11
Jun
09

Pleasley Hill and the Credit Crunch.

Credit CrunchAnyone who has followed the news recently will be aware of the problems facing the world and the country. Politicians, bankers and big businesses are suffering more than they have in some years. Some call it the credit crunch, some call it the economic downturn or recession. But how does it effect the local people of Pleasley Hill?

It may seem a world away, but the effects of the “credit crunch” impact directly on communities just like ours. As the costs we face for our food, for our utilities and  for just about everything we buy go up, our wages, and social security remain the same. In many cases incomes fall, through short time working, redundancies, and the like. At every stage it is the people that make sacrifices so companies can remain profitable. And as we lose our jobs we are told that with the coming reforms to the benefits system, we will soon have to work full time for benefit too. All this while unemployment rises, and politicians use tax payers money for all manner of frivolousness. They pump billions in to failing banks, who continue with their bonus culture using more tax money. And they spend billions upon billions on wars that are illegal under international law, that the people did not want, and that have achieved nothing but the loss of millions of innocent lives.

All of this money is ours. It could have been spent on the council’s redevelopment project. It could have been spent on better crime prevention, youth facilities or any number of positive, constructive causes. Instead the government, the council, the big businesses – collectively the establishment – have neglected us. They have appeased us with promises. And as the establishment falls in to crisis, you can bet that Pleasley Hill, our community, and our lives are far from top of the agenda. But Pleasley Hill can little afford yet more unemployment, more poverty, and more deprivation. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

Humans have not always had these problems. We were not always subjected to the will and the mistakes of big businesses. In days gone by and not so long ago, working class people were less dependent on companies, and more dependent on their peers, their friends, their families, and their community.

All we need to do is remember our history. Not many years ago, during and after the wars, communities pulled together to help in any way possible.  There was a shared sense that “we are in it together”. It happened again in the 80’s with soup kitchens and other activities to support the miners strike. And it must happen again now, because the only people who are going to look out for the interests of our community are us.

Unfortunately, over the last half a century, businesses have gradually stepped in to commoditise everything.  Ensuring that it is easier to just buy something than it is to make it, grow it, or otherwise produce it.

It is not uncommon now to find young families who spend their limited food budgets on processed, chemical ridden, supermarket food. When with only a little help and education, they could be eating healthy, home grown, organic food for free. By commodatising everything, turning everything in to a product, it ensures not only that they make the profits, but that important skills and knowledge are lost to communities and younger generations. It further divides the  consumer from the producer. It further divides people socially, through less local interaction. And it ruins local businesses and tasks away the choice of the consumer. Leaving only their inferior, low quality, price-fixed goods.

By breaking up local communities, and reducing the chances of local employment, people are forced to look further afield for work. This adds further to the problem, by giving people less time in the place where they live. They have no time to care about it, or the problems of their neighbours. They have no time to get to know one another. And because no shared sense of ownership of the area develops, the area falls in to disrepair. Only small groups of friends remain to complain to each other about the state of the area, and feel powerless to do anything about it. But this can change if we want it to.

We are taught from an early age that we must be successful, work hard and do what our bosses say. Anyone who questions the logic or chooses to live differently, is alienated and rejected, singled out and persecuted. Ridiculed by the people who blindly follow the establishment, and who have far more in common with their target of ridicule than they do with the establishment.

We have been raised to believe that we must live to work. Upon leaving school we are expected to give up the vast majority of our waking lives in the quest to make more profit for our bosses.  Never to question authority, and to accept that someone else always knows better than us. We as people need to realise that our interests and the interests of “our bosses”, the council and the government are not the same.  Making ever more profit is not in our best interests. Our interests lie in the future of our children, the quality of our homes and our environment. They are in ensuring we have food on our plates, and roofs over our heads. And if we can organise together, we have the resources at our disposal right now to provide all of these things for our selves.

In short, the problems in Pleasley Hill are, and always have been, the interests and profits of  businesses, councils and governments – of capitalism – taking precedent over the lives of people. The truth is that the economic crisis can’t do much that capitalism has not already done to Pleasley Hill. But unlike them, we have the power to change it. To make our own fate. And not be slaves to their boom and bust system.

There are ideas and examples in this country of how we can change Pleasley Hill for the better. We have many ideas. There are skilled people from all walks of life living among us. Everyone has something to offer, whether they know it or not. And everyone can gain from the support of their neighbours.

We believe that with the formation of a new community group, we can help everyone in Pleasley Hill enjoy a better environment, crisis or not.

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