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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 October 2020

Newcastle lockdown: stress and breakdowns

  (Click to enlarge)

A Newcastle worker

After the initial shock wore off, my family settled into a routine. We argued a lot. There was a cycle of us taking turns having mental breakdowns. The problem was, even in isolation, we had a constant supply of stressors.

Every time you looked at the news it was like watching a dystopian film. The virus, anti-maskers, innocent protestors facing police brutality, the recession, the list goes on and on. By August, I was the only one who had not approached the mental health services for counselling.

While this was going on, I had been forced to commit furlough fraud by my boss - who told us that doing work while furloughed was "voluntary" while holding our jobs over our heads.

One of my friends had it worse; he lost his job immediately, despite the scheme. We even had to help him out while he waited for his 'whopping' 350-a-month Universal Credit.

Worst of all had to be the worry for my grandparents. We taught them how to use video calls and called every day, but it was really tough. It felt completely awful dropping shopping off and not being able to give them a hug. But the anxiety of whether I would be the one to infect them stopped me.

Since things have relaxed, I think I am even more stressed. I am back in the office, where the virus is treated as a joke, as is following restrictions. My boss even bragged about telling his 70-plus father-in-law to "take that mask off whilst you're in my house."

Now it feels like I just have to cling onto my job. We have already had one case. I have been tested twice and been lucky - for now.

I don't know what is worse: being isolated in lockdown, or dealing with employment in this post-lockdown world. With the cases now as high as they were in April, and nothing being done other than the removal of furlough payments, it feels like we are on our own.

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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.
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In The Socialist 21 October 2020:


Lockdown

Health before profit - Work or full pay

Wales 'firebreak' lockdown fails to protect workers

Liverpool lockdown: suspicion and anger

Newcastle lockdown: stress and breakdowns

Leicester lockdown: disillusionment and anger


Unison

Why the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


International

Nigeria protests: 'This movement needs to fight the whole rotten capitalist system'

Horrific murder in Paris: fight intolerance and racism!

South Africa: Mass day of action for permanent jobs and a living wage


News

Tories reduce winter homeless funding: reverse the cuts,use the empty homes!

World capitalism's terrified strategists abandon austerity - for now


Coronavirus

Test and Trace U-turn on stopping local case reporting

Oxbridge gets private Covid tests: pool resources to test us all!

Millennials disillusioned with 'democracy'

Under the microscope


Workplace

RMT: Programme to fight redundancies and cuts

Action on Covid transmission in schools now

FCC dismiss Unison activist Tony Smith

Optare workers strike over pay broken 'promise'

Solidarity with Deliveroo Couriers in York


Campaigns

NHS workers

Students: Give us our money back

Fight for your future at the online rally

Southampton: Coxford community condemns racist attack

Socialism 2020: Will you help our finance appeal?

Selling the Socialist: increase in NHS anger

Truth about Zane: Cover-up Tories crack

Kent: Chaotic privatised asylum process

Teignmouth hospital closure threat ... again!


Readers' opinion

Books that inspired me: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Beware the billionaires bearing gifts

Disabled students let down by "rotten education system"

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

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trianglePolice attempt to intimidate Newcastle protesters

triangleDefying the anti-protest restrictions

triangleLocked down, hard up - Fight back!

triangleBlack Lives Matter protests: week three

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triangleJohnson's 'road map' for schools: Act together to protect safety

triangleSouthern new members meeting - a vivid illustration of the appetite for socialist ideas

Mental health:

triangleCovid, capitalism and mental health

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: A socialist response to the mental health crisis

triangleSave St Andrews mental health ward

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