The Spark

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

Editorial:
A Working Class Program for the Crisis

Oct 27, 2014

Unemployment continues to batter the working class, with proportionately fewer people working today than in decades. Our standard of living continues to decline. Public services are crumbling and publicly funded education is a disaster area.

It’s a crisis for working people, but the two big parties, both asking for our votes in the 2014 election, don’t speak about this crisis. And both Democrats and Republicans ignore its causes.

But the causes are obvious. In their never-ending chase for profit, the banks and corporations stole the wealth the workers produced with their labor. The corporations and banks squandered it on themselves, they speculated with it and hoarded it. And they stole public money, gorging their pockets with the money all of us paid in taxes.

The big parties ignore it, but there is a way out of this crisis.

The wealth the corporations and banks have stolen needs to be taken back, used for emergency measures to provide a job for everyone who wants to work. Companies should be forced to use their profits to maintain jobs. They should be forced to slow down the pace of work and to shorten the hours of work with no loss in pay to anyone. These measures alone could put most of the unemployed back to work, and immediately.

The wealth that has been accumulated by the capitalist class should be used to provide everyone with a decent standard of living. Wages, pensions, Social Security and disability benefits should be set so we can all live normal lives. Our incomes should be indexed. When prices go up, our income should go up an equivalent amount – and immediately.

Public money – our tax money – should be spent on public services and public education, instead of going to subsidize profit. Teachers could be hired back. Firefighters, emergency service workers, sanitation workers, construction and maintenance, trash collectors, bus drivers and mechanics – they could all be hired back. The money the state now gives to corporations and banks should be used to create jobs that are necessary for a civilized society to run. The money the government now wastes on wars and prisons should be used for schools that give every child a chance to develop fully.

There will be no recovery for ordinary people until the working class puts its hands on that stolen wealth, takes it back, and uses it to answer the pressing needs ordinary people have.

In other words, the working class has to fight for its own policy.

It’s true, there isn’t much fight today. But sooner or later there will be. This greedy capitalist class will keep pushing us until we fight. Our problem, when the fight begins, is to make sure we make the bosses pay for the crisis they created. Our problem, then, will be to keep the fight going until we have won what’s necessary for every one of us to have a comfortable life.

These are proposals to answer the crisis: a working class program to answer the crisis. It’s a program that Democrats and Republicans have never proposed – and never will.

In fact, the only ones proposing it today, in the 2014 elections, are five people running in Michigan on the slate, “For a Working Class Fight, For a Working Class Policy”: Sam Johnson, running for Congress from Michigan’s 13th district; Gary Walkowicz, running from the 12th; Mary Anne Hering and Kenneth Jannot, Jr., running together for the Dearborn School Board, which also is responsible for Henry Ford (Community) College; and D. A. Roehrig, for Wayne County Community College.

They say that working people should not pay the cost of the bosses’ crisis. And they ask workers to vote for one of them to show that there is a part of the working class today that understands it is necessary to fight, that understands that workers need to have their own policy.

It’s a campaign that may not have billions to spend. But it is this year’s most important campaign.