Feeding the Five Thousand
Capitalism is in crisis and they are making us pay for it. 'Austerity' means increased hardship, attacks on the living conditions and wages of the working class, and 'reforms' to Social Security. Here in Lambeth job losses, cuts in housing benefit, and low pay are forcing families to seek free, charity handouts of food from the Food Bank at St Paul's Church in Ferndale Road. The Church has said that it is feeding 5,000 people.
David Cameron likes Food Banks. His Cabinet Minister for Food Caroline Spelman thinks they are an example of good citizenship in Cameron's 'Big Society'. In reality it is a case of the capitalist state saving money by ridding itself of its role of providing basic support for destitute working class families – of, basically, feeding its hungry citizens – and forcing them to rely instead on religious charities.
Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat politicians all accept capitalism and apply its economic law of profit before people. If Labour was in government they would be following the same economic course. In fact Labour is in power in Lambeth and is imposing cuts to benefits and services.
'I was hungry and you fed me,' says the Food Bank’s mission statement, 'thirsty and you gave me a drink.' Socialism, as a society of common ownership and democratic control, will provide food and drink, and much more, to everyone as of right in accordance with the principle 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs'. Nobody should have to rely on charity and nobody would.
As part of making the working class pay for the capitalist crisis, the Coalition government are changing the rules on Housing Benefit from April. The capitalist state will charge you for the bedrooms you have in your council or housing association house. It will be a 'bedroom tax'. The government says it will affect over half a million households.
The capitalist state will be taxing your living space if your children have flown the nest for college or somewhere else to live. If you have one spare room you will face a 14 percent cut in housing benefit, two or more spare rooms and the capitalist state will cut your housing benefit by a quarter ! The capitalist state is making rules on how many bedrooms you can have and who sleeps where. Your kids will have to share a bedroom if they are under 16 and the same gender, and if they are under 10 they have to share whatever gender.
Under capitalism people only get the housing they can afford. The lower your income, the worse your housing. In a socialist society of common ownership, housing will be about what people need to live and not how much rent they have to pay.
Tory Mayor Boris Johnson wants to save £45 million from the Fire Brigade budget. So he plans to close 12 Fire Stations in London. This will affect people in Lambeth as among those he wants to close are the one at the Clapham Old Town and the one in the next-door borough on Southwark Bridge Road. These closures will put in danger the safety of millions of Londoners because people will have to wait longer for a fire engine. Economic considerations not people's safety are the priority in capitalism.
No more adventures
In August last year Lambeth Labour Council 'temporarily' closed four Children's Adventure Playgrounds in Lambeth.
The adventure playgrounds at Bolton Crescent in Camberwell, Lollard Street in Kennington, Loughborough Park on Moorland Road just off Coldharbour Lane in Brixton, and Wilmington Road, off Landor Road near Clapham North Tube Station all remain closed.
These Adventure Playgrounds were free to access for children ages 5 to 16 but are easy targets for the 'economic austerity cuts' required by capitalism and imposed by the Coalition government and Lambeth Labour Council. Former Lambeth Labour leader Steve Reed promised at a Council meeting in April 2011 that no adventure playgrounds would close. He has now moved up the greasy pole into the House of Commons where he can better serve capitalism when it’s Labour’s turn again to run capitalism, in the only way to can be - as a profit-making system against the interests of the majority class of wage and salary workers.
In a socialist society children's lives would be one great adventure playground, education a creative journey, and the free development of each child the condition for the free development of all children.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Think locally, act globally
Although we make no apology for raising the issue of world socialism in a local election (as it's the workings of world capitalism that are ultimately responsible for the cuts to local services) we don't neglect local issues. Here is an extract from the leaflet on this that we are distributing in Tulse Hill (and before in other parts of Lambeth) mentioned in yesterday's blog: