Alyson Kennedy, the Socialist Workers Party 2020 candidate for president, issued the following statement May 6. Malcolm Jarrett is the party’s vice presidential candidate.
Working people are finding ways to unite and fight the rulers’ assaults on our jobs, wages and working conditions. Owner-operator truckers protested May 1 in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., demanding an end to usurious brokers profiting by gouging them and destroying their lives. Workers at Walmart and other retail outlets are fighting speedup and arbitrary scheduling changes and dangerous working conditions, and workers all over the world are doing the same.
Socialist Workers Party members at Walmart, on the railroad and elsewhere are part of these fights. The heart of all these battles is workers looking to win greater control over all aspects of production.
We also face growing attacks on our rights by the capitalist rulers. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio threatens — and acts — to use the city’s cops to shut down all protests there. And he tries to divide working people and divert our attention from the disaster of the profit-driven “health care” system under capitalism by scapegoating the city’s Jewish population with spreading the virus.
Millions of us have been tossed out of work, over 30 million in the last six weeks. And that’s the “official” figure, not counting temp and contract workers, workers without government-approved papers and many others who aren’t on the books.
Workers need to be back at work, joining with co-workers to strengthen struggles against the bosses’ attacks. Workers stuck at home longer and longer face economic disaster, social atomization and demoralization.
My campaign urges workers to organize to fight for:
- A massive government-funded public works program to put millions to work at union-scale wages to build hospitals, schools, affordable housing and other things we badly need. Getting more of us into work now undercuts the bosses’ ability to pit employed against unemployed and make conditions for all workers worse.
- We also fight for amnesty for undocumented workers to prevent bosses using the threat of deportation against immigrants to drive down wages and conditions for the entire the working class.
The bosses use their monopoly over production to build products with built-in “planned obsolescence,” with utter disregard for the safety of both workers and those who buy their shoddy products, with a morality built on maximizing their profits at the expense of all who toil for a living.
- The SWP explains workers need to fight to wrest more and more control over production from the bosses’ grasp. That struggle requires building committees of all workers in the factories and other job sites, and of consumers who have a real stake in this effort. These committees can fight to reveal to all how the bosses cook their books and organize to exploit us. As one worker at Debenhams in Ireland thrown out of work by the bosses’ claims of debt said, “We need to see their books.”
- As workers take control of production, we learn that only our class is capable of deciding priorities and running society in the interests of human needs. Workers control is a school for taking political power into our own hands.
- Workers must break from the bosses’ two parties, the Democrats and Republicans. We need our own political party, a labor party, that gives a voice to every struggle workers and our allies wage today. A labor party would increase our readiness for sharper class battles to come and lead a fight for workers and farmers to take political power into our own hands.