TUC 2012: Austerity is actually working very well, thank you - if you are one of capitalism's great and not-so-good, that is.
Austerity was never intended to tackle the results of the economic and financial crisis. The intention was always to use the context of that crisis to reverse all the gains made by working people over the last 70 years, to undermine our trade unions, to increase the wealth of the wealthiest 10 per cent at the expense of the rest of us and to take our public services back into the world of profit.
In Britain - and from Greece to Portugal, Italy to Ireland - those objectives are being achieved. "Austerity" is class war on workers.
Unemployment, enforced part-time working and casual "precarious" employment are increasing apace.
Pay is frozen for millions, and national pay rates are under attack.
Pensions are devalued, undermined and scrapped.
Work is "deskilled" and "flexible working" allows for ever greater exploitation. Whole populations of young people are forced to uproot themselves and migrate looking for work, nationally and internationally.
Meanwhile the richest 10 per cent of the population see their wealth increasing during "austerity" - by 25 per cent in 2009 and 20 per cent in 2010. The richest 1,000 people owned, between them, £414 billion in 2011 - a new record.
The High Pay Commission reports that top executives' total pay rose by 49 per cent during 2009-10, compared to average increases of less than 3 per cent for their employees. In 2011 it increased by 55 per cent.
The richest 10 per cent also pride themselves on their tax avoidance expertise.
Cuts to public services and benefits for ordinary people have only just begun, with privatisation - both overt and by stealth - accelerating across all sectors despite the profit-obsessed, corner-cutting chaotic incompetence of the private sector being exposed on a regular basis.
And if a service can't be privatised for profit? It will be abandoned to Cameron's Big Society fiction.
So austerity is working very well indeed for the tiny class of bankers and monopolists that dominates Britain, whom the Con-Dem coalition represent. The alternative policies of the People's Charter would clearly be totally unacceptable to them.
The charter stands for a coherent and integrated policy for the protection and development of jobs and skills, industry and public services.
It stands for democratic, public ownership of the banking and finance industry, public utilities, communications and transport.
It has a clear plan for housing, benefits and tackling poverty. It opposes all European Union austerity and privatisation directives and processes.
It stands for sustainable development, a greener, safer world and an end to constant war. And it is carefully costed, showing that it is easily affordable in this wealthy nation. There is no lack of wealth in Britain - it is simply concentrated in the hands of the very few.
The charter's policies would be funded by a combination of proper progressive taxation and the social use of the value generated by economic growth - a fundamental and irreversible shift in wealth towards the working class.
But for as long as the charter remains something that is pinned to a noticeboard or sits at the bottom of an in-tray we will not have seized its potential.
All around Britain, in every village, town and city, there is an urgent need to build a sustained movement around its principles.
This need is to find expression in a TUC supported campaign on "jobs, industry, skills and public services" - organised by the People's Charter and Britain's 178 local trades councils - to follow the October 20 demonstration For A Future That Works.
The People's Charter and trades councils can provide the focus for such a movement - and everyone can be involved.
Don't wait for the next national demonstration. Build the campaign "for a people's Britain, not a bankers' Britain" in your local area.
The People's Charter fringe meeting at TUC Congress will take place tomorrow from 6-7.30pm at the Brighthelm Centre in North Road. Speakers include Len McCluskey, Bob Crow, Kevin Courtney and Pat Sikorski.
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