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Britain needs ‘socialist approach’ to tackle cost-of-living crisis, Merthyr Rising festival hears

BRITAIN needs “a socialist approach to politics” to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, a festival celebrating working-class culture and resistance heard.

The Merthyr Rising festival, set in the historic south Wales town and birthplace of the red flag during a rising of the local population in May 1831, saw a Tribune magazine-sponsored fringe meeting on Saturday targeted to the soaring cost-of-living crisis.

Speakers including Wales TUC Secretary Shavanah Taj, Young Labour chairwoman Jess Barnard and Tribune editor Ronan Burtenshaw, spoke of the importance of building a class-based politics to defeat the Tories and to build a socialist alternative.

Ms Taj said the food crisis was so ingrained in Wales now that “many children think food comes from a foodbank rather than a shop.”

Ms Barnard said: “Young people are in crisis. For many the choice between eating and heating has gone.

“They can’t afford either and to make matters worse there is no safety net for young people any more.

“The reason that Jeremy Corbyn was so popular among young people was that he amplified our voices.

“He offered policies that gave us hope. We need to rebuild that spirit to build back and fight back.”

Mr Burtenshaw said that the festival was a reminder that we need to develop a socialist approach to politics.

He said: “We are in the longest period of wage stagnation since Napoleon was around.

“The only way to defeat this was to build on the planned strikes of the CWU and the RMT.

“But to do that we need to puncture the lie that strikes make the economy worse.

“We need as a minimum to restore the previous energy cap, win real pay rises including a £15-an-hour minimum wage, tax the rich and redistribute it, cap rents, end food poverty and be far more serious about nationalisation.”

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