The Spark

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

Editorial:
Fight for Jobs?
Yes, but How?

Feb 15, 2016

A company executive for Carrier fired the company’s workers en masse, February 11. Caught on a cell-phone video, he coldly told workers their jobs were being shipped out to Monterrey, Mexico. “Nothing you did,” he said, “it’s only a business decision.”

Making its way quickly to YouTube, the video showed some workers booing, others yelling “fuck you” or “shit starts now.” Most looked stunned.

It was an opportunity made to order for demagogues campaigning for votes. And Donald Trump, the billionaire real-estate speculator, a demagogue if there ever was one, rushed to grab it: “I’ve been telling everybody this from day one: we’re going to have nothing left. Steel production is going to be there. Mexico is going to be the car capital of the world. Michigan is being decimated.... I’m talking about it all the time. There’s even a piece of the reason that I like the wall for economic reasons.”

Unemployment stalks working class neighborhoods, with poverty trailing after.

Trump has used that to his advantage, talking about it all the time – as he said.

The question is, what does he say? What does he propose?

Like Bernie Sanders, who rails against the Obama administration’s Trans Pacific Partnership, he proposes to set up a wall, actual and legal, around the U.S. and its economy.

It’s a subterfuge. It dodges the issue. Jobs aren’t disappearing overseas. They are being ground up by big companies and the banks behind them. Here, like everywhere else, companies push fewer workers to put out more work.

In the quest for profit, big capital maneuvers, schemes, and threatens workers with the transfer of jobs – to another state or another country – in order to get them to work themselves out of a job right where they are.

You know that’s right. You’ve been working in plants where the pace of work increases, and the number of workers goes down. You work in a big store – more customers, fewer workers. If you’re one of the few left in an office, you rattle around the empty space where other workers used to sit – then pick up the extra work. You see class sizes go up year after year if you’re a teacher.

This isn’t going to stop until working people begin to fight for ourselves – fight for jobs to be worked at a decent pace; fight for a high enough wage so we don’t need to work overtime; fight for time for ourselves, friends and families. With productivity advancing in this country as fast as it has been, there’s no reason we couldn’t have more time off: more vacation days, shorter work days, shorter work weeks – all resulting in a decent wage at the end of the week. Don’t know what a decent wage is? Of course, you do! We all know just what we need to live a comfortable life – and not worry about how it will end.

People like Trump and Sanders don’t call on us to fight for our own class interests – no more than do any of the more “traditional” candidates: Clinton, Bush, Cruz and all the rest. They simply spout propaganda that helps out the big employers, reinforcing their lies that foreign competition is taking the jobs.

We need our own candidates, standing on a working class platform, speaking to the working class, telling the truth about what’s going on, proposing to lead a fight for what we want, and what serves ordinary people. We need our own candidates, our own political party. A working class party.