The Spark

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

Stolen Holidays?
Take Them Back!

Dec 7, 2020

In true form, capitalism has delivered us another bad result. The holidays have been cancelled! No shared gatherings, no shared memories, no shared food, fellowship and rest.

Even before Covid, many workers had already forfeited holiday breaks. For many who do work, the increased exploitation has meant crazy work schedules that have eliminated holidays. And for those who have been permanently unemployed, lack of money and squabbles with government agencies to get some leave little room to rest.

But what is happening with these holidays is that families and friends are being torn apart. The love and sharing has been replaced by masks and isolation. It is not a small thing. These rules may need to be followed to protect human life first. We are in the middle of a horrific pandemic. Ordinary people didn’t cause it, but ordinary people are paying a heavy price for a completely mismanaged response to a deadly threat.

Every day, the U.S. is breaking records for the numbers of people infected by Covid-19. Record numbers of hospitalizations. A coronavirus death every 30 seconds and less. And while the news is full of promises that Biden will fix it, promises that a vaccine will be delivered any moment now, working people are facing a deepening crisis.

The medical and hospital system has been shredded by over nine months of pandemic. Front-line medical professionals and workers are falling victim to a system that has used them up and thrown them away without adequate protections or replacements. Hospitals that have been operating without enough of anything—not staff, not beds, not supplies in normal times—are crashing. In many areas of the country, there are no hospitals. These are choices that capitalism has made, to put profit over human life, just as it does in production.

If they were unable and unwilling to deliver testing, tracing and treatment, what makes us think they can get a vaccine delivered to the population quickly? The capitalists would prefer not to have the problem of the pandemic, which threatens their profit-making economy into the future. But they are not at all inclined to dip into their past and current profits to stop it. They are satisfied to speculate on Wall Street and take huge profits while the population suffers.

Meanwhile, workers are spending what little we have to provide for food, clothing and shelter. The temporary orders to delay evictions expire December 31. The pitiful aid package Congress promises is a political football and totally inadequate. And workers in record numbers are still without jobs.

Is there nothing we can do? With sick family members, with savings depleted, with more mouths to feed, what chance do we have of making it through?

As our combined reserves are depleted, we have no choice but to turn to each other and band together.

Yes, the working class is divided. The Trump administration put a spotlight on that, but didn’t create it. We have to overcome those divisions. We do it by uniting in a fight against the bosses who have the money and don’t care about any of us.

We workers have something the capitalists want and need. Our labor. Without it, not a single wheel would turn. Without it, there is no profit for them. We have to unite and use the power we have as a class to fight for our very lives. We know how to do that, and it’s the only way out. But we can’t fight each other.

And we can’t simply fight to reform this system, thinking we can make it better. In the past, fights of workers have pushed the bosses back, but guess what? Because capitalists and their profit-making system remained in place, they were able to come back at us with a vengeance.

This sleeping giant of a working class has to wake up and move. Our lives depend on it. But we have to unite beyond families, beyond workplaces, beyond neighborhoods and city borders. Not for charity. Not for temporary help. However unprepared and however sick and discouraged we may be, we have to organize and fight.

We have to get rid of this capitalist system that puts profit before human life and replace it with a system built by and for workers.