For massive public works program to create jobs!

Today’s jobs crisis and the road forward for workers

By Terry Evans
October 5, 2020
School cafeteria workers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, joined by teachers and local residents Sept. 22, demand school administration halt plans to lay off 50 of the 70 cafeteria workers.
Stephanie Zollshan/Berkshire Eagle via AP School cafeteria workers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, joined by teachers and local residents Sept. 22, demand school administration halt plans to lay off 50 of the 70 cafeteria workers.

Neither President Donald Trump nor his Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden offer any respite from the widespread joblessness, the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic and the broader social crisis bearing down on working people. These conditions require an immediate, fighting response by the working class.

The number of people seeking jobless benefits for the first time each week is still five times higher than it was before the pandemic.

Some 60% of small businesses shuttered since March are now permanently closed. Growing numbers of airlines, hotels, restaurants and more are downsizing, laying off workers or shutting altogether. Farmers continue to face growing debt bondage and the threat of foreclosure and loss of their livelihoods.

Only the Socialist Workers Party campaign of Alyson Kennedy for president and Malcolm Jarrett for vice president calls on workers and our unions to mobilize in our millions to fight for protection from this crisis. They’re campaigning for a massive government-funded jobs program to put people thrown out of a job back to work, at union-scale pay, to build hospitals, homes, schools and other things working people sorely need.

By organizing a fight on the job against attacks by the bosses we defend ourselves and move toward rebuilding the kind of union movement we need. Working people coming together and standing up to the profit-driven assaults by the bosses and their government is the road forward.

The Democrats especially, but also the Trump campaign, are focused on fixing the blame on each other for an impending apocalypse. Trump says Biden is controlled by dangerous socialists and Biden insists Trump is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands by mishandling coronavirus.

In reality, both candidates back the capitalist for-profit “health care” setup in the U.S., ensuring that when the virus hit thousands would die. For years hospital bosses have run their operations on the same model as the auto, steel, and rail bosses, and on how the Walton family runs Walmart. Cut the workforce to the bone to maximize profits. Just-on-time delivery of medical equipment without any profit-eating reserves set aside. Catering as much as possible to the rich and upper middle class, with a focus on the most profitable procedures, versus organizing to get preventive medicine to millions of working people.

This has meant the shutting down of hundreds of hospitals in cites and rural areas that couldn’t compete on this level, shuttering unprofitable departments like maternity wards. When coronavirus hit, the U.S. medical industry was woefully unprepared.

Democrats and Republicans alike then turned a blind eye to a murderous cull of elderly workers left exposed to the virus in completely inadequate nursing homes. More than 40% of COVID deaths are linked to long-term care facilities.

Democrats going ballistic

As Nov. 3 nears, the Democrats are at a fever pitch of hysteria. They brag they’ve got the election in the bag, at the same time they’re in terror that they may lose. And they’re determined to get their way no matter what. Joe Biden should “not concede under any circumstances,” Hillary Clinton said on Showtime’s “The Circus” talk show Aug. 24.

Having spent the last four years trying to overturn the last election, Democrats are convinced that working people who Clinton called “deplorables” for helping elect Trump in 2016 can’t be allowed to do the same again. Don’t waste your breath trying to convince Trump voters they’re wrong, Colbert King writes in the Washington Post. He says they’re to blame for spreading coronavirus by turning up maskless at campaign rallies to lap up Trump’s “racist appeals,” and would literally let him get away with murder.

The Democrats’ angst has gone up again following the death of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They say there has to be a way to stop Trump from nominating another of “his” justices to replace her. But the Supreme Court is part of the capitalist rulers’ government, and, no matter who the president is, ultimately it will rule accordingly. To accommodate this fact, U.S. history is replete with “conservative” justices who suddenly turned liberal, and vice versa.

The liberals and their media outlets say all measures to stop Trump are good, no matter how damaging to democratic rights and working people.

The Democrats have been on a national drive to keep the Green Party from being on the ballot by any means necessary. The Greens are another capitalist party, but Democrats believe every vote for them is a vote that doesn’t go to Biden. Compliant judges in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — two states considered critical — kicked the Green’s presidential ticket off the ballot in September.

“Two Parties Is Plenty,” headlined an article by New York Times columnist Gail Collins, who skewered the Greens and clearly doesn’t think people should be able to vote for who they choose, unless it’s Biden.

The Socialist Workers Party fights for the most open ballot possible, for workers to hear a working-class program. The SWP calls for our unions to organize our own party, a labor party, to fight to defend working people under attack and to chart a course toward taking political power and building a workers and farmers government.

Because of the massive explosion of mail-in voting, it is virtually certain the election results will not be known on election day.

Trump is campaigning as the “law and order” candidate. He hopes to attract workers who oppose the looting and destruction that have marked the diminished Black Lives Matter protests taking place today and don’t think “abolish the police” is the road to end police brutality.

But there is nothing for working people in calls by Attorney General William Barr for federal prosecutors to charge Black Lives Matter leaders and others who back looting with sedition, a witch-hunt thought-crime charge. This is dangerous for working people. Regardless of who are the first targets, these kinds of frame-up charges will be used against militant workers and others organizing to fight exploitation and oppression.

Whether Biden or Trump ends up in the White House, they will rule as the chief executive officer for the ruling class, in a time of growing boss attacks on workers and farmers.

The Socialist Workers campaign “points to the capacities of working people to unite, to fight to change our conditions and in the process change ourselves,” Alyson Kennedy told the Militant. “As we do so we’ll build our own party, a labor party, and fight for a workers and farmers government.”