After the ill-treatment of people with learning disabilities was filmed by Panorama, Winterbourne View has been closed, more inspections have taken place, and 11 care workers have been convicted. Between 400 and 1200 ‘excess’ and ‘unnecessary’ deaths between 2005 and 2008 at Mid Staffordshire Hospital Trust have been investigated and reported on. Health minister Jeremy Hunt and the Chief Nursing Officer for England have emphasised the need for “care” and “compassion”.
Globally, it is estimated that at least 10% of the world’s population is squatting. Many of the slums that surround cities such as Mumbai, Nairobi, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro are largely comprised of squatters. The types of accommodation, the services, or lack of them, available to inhabitants, the type of work undertaken and the composition of the population all vary, but collectively they show that, for all the goods produced and all the money swirling around the world, capitalism remains unable to adequately meet one of the most basic of human needs. The purpose of this article is to try and examine the reasons for this.
In the 19th century ignorance was a plausible explanation for the high mortality in hospitals, the dangers which are becoming transparent in the hospitals in Greece today are not a manifestation of ignorance but an expression of the threat against the survival of humanity coming from a totally obsolete, bankrupt system of production.
It’s always difficult - and unwise - to make precise predictions about the international situation, particularly as imperialist tensions and conflicts take on a more irrational and chaotic character. However, we can say with some certainty that, whatever the specifics of events in Syria, whether the regime falls or not, there will be more fighting, more bloodshed and the greater likelihood of the war worsening in Syria itself and extending beyond its borders.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne restarted an old ‘debate’ when he said that all those dependent on the welfare state for their existence were ‘scroungers’. The Labour party along with some of Osborne’s LibDem coalition partners, were astonished at the apparently provocative outburst, which relegated the greater part of the working population to the same status as the unemployed. For Osborne, the unemployed are shirkers by definition of course, and most of his critics have difficulty distinguishing their position from his. It has become fashionable to be tough on the unemployed, and the Labour party is making sure that it fits in with the fashion. This means that in contemporary public discourse everyone has to look as though they believe that unemployment is always a matter of choice.
At the start of 2013 the UK’s Coalition government voted in the latest tranche of austerity measures aimed at reducing the budget deficit. The Spending Review put forward by George Osborne factored in the planned attacks on welfare benefits and pensions. These attacks have been phased in by the British bourgeoisie over a number of years and didn’t start with the Lib-Cons coming to power. The attacks are plainly focussed on the working class.
For a long time sport has represented a phenomenon that cannot be ignored from the fact of its cultural breadth and its place in society. A mass phenomenon, it's imposed on us through the tentacles of many institutions and results in a permanent hammering from the media. What significance can we give it from the point of view of a historical understanding and from the point of view of the working class?
The massacre of innocent lives at Sandy Hook elementary school is a horrific reminder that short of a thorough revolutionary transformation of society the spread and depth of decomposing capitalism can only find expression in ever more barbaric, senseless, and violent acts. There is absolutely nothing in the capitalist system that is capable of offering a meaningful understanding of why such an act could even be conceived, let alone a viable proposal for change.
As the CGT and the CCOO-UGT regrouping five different unions in Spain called for yet another 24-hour ‘general strike’ for October 31 and November 14 respectively, comrades of the Assembly movement - Indignant and Self-Organized Alicante Workers - published and distributed a declaration called "In the face of the 24-hour strikes: What strike do we want? The mass strike!".
Whatever its specifics, strategies and rationales - and there are certainly plenty of those - the Israeli-Palestine conflict is first and foremost the expression of a decomposing capitalism that holds an enormous threat for the working class and the whole of humanity. This particular conflict, increasingly along with the whole geopolitical situation of the Middle East, represents the tendency towards greater militarism, imperialist war, instability and chaos. Its absurdity, intractability and irrationality perfectly sums up the future that this crisis-ridden system offers to us and the generations to follow.