What can working people do to defend ourselves from the bosses who continue to push the economic crisis of their system onto our backs?
Strikes and other battles by thousands of union members are underway to win better wages and conditions. Socialist Workers Party candidates and members are building solidarity with these struggles. As they do so they’re presenting a political course to draw workers together, to raise our confidence in our own worth and to strengthen the labor movement.
Central to this is the need for a union-led fight for jobs with the wages, schedules and conditions necessary for workers and their families to live — rather than be torn apart by the bosses’ drive for profits.
“At stake is protecting the lives of working people — the only productive, creative and progressive class that holds the future of humanity in its hands,” Lea Sherman, the SWP candidate for General Assembly in New Jersey, told the Militant.
Unions need to fight for a government-funded public works program — at union-scale wages — to build hospitals, child care centers, housing and needed infrastructure to put millions to work.
Millions are forced to work long hours, and more overtime, or take two or more jobs, while others scramble for any work at all. “The time is ripe to demand a shorter workweek with no cut in pay to spread the work around,” Sherman said.
“To protect workers’ living standards from the ravages of inflation, full and automatic cost-of-living escalators are needed in all contracts, in every workplace and in pensions, unemployment benefits and Social Security,” she said. Unions can fight for a basic income to make it possible to keep a job and have a family life and time to be active in our unions, as the labor movement fights for higher pay, universal child care and medical care.
“After the Feb. 3 train derailment devastated the town of East Palestine, Ohio, rail workers and town residents have spoken out about the rail bosses’ drive for profits, which is the cause of such disasters,” Sherman added. “The Socialist Workers Party says workers need to take control of production, including decisions that affect the health and safety of millions of people, and to ensure the safeguarding of the land, air and water.” We need to force open the bosses’ business secrets, she said, and expose how their exploitation squanders the labor of working people and endangers lives.
The labor movement has a tremendous stake in forging an alliance with exploited farmers, who are robbed from every side by the banks and other capitalists, and to join in their struggles. The SWP explains that nationalization of the land is the only way to block extortionate land grabs by the banks and large real estate firms and ensure land can be used by those who want to work it.
“Securing these aims requires ending labor’s reliance on the bosses’ Democratic and Republican parties,” Sherman said. “We need to break from the capitalist parties and build a labor party based on the unions.”
“Along that road we can draw together the class forces capable of leading tens of millions of workers and farmers to take political power from the capitalists and into our hands.
“This opens the door for a workers and farmers government, to reach out in solidarity with toilers worldwide.”