With hundreds of thousands of workers continuing to lose their jobs every week and millions more still laid off from earlier this year, President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, accuse each other of being responsible for this.
Biden blames Trump for failing to shut down society even more to limit coronavirus. Trump says Biden is controlled by radicals who will destroy the economy. Neither advances a concrete program to create the millions of jobs workers need, nor a serious plan to keep jobless benefits flowing for those without work.
Most importantly, neither sees action by working people and our unions to fight for jobs as the foundation for combating the impact of the protracted economic and social crisis we’re living through.
In contrast to Biden and Trump, and to Democrats and Republicans of every stripe, “jobs are needed now,” Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party candidate for president, told the Militant, “as well as ample government aid for all who need it, as long as they need it.
“My campaign calls for workers and our unions to fight for a government-funded public works program that can put millions back to work at union-scale pay to build homes, hospitals, schools and other things working people urgently need,” Kennedy said.
“And wherever bosses are threatening yet more layoffs, like on the airlines, Amtrak and elsewhere, workers need to fight for a shorter workweek to spread jobs around, with no cut in pay,” she added.
Tens of millions of workers also face loss of job-related health care, with the burden falling heaviest on the backs of workers who are Black and Hispanic. Bosses claim they can’t afford to keep paying the giant insurance monopolies — whose profits have soared as their payouts fell, as hospitals and clinics cancelled surgeries and procedures to make insufficient beds available for coronavirus patients. Insurance company bosses refuse to give anyone a break, especially small businesses.
Biden says he wants to resurrect Obamacare, which was passed when he was in office. Trump says the free market will solve the problem. Neither is a solution, nor touches the real problem.
“In the U.S. there is no such thing as health care, there is only health insurance, a big and profitable capitalist industry,” Kennedy said. “The bosses have closed hospitals, turned nursing homes deadly, and now are shutting off insurance to millions.
“The Socialist Workers Party fights for universal, government-guaranteed cradle-to-grave health care, and retirement income for all, as a human right,” she said.
Inflation — especially the cost of food, home supplies and other necessities — eats deeper into the purchasing power of working people. The government lies about this, averaging out these crucial rising costs with other prices that working people aren’t using, like air travel and hotel rates, to claim inflation is just 1.3%.
“We say workers and our unions should fight for escalator clauses in every contract to assure that our wages go up each and every time prices rise,” SWP vice presidential candidate Malcolm Jarrett said. “And for similar protections to cover all workers who are retired, on pensions or Social Security.”
One “industry” where bosses are engaged in a hiring spree is for “repo” men. As governments at all levels are shutting down special programs that have deferred evictions, the rulers are gearing up to collect outstanding loans and repossess housing and more.
‘Don’t let deplorables do it again’
Liberals are determined to prevent working people, those that Hillary Clinton labeled a “basket of deplorables” for putting Trump in the White House in 2016, from doing the same again this November. They consider working people not only worthless, but increasingly dangerous.
“Tens of thousands” of Trump supporters will stand outside polling booths Nov. 3, “to create a climate of menace,” warns New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. This simply can’t be a fair election, he says, because “a metastasizing segment of the population” lacks any “decency.” They’re putting the country “on the precipice of being ungovernable.”
Another Times pundit, Thomas Edsall, points to one special group of deplorables he blames for Trump’s election, those he calls “missing whites” — workers who are Caucasian and who can’t usually stomach voting for either Democrats or Republicans.
The liberals are becoming more hysterical as each day passes, determined to use all means necessary to deny Trump a second term. Their course threatens the political rights working people have conquered in centuries of struggle.
“Neither the Democrats nor Republicans point a way forward for workers and farmers. They can’t. They are the twin parties of the capitalist rulers. They exist to defend the power and privilege of the ruling families,” Jarrett said.
“That’s why working people need to build our own party, a labor party, based on our fighting unions,” Jarrett said. “To speak in the interests of all those who are exploited and oppressed by capitalism and to use to organize millions of working people to take political power into our own hands.”