for the right not to work!

by Steve Ryan

The recent right to work conference was apparently a great success with some 600 people attending, a demo in support of BA workers after and a call to demonstrate on 22nd June, Budget Day.

technology has not reduced the workload, but rather increased its pace

All very good, but steps towards a truly communist society surely should recognise that work in itself is not the be all and end all of life. Continue reading “for the right not to work!”

who benefits from cuts?

by Adam Ford

European governments have been announcing public spending cuts almost daily since they agreed a €750 billion ‘rescue package’ for the euro currency a fortnight back. Greece (€30 billion), Spain (€80 billion), Italy (£24 billion) and Portugal (£2 billion), were this week joined by the new UK government, which slashed £6 billion with immediate effect, and promised the financial markets much, much more.


In their statement, Conservative Chancellor George Osbourne and Liberal Democrat Treasury secretary David Laws (who would later be forced to resign following expenses revelations) declared there would be a civil service “recruitment freeze”, along with substantial losses for regional and university budgets. The Transport department will lose £683 million, meaning a drastic scaling back of badly needed road maintenance seems inevitable. Continue reading “who benefits from cuts?”

stop demonising the unemployed

by Duncan Smith

Unemployment figures were up to 2.5 million by the end of March, and there’s no reason to think they won’t get any higher: some estimates put them as high as 3.3 million by the end of the year.

As well as rises in unemployment over the past few years, there have been increased attempts on the part of capital to project an image of criminality onto the unemployed, with high-level campaigns targeting “benefit thieves”. Such campaigns have the basic effect of portraying the unemployed as lazy, scrounging criminals, in what seems like a more-or-less conscious campaign to undermine solidarity on the part of the rest of the working class. Continue reading “stop demonising the unemployed”

the deficit! the deficit! but what about unemployment?

by Oisín Mac Giollamóir

Listening to the debate in the media today you would conclude that there is consensus amongst economists that the key problem of the UK economy is the deficit. And the key question is how to cut it. And the key election issue therefore should be how to cut spending. This is not the case.

Working backwards, perhaps the most ridiculous issue here is the notion that the only way of cutting the deficit is by cutting spending. Fraser Nelson of The Spectator goes so far as to say, “Cameron should ban the word ‘deficit’ and simply say ‘overspend’ instead.” It would seem that some right-wing commentators can’t add. A deficit arises when revenue is less than expenditure. An equally good way of cutting the deficit is by increasing revenue, i.e., by raising taxes. Saying the deficit is an ‘overspend’ is as idiotic as calling the deficit an ‘undertax’. Continue reading “the deficit! the deficit! but what about unemployment?”

unemployment, work and capitalism: 12th april london forum

The next of The Commune’s London public meetings on the themes of the election will be looking at unemployment. We will be discussing not only redundancies caused by the current crisis but also the role of the unemployed in capitalist society. Do we demand ‘the right to work’, and how can we organise against attacks on benefits claimants?

The discussion will be led off by Sean Bonney (The Commune) and Christine Hulme (PCS union, Department for Work and Pensions). The meeting takes place from 7pm on Monday 12th April at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street. Continue reading “unemployment, work and capitalism: 12th april london forum”

crisis ploughs on in united states

by Dennis Marcucci
from Philadelphia

Worst than expected economic reports and job cut announcements show that the prospects for working people in the USA and around the world are going to worsen. After all, most of the world is capitalist, and most of the world is poor. So what does that tell you about this canker sore of an economic system?

Wall Street economists had said that unemployment claims would fall below 450,000. They were wrong. There was only a slight decrease to 470,000. Any reports have to be viewed with suspicion. I was speaking to an “expert” economist on a radio talk show two weeks ago who was telling the audience how claims for unemployment fell. I said that what is not being reported is (i) workers who exhausted their benefits and are now off the rolls and are viewed as employed. (ii) workers who were collecting benefits and found part time minimum wage employment and (iii) workers working temp jobs or contract work. Continue reading “crisis ploughs on in united states”

action around unemployment

by Brian Rylance

For those who experienced the deprivation caused by the recession of the 1980s, and were galvanized by the strength of the fight against it, there can be a feeling of hopelessness at today’s relative lack of organisation and militancy to defend the position of the working classes as many are pushed into unemployment again.

Vast numbers of people who struggled against Thatcherism will have used one of the many unemployed workers centres and heard the unions protest on behalf of those without work, but what of this 21st century global recession? It must be admitted that the fightback has been slow in gathering strength, but there now appear to be three main strands of resistance appearing. At a national level there are campaigns to protect the rights to benefits and protest against erosion of the safety net welfare state legislation. This is linked with an attempt to revive the unemployed workers centres that have shut. At a grassroots level there are attempts to create action groups with a more combative approach – some of these have been remarkably successful.

Continue reading “action around unemployment”