AF bulletin Resistance #152: Divide and Rule

AF bulletin Resistance #152: Divide and Rule

JUNE 2013 RESISTANCE #152 is out. DIVIDE AND RULE (benefits & immigration), Brighton refuse worker wildcat, Salford blacklister injury, Rossport week of action, Asia factories, Greece prisoner action, Greek teachers’ resistance and betrayal.

DIVIDE AND RULE

If the last few weeks in British politics have shown up one thing, it’s how easily suspicion of foreigners and the poor can be made into a major election issue, especially with help from the right-wing press.

Attacks on welfare seem relentless. The rich and privileged tell us that the reason Britain is in debt is that the poor, sick or old cost too much. They call us lazy or undereducated and try to put the blame on the individuals.

We have two things to say about this. Firstly this is a class war. In an unequal class system we should, if we can, find ways to control how much work we do and how much profit for our bosses. If we have a job and can stick it, fine. But if not, let the state pay us a ‘social wage’ – benefits in other words. ‘Worker’ must include those of us who are unemployed or they will run rings around us.
Secondly, the problems with capitalism are structural. Unemployment is used to keep wages don. The economic crisis means the government is getting a lot less in taxes and they’ve bailed out the banks, so national debt has increased. Since the economy is hardly growing, tax rates go up (unless you are rich or a company owner) or they make cuts, or sell off assets like the Royal Mail, or all three. It’s all part of the system. But it’s their fault, not ours.

So what do anarchist communists think about immigration? Well, people born in Britain go to work or live permanently abroad, and people from other countries live and work here. So what? We think people should be able to live and work where they want to, irrespective of borders. In fact, we don’t think that nation states should even exist. So arguments over immigration or Europe are just not on our level. To us, all workers are equal.

So what of divide and rule? A report, Tough on People in Poverty, from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that in 2013, only 27% of Labour Party voters now believe social injustice to be the main cause of poverty, down from 41% in 1986 when Thatcher was in power. Individuals are blamed instead. It seems someone has found a neat way to deflect working class anger from the true cause of economic misery. If we don’t defend access to the necessities of life for everyone, the state will continue to cut away until we are left arguing over the scraps.

Resistance is the regular bulletin of the Anarchist Federation: http://www.afed.org.uk

Read more in Resistance bullletin, issue 152, June 2013.