The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

We Need a Lasting Recovery for the Working Class

May 10, 2021

So now, we are supposed to believe that the reason things are so bad is that workers don’t want to work. And that if workers just suck it up and go back to work, the economy will recover and things will return to normal.

What a bunch of bullshit! The news is full of this performance being acted out by those who speak for Wall Street.

Some Republican governors have gone so far as to stop the extra 300 dollars in weekly unemployment benefits that the federal government allows. They claim that the reason workers have not all gone back to work is that we are getting too many handouts.

Democrats are arguing to give the recovery time, saying it will straighten itself out. But remember, the extra unemployment money stops in September. No rent control, no price controls. Small, temporary fixes.

After the bullying and nasty threats of the Republicans, the more moderate approach of the Democrats looks outright revolutionary, right? Wrong. Same old carrot and stick game that was being played before Biden, before the pandemic.

Yes, we are in a world of trouble. Did anyone ever think that it would all end in April by a total recovery where everyone went back to work? Come on. The capitalists claim to be disappointed by the slower than anticipated job growth in April when just 266,000 jobs were added to the economy.

Even if it had been a million, how does that make up for the 8.2 million jobs still disappeared since the beginning of the pandemic! And let’s look at even before that. Only around 6 out of 10 workers able to work have been employed for the past decade. This capitalist system, in its period of decay, is incapable and unwilling to provide work to much more than half of all available workers in what they call “good times.”

The capitalists, the real power brokers in this society, are not interested in full employment. They are interested in profits. They produce for profit. They add and cut jobs for profit. Profit is their only motivator. And they don’t need all of us to keep their profits high. They have always kept an unemployed pool of labor. They have always swung workers back and forth, on and off jobs, paying only for what they need at the moment, keeping wages low.

Have you looked at the stock markets lately? They are flush. The capitalists are making money hand over fist on speculation. They have no intention of creating full employment. Getting people “back to work” in even the insufficient numbers of pre-pandemic times would require them to spend some real money to fix workers’ problems.

Because, of course, no worker in their right mind wants to run back into a work environment full of coronavirus if they have been off. The bosses have done nothing to address that. Millions of workers stayed on their jobs throughout the pandemic. And look what we got for that. Sickness, death, stress and worse health.

No one can leave their children unattended, to hurry back to one or two or three shitty jobs the bosses have given us. They haven’t gotten rid of the virus, so our kids can’t return safely to school.

If they are so concerned about employment, why do they continue to lay off? Why the low wages and “temporary” jobs? Not just in the service industry, where restaurants and entertainment have had to shut down. But in manufacturing.

Getting even a minimal recovery going would require the capitalists to take responsibility and fix the virus pandemic. They want us to believe that getting a vaccine one by one is the only answer, just like masks and washing hands. They know that it is not. They destroyed the public health departments that warned them that a pandemic was unavoidable. Refused to prepare for it. They took apart the wretchedly inadequate hospital and medical systems that we did have before the pandemic. Gutted them for “savings” that went to Wall Street speculation.

They have decided to let the virus run. They have decided not to fully intervene to stop it. The unspeakable tragedy unfolding in India is proof of that. Viruses have no borders and they know that. They have decided to let us live and die with the virus into the future.

The U.S. ruling class has demonstrated that it cannot serve the interests of the population. More than that, they have condemned millions to suffering and misery in their ongoing pursuit of profits at all cost.

They and their spokespersons, those in the leadership of this ongoing debacle, have to be prevented from further decision-making over the population. There are no answers to the profound problems we as workers face until we begin the fight to bring down this for-profit system.