Children Going To School Hungry!

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THE survey by the ATL (Association of Teachers and Lecturers) into child poverty has exposed what the reality of bankrupt capitalism means for millions of workers and their families in Britain in the second decade of the 21st century.

Three quarters of the 627 teachers, from primary school right through to sixth-form colleges, reported that they had to teach pupils and young students who suffered from extreme deprivation due to poverty – a figure that has increased dramatically since the capitalist slump and crash of the banking system in 2008.

Among the appalling findings of the study was that pupils’ education was being adversely affected because they were suffering from hunger.

One teacher reported that they had one student who had not eaten for three days because his mother had run out of money and couldn’t afford food for the family until pay day!

Yet another reported that ill-fitting shoes had caused the toes of one pupil to become infected.

Across the board, those surveyed gave evidence that hunger was a very real way of life for young people, so much so that medical intervention by schools was becoming increasingly necessary due to hunger-induced illness.

These conditions were supposed to have been eradicated in the UK with the introduction of the welfare state over 60 years ago.

That they are returning is a damning indictment of those leaders of the Labour Party and trade unions who have sat back and passively accepted that capitalism can no longer afford the welfare state and that it must be smashed up.

Not just passively accepted it, in fact, but actively collaborated in the attempt to destroy it.

Miliband and the Labour opposition accept entirely the argument about the need for capitalism to ‘reform’ the welfare state, and especially the benefit system, out of existence.

Many of the measures designed to drive the unemployed off benefit were pioneered by the previous Labour government.

As for the Tory-led coalition, their response to these shameful findings is to regurgitate the lies that smashing up the benefit system and forcing people off Job Seekers Allowance would put an end to what they call ‘entrenched worklessness’.

They ignore the fact that there are no jobs waiting to be filled by the unemployed – capitalism has laid waste to industry, destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the economy is collapsing not expanding.

The nearly three million out of work are set to be joined by the hundreds of thousands of public sector workers thrown off their jobs as the slash-and-burn policies of the coalition take effect in the coming weeks.

One crucial aspect of the ATL’s survey is to reveal that it is not just the unemployed – forced to live on below-poverty level benefits – whose children are experiencing this deprivation.

Low-paid workers are finding that their wages, frozen in the main for the past two years or even cut by employers desperate to maintain their profits, are not enough to feed and clothe their families today.

While children and young people face a future of poverty that was once believed to have been confined to the pages of a Dickens novel, the bankers – who caused the crash – strut around with their huge pay packets and their million pound bonuses.

There can be only one response to this obscenity of child poverty: a general strike to bring down this rotten coalition and replace it with a workers government that will go forwards to socialism.

Only through the destruction of capitalism, which places profit before the lives of children, can a decent future for workers and their families be secured. Forward to the socialist revolution!