The Spark

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

Gary Walkowicz:
Fight for What Working People Need

Oct 26, 2020

.... Everyone is wondering when we will get past this pandemic, 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. Normal was a health care system that didn’t keep working class people healthy—even without the virus....

We don’t know when we will be past the pandemic. But today, we see the capitalists already preparing for the “new” normal, the one they want, where the working class will be further impoverished, so that the wealthy can get even richer.

The blood-sucking speculators on Wall Street are saying that they expect to keep getting even richer in the future, no matter who is elected president. Meanwhile, company after company—Disney, Allstate, Exxon, Boeing, American Airlines, United Airlines, to name just a few—recently announced layoffs for the near future. These new layoffs will be coming on top of the tens of millions of workers who still have not returned to work.

Governments at all levels are already proclaiming that due to the pandemic they will be reducing spending on public services. That means roads, bridges, water systems, schools, will further deteriorate. And that also means that many more people who are working on public service jobs will be thrown out of work....

This is the new normal that the capitalists and their government are planning for us.... 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, put the workloads back the way they used to be, or even less, so the jobs are reasonable. If the bosses say they still don’t need everybody, OK, everybody can work fewer hours per week to produce the things needed. And if the bosses say less hours means less pay, we say NO, pay everyone a full living wage every week, which would be equivalent to what we make in 40 hours, plus all the overtime they used to schedule us for.

When the bosses say the money is not there, we say YES, it is there. Take it from the capitalists’ profits and from all the profits our labor has produced in the past.

These profits and wealth could also be used to make sure that our wages don’t fall behind prices. When inflation goes up, our wages should go up.

.... Take back the tax money stolen from public services. Restore public services. That would put people back to work. Hire the teachers, the maintenance people, the bus drivers, the counselors to run the schools safely. Hire the construction workers to build more schools. The same thing with fixing the roads, bridges, getting everyone clean water and good sewer systems. Hire all the workers needed to build and maintain this infrastructure.

.... It could be done. The money is already there. But it is going to take a fight to get ahold of that money.

To make that fight we must stand together as one class, to have all our forces together, to not be divided.

This is important, we can’t let ourselves be divided by racism.... Racism is part and parcel of the capitalist system. The capitalists exploit the whole working class, and the black population has always been the most exploited part of the working class. But black workers have also led the kind of fights that the working class needs to make to really change things.

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. No politicians or anyone else will do it for us. Only the working class has the power to make a better future for everyone.