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
Nov 21, 2022
When Elon Musk bought Twitter for 44 billion dollars, his first move was to send an email to half of the workforce—3,700 employees—immediately firing them. Then he emailed the remaining half of the workforce telling them he expected them to work “long hours at high intensity”.
It was not a surprise to see such blatant arrogance from Musk. After all, Musk had the Tesla Board of Directors give him a 56 billion dollar pay package—so he could go out and buy a major social media company like Twitter. A capitalist like Musk must feel like he can fire whoever he wants, do whatever he wants, no matter how outrageous it is.
But actually, Musk is not doing anything much different from what other capitalist leaders are doing today; he is just more brazen about it. The capitalist class has begun a massive campaign of layoffs. In the last few months, many corporations, including Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook), Tesla, Peloton, J.P. Morgan, Carvana, Ford, Rivian, Cisco and others have announced layoffs, or plans for layoffs, affecting tens of thousands of employees. Today many of these layoffs are at tech companies and/or involve salaried employees. But the capitalist class has been busy speeding up and cutting the jobs of hourly workers, manufacturing workers, retail workers, office workers, service workers.
The capitalists are carrying out a conscious strategy. The Federal Reserve, which carries out financial policies in the service of the capitalist system, has watched capitalist owners inflate prices drastically. The answer they give for the problem of inflation is to raise interest rates, to slow down the economy, and to cut buying power by increasing unemployment. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said that these policies will bring about “some softening of labor market conditions” and “will also bring about some pain to households … these are the unfortunate costs of reducing inflation.” Powell is saying that millions of people will be thrown people out of work so the capitalists can maintain and increase profits, putting money directly into their personal pockets.
Real unemployment, based on the labor participation rate, is already the highest it has been in 20 years. The capitalists deliberately did not fill many jobs coming out of the Covid pandemic. Today they employ fewer people, having them working harder for longer hours. More unemployment would mean increased impoverishment for the working class, more people being thrown out of their homes. This is capitalism’s strategy for dealing with inflation and the current economic crisis.
But the working class can block that plan. We can fight for jobs, for massive rehiring. Divide up the existing work and give a job to everyone who wants to work, create more jobs. The people with a job today could all work fewer hours and work at a reasonable pace and still get paid a full wage, a real living wage, enough to have a decent standard of living. The money is there to pay for this. Take it out of the enormous profits the capitalists are making today off of our labor!
Of course, none of this is going to happen by itself. It will take a fight by the working class to force the capitalists to let go of some of their enormous wealth. Fights will have to spread from one factory to another, from one workplace to another, until a big part of the working class is engaged in the fight. That’s the power that can push the bosses back.
Today the capitalists, combined and joined under the banks, are expecting the working class to just quietly accept their plans. In all their arrogance, they think they can do what they want to us. But the working class has the power to show Elon Musk and the rest of the capitalist class that they are not lord and master over us.
In the past, the working class has used its power to push back the capitalists for a time. But in the future the working class could, once and for all, rid society of these parasites and run things themselves.