Nov 1, 2020
Everyone is wondering how we will get past this pandemic, and when things will return to normal. But “normal” before the pandemic was already a crisis for the working class. Normal was an economy increasingly offering only low-wage, temporary jobs. Normal was a society where the infrastructure was crumbling and schools weren’t given the money needed to educate our children. For the working class, normal was a health care system that didn’t keep people healthy—even without the virus.
We don’t know when the pandemic will end. But today, we see the capitalists already preparing for their “new normal”, the one they want, where the working class is further impoverished, so the wealthy classes get even richer.
More layoffs are announced, adding to the ten million workers who have not returned to work since the start of the pandemic. Major companies—like Disney, Allstate, Exxon, Boeing, United Airlines, American Airlines, to name just a few—cut jobs while paying out big money to shareholders and executives.
Governments at all levels proclaim they will reduce spending on public services—even while they continue tax breaks for the wealthy and subsidies for big corporations. Roads, bridges, water systems, schools, all public services will further deteriorate. More people with public service jobs will be thrown out of work.
This is the “new normal” the capitalists and their government want—using the excuse of the virus to drive us down so the wealthy classes can get wealthier still.
But it doesn’t have to be OUR new normal. The working class can prepare—and needs to prepare—to bring our forces together to fight for the future that we want and need.
There are many millions of people without a job today, wanting to work. The bosses say that there is not enough work for everybody—fine, we can divide up the work, reduce the workloads, slow the speed of work. Make the jobs reasonable.
If the bosses say they still don’t need everybody, OK, we can all work fewer hours a week and still produce the things needed.
If the bosses say fewer hours means less pay, we say NO, pay everyone a full living wage every week—the equivalent to what we made in 40 hours, plus all the overtime they used to schedule us for. And when inflation goes up, our wages should go up immediately, and just as much.
When the bosses say the money is not there, we say YES, it is there. Just cut capitalist profits and take money from all the profits our labor has produced in the past, accumulated in their banks.
Take back our tax money handed over to the capitalist class. Use it to restore public services. Hire the teachers, the maintenance people, the bus drivers, the counselors, the nurses. Organize schools to run safely. Hire the construction workers to build more schools. Hire workers to fix the roads and bridges, to provide everyone with clean water and good sewer systems. Hire the workers needed to build and maintain this infrastructure.
It could be done. The money is there to do all this and more. But it is going to take a fight to put our hands on that money. To make that fight we must stand together as one class, to bring all our forces together: black and white, immigrant and native-born, women and men.
This is important, we can’t let ourselves be divided. Or we will never have the lives we want.
Racism has been part of American capitalism, since its beginnings in slavery. That led to the black population always being the most oppressed part of the working class. But the capitalists exploit the whole working class. And they have kept everyone down by fomenting racism inside the working class.
When we refuse to be divided, when we stand together, the working class can make the kind of fight that can change the whole society. We have the forces to do it. We make everything run. We can stop this system cold. We can build a new system of our own, one that will benefit the whole population.