The following statement was issued Sept. 3 by Róger Calero, Socialist Workers Party candidate for governor of New York.
Ceaseless competition for markets, financial exploitation and profits among the bosses compels them to assault our wages, rights and working conditions, whether the capitalist economy grows or, as it inevitably will, contracts. Workers need to build unions, forge ever greater unity and strength, and chart a course independent of the bosses’ state, its political parties of all stripes, and organize to fight for power ourselves.
Our unions are weak and continue to weaken today, but millions of workers are open to discussion — and action — on what can be done to halt the impact of the biggest economic, social and moral crisis of capitalism on our lives. In these conditions there are openings to join together to respond to union fights and social struggles that break out today. Workers can utilize our capacities for solidarity, going together to picket lines and build the labor movement.
We need a new course. Whether it’s sending messages of support to workers battling the bosses, like the work stoppages organized by Uber taxi drivers in Australia last month, or going to rallies and marches of Steelworkers at U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal where workers are resisting the bosses concession demands, there are opportunities to advance the working-class movement. Workers at Walmart can take advantage of a court ruling in May forcing the company to allow workers to wear union insignia at work, to promote workers’ solidarity and deepen discussion about the need to unionize the country’s largest employer.
Confronting the challenges facing working people, including organizing to build the unions, requires above all charting a political way forward for all workers, as well as the unemployed and working farmers, fighting for and drawing in all the oppressed and exploited.
For decades union officials refused to build on the courage and tenacity workers demonstrated in union battles. Instead, they tied workers’ wages and benefits to the capitalists’ profits. They urge workers to elect “pro-labor friends” in the Democratic and Republican parties and to side with “our” capitalist state against competitors abroad and to adopt regulations and government agencies to “protect” us. Union officials say we should rely on these politicians to regulate relations between workers and bosses, a recipe to bolster the state’s power at our expense and weaken our capacity for struggle. This course has led to shrinking union membership, attacks on rights and growing discontent among workers. Workers’ strength lies in relying on our own forces, in our independent mobilization and proven capacity to overcome the divisions the rulers try to use to weaken us.
The Socialist Workers Party demands an amnesty for undocumented workers in the U.S. to undercut the bosses efforts to push a layer of the working class into second-class status, forced to live in fear of deportation. This is the road to forge unity between native- and foreign-born, to create better conditions for organizing the growing numbers of workers who are unorganized today, and to defend the wages and jobs of all.
We fight to break down the walls between workers outside and the millions of fellow workers in prison who fight for contact with the class struggle and political discussion.
As workers struggle independently of the bosses, their parties and their state, we gain experience, greater resilience and self-confidence. As we fight together to change our conditions we also change ourselves, a precondition for taking power and running society in the interests of the vast majority.
We see ourselves as citizens of the world, as part of an international working class with common interests. We fight to stop the capitalist rulers’ wars and colonial oppression. We offer the hand of international solidarity.
Along such a course it is possible to build a party that can lead workers and farmers to take political power into our own hands and end the rule of the exploiting classes.
That is the perspective the SWP discusses with fellow workers on their doorsteps. The party speaks out against every indignity and attack heaped on workers and the oppressed. Join the Socialist Workers Party in its efforts to win workers in their millions to replace capitalist rule as we participate in discussions and struggles of today.