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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 March 2019

Universal Credit forces women into 'survival sex': scrap it now!

Socialist Party members campaigning against Universal Credit in Cardiff, photo by Socialist Party Wales

Socialist Party members campaigning against Universal Credit in Cardiff, photo by Socialist Party Wales   (Click to enlarge)

Isai Priya, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Growing numbers of welfare claimants impoverished by Universal Credit, benefit sanctions or cuts to single parents allowance, are forced into selling their bodies to pay for rent or feed their families.

Universal Credit is a brutal benefits system that's not fit for purpose. Instead of helping people out of poverty, it is pushing them further into desperate and dangerous situations. It needs to be scrapped immediately.

Younger people in particular are exploited by sexist, greedy landlords, using the situation of high rents and low pay to encourage them to take rooms at low or zero rent in exchange for sex.

MPs have now been forced to launch an inquiry to investigate. How much more evidence does the government need to see? How many more reports are required to make them face up to reality?

Ten years of austerity, and 14 million people - including 4.5 million children - live in poverty, according to the Social Metrics Commission. In-work poverty is soaring due to low wages and zero-hour contracts. And wherever Universal Credit is rolled out, the Trussell Trust reports food bank use goes up by an average 52% within 12 months.

Austerity and cuts to the welfare state have disproportionately affected women workers. We face double oppression in capitalist society: oppressed and exploited both as workers, and as women.

The oppression faced by working-class women has only increased since the implementation of austerity. Self-described feminist MPs who have backed austerity - such as the Blairites Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips - should be ashamed of themselves.

Socialist feminism

Tory and Blairite women MPs have spoken to the media about their supposed joint efforts for women's equality, while at the same time voting for or abstaining on cuts! We don't want the feminism of the bosses, where wealthy individual women rise to preside over continuing misery for the rest of us. We need socialist feminism: fighting for working-class women and all workers in deed as well as word.

The Socialist Party argues that the fight for women's liberation is linked to the fight against austerity and capitalism. We stand for a programme that can unite the whole working class - women and men - to fight the cause of our misery.

Only socialist policies - such as fully funding jobs, homes and public services for all, a real living wage, reversing all cuts and sell-offs, scrapping Universal Credit, building council homes - can liberate women from this desperate situation. And only working-class action to take the wealth and power off the super-rich 1% can overcome the barrier of the profit motive.

Part of the immediate action we need, to fight for women's liberation, is mass action for a general election now to kick out the Tories. Corbyn and the union leaders must urgently build for that action.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 27 March 2019:


What we think

Corbyn and labour movement must mobilise to bring down Tories and force election


Socialist Party news and analysis

Haringey 'Corbyn council' finance chief resigns

Oil firms spend $1bn fighting climate laws: 'Green New Deal' needs socialist policies

Universal Credit forces women into 'survival sex': scrap it now!

NHS staff shortage now permanent: reverse health cuts!


International socialist news and analysis

Algeria uprising: 'We stay here until the whole system goes'


Socialist history

Lessons of the heroic 1984-85 Miners' strike

Visteon: when factory occupations stayed the hands of the bosses


Workplace news and analysis

Support the Honda workers: nationalise to save jobs

Valentine school strike against budget cuts and redundancies

Newark machine bearings factory workers return to work

Striking teachers march against Enfield schools academisation plans

Bradford College strike remains solid over pay and funding

West London civil service workers strike against office closure


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Climate strike reports

United working-class struggle needed to fight for trans and women's rights

Leeds residents' anger against private 18-story monster block in 'Little London'

Enthusiastic Southern region socialists plan for the struggles ahead

Worcester library cuts: staff not even consulted


Opinion

Reader's comment: mental health under capitalism

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Universal Credit:

trianglePCS union: Reject longer DWP opening hours

trianglePCS union demands better deal for benefits claimants

triangleUC stopped without warning

triangleNew BBC series - Insight or whitewash?

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: A socialist programme on housing

Women:

triangleDoncaster: Vigil for murdered women

triangleSexist dismissal of women's health: NHS needs democratic control

triangle20 days. One town. Four domestic violence murders.

triangleDomestic violence murder

Austerity:

triangleSaving the music industry from pandemic and austerity

triangleBoris's new big deal

triangleNews in brief

Feminism:

triangleSouth West London Socialist Party: Socialist feminism - the fight for equality for women today

triangleHuddersfield Socialist Party: Marxist feminism

Oppression:

triangleInternational Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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