Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/686/12821
'The rich get richer, the poor get poorer'; is perhaps an overused cliché, but, nevertheless, a phrase that accurately describes social conditions in the USA today.
The latest US Census Bureau statistics show that 46.2 million people (15.1% of the population) fell below the poverty line, meaning that more Americans are living in poverty that at any time since records began 50 years ago.
Millions of people are mired in poverty as a result of the capitalist Great Recession and continuing high levels of unemployment, but a wealthy minority continue to enjoy their conspicuous consumption. The Bureau reveals that median wages (ie what most workers earn) peaked in 1999 and are still 7% below that level, whereas the richest Americans' spending held constant at $1,400 billion.
Nearly one-quarter of all children are in poverty, a figure more akin to the 1960s when president Johnson announced his 'war on poverty'.
And despite the political furore over Obama's health care reforms, the number of Americans without health insurance rose by one million in the last year to a staggering 49.9 million.
Stop Uni cuts
Staff at Northampton University held a lunchtime protest on 14 September against proposals to cut support staff jobs.
Tina McGarvey, a Unison rep, spoke to the Socialist:
"They are proposing to cut 78 posts. Without the support staff of all kinds, lecturers cannot deliver, and it will ultimately affect students. UCU and Unison are standing together against the management's attempt to divide and rule. There will be a consultative ballot on industrial action and there will be further protests."
Paul Crofts, Unison rep said: "There has been a culture of fear among staff, some of whom have in the past been afraid to speak out. The university has attempted to drive a wedge between support staff and academic staff by suggesting that money saved from getting rid of support staff would fund lecturers' jobs. UCU has completely rejected that argument. They are aware that the next lot of cuts will be among academic staff. The campaign will continue."
The upcoming council by-election in Lower Stoke, Coventry, (6 October) is providing a great opportunity to direct people to real socialist ideas.
As the Labour-led council tries to force through £38 million in cuts, Coventry Socialist Party candidate, Robert McArdle, has been able to expose how Labour have become the Tory axemen.
Working class people did not cause the banking crisis and canvassing in the ward has helped get the message across that we shouldn't be forced to pay for it.
The by-election also provides an opportunity to present an alternative to this rotten capitalist system.
We need more councillors like the Socialist Party's Dave Nellist, who has a long history of standing up for workers in Coventry.
To assist in the campaign: 07530 429441
In The Socialist 21 September 2011:
Building for 30 November strike
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news