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Voice From The Back

All Right For Some

That we live in a society that has world hunger, unemployment and homelessness is hardly a matter of dispute, but that is only a series of problems that confront the useful members of society. For others there are no social problems. “Paris Hilton has been spotted house hunting in Malibu. The heiress and reality TV star seemed to have taken a particular shine to a luxury pink stucco mansion with a hefty price tag. The rental property is reportedly costing $80,000 to rent per month. With four bedrooms and four bathrooms, the beachside mansion would make the perfect summer hangout for the LA socialite and her many friends. Paris also checked out other luxury villas, all close to the beach with gorgeous sea views. ‘Just got home. Saw some beautiful properties, so it’s going to be a hard choice to make,’ she tweeted later that day” (Yahoo News, 12 May). Could someone please tweet her that she is a useless parasitic exploiter?

The Middle Class Myth

In reviewing Owen Jones’s book Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, the journalist Carol Midgely makes some valid points. “The Thatcher experiment, Jones says, repositioned working class not as something to be proud of but something to escape from. Being middle class was the holy grail. The dockers, miners, skilled factory workers and car workers of Britain have watched powerless as their jobs disappeared or were sent abroad” (Times, 28 May). Here we have Jones and Midgely making the usual mistake about class. All men and women who, because of their lack of property, are forced to seek work for a wage or a salary are members of the working class. Whether you work in a factory or an office whether you push a barrow or a pen if you have to seek a wage or a salary in order to live you are a member of the working class. 

A Dog’s Life

From time to time newspapers run obituaries of famous men and women but we had one recently for a dog! It was a rather special mutt though. You see it was a millionaire. The Maltese dog called Trouble had been left $12 million by the New York hotel mogul Leona Helmsley. “Legal battles ensued and a judge cut Trouble’s inheritance to $2 million. She was placed with Carl Lekic, the general manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel, in Florida, who had played with her many times. He was paid $5,000 a month for the privilege. He told the trustees that Trouble required $100,000 a year for a security guard (the dog had received many death and kidnapping threats). $18,000 for vet costs, $1,200 for food and $8,000 for grooming” (Times, 10 June). All this insanity is happening in a world where millions are trying to survive on $1.25 a day.

The Class Divide

When socialists speak of class division we are often accused of being outdated, but here are recent figures that prove our point. “Last year was another good year for millionaires – though their pace of growth is slowing. According to a new report by Boston Consulting Group out today, the number of millionaire households in the world grew by 12.2% in 2010, to 12.5 million. (BCG defines millionaires as those with $1 million or more in investible assets, excluding homes, luxury goods and ownership in one’s own company.) The U.S. continues to lead the world in millionaires, with 5.2 million millionaire households, followed by Japan with 1.5 million millionaire households, China with 1.1 million and the U.K. with 570,000. …The most important trend, however, is the global wealth distribution. According to the report, the world’s millionaires represent 0.9% of the world’s population but control 39% of the world’s wealth, up from 37% in 2009” (Wall Street Journal, 31 May). Yes, startling though it may seem – less than 1 percent of the world’s population own 39 percent of the wealth.

Law And Disorder

We are used to reading of gallant and dedicated police officers rounding up criminals and packing them off to prison, but what are we to make of this news item? “Members of Orlando Food Not Bombs were arrested Wednesday when police said they violated a city ordinance by feeding the homeless in Lake Eola Park. Jessica Cross, 24, Benjamin Markeson, 49, and Jonathan ‘Keith’ McHenry, 54, were arrested at 6:10 p.m. on a charge of violating the ordinance restricting group feedings in public parks. McHenry is a co-founder of the international Food Not Bombs movement, which began in the early 1980s” (Orlando Sentinel, 2 June). Feeding the homeless? What a despicable crime. Truly capitalism is a crazy society.