Working people today are taking it on the chin as the bosses and their government continue to push the effects of the crisis of capitalism onto our backs. While there’s been an uptick in jobs for workers, the hours, wages and working conditions we face are daunting.
And this crisis is reflected in U.S. politics today — from the crisis shaking the bosses’ two political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, to the liberals’ frantic efforts to bring down the presidency of Donald Trump.
Over decades the bosses have succeeded in driving down the price of our labor power, and union officials haven’t organized working people to fight to stop them. Fully 63% of the production and nonsupervisory jobs bosses have “created” over the last 30 years have been lower-paid work at less than 40 hours a week.
Since 2010 the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. has grown by over 1 million to 13 million. In fact, one of the lies peddled to make us think factory work is disappearing is that the government counts the growing number of contract workers in industry as “service” workers, because their employers are the temp agencies.
The almost 15 million jobs at hotels, restaurants and similar “leisure and hospitality” places average 24.6 hours a week and pay $14.65 an hour. Of the 13.5 million jobs in Walmart and other retail, the average is 30.3 hours a week and $16.73 an hour.
The social conditions workers face deepen the crisis. Some recent headlines read: “Twenty Percent of Those Age 65 and Up Haven’t Retired. Many Can’t Afford To;” “US Credit Card Interest Rates Hit 25-Year High;” “The Share of Americans Age 25-29 Living with Parents is the Highest in 75 Years;” “Heart-Failure Deaths Rise, Contributing to Worsening Life Expectancy;” “U.S. Life Expectancy Falls Further.”
The U.S. now ranks 29th in the world in life expectancy.
As their imperialist domination ebbs, the U.S. rulers are stuck in a seemingly unending series of wars abroad, in which working people are the cannon fodder.
These conditions are what led to the election of Barack Obama, who promised — and failed to deliver — “change,” and also of Donald Trump, who won many of those same voters when he said he would “drain the swamp” in Washington and speak for working people.
“The U.S. rulers and their government increasingly have begun to fear the working class,” Socialist Workers Party leader Steve Clark wrote in his introduction to The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People. “They fear us because they recognize that more and more working people are beginning to see that the bosses and their political parties have no ‘solutions’ that don’t further load the costs — monetary and human — of the crisis of their system on us.”
Liberals impeachment hysteria
The impeachment press, liberal Democrats and the middle-class left are convinced something has to be done to control the working class, who they deride as Trump’s “base.” They are convinced the working people, especially in “flyover country” between the two coasts, are a reactionary racist mob, “deplorables” as Hillary Clinton famously smeared us.
This “base” demands that Donald Trump keep feeding them “red meat,” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman charged Nov. 21.
This is what is behind what would otherwise seem to be a contradiction. The Times churns out article after article like Krugman’s, arguing that all right-thinking people can see Trump is a crook and a threat to “national security” who must be ousted. At the same time, these people say they fear if he survives to the 2020 election, he has a good chance of winning another term.
“Let the people decide” in 2020 is “dangerous,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a Nov. 18 letter to fellow party members. This kind of dangerous thinking, she said, “adds to the urgency” of their drive to impeach and indict the president.
Concerned that five days of carefully stage-managed public hearings at the House Intelligence Committee had failed to produce the support to get Trump, the liberals continue to conjure up new claims of “immoral” and impeachable behavior by the president.
When the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, an appointee of Barack Obama, testified at the hearing, Trump tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” And, he pointed out the simple fact, “It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.” Democrats immediately tried to paint this as impeachable “witness intimidation.”
In the liberals’ frenzy to get Trump, all means are good. They lionize the U.S. rulers’ political police, notorious for their lifelong efforts to topple governments Washington hates and frames up Black rights fighters, anti-war and union militants as well as members of the Socialist Workers Party. They promote people like the anonymous CIA hit man who was the “whistleblower” in the current impeachment “inquiry” and the two former FBI bosses — James Comey and Robert Mueller — who were the champions in the failed effort to bring the president down on charges of being a Russian agent.
They talk of these spies and assassins as “dedicated public servants.” Susan Rice, national security advisor under Obama, laments Trump’s tweets in the Times Nov. 22, saying, “Who wins when the State Department, intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the Pentagon struggle to attract and retain top talent?”
They bolster the very cop agencies that will be used against working people when our struggles against the bosses’ assaults pick up.
In Wisconsin, a state Democrats say they have to win next November, 53 percent now say they oppose impeachment. And, the Marquette poll shows that if the election were today Trump would beat Democratic candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Pete Buttigieg there.
Trump’s administration, like all those before, seeks to govern in the interests of the country’s capitalist rulers. Their policies have done nothing to alleviate the conditions working people face. Trump seeks to use the Democrats’ flagrant denial of due process in their witch hunt against him and the drop in unemployment to win reelection.
Socialist Workers Party in 2020
The Socialist Workers Party will run its own candidates for president and vice president in 2020, and for federal and state offices across the country, as it has in every election since 1948.
The SWP presents a “fighting program to confront the political, social and moral crisis caused by capitalism.” It supports workers’ struggles — like the strikes today against union busting by Asarco bosses in Arizona and Texas and for safe working conditions at Canadian National Railway — and says workers need our own party, a labor party, to fight to take political power.
The party joins in protests against Washington’s wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, against police brutality or attacks on women’s right to choose abortion, against capitalism’s responsibility for despoiling the air, water and soil, and for amnesty for workers here without papers.
And the party fights to defend political and constitutional rights against all those who seek to close down room for the working class to defend itself.