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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 December 2020

Covid crisis

Better for billionaires

Worse for workers

  (Click to enlarge)

Back in August, Boris Johnson promised a "world beating" track-and-trace system. Most people agree that didn't happen but the government and economy are 'world beating' in other respects.

Britain has one of the highest death rates from Covid and the highest number of excess deaths in Europe. The British government pumped nearly the biggest amount into the economy, and yet it has contracted the most of all the G7 countries.

They then acted swiftly to show that working-class people would be expected to pay the price for the crisis with a public sector pay freeze.

The planet is going to be hitting some new records this year too. At $10.2 trillion, the combined wealth of the world's billionaires is higher today than at its previous peak in 2017. There are more of them too - about 31 more than previously recorded.

It was a great year to be a health industry billionaire. Off the back of mass suffering and the pandemic they saw a record increase in their wealth taking it to $658.6 billion.

So how has Covid affected the other end of the scale - the poorest?

Poverty

England's poorest areas have been hit hardest with about twice as many deaths as the richest areas. Child poverty is on the rise and those already in 'deep poverty' saw the biggest reduction in their earnings, either being furloughed, having their hours reduced, or being laid off.

Globally, the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day has increased by 114 million and around 200 million jobs have been lost during the Covid crisis.

This year will be remembered as a year of extreme suffering and hardship, but also as a year that exposed the ruthlessness of capitalism and its governments. A year when nurses and key workers were only offered claps - not the pay rise they needed.

When staff in schools had their health put on the line to get people back to work. A year when workers had to organise to ensure social distancing in the workplace, fight for PPE and safety measures because all the bosses were worried about was profit.

There have been mass protest movements which have shaken society to its core, opposing oppression, inequality and the corrupt capitalism system. In Britain, young people forced back the Tory government and a footballer laid bare the cruelty of capitalism. This system always seems to have the money for military spending, there's always support to maintain big businesses profits but not to feed kids, support the elderly or people who are struggling.

Instead of running society in the interest of the profits of a few we need a system which actually works for the majority. That's why we need to fight for a socialist world - where the wealth and resources of society are owned and democratically controlled by the working class in order to protect the health and living standards of all ordinary people.

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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 2 December 2020:


What we think

Spending Review. Unions must resist return to austerity


Spending Review

What will the spending review mean for me?

Napo kickstarts fight against pay freeze


News

Better for billionaires. Worse for workers

Arcadia and Debenhams closures: Nationalise to save jobs and pensions

Scotland: Campaign wins end to period poverty

NHS: Underfunded, understaffed, underpaid

News in brief


Devolution

Where is devolution heading?


Workplace News

Don't let the festive season be one of misery for retail workers

Equity union conference calls for radical change - now lead a fight!

Solidarity with Brighton UCU strike - we won't pay for Covid crisis

East London teachers strike in support of victimised union rep

Heathrow workers strike against 'fire and rehire' plans

Hackney: Stop plan to halve school support staff!

Pay freeze protest Homerton Hospital

Unison general secretary ballot closes


Environment

'Building back greener' - yet more Tory greenwash


International News

Conflict in Ethiopia: ethnic-linguistic divisions are the historical product of capitalist inequality


Marxism

Review: Friedrich Engels - Condition of the working class in England


Campaigns

Socialism 2020 feedback

Wales TUSC plans to mount an electoral challenge

Rent strikers' victory in Manchester student halls

Labour meeting lets MP get away with 'Spycops' abstention

Selling the Socialist

Fighting fund target smashed!


Reader's opinion

TV: The Social Dilemma

Fast fashion, big profits, low pay

Diego Maradona - Working-class rebel, football genius

Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Covid:

triangleDon't trust the Labour right's empty promises

triangleCovid and precarious workers - union organisation vital

triangleLong Covid: Fight for jobs, benefits and services

triangleLatest podcast: PCS elections - the struggle for fighting trade unionism

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Pay:

triangleThurrock bin workers solid in strike against pay cuts

triangleSupport the Broad Left Network for a democratic, fighting union leadership

triangleWorkers strike and protest

triangleThurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo Dave Murray

Poverty:

triangle1981 Brixton riots: Racism and poverty - the anger explodes

triangleWould a wealth tax end poverty and inequality?

triangleThe 'old normal' meant poverty for young people

Health:

trianglePay NHS staff 15%

triangleNHS pay: 15% now!

Government:

triangleFight to stop cuts

Capitalism:

triangleYouth under attack

Economy:

trianglePreparing for the revolts to come

Inequality:

triangleRacism exists! Unite to fight all inequality

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