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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 March 2017

The Socialist Inbox

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, photo Suzanne Beishon

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Do you have something to say?

Send your news, views and criticism in not more than 150 words to Socialist Postbox, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD, phone 020 8988 8771 or email

We reserve the right to shorten and edit letters. Don't forget to give your name, address and phone number. Confidentiality will be respected if requested.

Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.

Bedroom tax trap

I have a relative who rents a two- bedroom flat from Worcestershire Council. Her son moved out over two years ago, and she has been bidding for a one-bedroom flat as she cannot afford the vicious 'bedroom tax' the Tories imposed.

She works, but only on the national minimum wage, and her council tax is far too high. By the time rent, utility bills and council tax are paid, she struggles with grocery shopping.

She is stuck in a vicious circle as she wants to downsize but because she is a widow with no dependants, she is not a priority. She's a 'Jam' (just about managing).

She would love a young family to have her flat, but with a bidding system that is so complicated, and a lack of affordable housing being built or existing properties being rejuvenated, I sense the problem will worsen before it gets better.

Calvin Fowler, Worcester

Mansions v evictions

Mansions for them, evictions for us

Mansions for them, evictions for us   (Click to enlarge)

Two articles in the Observer on 5 March highlighted the Britain we live in today.

On the one hand over 200 wealthy oligarchs choose to pay 218,200 in tax rather than to declare which 20 million-plus mega-mansions they own. There are 210 properties worth more than 20 million owned for these people by offshore companies.

On the other hand, for the many who have to work to survive, housing benefit has been frozen by the Tories. George Osborne, previous Tory chancellor, capped housing benefit payments as part of the Tory aim to cut welfare.

Shelter, the housing charity, has warned that families will have to find hundreds of pounds extra every month to avoid eviction. Shelter found that in one in four areas of England the combination of rising rents and the benefit freeze means families with one or two children living in a two-bedroomed home and claiming housing benefit will have to find at least 100 extra rent a month over the next year!

Evictions will rise significantly as a result of these vicious attacks, and as a result local authorities will have to provide emergency accommodation, which is often unsuitable. We are in a housing crisis where working class people are forced into expensive rented accommodation and then evicted when they can't afford increased rents.

We need a massive programme of building council accommodation. We demand that Labour and Plaid Cymru councils and the assembly implement no-cuts budgets using their reserves and borrowing powers, linking up with the trade unions to build a campaign of mass resistance to kick out the Tories.

Mark Evans, Gorseinon, west Wales

Tory terror hypocrisy

Young people protest against war and terrorism in Manchester 2006, photo Manchester Socialist Party

Young people protest against war and terrorism in Manchester 2006, photo Manchester Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

News of the 22 March attack in London shocked the country. It also sent establishment politicians clamouring for the media spotlight, seeking to define the narrative which came out of the events.

The prime minister, Theresa May: "We will all move forward together. Never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart."

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron: "At times like this, we must remember who we are. Britain is an open, tolerant country and we will never let those who spread terror and threaten our values win."

Labour's Hilary 'Bomber' Benn: "As we grieve for the fallen and the injured, let us honour them with renewed resolve to uphold our way of life and our democracy."

We've heard a lot of this stuff about unity over recent days, and we've heard it all before. And each time one of these platitudes passes through their quivering lips, it is not comfort or pride which overcomes me. It is sickness.

It sickens me to hear appeals for unity from the very people who cynically use race, religion, gender, sexuality to divide us. From the very people who, through their wars and austerity, make attacks inevitable.

This 'don't let them divide us' is the language of the international working class. It is the language of solidarity, cynically coopted by establishment politicians for short-term gain.

In reality, there is no "we" which includes both the working class and the representatives of big business. Our interests are fundamentally opposed.

If we are to overcome the perpetual state of war, terror, poverty, and suffering which engulfs the world, the working class must forge an independent path. This means real solidarity with the victims of the attack, by refusing unity with the architects of human suffering, be they Isis or the capitalists.

And this is just one more reason why Jeremy Corbyn, Labour's anti-war leader, urgently needs to break with the warmongering Blairites who continue to dominate the parliamentary Labour Party.

Tom Barker, Leicester

Thanks to the Socialists

I would just like to extend my thanks to Salford Socialist Party member Paul Gerrard, who took the time to meet with me on 20 March to discuss me potentially joining the party in the near future.

While I have previously attempted to get active in the local Labour Party and Momentum, I have seen my efforts ignored. Paul, however, was quick to respond to my interest in the Socialist Party with an offer to meet up, and thoroughly and enthusiastically answered all my questions about membership and the party's ideas.

If you are willing to donate time, effort and money to the politics you feel passionate about, then I believe the organisation in question should respond as Paul and the Socialist Party have.

I now feel more than ever a strong solidarity with the Socialist Party, and predict either joining, or at the very least exploring the possibility further, in the near future.

Thank you again Paul.

Jordan Lee Smith, Manchester/Sheffield

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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 29 March 2017:

What we think

Unite against terror, racism and war

Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS: protest, strike, occupy to win!

No to racist scapegoating: oppose the far right

Top banks post 67% of profits in tax havens - nationalise the banks!

Prescription and dental charges to rise again - fight for a free NHS!

Homelessness agencies accused of being complicit in coercive deportations

Leeds Labour councillors resign over cuts

Times makes call for Tory entryism

Martin McGuinness: from IRA leader to Stormont minister

Russian revolution 1917-2017

April 1917: how the Bolsheviks reorientated

Workplace news and analysis

Doncaster: snap strike by posties pushes bully bosses back

Over a thousand march with Durham TAs against 23% pay cut

Join the 31 March PCS pay protest

Bridgend Ford overtime stoppage in sourcing dispute

Forest Hill school in Lewisham fights back

Dispute against backdoor privatisation of mental health services

Ballot papers go out in Unite elections

Fujitsu strikes: Manchester and Warrington

Deliveroo victory in Leeds

TUSC backs RMT struggle against Merseyrail

Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Universal Credit is making the housing crisis worse

Save Cardiff's live music venues

Women need secure jobs and equal pay, not patronising 'returnships'

Why I Joined: "I joined Socialist Party to campaign to save the NHS"

The Socialist Inbox

International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

Belarus: movement developing against regime

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Jobstown Not Guilty: defend the right to protest

Angry march against Bradford council-approved incinerator

GMB union should support anti-fracking campaigners in Fylde

"Save our Nurseries", Tower Hamlets campaigners tell the council

South Yorkshire Freedom Riders celebrate three years of fighting

Memorial meeting remembers Bernard Roome

Save Plymouth's libraries!

May Day greetings in the Socialist


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