Social and Economic Policy

A workers’ government will seize the banks

Author: 

Martin Thomas

It wasn’t the stars, or geology. It wasn’t ocean currents, or the weather. The world economy was brought crashing down in 2008 by the particular way we have allowed it to be organised.

It was brought down by being organised around the priority of maximum competitive greed and gain of a small exploiting minority.

From the early 1980s to 2008, world capitalism became more and more governed by the drive for quick, fluid gains, measured and coordinated through an increasingly complex and fast-flowing system of world financial markets.

From the early 1980s to 2008, world capitalism became more and more governed by the drive for quick, fluid gains, measured and coordinated through an increasingly complex and fast-flowing system of world financial markets.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

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Basic Income: on the side of the people

Author: 

John Cunningham

In his article “Basic Income: Side –stepping struggle?” (Solidarity 359) Kieran Miles gets a number of things wrong. I will attempt to pick up on some of these errors and then address his “questions for the UBI advocates”.

Before proceeding, a point on terminology. Kieran uses the term universal basic income while I prefer citizen’s income. However, the most common term in use seems to be the shorter basic income and I would suggest using this in any future discussion.

Critics of basic income need to spend a little more time looking at the concrete details of what is involved and base their opinions on the evidence.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Tax the rich!

Author: 

Editorial

The Tories, their arrogance boosted by having got through five years of cuts and wage squeeze and still having some chance of re-election, promise a cut in inheritance tax.

They have already cut corporation tax and the top rate of income tax.

The Labour leadership promises bitty taxes on the rich here and there, but nothing large-scale.

On 13 April Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls publicly rebuked the right-wing leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Jim Murphy, for saying there will be no new cuts under a Labour government.

The Tories, their arrogance boosted by having got through five years of cuts and wage squeeze and still having some chance of re-election, promise a cut in inheritance tax.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Nationalise land!

Author: 

Rhodri Evans

We should add two demands to Pete Gilman's list in his excellent article on socialist housing policy (Solidarity 358): nationalisation of land, and public ownership (state and municipal) of construction.

As Pete points out, most of the dwellings being built in London and other housing-shortage areas are for sale or rent at luxury levels. Yet they are not palaces with huge gardens. Mostly they are small flats built to ordinary construction specifications.

The profits from their high prices go to property developers or landlords.

Public ownership of all land and of construction would cut out the property developers' and landlords' profits.

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A record of plutocracy

Author: 

Martin Thomas

All the main storylines of Cameron’s Britain are there in this book. The food banks. The explosion of payday loans. Plunging wages for young workers, soaring rents and house prices, and almost no social house-building.

A review of Cameron’s Coup: how the Tories took Britain to the brink, by Polly Toynbee and David Walker

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Culture and Reviews: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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The case for Citizens' Income

The run-in to the General Election in May prompted me to look more closely at the politics of Left Unity and the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, both of whom are standing candidates in the election.

Neither of them mentions the Citizen’s Income (CI) also referred to as Basic Income (BI). Prompted by this discovery I then looked at the websites of the Socialist Workers’ Party, the Morning Star, Workers’ Liberty and the Socialist Party. The result was the same.

A Citizen’s Income is “an unconditional, automatic and non-withdrawable payment to each individual as a right of citizenship”.

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Not much of an economic recovery

Author: 

Rhodri Evans

According to the Tories, pay is now, at last, inching ahead of inflation again.

Probably not even that is true, on average. Analysis by the Resolution Foundation found that the median (middling) increase in real pay (pay compared to price inflation) in 2014 was zero, after being negative ever since 2010.

The conservative Institute for Fiscal Studies reckons average real income, adjusted for household composition, at £461 in 2014-5 compared to £473 in 2009-10.

Analysis by the Resolution Foundation found that the median (middling) increase in real pay (pay compared to price inflation) in 2014 was zero, after being negative ever since 2010.

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The £120 billion gap

Author: 

Rhodri Evans

If you fail to declare something relevant to a benefits claim, you will be pauperised by being cut off benefits.

You may be fined or jailed. 250 people were jailed for benefit fraud in the last year for which we have detailed figures, 2012.

Hundreds of thousands have to appeal to food banks after having benefits cut off, often because of no misdeed at all.

The government estimates benefit fraud at £2 billion a year — and benefits unclaimed by people who find the system to hard to negotiate at £12 billion a year.

Behind outrightly illegal tax evasion stands a greater bulk of tax avoidance — bending, rather than breaking, tax rules.

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Wealth trickling up

Author: 

Becky Crocker

If you didn’t see The Super Rich and Us, I would really recommend you look at it on i-player.

The first episode covered Britain’s property market and tax laws. The second focused on the growth of international financial markets.

Presenter Jacques Peretti begins each episode with these stark observations: “The super rich are taking over. 85 people now own the same as half the world’s population. Never before has money been so polarised. The 21st century will be the most unequal in human history.”

A review of The Super Rich and Us.

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How ruling class sees the last fifty years

Author: 

A teacher

The Tories are threatening the NHS. But they register that people are bothered about the issue, and they must step carefully. And some people in the ruling class have “internalised” the pressure on them from the labour movement enough that they themselves cherish the NHS.

How do the ruling class explain themselves, and what do they think they must look out for? I was given some insight on this recently when a business “grandee”, chair of many companies and member of many official committees and working groups, visited our school for an “inspirational address” to years 12 and 13.

Older socialists need to explain to young people both what has been won and urgently needs defending; how the next generations can build a much better world; and how, immediately, we can make more issues into those on which the ruling class knows it has to be defensive and cautious.

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