Statement on Bedroom Tax

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Joined: 27-02-06
Apr 18 2013 10:31
Statement on Bedroom Tax

Bedroom Tax- statement from Anarchist Federation (Dundee)

Anti-Bedroom Tax statement: AFed Dundee / Libertarian-Left Collective (students)

The British State has marshalled its forces in preparation for a renewed campaign of oppression, exploitation and crippling against civil society. Riddled with debt, budget deficit and tax avoidance, its international commercial status – the government’s top priority – is coming under severe threat of collapsing in on itself, and it is the labour force that will suffer in a characteristically exclusive manner. This new war-mongering and profiteering offensive, dubbed the ‘Bedroom Tax’ was implemented on the 01/04/13 – and the effects will affect vast swaths of British society. The government’s premise? Too many citizens whose income dwindles near, on or below the poverty line, and too few homes to provide for them. Before examining the blatant ridicule of this position, we must go further to clearly examine the consequences of this targeted assault in the name of the state’s coffers.

The Bedroom Tax will target those deemed to have an ‘extra room’ in their apartment or home by 14% for on extra bedroom and 25% for two or more per household, losing approximately fourteen to sixteen pounds a week. Those affected will include:
- Families with a member living abroad (working, studying, serving in the army and so forth)
- Couples who use an extra bedroom for medical and recovery-related reasons (oxygen machine, disabilities etc)
- Separated families with an extra room for accommodating a visiting child (so as to stay with the parent who does not have custody)
- Foster carers, as the child they are caring for does not fall under the category of residence equal to that of a biologically related child
- Children whose parents are visiting and have a visitors room
- Disabled citizens who’s homes, being specially designed to facilitate their needs, may include an extra room

An estimated 660,000 people on benefits will be affected, approximately 31% of the working population. So as to devolve responsibility and criticism, the state has not defined what an extra bedroom constitutes. This, as has been historically the case so far, has been left to the landlords to decide.

Divide and conquer policies, setting citizens upon each other to prostitute their obedient nature to the state at the cost of others, is a well-practiced strategy of the state against civil society – a technique designed to fragment and destroy the values of community and solidarity and replace it with cut-throat rugged individualism.

The instigators of the Bedroom Tax can be found at two levels, national government and local councils. This is the basic structure of state and policy implementation. The state, or government, has played a historic and systematic role in disbanding concepts of solidarity and community, passing anti-trade union laws, facilitating the development of commercial empires such as Tescos and handing over the exponentially increasing tax revenue to be gambles away by multinational corporations and the banking sector. The holy alliance of nation-states, neoliberalism and globalization has systematically eradicated domestic industry in the West in favour of commercial institutions and free trade, exiling the workforce to the mercy of the fluctuating demand-supply relationship of capitol and labour value – in essence, implementing a hire and fire policy alongside decreasing wages and purchasing power capacity of the labour force through taxation so as to facilitate the free and unstable flow of capital.

The rising unemployment rates in Britain have been coupled with the manipulation of the education sector, blocking out the less economically established through rising tuition fees and pruning the existing student population by cutting investment and subsidies in certain areas of education which doesn’t fit in with the state-capitalist framework. With the warping of universities and schools to factories produce a obedient and conditioned workforce for the future filled with elites, class segregation and state domination are becoming ever more accentuated.
It is therefore not surprising that there is a rising population dependent on benefits. Any saving being ravaged with by bank failures and state demands, it is becoming increasingly clear that this phenomenon is strategic and not an uncontrollable outcome of a global recession. By blindly following interdependency, the international community of states has openly left their labourers exposed to any consequences of the formers actions.

How does this link in to the Bedroom Tax? Similarly to the Workfare project which blackmails benefit earners into low-paid labour, or lose their benefits entirely, a clear pattern on manipulation both on an individual and mass scale is becoming apparent. The Welfare State and benefits system mimics that of the bank loaning system. It paralyses as large a section of society as possible into state dependency as a means of controlling their behavior and day-to-day life. Once the disempowered citizen, left without choice in a power-profit orientated system, accepts the benefit and re-established a certain standard of living, the very benefit provided as a means of exchange for citizens’ obedience to state doctrine is taken away and slashed at will. This new form of state terrorism is a direct descendant of the police state, only replacing any seemingly obvious source of oppression and authoritarianism with a seemingly invisible hand of the far-away and untouchable international economy. By preaching the cause of mass poverty and deprivation to be the abstract and mistakenly explained dimension of international phenomena, resistance is often portrayed as futile – a battle against a hydra.

Whilst the state has herded exponentially increasing sections of society to complete dependency, the latter thus losing any chance of self-defense and influence, local councils play an intrinsic role in carrying these measures out on the premise that they are ‘orders from above’ over which they have no control or ability to affect. Disregarding such blatant jargon that often frequents columns of mainstream media, who’s tendency to pass the blame baton further up the food chain without ever specifying details is akin to a well established practice of religions concerning causation and deity, the same argument that dispels the mysticism of Godly existence can be applied here. Cause and consequences can be traced directly to the misleading literature issued by states and governments to parcel-wrap the true nature of their policies. Unemployment, authoritarianism and poverty are direct reflections of contemporary origins of political power. Even if one were to believe that councils are helpless in the face of governments – who are conveniently also apparently helpless in the face of the world economy and so forth – they can still lower the rent prices of council homes to absorb the damage done by the oncoming Bedroom Tax. It is not at all surprising that this hasn’t been put foreword on their own initiative.
The mistake made by the Thatcher government and the Poll Tax was not that it was any worse then its contemporary sibling the Bedroom Tax, but rather that the insulting arrogance so tragically ingrained in Conservative ethos made the source of socio-economic hardship too obvious.

Resistance to the ongoing war against civil society is essential. It is equally important that it develops and materializes responsibly. The previous state-socialist response to Thatcherism, propagated at the time in almost Bolshevik proportions, has clearly failed. Britain’s left has, as can be observed globally and historically, divided along the lines of misrepresentation, sectarianism and bureaucracy, hoaring itself out to the Labour party and diminishing itself to a characteristic minute-scale format – reminiscing the good old days and inviting themselves to their own meetings. We cannot afford to continuously make these mistakes, as historical truth is increasing defaced and disfigured with every passing generation and every new school-issued history textbook. If the councils don’t lower their rents, then we must go on rent strikes. Our literature must be a hybrid of theory and experience. Grassroots and widespread. Naught can be achieved without solidarity, self-organization in the absence of vanguardism and targeted direct action against the one thing we’ve yet to truly rebel against. Thatcher fell and the Poll Tax was halted. Today it is in the process of resurrection under Cameron’s Conservative leadership. We must direct our efforts responsibly against the state and its organs if we are to hope for any chance of freedom, survival and rational living standards, replacing benefits and loans with collective consciousness and community free of authoritarian power.

This is a matter that affects us all.

Joined: 1-08-06
Apr 18 2013 14:00

Thanks for posting this - I've been whoring it round a few bedroom tax FB groups just in case.