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Vol. 80/No. 36      September 26, 2016

(Socialist Workers Party statement)

Fight for health care, retirement for all

The following statement was released Sept. 14 by Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. president, and Osborne Hart, SWP candidate for vice president.

We joined thousands of retired and working miners, their families and supporters as they rallied in Washington, D.C., Sept. 8 to protest attacks by coal bosses and the government on pensions and health care for retirees won in past labor battles. The Socialist Workers Party stands shoulder to shoulder with miners in their efforts to defend their future.

Tens of millions of other workers — working, unemployed and retired — face the same challenge, attacks by the bosses and the government on their right to health care and retirement. This social crisis can’t be solved boss by boss. Working people, organized and unorganized, need to join together to fight for full government-funded pensions and medical coverage as a social right for all.

Cradle-to-grave health care is what all workers need. We can’t let them be tied to company profitability, nor accept deeper and deeper government attacks on Medicare and Social Security as the rulers let their funding run out.

Mine owners and an increasing number of other employers are using bankruptcy courts to weasel out of union contracts and obligations to fund retirement benefits and medical care for the workers they exploited for profits and now try to discard like worn-out machines.

The working class produces all the wealth, as our labor transforms natural resources into things people need. But under capitalism the bosses expropriate the lion’s share. They use their wealth and power to exploit workers here and abroad. The crisis today in their dog-eat-dog capitalist system is putting increasing pressure on the bosses to cut away at our wages, pensions, health care and political rights.

“Working people and our unions have a vital stake not only in defending what we’ve fought for and won from the employing class, but above all in building a mass social and political movement of the working class to extend these conquests as universal rights — not means-tested charity — for all,” Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes explains in Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege and Learning Under Capitalism. “Through our labor, the working class, in this country and worldwide, produces more than enough wealth to provide education, health care, housing, and retirement to every human being on earth, for a lifetime.”

We can fight to rebuild our unions to lead all workers in this struggle. In carrying this fight forward we will transform ourselves. We’ll gain confidence in our capacity to overthrow the dictatorship of capital, establish our own workers and farmers government and join the worldwide struggle for socialism.
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Coal miners demand gov’t protect health care, retirement benefits
On the Picket Line
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