The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 72/No. 4      January 28, 2008

What the Socialist Workers 2008 campaign fights for
(feature article)
Working people in the United States and around the globe are bearing the brunt of a world capitalist economic crisis still in its early stages. We face rising unemployment and accompanying inflation, spreading wars, social breakdowns, and attacks on workers’ rights.

In their profit-driven competition for markets and resources around the globe, the billionaire ruling-class families in the United States and their imperialist rivals are compelled to launch more and more murderous wars, like those in Iraq and Afghanistan today. Under the bloody banner of the "global war on terror," Washington’s armed forces fight in Pakistan, the Philippines, Colombia, the Horn of Africa, and many other places. The U.S. government maintains tens of thousands of troops across Europe and Asia. What imperialism has in store for millions in the future can already be seen in the U.S. rulers’ rationalization of torture against those they brand "enemies" and lock away in their prisons from Europe to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. As the rulers do so, they take away more and more rights from all of us.

In their assault on working people at home, U.S. employers are increasingly pressing to hold down wages and shed medical and pension plans. Workers are maimed and killed on the job every day as a result of speed-up, “productivity” drives, job combinations, the bosses’ refusal to provide and maintain safety equipment, and other “cost-cutting” measures. This goes hand in hand with capitalists’ reckless plunder of nature and callous disregard for the health and safety of working people.

Working people today confront sharply rising costs of food, fuel, medical care, rent, and interest payments on loans. We face ongoing cuts in real Social Security benefits as annual raises are rigged to fall further and further behind inflation. This grinding offensive hits hardest the most oppressed layers of our class, especially workers who are Black. It comes down heavily on working women, who disproportionately bear the brunt of child-care and domestic responsibilities.

The Socialist Workers platform offers a course of action for workers and farmers to advance our historic class interests and defend ourselves from efforts by the bosses, their political parties, and their government to shift the burden of capitalism’s accelerating economic disorder onto our backs.

Above all, the working class needs our own political party, a labor party based on fighting unions, to contest against the Democrats and Republicans and all other capitalist parties. The billionaire class rules through a two-party system to maintain the illusion that workers have a choice. Building a labor party independent of the two parties of capital offers working people a fighting alternative. Every fundamental question posed in trade union and social struggles has to be fought out and won in the political arena.

Working people need to establish a workers and farmers government. We must build a revolutionary movement of millions to fight to replace the state power and class rule of the tiny propertied minority and begin organizing society in the interests of the vast majority.

Support workers’ struggles to organize unions and to mobilize union power to defend working people from the bosses’ assaults. Workers need unions through which we can take control of our own struggles for dignity on the job, improved wages, and health and safety. We must transform the unions into organizations that throw their weight into movements of social protest launched by working people.

Stop immigration raids and deportations! End Social Security “no match” letters. Immediate legalization for all undocumented workers, with no conditions.

Defend and extend affirmative action in employment, education, and housing. Expand programs forcing companies to end “last hired, first fired” practices toward Blacks, other oppressed nationalities, and women. Such programs cut across divisions fostered by the bosses to undermine workers’ ability to fight.

For a sliding scale of wages and hours to combat inflation and unemployment.

Cost-of-living increases in the wages and benefits of all workers. End government rigging of statistics that understate rising costs of food, fuel, health care, housing, and college education, designed to keep wage hikes and Social Security payments low. The unions need to initiate committees of workers and farmers to take determination of the Consumer Price Index into our hands.

Shorten the workweek, with no cut in pay, to spread the available work to all. Put millions to work at union-scale wages through massive public works programs to repair and expand affordable, spacious, and comfortable housing, safe and reliable public transportation, quality schools, government-financed child-care centers, recreation facilities, and much-needed infrastructure improvements in and around our neighborhoods and workplaces.

Open the capitalists’ books. For workers' control of industry. The bosses try to blackmail us into “choosing” between jobs and safety, health care and wages, pensions for older workers and two-tier pay scales for new hires. The labor movement must say “no” and demand the capitalists open their financial ledgers to committees of workers for public scrutiny. Uncovering the truth about bosses’ "business secrets" goes hand in hand with workers taking control over the speed of production, job conditions, organization of work, use of resources, and protection of the surrounding environment. Along this road we can gain experience needed to manage and plan the economy under a workers and farmers government.

“We need to honestly and directly address and rectify the enormous product cost and capital cost disadvantage that currently burden the domestic automakers.”

—Mitt Romney, Jan. 13, 2008

“I represent Wall Street and I’m proud to do that because there are a lot of things that come out of there that raise wealth and give people opportunity.”

—Hillary Clinton, Jan. 11, 2008

“The Democrats and Republicans serve the bosses. Working people need our own political party, a labor party built out of a fighting union movement. We need class independence in the political arena to fight for solutions to the mounting assaults we face—from racist and sexist discrimination on and off the job, to rising inflation and stagnating wages.”

Róger Calero, Jan. 7, 2008

Nationalize the energy industry. The owners of the oil and coal monopolies display utter disregard for the millions afflicted by their running of this vital industry, including those who labor in the mines, refineries, and power plants. Take the energy industry out of private hands! Make all its transactions transparent and run it under workers control in order to enforce job safety; halt the poisoning of the air, water, and soil; and make electricity, heating, and air conditioning affordable and safer for working people.

Government-guaranteed health care and pensions, ensuring lifetime coverage and retirement income for all. No cuts to present or future Social Security, Medicare, or workers compensation. Roll back the rising eligibility age. Eliminate mandatory retirement.

For the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and “coalition” troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Korea, the Philippines, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and everywhere else they are stationed in Europe, the Mideast, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas. No to threats and sanctions against Cuba, Iran, and north Korea! Hands off Venezuela!

Oppose government spying and harassment. Repeal the Patriot Act and all witch-hunting and “gag” legislation. Fight cop brutality, government frame-ups, and assaults on the rights of the accused and convicted. Abolish the death penalty. Shut the Guantánamo Bay and other U.S. “detention centers” and halt the denial of elementary legal protections to all those in custody.

“I would immediately implement a Green Building Fund to rebuild and renovate public buildings like schools, like municipal buildings, like law enforcement buildings, to make them more energy efficient.”

—Hillary Clinton, Jan. 11, 2008

“We need massive public works programs to provide jobs at union-scale wages for millions. We could build convenient and inexpensive public transportation workers can rely on, subsidized housing workers can be proud to live in, and meet other needs for our class—not promote the bosses’ latest money-making schemes—‘green’ or otherwise.”

Róger Calero, Jan. 12, 2008

Oppose the drive by Washington and its allies to prevent nations oppressed by imperialism from developing the sources of energy they need, including nuclear power, in order to expand electrification, bring much of humanity out of darkness, and make possible economic, social, and cultural advancement.

Cancel the Third World debt. Lift all U.S. tariffs and other obstacles to trade and travel, including “anti-dumping,” “fair labor,” and “environmental protection” regulations, which have devastating consequences for peoples of the semicolonial world.

The government must guarantee the costs of production to working farmers, including inexpensive credit. Halt farm foreclosures. Guarantee farmers the right to use the land they rent or hold title to, without fear of eviction.

Defend a woman’s right to choose abortion! Oppose all restrictions on access.

Independence for Puerto Rico! Free those jailed for their actions opposing U.S. colonial rule.

Normalize relations with Cuba! Lift Washington's restrictions on U.S. residents visiting the island. Free the Cuban Five!

The Socialist Workers candidates are campaigning for a workers and farmers government. We join in workers’ struggles in this country and around the world. We are part of building a revolutionary movement that can follow the road taken by Cuba’s working people nearly five decades ago: to take power out of the hands of the ruling rich and establish a workers and farmers government that will abolish capitalism and join in a worldwide struggle for socialism.

Tell us about activities, events, and struggles by your unions or other organizations, so we can join you!

Join us in campaigning!

“I have been one of those involved in one of the most important changes that could have ever been made, and that is to reverse a losing strategy in Iraq… And now we have a new strategy, and we are succeeding.”

—John McCain, Jan. 10, 2008

“Once we had our troops two years into a war [in Iraq], it was important that we try to do the best possible job on it.”

—Barack Obama, Jan. 13, 2008

“The ‘surge’ in Iraq is working for the U.S. rulers, but the only course in the interests of workers and farmers is to bring all the troops home now. Not one penny should be spent, not one soldier should be deployed to fight the imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

—Alyson Kennedy, Jan. 10, 2008

Related articles:
‘Workers need our own political party’
SWP candidates: break with twin parties of capital
Economic crisis marks debate in presidential primaries
Young socialists campaign for Calero and Kennedy
Socialist Workers 2008 national campaign director and chairperson
Calero to attend Indiana immigrant rights conference
I want to help the Socialist Workers 2008 campaign!  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home