Voice From The Back
The designer and poet William Morris was a committed socialist who had to live with the irony that, although he wanted the abolition of the wages system, the only people who could afford his carpets, tapestries and furniture were the very rich. The following item in the Independent (6 October) illustrates this. “A William Morris carpet that cost £113 new in 1883 was bought for £193,760 in an auction at Sotheby’s in London yesterday. The flowered design, a synthesis of medieval and eastern motifs, was one of only two examples known with a cream and apricot background. It was made for a house in Holland Park, West London, measuring 17ft 5ins by 13ft 6ins.” £193,000 for a carpet – something to bear in mind when you are looking for a bargain at the January sales!
DYING FOR WORK
DYING FOR PROFIT
DYING WITH POVERTY
Under the headline ‘Desperate plight of cancer sufferers living in poverty’ (Times, 9 November) reported as follows: “At least three quarters of the million Britons with cancer suffer from financial hardship brought on by the disease, including enforced job losses, discrimination and poor benefit allowances, according to research. A report by Macmillan Cancer Relief suggests that the disease costs patients hundreds of millions of pounds, for which they have little or no financial cover.” Needless to say this poverty only applies to the working class, as those capitalists unfortunate enough to suffer from the disease have at least the consolation that they will receive the best of care and that their families will not suffer financially.
Twenty years ago an explosion at the chemical factory in Bhopal in central India killed more than 15,000 people, and survivors are still trying to cope with the effects of this horrendous disaster. “Yesterday, half a million people who were in the path of the lethal cloud that spewed out of the chemical plant received a second compensation payment of £300 to £1,200” (Times, 13 November). This is in addition to a first payment of £500 per person from the company responsible Union Carbide. Dow Chemicals, who now own Union Carbide, refuse to clean up the site which still holds 25,000 tons of toxic waste. Another example of capitalism’s priorities. Make a couple of bucks, kill 15,000 and leave an area full of children who have difficulty breathing and are painfully dying, who cares? Socialists do.