Capitalism is failing Northamptonshire

1 post / 0 new
Joined: 5-07-06
Jul 5 2006 13:26
Capitalism is failing Northamptonshire

Here's the draft of an article I've written for the next issue of the Socialist Forum newsletter. Comments and criticisms welcome, as well as views on how we should try to balance ourselves between taking part in all of these single-issue campaigns and presenting a more thorough analysis of what's going on and the links between them.

Capitalism is failing Northamptonshire

NHS – Disabled facilities – Youth services – Council housing – Old people’s homes – Libraries – Education – Postal Services; All under attack right here, right now!

A glance at any of our local papers in recent months has invariably made for depressing reading for anyone concerned with the general well-being of people in Northamptonshire.

· Disabled centres, facilities and entitlements such as Nordis Industries and Quarry House will be cut back or closed all over the county.

· Three operating theatres at Northampton General Hospital to close, along with the cutting of 23 medical beds and at least 100 jobs.

· A long campaign by councillors desperate to sell off Northampton’s council housing stock, which protects some of the poorest sectors of our society from an extortionate housing market and rapacious private landlords. They’ve had to give up for now after massive opposition from tenants, but they’ll be back – meanwhile other councillors across the county, particularly in Daventry, South Northants and Wellingborough, are mobilising for sell-offs in their areas.

· Youth clubs and other facilities for young people are to be closed across the county, with the loss of almost all such centres for young people, and hundreds of jobs.

· Old people’s homes are similarly threatened, such as the vital residential and short term care facility Nichols House at Briar Hill.

· Cuts in hours and increases in fines are part of the attack on our library services across the county.

· The Education and Inspection Bill is a big step in the creeping privatisation of education whilst also attacking teachers’ working conditions.

· Our local postal service is constantly under threat both from privatisation and cost cutting measures such as the closing of post offices and other vital facilities and attacks on postal workers’ pay and conditions.

So far all of these attacks on our living standards, and those of our friends, families and fellow workers are being opposed as isolated single issue campaigns. Some have been more effective than others, but none can ultimately succeed on their own. The fact of the matter is that capitalism, a system based on greed and accumulation of profit by a minority, is showing itself to be incapable of providing for the basic needs of the majority of people in Northamptonshire. And the same types of

attacks on working people are happening all over the country, indeed all over the world. Every day the news is full of some company or other announcing record profits, or of the government preparing to send more troops or equipment to the latest war zone, yet we are expected to meekly accept the fact that there are not enough resources to provide for our health, housing, education or to look after the most vulnerable members of society. This is a system that is rotting on its feet and it’s high time it was replaced with one based on need not profit, true democracy not rule by big business.

The basic socialist principles of solidarity and grassroots democracy are the key to both defending ourselves from these latest attacks and to building a new society, one where our well being is more important than increasing the profit margins of the rich by selling off the NHS and council housing or throwing old and disabled people out onto the street. Working people are the ones who create all of this society’s wealth and we deserve better.

This means we have to start by seeing these attacks as they are - not as isolated single issues, but as part of the general tendency of capitalism to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Workers, tenants and service users have to recognise our common interests and stand up for what is rightfully ours. We have to learn to act for ourselves, not to trust the politicians, local and national and of all parties, who claim to represent our best interests but who are the ones implementing all these cuts and sell-offs for the benefit of their corporate masters. And we have to recognise that as long as we live under the yoke of capitalism we will always be exploited and ignored by those in power. We have to defend our living standards today, while working towards the day when the wealth that we create will belong to us all, not to the minority capitalist class.