Socialist Workers Party statement

Demand gov’t-funded public works program to create jobs

May 11, 2020

Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party candidate for president, released the following call to action April 28. Malcolm Jarrett is the party’s candidate for vice president.

Tens of millions of workers have been thrown out of work in the U.S., robbed of the ability to make a living. Many simply don’t know how they and their families will survive, while the government offers nothing but a one-time check that won’t even pay the rent.

The Socialist Workers Party demands workers be put back to work. We call for a massive government-funded public works program to put those without a job to work at union wages building things we need, like hospitals, child care centers, schools, housing and repairing dangerously dilapidated infrastructure.

The economic and social crisis we face is caused by the broad lockdown of the economy imposed by the capitalist rulers that has battered workers, farmers and all other exploited producers. It fosters competition between those of us who have jobs and those who don’t. The bosses tell us “we” are all in this together, “we” have to “save our company” or “our country.” They want us to submit to working faster, longer and for lower wages or face being forever tossed into the ever-longer clutches of unemployment.

It’s a self-serving lie when the bosses and their government say “we” need to do anything together, whether it’s to sacrifice for the boss or go to war for their markets and profits. Their dog-eat-dog class interests are sharply counterposed to what workers and farmers need and fight for.

Many workers who are still on the job are fighting bosses’ attacks today — copper miners striking against Asarco’s efforts to bust their unions, retail workers in Ireland protesting job cuts, and supporters of women’s rights in Poland fighting attacks on the right to choose to have an abortion. My party calls on workers everywhere to back these struggles. Members of the SWP are part of these fights on the job in Walmart, on the railroads and elsewhere.

We also call for amnesty for all undocumented workers in the U.S., another step critical to unifying working people. We back the fight to prosecute the cops who killed Steven Taylor in a Walmart store in California, and all other instances of police brutality.

As workers extend our struggles we gain experience in battle against the bosses, their parties and their state. We learn to rely only on our own forces, and our self-confidence and class consciousness grows.

To defend our interests workers need to wrest more and more control of production from the hands of bosses, who lie to us and to their customers to cover up their profit gouging, dangerous working conditions and shoddy products. As we fight we need to set up committees of all the workers in the factory and of consumers to force open the books and facts of the employing classes’ exploitation, and take control over the pace of production and to protect the environment.

Through these battles we will learn in practice that it will be necessary for working people to take control of the workings of the whole economy out of the hands of the bosses and bankers.

To win that battle we need to build our own party, a labor party, that can mobilize the immense power of working people to fight today and to put an end to the capitalist rulers’ system of exploitation and oppression. To take political power — as workers and farmers in Cuba have shown is possible — and establish our own government.

This is a future worth fighting for. Join the Socialist Workers Party’s 2020 campaign!