The Spark

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

Editorial:
A Working Class 2014?
We Won’t Win by Waiting

Jan 6, 2014

While workers waited and hoped that things would get better, the capitalist class took full advantage in 2013.

In 2013, the stock market performed better than in any year since 1997.

At the end of 2013, there were more millionaires and billionaires in the world than ever before. The richest 10 percent own 85 percent of the financial wealth. The richest 1 percent owns nearly half – 42 percent.

Meanwhile, the average worker’s wage remained at 1972 levels, while having to pay 2013 prices. If you had a job!

In 2013, the number of working age persons who could find work fell to its lowest percentage in 30 years. Plus, of those, one out of three could find only a part-time or temporary job. In other words, one-third of the workforce in the entire country is temporary or part-time!

The working class is in a dire situation. The reason could not be more clear. The capitalist class has used its hold over society to drive down workers’ wages and to lay off more workers. Meanwhile, the working class, which already operates the society, has a superior potential power. Yet, the working class has remained quiet in the face of these attacks.

It’s blindingly simple. The wealthy got wealthier by spitting in the face of working people, taking the value produced by the workers and hoarding it for themselves.

The billionaires wheel and deal on the stock market, they speculate on derivatives and real estate, they bribe some more politicians – but the very last thing they do is invest in job creation! In fact, the more layoffs they announce, the more their stocks go up!

There are vast needs of our society that cry out for work to be done. The infrastructure of today’s society – the roads, rail, water, electricity, transportation – are far past their use-by dates. It all needs massive up-to-date redesign and rebuilding. Restoring and revitalizing the public education system, libraries, city parks and recreation centers, in city after working-class city, would provide many more thousands of jobs.

The needs, the shortages in our society, are immense. The homeless need homes. The disabled need care. The children need education. Yet these are the very needs that the wealthy refuse to meet for anyone outside their own little private gated islands.

Will we keep waiting in 2014? Will we continue to believe those liars who tell us that our waiting will eventually be rewarded?

The working class’s needs are basic. Jobs – jobs for everyone who can work. Wages – wages that adjust to the cost of living, and keep up. Security – health care, education, and retirement.

The right to enjoy the benefits of the society their labor has produced.

There can only be one master of the situation. The capitalist class can continue to use its power to drive workers backwards. Or the working class can use its own enormous social power, turn the tables, and become itself the master of the situation. We need what the wealthy have taken. They need to make them cough it up.

In 2014, the working class can stop waiting and prepare to fight for its future. The wealth is there, waiting on us.