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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 December 2020

Luxury for some, poverty for the rest of us

  (Click to enlarge)

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.

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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.

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  • 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 9 December 2020:


Fund NHS, not Tory crony contracts

Covid vaccines only first step - fight job losses, austerity and 'virus' of capitalism

High street jobs, safety and pay: We have to fight

Super-rich tax evasion costs 34 million nurses worldwide

Luxury for some, poverty for the rest of us

What we think

Should Corbyn stand for London Mayor?

Workplace news

RMT gen sec election - vote for Steve Hedley

Further education workers win pay rise in Wales

HMRC pay talks - PCS needs to organise members now

Reinstate sacked Unite London bus rep Judith Katera

South London council workers vote to strike

International news

Right populism after Trump

Malaysia: Massive capitalist exploitation of migrant workers exposed by Covid pandemic

International news in brief


Engels and the answer to the housing question

Campaigns news

Welsh trades councils rally against the pay-freeze

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Tenants and workers unite to take on landlords

'Oxford, Cut the Rent!' campaign kicks off

York students determined to build for rent refunds and free education

London Socialist Party hits the streets

Readers' opinion

TV review: Red, White and Blue

The Socialist Inbox


Obituary: Roger Priest


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