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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 June 2020

Coronavirus

Lifting the lockdown: workers must not pay the price

Take the wealth off the 1%! photo by Senan

Take the wealth off the 1%! photo by Senan   (Click to enlarge)

James Ivens

Who pulled society through the lockdown? The working class. Who suffered most from the lockdown? The working class. Who will pay the price as the lockdown eases? The working class?

Not if we make the bosses and billionaires pay instead!

They put those of us still at work on the front lines without paying for effective protection. NHS staff, transport workers, carers, shop workers, and many others - all are heroes; all have died in excessive numbers.

Bin workers, school workers, and more have fought back, downing tools till the job was safe. The rich had no need. They could direct their empires from country getaways while the rest of us did the work.

They robbed those of us sent home of our pay - or even our jobs outright. The Tories paid out 80% furlough subsidies to rescue their mates, the employers. But many of those employers had their hard-pressed workers make up the 20% gap. Others just dished out P45s.

Workers made all the goods and services that generated the big bosses' profits. But when pandemic and depression hit, the bosses keep the riches - and discard us like used PPE.

They hiked our private rents to an all-time high just as lockdown began. An average of 700 a month, and twice that in London.

The big landlords and mortgage lenders are protected. But tenants have unaffordable rents on crowded homes backing up.

Socialist Party Scotland poster in Glasgow, photo P Stott

Socialist Party Scotland poster in Glasgow, photo P Stott   (Click to enlarge)

So it's no surprise that lower-income households are twice as likely to have shouldered more debt during the lockdown. One in four of the UK's poorest have sunk further into the red since the pandemic, compared to just one in eight in the high-income bracket.

Sure, the boss class will tell us it's not all rosy. They've lost out on profits too. But these ups and downs are a game to the billionaires. They're life and death to us.

And all the while, the capitalists are trying to take advantage of the crisis. They are privatising services, suppressing wages, intensifying work, cutting jobs.

No wonder thousands of young people have queued to give the Socialists their details on the mass working-class protests against racism. They hear we stand for an alternative to the capitalist system built on inequality; one where the working class controls society democratically in the interests of the majority, not the rich - and they have heard enough.

Because none of what the capitalists are putting us through is inevitable. Society produces enough to guarantee decent jobs, homes and services for all. We just have to stop the rich from robbing us - and that means taking the economy and political power out of their hands.

Join your union to fight for safety, jobs and pay as the lockdown lifts. Join the Socialist Party to fight for socialism: a society where public ownership and democratic planning provide plenty for all.

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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.
  • 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 24 June 2020:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Lifting the lockdown: workers must not pay the price

Victory for Royal Glamorgan A&E!

Housing: act now to cancel Covid crisis rents and debt

Over 30% of children living in poverty

Fight back to stop Tories scrapping protections for children in care

International aid: Johnson's pie in the sky

Reading workers' movement responds to knife attack

News in brief

Them & us


Black Lives Matter

Young people fighting back: Jobs and homes, not racism

Lessons from the Black Panthers: "We're not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism - we're going to fight capitalism with socialism"

Towards an anti-racist school curriculum

Black Lives Matter protests: week three


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign


Wales

Tories sinking in Wales but no enthusiasm for Welsh Labour


Workplace news and analysis

Why you should come to NSSN conference

Fully fund schools - stand firm on safety

P&O: defend every job - nationalise the ferries

Workers need a 'new deal' - at least 12 an hour now!

Renationalisation of the probation service


Campaigns

It's time to join the Socialist Party

Selling the Socialist: we're back!

Fighting fund: help us smash our target!

Call for an increase in PIP due to Covid-19


Readers' opinion

A timely read about a pandemic that overwhelms society

The Socialist inbox


 

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