Monday, 11 May 2015

This is not our defeat

reblogged with thanks to red and black leeds The results are in, and once again, the British electorate have voted in the party the rich and their friends in the media told them to. Despite pre-election predictions of hung parliaments, "progressive" coalitions, or minority governments, the Conservatives walk away from this election with a slender majority, having increased their share of seats in parliament to 330. Another five years of Tory government now seems assured. There are those on the left who are greeting this news with despair. Despite it’s history of betrayal and failure, every election season the British left lines up behind the Labour Party time and time again. This campaign was no exception. The trade unions, of course, backed Labour to the hilt. Even the left-wing nationalist SNP and the anti-austerity Green Party were touting themselves as eligible partners to a Labour government. Many on the radical left were trying to talk themselves into believing a Labour victory would bring meaningful social change just a fraction closer. Even for those of us who put no stock in parliamentary politics it’s easy to slip into the habit of rooting for the parliamentary opposition. Just the mere fact of them nominally opposing the repulsive Tory crooks who’ve been in power for the last five years made Miliband and his outfit instantly seem sympathetic. But the truth is these people have nothing to offer us and we know it. We’ve been down this road before, for 13 long years of Labour administered misery. This is the party that brought you tuition fees and the Iraq War. They are not friends to the working class. They never have been. As anarchists, we’re critical of voting and elections in general as a strategy for change. For a summary of the anarchist arguments against electoralism, it’s worth reading the recent series by Phil Dickens for - amongst other things, the idea that we can get what we need by just voting for a different set of politicians to run everything fosters illusions in the very system we’re trying to oppose. As Phil puts it: parties can’t pull the state leftward, but mass social movements can force concessions from it. The former is a massive drain of time, energy and effort from the latter. Worse, it creates the illusion that the latter isn’t necessary since we can just vote ‘radically’ instead of all that inconvenient hard work of organising and fighting. No government, Labour or Tory, will offer us anything unless we fight for it. Left-wing electoralism, when it succeeds in capturing state power, encourages us to trust the state and in state officials, bureaucrats and politicians – instead of trusting each other, and our own collective ability to take action and change things. But the other side of this problem is that when left-wing parties fail, as the Labour party did catastrophically this time round, those who’ve invested so much, both emotionally and physically, in electoral success are faced with despair. We see friends and comrades who believed a Labour government would bring at least some relief from the horrors of Tory austerity now downhearted, defeated, at the point of giving up hope altogether. This is just another pitfall of the tried and tested and failed strategy of trying to vote things better. So to all of you out there who were disappointed with the result of Thursday’s ballot: you have our sympathies, but remember, Miliband’s loss is not ours. The Labour Party has failed you, but they would have failed you anyway. Your best chance to make things better isn’t some Oxford-educated millionaire with a red rosette – it’s ordinary people getting together to fight back. It’s your workmates, your neighbours. We’re still here. We’re not going away. Our struggle will go on, under this government, and the next one, and the one after that, until they have no governments left to throw at us. Until we win. jolasmo | 05/09/2015 at 12:49 | Categories: Blog | URL:

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Why I’m scared for our future

You may say what future and you may have a point… Today we saw another government take office this time a fully Tory Tory one and lets be honest not many expected them to gain a outright majority how they managed it is open for debate but they have done and we must face facts. The labour party shouldn’t go without comment in their disgraceful backing of tory austerity they have been a hammered in the polls and rightly rejected yet we are left with the proper tories at least we know what this lot stand for and that is outright destruction of the working class if they get their way. As a disabled person I have been worrying all day what will happen to us come the next 5 years. Chills of dread have flooded me and the horrors of the last 5 years tell me with Tories on their own they can get away with so much more not that the Lib Dems stopped them with any of their brutal cuts but this time it feels we are facing the abyss in terms of our welfare state, our NHS and our public sector services. A total of 12 billion pounds is to be slashed from the welfare bill and this will I tell you now directly will hit the poorest the most vunrable in our society I fear for many of us I really do. A leak last week suggested the following cuts have already been drawn up by the Tories The proposed cuts included: • Limiting support to 2 children in child benefit and child tax credit, so cutting up to £3,500 from a family with three children. • Removing the higher rate child benefit from the first child, an average cut of over £360 for every family with children. • Means testing child benefit – cutting £1,750 for a two child middle income family • Removing child benefit from 16 to 19 year olds – a cut of over £1,000 for parents of a single child. The Conservatives have been under sustained pressure to detail how they will cut £12bn from the welfare budget by 2017-2018, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank confirmed this week the Tories have so far disclosed only 10% of these cut in the form of a two-year freeze in working age benefits. With further cuts to benefits surely on its way the DWP have wasted no time in outlining plans to slash the access to work scheme a benefit which is close to my heart and helps me every time I go to work. The attacks on this particular benefit already destroy the lie that the Tories are there to help the disabled in to work and in work they just do not care and are taking the axe to this next benefit. How it will affect me long term we will have to see but be sure I will not let any attacks on me working go unheard. In a piece in the independent tonight it is said. The DWP has moved further to examine cutting a scheme that helps disabled people into work – just hours after the Conservatives won the election. The fund helps people and employers cover costs of disabilities that might be a barrier to work. The biggest single users of the fund are people who have difficulty seeing and people who have difficulty hearing. A policy document originally quietly announced in March suggests capping the £108m Access to Work fund. An impact assessment of the policy was released on the day the general election results. “[Spending] has risen significantly over the past five years … One of the significant strategic questions we face is how to establish the right balance between the need to support as many disabled people as possible and what it is reasonable to offer individual users,” the assessment says. The first option outlined by civil servants in the document is “to set a cap on the maximum value of support per user”. The party's manifesto boats that "last year alone, 140,000 disabled people found work" but says that "the jobless rate for this group remains too high. "As part of our objective to achieve full employment, we will aim to halve the disability employment gap: we will transform policy, practice and public attitudes, so that hundreds of thousands more disabled people who can and want to be in work find employment," it pledges. The overall spend on Access to Work in 2013/14 was £108m, covering 35,540 people. • An earlier version of this story indicated that the policy had been announced in the hours after the general election result. In fact the impact assessment for the policy was issued in the hours after the general election result, while the policy itself was issued in the run up to the general election in March This is just a glimpse of the tories aims in this next 5 years. Be under no illusion they are coming for you and they will not give a stuff about who you voted for or anything. Its time to organise ourselvesin our communities find common allies and fightback in whichever way we can using any means at our desposable. We may never see the welfare state ever a gain if we do not fightback now. The last 5 years was justa warm up for what is coming next …..