“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx
Dec 10, 2018
No two ways about it: this has been another year of attacks on the working class. The bosses have been on the offensive. The corporations have increased their profits, at the expense of their workers’ standard of living.
The papers have been filled in recent weeks with news of the planned layoffs and shutdowns by major corporations.
Sears and Toys ‘R’ Us declared bankruptcy. GM announced the mothballing of 5 plants, and the layoffs of 14,500 workers. And Ford is poised, according to analysts, to declare layoffs and shutdowns that will dwarf GM’s. Not because any of these companies were truly forced to, but in order to make more profits for financial interests and stockholders.
Official unemployment rates are low, but we all know that these are false. At the same time as they report 3.7 percent unemployment, they also report that one third of adults of working age are still not in the workforce. Many of the people who are listed as employed are working part-time, or temporary, or officially “self-employed.” And prices continue to rise, while our wages haven’t risen in years.
In the run-up to the elections, no one mentioned these issues that are confronting all working class people throughout this society. Certainly, the Republicans never mentioned them. But neither did the Democrats.
At the same time, corporate profits have gone through the roof.
And it has come directly out of our hides. Our loss is their gain. Our further misery is the basis for their increase in profit. They are making more money than ever before – because they are making our lives worse.
And it is almost certainly about to get worse.
More and more economists are predicting a new recession in the next year or two. Stock markets are trending downward; they have already lost all gains they’d made for the year. When stock markets go down, who pays for the losses? Not the brokers, not the traders. No, we do – out of our 401(k)s, or in further layoffs and closings. One way or another, they make us pay.
What should we do heading into this next year? It would be a huge mistake to figure that something changed in this past election, to wait for the Democrats to do something to fix our situation in this next year. We’ve seen that play over and over and over again. Democrats get elected; they tell us to wait for them to do something; nothing gets done.
The Democrats do not represent the working class. No matter what they say, they represent a section of the ruling class.
No, if we want something to change for us, we will have to make it happen ourselves.
But there are things we can do. The working class has a lot of power, whether we’re conscious of it or not. And we have seen evidence of that in the past year, as well. Teachers struck and shut down whole state educational systems, from West Virginia to Arizona. They forced the state governments, who represent the capitalists, to give them something to pay them more, to keep the educational systems running, and to help the students. These strikes have shown workers the way—shut things down, and you get their attention. That is where our power lies.
The working class has the power, if we choose to use it.
We can help make 2019 a year of fights – and not a year of lost time and further attacks.