THE Tory-led coalition’s savage attack on welfare claimants and the inevitable poverty and destitution they have caused for millions of working class families has brought condemnation from church leaders.
Last week, the leader of the Catholic church in Britain, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, denounced changes to the welfare system as ‘punitive’ and their effects as a ‘disgrace’ in a country as rich as Britain.
This attack on the government’s austerity onslaught against the unemployed and low paid was supported this week in a letter to the press by 26 Anglican Bishops who denounced the fact that ‘Britain is the world’s seventh largest economy, and yet people are going hungry’.
When the leadership of the Church of England, a pillar of the capitalist state, begin to attack the government it is a clear warning to Cameron and Osborne that these leaders are getting mightily afraid of the revolutionary consequences of inflicting abject poverty and starvation on a powerful working class that will not tolerate this as a price for propping up a bankrupt capitalist system.
Cameron’s response to this criticism was to deny that people were starving and that the ‘safety net’ of the benefit system had been snatched away from them.
This argument falls flat on its face when confronted with the reality that 500,000 families are reliant today on the charity of food banks.
As for the safety net, government figures published on Wednesday reveal that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants have had their benefits suspended more than 800,000 times because they ‘failed’ to do enough to find work.
As the head of the TUC, Francis Grady noted ‘people are being sanctioned for going to family funerals rather than seeking work, and those without IT skills are being penalised for not applying online’.
Cameron had another ruling class argument to justify inflicting starvation on workers and youth – it is that he is engaged in a moral crusade against the poor to save them from themselves, by inflicting severe character training punishment.
In an article in the Telegraph, Cameron says that these cuts are not just about saving money to pay off the bank debts but are part of a ‘moral mission’.
This is a mission to re-teach workers, now that the post-war boom is just a memory, to know their place in society and to passively accept that starvation is positively good for them, not just for the survival of the bankers, but for their own moral being.
The saved, those that put up with this treatment, will become the ‘deserving poor’, who know who their masters are and accept their position at the bottom of society. These will be be given just enough hand-outs to survive.
As for the undeserving poor – that is the vast majority of youth and workers who refuse to accept this as their pre-ordained lot – they are going to get a continual whipping from the agents of their oppressors, the ruling class, to keep them in their place and in order.
This bourgeois morality goes back right to the very origins of capitalism in Britain, to the days when the working class was created as a propertyless class owning nothing but its ability to work.
Cameron’s moral crusade is nothing more than the intention to return to the days of the 17th century and beyond when peasants, forced off the land through enclosure acts, were forced to roam as unemployed, homeless ‘vagabonds’ to be persecuted by the law as criminals and brigands to be locked up, branded and even executed for the crime of being poor and without work – all for their own moral salvation of course.
They were driven into the towns after disciplining via the branding iron, to become workers capable of spending long hours at the bench for up to seven days a week.
Cameron is quite prepared to use all the modern technology of electronic tags, water cannon and armed police to impose and enforce this morality, just as the ruling class of old used the branding iron and the noose.
The working class and especially the youth will not tolerate this attempt to keep the tiny minority of bankers and capitalists in luxury while they starve.
Cameron’s morality must be answered with the socialist revolution to put an end to this financially and morally bankrupt capitalist system forever.
The stinking capitalist system and its equally stinking ideology must be put an end to and relegated to a museum of humanity’s pre-history.