Those words were uttered in a rare moment of candour – or should that be arrogance – by US billionaire Warren Buffet. He was telling the truth. The term “class war” is usually attributed to someone on the left stoking up flames of resentment but it is really being waged all the time by the rich and powerful against the poor, downtrodden, weak and helpless
Take today as an example. Those multi-millionaire Tory ministers, George Osborne and Ian Duncan Smith, heaped scorn and misery on working class people with announcements that include benefit cuts, permanent workfare, food stamp style smart cards and, unbelievably, harassment for children from jobcentre staff going into schools!
This is the Tory vision for Britain – permanent class war. What can we do about it? Well we know from experience that we can’t trust Labour. Parties of the left always promise better but end up doing no more than sugar coating the poison they administer to us.
The only way we can challenge the system – capitalism, the state, the ruling class – is by organising ourselves in our communities and fighting back. And on that note another thing happened today: the latest mailout from Haringey Solidarity Group fell through my letterbox. HSG is a refreshingly old skool anarcho/anti-capitalist group that has monthly meetings, organises demos and produces a regular newsletter, Totally Independent.
The headline in the latest edition which arrived today is “WHY WE HATE CAPITALISM” (all upper case) and I thought it was worth sharing that article with you because it encapsulates very well what we face and what needs to be done.
“Decades from now, history books will record these years of capitalism as the dumbest period in human history. They will tell of a system that created vast wealth for a handful of people while millions struggled to survive. A system that transferred wealth from the poor to the rich. A system that promoted hatred of the poor while worshipping the vile qualities of greed and ignorance.
In 2004 the richest 1000 people owned £200 billion worth of assets, today the own £519 billion. The five richest families own more than the bottom 20% of the population. Last year alone bosses of top companies got an average pay rise of 32%.
Meanwhile 20% of the population, 13 million people, are living in poverty. Eight million of these are members of families IN WORK. The cost of living has risen by 34% since 2004, meaning households with average incomes are now worse off by almost £1,200 a year.
Almost a million people now use food banks. Malnutrition-related hospital admissions have risen by 74% since 2009. Rickets have risen by 25% in just four years. Public health experts warn that the rise of UK malnutrition “has all the signs of a public health emergency.”
This is happening now, in one of the richest countries on earth.
The ruling elite own most of our land, gas, electricity, railways, water and media. Now they want our pensions, NHS, roads, schools and green spaces. They have destroyed the unions, created mass unemployment and are dismembering the welfare state. They make it easier to sack us, make us work longer hours for less pay, force our kids to work for nothing, and raise the retirement age whilst cutting our pensions and weakening our health and safety laws.
We are being shafted.
So it’s time to get angry, and we need someone to express that anger, as our politicians won’t do it. Someone to fight for the millions of working people who want a decent life for themselves and their kids. Someone who knows that compassion and solidarity are not bullshit. Someone passionate that ordinary people deserve a decent job, home and healthcare. Someone who supports our elderly so they can live out their final years in comfort. Someone who makes sure our sick and disabled can live with dignity. Someone who tells us that the disadvantaged will not be looked down on as scum.
Well, that “someone” is us – all of us. It’s time we stood together and said, enough is enough!”
A very good summary of what’s wrong but it should be added – especially as this blog is Red Black and Green – that capitalism is also responsible for the exploitation of animals and the destruction of the earth itself. A ruling class that doesn’t care about the misery it causes to its own species is hardly likely to care about the suffering of other species or the environment.
The fightback will be not only by and for the working class but also for all the animals tortured and murdered for gain, and the whole biosphere upon which they and us depend for survival. To the bosses and politicians we are all of us just cogs in their profit-driven machine, but if we can organise and resist their insane system and build a new world for human and non-human animals alike, then we can live free, unfettered lives.
The latest Totally Independent http://www.haringey.org.uk/content/images/hsg/newsletters/newsletter-2014-03.pdf