The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Rotting Infrastructure, Rotten Capitalist System

May 27, 2019

The following article is the editorial from The SPARK’S workplace newsletters for the week of May 20, 2019.

Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer “met” last week with Donald Trump for the second time to talk about the country’s decrepit infrastructure. The meeting ended after three minutes, with Trump walking out and both sides trying to score political points and explain why nothing was accomplished.

It was just “government as usual,” in a country where government as usual has presided over the rotting away of roads, bridges, dams, levees, public buildings, VA facilities, the postal service, public transit, schools, waterways, parks, solid waste and wastewater facilities, etc.

The infrastructure has been starved for money. To deal with it, the Pelosi-Trump twins say they want to spend two trillion dollars. Two trillion sounds like a lot of money. But that’s two trillion over ten years! Just a drop of water in a rain barrel.

Roads, bridges, dams, public buildings, transit, waterways, wastewater facilities and all the rest are rotting today because the system is rotten. This government, which is drowning in money, doesn’t spend it on the needs of the population. It spends it to increase the profits and wealth of the capitalist class.

When the biggest banks of this country dug themselves into a hole with crazy speculation, the government first under Bush, then Obama, found trillions of dollars—13 or 14 trillion in one year—to set them back up in business again, so they could start speculating all over again.

When the wealthiest people wanted still more of the country’s wealth, Trump gave them another few trillion from the taxes we pay.

And what about the wars, which have burnt up many trillions of dollars, wreaking destruction and death—including to U.S. soldiers—so multinational corporations could continue to exploit working people of the whole world.

Imagine what would happen if the money government throws away on non-productive uses were spent instead on the rotting roads, bridges, schools, dams, VA facilities, water facilities, etc.

Yes, our lives would be more comfortable—not to mention safer and healthier.

But see what else would happen. Tens of millions of people would be put to work putting in the repairs and replacements. They could be paid a wage that allows a family to live well. Why not? Trillions of dollars are going to waste today, being spent in ways that do not benefit the population. There’s no reason the unemployed can’t have a decent paying job to do productive work. And there’s no reason that their work couldn’t be organized at a reasonable speed, and their hours of work set at a reasonable level.

What a benefit it would be for the whole population if young people coming out of school could find such a job—if such jobs were there for older people who today aren’t hired because they no longer can work at break-neck speed.

What a benefit for the whole population it would be if these jobs paid a comfortable income, for work done at a reasonable pace, without overtime hours. It would set a standard across the whole work force.

In a system where government served the needs of the population, that’s exactly what would happen. But today, government serves the capitalist class, no matter which party leads it. That’s exactly why such jobs won’t be set up. The Pelosi-Trump infrastructure plan—if it ever comes into being—will be set up first of all to pay more profits into the accounts of big business.

For us to have decent paying jobs and public services that serve the public, a political system that serves primarily the needs of the capitalists will have to be torn up and thrown away.

The only force strong enough to do that resides in the working class—when it is organized and fighting together collectively for the interests of all working people.

To meet all the problems in this society, it’s exactly the same. Working people can count only on ourselves, on all of us—black, white, Latino, immigrant. We have the forces, when we act together, to impose solutions the population needs.