Ryan Harvey – Your Poverty is Our Profit.
In the UK huge numbers are stuck in low paid jobs or unemployment, living in squalid conditions and struggling to make ends meet. It is common knowledge that sections of the population are resorting to food banks to feed their families. The Trussell Trust which operates food banks across the nation attacked the governments claims that it’s economic and welfare policies are fair and just.
In my own experience, it is not just people on benefits who end up at food-banks but home-owning workers who find themselves in such a position. As a veteran, I was saddened to hear about a recently discharged soldier who was suffering with visible signs of PTSD and had come to my local food-bank because he could not find a job and had a young child to support. He was demoralized and embarrassed by his predicament as most people would be. This is the reality of modern Britain, a society that allows its government to run policies that reduce people to poverty.
The vast majority of politicians and those in power are in willful denial of the vast scale of poverty and hunger in the world’s sixth largest economy let alone the rest of the world. They would have you believe that it is ‘poverty of ambition’ and fecklessness which causes individuals and communities to wallow in deprivation. The remedy prescribed by those in power is ‘tough love’, but poverty is a policy, a tool brought to bear on our society in order to extract maximum profits.
But there is an elephant in the room, the military. In the UK we have the fourth largest military budget in the world. We both spend billions on Nuclear weapons that we will never use. Billions fighting wars that impoverish other nations. Billions on propaganda.
Within the military there is a culture of waste. Whilst serving in the USMC I was detailed to open up and dispose of huge amounts of perfectly good food on at least two occasions. We were prohibited from giving it to charitable organizations or our poorly paid civilian contractors because it was “government food not to be given to civilians”. For our ‘warrior meals’ we had vast amounts of burgers, hot-dogs and chicken shipped out to us at the end of training deployments much of which was not eaten. These are just some of the examples I can recall of the huge wastage of food within the military whilst people back home are barely able to feed themselves.
Politicians claim we must spend less on welfare, yet they always seem to find the money to buy weapons and wage war. Militarism and war lead to many forms of violence, let us draw attention to the violence which is poverty and expose the lies which propagate it.
Chase Sydnor – Veterans for Peace UK