Socialist Workers Party Statement

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

June 1, 2020

Alyson Kennedy, the Socialist Workers Party 2020 candidate for president, issued the following statement May 19. Malcolm Jarrett is the party’s candidate for vice president.

Strikes by workers at fruit packing plants in Washington state and independent truckers protesting in Washington, D.C., show the way forward for working people. They are examples of what we can do to stand up to the bosses and their government, and to their attacks on jobs, wages, working conditions and many other abuses.  

As packing workers and truckers fight to win more co-workers to join them, workers everywhere should build solidarity with their struggles. This helps strengthen our own fighting capacities. Join us in using the Militant to get out their story.  

Democratic and Republican politicians say “we” have a common stake in getting “our economy” up and running safely. But there is no “we.” And what they call “our economy” is a system of capitalist exploitation based on their ownership of the factories, fields and other workplaces where they profit from our labor power. Whatever they do is aimed at strengthening their exploitation of our class and to put obstacles in front of workers’ efforts to organize. 

What workers need above all is to break down the divisions separating those of us working and those of us robbed of the chance to make a living by steps the bosses and their governments took that threw one out of four members of our class out on the street. 

  • The SWP proposes workers fight for a federally funded public works program to put millions back to work at union-scale wages to create jobs building nursing homes, hospitals, schools, housing and more that working people need. 
  • And we need to fight for a 30-hour workweek at 40 hours pay to keep fellow workers on the job as opposed to bosses’ plans for deeper layoffs.

Workers need to be at work — the main place where we draw strength from acting together and can rebuild union power in the course of our struggles to fight for what we need. 

The capitalist rulers say their moves — shuttering the economy, locking us down in our homes, and now debating at what pace to restart production — are all done with our safety in mind. There can be no fight for safety, health or anything else without workers being at work. There we can organize to begin wresting control of all aspects of production from the hands of bosses, who demonstrate over and over they care nothing about us, other than pushing us to maximize their profits.

  • The fight for workers control of production is the road to win control over jobs, line speed, work conditions, and the impact of production on the land, sea and air; to counter the bosses’ refusal to produce what workers need and to unlock their business accounts to reveal to all how their class works to expropriate more and more of the wealth our labor produces. 

The more control we take of production the more we learn about our own capacities to run society — something that is possible if we organize in our millions on a course to take power out of the hands of the capitalist class. 

  • To lead that struggle workers need to build our own party, a labor party. It would mobilize support from working people for those demonstrating against the cover-up of the vigilante killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia to those demanding relief from joblessness from Bangladesh to Panama.  

It would explain why workers should break with the Democrats and Republicans, the twin political parties of the capitalists, who rule to defend their crisis-ridden social system. Above all it would show, as working people in Russia in 1917 and in Cuba in 1959 have proved — that the working class taking political power into their own hands and running society is in the interests of the vast majority.

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