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

Congress Wages War on the Working Class

Jan 20, 2014

More than a million workers were cut off of extended unemployment benefits on December 28th. Many more will be impacted in months to come as regular unemployment benefits run out. The U.S. Congress, Democrats and Republicans, did this. They let the Extended Unemployment Compensation program lapse. They just let it time out, while making political speeches between their holiday vacations.

Some Congressmen even had the audacity to argue that the extension of benefits encourages workers to lay back and shop for the best paying jobs. As if anyone can lay back on an average of $300.00 a week! (Some states pay much less.) And feed a family and keep a roof over your head? Ridiculous.

Of course, even government advisors point out the obvious: workers are not going back to work because there are not enough jobs. Those who do utilize extended benefits on average only stay off work one week longer than those who do not. The extensions have been in effect in one form or another since the 2008 crisis.

Regardless of the debate in Congress, regardless of the political games that may even result in extended benefits being made available again (after weeks of missed checks), it is obvious that Congress, on behalf of the rich, is waging a war on the working class.

And why not? These wealthy politicians are themselves millionaires, at least half of them, according to a recent report. They are living the good life. They wine and dine with the upper class while carrying out capitalism’s political policies.

These so-called representatives, Republican and Democrat, are used to passing laws that constitute an attack on the working class. They are in agreement to cut benefits for the working and poor while calling it “balancing the budget.”

They just cut 5 billion dollars in funding from food stamp programs with 6 billion more in cuts to follow. One out of every three children in the U.S. relies on the SNAP (food stamp) program. Authorities like the American Academy of Pediatrics have taken official positions against these cuts as a threat to child health in the U.S. But who in Congress is listening?

For the wealthy, the crisis that began in 2008 is over. Wall Street made record profits in 2013 from a reduced national workforce. Six of the largest U.S. banks just reported 76 BILLION DOLLARS in earnings in 2013, just 6 billion short of their all-time high in 2006. They brag that they intend to break all records in 2014.

For them, unemployment and poverty are part of the system. For them, unemployment is an acceptable part of capitalism–a way to keep wages down to the minimum. They took the money and ran. They have managed to transfer unimaginable amounts of wealth from the working class into their bank vaults–driving down wages while eliminating jobs.

The rich and their politicians, both Democrat and Republican, are becoming more and more callous. Even if a few politicians cry crocodile tears about it, they will continue to put the burden of the crisis on us unless we fight back.

The only times workers have moved forward in their struggle for a better life were the times they organized independently and fought massively for their own interests. Workers gained rights from sit-down strikes and marches and protests to gain Social Security and public education and an end to racism, but never by waiting on politicians.

Want a job, a house, a better life? We’ll have to take it back from those who stole it–the banks, the bosses and Wall Street. We will have to fight for it–fight for jobs and make the capitalists pay a good wage. Make them provide food and shelter for those temporarily out of work.

Take it out of their profits, their assets, their stocks, their bonds–we don’t care where they get it, just not from us. Make them pay the cost of the crisis that they created!