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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Unemployment tops G20 & EU summit - a plaster over a bleeding artery will NOT solve unemployment !

EU leaders in Brussels
Youth unemployment remains high in the OECD area in the wake of the Great Recession, and exceeds 50% in some Eurozone countries. When G20 labour ministers meet this Thursday (July 18-19 in Moscow), they will face some complex challenges.

European Union EU leaders held a two-day summit in Brussels on (27 June) aimed at addressing unemployment as figures continue to spiral out of control. The summit included EU leaders, trade unions and employers' associations. The reality of the situation is, unemployment is not the problem, the problem is capitalism - this summit is on par with putting a plaster over a bleeding artery & will NOT solve unemployment.

Today in 2013 we have record high youth unemployment within the European Union, where a quarter of under-25s are out of work, has prompted yet another Brussels summit. We are heading for MASSIVE protest around Europe including Britain as those unemployed feel rejected, demonised & patronised & used as economic pawns within a capitalist system.

Capitalism has failed, the people know that the system needs to change definitely, that structural reforms need to be made and we need to take our fate into our own hand - we need an alternative economic, & political strategy in place, we need a planned economy, we required socialism.

It's simply not possible to create jobs in a recessionary environment - you need a
'planned economy' to kick-start growth - after the second world war Europe needed to be rebuilt, today we are in the same situation, austerity is the wrong solution.

The 5.6 million unemployed young people in Europe are the ‘lost generation’. Those aged between 18 and 25 have no jobs, the situation is even worse in Greece and Spain, where over half of people in that age group are without a job. 

The European Council  will merely look at the social dimension in terms of how far social policy is supporting economic goals, or by very limited measures on social indicators. This is not enough!

The Council must respond to the urgency of the situation - the disillusionment at the EU’s failure to deliver on its Europe 2020 poverty reduction target, the growing social, economic and democratic crisis with rising levels of xenophobia and the growing distrust of the EU’s handling of the crisis with its one-size fits all agenda of austerity, wage reductions and privatisation. A change of direction is needed and the Council should launch a real democratic debate – with parliaments, civil society, social partners and involving the people most affected aimed at ensuring a credible social dimension for the EU and the EMU.

Therefore we must ensure the following as a start point:
  • Ambitious objectives for the EMU – rebalancing economic and social objectives, that ensure economic priorities support rather than attack social goals.
  • the Council to launch a democratic debate to develop an ambitious social dimension– through consultation with national and European Parliaments and engaging civil society and social partners.
Five key elements:
  1. Set an ambitious coherent social vision for the EU , as well as the EMU
  2. Ensure that economic policies contribute to social goals, stop current austerity measures which are undermining social rights and carry outex-ante coordination,going beyond the proposed social scoreboard.
  3. Ensure a coherent, social approach is mainstreamed through the European Semester – in all its elements, with the Europe 2020 targets at the centre of the process.
  4. Pro-active visible EU measures to promote social standards across the EU – i.e. a Framework Directive on the adequacy of Minimum Income Schemes.
  5. Social Investment and Employment Pact to drive recovery through investing in social protection, public services and quality employment.
The current European political structures have failed to tackle the problem of youth unemployment  rate reaching 23 percent. According to a UN body responsible for promoting work and employee rights, the International Labour Organization ILO, the EU would need up to 21 billion euro over the same period to reduce the current youth unemployment rate.

Eurofound, an EU agency whose goal is to improve working and living conditions estimates the cost of youth unemployment in Europe at over 150 billion euro a year in lost earnings and taxes, as well as unemployment benefit and other welfare payments.

Young people in Europe have been hit hard by the recession with only 33.6 percent employed in 2011, the lowest figure ever recorded, according to Eurofound. Since the start of the recession, youth unemployment has risen by 1.5 million, reaching 5.5 million in 2011. Meanwhile, 7.5 million young people aged 15–24 and an additional 6.5 million young people aged 25–29 were not in employment, education or training. To compare: In 2008, the figure stood at 11 percent of 15–24 year olds and 13 percent of 25–29 year olds. By 2011, however, these had increased to 13 percent and 15 percent respectively. 

The problem is the EU, G20 labour ministers & leaders like David Cameron & Ed Miliband is they firmly believe in austerity & 'cuts' to the public purse, in reality austerity is wrong for the situation 'we' in Britain like Europe find ourselves. David Cameron is 'self harming Britain' as a consequence hit a 'major artery', along with the British Labour Party they offer little alternative. Putting a plaster over a bleeding artery will NOT solve the economic crisis.

We need a planned economy, we required socialism.


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Saturday, 22 June 2013

The People's Assembly cannot be a one-off rally - ORGANISE !

Over 4,000 are in attendance at The People's Assembly - we will be heard, we will set the agenda - we are the people !!!

The thousands who are gathered at the People's Assembly Against Austerity, are drawn from across our society, have a historic responsibility.

Faced by the relentless onslaught of an ideology based on self-serving greed - one that views ordinary people as commodities to be exploited, and worthless if they cannot be - we must not be found wanting.

Today's People's Assembly cannot be a one-off rally that brings people together in anger but without focus and practical results.

It must serve as the first step towards a broadbased movement that joins communities and established organised forces around a new economic programme to put ordinary people, not the forces of capital, in the driving seat.

In the months to come there will be many challenges.

But we must not be diverted from the goal of uniting around a broad policy programme that can answer the endless diet of austerity, where the only “alternative” currently on offer is the same but with a few minor amendments.

Our programme must be inspirational and bold but realistic - it will need to give people the hope of the achievable.

We will have to overcome a virtual media blackout on alternative ideas.

Civil disobedience, direct action, protest, and coordinated mass strike action - all will be part of the arsenal.

But without clear, achievable goals based around the kind of society we desire such efforts will remain isolated gestures of resistance.

The months to come will provide challenges in meeting people's expectations and in creating an inclusive movement that maintains its focus on mounting a serious anti-austerity fightback.

We must rise and overcome them - the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats & The Labour Party - ignore us at your peril !!

After decades on the back foot, the time has come to grab the centre of gravity away from the dismal, divisive politics of the right and lay a new path of hope and social solidarity.

We owe it to those in whose footsteps we tread, bearers of a proud tradition of resistance and political campaigning for a better society.

*** Our REPORT from London - The People's Assembly

Unemployed activists, disabled campaigners & trade unions warned today of a co-ordinated action against the Government's spending cuts. Thousands of activists gathered to highlight the impact of the coalition's controversial austerity measures.

The People's Assembly brought together the unemployed, unions, politicians and campaign groups amid complaints that minsters were "deaf" to the concerns of ordinary people.

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants warned: "Today's People's Assembly cannot be a one-off rally that brings people together in anger but without focus and practical results.

It must serve as the first step towards a broad-based movement that joins communities and established organised forces around a new economic programme to put ordinary people, not the forces of capital, in the driving seat.

Civil disobedience, direct action, protest, and coordinated mass strike action - all will be part of the arsenal.

But without clear, achievable goals based around the kind of society we desire such efforts will remain isolated gestures of resistance".

More than 4,000 people packed into the Methodist Central Hall Westminster, cheering speeches from union leaders including Len McCluskey of Unite the Union, Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commercial Services Union, Christine Blower of the National Union of Teachers, politicians including Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, and officials from a number of protest and campaign groups. McCluskey said the UK economy was "dead in the water", and accused the Government of refusing to consider alternatives to austerity.

"Our message is different - make the tax avoiders pay, make the wealthiest put their hands in their pockets to bail us out of the crisis they have caused. If the government spent one tenth of the resources that they do hunting down so-called "welfare fraud" in tackling tax avoidance, in tackling tax dodging then the budget deficit would start to melt away."

McCluskey said local People's Assemblies should become a mobilising force against cuts, adding: "We need to demonstrate, protest and lobby, and we need to do more - take direct action to let the elite know we are here.

"We must all work together to build the fighting spirit which creates the climate for mass industrial action. Let me make it clear to politicians of all parties - if it is right to strike against austerity in Greece, in Spain, in France, then it is right to strike against austerity here."

Delegates attending the conference agreed to mobilise for a day of civil disobedience on November 5 against the Government's austerity measures.

They also agreed to support a union-organised demonstration at the Conservative Party annual conference in the autumn.  

November 5th is Guy Fawkes day & on that date will be our 'Civil Disobedience Day' - EVERYWHERE throughout Britain.....
Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commercial Services union said: "In the face of a government that is borrowing more for failure and inflicting on us the longest economic slump in living memory, we need to be united. We need unity among our trade unions, in our workplaces and in our communities, and we need to be working together and co-ordinating protests, industrial action and civil disobedience."

He added: "We must also recognise that the People's Assembly isn't just a reaction to this government's policies, it is an opportunity to say that austerity is not the answer now and nor will it be under any government. It is an opportunity to set out an alternative that can inspire people, one where we invest in our communities and our economy for the benefit of the millions, not just the millionaires.

He summed up his speech with a succinct message, saying: "let our slogan be 'stuff your austerity, we want something different.'"

A series of People's Assembly meetings have been held across the country in recent months, which have been packed with members of the public. A survey of almost 1,500 adults in England for the Unite union revealed two thirds wanted the coalition to concentrate on investing in jobs and growth, even at the expense of deficit reduction. The poll showed two out of three people faced money troubles or job worries, with many voicing concern about soaring energy bills at a time of pay and benefit cuts.

McCluskey said the survey, published ahead of next week's Government Spending Review, revealed "genuine worries" among the public. "The Government is deaf to the everyday worries of ordinary people struggling to get by in towns across England. These figures remind us that deteriorating living standards, low wages, youth unemployment and job insecurity are now a major part of people's everyday lives."

He added: "Next week an out of touch Chancellor from an out of touch Government will claim that austerity is delivering the green shoots of recovery. Ordinary people seeing their young people on the dole, food bank queues stretching even longer and the NHS breaking will not buy this."

Green Party of England and Wales MP Caroline Lucas said: "The huge numbers of people here today show that there's a growing movement supporting alternatives to austerity - alternatives like investment in the green economy, which is far more labour intensive than the fossil fuel economy it replaces, and which would create hundreds of thousands of jobs at the same time as reducing our carbon emissions.

"The anti-austerity campaign and the environmental movement have to work together to deliver a safer and fairer society. "Our challenge now is to make our voices larger, louder and clearer and build a joined up movement that will stand up for the many not the few."

Socialist Housing Barrister and Chair of the Haldane society Liz Davies underlined the need for immediate action explaining that the way the law currently stands, no judge will ever side with an evicted tenant over a landlord. "The left cannot stand by and wait for the next labour government in the hope that it will step up and solve the problem, while people are being thrown out of homes."
"Councils do have a choice...we need to build a new consenses, we need practical solidarity to defeat this wicked and immoral bedroom tax by popular protest."

There are more than 6,000 people living on the streets, in London alone, and an even larger number "sofa surfing" or living in temporary accommodation which is directly attributable to government policies. SQUASH, a leading squatters action group said "squatters are demonised and presented as bogeymen but these are simply ordinary people - excluded by the housing market - looking for a roof over their heads."

Speakers from the floor reinforced this message and underlined the need for practical action to support people facing eviction, concrete action against rogue landlords, an end to exploitative rents and the neoliberal consensus on home ownership. Delegates pledged to work with each other to take direct action and build grass roots support for decent affordable housing.

Group member of Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants - Mark McGowan interviews National Executive Committee member of the Public and Commercial Services Union 'Zita Holbourne' the trade union within Jobcentre Plus & Department for Work and Pensions - DWP - on austerity & the Conservatives agenda to SMASH the Welfare State.

Mark McGowan - Artist Taxi Driver

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Monday, 10 June 2013

More than 46.1 Million Americans in Poverty, inequality in 'freefall' - capitalism failing !

The poor in America in free-fall - capitalism is failing !

The level of income inequality stretches much higher in the United States than in the other developed countries of Europe and North America. Now a report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) shows that U.S. inequality has literally gone off the chart.

Income inequality in the United States is soaring so high, in fact, that the authors of the ILO’s new 2013 World of Work report couldn’t even place the United States on the same graph with the other 25 developed countries their new study examines.

Download 'The World of Work' Report from the ILO

Income inequality reflects the sum total of all the differences between the incomes enjoyed by different households in a country. Differences between rich and poor households, rich and middle-income households, middle-income and poor households all enter into total income inequality.

Researchers usually measure income inequality using a statistic called the Gini coefficient. The Gini coefficient runs from a minimum of 0 (perfect equality in incomes across all households) to 100 (one rich household gets all the income for an entire country).

More than 46.1 Million Americans in Poverty, inequality in 'freefall'  view chart on U.S. poverty.

In 1967, 14.5 percent of Americans were poor, living on less than $17,400 for a family of three. In 2010, the last year for which data is available, that percentage is 15.2—some 46.1 million Americans in poverty. The chart includes data on those in “deep poverty,” defined as a family of three living on less than $8,700 per year. In 2010, 6.8 percent of the U.S. population was deeply poor—20.5 million people—and you know a lot of them are children

The ILO report places the US Gini coefficient at 47.7, or almost half way toward the extreme where one rich household gets everything and everyone else gets nothing.

By comparison, the levels of inequality in the other 25 developed countries studied all fall in a band between 20 and 35.

Even worse, in America inequality is not only high but rising. The Unites States is one of only three developed countries where income inequality rose during the recession of 2008-2009, then continued rising through the lacklustre recovery of 2010-2011.

The other two: Denmark and France. Both these countries had much lower levels of inequality to start with. By 2011, Denmark’s inequality had risen into the high 20s and France’s inequality into the low 30s.

In the United States inequality sat at 46.3 before the recession, moved to 47.0 in 2010, and rose further to 47.7 in 2011.

Rising inequality has hit the American middle class particularly hard. But America’s middle class decline began well before the recession hit in 2008. Every year fewer and fewer Americans qualify as middle class, and those who do have lower and lower incomes.

The share of U.S. adults living in middle-income households, the new ILO report notes, dropped from 61 to 51 percent between 1970 and 2010, and the median incomes of these households fell 5 percent.

Where has the middle class held its own in recent decades? Well, in Denmark and France, among other countries. The country with the largest middle class according to the ILO’s calculations is Norway, where about 70 percent of the population rate as middle class.

In the United States today only about 52 percent of the population can claim middle class status.

The World of Work report concludes that the middle class in the United States and around the world is suffering from “long-term unemployment, weakening job quality, and workers dropping out of the labour market altogether.” Things have been bad for a long time, but the recession has made them far worse.

The ILO, founded in 1946, now operates a specialist agency of the United Nations. The world’s employers and workers are equally represented on its governing board, alongside the representatives of 28 governments, including the United States government.

Different international organisations use different data sources for comparing inequality levels across countries. The ILO World of Work report uses raw data from the Census Bureau for the United States and from Eurostat for European countries.

The empirical evidence says that we can reduce inequality and bolster the middle class by putting people back to work. But that will take government action, that will mean looking at whether capitalism is compatible with peoples demands.

copy to: ALF-CIO, IBEW Local 1249 IBEW LOCAL 104 Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) American CP USA Peoples World EAPN - European Anti Poverty Network The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed .

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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Government bullies send in Nazi style 'boot boys' persecute benefit claimants !

Government bullies send in Nazi style 'boot boys' persecute benefit claimants !

The Conservatives & Liberal Democrats in government have set up a "hit squad" to persecute jobless people who do not comply with its "back to work" scheme.

Employment Minister Mark Hoban boasted that the "intensive and uncompromising" £30 million plan would "step up pressure" on benefit claimants.

The "hit squad" will comprise specialist advisers based in Job centre plus.

Jobless people who have spent two years on the Con-Dems' work programme will be targeted by the squad if they then fail "within days" to go into training or undertake mandatory work.

People with drug or alcohol problems will receive so-called 'special attention' including 'counselling'.

Hoban claimed that the Work Programme "is getting some of the hardest to help claimants into work despite a tough economic climate."
But he said that the government would have to apply extra "pressure" onto benefit claimants, who will be forced to attend the job centre more frequently, with rigorous monitoring to ensure they are doing everything they can to find work.

The Department for Work and Pensions have made it known that the "intensive support" will last for six months.

The Work Programme, launched two years ago, has come under fire over its performance in recent weeks - the Parliament's work and pensions committee reported that the scheme is failing the most disadvantaged jobseekers.

Meanwhile: The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has been caught lying 'yet again' about the government's vicious welfare policies this week - this time by the official statistics watchdog. Smith's department claimed in April that the number of people set to be hit by his cap on benefits had fallen from 56,000 to 40,000, with 8,000 of those people finding work through job centres.
When government ministers make up evidence to justify their policies to persecute benefit claimants, it's an indication of their desperation and their unsuitability for office. Whether being caught out three times by the UK Statistics Authority for the same offence makes Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith a serial offender is up for debate. But it also shows that no-one should invest trust in his analysis of data without seeking a second or third opinion.
The temptation to draw false conclusions is strong because he had a vested interest in making people believe that bringing in a £26,000-a-year benefit cap had spurred 8,000 people to stop claiming and get a job. Duncan Smith's problem is that it wasn't true, but unemployed people claiming benefits have a bigger problem of his making. His assertion chimes with government propaganda that there are plenty of jobs available and that too many people opt to live on benefits as a "lifestyle choice."

This self-serving lie absolves the conservative coalition government of responsibility for the level of unemployment and transfers the onus onto the jobless themselves, feeding an image of feckless families refusing to work rather than portraying the reality of a capitalist system that cannot provide the number of jobs necessary.

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