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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 May 2017

The Socialist inbox

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, image by Suzanne Beishon

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

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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 editors@socialistparty.org.uk.

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Property fat cats

The radical waves from Jeremy Corbyn's election campaign seem to have accidentally lapped over into the Guardian (motto 'we are the Corbyn haters'). A Guardian article on 10 May takes a look at the individuals and organisations who have made it big in capitalist Britain.

Journalist Alice Martin analyses that 'fatcatometer', the Sunday Times Rich List 2017. As the Socialist commented in issue 948, the list showed how the total wealth of the richest thousand had risen by 14% to no less than 658 billion in the last year!

But who are these millionaires and billionaires? Martin says that 26 of the top hundred list property ownership - land, bricks and concrete - as a major source of their wealth. In Britain, which capitalism has largely de-industrialised, only six of them listed industry, seven retail. Even finance and investment trailed behind on ten fat cats.

There are 164 property moguls in the top 1,000. The value of such property in the UK is now more than 5 trillion, estimated to be almost 60% of the country's entire wealth. Even from a capitalist viewpoint , this has all the sustainability of bubble gum.

Workers' wages are being slashed so that the ruling class, that depends on profit - the unpaid labour of the working class - can live lives of luxury. Meanwhile housing is in deep crisis with homes only available at huge and upwardly spiralling costs.

This is intolerable. Obviously we fight for decent housing and to tax the super-rich but the anti-democratic stranglehold of the property giants must be ended.

If a Corbyn government is elected, its problems will be huge unless it takes the top 150 companies, the banking and finance system and property companies into public ownership. We need a democratic socialist plan of production based on people's needs not on the profits of property magnates.

Roger Shrives, Lewisham, south London

Food bank users, photo James (Creative Commons)

Food bank users, photo James (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Foodbanks

There are complex reasons why

People go to foodbanks,

It's really not as simple

As you may foolishly think!

The foodbank's located nearer

Than your local supermarket,

Which means many people

Avoid the risk of sore feet!

Some prefer the restricted variety

The foodbank conveniently offers,

Saves being bewildered

By unnecessary choice!

The foodbank is really handy

When you're out and about in town

And you seem to have forgotten

Your wallet or your purse!

The foodbank's great at avoiding

Workplace conflict over low pay,

Now there's no need to bother

Your greedy boss for a raise!

Foodbanks can take the sting

Out of cruel benefit sanctions,

Making life on the dole

So much more bearable!

And when you fancy being

Humiliated, reminded you are poor,

The foodbank's there just for you,

Your convenient pauper store.

There are complex reasons why

People go to foodbanks,

But simple reasons why

We must end capitalism!

Jim Horton, London

Clean Aire

Aire Valley Against Incineration (AVAI) group held a public meeting on 25 April 2017 in Keighley, west Yorkshire. This was to give an update on their efforts to stop the toxic 'clean fuel' waste incinerator planned for Keighley, in the pretty but polluted residential River Aire valley in West Yorkshire. Bradford Socialist Part have been active in this campaign - attending a march, petitioning and writing letters of complaint to the local authority.

There was widespread criticism in the audience against the local Conservative MP Kris Hopkins who is in favour of the incinerator.

AVAI told us that that the next step in protesting the construction of the incinerator would be to seek a judicial review as the communities and local government minister, Sajid Javid refused to stop the Bradford council planning approval.

AVAI are planning events to raise funds as the cost of hiring a barrister is expensive. Donations are being sought through the group's Facebook page: 'Aire Valley Against Incineration'.

Nick Bradshaw, Bradford

Junk mail

I have received a letter from Theresa May urging me to vote Tory in the general election. It looks like this is being sent to presumably non-Tory voters in marginal constituencies. In it, she says that the opinion polls got the 2015 general election and EU referendum results wrong and in effect contradicts the press predictions of a guaranteed huge Tory majority!

She also said that well paid jobs, affordable housing and a strong NHS can only be guaranteed by her brand of Brexit negotiations. It is patently obvious that large sections of the population haven't had these things for years. May is saying that if she gets Brexit right we will get all of these things. Yet she was a Remain supporter! The Tories don't give a monkey's about well paid jobs, affordable housing and a strong NHS.

Clive Walder, Birmingham

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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 17 May 2017:


Kick out the Tories! Corbyn can win

Kick out the Tories: For a Corbyn-led government

Tories out! Corbyn can win with socialist policies

Corbyn's manifesto: An important step in the right direction

TUSC confirms no candidates in June

Suprise rally with Jeremy Corbyn in Morley

Corbyn's alternative for young people

Corbyn could re-win Scotland with a socialist approach to independence


Socialist Party news and analysis

One in three borrow for rent, Corbyn pledges housing revolution

Tories escape election fraud charges

NHS cyberattack: budget cuts and spy agency to blame

31,000 more kids at risk of abuse or neglect


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS election: Increased majority for Democracy Alliance

Support Corbyn's call to renationalise Royal Mail

CWU walkout wins large concessions

Blackpool deserves better - anti-austerity rally

Unison must back Corbyn's pledge to abolish zero-hour contracts with action

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist ideas are energising young people

Fund the fight against the Tories

Packed meeting sets out socialist policies needed to defeat the Tories


International socialist news and analysis

Palestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike protest

Brazil: General strike against Temer regime


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Barcelona May Days 1937 - a civil war within a civil war

Hull workers who fought in the Spanish Civil War

The Socialist inbox


 

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