poverty

Frieda Afary is a US-based Iranian socialist and a member of the recently formed Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists. She spoke to Green Left Radio’s January 26 show on Melbourne community radio station 3CR, on the significance of the recent protests in Iran. Her comments are abridged below and edited for clarity.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has seized on International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts predicting a rise in global economic growth following the US administration’s corporate tax cuts, to call for similar cuts here.

Describing the proposed cut as an “enterprise tax program”, Turnbull said on January 22 that the measure would “result in more investment and more jobs” — despite significant evidence that “trickle down” economics does not work.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has demanded that Labor supports its proposal to cut the tax rate for big business from 30% to 25%.

Australia’s 33 billionaires increased their wealth by more than $38 billion dollars last year — or more than $1 billion each. That is more than $3 million each a day!

At the other end of the spectrum, Credit Suisse data cited in the Sydney Morning Herald showed the wealth of the bottom half of Australians declined in the same period alongside stagnating wage growth.

A new report from Oxfam, released on the eve of the World Economic Forum, revealed that Australia’s richest 1% owned 23% of the country’s total wealth last year, up from 22% the year before, and more than the bottom 70% combined.

Based on data from Credit Suisse, the report also revealed that Australia now has 33 billionaires, up by 8 in the past year alone.

The Oxfam report shows that inequality is worsening.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of cities and towns throughout Iran since December 28 in militant protests against the theocratic regime that has ruled the country since the 1979 revolution. 

That revolution overthrew a pro-Western monarchy. But while the working class was its driving force, and trade unions and socialist organisations played a decisive role, it was hijacked by the Shia religious establishment. The new regime was as brutal and committed to capitalism as the overthrown monarchy — although with a foreign policy generally hostile to the West.

The statement below was released by the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran on January 1. It is followed by a statement by the Tudeh Party of Iran, an Iranian socialist group, and an article from a supporter of the the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists. they are reposted via The Bullet

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As it is often the case, dictators use ideologies to control people and impose their own views, depriving the electorate from thinking, expressing, acting or reacting. Hitler did it, Stalin did, Tito did, Saddam Hussein did it. And Robert Mugabe did it.

Pas Forgione is state coordinator of Anti-Poverty Network South Australia (APNSA), a non-government organisation with a difference.

APNSA is made up of welfare recipients and other low-income people who organise and campaign in defence of society’s marginalised people.

Green Left Weekly’s Renfrey Clarke spoke to Forgione.

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Ahead of the crucial Gujarat elections, the chinks in the propaganda armour of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model of development continue to get brutally exposed. Indeed, the popular narrative on development that has emerged from within Gujarat – where Modi was chief minister prior to becoming PM – and that has taken social media by storm is that “vikas gando thayo chhe” – “development has gone crazy”.

Poverty is everywhere — in cities, towns and the bush across Australia: shivering people sleeping in doorways or cars; ragged people hanging around shopping centres begging for money or food; overstretched private welfare agencies unable to meet the requests for assistance; people turned away from emergency accommodation; and abused women and children turned away from refuges.

But those are only the most visible signs of poverty. The true extent of the poverty crisis is hidden.

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