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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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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:

triangleReal life on Universal Credit: "As soon as I get billed for my electric, I'm finished"

triangleEnd Tory cold cruelty: life under austerity in Merthyr

triangleCuts and chaos. Enough. General election now!

triangleTories out. Scrap Universal Credit. Fight for living wages and welfare!

triangleUniversal Credit staff ballot for action

Women:

triangleGender pay gap widening

triangleWirral Socialist Party: The Bolshevik Party and Women

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

triangleStop cuts to women's services in Leicester

Austerity:

triangleAusterity must go! Kick out the Tories - we need a Socialist Alternative

triangleTories facing electoral meltdown

triangle100 billion for bosses - cuts for us.

Feminism:

triangleHuddersfield Socialist Party: Marxist feminism

triangleDerby Socialist Party: Socialist feminism

Oppression:

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: The origins of women's oppression

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