Harris pointed out that unlike the Great Depression in the 1930s this one involves a much greater share of the world’s population, including workers and farmers in China, India and Brazil. “All are in it as capitalism enters a real contraction of production,” he said.
“But if you watched the debates between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney neither candidate presented a program to deal with the jobs crisis this contraction has visited on us,” Harris said. “That’s because they have no jobs program. In parts of Europe the official unemployment rate is 25 percent, and there is no jobs program there either.
“The only program the rulers have is to take it out of the working class—to make unemployment worse, to press workers more, to make the jobs that are available pay less, go faster, more dangerous, in an effort to boost their sagging profit rates,” he added.
“Romney claims he will create 12 million jobs,” he continued. “He says he’ll do this by lowering taxes and reducing regulation on businesses, which he calls ‘job creators.’ But a capitalist business’s job is not to create jobs.
“If Romney had gone into a board meeting of Bain Capital and said ‘let’s talk about how we can create more jobs today,’ he’d be run out of there,” Harris said. “Their job is to make a profit. If hiring more workers will do that, they will hire. If they can’t profit by producing and selling commodities, they won’t take out loans from banks, they won’t hire more workers. Nothing the government does will change that.
“Our campaign says workers need to fight for a massive government-funded jobs program—one that isn’t dependent on the profits of individual capitalists—to put millions of people to work building roads, hospitals, day care centers and infrastructure everybody needs,” Harris said.
“There are enormous political issues that were simply not mentioned in the debates,” he continued. “The fight for women’s equality, the drive toward war, the attacks on the right to vote, the fight against racist discrimination, the prison system—that’s a huge issue. The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world and 40 percent of them are Black, 20 percent Latino.
Harris spoke at a number of classes during the day, introduced by Ken Morgan, a professor of Urban Studies. Harris began each talk by explaining that when working people are told they can change society by voting they are being lied to.
“I’m 64 and I’ve never voted to go to war. I’ve never voted to lose my job,” he said. “You’re told to vote for a person you wish will do better, you hope will do better, then you’re disappointed every time.
“If the SWP wins any election, we would use the power of that office to support struggles of working people—any union struggle, any struggle by women to defend their right to abortion,” he explained.
SWP vice president candidate: ‘Workers need our own party’
Texas youth join DeLuca to get out ‘Militant’
Socialist Workers candidates across US
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home