Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/633/9990
Lessons of the cuts
I WAS born in 1936 and grew up with the welfare state, together with the nationalisation of many of the power industries. We took it all to be our right: free health care, council houses and subsidised rents, grants for higher education, and a network of welfare help for all those who needed it - the elderly, the disabled, big families, etc. This was our right, just as the railways, the gas and electricity, the water etc belonged to us.
When Mrs Thatcher 'sold the family silver' we had a rude awakening. Flush with the new freedom of credit facilities, some enjoyed the process of buying their council houses - until the crash began. Capitalism collapsed and now we are all being made to pay for it.
They are grabbing our health service and our welfare system to pay for their dishonesty and failure. Years ago we didn't know they could do that.
We should have seen that these major changes were vulnerable to attack. The creation of the welfare state should have been accompanied by a democratisation of power and decision-making, so that what was created could be sustained by the many and could never be taken away.
This, I have learned recently (although I'm a lifelong socialist), is what Trotsky meant by the permanent revolution.
In The Socialist 21 July 2010:
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party workplace analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis