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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 December 2016

Them & Us

Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon

Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Billions for them...

What might the super-rich pick up as stocking fillers this Christmas?

It's been a good year. According to poverty charity Oxfam, the wealth of the wealthiest 62 billionaires equalled the bottom half of humanity this January. Six years ago, it would have taken 388 of them.

You can buy a plate from Tokyo Design Studio for 13,200. For the equivalent of a year's gross salary on the minimum wage, it must be a really good plate. The Socialist assumes it makes the food itself and washes itself up afterwards.

Or if you're more the festive clothing type, how about a fox fur and Swarovski crystal woolly hat? The 'Jennifer Behr Narcissus Pom Pom' cashmere beanie is just 677. You can pick that up for three weeks' net pay on the minimum wage.

Of course, for the buyer on a budget, there's the perennial favourite: socks. A cashmere pair hand-cranked to order in Devon from a 19th century 'Harrison Sun' sock machine goes for 60.

That's just a shade more than a week's under-25 jobseekers' allowance. Useful for walking to the dole office when you can't afford the bus.

... beans for us

Meanwhile, 120,000 children will be homeless at Christmas this year. That's a rise of 15% on last year, according to poverty charity Shelter's figures.

One in eight UK workers now lives in poverty, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. That's 3.8 million people.

That means that of all those in poverty, 55% are in working households. The charity says that's a record high. In fact, since 2010-11, when the establishment claims the economic 'recovery' began, it has risen by 1.1 million.

A total of 7.4 million people in the UK, over a third of them children, are in poverty. This is despite their families working.

It's clear the wealth is out there, it's just concentrated at the top. It goes on 13,200 plates, or more often lies idle awaiting more profitable times for investment. Take the wealth off the 1% - end austerity - 10 an hour minimum wage now.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 14 December 2016:


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS crisis: we're fighting back!

End the Tories' war on the working poor

Amazon workers living in tents

Pfizer drug extortion - nationalise big pharma!

Trust in politicians reaches all-time low

No to home seizures for care bills

Them & Us


What we think

Establishment EU crisis deepens - fight for a socialist Brexit


A socialist programme for education

What kind of education?

Education for all - not exam factories


International socialist news and analysis

CWI: opportunities for substantial growth


Workplace news and analysis

Glasgow Labour leaders deluged with protests

Victory for UPS parcel workers

Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs and pensions

Bin workers strike against draconian management

Derby TAs to strike against pay cut

Southern: back the strike, nationalise the railways!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Birmingham Labour: Corbyn supporters need not apply

The Socialist Party and fighting women's oppression

Doncaster: cuts give rise to 'tent city'

Scrooge Tory council confronted over treatment of homeless


Comment and review

It's the bumper Socialist 2016 quiz!

2016 sounds for your stocking

The Socialist Inbox


 

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