Poverty in the north = You Can't Eat a Flag


A recent report produced by ‘Belfast Healthy Cities’ into the direct link between wealth and class confirms what most of us already know - class pervades every aspect of our lives from the cradle to grave. According to the report, if you live in the Shankill or Ardoyne, for example, you can expect to live several years less than someone from affluent areas just a few miles away. So much for the new era!

The fightback in response to police violence in Greece and the occupation by Calcost workers in Derry remind us that the class war is far from over. As the recession continues to bite, it is us as workers and the unemployed, who are now paying for the blunders of the rich and powerful.

That’s right, we're the majority who produce the wealth but only ever get a small portion back in the form of wages. Yet we are constantly told by our bosses at work or in the corridors of power to be ‘grateful’ and not to rock the boat. OK for a politician, earning at least £43,381 a year before expenses.

Sure, we can all make it to the top can’t we? With a bit of luck and slaving our lives away 24/7 maybe. Why is it that those in power, with a few notable exceptions, come from similar backgrounds and went to the same eilitist schools?

The stark reality and impact of class hits home in the fact that many won't survive this winter on the island of Ireland, having been forced into choosing between food or heating. You'll need a few bob too, if you're from the Catholic faith and you want to secure a plot for burial at Milltown Cemetery. The Catholic Church is looking for up to £3,000 apiece for 1,300 new plots there - a staggering sum, from one of the world’s richest multi-national property tycoons.

The Executive may have been temporarily restored but as long as the blight of nationalism, whether of the nationalist or unionist variety, continues to hold sway and prop up capitalism, then real working-class freedom and equality will never be delivered.

As anarchists, we won’t be round looking for your vote every four years or so, we won't spout empty promises in return for a seat round the table because we don’t believe that, even if we did get in, the working class can be satisfied with scraps from that table. That class, our class, must wage our own struggles and take control of our own destiny- no political party can do that.

We must fight like hell for the living……

This article is from Workers Solidarity 107 Jan/Feb 2009

You can read WS107 online or download the PDF file