As prices soar, more and more people are being forced into theft to put food on the table, or petrol in the tank. Tough Tory promises about ‘law and order’ are no solution. Instead, we must fight to make the bosses pay for this crisis.
The cost-of-living crisis is putting ordinary people in increasingly dire situations. Headline inflation rose by 9.9% in August – only slightly down on the 10.1% figure in July. Bank of England forecasters, meanwhile, have made it clear that such eye-watering inflation is capitalism’s grim new normal.
Food prices, fuel, and energy bills: as all these living costs rise, millions more are facing in-work poverty, and the devastating prospects of choosing between heating or eating this winter.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. And many see no other choice than to resort to crime.
Papering over the cracks
The government’s attempts to deal with the cost-of-living crisis have been pitiful. Even Liz Truss’ energy price freeze will prove cold comfort for the millions who will still wind up unable to pay.
Tory price control promises are simply a case of papering over the cracks: doing nothing to tackle the energy crisis or inflation in the long-term; and leaving the profiteering monopolies untouched and in control.
At the same time, the Tories have made it clear that the burden of the crisis, as always, will fall on the shoulders of the working class. They would rather see children malnourished and the elderly freeze to death than pose any serious threat to the bosses’ profits.
But what more should we expect from this government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich?
Crime and punishment
With unpayable energy bills, soaring food prices, and astronomically high fuel costs, a perfect storm is brewing for working-class households across Britain.
Consequently, police chiefs have expressed concern over a likely rise in crime, and are making preparations to respond accordingly.
Crimes related to theft, such as shoplifting and burglary, are expected to see the sharpest increase. Alongside these, the force also fear that more children will become involved in county-lines drug gangs, and that more women will be at greater risk of sex-trafficking.
This is the bleak future in store for those throttled by capitalism’s crises.
Law and disorder
All the while, the law and order system is embroiled in its own issues, unable to keep a lid on the social explosions that are brewing.
Following twelve years of Tory austerity, fewer crimes are being investigated due to cuts in policing budgets. The result is approximately 10,000 fewer officers now compared to 2010.
Similarly, criminal courts are grinding to a halt as a result of indefinite strike action by barristers, in response to Tory cuts to the justice system, preventing cases from being heard.
The ruling class and its representatives, in other words, are cutting the very apparatus that exists to protect their system.
Taken together, this plainly reveals the sheer depth of the crisis – and the deep cracks in these key pillars of the capitalist establishment.
At the same time, trust in the police is at an all time low.
The scandals never end. After every sexual assault, every shooting of an unarmed black man, they promise to change. But the police are rotten to the core. They cannot be reformed.
It is increasingly evident for all to see that the police do not and cannot protect us.
Elsewhere, Truss has faced a backlash for her promises to improve the police with ‘back-to-basics’ reforms, which simply mean extending the so-called ‘war on woke’ into the police force.
Attempts to be ‘tough on crime’, meanwhile, are not going to work. This merely equates to setting targets with no means of hitting them.
Overthrow the system
Instead of sticking plasters, we must get to the route of the problem: poverty, desperation, and the hopelessness that many endure, as our standards of living are hurled backwards by capitalism and its crises.
This means organising and fighting for bold socialist demands: nationalisation of the energy companies; expropriation of the bosses’ profits; and toppling the Tories and the system they represent.
Only then will our lives be free from the caprices of the market, with ordinary people able to provide food for their family, without having to steal; able to heat their home, without fear of bankruptcy.
The pillars of the state are crumbling. At the same time, there is immense social anger bubbling beneath the surface, threatening to boil over. And the working class is already beginning to flex its muscles – causing grave concern to the ruling class.
The cracks in the capitalist state highlight the weakness of our enemy – and why we must fight to overthrow their system. And the working-class fightback that has already begun shows the way forward: through united class struggle.