The Spark

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

Labor Day 2018:
What Will Our Future Be?

Sep 9, 2018

With Labor Day, it’s time for working people to take stock of our own situation.

Too many of us still don’t have a job – and this after nine years of a so-called “recovery.” We certainly don’t have the jobs we need. New jobs are part-time or temporary. Even when full-time, they are two-tier, low-wage, not enough to keep a family out of poverty. According to United Way, close to half the U.S. households don’t earn enough to pay the monthly bills.

This is the deadly consequence of capitalism. The wealth we create through our work is being funneled into the bank accounts of every big corporation. Year after year, they report big profits, while our situation slips backwards. Those extra profits for big business came out of the extra exploitation of those who work.

And profit, finally, goes into the bank accounts of the very wealthy.

Our very living conditions are held hostage to capitalist profit. All over the country, water systems have deadly contaminants in them. Roads are in such bad repair that they are a major cause of accidents. Almost half the bridges need immediate repair to avoid a catastrophe. Dikes and levees crumble in the face of high water. Sewers back up.

Public money should go to public services – instead it goes in subsidies to the biggest corporations, helping to prop up their profits.

Every state’s records show that education provided to working class children is inadequate. For decades, money has been drained from the schools, handed over directly and indirectly to some of the biggest profit-making companies in the country. So there’s not enough money to hire teachers and support staff, nor to pay them enough so they can concentrate on the work. Not enough money for supplies, for up-to-date books, for technology that could aid instruction.

Young people are told they must go to college if they want a job – but college increasingly is priced out of the reach of children of the working class. Many can’t go – so are denied the new jobs being created today, the technically advanced jobs. Those who do go depend on loans, which mean profit for some of the biggest banks in the world – and debt hanging over students’ futures.

Capitalism is unfair – the large majority of us suffer extra exploitation so a very tiny minority can bask in ever increasing amounts of wealth.

But capitalism is not only unfair. It is a deadly threat even to its own society. The extra profits stolen from our labor don’t go into anything productive. Instead they flood into speculation of all kinds – speculation on the future price of oil, of grain and other food products, on the stock markets, but above all on real estate. This speculation is what caused the financial collapse of 2007-08. It’s what threatens a new collapse today.

Trump and others may try to convince us that other workers are the problem, other workers in this country, workers in other countries.

No, other workers are not the problem. Capitalism is the problem.

The capitalist system is rotten to its core. It creates inequality of all kinds. Its drive for profit sits underneath the problems we face.

There is no answer to problems capitalism has created, without taking on capitalism itself.

The working class, at the very center of production, has the possibility to stop things running for the capitalist class. But the working class has much greater capacity than just stopping things. The working class can have the power to uproot the capitalist class and get rid of it – when workers begin to feel their own organized strength.

Collectively, all of us taken together know how everything is produced. In every factory and office, when we put our heads together, we know how the whole thing runs, where supplies are, where they go, what comes next, etc.

Well, in society as a whole, the same thing is true. We know how things run. Collectively, working together, the working class could begin to open the way for a new society, one that would benefit everyone.