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

Gary Walkowicz:
The Working Class Needs Its Own Party

May 6, 2024

The following article is excerpted from a speech given at Spark’s public meeting by a former candidate of the Working Class Party, Andrea Kirby and Gary Walkowicz, in Detroit on April 14, 2024.

The working class does not need these capitalist parties. No, the working class needs its own party.

What would a working-class party do? It would speak to the whole working class and bring together workers from all walks of life. It would address the problems facing workers and show that there are answers to those problems.

A Sliding Scale of Wages to Keep Up with Inflation

We know that workers are falling behind because of inflation. Corporations raise prices to increase their profits and make their Wall Street owners rich. That’s why we have inflation. What is the working class’ answer to inflation? It’s very simple. When prices go up, our wages should go up—immediately, every week, if need be. The same should be true for pensions, social security, and money that workers need for retirement. Working people have the right to be paid enough to live decently.

Jobs for All Who Can Work

If workers were running things, we would make sure that everyone who wanted a job would have a job. Keeping some workers unemployed benefits the capitalists. But there is a way to make sure there are jobs for everyone. First, we divide the work up among everyone who wants to work. Divide up the hours. Divide up the work by having everyone with full-time jobs working fewer hours. Do that, and there would be many more jobs, and everyone could work less than 40 hours a week. Maybe only 20 hours a week.

Secondly, a working-class party would say, “slow down the pace of work!” The capitalists are always speeding up workers, making the jobs harder and making people work faster. Then, they lay off the rest of the workers. That’s how jobs are taken away. That’s why there aren’t enough jobs. I worked in a Ford assembly plant for over 40 years, and I saw the company eliminate jobs every single year through speed-up. Reverse that! Bring back all the workers who are laid off, slow down the lines, and make the pace of work reasonable for everyone.

Decent Pay for All

And, at the same time, everyone could and should be paid more than we are today, paid enough to have a decent standard of living.

The money is there to do it. Just look at the enormous profits of the corporations. Just look at all the money wasted in the hands of Wall Street speculators. Look at how much wealth is in the hands of a few families. 756 families with a combined wealth of over 4.5 trillion dollars. It’s more money than the GDP, the Gross Domestic Product, of the entire country of Germany, more than the GDP of Japan, more than France, more than Italy. 4.5 trillion dollars is more than the GDP of every country in the world other than 2—the U.S. and China. 4.5 trillion dollars just sitting in the hands of a few people.

Why shouldn’t workers have the right to this money? The wealthy few didn’t work for this money. They had other people work for it. Millions of workers here and around the world did all the labor to produce those 4.5 trillion dollars. The few wealthy people just sat back and collected the profits.

Open Up the Money Books

Of course, we know that the wealthy and capitalist bosses are going to cry that they don’t have the money for the jobs and income we need. A working-class party would say—OK, open up the books and let the workers see for ourselves how much money there is. Look at their books and we would see that the corporate bosses and Wall Street and the wealthy have enough money so that everyone could have a job and decent income. More, we would see all the tax breaks, subsidies, and corporate welfare the bosses are getting. The politicians take our tax money and give it to the rich. They take money that could and should be used for our children’s schools, hospitals, and health care. Money that could be used to fix the roads and bridges and sewer systems and infrastructure. A working-class party would say there is more than enough money for all that, plus good jobs and decent wages for us. The working class just has to take the money back and use it for what we need.

And we will have to take it because the bosses and the wealthy are never going to come up off that money voluntarily. No Democratic or Republican politician is going to make them do it. It is going to take a fight by the working class. But the working class has the power to make a fight like that. And that’s what a working-class party would say. It would tell workers the truth about money and how fighting is necessary to get what we need. A working-class party would organize that fight and pull workers together to use the full power of the whole working class. Workers have the power to get what we need and even to change the whole system and run it ourselves.

An Answer to War

What would a working-class party that represented all workers say today about the wars exploding all over the world and moving toward an even bigger war, moving toward a world war that would bring the war to this country? A working-class party would say that we should be linking up with the working people in other countries and that workers have nothing against each other, no reason to go to war against each other. Workers would find ways to live together and work together instead of letting governments send us to war to fight and kill each other. That’s what a working-class party would say.

Workers Need Their Own Party

We need a working-class party. That party does not exist today. It needs to be built—and workers can build it.

In 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022, we ran election campaigns. Working Class Party (WCP) is not the mass party that we need across the country. But it is a step toward building that party. WCP is going to run candidates again in 2024.

We know that elections don’t change things. But elections can give workers the chance to say how they feel. It can be a step toward building the mass working-class party we need. And the more candidates we have this year, the more workers we can reach.