The American Working Class Has Had Enough!Posted: March 13, 2011
More than two years after the US financial institutions brought about a meltdown on Wall Street the working class in the United States is mounting its first major attack on the political and economic system that has failed them. Mass protests in Wisconsin, involving hundreds of thousands of workers, students and other supporters is the first salvo fired in what looks to be an open class struggle. The battle is not confined to Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Jordan anymore.
Workers Did Not Start the Class War
This class struggle was started by the financial aristocracy whose reckless
actions for increased profits brought about the loss of jobs, homes and incomes for millions of Americans. While Republicans and Democrats have poured trillions of public dollars into saving the hides of these reckless speculators, these politicians have no interest in taking measures to help the working class.
The governor in Wisconsin, like the governors in North Carolina, Michigan, New York and other states is proposing that workers pay more into pensions, their health care, lose the right to collective bargaining, while taking a meat cleaver to basic services for the poor and needy. This same governor is cutting taxes for the corporations and proposing to sell off the state power plants, without bids, to private power companies.
Nurses, firefighters, police, plumbers, steel workers, Veterans for Peace,
Students for a Democratic Society, Workers World Party along with many other organizations are in Wisconsin to support labor. Many young workers, university and high school students are taking leadership roles in this revolt.
Attacks on Workers—Not Just in Wisconsin
The demand for sacrifice from the working class is now being carried out at
every level of government. Politicians at the Federal, State and local levels
are doing the bidding of the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and Wall Street when they propose budgets that will eliminate jobs and programs that serve the working class. The struggle that has begun in Wisconsin is a clear sign that the United States is entering a period of social upheaval. Workers and supporters have begun to defend their right to a job, living wages, education, health care and a retirement without being in poverty.
Where the Wealth Is
The total budget deficit of all 50 states is approximately one-tenth of the net wealth of the 400 richest Americans. This wealth came from the labor of the
working class ,and along with the trillions spent to bail out Wall Street, must
be reclaimed. The bank and Wall Street losses were socialized, but our big
capitalist and their flunky politicians tell us that continuing programs for the working class is socialism and we do not want and cannot afford it.
What Must Be Done
We must give all of our support to the Wisconsin and other workers in rebellion against the system. In support of all workers struggles we must come to the understanding that we cannot win if we remain under the delusion that the Democrat/Republican parties of the capitalist are ever going to function in our best interest.
We must examine the relation of the labor bureaucracies to the struggle. Is the struggle one of maintaining worker jobs and standard of living or maintaining the labor bureaucracy? Marty Bell, head of the Wisconsin State Employees Union said “We are prepared to implement the financial concessions proposed to help bring our state’s budget into balance but, we will not, I repeat will not, be denied our rights to collective bargaining”. The question is what is left to bargain for?
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said at a rally in Wisconsin that the unions recognize the economic reasons for cuts in the state government. He should also be speaking to the proposed tax cuts for corporations.
Is it Time for a Local Uprising to Begin?
We must also expand the struggle to this area. Can workers on the banks of the Susquehanna and Chenango mimic their brothers and sisters actions on the Nile? Our local officials are mimicking the Democrats and Republicans elsewhere by cutting jobs and basic services while giving long term tax breaks to every wealthy developer with every money making scheme that appears at their door step. Workers don’t get decent jobs, if any, from these hand outs and the general public and school districts get cheated on the taxes and services.
Rally in Binghamton
On Feb 24 a rally was held in Binghamton. The purpose was to inform visiting Governor Cuomo, that job and pay/benefit cuts to state workers and approval of fracking was unacceptable. Cuomo did not speak to the approximately 75 people who waited to greet him. He was protected by police who would not let the people on the side walk at the River Walk Hotel. Cuomo was only interested in mingling with the business community.
Wisconsin is Us
Those attending the rally were from the anti-fracking community, organized labor and students from SUNY. There is a growing understanding all over the country that an attack on labor, education, health benefits is an attack on every one who is not wealthy.
Lee Conrad, President of the Broome-Tioga AFL-CIO said that “I am at the rally to join with others in the community and with unions to tell Gov. Cuomo not to balance the state budget on the backs of the working families of the community. If Cuomo needs money let him tax the rich who have made out like bandits in this economy. “
Monizir Khan, Business Agent—at large for the Graduate Student Employees Union, CSA Local 1104 “ I am here because the State of NY signed a tentative agreement with the graduate student workers on Dec. 10, 2009. The agreement covered the work period from July 2, 2007 –July 1, 2009. Now in February 2011, the state has yet to pass the pay bill. The Cuomo administration needs to fulfill the state’s end of the bargain and pass the payroll bill.
While the police protected the Governor from a peaceful demonstration of
democracy at work, the students chanted “protect our welfare, save our nation, spend on education”.
The rally theme as expressed by one woman was; “Governor Cuomo, the fight has just begun”.