Snouts in the Trough


Elections have passed, faces change but the corrupt political class remains. MPs of all parties made common cause in attempting to delay and minimise the disclosure of their fraudulent behaviour and life of grandeur and wealth, subsidised by the taxpayer.Everything from moats to chauffeur driven cars, five star hotels to our local Robinson mafia having their noses in the trough claiming over £30,000 in food expenses alone over the last four years. Sinn Féin is not off the hook either, with their three properties in London costing us almost £500,000. Not too bad for a party which doesn’t take its seats in Westminster but administers ‘British Rule’ at Stormont. 

The list is endless but politicians stealing taxpayers’ money by selling their second homes to make a quick profit is top of the list. Never before has such hypocrisy and legalised robbery been exposed at the heart of our parliamentary democracy.

It goes without saying that there is one rule for us and a very different one for our ruling class. Consider, for instance, what would happen to a single mother of two doing a bit of paid work while living off the peanuts offered by the welfare state. Our jails have more than a few ‘fine defaulters’, while others of us are flung onto to the dole, threatened with house evictions or have to survive on ‘poverty’ wages.

Meanwhile, our political masters give a nod and a wink, and the guilty MPs get away with a mild slap on the wrist. Is this the best type of democracy they can offer us? One where the rich and politicians are given the freedom to enrich themselves at our expense?

We shouldn’t pay too much attention to the promises of change or explanations that only a ‘few bad apples are to blame’. Nor should we be fooled by the scapegoating of the House of Commons Speaker, nor by a handful of very minor reforms.

This scandal is the result of giving power to a small minority in a society. Any group of people with power over others will eventually use it in their interests. We only need to look at the Ryan report about the child labour camps run by the Catholic Church to know this. Bosses, politicians and clerics clearly use their power for their own interests.

Instead of giving our vote every four to five years to politicians who like to promise things they cannot or will not deliver on, we can start doing things collectively for ourselves. We can take direct action like the Visteon workers, we can convince our colleagues of the benefits of solidarity and resistance in the workplace. We can point to the mass non-payment campaign against water charges. This seems a more effective way to get results than trusting MPs to keep their campaign promises.

As anarchists, we stand for a new society where there will be no bosses or bureaucrats. No minority will hold political or economic power; instead everyone affected by a decision will have the right to take part in making that decision.

This will be a society run in a really democratic way by working people, through councils in the workplaces and community. These will be joined up nationally and internationally, ensuring that efficiency is combined with democracy in the building of a free socialism, summed up in the slogan “from each according to ability, to each according to need”.

Sounds crazy? Only if you think that capitalism is the best possible system, in which case you are either rich or you don’t expect much from life. Don’t Moan – Organise!

Workers Solidarity 110 July - August 2009 Edition

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