THE report by the charity Oxfam entitled ‘A Tale of Two Britains’ puts definite figures on the simple fact known by every worker that the rich and super-rich are creaming off vast wealth while the working class is being relentlessly driven into poverty.
According to the report, published this week, the wealthiest top five families in the UK own more wealth than the poorest 20% of the population.
What this means is that these five families own more wealth than 12.6 million of the poorest – the unemployed and low paid.
Top of this super-rich heap in Britain resides the Duke of Westminster, who owes his fortune to the fact that his family owns 190 acres of land in the most expensive part of London, Belgravia. From his ancestral piles the Duke can look down on the rest of us secure in the knowledge that his fortune is growing by the day due to rising property prices.
In this he is not alone for the report reveals that while the working class have seen their disposable income slashed to the bone through pay freezes and below inflation pay increases over the past four years of Tory austerity, these capitalist parasites have basked in huge year-on-year increases in their wealth.
Shelter estimates that the income for the wealthiest 0.1% of the population has been growing four times faster than that of 90% of the rest of the country.
This wealthy 0.1% are pocketing on average an extra £24,000 a year while over one million unemployed and low paid are forced to rely on the charity of food banks just to feed their families.
Nor is this obscene concentration of wealth confined to the UK. It is estimated that 85 multi-billionaires across the world have more wealth than half the world’s population.
A figure that has caused panic in the International Monetary Fund which recently issued a statement warning that such inequalities was ‘harmful’ to economic growth. What really worries the IMF is not the harm that such wealth inequalities are having to any mythical ‘growth’ in capitalism, what is terrifying them is the revolutionary implications of this situation.
Across the world millions upon millions of workers are asking the question: why are we being driven into poverty and starvation by savage austerity measures designed to bail out the bankers and the capitalist class – that tiny handful of people who live in undreamt of luxury and wealth at our expense?
Oxfam published its findings in the week that Tory chancellor, George Osborne, will reveal the government’s latest budget. Its publication is designed to put pressure on Osborne to ‘do something’ for the working class by increasing taxation on the rich and distributing part of this to the poor.
Such appeals are useless – driven by the greatest economic crisis in its history capitalism has no alternative but to seek survival by loading the entire burden of the crisis on the backs of the working class.
If that means that workers and their families starve then so be it.
For the working class there is also no option, workers are not sitting back and passively accepting this fate. The working class is not a defeated class, reduced to begging for relief from this hated and despised government, the only thing holding it back is the treacherous leadership of the trade union leaders who are completely opposed to any action in defence of pay or the welfare state that threatens a struggle against the government.
The urgent task of the hour is to remove these leaders and replace them with a new revolutionary leadership prepared to mobilise the full strength of the working class in a general strike to kick out this government, take the power and go forward to a workers government that will advance to a socialist society where the small minority of capitalists will be expropriated and consigned to the pages of history.