Most of the media presents the collapse towards recession as a natural disaster.
For them, and the politicians, all we can do is sit tight, accept cuts in our living standards, and wait for better times to return.
Gordon Brown’s government only answers are to demand that people stop throwing away food and that we “tighten our belts” to help the economy recover.
But the crisis is not natural and we can do something about it.
That is why trade union activists and other campaigners have launched the People Before Profit Charter.
The Charter challenges the logic of a system that puts profits before people. It puts forward clear proposals to improve workers’ lives and insists that ordinary people should not pay for the crisis.
The Charter can be a rallying point for the resistance that is taking place across the country.
Inflation and recession are now tightening their grip on the economy with every day that passes. Working people face rapidly increasing prices, especially for food and fuel; government led pay restraint; rising unemployment and a disastrous housing crisis. At the same time the super-rich continue to enjoy huge profits, salaries and bonuses - yet pay less tax than under the Tories. The desperation felt by many is having equally serious political effects: the resurgence of the Tories and an increase in anti-immigrant and fascist arguments. We need a coordinated response to these threats. As part of this response please add your name to this Charter and then move support for the Charter at your trade union, party or campaign organisation.
1. Wage increases no lower than the rate of inflation as given by the Retail Price Index. No to the government’s 2 percent pay limit.
2. Increase tax on big companies. Introduce a windfall tax on corporation superprofits, especially those of the oil companies.
3. Repeal the Tory anti-union laws. Support the Trade Union Freedom Bill.
4. Unsold houses and flats should be taken over by local councils to ease the housing crisis. No house repossessions. For an emergency programme of council house building.
5. Stop the privatisation of public services. Free and equal health and education services available to all.
6. End the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and use the money to expand public services. Stop the erosion of civil liberties.
7. Abolish tax on fuel and energy for old people and the poor. Re-establish the link between wages and pensions.
8. No to racism. No to the British National Party. No scapegoating of immigrants.
9. Reintroduce grants and abolish tuition fees for students.
10. Increase the minimum wage to £8.00 an hour. Many workers and trade unionists are now engaged in strikes and protests to defend their pay, jobs and services. We pledge ourselves to support their action and to support the campaigns that are dedicated to protecting working people, including:
* Unite Against Fascism
* Public Services not Private Profit
* Defend Council Housing
* Stop the War Coalition
* Keep Our NHS Public
Please return to: People Before Profit Charter, BM 6035, London WC1N 3XX or email your name and details to email@example.com
"The People Before Profit Charter is important because it allows us to debate the economic crisis facing ordinary people outside the boundaries fixed by the mainstream media and the political class it represents.
Everyone knows privatisation has been a disaster, that Gordon Brown’s PFI has been theft by another name, that the City of London’s games and power are unaccountable, that the priorities of public expenditure are distorted – £4 billion for two aircraft carriers, peanuts for public sector workers – and yet orthodox discussion remains stuck in a sterile world of party fortunes and personalities (If only they had personalities!).
Every opinion poll shows a clear public majority in favour of the principle of public services before profit. That should be the starting point.” - John Pilger, Writer & Broadcaster