Sep 23, 2018
The following is the text of a speech outlining the central ideas of the Working Class Party campaign at a Meet-the-Candidates Meeting, September 23, 2018.
We want our campaign for the Working Class Party to be the beginning of something, something that is necessary for the working class.
In 2016, when we petitioned to get the Working Class Party on the ballot in Michigan, we said that the bosses have two political parties, and that the working class needed its own party. We are now on the ballot, and people in Michigan can vote for us. But this is just a beginning step of building a working-class party, because a real working-class party will be a mass party across the whole country.
And most importantly, a real working-class party will be a party that can lead fights of the working class. We know that elections will not make any real changes. The working class is going to have to make a real fight to deal with the problems we face.
And the working class can make a fight, a fight so that everybody can have a decent standard of living. We live at a time when the technology and wealth exist so that everybody could have a decent life. We live at a time when the resources exist so that everybody could work, but work fewer hours and have enough money to live comfortably.
All of this could be possible today. The problem is, almost all of the wealth and resources today are owned and controlled by a few people, that is, by the capitalist class. We all know and we can all see the disparity in wealth between the top 1% and the rest of the population. And every statistic shows that this disparity in wealth is increasing.
The rich have so much money that they can’t spend most of it, so they use it to speculate on Wall St. or currencies or commodities. The fastest computers in the world are used, not for any social need, but instead are used to manipulate stock trading to make even more money for a few people.
Corporate profits are at an all-time high. But corporations don’t use this money to invest in production and make things that people need. They don’t use this money to pay their workers more, they’re paying them less. Corporate bosses use these profits to lavish CEO’s with multi-million-dollar salaries and enrich a few stockholders through dividends and stock buybacks.
There are many billions of dollars that could be available to society based on all the taxes we pay. Think about it. We pay federal income taxes, state income taxes, city income taxes, gasoline taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, phone taxes; we pay millages of all types. There is plenty of money from these taxes that could be used for all the public services we need. And working people pay a bigger share of our income to taxes than do the wealthy. But instead of getting the public services that we pay for, these services are being taken away from us. Instead of public money going to fix the infrastructure that the population needs, the infrastructure is falling apart. Instead of using tax money for what we need, much of this tax money goes to benefit a small class of wealthy people. The corporations and banks get corporate welfare in the form of tax credits, tax breaks, tax subsides, tax giveaways. Much tax money is also spent on military weapons and wars, in order to protect corporations’ profits around the world. And the money that corporations make in profit goes right back out to the same wealthy class that owns everything.
The money is there in this society for what the whole population needs. But under this system, all this wealth is owned and controlled by a few people. And the politicians of both major parties work to uphold this system, and ensure that the rich get richer.
All the wealth in this society is produced by the labor of working people. This is wealth we created. We deserve to use it for what we need. But the capitalist class will not willingly give it up. The only way that the working class will get its hands on this wealth will be by fighting for it.
This is what the working class is faced with. The working class needs to discuss these issues. This is why we put the Working Class Party on the ballot. We want to use the elections to discuss our situation as workers, with other workers.
We want to discuss with workers that we could fight for everyone to have a job. Most of the jobs lost have been due, not to trade deals or outsourcing to other countries, but rather due to the actions of the bosses here. Look at how many millions of jobs have been eliminated over the years by the bosses speeding up some workers and laying off other workers. Put all those jobs back. Put millions of people back to work and we could all work at a slower, human pace. Look at all those millions of jobs lost to automation. All in society should benefit by new technology, not lose our jobs to it. Put those millions of people back to work, and we could all reap the benefits by working fewer hours.
All of this is possible. But it will take a fight by the working class. This is what we want to discuss with workers in our campaign.
We want to discuss with workers that it is possible for everyone to have a comfortable standard of living. The money is there. All of our work, the work done by the working class, produces this wealth. If the workers’ needs came first, then every working person could be paid a decent wage, a livable wage.
The money is there, so that workers would never have their standard of living reduced by inflation. It’s very simple; when prices go up, then our pay should automatically go up by the same amount. It’s not that difficult. Computers could be used to adjust our pay every week.
All of this is possible. But it will take a fight by the working class to impose it. This is what we want to discuss with workers in our campaign.
We want to discuss with workers that we can rebuild the crumbling infrastructure of our society. The roads and bridges can be repaired. The water and sewer systems can be rebuilt. The electrical grid and gas lines can be upgraded. New schools and hospitals can be built. Libraries and recreation centers can be re-opened. And, doing these things, will create millions more jobs. The money is there. But the working class will have to take this money out of the hands of the capitalists, and use it for our needs.
All of this is possible. But it will take a fight by the working class, a fight to put our hands on the money controlled by the capitalist class today. This is what we want to discuss with workers in our campaign.
During our campaign, when we discuss these ideas with people, there are many people who say – “it sounds good, but it can’t happen.” Some people will say, “we wish we could do this, but it won’t happen.”
That may be true today. When the working class is not fighting, and has not fought for several generations, then everything seems impossible to many people.
But what seems impossible today can become very possible tomorrow. The history of the working class shows this. When the working class begins to fight, the fight can spread very quickly. When the working class begins to move, it can move very fast. When the working class begins to use its power, it can change the world.
The things that we need to fight for, the things that seem like “pie in the sky” today can become something very realistic to fight for tomorrow.
In our campaign, we also have to say that the working class cannot make a strong fight, if we are divided. Those people who are our enemies, are always trying to divide us. They try to pit white workers against black workers, native-born workers against immigrant workers, men against women. They always try to divide us, and our enemies do so today, starting with the White House. And every company, in their own way, tries to put these divisive ideas in our minds. The working class cannot allow itself to be divided, if we want to use our power to fight for what we need.
That’s why it’s important for us to discuss these ideas. Someone has to say these things.
That’s why we are doing this campaign for the Working Class Party. And that’s what everyone in this room can do.