Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2369

Working class women lead the bedroom tax fight back

The bedroom tax has unleashed misery and worry on thousands of tenants across the country. Every day we are hearing of people driven to despair as the Tories’ assault on the working class continues. It has also created deep anger and outrage in our communities. Last week I joined the mass sleep out in Glasgow with the Scottish anti bedroom tax federation. We camped out in front of Tory MSP Ruth Davidson’s Kelvingrove office in Glasgow. Our presence received fantastic support from passers by and cars tooted their horns. It brought home the fate facing many as their so called rent arrears grow and they face eviction.

I have attended many meetings and taken part in loads of local actions against the Tories and their hated bedroom tax. Each time it has been working class women who have been the organisers. They are leading this grassroots movement and are the political force driving it forward. Each may have their own story—disabilities, young families, unemployment—but they are showing the Tories they picked a fight with the wrong people.

I am a college lecturer and EIS member and am proud that my trade union has backed the anti bedroom tax federation. As a trade unionist it is inspiring to see teachers and lecturers getting involved with their local community. Trade unions are crucial if we are to win the fight against the bedroom tax and austerity. The movement against the bedroom tax is showing that our side—the working class—has plenty of fight in it. I can’t help thinking that if our trade union leaders had half the bottle of the women leading this movement the Tories would’ve been finished off by now. That’s all still on the cards.

Angela McCormickGlasgow

Big brands cash in on child poverty

Kellogg’s latest marketing drive is called “Give a child a breakfast”. They say they want to give two million kids, who would normally go to school hungry, breakfast. This all sounds good until you spot in the small print that they are donating only three pence from every pack to the cause of giving a child a breakfast.  

A breakfast serving should be 30g. Coco Pops—the most popular kids cereal—costs £2.69 for 550g at a major supermarket. This means that you’d need to buy five packs of Coco Pops just to give a child a breakfast. Many families are struggling to put food on the table at the moment due to low incomes and the high cost of living. 

People want to help kids. But buying brands like Kellogg’s, which is more expensive than the supermarket own brand is not manageable. The Child Poverty Action Group says there are 3.5 million children living in poverty in Britain. And this will rise. Kellogg’s have raised their prices by 12 percent since 2010. They are exploiting people’s good nature to make a profit. 

Neil Terry, Bradford

Our comrade Bernard was an inspiration

Bernard behrman, who recently died (Obituary, 31 August), was a very special comrade. He was a committed activist, and could be seen leafleting and selling papers all over Islington. Bernard was a comrade who cared about us all. He asked about our families, jobs and lives with genuine warmth. He was someone you could trust.

Bernard was a critical thinker, who used his life as a revolutionary to influence those around him. If he disagreed, he would do so openly and argue his point with clarity and integrity. We argued sharply, but comradely. Once the discussion was done, he would ensure we worked together.

Bernard’s energy and commitment to revolutionary politics, the SWP and his comrades was an inspiration for our branch. We will miss him. Our love goes to his family Terri, Simon and Hannah.

Alasdair SmithIslington

A union for tenants?

I live with my partner and one year old son in a house rented from a landlord. The handle of our back door snapped off, and the door was locked shut, blocking the fire escape. When the landlord turned up to fix it he took the lock off and propped the door shut with some wood before leaving.

He returned the next day, couldn’t fix it and went to leave. My partner said she would complain if he didn’t fix it. Now we have a letter from the estate agent saying they are ending our tenancy. Millions must be going through this. Is there a tenants’ union? If not, does anyone want to start a support group?

Chris JonesWrexham, Wales

Remember Peterloo

Maxine Peake read out the names of those who were killed at Peterloo on the BBC. The intimacy and power of Maxine’s recitation and her recent reading of Shelley’s poem, the Masque of Anarchy, inspired us all. It helps make sure our history is not forgotten.

Those who marched at Peterloo sought to change society and the cavalry cut them down. Some 15 were killed and up to 700 were injured. The Peterloo marchers were fighting for a social change as radical as the French Revolution. 

Mark KrantzManchester

The rich give sketchy advice

The advice from Diana Carney, the wife of the governor of the Bank of England, to “reuse your pencils from last year” could only come from a rich person. This crisis-busting advice seemingly comes from the belief that as soon as the bells chime on New Years Eve we merrily sling all our stationery out of the window. Talk about a desperate way to deflect the blame from capitalism for the crisis!

Stephen BrackenridgeEdinburgh

Demand justice for Trayvon

it was so moving to see Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton on the March for Washington last week. It serves as a reminder that us black people still have so many demands still to fight for. Part of our resistance must be that we never stop demanding justice for Trayvon Martin.

Tamlyn Robertin-DavisStoke Newington

Get out of Egypt, el-Sisi

In May 2013 General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed forces, said “Nobody solves their problem with an army. “And armies should be kept out of political problems.” Spot on General. So piss off.

Sasha SimicNorth London

Solidarity to Hovis workers

Good on the Hovis workers who are out on strike. It’s about time workers did something against zero-hour contracts. I’m in the airport industry and they are doing the same thing here. Workers need to realise we have some powers and use them. 

Andy Reillyon Facebook

Stay strong comrades. Support the Hovis brothers and sisters in Wigan.

Kevin Floodon Facebook

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Article information

Tue 3 Sep 2013, 18:26 BST
Issue No. 2369
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