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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 September 2015

Why I joined

Socialist Party member, Kent

Five years ago the only mention of the word austerity I'd heard was when Billy Bragg sang about it in 'Between the Wars'. I surmised it was about people being skint.

In the run-up to the 2010 general election austerity became an economic policy based on 'belt tightening'. Labour had apparently been 'too careless with the nation's accounts' and to rectify this, the Tories proposed measures to balance the books.

Having left the Labour Party in my early twenties I was no longer a supporter of their policies or ideology, nonetheless I didn't hold them responsible for the global economic collapse of 2008! I was surprised when others did, as it was the banks and capitalism that were really responsible.

At this time I was employed as a social worker. The forewarnings of what to expect from the austerity agenda began to take shape before a single cut had taken place.

After the 2010 election many of us within social services were braced for the coming onslaught. As workers we were the first to be attacked. Mileage rates were cut, car user allowances were abolished and we were told to expect mandatory evening and weekend working.

During the following five years our caseloads increased fourfold. Arriving home after work I would set up my laptop and continue to work, often until 11pm.

In order to justify and pursue their policy of driving through cuts the local authority employed a private consultancy agency who was paid in the region of 6 million in order to save the council five times as much.

I ended up, before I left, with 120 clients on my caseload. That this is taking place in the welfare state makes me despair. That the Labour Party intended to pursue this process made me seethe. One night I googled 'Socialist Party' and reclaimed my anger, my fight and my sense of what is right.

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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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 9 September 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Huge support for Corbyn: now build austerity fightback

Solidarity with refugees - Defend the right to asylum

125,000 renters abused by idle parasite landlords

Heartless Tories chop funds for life-extending cancer drugs

Tories allow bosses to keep exploiting workers at below the minimum wage

Them & Us

Bromyard Community Hospital victory


International socialist news and analysis

Cuba at a crossroads

International news in brief


Socialist Party features

How students can fight debt, cuts and sell-offs

Children suffer as the cuts deepen


Workplace news and analysis

Lobby the trade union leaders this Sunday!

Nominate a fighting socialist for Unison general secretary

Most important TUC Congress for decades

Pizza express tips victory

Buses fightback works in Sheffield

Great support for bus strike

Workplace news in brief

Fight against blacklisting in Liverpool


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Film Review: Stonewall

Why I joined the Socialist Party

"NHS saved my life"


 

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