Socialist Workers Party statement

Build a union movement in all plants, workplaces!

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

September 21, 2020
New York City unions Sept. 3 protest mayor’s threat to lay off thousands of city workers.
The City/Jason Scott JonesNew York City unions Sept. 3 protest mayor’s threat to lay off thousands of city workers.

Sept. 9 statement by Alyson Kennedy, SWP candidate for president.

A fight by working people is needed to build a union movement in every workplace and to win immediate protection from the widespread unemployment and rising prices we face. Proposals to advance that are at the heart of the Socialist Worker Party 2020 campaign — the only campaign that starts from the capacities of working people to lead a movement of millions to defend and advance the interests of all those exploited and oppressed by capitalist rule.

From the strike by Dominion grocery workers in Newfoundland, Canada, to countless on-the-job actions at workplaces across the U.S., workers are finding ways to stand up to bosses’ insistence on pushing more work on fewer of us, reduce wages and worsen conditions. Build solidarity with their struggles!

To prevent bosses throwing more of us out of work the SWP campaign says unions need to mobilize working people in a fight for a shorter workweek with no cut in take home pay to spread work around and prevent layoffs.

Our unions can mobilize a fight for a massive government-funded public works program to put millions back to work at union-scale pay. They can build hospitals, housing, schools and other things neglected by bosses who put profits over workers’ needs.

As rising prices for food and other essentials make it harder for working people to make ends meet, our unions can fight for automatic cost-of-living clauses in our contracts and in government programs. When prices go up, so should wages, pensions and unemployment and Social Security.

A fighting union movement in every workplace will provide working people with the strongest foundation possible to build the political instrument we need, our own party, a labor party. By charting a course to defend the interests of all those oppressed and exploited by capital, a labor party prepares us for the struggles to come — the fight to throw off the rule of the small class of capitalists and their meritocratic enablers and establish a government of workers and farmers.

Working people in Cuba, led by Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement, showed that socialist revolution is both possible and necessary. They toppled the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship in 1959 and went on to end the stranglehold of both U.S. imperialism and Cuban capitalists. Workers and farmers established their own government, which organized them to take control over the land, factories, banks and other workplaces.

Cuban working people used their government to organize a massive literacy drive and to deepen struggles against racism and women’s oppression. The toilers courageously defeated U.S.-backed mercenaries at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and stood up to the unrelenting efforts by the U.S. rulers to overthrow the revolution ever since.

In the course of these struggles, working people in Cuba transformed themselves, as Che Guevara said, into “new men and women.” They looked to aid working people everywhere fighting against colonial rule and for freedom. They continue to provide unstinting international solidarity, as thousands of Cuban medical volunteers are doing around the world today to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

The Democratic and Republican parties and all who uphold capitalist rule try to “teach” us that working people are incapable of taking and exercising political power. They consider us things to be administered and held in check, not makers of history, as we will become in the deepening working-class struggles ahead.

Join the SWP 2020 campaign!