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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 December 2012

Them & Us

United Socialists of America

A recent poll by Gallup in the US has shown that 39% of Americans now view socialism positively. This comes less than a month after Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative (CWI US) won 30% of the vote in her challenge for the House of Representatives in Seattle.

How much?!

In 2010 when the coalition government voted to increase university tuition fees to a maximum of 9,000 a year, hundreds of thousands protested in opposition.

The thought of having to spend 27,000 on a three year degree is more than enough to put off many working class students. But now it turns out even that is an under-estimate.

Government figures show that the real cost of a degree, taking into account the interest paid on loans could be 100,000.

So much for universities minister David Willetts claiming the 9,000 a year would be worth it because graduates would earn an extra 100,000 over their lifetimes.

Unemployment

There is a growing crisis of unemployment among some sections of ethnic minority women, a group of MPs has shown.

Some groups are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts. The politicians say that at least a quarter of this is due to prejudice and discrimination.

Many women have taken drastic action to try and overcome these attitudes - some going as far as changing their names or removing their hijabs to 'appear more white'.

Homelessness

The coffin of Michael Gething was carried through Totnes in a procession of local people after he died of hypothermia.

He was homeless in a town with no homeless shelter and it was -2 degrees outside. People who attended the funeral spoke of their shame that this had been allowed to happen in their town.

But in reality it's not just in Totnes. People like Michael die all around the country, every week. A study last year showed that, on average, homeless people die 30 years younger than the rest of the population.

And it's not the working class people 'lucky' enough to have a home who should feel guilty - it's the politicians who are slashing jobs, housing benefit and social services.

PF Why?

The Autumn Statement outlined plans for a new-look Private Finance Initiative. One difference from the old PFI (introduced by New Labour) is that the government will increase equity stakes to improve investors' credit ratings and try to entice more pension funds and insurance companies to invest.

But this could raise the price paid by us over the 20-30 year lifetimes of the projects - and the price was plenty high enough with the old type!

Swiss banks

In the bustle around the Autumn Statement and its outlining more cuts to welfare, you might have missed news of one of the accompanying documents which showed that there is an estimated 40 billion of UK taxpayers' money being held in Swiss bank accounts.

While the Swiss government is now taking limited steps to open up their banking systems, for years these huge sums have been hidden in these accounts to avoid paying tax in the UK.

Happy new year!

Wondering what 2013 holds? A couple of predictions have been made already:

One in six charities say they may have to close next year because of a combination of cuts to public funding and falling donations from the public, according to the Charities Aid Foundation. One in three are worried about having to cut services. So much for the 'big society'.

And at the same time, the IPPR think tank tells us unemployment could rise by 200,000 over the next 12 months.

This is expected to include 86,000 16-24 year olds joining the dole queue bringing youth unemployment well over a million again.

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In The Socialist 12 December 2012:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Kick out the cuts coalition

Prepare to resist austerity in 2013

Gove goes to war on teachers' pay

Fracking - gas profit dash could wreck climate

Merry Christmas from Starbucks

Them & Us


Socialist Party NHS campaigning

NHS in crisis

Hands off our NHS!


International socialist news and analysis

South African miners' struggle

Mass protests in Egypt against Mursi and his reactionary constitution

Kazakhstan: Free Vadim Kuramshin!

Sri Lanka: Solidarity with Jaffna students


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist Women plan campaigning for 2013

Protesting against council cuts

Brixton byelection, south London: We want a candidate we can count on

A very Them & Us Christmas quiz

Great offers from Socialist Books


Socialist Party workplace news

Tesco drivers successfully blockade distribution centre

Striking against 'mock Ofsteds'

Bristol postal workers fight bullying

Blacklisting: 'we will fight for justice in every way'

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments

Austerity UK: 'I want to live, not just exist'

Workers will fight austerity


 

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