Monday 15th April 2013.

Today I cried twice. And that was before I heard about the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

Today crystallised the whole Economic War that I am seeing waged all around me. It contained every aspect, from the hidden maneuvers, through the disinformation and psy-ops, to the fightback and rebellion. I’m going to recount the events. You can make up your own mind as to whether I’ve lost the plot or just joined the dots to form an accurate picture of a rich, powerful elite holding a gun to my head and taking every last penny I have while trying to blame the undeserving poor bastard they mugged before me.

Event number 1. Someone shared a Mirror article describing an effective tax cut of £2bn on banks over last 2 years. The same story appears in newspapers and sites globally, even on the Gulf Times website. Although this originates from the opposition Labour party, who have fought the same war against you and me for the same people in the recent past, the numbers do stack up. The New Statesman article shows the working out.

Event number 2. I watched a little of ITV news at lunchtime. I wouldn’t normally watch it, ITV I mean, but I was at work and going along with my colleague. They ran a story about today being the first day of a roll-out of the “Benefit Cap” in London, with the rest of the UK to follow. A lot of people not currently in receipt of benefits and too short-sighted and brainwashed to realise they are one corporate take-over, receivership, cost-cutting excercise, illness, accident, efficiency drive away from needing more benefits than the cap allows thought this was a fantastic idea.

Event number 3. Twitted gave me a copy of an article about the Government’s decision to accept the Low Pay Commission’s advice to increase the National Minimum Wage by 12p per hour for adults over 21. This is a rise of 1.9% . But here’s the thing: Inflation (as selectively measured) is around 2.9/3%, but some economists point out that actually inflation is at least double UK govt estimates since 2007. This means we are seeing a real terms cut to national minimum wage of around 4% this year.

This is where I cried the first time. You see, my brain doesn’t work like most people around me. These are 3 separate news stories, about three separate things. Most people just take them as they find them. My brain joins them up. That’s when I see the picture of the rich robbing bastard and the poor sod he’s just mugged. I’m sure you’ve done this already, but for completeness I’m going to join them all up for you now.

Today we have seen the start of benefit cuts in the UK. This has been touted as “Making work pay” by the Govt and their cheerleaders (This is the part that shows the “soft war” tactics of disinformation and deceit). But it isn’t. How does cutting benefits make work pay? What a bizarre claim. The lowest paid workers are now going to see a real terms pay cut of around 4%. The CBI wanted them to have a pay freeze even though worker productivity, efficiency, corporate profits and CEO pay are all rising . Many of these workers will be receiving benefits, because the minimum wage is not enough to live on and cutting benefits won’t improve this. No matter how much is saved by these welfare “reforms” the sums will be dwarfed by the gigantic £2bn effective tax break for Banks – the very institutions that caused the financial meltdown, and the cost of bailing them out is causing our deficit. A very clear, direct transfer of wealth from a poor majority to a rich minority, that exacerbates the problem of income inequality, increases poverty, and concentrates power in the hands of the already rich and powerful. Why? because you can buy a personal meeting with our PM for £250k donation to his party. Because you can pay lobbying firms to pressure MPs to vote in your favour. This right here is the strucural violence I explored in an earlier post. Have a read:

I cried when I explained these 3 related points to my colleague at work, who is a single mum earning £6.87 an hour and caring for a terminally ill sister-in-law. She hadn’t seen the big picture before. (It was a stifled, welling-up-with-tears-looking-away-and-trying-to-hide-it kind of cry. I think I got away with it.)

93% of new housing benefit claims are for working households. Over 20% of workers are estimated to earn less than a living wage (£7.20ph outside of London in 2011). This is the exact opposite of making work pay. This is the economic equivalent of punching poorly paid workers in the face and kneeing them in the testes. As well as 2.5m officially unemployed, there are at least 3m “under employed” (stuck in part-time work) in the UK. These people aren’t claiming benefits as a lifestyle choice, it’s a result of the economic violence meted out to them by the very same people who are blaming them for everyone’s poverty while enriching themselves. This isn’t just lefty polemic. It’s actual real events. The results aren’t just some chavs on telly with 50-inch TVs having less to spend on booze and fags, the results are people in the poorest areas of the UK dying nearly 20 years earlier than those in the most affluent. The results are poverty, suffering and death of real human beings. These are the results of deliberate choices by people who will never have to experience the effects.

Also, Twitter showed me this article detailing the actual lies the DWP and it’s ministers Iain Duncan Smith and Grant Shapps have been spouting recently about welfare and “reform”. This should actually be illegal in their position, IMHO. This is the soft war. This is the deceit. This is how they try and win your mind, so you will fight for your own impoverishment.

But then, on the way home, Twitter made me cry again (This is the bit where the fightback/rebellion looks possible). This time in a “fucking yes, there is an alternative, and there are people trying to make it happen” kind of way- someone on Twitter shared this video, of Peter Thatchell giving a talk about “Economic Democracy”: [Click Here] It’s over 90min. I watched 5 on the bus, and it was enough to give me hope. I will write about it when I’ve watched the whole thing.

So to end with here’s something we could start demanding right now, to both cut the welfare bill and make work pay: Cap CEO pay at 25x the lowest in their corporation (its currently around 140x the average in FTSE 100 companies), enforce a living wage of £7.49 (that’s the latest figure I’ve seen) outside London (More inside, obviously) and introduce a guaranteed citizen’s income. THIS would “Make work pay” dear neo-liberals. But that isn’t actually what you want, is it? Trouble is, we do. And there’s a lot more of us…

PS The internet made me cry again. Someone shared this video on Facebook. It is 5 minutes long. It’s an excerpt of a speech by Charlie Kaufman. Watch it. It will grow your soul.