Socialist Workers Party statement

Demand gov’t pay benefits to those without jobs now!

September 7, 2020

Alyson Kennedy and Malcolm Jarrett, Socialist Workers Party candidates for president and vice president, issued the following statement Aug. 25.

Join us in demanding government action now to protect working people from the spreading scourge of mass unemployment. Workers need to be working alongside their fellow workers, taking part in the fight against attacks on wages and working conditions by the bosses. Our campaign urges a fight for:

A crash, government-funded public works program to put millions back to work at union-scale pay, to build hospitals, homes, schools and other things working people need today. This would undercut bosses’ efforts to pit workers trying to hold onto a job against those of us thrown out of work.

This competition is used by employers to press us to accept wage cuts and worse conditions. Every step we take to lessen that conflict — that gets workers back on the job — provides a stronger foundation for building the fighting union movement we need.

Demand the government provide weekly union-scale benefits to all jobless workers, and other exploited producers — regardless whether we’re “permanent,” “temporary,” “self-employed,” or hold “papers” the rulers consider “legal.” We need regular payments we can depend on for as long as necessary, not short-lived “stimulus” handouts that Democrats and Republicans are quarreling over today.

As bosses threaten more layoffs, seeking to protect profits in their dog-eat-dog competition, our unions should demand a shorter workweek at no cut in pay to spread the work around. Workers should not have our wages slashed and bear the burden of a calamitous crisis in order to safeguard the bosses’ profits.

We need a union movement in every workplace! Acting as union organizers and joining together with co-workers on the job is the only way to fight boss attacks on our jobs, wages, and dignity.

We need to fight for workers control of production and safety. This can be a school for the working class to gain the knowledge and self-confidence to run the whole economy in the interests of the vast majority. All jobs can be done safely, if the workers take control.

These struggles will develop our class consciousness and provide the foundation for building a party of our own, a labor party, to defend the interests of all working people. A labor party would speak out in defense of all exploited and oppressed by capital and build solidarity with strikes like the one conducted by shipbuilders in Bath, Maine, and struggles like the fight to bring the cops who shot Jacob Blake to account.

All our struggles against the brutalities and exploitation of capital point to the need for working people to use their own political party to fight to take political power into our own hands.

We have a living example today that shows our class is capable of doing so — the Cuban Revolution. Led by Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement, Cuban workers and farmers took political power in 1959 and have wielded it since in the interests of the vast majority. They say, “No one in Cuba is left on their own.”

Join us introducing workers to the party’s platform. It offers a realistic road forward to mobilize working people in our millions — the only force capable once and for all of putting an end to capitalist exploitation.