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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 November 2020

Our lives, our jobs - not safe in Tory hands

Fight for a socialist alternative

photo vperemen.com/CC

photo vperemen.com/CC   (Click to enlarge)

When is action inaction? When the Tories do a massive U-turn on lockdown and extending the furlough, but are too split and rotten to make it effective in protecting our health and livelihoods.

Make no bones about it, this was a huge climbdown and will have further widened the massive chasms within the Tory party. Just look at them squabbling over when the lockdown will end. In truth, just like Brexit, they have no roadmap. The main reason behind their ineptitude is that their system, capitalism, is in deep, deep crisis with no clear way out.

Yet they cling on. A child could tell you that prioritising profit in health has bad outcomes - apart from for the profiteers. Serco has swallowed 12 billion, and we still have no functioning test-and-trace system. Stressed-out, worn-out NHS workers fighting for a 15% pay rise could probably think of a much better use for that money. Left to the Tories, the health service is in danger of being clapped out.

And it is laughable - or cryable - to hear Tory MPs say that it's concern for the poorest kids that has motivated them to keep the schools open. The vote against extending free school meals sort of gave that away. This is about keeping parents at work to keep the profits flowing for big business.

It is also obvious that you can't ask people to self-isolate if that means their children will go hungry. So the next U-turn we need is for work or 100% pay, including a massive programme of socially useful job creation to staunch the youth joblessness threat. Work could also be shared out - with no loss of pay.

Such a programme, including democratic working-class and trade union oversight of all measures taken under the pandemic, is essential, and must be organised and fought for, including with strike action where necessary.

It's argued that you can't prioritise health and jobs at the same time - but you can. What you can't do is prioritise the health and living standards of the majority while also, as the Tories do, defending the obscene profits of the mega-rich. Let's remember, while we experienced a decade of austerity, pay-outs to the shareholders of the 100 biggest companies doubled to 110 billion a year!

At the end of July, Britain's billionaires' combined fortune was 156.6 billion, up 34.7% on last year! A one-off 50% wealth tax would raise billions. But nationalisation - under democratic working-class control and management - of the top 125 companies and banks that dominate the economy would really provide the basis to begin planning production, and using resources to prioritise health and living standards.

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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.
  • 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 4 November 2020:


What we think

Our lives, our jobs - not safe in Tory hands

Corbyn suspended - Time to fight for a new mass workers' party

Socialism 2020: Mass workers' voice needed


Unison

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


News

A lockdown that doesn't include education?

Spycops inquiry finally opens

Testing is failing - it's a privatised mess

Furloughed worker speaks out: Let down by insecure contracts


Workplace

Transport for London given funding stop gap

Usdaw needs a fighting leadership

Birmingham NHS porters' 48-hour strike against shift changes

Optare strikers escalate their action


International news

Chile: A defeat for the right!

Poland: Mass protests against abortion ban

US presidential election 2020


Campaigns

Save St Andrews mental health ward

Leeds protesters demand "Buhari must go!"

Building Bangor Socialist Students

Maybe now they will listen - Refund the fees!

Donate now to the Socialism 2020 appeal

Corbyn suspended: Join the fightback, join the socialists


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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