Social-structural violence against the poor

414vf5wMHcL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_At long last, I am now able to put the article Jane and I wrote included in this publication of the Oxford University Press; Chapter 17, Socio-structural violence against the poor

Since the time when the Thatcher administration created their violent hate crimes against the working classes, successive governments and now May’s became even more hostile and violent. But how did our governments and their rich cronies manage to brainwash vast swathes of the British public into thinking that their violent crimes against the poor and most vulnerable were justified?

And how did they also managed to coerce middle-classes professional people into participating in their evil deeds which has resulted in the heart breaking mental torture and the premature deaths of thousands upon thousands of their own fellow human citizens?


  • Click here to read the full article
  • Click here to buy the book Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives



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Here are some excerpts:

  • By violence, we mean the knowing and deliberate inflicting of harm. It is beyond doubt that harm is being inflicted, and that it is consequent on economic and social policies pursued in the full knowledge that such harm will result.
  • The term ‘socio-structural violence’ captures the systematic ways in which social, political, economic, and cultural practices combine to cause early and avoidable death, harm, disadvantage, fear, insecurity, and marginality for particular groups of people. Some authors have broadened the concept to include that which violates basic needs, rights, and the individual’s intrinsic dignity as, for instance, enumerated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 (Fryer and McCormack 2012; Galtung 1990).
  • This form of cultural violence can be seen to move and harden public opinion against the welfare state by devaluing, stigmatizing, and blaming particular groups (see also Chapter 16). It ‘preaches, teaches, admonishes, eggs on and dulls us into seeing repression as normal
  • Cathy: ‘The singer Frankie Vaughan and the media circus that followed him made my community in Easterhouse famous for its gang warfare in the 1960s. But there has never been any public recognition of the very deep political and spiritual violence that is constantly being inflicted on the hearts, minds and spirits of the unemployed, the poor and the most vulnerable people in our society.’
  • In contrast, the UK Coalition government’s programme is (literally) having deadly side effects, with Stuckler citing the UK as ‘one of the clearest expressions of how austerity kills’ (Henley 2013). The authors comment that it was not only the dire impacts of the policies they found troubling, but also the heartlessness of the policymakers who have so vigorously endorsed them. They state that the impact of this financial crisis goes far beyond people losing their homes and jobs; rather it is a full-scale assault on people’s health. Worsening health is not an inevitable consequence of economic recessions, it is a political choice.
  • Work ‘capability assessments’, currently carried out on those on incapacity benefit by the multinational private corporation Atos on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, have been subject to allegations of harm and distress. Criticism has come from leading clergy, disability organizations, and claimants. Michael Meacher, Labour MP, opening a debate in the House of Commons asked how the insensitive rigour with which 1.6 million claimants on incapacity benefit were being assessed by Atos could be justified when ‘it has led, according to the Government’s own figures, to 1,300 persons dying after being put into the work-related activity group, 2,200 people dying before their assessment is complete, and 7,100 people dying after being put into the support group?’ (Meacher, 2013)

The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills

body economicThe Body Economic is the first, agenda-shaping, look at the human costs of financial crisis – the culmination of ten years’ work by two pioneering researchers – Sanjay Basu and David Stuckler.

The global financial crisis has had a seismic impact upon the wealth of nations. But we have little sense of how it affects one of the most fundamental issues of all: our physical and mental health. Stuckler Publication Date: 21 May 2013. Buy the book.


stucklerAt a seminar at the University of Edinburgh in March 2013 David went into more detail of the content of his book and expressed his real deep concern.

Politicians have talked endlessly about the seismic economic and social impacts of the recent financial crisis, but many continue to ignore its disastrous effects on human health—and have even exacerbated them, by adopting harsh austerity measures and cutting key social programs at a time when constituents need them most. The result, as David Stuckler will discuss in this talk (based on his book, with Sanjay Basu, of the same title), is that many countries have turned their recessions into veritable epidemics, ruining or extinguishing thousands of lives in a misguided attempt to balance budgets and shore up financial markets. In this talk, David will argue that sound alternative policies could instead help improve economies and protect public health at the same time.

The assault on universalism: how to destroy the welfare state. BMJ Christmas 2011.

BMJ front coverMartin McKee and David Stuckler watch aghast as American examples are followed to destroy the European model of the welfare state.

Christmas is a time to count our blessings, reflecting how they came to be. For people living in England this reflection is more relevant than ever, as the coalition government paves the way for the demise of the welfare state. This statement will be seen by many as reckless scaremongering. The welfare state, not only in Britain but also throughout western Europe, has proved extremely resilient. How could any government bring about such a fundamental change? Read more.

Chavs: The Demonistation of the Working Class. Owen Jones.

ChavsPublication Date: 1 May 2012 In modern Britain, the working class has become an object of fear and ridicule. From Little Britain’s Vicky Pollard to the demonization of Jade Goody, media and politicians alike dismiss as feckless, criminalized and ignorant a vast, underprivileged swathe of society whose members have become stereotyped by one, hate-filled word: chavs. In this acclaimed investigation, Owen Jones explores how the working class has gone from ‘salt of the earth’ to ‘scum of the earth. This updated edition includes a new chapter exploring the causes and consequences of the UK riots in the summer of 2010. Buy the book.

The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

globalisation of povertyMichel Chossudovsky takes the reader through an examination of how the World Bank and IMF have been the greatest purveyors of poverty around the world, despite their rhetorical claims to the opposite. These institutions, representing the powerful Western nations and the financial interests that dominate them, spread social apartheid around the world, exploiting both the people and the resources of the vast majority of the world’s population. (Page 3 – The Regan and Thatcher era, harsh austerity measures resulted in the gradual disintegration of the Welfare State.) Read more.