We cannot and will not pay the cost of the pandemic! & After 9/11: the "safe" world the West has created

 We cannot and will not pay the cost of the pandemic!

Last Tuesday the Health and Social Care Levy, which will increase National Insurance Contributions by 1.25% for 2022-3, was voted though parliament. Johnson was assured a majority, even if some of his backbenchers, who represent poorer working class constituencies and who fear for their own seats, withheld their votes.

   Upper class millionaire Chancellor Sunak claims that higher NICs, cutting state pensions and a de facto cut in Universal Credit, are all needed to fund the huge deficit in NHS and social care funding - not to mention the record total "Covid" overspend of £400bn. Yes, the working class must pay while the billions in capital gains and unpaid corporation taxes by offshored companies are sacrosanct!

    As for fixing the broken, privatised social care system, that's another question. The "plan" which Johnson promised has yet to see the light of day, but it's likely to do no more than offer new opportunities for capitalist parasitism.

    So from next April, everyone on more than £9,500/yr will get a 1.25% pay cut. Including NHS workers who're still fighting the pandemic and social care "heroes" on £8.91/hr - which this government cynically calls the “national living wage”!

    On top, will be the knock-on effect of the NIC rise, since the bosses who're also meant to pay it, will take this money back out of workers’ pay, refuse wage rises, cut jobs, etc., in addition to cuts they're already making under the pretext of the “end of furlough”.

    All this means that the working class will face even worse conditions over the coming months, unless there is a fight back which can stop the bosses in their tracks. There are already small strikes breaking out in some industries over pay - and NHS workers are (still) threatening a strike ballot over their below-inflation offer. But the bosses rely on the artificial divisions they have inserted into our ranks - between skilled and unskilled, temp and permanent, and core worker and subcontractor, let alone between public and private sectors. They rely on the way the union leaderships have played the sectional game, isolating one division from another. So that is the first obstacle we will have to overcome - uniting our ranks into one fighting force. But if we can do that, then the only real weapon we have - the strike - can be effectively used to beat the bosses back.

 After 9/11: the "safe" world the West has created

On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on New York's World Trade Centre, US presidents past and present stood up to remind the world of how the US had, in retaliation, launched a "war against terror" to "keep the West safe". 

    They even dared to claim a "safe" world had been achieved, since the figure behind the attack, Osama bin Laden, was killed - never mind that it was only in 2011, 10 years after they'd already bombed Afghanistan and its Taliban rulers back into the Dark Ages. And he wasn't even in Afghanistan by then, but in Pakistan.... 

    The number of Afghan civilians killed in this revenge war is uncounted. As the Independent newspaper writes "the US has avenged these innocents [2,977 were killed on 9/11] many hundreds of times over"; the Afghan dead who have actually been accounted for, apparently number over 360,000. 

    As for "safe" world, well, today the Taliban are right back where they were 20 years ago. The "terror threat", remains as imminent and unpredictable as ever. And it will remain so, as long as the rich countries continue to exploit, threaten, sanction and embargo the poor. The horrific truth of the suicide bomb is that it is the weapon of the weaponless.

    Let no-one forget that terrorists remain the creation of the West's Dr Frankenstein-politicians. In asserting their world order they've never had any qualms about using monstrous means themselves. Nor do they bother about the consequences of their actions on the poor populations of the countries they attack and whose leaders they manipulate to their own ends. The chaos they left in Kabul says it all. It's justified in a moral cloak which hides the real and nefarious interests of imperialist capital.

    And yet the "revenge" against Afghanistan continues: assets belonging to the bankrupt Afghan state - apparently $9bn - are withheld in New York. Worse, even humanitarian aid has been stopped. This means that the Afghan poor face the terror of starvation. The sick are dying for lack of simple drugs and up and down the country children suffer acute malnutrition. It might be a leap in reasoning to use the analogy of vaccines against Covid-19, but the hypocrisy of world leaders is the same: they preach that "nobody is safe until everyone is safe", but for the rich countries' politicians, safety begins at home. The terrible aftermath of 9/11 has taught them nothing.