By cutting jobs, wages, pensions and benefits governments in the US, UK and across Europe are deliberately causing the living standards of the poor and middle class to plummet while at the same time, mercilessly removing the social safety net by slashing public services when people need them most. With a diminishing and in many cases negative disposable income, households can barely afford the necessities of life; consumer demand is floundering and this is having a predictable knock-on effect on businesses with the net result being less tax receipts for the treasury. This is not a plan for deficit reduction as we’re being told. This is class war!
Although Housing Benefit is means tested, Council Housing, as such, has never been. The coalition government is treating it like it is charity, giving Councils the right to evict tenants who have done nothing wrong. But Council housing was built on a mass scale because private builders were not interested in building homes for poor working people. Today’s housing crisis will not be tackled unless there is a return to building Council housing on a sufficiently large scale such that the numbers of households on the waiting list, 1.8 million, begins to decline rather than continuing to rise.
Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.
A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs — about $2,800 — per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.
Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-cent coins outside the parliament building in Bern, one for each person living in Switzerland.
The BA workers, the firefighters, the council workers, the post office workers, the NHS workers, the London Underground staff, the teachers, the lecturers, the students can more than match the French if they are resolute and imaginative, forging, with the wider social justice movement, potentially the greatest popular resistance ever. Look at the web; listen to the public’s support at fire stations. There is no other way now. Direct action. Civil disobedience. Unerring. Read Shelley and do it.
At the Escuelita Zapatista, Students Learn Community Organizing and Civil Resistance as a Way of Life
From August 11-17, the Zapatistas brought more than 1,500 people into their communities to attend the Escuelita Zapatista, the Little Zapatista School. According to a February comunicado by the EZLN, in a class entitled Liberty According to the Zapatistas: Autonomous Government I, “our compas from the Zapatista bases of support are going to share the little we have learned about the struggle for freedom, and the [the students] can see what is useful or not for their own struggles.”
Homeless men and women are living in a network of disused sandstone caves near the town centre of Stockport, Greater Manchester. There have been up to four people a night sleeping rough in the cave system perched on a 20-foot precipice overhanging a river, only a short distance from public view.
Autumn can be so lovely. The turn to crisp, sunny mornings, goldening leaves and wrap-up nights. One gets used to the familiarity of seasonal sights and sounds, pleasing and not so, like the autumnfest of party conferences with their turgid speeches and ritual pledges. And no October would be complete without another Tory rallying call to purge the poor.
In 21st century America, the few people who have experienced income gains are the executives and shareholders of firms who offshored their production for US markets, Wall Street which makes bets covered by the Federal Reserve, and the military-security complex which has been enriched by the neoconservatives’ wars.
Every other American has lost.
This Continual Hounding of the Unemployed Reveals that Britain Is Governed by a Gang of Rich Sociopaths
The economic logic behind austerity remains as flawed now as it was when first announced by the coalition. Rather than understand the deficit as a consequence of a global recession decimating demand in the economy, with a sharp fall in tax revenues due to a sharp rise in unemployment, the government is intent on deepening the same cycle by introducing drastic cuts in spending in the forlorn hope that the private sector will invest and create new jobs to replace those lost. But with a lack of demand for goods and services, the private sector is still refusing to invest, despite sitting on a huge cash surplus. The most obvious example of this is the banking sector’s continuing refusal to lend, despite repeated pleas by the government, and despite being bailed out by the UK taxpayer to the tune of tens of billions of pounds over the past four years.
“In the last three months alone 21,000 NHS employees have lost their jobs, and those nurses, doctors and other health professionals that remain feel that no-one is listening to them and that they are being asked to achieve more with less. As a result morale is at rock bottom.
“This is no way to run our most important, most cherished national institution. Those who sacrificed so much during World War Two to build a better future for themselves and their families didn’t want this.
“The stories you choose to tell indicate your politics. Even leftwing critics referred to the latest round of American CIA films as not being political, when in fact of course the politics is embedded in them like the word Blackpool in a stick of Blackpool rock – it runs through it.” So in saying that you don’t take a stance, you in fact take a very powerful stance? “Yes, the characters you put on the screen, the stories you don’t tell, the whole way you treat people implies an attitude, and implies your politics. The Iraqis in these films are mostly deeply stereotypical, not to mention that the films don’t question why American is in Iraq in the first place.”
The relentless demonization of benefits claimants – smeared by association with the tiny minority who commit this kind of fraud – is pernicious in the extreme. Six of the UK’s largest disability charities (Scope, Mencap, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the National Autistic Society, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), and Disability Alliance) report that they are regularly contacted by people who say they are taunted on the street about faking disabilities in order to receive payments and are concerned that this could lead to hate crimes and violence.