The Socialist 26 September 2012
Action against austerity
Action against austerity
Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary
A job that pays a living wage, pleasant and affordable housing, a comfortable retirement, a secure future for our children: none of that is on offer for the majority in Austerity Britain.
A new report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies predicts that even were Britain to enter a 'golden period of steady economic growth' the wages of the poorest half of Britain would continue to decline in real terms until at least 2020, leaving a typical low-income family 15% worse off than they are now.
Far from a 'golden period' the capitalist economic crisis is worsening. Cameron has told us to expect austerity to continue for the rest of the decade: growing unemployment, enforced part-time working and cuts to essential public services.
More and more working families are being forced to rely on food banks just to feed their children.
Contrary to capitalist mythology, even the boom that ended in 2008 did not mean good times for all. It is true that 'easy' credit for many disguised how bad things really were, but in reality workers' wages had stagnated for 30 years before this crisis began.
Today the levels of inequality are the highest they have been since World War Two. And 'easy' credit has turned into a millstone of debt for millions.
Fight all cuts
The Socialist Party campaigns to stop all the attacks on living standards raining down. We are working to try and ensure that the trade union-led demonstration against austerity on 20 October, is hundreds of thousands strong.
We are arguing that this should be a springboard for a 24-hour general strike against austerity. Such a determined fightback would shake the government to its foundations and could force it to retreat.
The struggle against austerity, however, must be linked to the need for socialism. Labour leader Ed Miliband claims to stand for 'progressive capitalism' but there is nothing progressive about a system that means growing impoverishment for the majority.
Capitalism is a system based on inequality. The profits of the capitalists are based on the exploitation of the working class.
Capitalism can go ahead for a while when those profits are invested in productive industry. The sickness of modern capitalism is epitomised by the £750 billion that the UK's major companies have lying in their bank vaults - refusing to invest them in jobs and production because they do not expect to make more profits from doing so.
Socialism offers the only permanently viable answer to this crisis. We argue for the major banks and corporations to be taken into democratic public ownership, under workers' control and management.
This would allow society to organise a democratic plan of production to meet the needs of all. Truly decent living standards for all would be immediately achievable.
Join the TUC march against austerity on 20 October in London. Assemble Embankment from 11am. March sets off at 1.30pm to rally at Hyde Park
In this issue
Fightback against austerity
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns