The Spark

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

Editorial:
The Jobless Recovery - the Eighth Wonder of the Capitalist World

Jul 14, 2003

Unemployment jumped up once again, this time to 6.4%.

Nonetheless, government economists tell us the country is in the midst of an economic recovery – and has been for 16 months. It's what they call a "jobless recovery."

"A jobless recovery" – that tells it all. The capitalist economy is so opposed to the needs of the population that jobs need to be cut so that the economy can "recover."

Officially, only six out of every hundred of us are without a job, but the number is much higher, as we well know when we look around our families and our neighborhoods. And for every one of us who is without a job today, two or three of us are threatened with the same fate.

The bosses hang the threat of unemployment over all our heads in order to scale back wages and benefits for large numbers of the working class. First it was the airlines and the steel companies, pleading special circumstances, cutting back wages, reducing medical care, in some cases dropping pensions altogether. Then states and cities, one after another, began to lay off workers and roll back wages and benefits. Now, almost every industry finds the bosses talking about "concessions." They are demanding that the workers give back what we once had taken for granted: what we thought was a guaranteed wage, a promised benefit, an irrevocable retirement.

No, there are no guarantees that the bosses respect. There's not a promise they've made that they won't try to tear up.

This capitalist society makes no sense. None at all. There are millions of us who want to work but have no job – young and old alike. And there are millions of things that ought to be done right now to make this country habitable for its people, but aren't being done.

What keeps those who want a job from doing the work that needs to be done? Nothing but the capitalists' drive for profit. Unless the capitalists can be assured of enough profit, they will not put people to work. Unless their greed is satisfied, they won't produce the goods and services the population needs.

Instead, they speculate. Look at Wall Street. The prices of stock are once again being bid up day after day. The capitalists have no money to create jobs, but more than enough to speculate. The Wall Street casino creates no value, it produces no goods or services that we need, it puts no one to work.

But it satisfies the capitalists' greed for wealth.

There is no recovery for the working class, and has not been. There can be none so long as we let the bosses call the tune.

We have no choice but to resist. It's been a long time since a large section of the working class fought back all at the same time to stop unemployment and attacks on our standard of living. So, of course, it seems difficult, standing where we are, imagining how we get there once again.

There is no other way than just to start. Refuse to give up another cent in wages. Refuse to give back one dollar on our pensions or in our medical care. Refuse every demand for concessions. And when the bosses try to lay one of us off, the rest of us don't pick up the work.

Would that be hard? Maybe. But not nearly so hard as how we have it today.