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Arise for Socialist Change

“The left, inside & beyond the Labour Party, & the entire labour movement need to step up to this challenge, working together to take the fight to the Tories & for the bold socialist solutions the crises we face need.”

By the Arise Volunteer Team

With each year that passes under this Tory government, we travel further down the road of rampant neoliberalism, cuts and privatisation, meaning ever-greater insecurity and anxiety-inducing choices for millions.

Alongside this, internationally, there is an urgent need for ambitious action to adapt and prevent further climate catastrophe, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning of a “code red for humanity.”

There is also a need to prioritise the de-escalation of global tensions and instability in order to create peaceful world.

The challenges we face grow starker and larger, measured out in terms of human lives harmed and lost.

Correspondingly, the scale of action that will need to be taken to meet those challenges grows — and becomes more urgent.

Yet much of the national media narrative ignores or downplays these challenges — and the ambitious, radical solutions needed to tackle these crises.

Here in Britain there is a desperate need to address the yawning wealth gap, all at the same time as the pandemic continues to claim lives and harm many and the attacks on working people keep coming apace.

We have a Tory government that since 2010 has consistently and comprehensively protected the interests of the few while punishing and grinding down the many, yet it sadly continues to look firmly in place.

The Tories are trumpeting the forecasted higher headline GDP figures which will not be felt by most people and headlines focus on the “threat” of wage inflation.

To give one illustrative example, the fact of in-work poverty being at its highest ever rate is rarely mentioned in the “mainstream” discourse of the economy.

The Institute for Public Policy Research reported a few months ago that one in six working households face poverty.

They identified housing costs, lack of affordable and flexible childcare and low wages and the rise of insecure working as the drivers of the increase in working poverty. Crucially, these figures were based on pre-pandemic analysis.

Additional recent figures from the Resolution Foundation show that last year half the workforce experienced a real pay cut.

The derisory pay offers to public service workers and the insufficient uprate in the minimum wage and the poverty levels of statutory sick pay will all have made this situation much worse.

And of course, this came after a decade of real pay cuts and needs to be coupled with how the pandemic has been exploited as an opportunity to further insecure work and use methods such as “fire and rehire” in dragging wages down and to intensifying work.

The government continues to claim that £20 must be cut from what households receive from universal credit because it cannot be afforded, while spending billions on starting a new nuclear arms race.

We need to keep the pressure on to not only defeat this cut — but to go further and be clear that social security should be higher in order to end poverty in this country.

In another policy area, to put the recent announcement on NHS and social care spending into context, a recent Institute for Fiscal Studies report highlighted that this could be in the region of spending up to £17 billion less on public services per year than was planned pre-Covid, despite the huge demands and cost pressures placed on public services by the pandemic.

This is again after a decade of deep, deep cuts to our public services. And is when we know that this spending is coming from tax rises that aren’t progressive and when we know that under this government agenda of privatisation and contracts for mates, more and more resources will be siphoned off for private profit.

In terms of the links between the crises facing us here and internationally, the TUC produced analysis in 2020 showing how we can create 1.24 million jobs by investing £85bn in green infrastructure.

It has never been clearer what this country needs — we just need the government to act.

But the Tories will fail to do so and yet if are as a country on meeting climate targets — in 2030 and 2050 — is dependent on the decisions taken now.

As TUC analysis has found looking at the scale of the green recovery investment by both population and by GDP, Britain ranks sixth on both comparisons.

While the US is investing over £2,960 per person in green recovery job creation programmes like public transport, electric vehicles and energy efficiency retrofits, Britain is barely investing £180 per person.

Germany’s per person investment is £595, Canada’s £866 and Italy’s £1,389.

But it’s important to understand that the easy ride this government receives from the media on all these fronts — and far too often the Labour front bench under Keir Starmer — has not meant there is no resistance or no alternative.

We have seen the climate strikes, the Black Lives Matter uprising, the spontaneous and massive #KilltheBill protests across the country, trade union actions against fire and rehire and many more inspirational acts of solidarity and resistance in communities across the county.

This resistance must be supported, co-ordinated and deepened in a situation when the government’s actions have directly given us as country one of the highest death rates for comparator nations — and are creating higher levels of poverty, wealth inequality and the denigration of our public services.

Summed up, this all means Tory rule will continue to claim lives here and around the globe — and makes coming together to defeat them a priority for all of us that believe in a better world.

The left, inside and beyond the Labour Party, and the entire labour movement need to step up to this challenge, working together to take the fight to the Tories and for the bold socialist solutions the crises we face need.

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