With the unemployment rate in London reaching 8.9% and likely to go even higher, the ConDem government has adopted its usual approach: blame the working class and protect the rich. This week Nick Clegg’s timid suggestion that the rich might be asked to pay a little more towards filling the deficit for which they are responsible was shot down by the Chancellor George Osborne. He said it would deter the ‘wealth creators’. In the same week the government, backed by Mayor Boris Johnson, announced that Croydon will be one of the London boroughs to trial a new scheme to require the unemployed to work for nothing. 6,000 unemployed up to the age of 24 will be required to do 13 weeks unpaid work as a condition for receiving their miserly £56 per week unemployment benefit.
What’s wrong with the government’s logic? Where to start! Communists understand that wealth is created by those who work. The idea of a class of clever ‘wealth creators’ is a self-serving myth put about by the wealthy. An educated working class, properly organised, can generate all the wealth this country needs and make a contribution to reducing world poverty and to halting global warming. Neither will happen under a system that disregards the interests of ordinary working people and is concerned only with protecting the interests of the rich.
The belief that unemployment is due to the idleness of the unemployed is a vicious lie. This capitalist economy is simply not producing the education, training, social services and employment that the working population needs. It’s the interests of the wealthy that are protected, disguised as calls for ‘economic efficiency’ and assertions that there is no alternative. That’s why there are tax breaks for private education and cuts in state education; tax breaks for private health care and cuts and privatisation for the NHS; elite universities for the wealthy and student loans around our necks of the rest of us; investment in more riot control and privatised prisons. Compulsory, unpaid work for our young people is just their next step.
It isn’t working, it cannot work, it won’t work. Join us on the TUC march on 20 October and tell them so.