Poverty

News shorts

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UKIP unsure exactly how racist to be
A row erupted among Britain’s premier bigots after their defeat in the Stoke by election last month. Former leader Nigel Farage wanted current leader Paul Nuttall to boot out sole MP Douglas Carswell before he rejoins the Tories. Also, having been so anti-establishment for so long, Nigel was upset that he didn’t receive a knighthood. This is no time to stop organising against them, though. Farage has complained that UKIP wasn’t hardline enough over immigration.

Briefing: Fuel poverty

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The end of November saw the release of the government's statistics on winter deaths. Cold weather is a killer in the UK. An estimated 31,100 "excess winter" deaths occurred over the winter of 2012-13, up from 24,000 the previous winter.

Most of these deaths occurred among those aged 75 or older. Excess winter deaths are strongly correlated with the coldest weather months; and the coldest winters have the highest number of winter deaths.

Austerity and a Greek island

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Our view of austerity in Greece is usually shaped by events on the mainland. Chris Jones, who lives on the island of Samos, looks at the impact of the crisis on people living in the Greek periphery

Stories in the mainstream media, both abroad and in Greece, say that the Greek government is not cutting hard enough or quickly enough. In reality, wages have been slashed by 40 percent as have all benefits and pensions. Work has evaporated. Seven percent is the projected reduction for this year alone and we are in the fifth year of recession. This is disaster time for ordinary Greeks.

Growing up in Goveland: how politicians are wrecking schools

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The leaking of Michael Gove's plans to return to O-levels in place of GCSEs reignited a row about "falling standards" in British schools. Here Terry Wrigley argues it is not enough for the left to simply dismiss such claims - instead we must argue that the root of the problem lies in the marketisation of education

Right wing politicians like nothing better than a good disaster. Disasters give them an excuse to intervene and make matters worse. If there wasn't a financial crisis, Cameron's gang would have to invent one. Now education secretary Michael Gove is using supposed "falling standards" to destroy comprehensive education and condemn most working class pupils to a second rate education. By abolishing GCSEs and restoring the old "O-level", he is trying to return to the days when only a minority of 16 year olds took a school-leaving exam.

A region transformed

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The Arab Spring has been marked by a series of momentous events that herald the beginning of an era of revolutionary change. The uprisings have transformed in weeks and months a region mired in decades of political stagnation. The revolutions contain the possibility of growing over to an even more radical social change. To understand this potential we have to examine the deep social changes that have transformed the Arab world, but this requires breaking with many of the ideas that have dominated our understanding of the region.

For many people the Arab revolutions are simply a "correction" in the struggle against imperialism. The overthrow of Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Ali Saleh of Yemen have struck deep blows to imperialism. The uprising in Bahrain, which pits a disenfranchised population against a US and Saudi client regime, is seen in the same light.

The gathering storm

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The depth of the devastation of ordinary American lives means that the divisions between workers and protesters that existed in the 1960s have collapsed, writes Megan Trudell

It could be argued that it's been a long time coming. For 30 years, US capitalism's answer to falling rates of profitability has been to restructure - cutting manufacturing jobs, relocating operations from former industrial heartlands to the much more weakly unionised South and West, intensifying work processes, deregulating industry, privatising services and extending working hours while chipping away at wages and holiday and sickness benefits.

The geography of poverty

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The recent riots and looting have provoked a fresh wave of demonisation of so-called "feral" young people in Britain's cities. Carl Lee and Danny Dorling examine the reality of life in a society which surrounds those in poverty with commodities they can never afford to own

On 4 March 1941 the London Times reported on an "epidemic" of looting in the aftermath of bombing raids over the city. In that same year 4,584 looting cases were processed by London courts alone.

Seventy years later, following the riots in England this August, the calls to mend what David Cameron has termed our "broken society" - usually couched in terms of better parenting and more discipline in schools - have a hollow ring when held up against the historical record.

Why not Sheffield?

The betrayal of Haiti

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One year on from the devastating earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people, ordinary Haitians are still suffering homelessness, cholera and an occupying army. Emmanuel Broadus reports on the situation from Haiti, with photos by Ryan Ffrench.


People queue to receive voter ID cards.

It was supposed to be the day that Haitians voted in what has been called one of the most important elections in Haiti's history. On the ballot on 28 November 2010 were 19 contenders for the five-year post of the presidency, all but one of the 99 seats in the House of Deputies and a third of the Senate.

Clearing the poor away

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With the poorest set to suffer most from cuts, Danny Dorling looks at the damage the spending review will do to the lives of millions.

The comprehensive spending review announced the start of a new era of engineered social polarisation: a further separation of the lives, hopes, homes and chances of rich and poor.

One of the first announcements was that new tenants of council and other social housing will now have to pay at least 80 percent of market prices in rent. At one stroke millions of low paid families are to be excluded from living in hundreds of towns, cities and villages where they no longer earn enough to "deserve" to be.

Haiti - hell on earth

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Communication is incredibly difficult. Cell phones may work for an hour a day but people are finding it difficult to charge batteries. They can buy credit online but most don't have money.

People are trying to organise the best they can. Most are staying in their neighbourhoods unless these are completely flattened. Those with the closest links to the countryside have taken to the road.

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