Hidden cost of livingFebruary 21, 2024
Q. What was the bare minimum you needed to stay alive last week? A. Food, heating, accommodation.
Q. How did you get these things? A. With money, obviously!
Whatever the amount, if you’re working, it came from your wages for some employment.
Q. Why would anyone want to employ you? A. Simple: they expect you to produce enough to pay your wages, to replace whatever you use up while you work AND to fund their spending. Oh, and cash for reinvestment – to try to ensure they don’t end up in the working class too.
Remember – while capitalism lasts, your cost of living will always include the cost of carrying a capitalist on your back.
Navalny state murderFebruary 17, 2024
Those aware of the Russian state’s increasingly Stalinist suppression of opposition parties and dissidents can scarcely be surprised that Alexei Navalny, healthy and smiling just two days before, has now been reported dead in his Arctic gulag. While the cause of death has not yet been made public, there’s every likelihood that it was officially sanctioned.
But Russia isn’t some lone bad actor. All around the world, states suppress their critics with virtual impunity. And Britain has its own guilty record, with its plans to extradite journalist Julian Assange to a hellish future in some US black site, with even close ally Australia now protesting and demanding his release.
The capitalist state makes criminals of critics, but is the biggest criminal of all.
Poverty persistsFebruary 14, 2024
There has been a lot of discussion in the UK recently about the ‘cost of living crisis’, as prices continue to go up but wages and benefits rise more slowly. Certainly many are really feeling the pinch.
Since the start of the year, it has been reported that:
- six million people would need to more than double their income to escape poverty
- over two million retired people are living in ‘severe hardship’, with another million just above the poverty line
- poverty is driving many teenagers towards predatory gangs and drug-dealing
- rough sleeping in London is at its highest level in a decade
All quite appalling, and all completely unnecessary, given the productive potential of society.
How to save the worldFebruary 7, 2024
Environmental problems caused by capitalism’s production for profit are legion – resource depletion, destruction of nature, chemical toxification, epidemics, to name but a few. And then there is climate change. Attempts to remedy it by recycling, solar energy, wind turbines and the like all seem doomed to failure involving as they do significant use of resources.
Some have suggested that, for nature to recover, half the earth should be left free from human settlement and resource extraction. But any comprehensive attempt to change how humans interact with nature is impossible within a system whose existence demands profit-based growth. The only feasible way to heal injury to people and planet is a free access society – moneyless, wageless and stateless – based on production for collective need not profit.
So long, pardners…January 31, 2024
The owner of the staff-owned John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has just halved redundancy payments and is proposing to slash 11,000 jobs.
Now read that sentence again. See anything odd about it?
Yes, it would seem to be saying that staff at JLP, who are called ‘partners’, are in effect sacking themselves for the good of the firm.
But of course, the ‘partners’ didn’t get consulted over any of this, and are justifiably furious. They have our sympathy.
This was always a bit of a charade, wasn’t it? In reality, capitalist companies make profits by extracting hard labour from their workers. Giving the workers fancy name badges, a few shares and ‘partnership council’ representation was never going to change that.