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8 September 2021

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The street I live on

Barton Street, photo David Stowell/CC

Barton Street, photo David Stowell/CC   (Click to enlarge)

James Collett, Gloucestershire Socialist Party

A man was stabbed in the back as he walked along Barton Street, the street I live on in Gloucester, recently. The sight of police cordons is not unusual here. As the Tory council pours money into (ineffectually) gentrifying the city centre, the consequences of austerity are increasingly pushed into poor areas like Barton and Tredworth.

Incidents like this will only increase as more cuts are made to drug rehabilitation, mental health, homeless shelters, benefits, jobs and social services. Capitalism is destroying our communities, with the poorest hit the hardest.

In Gloucester the public toilets have been closed and Barton Street has become a latrine. I've seen homeless people defecate on the pavement outside the pharmacy, and my front door is regularly used as a urinal. I've seen families arrive at night to go through the bins, their kids helping, looking for anything they might be able to use or sell. Prostitution is commonplace; women will offer you their bodies for a fiver, years of pain and desperation etched on their faces as they do so.

In November last year, Barton had the highest Covid infection rate of any area in the South West. This was not only because of the overcrowded, low-quality housing and underlying health problems associated with poverty, but because many residents here work low-paid jobs which put them at risk of infection: factory work, retail, transport, etc. In other words, they are key workers - people who kept the country running throughout the pandemic while the super-rich sat in their mansions getting richer, and their lackeys in parliament cut them dirty deals.

It was working-class people from this area who came in their hundreds to the Black Lives Matter protests last summer and the protest against Israeli state terror this year. Over 40% of residents in Barton and Tredworth are Black and Asian, with a further 10% white non-British. There was a cathartic element to those events, especially the Black Lives Matter protests, where people finally had a chance to speak publicly of the crimes committed against them and the conditions inflicted on them.

There is a rage growing in the working class. We're sick of being ignored, sick of being cheated and lied to by the Tories, by Labour, by all of them. The capitalist system is failing, and we're expected to pay its debts. We've already paid enough. It's time for us to build a party of our own, a workers' party with workers' MPs on a workers' wage, who do what they say they'll do.

We need a party of and for the working class, demanding nationalisation of the banks and big companies, including the parasitic pharmaceutical companies, so that we can have a real, socialist NHS, decent housing, fully funded services; so that we can take society into our own hands and run it democratically in our own interests; and so that the people, not just of Barton and Tredworth but all oppressed and exploited communities, can be liberated and allowed to fulfil the potential which capitalism would crush without a thought in the interests of profit.

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In The Socialist 8 September 2021:


NHS and social care

NHS and social care - make the rich pay, not the workers

Workers shouldn't pay for health and social care plans

End service cuts and care charges

Families demand rights for care home residents

Whipps Cross hospital workers reject the 3%


What we think

A pivotal moment for the trade union movement


Socialist Party news and campaigns

Socialist Party national council - members enthused by excellent in-person meeting

Why I joined the Socialist Party


Education

Union action needed to make schools Covid safe

Fighting NEU leadership needed to tackle school funding crisis

Schools funding crisis fails vulnerable children

University bosses push through pension cuts proposal


9/11 twenty years on

9/11 and the 'War on Terror' twenty years on


Workplace news

Bexley bin workers win big gains after six-week strike

Equity protest to save arts centre forces talks from Newham Council

DWP: Demand safe working and more jobs

DHL workers to strike against wage theft


Youth Fight for Jobs

Organising to defend our future: 9 October- Youth fight for jobs day of action

Building Youth Fight for Jobs in the South West


International news

Libya - ten years after Gaddafi's overthrow

US Supreme Court refuses to challenge Texas abortion ban

Keep fascists out of Portland: Build a mass movement to fight the right


Readers' opinion

The street I live on

Socialist change, not climate change

Vigil: A nuclear sub murder mystery


Obituary

Obituary: Roger Henshaw, comrade and class fighter


 

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Related links:

Gloucester:

triangleGloucester Socialist Party: The questions facing us in 2020

triangleGloucestershire Socialist Party: What can we expect from the new government?

triangleGloucestershire Socialist Party: What does the new American president mean for us?

triangleBristol North East Socialist Party: History of the Labour Party

triangleBristol North East Socialist Party: Summer drink

Workers:

triangleSocialists and the four-day week

triangleStop press: Sparks walk out

triangleWorkers at 13 colleges to strike over pay

triangleTory cuts to UC: we need a union fightback

Black:

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: The life of Black Panther Fred Hampton

triangleThe story of Joe Clough - Britain's first black bus driver

triangleTV - Statue wars: one summer in Bristol

Black Lives Matter:

triangleNews in brief

triangleWelsh Labour holds on to government but new crises loom

Capitalism:

triangleLife expectancy falls - a condemnation of capitalism

Article dated 8 September 2021

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CWI rally, Sunday 26 September 2021, 14-00. Youtube.com/CWImedia

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