Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2336

Target banks and bosses, not people claiming benefits

Government efforts to cap a rise in working age benefits at 1 percent show how shameless Tory millionaires are.

They claim to be standing up for hardworking people. But their policies will hit the quality of life of working class people everywhere.

This tactic is aimed at creating a powerful division between those who are on benefits and those who aren’t.

They want to stop people from looking at the real causes of the crisis.

In an age of austerity, being unemployed is not a lifestyle choice.

Those receiving benefits should not be treated as the first victim in a Tory attack on the working class.

The high street I work on is littered with banks we bailed out and tax-dodging businesses that have been given handouts by the government.

These are the targets our anger should be directed at.

Crises give bosses in the private sector an excuse to cut hours and wages. This leaves higher numbers of workers depending on part time and temporary work in addition to benefits.

The struggle for better wages, improved conditions, quality benefits and secure jobs remains with the ruling class—not each other.

Sarah Bates, Middlesbrough

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said that the Tories are trying to “divide and rule” with their cap on benefits.

He’s right—but he is no principled defender of benefit claimants himself.

His party has its own workfare scheme to force “workshy” people to take any job or lose benefits.

And Miliband’s alternative to division is the conservative idea of “One Nation”.

Labour politicians want to benefit from the anger at their cuts.

But they still can’t bring themselves to stand by ordinary people.

Hayley Spears, Nottingham

Let’s shout about wins

Thanks for publicising two inspiring strike victories in your always informative industrial reports section (Socialist Worker, 5 January).

But why not put this news right at the front?

Most people know about the government’s shameful shenanigans.

But hardly anyone hears about strike victories—or the many other courageous acts of workplace resistance which may not yet be as successful.

As socialists, we all know that the only failsafe way to upend the crooks who “govern” us is through working class struggle.

So let’s give these victorious strikers the front page publicity they deserve.

Sheila Cohen, North London

‘Wildcat’ is a bosses’ word

Socialist Worker has recently slipped into talking about unofficial rank and file action as “wildcat”.

They are not. They are rank and file workers, often young militants, taking unofficial initiatives. This challenges the inertia of workplace hierarchy and of the trade union bureaucracy.

It is inappropriate for socialists to use employers’ language to describe this.

There should be more unofficial action when official leadership sits on its hands.

The challenge for socialists is to help channel it into committed rank and file organisation.

John Clossick, South London

Probation plans are about profit

The Government has announced plans to privatise 70 percent of the probation service.

It claims its motivation is to reduce re-offending rates.

However, it is patently clear that these plans are ideological and will not result in a better service.

Companies such as A4e, G4S and Serco are likely to put in bids. They have been shown to be incompetent and, in some cases, fraudulent.

These plans will result in chaos with cases going back and forth.

This is not about improving probation but about big business making a profit from the criminal justice system.

Chrissie Bradbury, Probation officer, North London

It’s wrong and muddled to attack reductionism

I found your article on genes quoting Hilary and Steven Rose (Socialist Worker, 15 December) very muddled.

My concern is mostly with the use of the word “reductionist”.

To be reductionist is to explain one thing using another, and for these things to be in some way hierarchical.

It is by far the most common view in science that science is reductionist.

Steven and Hilary Rose also present the reader with a false dichotomy between “all genes” and “all environment”.

Science says that genes are switched on or off by environment, and that the product of this is then further changed by the environment it lives in.

This combination of environment and genes is still reductionist regardless.

Richard Challinor, by email

Thanks for strike report

Your report on the north London bus strike was brilliant (Socialist Worker, 8 December).

It talks about things that really piss people off.

We chopped it out of the paper and put it onto a leaflet. We need to be able to do this more often.

Alan Watts, North London

My treatment at 2 Sisters

I worked as an agency worker at 2 Sisters in appalling conditions.

I wanted to work. But conditions were appalling and unsafe.

I was called lazy and stupid.

The one piece of paperwork I received was my P60—which had the wrong address on.

Name withheld, by email

Vile rhetoric reflects fear

I’m furious that politicians are trying to divide us into “strivers” and “skivers”.

But the fact that they are doing so might show a fear that their attacks are uniting the whole working class against them.

Candice Murray, Kent

Tory utopia is our nightmare

So the TV drama Utopia (Socialist Worker, 12 January) features a couple of “psychopathic hitmen” who enjoy inflicting pain and misery.

They wouldn’t be called Dave and George by any chance?

Utopia sounds a bit too much like real life for comfort!

Graeme Kemp, Shropshire

Benefits of independence

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have all declared that Scottish independence would greatly weaken the English, Welsh and Northern Irish economies.

Would independence greatly strengthen the Scottish economy?

William Burns, Edinburgh

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Article information

Tue 15 Jan 2013, 16:32 GMT
Issue No. 2336
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