Socialist Workers Party Statement

Fight against rulers’ attacks on workers’ health, wages

October 26, 2020

This statement was released by Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party candidate for president, Oct. 14.

Working people need to join together to fight for protection from the impact of the spreading capitalist social and economic crisis and to use all the resources available to stem the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

We should demand the government ramp up production and distribution of the three-drug package President Donald Trump received when he was hospitalized that helped reduce the impact of the virus. This should be made available to all  those stricken with the virus, free of charge. 

Until a vaccine is developed and tested, it will be working people, especially the elderly, who are most exposed to the disease. 

The U.S. rulers let bosses inflict a deadly toll on elderly residents in nursing homes, housing them in close proximity, alongside patients with COVID-19, while cutting staff in their drive for profits. Such conditions guaranteed the spread of the virus, epitomizing the callous values of the ruling capitalist families, for whom the lives of workers they can no longer exploit have no value. 

The only section of the working class hit harder has been those who find themselves ground up by the criminal “justice” system and thrown into prison.

The Democratic and Republican parties and their candidates are committed to defending the for-profit U.S. health industry of hospitals, pharmaceutical monopolies and insurance behemoths whose every decision is based on maximizing their take. Millions in this country are left without medical coverage. 

Access to health care cannot be based on an individual worker’s ability to pay. Health care must be a human right. Working people and our unions need to fight for a social solution, for cradle-to-grave health care for all. The SWP campaign starts from what working people need, not what the bosses say is “possible” under their dog-eat-dog capitalist system. 

One inspiring example for workers here and worldwide to emulate is the way the Cuban Revolution — despite the pressure of decades of economic warfare from Washington — organizes to assure its people get health care. Clinics are located in workers’ communities, and all the resources of the country are organized equally to reach every Cuban, at no cost. As they say, “No one is left on their own.”

And they offer their medical services to any country that asks, an example of selfless internationalism.

More workers are finding ways to stand up to attacks on our jobs, wages and working conditions — organizing strikes and protests in the face of the bosses’ unquenchable drive to dump the costs of today’s crisis onto our backs. These battles — like strikes at Newfoundland’s Dominion grocery stores, at NLMK Steel in Pennsylvania, by hospital workers in Northern California — deserve widespread solidarity. 

Workers need to unite around a program of action that can meet our needs at all  levels, including to halt the debilitating impact of rising joblessness. The SWP campaign says workers need to use our unions to fight for a shorter workweek with no cut in pay, to spread the available work around and prevent layoffs.

We need to fight for a government-funded public works program to put those cast out of work back in a job at union-scale pay, to build the things we need — hospitals, housing, schools and more. 

To combat the inflation that is growing at the grocery store, we need escalator clauses in all union contracts and programs like Social Security that guarantee our wages go up to match any rise in prices.

To advance this course of struggle workers need our own political party, a labor party, that we can use to fight the rulers’ assault on all those who are exploited and oppressed by the workings of their system. 

The Socialist Workers Party acts on the capacities of working people to fight together to change these conditions. As we do so we can build a self-confident and class-conscious movement of millions to bring an end to capitalist rule, and replace it with a workers and farmers government.

Join us!