I’m so tired of hearing Tories brag about how unemployment has gone down dramatically. We must remind them that under slavery there was no unemployment at all (except for the Masters class). The difference between slavery and wage labour is, they may remember, the little matter of the employed getting wages. But the wages of millions in the UK right now are near zero per hour. For example, McDonalds workers told us they supplement their ‘income’ at foodbanks. We know nurses use foodbanks too, and many others who are part of the employed workforce. So full employment does not mean full bellies.
This leads us to another job that is engaging more and more people: surviving on almost nothing is a full time occupation, which consumes us mentally and physically. Those of us who are destitute don’t eat regularly, can’t afford clothes and toiletries, and are dependent for survival on others, some of whom exploit their advantage, including sexually. You are always conscious of what you need and can’t buy, working out what to substitutefor it and making do. We women are particularly good at that since for most of us it has been a way of life. But I think we should get paid for that job, enough to eliminate it.
Bearing in mind the work of living on slave wages, benefit cuts or sanctions, the Chancellor was not wrong to say there are no unemployed people – except of course the rich ones to whom he has given tax breaks so they can enjoy their unemployment.