The Spark

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

Editorial:
They Are Attacking State Workers to Attack Us All!

Jan 10, 2011

Fox News started the campaign, but The New York Times picked it up. State workers are a “privileged class” or so they both said, as did almost every other bourgeois paper in the country. The New Jersey governor, addressing ordinary taxpayers, put it this way: “You are paying for benefits you’ll never have.”

All across the country, the politicians, the media and the wealthy class they both serve are carrying out a vicious campaign – and state workers are their target.

You would think that state and municipal workers have caused a budget crunch across the country. You would think that teachers are robbing the school systems, that the pensions of public employees will bankrupt us all.

It’s absurd.

And it’s nothing but the beginning of another lap in this race to the bottom that has pitted one section of the working class against another in a pitiful struggle over a few miserable crumbs.

Three years ago, auto workers were the target – but the rhetoric was all the same: “privileged workers,” “gold-plated pensions,” “Cadillac health care benefits.” Despite some resistance by auto workers, enormous cuts were imposed on them by the joint efforts of the Bush administration, the Obama administration, the auto companies and the top union leaders – with this result: newly hired auto workers, and now some of the already existing ones, are making only half as much pay, getting few medical benefits and no real pensions.

The standard of living of the workers who had once led the working class forward was pulled down. And after them, came how many others? If auto workers had to give up, then you do too – so said the mouthpieces for some of the wealthiest people in the world, the American capitalist class.

Now, the same cabal of sycophants for Wall Street, the big banks and the big corporations is calling for blood from state workers.

Enough! State workers should not give up a cent. Not one cent.

They didn’t overdraw the accounts of the states and cities – those were drained by big tax breaks to developers and the wealthy.

They didn’t cause the budget crunch – it was brought on by the trillions and still more trillions in bail-outs for the banks and big corporations, and by cutbacks in federal revenue-sharing.

What an outrage to see those same politicians who just gave tax breaks to some of the wealthiest people in the world complain about “privileged” state workers.

No. State workers aren’t privileged. They deserve every cent they make – and more. They work hard, as we all do. They have impossible jobs, as we all do. And every other worker has everything in common with them, and nothing in common with those who are leading the attack against them.

Hands off state workers’ pensions! Hands off their wages! Hands off their benefits!