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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Socialist Way: Gaza is basking in as much wealth as the State of ...

The Socialist Way: Gaza is basking in as much wealth as the State of ...: While Israel has been telling the world that it has the right to defend itself against foreign aggression, arguing that no country sho...

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Still living at home with your parents ? your not alone

"Nearly two million working young adults aged between 20 and 34 years old in England are still living with their parents according to Shelter, which is urging stronger action to help the ''clipped wing generation'' fly the nest. The charity said data it has taken from the Census shows that there are 1.97 million people in this age group in England who are still living with their parents, accounting for one quarter of all young adults in employment. A survey commissioned by the charity also found that nearly half (48%) of 250 young adults who live with their parents said they do so because they cannot afford to rent or buy their own home. Shelter said its analysis of the Census data uncovered several areas where the proportion of adult children living with their parents is much higher. It named nation's ''clipped wing'' hotspots as Castle Point in Essex where 45% of working 20- to 34-year-olds live with their parents; Knowsley in Merseyside where the figure is 42%; and Solihull where 38% of young working adults still live in the home they grew up in. " I too can add myself to this ever growing list. The rental prices in East Hertfordshire are reidiculous and someone who only works part time with his wages topped up a little by working tax credits paying a rent of 500 pounds a month upwards is simply not a option i can afford. I am blind as some of you may or may not know and i would love to further my independence by gaining my own place. But this is just not possible. If renting is almost impossible dont even think about owning your own place either. I am 26 and have very little chance of getting on the so called propety ladder. help to buy and schemes like these are helpful to some but for many they make no difference at all. "Shelter highlighted the case of a 32-year-old woman named Sarah who lives with her parents in the family home in Croydon. She works in online advertising, but has been living on and off with her parents for the past 10 years while trying to save for a deposit. Sarah said: ''I'm trying really hard to save up and get my own place but today's rollercoaster house prices mean the goal posts keep moving. ''If I move out now the reality is I'll be stuck paying expensive rents for the rest of my life. I know I'm lucky to have a job and somewhere to live, but the thought that I'm going to be living like a teenager into my late 30s or even 40s is really disheartening.'' Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: ''The 'clipped wing generation' are finding themselves with no choice but to remain living with mum and dad well into adulthood, as they struggle to find a home of their own... ''Rather than pumping more money into schemes like Help to Buy, we need bolder action that will meet the demand for affordable homes and not inflate prices further. ''From helping small local builders find the finance they need, to investing in a new generation of part rent, part buy homes, the solutions to our housing shortage are there for the taking. " with extracts from an article in todays Daily Telegraph

Monday, 28 July 2014

Mythbuster: Israel’s attack on Gaza

This is a great piece By the excellent Tom Walker of red Pepper who takes apart the excuses Israel is using to justify its massacre July 2014 Over at MYTH: The Palestinians started the conflict From looking at some of the media coverage you would think so – but it’s vital to put today's problems in the right historical context. The key date is 1948, when the state of Israel was created by Jewish settlers in Palestine. Fleeing persecution in Europe, they were handed the land by Britain, which held it as a colony at the time. Israeli myth has it that the country was mostly empty at this point. In fact, terror gangs murdered large numbers of Palestinians, and forced others from their land and homes, in order to expand Israel’s territory. Around 400 Palestinian towns and villages were ‘wiped off the map’ or renamed. Israel’s militarised, colonial nature is part of the state’s very foundations, and has continued ever since. Every time the borders of the map are redrawn in Israel’s favour, Israel pushes still further – the areas usually described as ‘settlements’ are in flagrant violation of international law, but nothing is done. New settlements continue to be built in the West Bank today. Most Palestinians, meanwhile, have been left stateless and landless, some living in refugee camps. Jewish people from all over the world have the right to move to Israel, but Palestinians do not have the right to return to their villages or homes. FPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=" MYTH: Whatever the history, the problem now is the violence on both sides This is a common position, and allows the speaker to feel very even-handed in their condemnation. There’s a problem though: as I write, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed since the start of the recent offensive. The Israeli death toll, on the other hand, stands at... two – and one of those is thought to be from ‘friendly fire’. This is not new: massively disproportionate death counts have long been a feature of Israel’s attacks on Palestine. In Israel’s 2008–9 invasion of Gaza, an estimated 1,400 Palestinians were killed, compared to 13 Israelis. It is also the case, both then and now, that the majority of the Israeli casualties are military, while most of the Palestinian dead were civilians. Lazily drawing an equals sign between Israel and Palestine ignores that one side is the occupier, and one is being occupied. Right now, one is invading the other! To equate them is as absurd as talking about the US’s invasions of Iraq or Afghanistan by condemning ‘both sides’. If you are against violence, surely you need to focus your anger on the side that is committing the vast majority of the violence? If every death is a tragedy, one side is bearing a far greater weight of tragedy than the other. There can be no peace without justice. MYTH: Israel is defending itself against rockets fired from Gaza The ‘rocket fire’ is a central part of how Israel is justifying its invasion of Gaza – so let’s take a minute to look at the reality of these rockets. Many of them, known as Qassam rockets, are improvised from basic steel parts, fuelled by sugar and fertiliser and with a range of only a few kilometres. More recently there have been the Grad rockets and a few others, old cast-offs from Iran and Syria, with a slightly greater range. To get an idea of the level of ‘threat’ to Israel, have a look at reports of the damage done by Gazan rockets. Again and again you will see the phrase ‘no injuries or damage’. In one case some marks were left on a road. Another caused a small fire in a field. More recently a cat was startled from a tree: Israel, on the other hand, is a US-backed nuclear power with billions to spend on the latest military hardware – including the ‘Iron Dome’ missile defence system which shoots down most Palestinian rockets in any case. Israel’s weapons are capable of massive destruction, it has many more of them, and it uses them constantly, even during supposed ceasefires. There is much talk of Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ from the Palestinian rockets. But what about Palestine’s right to defend itself from Israel’s infinitely more powerful arsenal? MYTH: The attacks are targeted at ‘terrorists’ and their tunnels This is one of the more transparent of Israel's lies – not least because the list of Palestinian dead shows such incredibly high numbers of children. For example, Peter Beaumont, the Guardian’s correspondent, witnessed four Palestinian children aged between 7 and 11, who were playing on a beach, being killed by Israeli shelling. ‘I’ve seen some truly shocking scenes this morning,' he tweeted later, after the invasion started. ‘A man putting the remains of his two year old son into a shopping bag...' These are not exceptions but the everyday reality of Israel’s victims. Israel attempts to claim that any civilian casualties are the result of Hamas using ‘human shields’, but from its actions it is clear that everywhere in Gaza is a potential target. Israel literally demolished Gaza’s el-Wafa hospital. A hospital is quite obviously not a ‘terrorist tunnel’, yet these were no accidental hits – the building was hit on all floors with up to 20 rockets and shells, then burned down. It is an upside-down world where it is ‘terrorism’ to dig a tunnel but ‘self-defence’ to destroy a hospital. Israel claims that it drops leaflets and makes phone calls so that civilians can evacuate any building or area it is planning to bomb. But the whole of Gaza is under siege, and Israel does not let Palestinians cross the border. Where, exactly, are they supposed to go? MYTH: While Israel can be criticised, it is ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ Surely if Israel was a democracy, then the Palestinians in the areas it is occupying would have at least basic civil rights and a vote. In fact even the few Palestinians who are allowed to live in Israel itself as citizens are subject to discrimination and harassment. People talk about Israel as if it is a small, vulnerable island surrounded by hostility on all sides, its very existence in need of defending. But it is Palestine, not Israel, whose existence is at risk. It is Palestine that is gradually disappearing from maps. In fact, if it weren’t for the resistance, Palestine might have already passed into the history books, forgotten by the world. What is really meant by the ‘only democracy’ phrase is that Israel is a reliable ally of the US and other Western governments: that Israel is on their side. But their criteria are not ours. We need to target Israel with boycott, divestment and sanctions, and continue to build the global mass movement to free Palestine.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Socialist Way: We need to build and make this the biggest demonst...

The Socialist Way: We need to build and make this the biggest demonst...: Last Saturday, cities and towns across the world demonstrated against Israel's barbaric attack on Gaza. The biggest was in London,...

Standing with the people of Gaza under attack from Israel

Over 260 Palestinians have been killed in the current war “ the overwhelming majority civilians. Two Israelis have also lost their lives. The destruction raining down on the Gaza strip, carried out by the huge US-backed military machine of the Israeli government, is completely disproportionate to the threat faced by homemade rockets fired from Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu claims that the war is necessary to guarantee Israelis safety. In reality, this ground invasion will do nothing to make Israelis safer. It is at the expense of many lives, such as the tragic killing of four children playing on a beach. Homes of those accused of killing Israelis have been targeted and destroyed, leaving survivors to search for the dead amongst the rubble. Meanwhile, no such action has been taken against the families of far-right Israeli activists charged with killing Mohammad Abu-Khdeir. Unfortunately, the rockets fired into Israel and the attempted attack on Sufa, within Israel’s current border, have threatened lives and given Israel the excuse it needed to justify a ground invasion of the Gaza strip. These tactics are counter-productive, and will not further the cause of an independent Palestinian state. Just yesterday there was a shelling of a hospital in Gaza killing several injuring many more. The claims by Israel that hamas are hiding their militants amoung civilians is a duvious one at best as even last time in 2008/09 Amnesty international looked into these claims and could find no evidence of this. This conflict, and the ongoing vicious oppression of Palestinians, is rooted in the western quest for domination throughout the Middle East. It is intractable under the present capitalist system, which places profit over people. The spark that ignited this present conflict is the collapse of US-backed peace talks in April, and the formation of a new Palestinian government supported by both main political parties, Hamas and Fatah. Israel had attempted to hold back demands for Palestinian statehood by playing off one party against another; the threat of a united government is the main threat the Israeli government is fighting. Netanyahus government has a policy of expanding into Palestinian areas by supporting new settlements and driving Palestinians off their land. It has no interest in working for a real peace, and for a genuinely independent Palestine. The US, led by Obama, fully backs the right-wing Israeli government as a steady partner in an oil-rich region wracked with war and instability. There are glimpses of how to overcome the situation. Joint protests of Jews and Arabs in Israel has shown the potential for working-class people uniting for an end to the conflict. The recent protests of Arabs within Israel were the largest for a number of years. A recent poll showed that the majority of Palestinians supported demonstrations and mass action over rocket attacks, as the way to win an independent Palestine. The Arab Spring showed what is possible when working people stand up for themselves this way. In 2011, Israel saw a mass movement for public investment in housing, and other social services, which showed the potential for class divisions to open up in Israeli society. The struggle for peace, work and housing can only be won by mass struggle; kicking out the vested interests of the western governments, of big business, and of the right wing parties in Israel and Palestine. I stand fully behind the palestinian people in solidarity and hope there is a end to this conflict sooner rather than later as the casualties pile up.

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Socialist Way: Effectively support Gaza through Boycotts

The Socialist Way: Effectively support Gaza through Boycotts:   Morning comrades and friends all, here is a list of things and products that we can Boycott in support of Gaza and against Israel’s ...

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The character of the labour party and its contradictions

Whilst I was a member of the socialist party I was taught to hate the labour party and that I still do till this day. I was a member of the labour party for at time yet fell out of love with them very quickly indeed in my naive days of not knowing much on politics they seemed the best place to defeat the Tories and indeed they still may be if you solely rely on electoral politics and simply beating the other side. But I have now left the labour party and spent some time in the socialist party formally the militant tendency who were hammered by the Labour party leadership again and again until the main editorial board of the militant paper were expelled. I joined the socialist party hoping for a good analysis of the party I’d just left and on the whole I agreed with a lot of it at first holding a dismissive attitude towards the Labour party . But was the socialist party’s analysis of the labour party correct?? The one they still stand by today which leads them to set up such sectarian projects like the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition due to the fact they have written off the labour party and now consider it a fully capitalist party. But to my mind the Labour party has never been a fully socialist party even the late Tony Benn could recognise this. For militant the predecessor of the socialist party the labour party was always described as a capitalist workers party and indeed I do still think this is the case despite everything. It is very evident to me looking back at Militants history and how it became militant labour and now the socialist party it seems to me from someone now on the outside that Militant and its leadership almost overnight decided the labour party was no longer a mass body of the working class as soon as its main figures were expelled. Almost like a bad ex lover it set upon hating its ex party and throwing all sorts of accusations its way despite following in its old tradition itself. Indeed every time the labour party do not come out and support strikes you will see no end of socialist party and TUSC representatives mostly with the twitter follower ship of Dave Enlist condemning the labour party for not backing strikes. Yet history will show us that the labour party or should I say the leadership of the party are not known for backing strikes and indeed in the biggest strike in British history the famous general strike of 1926 which the likes of the Socialist party heap such inspiration on did not back this strike eithr. Indeed you can look all through history did the labour party which still at the time contained the likes of the Militant back the miners strikes in the 1980’s ?? No they did not and there was not the scorn poured on labour at the time like today. The fact is despite labours awfulness and don’t get me wrong I am not fan of the labour party what so ever and would not think of rejoining at all the analysis of this party is crucial for understanding where we are and where we need to go as a class. The labour party has always had a capitalist leadership and a working class base all be it today it has been hollowed out and its democratic structures eroded. Don’t get me wrong I get all that and is no longer place for mass workers struggle but thinking back to a time when the labour party was ever worth struggle is a fantasy dreamt up by various trotskyists who like to cover being in the labour party by looking to recruit. The union link is key for many if that link ever goes that will be the end but until it is closed off for good which I highly doubt as it keeps up the idea that labour can still be for workers even if it wont ever be now still is a distraction for workers looking to reclaim labour. I don’t believe the labour party to be able to be reclaimed as simply due to the fact it was never ours to reclaim. It’s always been a huge contradiction and to win we must look past the labour party itself for change in my opinion. Lets not beat around the bush Trotsky always said for his followers to join mass organisations of the working class to spread their ideas and gain influence and this was all the militant wherein the labour party for. Any pretence to say they supported the labour party are nonsense they clearly only were a part of it for their own ends as was most Trotskyites who ever join such mass organisations they are in it for themselves over the working class itself and their own eventual goals. They may sell you bullshit but the truth is always out there to find. The labour party will be a feature in the coming period as like it or not it is still about and needs to be dealt with as a organisation whether you see it as a vehicle for change or not it cant be wished away.