Ukraine Protest. Photo:Bradford SP
Ukraine Protest. Photo:Bradford SP

Take the wealth off the super-rich – to help refugees and end cost-of-living crisis

Helen Pattison, London Socialist Party regional secretary

Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine has made nearly three million people refugees in just a couple of weeks. Understandably, there is huge sympathy for those who have left everything behind and whose lives have been turned upside down by this conflict.

In mid-2021 there were already 84 million forced from their homes globally, all people who are fleeing war, persecution and more. This is what international capitalism offers ordinary people around the world. Not stability, decent living standards or peace. Instead, as the ruling classes of the capitalist countries fight for profit and power, including through war, it is the working class and poor people who suffer, refugees are created, and lives and the environment destroyed.

This war has made governments act in unpredictable ways. The Tories have been forced to take some steps to impose sanctions on their big business mates from Russia who are worth billions. When Tory cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted that the UK had sanctioned more Russian banking assets than the US and EU, he accidentally exposed the extremely close ties between Russian oligarchs and the City of London.

Yet the oligarchs who have been sanctioned represent just a slither of the wealth hoarded by the world’s richest. If the $300 trillion wealth of the 1% was taken off them, and instead democratically owned and controlled by the working-class majority, there wouldn’t be a refugee, housing or cost-of-living crisis.

That wealth could be used to ensure council house building, decent wages and put an end to growing poverty.

Just before this war started, Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak said ordinary people would have to ‘adjust’ to higher prices. Now we’re told that energy prices will rise even more sharply because of the strain caused by the war.

But why should it always be the working class that has to pay with dwindling living standards, while the rich get richer?

We can’t trust the Tories or Starmer’s big-business Labour Party to end the cost-of-living and housing crises, or with the futures of refugees who come to Britain.

We have to fight for jobs, homes and services for all. This fight won’t be supported by Labour who are quite happy to pass on Tory cuts to local services.

As part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, the Socialist Party will be providing an anti-austerity voice in the local elections on 5 May, highlighting the huge reserves and borrowing powers of councils which could be used to fight the government in defence of all those in need.

At the same time, we are fighting here and internationally for a socialist alternative to the capitalist profit system that creates war, inequality, poverty and environmental destruction: for the building of mass workers’ parties that can represent our interests, not those of the super-rich; and for solidarity with workers and young people in Russia and Ukraine who are battling against Putin and the rich oligarchs for a future free from war and oppression.  

  • Stop the war in Ukraine. Withdraw Russian troops and end the bombing
  • No to ethnic division and cleansing. For workers’ unity, and self-determination and full democratic rights for all minorities
  • Visa-free travel for those fleeing the war and the right to asylum. No to racist immigration laws
  • Homes and services for all: take the wealth off the oligarchs and the 1%. Workers mustn’t pay the price for the economic consequences of war
  • No trust in Nato or the capitalist politicians. For the building of an independent workers’ movement
  • Fight for a socialist alternative to war and capitalism