Socialist Workers Party statement

‘A labor party can organize workers in their millions’

August 17, 2020

Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party candidate for president, issued the following statement Aug. 5. Malcolm Jarrett is the party’s candidate for vice president.

Working people need to build our own party, a labor party, to use to organize us in our millions to stand up to the efforts of the bosses, their parties and their government to push the burden of the crisis of their dog-eat-dog capitalist system onto our backs.

We need to organize a union movement in every workplace nationwide to resist the growing attacks on our jobs, wages and working conditions. This movement would defend workers on the job as well as family farmers and all those who are oppressed and exploited by capital. It would be the backbone of our labor party.

We can take important steps forward today by building solidarity with every fight that breaks out — from the strike by shipbuilders against union busting by bosses at Bath Iron Works in Maine, to protests demanding the arrest and prosecution of the cops who killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

One of the key challenges workers face is defending our health and safety on the job. We need to wage a fight to wrest control of production from the grasp of the bosses — from line speeds, to the arrangement of work stations, to the size of the workforce, to expansion of plant size if needed, and much more. Work can be performed safely, but only when workers are in charge of deciding what is necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus, injuries and deaths on the job. As the bosses reopen workplaces and public transport, or debate starting up schools again, workers in these industries waging such a struggle is the only way to protect our lives and those of our families and community.

As workers gain experience exercising control over what is produced and how, we can see that our class can and should run the entire economy.

My party calls for the labor movement to fight for a government-funded public works program to put tens of millions back to work at union scale pay. Such a program, run by the workers involved, can build hospitals, safe workplaces, schools and housing, and other things working people sorely need.

Getting workers back on the job will end demoralizing isolation and undercut the ability of the bosses to pit unemployed and employed workers against each other and attack us all.

Unions need to speak out against every example of exploitation, racism, attacks on women and undocumented workers, and explain why workers are capable of uniting to fight to end these conditions. We will gain class consciousness and learn our own self-worth.

Building a labor party out of these struggles will give us the political tool we need not only to defend our class interests, but also to chart a course to take political power out of the hands of the propertied rulers and establish a workers and farmers government. Workers and farmers in Cuba, led by Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement, showed that making a socialist revolution and transforming social relations is not only necessary but possible.

From the mass battles that won the right of women to vote 100 years ago this month or built the industrial union movement in the 1930s to the Black-led popular movement that tore down Jim Crow segregation, the working-class has a proud record of courageous and disciplined struggle. But to truly end the dictatorship of capital, and open the door to a new future for all humanity, we need to take power into our own hands.

To advance this perspective, the SWP is running and campaigning on a fighting working-class program in 2020. Join our fight to get on the ballot in as many states as possible!