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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 November 2014

Them & Us

Poorest robbed

A new report on the effects on households of Con-Dem austerity cuts and income tax reductions found, unsurprisingly, that wealth has shifted further from the poorest to the richest.

According to the Institute for Social and Economic Research and professor John Hills from the LSE, the groups hit hardest by benefit cuts have been single parent families, large families, children and middle-aged parents, whereas the richest 1% of income earners have increased their wealth.

Inequality USA

In virtually every country around the world the gap between rich and poor has dramatically widened since the Great Recession started in 2008.

New figures from the USA show that the wealth gap is as wide today as it was during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In the last 30 years the share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% of households has increased from 7% to 22%, and is nearly the same share of wealth as the bottom 90%.

The average wealth of the bottom 90% ($80,000) in 2012 was the same level as in 1986, whereas the wealth of the 0.1% tripled between 1980 and 2012.

G20 richest

According to the charity Oxfam, between 2013 and 2014, the total wealth of the G20 countries increased by $17 trillion with 36% of this total ($6.2 trillion) going to the richest 1% of the population.

Big oil subsidy

56 billion - spent by G20 governments each year in subsidising the oil and gas industry to find and exploit fossil fuels - despite a 2009 pledge from these countries to phase out these subsidies to stop damaging climate change.

Globally, more than four times as much is spent on subsidising fossil fuels than renewables.

Nuclear bill

110 billion - the forecast cost of cleaning up Sellafield and other UK nuclear sites over the next 120 years.

What We Saw

Paul Murphy, recently elected Anti Austerity Alliance TD (MP) for Dublin South West, was stripped half naked by Gardai (police) at a peaceful anti-water charge protest in Jobstown Tallaght, South Dublin, on 15 November

The Irish Socialist Party member was repeatedly subjected to manhandling by Gardai who tore off his jumper in their attempt to remove him from a road sit-down blockade.

The protest was organised by residents in protest at water charges and coincided with the visit to the town by Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Joan Burton of the Labour Party.

The water charge is an unaffordable austerity tax being implemented by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government under the bailout conditions demanded by the 'Troika' (EU, European Central Bank, IMF). It has provoked mass demonstrations and protests across the Irish republic.

In response to government ministers' attempts to portray the Jobstown Tallaght protest as an orchestrated ambush by Paul Murphy, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins retorted: "It is another demonstration of ordinary people finding their voices and declaring they will take no more of this government's bullying.

"Joan Burton better start listening and begin by abolishing the water charges which will simply not be accepted."

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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
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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 19 November 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Workers unite to defend the NHS

Solidarity vital to defend trade union rights

Leaked document reveals union busting plan

Toxic mix in Rochester and Strood byelection

Rotten to the Greencore

Fraudster bankers couldn't give a Forex

The beautiful game looking ugly

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Unreported Nigeria: Class struggle and inequality

Israel/Palestine: Wave of rage answers new repression

Youth fight for jobs

We can defeat low pay and zero-hours!

Fighting for decent working conditions

Socialist Party workplace news

Labour councils attack organised workers

Campaigning against rail cuts and profiteering

Power station builders walkout over blacklisting

Local government unions accept shabby pay deal

Unison Wales FE strike ballot

Housing crisis

Raging tenants evict rich landlord

'We will not move!'

Students' victory in housing battle

Bedroom farce

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Teacher and health worker take fight to Oxford council

Bitterne walk-in's bitter win

NHS is going to the dogs

Readers' comments

Owen Jones: no answers

Socialism 2014


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