Monday, 19 October 2015

'Shame on you' a tory voters tearfull message to the conservative party

Last week’s question time saw a tory    voter reduced to tears by the government’s decision to slash tax Credits, after promising before the election that they wouldn’t. Of course, this women’s understandable concern, will be dismissed by George Osborne and his Pals in Westminster as a necessary sacrifice for getting the deficit down. I don’t want to spend to long mulling over the details of why this is empty rhetoric (if you do want to read more about this I recommend you read the Another Angry Voice, article on the subject) but would like to dismiss a few of the myths surrounding the economics of the Tory Party.

 

The Party of economics?

Some leftists may be encouraged to point fingers at the woman on question Time and say ‘got what you asked for you Tory’, but this is an extremely naïve view to take for a number of reasons.

Since they first got in power in 2010, the Tory’s have very effectively flaunted themselves as an alternative to reckless borrowing and deficit denial, and yet here we are in 2015 with a deficit that has not even been halved. In addition to this, the UK has been suffering the slowest economic recovery in history, and despite Cameron’s relentless ‘don’t trust labour’ rhetoric, the Tory’s created more public debt during their  5 years in office with the liberal democrats, than every single labour government put together. Although it sounds clichéd, the Conservatives are noting but the party of the rich, they always have been and always will be, not only have they enacted legislation that hurts working people, but they have also managed get away with painting themselves as a party for hardworking families, despite the fact that they are funded  millionaires and huge private companies.
      
The conservatives are not the party of economics, don’t let them keep getting away with this trick!
 

 

Tax Credits

To turn to the issue at hand, Tax Credits, for those of you that aren’t already aware are a benefit payed to working people on low incomes, and families raising children. The fact that the Tory's lied themselves to downing street, by promising they would not cut tax credits, and that Cameron has said that he is 'delighted' by tax credit cuts, should be enough to convince the most thatcher loving, socialist bashing, Austerity fan that what the government are doing here is wrong.
 
Tax Credits have done a lot of good, playing a big part in reducing child poverty. In fact, between 1998 and 2012, the number of children in families, below the poverty line fell from 35% of the child population, to 19%. The case generally made for cutting them, is that it forces greedy employers to pay out more rather than keeping money for themselves. However, Tax credits act as a subsidy to small entrepreneurs who are trying to set up their own businesses, it seems highly ironic that the conservatives would try and take this away when all they ever do is shout about how much they love the private sector and hate borrowing. Over the next few weeks, you can expect to hear from the tabloid press that people like the women who appeared on question time should stop expecting hand outs from the taxpayer, but Incidentally what you cannot expect to hear is that per year, corporations receive about £93 billion a year in hand-outs from the tax payer, some examples of companies doing these sorts of things include rail companies, outsourcing corporations and of course the banks whom, after the 2008 crash, had to be bailed out using massive government subsidies. brings a whole new meaning to benefit scrounger doesn't it?

While it is true that the Tory's are trying to raise wages slightly, this is not as Cameron spouts happening 'at the same time' as cuts to welfare. Rather, the raise is to be phased in slowly over the course of the next parliament. What Cameron  would probably find if he were to introduce the living wage without cutting welfare, is that demand for Tax Credits would fall, as fewer families would be suffering working poverty.

What cutting Tax Credits will result in, is an impoverishment of about 3 million working families across the country. In addition to this, numerous studies have found that, about 200,000 children will be pushed below the poverty line, as a result of the cuts. 'The Party of working people' my arse.

 

Conclusion

 
How anyone can listen to case like the woman from question time, and not be utterly disgusted at what this government is doing to hard working families, is utterly beyond belief. The fact that this woman voted conservative should be enough to illustrate that the Tory’s do not care about their voters.

I personally hope that people of various political stripes will take it upon themselves to continue circulating this footage until 2020, when maybe, Just maybe. We might be in with a chance of ending the conservatives disgusting war on the poor. Lets say it together now, SHAME ON YOU!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The neccesity of intersectionalism within social movements



As we all know, there are various social movements, each aiming to protect and extend the rights of sections of the population. Examples of such movements include feminism, LGBT rights, and racial equality movements. Despite this, it should be noted that these movements cannot be, and (in most cases) are not independant of each other. The main reasons for this are that black women an be abused, disabled people can be concerned about thier sexuality and so on; The movements interact and intersect with one another.

To many people classing themselves as feminists or activists, the neccesitty of intersectionalism, should be taken as an obvious rule of social movements, after all what is a group unless it accepts and listens to eveyone. The main reason I am writing this article however, is to adreess the exclusion and discrimination that does go on within some social movements.

Racial issues

A classic example of a social movement that is exclusionary is White feminism. These are genrelly middle class women, with a Why should I care about what dosent effect me' attitude. examples of movements white feminists have stood for, include free the nipple, a movement encouraging women to get naked in public regardless of religion, self esteem issues, or choice. As feminist blogger the belle Jar explains, 'It’s amazing that these women will talk up the idea of pro-choice when it comes to pregnancy, but flip out if a woman chooses to cover her hair. Unfortunately, to people living in the western world, White feminism is the only brand of feminism they ever hear about, and are thus encouraged to think that this is all feminism is. This may partly explain the large amount of anti-feminist sentiment online and in general. How such an ignorant movement such as White feminism can be considered a leading branch of feminism is beyond me. In my opinion, unless you advocate for the rights of all women you should not be considered a feminist at all.  

In addition to this, while it is not necessarily always intentional, racism occurs within the LGBT community. Many LGBT black people, report having experienced racism within the community. Clarence Ezra Brown found in her research that gay black males, often feel stuck between communities that they do  not fit into. Furthermore, Hispanic and Latino people have reported the greatest level of discrimination, from within the white LGBT community. As of result of things like this, organisations such as LA Casa, (a group based in California) have emerged to provide safe havens for black and Latino people, against discrimination from within the LGBT community. Not only do these example partly paint the LGBT community, as a force for discrimination, but they also make relations worse between various activist groups. Any attempts to make society more equal must be achieved through cooperation in activist groups. We do not live single issue lives and cannot run purely single issue campaigns.

Within the  LGBT community

Aside from this, there are less subtle forms of exclusion within social movements, that are not necceserily delibrate but require and equal amount of attention. For example, throughout the years it has been active, the LGBT rights movement has had considerable success in forcing gay and lesbian rights onto the agenda. however, the problem is that bisexual and transgender issues, have not been given equal time. trangender and bisexual people often face marginalisation from lesbian and gay groups. Also, Studies frquently include gender nonconformist individuals under the banner of homosexuality, despite the fact that gender identity is different from sexual identity. Furthermore, while this is a step in the right direction, other studies have focused on the health of transexuals alone while ignoring, transvestites and intersex individuals. While it is important that we continue fighting for the rights of lesbian and gay people, it is important that we do not marginalize and exclude certain groups
 

Disability issues


One of the most underrepresented groups within  social movements is disabled people. This is because, the commonly held world view on disabled people is that, being able bodied is the norm in society, and that as a result of this, disabled people must overcome their weaknesses. This view of having a disability as an error, is contrary to the general view of sexual orientation, or race, as something which you are born with. While in some developed countries there is legislation to protect disabled people, this tends to take an extremely narrow view of what a disability actually is, with people suffering from addictions generally excluded, regardless of circumstance. Furthermore, In countries such as the UK discrimination against disabled people continues to rise, with things such as the Independent Living Fund being scrapped In the name of Ideological Austerity.
 
A large experiment conducted about disability discrimination, sent two applications out to 768 for which able bodied or disabled candidates could be expected to be equally productive,  these applications were almost identical with one listing a disability. What the Study found is that the disabled candidate had a 48% lower chance, to receive a positive reaction from the employer, than their non disabled counterpart. What this research illustrates is the inherently discriminatory nature of the capitalist workplace, employers often do not want to take risks by employing minority groups, because they feel it will harm their reputation to do so. Anyone, disabled or otherwise, has a moral obligation to not take this kind of blatant injustice, and to make sure such issues are talked about, rather than suppressed.

Conclusion

At this point, some people might accuse me of trying to be an all round 'social justice warrtior' (i'm looking at you , you-tube anti-feminists) however, to be logical in my advocacy of feminism, I must advocate for the rights of all those who take part in such movements, and not just a small section of them.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Awful arguments #1 - the' burden of immigration' Myth


How many times have you heard phrases claiming that ‘immigrants are all claiming benefits’ that we can’t support them, or the ridiculously ignorant ‘they are all stealing our jobs’? This article examines the legitimacy of the claim that migrants are a burden on the economy.

let’s look at this in context of the current refugee situation. According to figures from The UN refugee agency, there were 19.5 million refugees worldwide by the end of 2014. Syria has become the world’s top source country of refuges, with almost one in four of them coming from Syria, 95 per cent of whom are located in the surrounding countries. Despite the vast number of refugees being supported by countries such as Jordan, the UK has only agreed to take 20,000 refugees by the end of 2020. In addition to this, Germany have agreed to take more refugees in 2015 than the entire of the European Union did in 2014. All of this has come amid excuses from politicians that accepting immigrants will somehow ‘harm our infrastructure’ and the frankly childish excuse of ‘accepting refugees will make them all want to come here’. Such arguments are grounded in little to no evidence whatsoever, and the sooner we can see the end of them, the better.

Economics

One of the main objections to immigration is that accepting migrants will be bad for the economy. Despite this, a poll of leading economists could not a single one who rejected the idea that immigration is a huge economic benefit. So why to people keep perpetuating this myth?

Well, when people reject to immigration on economic terms they are using something called the lump of labour fallacy. This is the idea that no person, however hard they work, can get a job without either taking one from someone else, or radically driving down wages due to the increased labour force. However, from a business point of view immigration should be a largely good thing. Like everybody, immigrants have a distinct need and desire to buy food and commodities. With more commodities being purchased, more jobs can then be created, increasing the size of the economy. By the ‘immigrants are staling our jobs’ logic, so should every young person leaving school, and entering the job market.

The Organisation for economic cooperation and development works to provide data about economies, internationally regarded as developed. In their report about migration they found that immigrant workers tend to make a net contribution to the countries they migrate to. This is due to the fact that they tend to be both younger and more economically active, than the wider population in their new county. These immigrants are desperately needed, without an inflow of economically active migrants, an increasing number of retiring people are going to have to rely on an ever shrinking workforce to sustain their standard of living.

Other claims such as ‘immigrants are all on benefits’, have their own problems. The Study Fiscal impacts of immigration to the UK, published in the economic Journal, found that 60% of migrants from western and southern Europe have graduated university, and that 25% of arrivals have completed a degree, compared with 24% of the entire UK workforce. furthermore, the study also found that between the years of 2000 and 2011 immigration made a net contribution of 20bn to public finances.

While I am no fan of capitalist economics and would like to see it replaced, it is likely that open borders would decrease levels of global inequality by allowing immigrants to travel and back and forth from their native countries allowing them to share knowledge and capital. While we do of course have the environmental issue to think about, with regard to immigration fuelling the economy, immigration does not add to the number of people on the planet, and thus is not necessarily as environmentally destructive as other forms of growth.

In light of this, it can be argued that we are accepting immigrants with lots of money, who spend not a Jot of it in the UK, and neglecting those immigrants who will be able to work hard and contribute to the economy.

food and shelter

As previously explained not only increased spending power among immigrants should mean the creation of new jobs in things such as food manufacturing, and house building. Also, there are numerous other policies that can be implemented to sustain immigrants.
 
To put this into perspective, there are more than 11 million empty properties across Europe, enough to house the entire population of the continent twice over. Ironically, one of the main groups espousing the idea that immigrant are responsible for the housing crisis are the Tory party, a party who, have vandalised our social housing, and throughout their time in office have overseen the lowest levels of new house building since the 1920s.  To see a party that has does nothing but increase the amount of people on food banks to nearly 1 million, and spectacularly fail in cutting the deficit, moaning that immigration is the source of our problems, is so utterly  hypocritical its almost funny. Don't believe tory lies, and scapegoats about immigrants,  such lies only distract us from the real problems.

In addition to our abysmal housing crisis, 3.9 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food and drink industry every year, with about 10% of this fit for consumption, enough food for 800 million meals. By allowing anti-food waste campaigns and charities, such as fare share and food not bombs, who do excellent work saving food destined for waste and sending it to communities in need, to help migrants, we can massively benefit both ourselves and the migrants who depend on our help.

No human being need go without in our rich era, here's to bread and wellbeing for all!

Conclusion

I would like to conclude by pointing out that immigration is not only a necessity for many people, but a fact of life. People have always wanted to move from one place to the others. Just because this may seem different to a lot of people it could be a huge opportunity, in the fight for global equality.

The next time someone l tries to argue that 'immigration is a burden', feel free to point out some of these points to them. Such claims serve only to maintain apathy in our society, and preserve authoritarian institutions.


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Corbyns speech - A Libertarian Socialist Analysis

 
The end of September saw the Labour party host their first conference with Jeremy Corbyn as their leader. Unlike the candidates Corbyn stood against in the recent labour leadership race, all of which seemed to be programmed to supporting the Tory-light policies that lost Labour the general election, Jeremy Corbyn is running on a platform of opposing austerity, making Britain a more equal society, and even being honest about his views.

Comparison

So how does the left-wingers speech compare or contrast with those of Blair, Brown or Miliband?  Well, he begins by taking the mick out of the newspapers, thus far taking a very different approach to previous labour leaders, whose policy when it comes to newspapers has either been to pander to them, or to withstand all abuse, while retaining a politician’s smile. Whether this little joust will force the newspapers to relent their propaganda attacks however, is highly doubtful. Watch as they continue to rein down fresh hell on ‘communist Corbyn’.

A point in which Corbyn begins to sound a little more like just another politician is when he turns his attention to winning seats, namely in the SNP heartland of Scotland, and the Boris ruled London. Despite the fact that winning votes is obviously the aim of any political party, this part appears to the somewhat sceptical listener, like yet another case of politicians squabbling over who has a right to which turf.

Saying the controversial

Something the left wing leader of the labour Party appears to place particular emphasis on, both in this speech, and elsewhere, is organising politics from the bottom up ‘in every community and workplace, and not just in Westminster’. It goes without saying here that whether labour or conservative, top down politics has always been the way things have worked in this country. A statement promising greater democracy could be something that left libertarians could definitely get behind. However, exactly what Corbyn means by ‘bottom up politics’ is unclear, and as a result is something we should not yet get excited about.

Later in the speech Corbyn makes clear his position on nuclear weapons, claiming that ‘I don’t believe that £100bn spent on a new generation of nuclear weapons…is the right way forward’. In light of claims from the vast majority of MPs, about how missiles with the capability to wipe out millions of people, somehow make the world a safer place, to speak out against nuclear weapons is a brave thing to do as leader of the Labour party. This is where the problem lies, nuclear weapons seems to have become an increasingly divisive issue amongst labour party members, should the pro-trident labour members convince Corbyn to change his position on trident, then that will appear to both them and the rest of the country that the labour leader is yet another easily manipulated politician. Furthermore, while this analogy may seem far-fetched, if the right of the Labour party were to launch a campaign against Corbyn's platform, then that could lead people to make the case for Corbyn to be replaced with someone, with a more ‘sensible’ view of politics. Whether a Corbyn supporter or not, speak out against nuclear weapons and the sickening arms trade that benefits from them.


Conclusion

Perhaps the point of the speech in which Corbyn most shows himself off as a socialist is when he states that ‘some people have property and power, status and capital that are denied to the many’. This is indeed a statement of conviction. Nonetheless, it is important that we do not get carried away by these words. However much Jeremy Corbyn means what he says, it is important to remember that he does not hold the solution to all our problems, and concerning the ideas of the left wing candidate that we as libertarian socialists can get behind, it is important that we make sure he turns words into actions.