of each department consists of c + v + s.” (p 400)

For now, for ease of elaboration, Marx excludes fixed capital, assuming that the constant capital employed is all consumed in the production of the commodity-capital.

Marx sets out a basic model comprising these two departments and the mutual exchange between them. These models, whether they are of simple reproduction, as here, or of expanded reproduction, which will be discussed later, show that the output of both departments CAN be exchanged so that it is fully consumed. In other words, these models are based on a concept of a general equilibrium theory.

But, of course, Marx did not believe that any such equilibrium exists. His theory is, in fact, a theory of dynamic disequilibrium. That is not just because he recognises that capitalism proceeds on the basis of repeated crises, which are violent means of resolving the contradictions inherent in the very functioning of the system, but also because, even without such crises, the continual revolution of production, which is a fundamental part of the functioning of the system, necessitates continual changes in the way capital and social labour-time is allocated.

So, whether it is in setting out these models here, or in setting out the resolution of the Transformation Problem, in Volume III, the fact that Marx has all of the output being unproblematically demanded/consumed does not at all mean that he believed it would be.

Monday, 29 September 2014

The Law of The Tendency For The Rate of Profit To Fall - Part 43

The Rise In The Rate of Turnover (8)

“The modification of selling prices by the average period of turnover of capitals in different branches of commerce amounts to this: The same mass of profits, determined for any given magnitude of merchant's capital by the general annual rate of profit, hence determined independently of the specific character of the commercial operations of this capital, is differently distributed — proportionately to the rate of turnover — over masses of commodities of equal value, so that, for instance, if a merchant's capital is turned over five times a year, 15/5 = 3% if once a year, 15%, is added to the price of the commodities. 

The same percentage of commercial profit in different branches of commerce, therefore, increases the selling prices of commodities by quite different percentages of their values, all depending on their periods of turnover.”

(Capital III, Chapter 18)

This explains, therefore, Marx says, why it is that in those areas, where the prices of commodities are low per unit, and they are sold in large quantities, on a frequent basis, the profit margin per unit is low, whereas for more expensive commodities, that are sold more infrequently, the profit margin per unit is higher. This doesn't mean that merchant capitalists, engaged in the former line of business, obtain less mass of profit, nor a lower rate of profit, than those engaged in the latter. The mass of profit is a function not just of the profit margin, but also of the mass of commodities sold. A huge mass of commodities sold at a low profit margin could produce a greater mass of profit than a small mass of commodities sold with a high profit margin. The general annual rate of profit, meanwhile is not a function of the amount of capital laid out, but only of the capital advanced. Precisely, because the former buys commodities that are cheap, and which sell rapidly in volume, the amount of capital they have to advance, as opposed to lay out is much smaller than is the case for the latter.

But, as Marx says, this is also not irrelevant from the perspective of the industrial capital, capital in general, or the general annual rate of profit. Precisely, because the general annual rate of profit, as now defined by Marx is the total ADVANCED capital of both the productive-capital, and the merchant capital, the lower the profit margin levied by the merchant capital, as a result of turning over their capital more frequently, the lower the selling prices of commodities on the market, which in itself acts to stimulate demand. The more demand is stimulated, and the market expands, the greater the potential for productive-capital to expand production.

Moreover, the faster merchant capital turns over its capital, the less capital it must advance to circulate any given quantity of commodities in a year. But, if the amount of merchant capital advanced declines, then this means that the total of capital advanced itself declines, which means that the general annual rate of profit rises. This, in fact, is one reason for merchant capital developing as an independent form of capital. There has to be a reason that productive-capital would sell its commodities to merchant capital, and allow it to obtain a share of the surplus value, rather than sell its own commodities, and retain all of the surplus value itself. The reason is that just in terms of the capital advanced for the purchase of the commodity-capital, that is before we consider the capital that must be advanced for all of the costs of circulation, merchant capital offers the potential for the advance of a smaller quantity of capital to effect the circulation of commodities, and thereby to increase the general annual rate of profit. It does that, precisely by being able to increase the rate of turnover of capital.

I will examine how that occurs in Part 44.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Reckless Abandon

Mark Reckless MP, has abandoned an increasingly unseaworthy Tory ship. His journey towards UKIP shows the dangers of a reckless accommodation to nationalism. Its a lesson politicians should have learned many times by now.

In the 1930's, as the Nazis pushed their nationalistic agenda, based on the extent to which the German nation was suffering from the imposition of the Versailles Treaty, the German Stalinists responded by trying to be better nationalists than the Nazis. It was a strategy that was bound to fail, and only acted to strengthen the Nazis.

In the 1950's,60's, and 70's, not only were the social democrats of the Labour Party in government for more than ten years, but the social-democratic wing of the Tory Party was dominant, and in government for the rest of the time. Under Ted Heath it pursued a social-democratic agenda that turned outwards towards Europe.

As the post-war long wave boom started to falter in the late 1960's, and was felt first by the less profitable smaller capitals, the effect of that was apparent within the Tory Party, which moved to reflect the interests of the party base of small capitalists, putting the social-democratic wing of the party on the defensive. Not only was that reflected in the role of Enoch Powell, but it was also reflected in the ditching of Heath, and the rise of Thatcher, though this palace coup was for many years until around 1982, not consolidated.

The fact that Powell had been able to garner considerable support for his nationalistic, racist rhetoric not only encouraged those of like mind within the Tory Party. It also stimulated a growth of those political forces outside the Tory Party, that for forty years had been nothing more than a political freak show. All those cranks whose political activity for years had been more or less restricted to dressing up at weekends in Nazi regalia, and goose stepping around country mansions, like an episode of Jeeves and Wooster, now crawled out into the sunlight, reflected in the growth of the National Front, in the 1970's.

As had been the case in the 1930's, the response of the political establishment was first to ignore the fascists, in the hope they would just go away, and then when they didn't, to accommodate to their politics, in order to try to undermine their vote. One of the first aspects of Thatcherism, therefore, was not the adoption of the policies of privatisation etc., which only appeared in the mid 1980's, but an accommodation to that nationalism.

The Tories were quite clear that they had undermined the NF, by stealing many of their clothes on immigration policy etc. Its true, that the NF vote did decline, but only because the NF had themselves succeeded in pushing the Tories on to their ground, and opening up the Tory Party to an entrist tactic from the right. Large numbers of fascists simply transferred their activities into the Tory Party at a grass roots level, lots of them turning up as Tory Party councillors, for example. In a mirror image of the Militant within the LP, the Tories were even led to close down the Federation of Conservative Students organisation, after it was taken over. Many of the leaders of the BNP today, and members of UKIP grew up within these fascist groups, both outside and inside the Tory Party.

The steady move to the right of the Tory Party during the period has to be seen in that context, that its economic policies were designed to appeal to that base of small capitalists, and its adoption of increasingly inward looking nationalism, had the same roots. Thatcher demarcated herself in relation to Heath by an increasing rejection of Heath's embrace of the EEC, but that trajectory down the nationalist road, also led to further attempts to gather in populist right-wing electoral support, by wrapping herself in the flag, such as the adventure of the Falklands War. Prior to that reckless adventure, not only were the Tories looking set for a big electoral defeat , with Michael Foot's Labour Party scoring more than 50% support in opinion polls, prior to the sabotage of the SDP, and tens of thousands marching behind him in London, Liverpool, Birmingham and other cities to oppose rising unemployment. That fact, is one that the media and political historians conveniently have forgotten.

That period, determined political trajectories in many ways. It set up the division within the Tory Party between its increasingly diminished social-democratic wing that looked to big industrial capital, and its interests, and the conservative wing that looked to the Tory Party base of small capitalists, and those of like mind, and the reflection of that division in the repeated feuds over Europe. Each time Tory Party leaders have responded to flagging popularity by appealing to that same nationalism, as Cameron has done in recent years, the consequence has always been the same; it is to strengthen the right-wing elements even further, and to encourage a widening of those divisions.

But, the Tories are not the only ones to have made the mistake of this accommodation to Nationalism. Labour too sought to win votes by appealing to Scottish nationalism in particular, with the offer of devolution. And, having offered it to Scotland, was thereby obliged to make a similar offer to Welsh nationalists, though in a much watered down form, given the smaller political gains to be made there from such pandering. Once again, rather than slaying the nationalist dragon, as on every other occasion in history, it only acted to feed it, to make it stronger, and encourage it to make further attacks.

Labour's pandering to that same kind of nationalistic populism was also reflected in its adoption of ever tighter immigration rules, and measures against asylum seekers, which made it then impossible to deal with the arguments of bigots when large numbers of Eastern Europeans entered the country on their accession to the EU. As with social democracy, in general, across Europe, rather than framing the argument in terms of the fact that the interests of European workers as a whole can only be furthered by their united action across the continent in solidarity with each other, pushing forward to a United States of Europe, with common rules throughout, the argument has continually be framed in terms of what would be good for British workers, French workers, German workers etc. It reflects a failure of the two elements of social democracy – big capital, and the organised working class – to take on the ideology of conservatism, and its nationalistic reflection.

That is what prevents the necessary political solution for the Eurozone Debt Crisis. The US has just seen its economy grow by 4.6% in the last quarter, and the growth appears to be gathering pace. The reason for US growth, compared to the lack of it in Europe, has nothing to do with QE. Monetarist policies to expand the money supply, like QE, have repeatedly shown that under current conditions, they can do no such thing. Loose money will not cause businesses or consumers to spend, if they think the economy is going to contract due to measures of austerity. By contrast, the US has been growing because it has adopted policies of Keynesian fiscal expansion.

The same policies could have prevented the lacklustre recovery in Europe, and avoided the collapse of the economies of peripheral Europe. But, the continuation of conservative politics, that put the interests of individual states ahead of the whole prevented that. A United States of Europe, would have introduced a similar policy of fiscal expansion to that used in the US. It would have focussed on a policy of large scale investment in the peripheral economies to modernise them, and facilitate the development of globally competitive industries, so that these economies could pay their way. It would have financed this expansion by selling Eurobonds, backed by the whole of the EU, i.e. by its most powerful and wealthy states, such as Germany, France and Britain, and would thereby have borrowed cheaply.
On the back of a rapid economic recovery the current growth of support for conservative, nationalist forces such as UKIP, the FN in France, Five Star in Italy, and so on would have been undermined.

The lesson of history is that nationalism is never defeated by pandering to it. It is only defeated by vigorously countering its reactionary, divisive ideology, and providing a modernist, internationalist vision of the future in its place, based upon solidarity. The reason that a Conservative Party can never do that is clear. Its base is rooted in those backward looking elements of society that make up its grassroots membership, and its electoral support. That is why the future looks bleak for Cameron's Tories, as they face continued fragmentation. Only Labour and the Labour Movement can provide a progressive vision of a future based on solidarity with our fellow workers across Europe. The time has come to present it.

The Working Period

Marx defines the working period in Capital II, Chapter 12.   Basically, the Working Period is the amount of time required to produce some particular commodity in sufficient quantity that it can be sent to market. This quantity is different for each type of commodity, but also varies over time, and even from one firm to another within the same industry.

A manufacturer of linen, for example, may be able to produce ten yards of cloth in an hour, but aside from a hand loom weaver, it is unlikely that a capitalist producer of linen, using power looms, would be producing just ten yards as part of the production process. The machines may then run all day for ten hours, producing a hundred yards of cloth. But, even this quantity may not be a sufficient amount to justify the cost of transport in sending it to market. It may only be economical to send shipments to market in batches of five hundred yards. As a result, the working period is five days.

If we stick with this industry, it can be seen why the working period varies even for the same commodity. The hand loom weaver, for example, may only be able to produce ten yards of cloth per day. But, their cost of sending cloth to market, and so there minimum shipment, is no different than that of the power loom weaver. They must be able to produce five hundred yards, as part of their working period, which thereby extends to fifty days.

By, the same token it can be seen why the average working period for any type of commodity is reduced over time. When weaving was dominated by hand loom weavers, the average working period was determined by the length of time they required to produce this minimum quantity. Once the hand loom weavers are replaced by power looms, it is the much shorter time they require to produce this minimum quantity that determines the working period. Moreover, as the productivity of the power looms themselves increases, and as each firm employs more power looms, so that more cloth is produced per day, so the working period is reduced further. A firm that employs two power looms will reduce its working period in half, compared to another that only employs one.

But, its also clear that different commodities require different amounts of time for their completion, and different commodities will be required to be produced in different quantities before they can be sent to market. Marx gives the example of linen and locomotives. A single yard of linen can be produced in a fraction of the time required to produce a single locomotive, but a single locomotive can be sold when completed, whilst it may require the completion of five hundred yards of linen, before it is possible to send it to market. Even so, the five hundred yards of linen may be completed in five days, and sent to market, whereas the single locomotive may require six months before it is completed, and can be sent to market. The working period for the linen producer is then five days, whereas for the locomotive producer it is six months.

Similarly, a small builder who builds houses to order may require six months to build a house. On its completion, because it has been built to order, it is immediately sold. The working period for the builder would be then six months, as for the locomotive producer. But, Marx points out that for the producers of such commodities with long working periods, it is not uncommon for stage payments to be made. That is the completion of the house might be divided into six stages – the completion of the land preparation and foundations, erection of first floor, second floor, roof, plumbing and electrical installation, internal decoration – for example. On this basis, each stage becomes a working period, and payment for the completed work is then made for it, as though it was itself a commodity that had been sent to market.

The working period is an important concept because it is a major determinant of the rate of turnover of capital, which in turn is a major determinant of the annual rate of profit. For example, as Marx sets out, the linen manufacturer who has a working period of five days has to advance much less capital, proportionately, compared to the locomotive manufacturer. At the end of five days, the capital advanced by the former begins the process of its return, as the linen is sent to market and sold, so that the proceeds, including the profit arrive back in the capitalists pocket. He can then advance this same capital once more for the following working period. However, the locomotive maker has to keep advancing additional capital week after week for six months, before the engine is sent to market and the proceeds returned.

There is also an important and useful characteristic of the working period described by Marx, which is that its duration determines the frequency of these payments, following the first turnover of capital. Suppose, we take the linen manufacturer. They require five days to produce the 500 yards of linen, which is the minimum efficient quantity to be shipped to market. On average, it takes a further five days for the linen to be transported to the markets where it is to be sold, and a further five days for it then to be actually sold to final consumers. So, although the working period is only five days, it requires fifteen days in total, for the advanced capital to return to the capitalist, because the turnover of the capital requires this additional ten days of circulation time.

Because capitalist production is a continuous process, the linen manufacturer must then advance additional circulating capital, during this ten day circulation period. Assume the circulating capital that must be advanced is £100 per week, and there is a 10% rate of profit. The linen manufacturer, will advance £100 in week 1, a further £100 in week 2, and a final £100 in week 3. But, at the end of week 3, the linen, produced in week 1, is sold, which returns along with 10% of profit - £110 in total. The manufacturer, therefore, need not advance any additional circulating capital for week 4, because that capital is now provided by the return of this £110.

Moreover, at the end of week 4, the commodities produced in the second working period – week 2 – have gone through their ten day circulation period, and been sold, bringing in a further £110, so this is again available to cover the circulating capital required in week 5. So, although the turnover period of this capital is three weeks – 1 week working period, 2 weeks circulation time – it is the length of the working period which determines the regularity of payments, after the first turnover period is completed.

This characteristic is an important analytical tool, because it means that, if we know the regularity of payments, we know the maximum duration of the working period. It only tells us the maximum duration, because, as Marx points out, for some commodities, the working period itself is not continuous. For example, labour may be expended for a week ploughing and planting wheat, but a period of several months may then elapse when no further labour is expended on it, but the wheat cannot be sold, because it is growing. Only at the end of this time will additional labour be expended for reaping and threshing, before the wheat is sent to market and sold. The working period may then be ten days in total, but is spread out over a period of six months. This total time required for the production process to be completed, Marx calls the Production Time.

In this case, then, the payment would only be made when the wheat is sold. Moreover, if wheat can only be planted once a year, and the capital involved only produces wheat, it may be another six months before the capital can be employed to plant wheat again. There would only be one payment per year, even though the production time for the wheat is only six months, and the working period is only ten days. Its for that reason that capital employed in agriculture sought other avenues for employment during those times of the year when it could not be employed in production of a particular crop.

But, the fact that the frequency of payments sets this maximum duration of the working period, is still a useful analytical tool for all those commodities where this prolonged production time, in excess of the working period, is not a significant feature. If we know the average frequency with which payments are made for particular commodities, we know the maximum duration of the working period for those commodities. That does not tell us the turnover time for those commodities, because that also includes the circulation period, but there are many commodities, today, where the circulation period itself is near to zero. That is true for services, for example, as well as commodities that can be downloaded instantaneously over the Internet.

We can take two different examples. Take a water company. It supplies 90 (million) customers. Following Marx's example, we will exclude fixed capital and surplus value from the calculation. In a year (360 days) it lays out 2400 (million) for constant capital and 1200 (million) for variable capital = 3600 (million) in total. Each day, therefore it lays out 10 (million) of capital. There is effectively no circulation time for this water, because it is supplied continuously via a network of pipes to consumers. The consumers pay their bill for water four times a year, i.e. each quarter. However, in each quarter (90 days), on average, 1 million customers will pay their bill, on each day of the quarter. On the assumptions made, the average bill, per customer, is 40 per year, and so 10 per quarter. That means that, each day of the year, the company receives payments of 10 (million), thereby turning over the 10 (million) of capital it advances per day. It would then have a rate of turnover of its capital of 360 per year, as it turns over its circulating capital, on average once per day.

This example, would apply also to electricity, phone, gas and other such utility companies. The actual rate of turnover would be less than this, because the payments would tend to be bunched at different points of the quarter rather than evenly spread, and because deducting weekends and bank holidays, the number of payment dates would be more like 250 than 360.

The second example is that of a fast food restaurant. During a day it might receive 500 payments from customers. If there are five tills in the restaurant, all taking receipts more or less simultaneously, this can then be viewed as 100 payments during say a 10 hour day, or an average of 10 payments per hour, or one every 6 minutes. So, here the working period is no longer in duration than six minutes. As the completed commodities are handed more or less instantaneously to customers, and paid for in the same way, there is no circulation time for the commodities here, so that the rate of turnover is 100 per day, or around 36,000 times per year. Its on this basis that large profits can be made with low profit margins.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The West Lothian Question Is A Mirage

The West Lothian Question is a mirage. It assumes that the defining division between Scotland, Wales and England is nationality. In so far as the issue at hand, in relation to the devolution of powers that is not the case.

Its true that devolution, as it exists is based upon a devolution of powers to Scotland and Wales, and both of these are nations. But, powers are also devolved to Northern Ireland, which is not a nation, as well as to London, which is not a nation. The basis of the devolution, here is not some form of national autonomy, but merely the establishment of administrative arrangements on a regional basis. Even the Scottish referendum demonstrated that point. Those entitled to vote in the referendum were those who currently lived in Scotland. In terms of nationality, many of those would not conform to any notion of “Scottishness”, but reflect the fact that Scotland, like the rest of the United Kingdom, is composed of people from a variety of ethnicities, cultures, and nationalities. Similarly, many people who do conform to some notion of "Scottishness", whose culture, language and so on, derives from their roots in Scotland, did not get to vote, because they do not live in Scotland.

In that case, the West Lothian question disappears. It is not a matter of why should Scottish MP's get to vote on all issues, discussed in a United Kingdom Parliament, whilst English MP's do not get to vote on issues, discussed in a Scottish Parliament, but that all MP's get to vote, in a United Kingdom Parliament, whilst some powers are also devolved to a range of regional governments. The only question then becomes what powers should be devolved, and to which regional governments should they be devolved.

As we already have powers devolved to London, and we also already have a range of economic powers devolved to unelected Local Enterprise Partnerships, the question then seems to become a trivial one of only deciding on these administrative arrangements. What is clear is that this situation does not require as Cameron, UKIP and others have suggested, that there must be an English Parliament, in which only English MP's get to vote.

As a Marxist, I believe that it is, in any case, a mistake to fragment the unity of the state, by measures of devolution, where such a unified and centralised state has existed for centuries. If Cameron and UKIP insist on trying to play politics with the issue, by tying the promised additional powers for Scotland to the idea of an English Parliament, they must be opposed, but we should take the opportunity of demanding a completion of the British bourgeois revolution started nearly four hundred years ago, as I have suggested previously.

Finally, the issue of Scottish independence has now also become inextricably linked to the question of UK independence from the EU. The real solution to many of these problems, and the same is true for the situation in Ukraine, is the establishment of a United States of Europe, including Russia. On that basis, of a centralised European State, even one at first established on a federal basis, these administrative divisions could be settled within the context of this single state, and could be done so on the basis of a united working-class struggle for consistent democracy within it.

The potential for the United Kingdom to have been broken apart, and the fact that sections of the Left, as has happened in the past, allowed themselves to be drawn along by the reactionary bandwagon of nationalism, shows the danger when the Tories seek to mobilise populist support for an anti EU referendum. Its shows the need for real Marxists and internationalists to take this issue seriously now, and to begin the struggle to move forward to a United State of Europe, and not be dragged backwards by Little Englanderism.

Northern Soul Classics - I Got What You Need - Kim Weston

Another 100 mph stormer from the brilliant Kim Weston.