Over 140,000 jobs were obliterated by the crisis of capitalism in December as workers face joblessness and boss attacks on wages and working conditions, exacerbated by growing infections of coronavirus.
Bosses at the airlines, Constellium aluminum plant in Alabama, at Gate Gourmet and Shell Canada in Quebec, and elsewhere are demanding workers make concessions to shore up company profits. Workers and farmers are looking for a road to defend their conditions and to fight for a way forward.
In the midst of this, the brief occupation of the Capitol building by a few hundred angry supporters of President Donald Trump and some rightists carrying Confederate battle flags took place Jan. 6. It changed nothing about capitalist rule in the U.S., the challenges working people face today, or the need for the class-struggle action program advanced by the Socialist Workers Party as it announces a national slate of candidates for 2021.
This is the truth, not the hysterical reaction of the middle-class left, the liberal press, as well as Democratic and some Republican politicians to the action. They scream about a fascist coup or attempted insurrection, which shows they know nothing about what either one would look like or the sweeping class forces that would be involved. Within hours Congress resumed debate and accepted the Electoral College’s certification of Joe Biden’s election as president.
The only thing registered by the postelection course of President Donald Trump in furiously challenging the November election, including with his rally Jan. 6, was it caused the Republicans to lose a runoff election in Georgia that cost them a majority in the Senate.
A more accurate gauge of ruling-class opinion about what happened that day was on the stock market, which didn’t wobble until it began to climb on hopes of further government “stimulus” spending. Capitalist investors are confident the incoming administration will continue defending their interests, as the outgoing one did.
‘Class against class’
“The fundamental divisions workers confront are class divisions, based on the exploitation of the toiling majority by the ruling propertied families,” Joanne Kuniansky, SWP candidate for New Jersey governor, told the Militant.
“Workers need our own party, a labor party, to fight uncompromisingly, class against class, for the interests of all the exploited and oppressed.”
Kuniansky, and rail worker Candace Wagner, the party’s candidate for lieutenant governor in that state, are two of the dozen or so candidates the Socialist Workers Party will be announcing over the next few days. In Seattle, the SWP has nominated Henry Dennison for mayor and Rebecca Williamson for City Council.
The conditions facing working people ensure the party’s candidates and fighting action program will get a widespread hearing. The Brookings Institution reports that half a million fewer children will be born this year than in 2019, because young people can’t afford to start families. The myth long offered by capitalist politicians of all stripes — that if workers work hard things will be better for our children — seems less and less plausible for millions.
An estimated 60% of all people in the U.S. can’t handle an emergency expense of $1,000, even after receiving government “stimulus” payments. Ninety million adults say they have difficulties meeting regular monthly expenses.
Last month’s sizable layoffs, which meant the absolute number of jobs in the U.S. fell, were concentrated heavily among workers in the leisure and hospitality industries. But the numbers hired in manufacturing, retail and construction rose in December.
As vaccinations for coronavirus spread and government lockdowns are lifted, odds favor an expansion of jobs. Working people will gain more confidence to fight against attacks from the bosses and their government.
Democrats have begun impeachment proceedings against the president. No one is under any illusion he can be forced out of office before Biden is inaugurated Jan. 20. What the ferocious campaign against Trump is really aimed at is the tens of millions of “deplorable” working people who voted for him, outraged at the disdain shown them by Washington.
The liberals target is working people
This visceral hatred for working people was captured in an article describing Trump supporters by Caitlin Flanagan in The Atlantic magazine Jan. 10. “Here they were, a coalition of the willing: deadbeat dads, YouPorn enthusiasts, slow students, and MMA fans,” she wrote, who came to Washington where “after a few wrong turns, they had pulled into the swamp with bellies full of beer and Sausage McMuffins, maybe a little high on Adderall, ready to get it done.”
When Hillary Clinton first coined the phrase “deplorables” in 2016, it showed the U.S. rulers had begun to fear working people who “see that the bosses and their political parties have no ‘solutions’ that don’t further load the costs — monetary and human — of the crisis of their system on us,” wrote Socialist Workers Party leader Steve Clark in 2016 in the introduction to The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People.
Both ruling-class parties face festering internal fractures. The victorious Clinton-Obama section of the Democratic Party confronts demands from its socialist wing. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez insisted Biden cancel student loans Jan. 3, warning his refusal to do so “is not going to fly.” The debate among Republicans about a road forward for their party is only just beginning.
As long as workers have no party of their own millions will turn to politicians like Trump, trying to find a lesser-evil among the bosses’ parties that offers some measure of relief and doesn’t shower them with contempt.
Among the various forces who entered Congress to protest the 2020 election were some carrying the Confederate battle flag — a symbol of reaction that remains a banner under which racist assaults are carried out. It is hated by millions, including many Trump supporters — a product of the historic changes won by the Black-led working-class movement that ended Jim Crow segregation and changed forever attitudes of working people toward each other.
Bosses at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as Spotify and Airbnb, were quick to seize on the liberal furor to shut down thousands of accounts, including President Trump’s. Amazon Web Services also shut down Parler, a communications website widely used by supporters of Trump. All these outfits claim to offer a space where anyone can express their opinion. In fact they’re increasingly practicing censorship, using fact-checkers, disclaimers and outright bans to silence those who don’t meet their political approval. Whenever attacks on political space get going, they always end up being used against the working class.