Job-slashers, not the jobless, are the real criminals and should be treated as such!

8 November 2010

Blaming the budget deficit on benefit claimants has been ministers' main focus over the past months. But, one after the other, their announcements have backfired. Like their planned housing benefit cuts, which triggered an angry reaction from both Tory councils and landlords.

So now they have chosen to turn their fire against those they consider to be a "soft" target - the jobless. Ahead of a White Paper to be published this Thursday, Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith told the media about his plans to force the long-term unemployed to do unpaid "community work" - just like petty hooligans who get sentenced to do such work as a penalty for anti-social behaviour!

Turning poverty into a crime

Not that such punitive methods are entirely new. Labour's so-called "Flexible New Deal" already involved compulsory placements. This was part of a system of harassment against the jobless, designed to force them into the first casual non-job on offer, regardless of pay and conditions - and, in any case, to get them off the unemployment count.

Today, however, Duncan Smith wants to take this system of harassment one step further, by effectively turning joblessness into a crime that calls for some form of "sentence"!

There is, however, a vicious logic of sorts in the Con-Dems' madness. The benefit cuts announced over the past weeks all point in the same direction: their implication is that benefit claimants are, by definition, potential "scroungers", who should be constantly policed, rather than helped.

Whether we are among the 5m receiving out-of-work benefits, or the 11m receiving working family tax credits, we are considered as mere "cheats" by the wealthy capitalist sponsors of this government.

By contrast, the directors of the country's 100 largest companies who awarded themselves an average 55% salary increase last year, despite the recession, earning 7 or 8-digit annual salaries on the back of our labour, are considered to be "respectable entrepreneurs".

By contrast, too, these companies, which are notorious for indulging in large-scale tax avoidance, defrauding public funds of tens of billions in tax revenue each year, are hailed by ministers as the "engines of the economy" - when, in reality, they live as parasites off this economy.

Being poor is quite simply a crime in this profit-driven society! Regardless of the fact that it is precisely the poorest section of society, the working class, which produces all its wealth with its labour!

Taking the criminals to task

If, of course, instead of punitive "community work" sentences imposed on the jobless, the government was creating real, socially useful jobs, on a living wage - like building the social housing that is so desperately lacking - this would make a real difference. Not only would it begin to address the issue of unemployment, but it could also resolve some of the population's most urgent needs.

But this is not on the Con-Dems' agenda. What makes Duncan-Smith's announcement particularly cynical, is that it comes from a government which has already begun to slash hundreds of thousands of jobs, and which considers it perfectly legitimate to have policies which will result in over 1 million jobs disappearing into thin air. Precisely when they create more and more jobless workers, they launch and all-out attack on them!

As to the bosses, who are right behind the Duncan Smiths, cheering them on, they are the criminal puppet-masters! For years they have been parasites on the state, thanks to all the private contracts handed them by government. And it was thanks to Labour's policy under Brown that these private-public jobs remained casual, part-time and often farmed out to employment agencies so that all the "entrepreneurs" in the chain could rake in huge sums of public money as profit!

As a result, a large proportion of the workforce has found itself working too few hours a week to earn a proper living. While others are forced to work harder for much longer hours - often on overtime, to make up for the many workers who the bosses sacked - thus criminally wearing out the health of their workers!

This is the perverse logic of the capitalist system. Some of us are overworked, while many of us are under-employed or unemployed, at a time when there is so much in society that needs doing!

How can there be any place in the human community for the capitalists and their pimps in government who have created this state of affairs? Surely the only answer is to give them a taste of our justice - and throw them out!