Socialist Workers Party statement

Fight for gov’t-funded public works program to create jobs

May 25, 2020

Alyson Kennedy, the Socialist Workers Party 2020 candidate for president, issued the following statement May 13. Malcolm Jarrett is the party’s candidate for vice president.

Growing numbers of workers, farmers and small-business people are taking to the streets and fighting on the job against the efforts of the bosses and their governments worldwide to attack our wages, working conditions and our rights. Those of us still at work in factories, mills, transportation, retail outlets and other jobs have faced hours cut, wages slashed — increasing pressure to work faster with little regard for our safety and health.

Our problem is the dog-eat-dog profit drive of the capitalist rulers and their system of exploitation and oppression, not a virus. Many workers recognize the depression conditions we face are caused by the bosses’ push to protect their profits at our expense, and are discussing how to fight back effectively.

Independent truck drivers camped out in Washington, D.C., sanitation workers in New Orleans, Asarco miners in Arizona and Texas, farmworkers in Washington state and many thousands more, including Socialist Workers Party members organizing with their co-workers at Walmart and elsewhere, are standing up and saying “Enough!”

The party promotes an action program to unite working people and break down the barriers between those of us employed and unemployed. We call for:

  • A massive government-funded public works program to put millions to work at union-scale wages to build the hospitals, schools, affordable housing and all the other things we sorely need. We need to get workers back to work to strengthen our class consciousness and fighting capacity.
  • To further unite working people, we back a fight for amnesty for all undocumented workers in the U.S. We are all workers!

Joblessness results from the ceaseless competition for profits that is the heartbeat of the capitalist system. When the rulers and their Democratic and Republican shills call on us to join forces with them to “save our company” or “our country,” or tell us “we are all in this together,” we reject this as a lie.

Our class interests are diametrically opposed to those of the bosses. They are driven to exploit our labor to extract their profits; we have to come together and fight to defend ourselves.

SWP candidates and the Militant publicize and build all struggles by workers and others oppressed by capitalism and its ruthless dog-eat-dog morality. We say:

  • As working-class struggles deepen and we build — and rebuild — fighting unions, workers will fight to reduce our workweek to prevent layoffs and spread the work around, while making sure there is no cut in our pay — 30 hours work for 40 hours pay!
  • In the course of such struggles more workers can be won to take steps to wrest more and more control of production from the bosses, who don’t give a damn what it is they make or whether it kills people — like the Boeing 737 MAX, or whether it destroys the land, air and sea we depend on. They only care if they make profits.

Through deepening labor battles we can build committees of workers and consumers to force the bosses’ business secrets and financial chicanery into the light of day, allowing us to take control over the conditions we work under, and the quality of the goods we produce and how they fit with a national plan of production that truly meets human needs. This will be a school as we learn how to run the whole economy ourselves.

To win these battles workers need to build our own party, a labor party, that will mobilize millions to defend the interests of all the exploited and oppressed.

It will chart a road toward overturning the rule of the capitalist class and replacing it with a workers and farmers government. Working people in Cuba have set the example, showing how our class has the capacities to do this and build a new, truly human society.

Join us campaigning for this program!