Poverty and inequality

The potentialities of Acorn

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:51
Author

Dan Rawnsley

Since the general election, the "community union" Acorn has been growing.

On 22 December the Guardian reported on Acorn’s “glut of applications” after the 13 December exit poll. Acorn UK national organiser Nick Ballard was quoted saying “We’ve had hundreds of new members join.”

Acorn has branches in Bristol, Sheffield, Manchester, Newcastle, and Brighton, and is best known as a renters’ union. The organisation has been able to turn out pickets of a hundred people to block evictions and has pressured Santander, TSB and NatWest to get rid of rent increase and “no DSS” clauses in buy-to-let

The racism in “gang” panics

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 11:22
Author

Ellie Clarke

I want to start with a bit of a disclaimer. I first became deeply interested in the topic of crime and policing in response to a wave of gang violence that was plaguing the area of North West London I call home.

I say this to illustrate that there are instances where gangs are the culprit. It isn’t my intention to delegitimise or trivialise those situations. However, in the words of an unnamed senior Met officer talking to Amnesty International: “Gangs are, for the most part, a complete red herring… fixation with the term is unhelpful at every level.”

That hasn’t stopped all major police

Facts and figures of the election

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 19:33
Author

Sacha Ismail

The Tories have condemned Labour’s plans as “eye-watering”, “wild”, “reckless”, “unaffordable” and set to “bankrupt the country”, with much of the press singing in tune.

Just after Labour’s 2017 election manifesto came out, Solidarity estimated that its proposals would “take some tens of billions of pounds — John McDonnell estimates £50-odd billion — out of the £1,000 billion a year which currently goes to the rich and the very well-off, or to enterprises under their control”.

The 2019 manifesto isn’t out until Thursday 21 November, but the indications are it will be a similar document to 2017

Regrouping the left

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:40
Author

Editorial

Eleven years on from 2008, inequality is spiralling, the signs are that we’re heading for another crash, and mainstream ruling-class politics is veering away from neo-liberalism only towards the nationalist right.

The working classes of the world need a political movement which fights for socialism as working-class self-emancipation, as a full-scale change of society to social ownership and democratic control of productive wealth.

It needs socialists who focus on agitating and educating positively for socialist ideas, not merely on nay-saying and reactive opposition to day-to-day bourgeois

Letters

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:16

I wish people would stop talking about “the top 1%” or the “1% v the 99%.” Why should they be regarded as being “the top”?

They are a completely useless parasitic layer on society. Billionaires have not “earned” or “created” their wealth.

It would take someone earning a median wage of £25,000 40,000 years to make £1 billion, assuming they paid no taxes and spent none of their money on essentials such as food, shelter and clothing.

According to the OECD in 2012 the top 0.6% of world population (consisting of adults with more than US$1 million in assets) or the 42 million richest people in the

Replacing Universal Credit

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:14

Fourteen million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty.

“Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials...”

That was Philip Alston, the United Nation “Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights”, reporting on Britain a year ago.

He added: “Various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40% by 2022...

“Homelessness is up 60% since 2010, rough sleeping is up 134%.... Food bank use is up almost four-fold since 2012, and there are now about 2,000 food banks in the UK, up from just

How Labour should end austerity

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:31
Author

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

The NHS and social care have been squeezed so that waiting lists expand and A&E wait times explode. Hospitals routinely run at the upper limit of capacity, so that an epidemic, or an

Socialism is more than public funding

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 09:00
Author

Ruth Cashman

Socialism: where has it actually worked? Momentum and their hot new video are here to explain.

You Are A Socialist

Where has socialism ever worked? ?

Posted by Momentum on Thursday, 9 May 2019

And where has socialism worked? Everywhere!

Everywhere? Yes, that’s right everywhere! Doesn’t it seem a bit weird that socialism has worked everywhere and everything is still so shit? And what are fighting for now?

I’m pretty sure the video has got some details wrong here. We probably should have been warned when socialism as “pooling our resources” and “working together” was illustrated by Momentum

The roots of inequality

Published on: Wed, 22/05/2019 - 11:48
Author

Matt Cooper

On 14 May, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) launched its Deaton Review into inequality in Britain. The broadcast and print news outlets carried interviews about the five-year study into the nature and causes of inequality in the UK, with the Nobel laureate Professor Sir Angus Deaton in the chair and a budget of £2.5 million supplied by the charitable Nuffield Trust.

The research promises to be wide-ranging, looking at inequality not just in incomes, but also in other areas such as health, wealth, political participation and opportunity. The first motivation for the report is that the UK

Letters

Published on: Wed, 15/05/2019 - 11:46

Inequality and the super-ego

If my review of The Inner Level left readers thinking that it presented a narrow, economistic view of mental illness, then I apologise for writing a poor review. Thanks to Ian Townson for prompting me to write this correction.

Wilkinson and Pickett stress that their research is not a “theory of everything” and do not claim that income inequality is the only driver of mental distress. They describe a broad statistical trend within which our human drama plays out. There are outliers in the data where there must be powerful countervailing factors. For example, Italy

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