Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1113/31743
Luxury for some, poverty for the rest of us
Lindsey Morgan, Leicester Socialist Party
Many of us won't have much to cheer about this Christmas. In 2020 we've lost people to a pandemic which is still hurting us. One-in-twenty young people are currently unemployed. More people are using foodbanks, often due to debt by having to repay Universal Credit (UC) advances. Twice as many people are now on UC than in March, and we still have a government that prioritises profits over safety.
But it's not been miserable for everyone. 614 billionaires in the US have grown their wealth since the start of the Covid crisis by a collective $931 billion dollars. In the UK, 13,000 Arcadia retail workers have their jobs in the balance over Christmas while Philip Green tops up his tan on his £100 million super-yacht. Green's family also took a £1.2 billion dividend from the business, three times as much as the pension deficit.
The misery heaped on working-class people feels endless. Even with tiny household budgets for so many of us for this Christmas, we are still bombarded with calls to do the 'moral thing' and spend money in businesses. They want to save a system that has had very little interest in saving us this year.
Adverts litter TV programmes showing the capitalist vision of a perfect Christmas - huge meals, stacks of presents. And honestly, it hurts. Capitalism makes us feel like failures in so many ways; failing as parents for not being able to get them everything they want, failing as a valued member of society if we've lost our job, and often feeling like we've failed to keep our families safe when forced to work in unsafe environments.
Wages should be increased to a real living wage. Benefits need to be increased to a level which allows us to live, not just exist. And when bosses say they need to sack people they should prove it. Not only by opening the books to trade union inspection, but maybe selling their assets like yachts, luxury homes, and property portfolios. It's about time it came out of their pockets, not ours!
Any company still threatening mass job losses and closure should be taken into public ownership and a plan drawn up democratically involving representatives of workers in the company and the wider trade union movement to guarantee future employment.
But to guarantee everyone a decent future we need to replace this capitalist profit system that is geared to the needs of a super-rich minority, with a socialist society that can meet the needs of the many.
In The Socialist 9 December 2020:
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