The Lives of Workers are Worth a Fair Fight
The owners of big banks and corporations are waging a class war on the poor, the unemployed, and the working class. Workers have every right to wage a fair fight for a living wage, and for decent conditions on the job and in daily life.
A Living Wage: Workers deserve the full value of our labor. Instead, we pay the heaviest price for a system that puts profits before people. The bosses of big business claim to be “job providers,” but they threaten to shut down our workplaces when we demand fair wages for our work. We demand a living wage for every worker without exception, beginning at fifteen dollars an hour. A living wage means we can pay our bills, and still enjoy a life of dignity.
When banks steal our homes and corporations steal our jobs, the bosses always say that they are keeping the economy “competitive.” This only means that workers are being forced to compete against each other, rather than joining together in a fair fight for decent work and wages. Whether you work in a factory or in an office, whether you work in a hospital or in a hotel, your life is worth more than any amount of money.
But we must make a beginning. A living wage is one good way to begin a fair fight for the dignity of all workers.
Education for All: Workers deserve the best education, from early childhood on through high school and college. All students deserve safe classrooms in well maintained buildings, and all teachers deserve good wages and respect. Quality meal programs and basic health care clinics belong in every school. All books and materials required for classes should be publicly funded.
Education is a basic social contract between generations, and the failure to give young people a good start in life is a social crime. Social funding for universal education is in itself an education in social solidarity.
Public Transit for All: Workers deserve safe travel between home, work, and school. Workers often spend long hours on buses and subways, and pay the price from our own pockets. Transportation is a basic necessity for work and daily life. All forms of land transportation should be safe, clean and publicly funded. A public fund for air travel should also be provided to workers, on the basis of fair rules and urgent need. Air travel is presently very toxic and wasteful of energy, so we must develop cleaner forms of energy and travel.
A modern system of train travel deserves national funding, and heavy freight should move on separate rail lines whenever possible. City planners should always consider easing the distance between housing and workplaces, and should consider the safest possible routes for bicycles and pedestrians.
Prisons for Real Crimes, and Community Control of Police: Workers deserve a truly just system of justice. Instead, workers often suffer under a system of law that hits the poor with the heaviest penalties for small crimes, and lets the rich get away with grand theft and war crimes. Under capitalism, the building of prisons has became a growth industry in some states. All too many jail cells are now filled with the poor, the unemployed, and people suffering from illness and addiction. The racist bias of this legal system also puts far too many people of color behind bars.
Those who commit serious crimes deserve some restriction of freedom, but they also deserve social solidarity. The brutal spirit of revenge makes our prison system a moral disgrace. The death penalty is barbaric and must be abolished in every state. Each community deserves safety and security, but the police must serve the public under the oversight and control of neighborhood councils.
Climate Change: The steady warming of our global climate is not an accident of one year or one season. The most toxic forms of energy, including industrial extraction of coal and gas, have become a bad bargain of the capitalist system. The price we pay in pollution, in disease, and in backward forms of transportation has become too expensive. What the capitalists call the “free market” is a system that puts private profit above the health and safety of the great majority of working people. Global warming results in extreme weather of all kinds, across all borders and seasons. Regional droughts and blistering summers are more frequent, and so are deeper freezes and more punishing winter storms. Millions of people already suffer from violent storms and hurricanes, and millions more may become refugees from drought and rising sea levels. A profit driven economic system is burning down our common home, the planet earth.
Workers must seize control of our workplaces and of our public life. Only the workers of the world can create democracy and socialism within and beyond all national borders. Only the working class has the power to place the common good above private profit. A new global climate of common sense and solidarity also gives new meaning to our call for solidarity: Workers of the world, unite!
The Socialist Party of the United States is the oldest party of democratic socialism in this country. Our members are committed to peace, workplace democracy, and ecological common sense. We fight for fair elections and open political debates. Beyond election days, we defend the lives and rights of workers every day of every year. We welcome you to join the Socialist Party, and to support Mimi Soltysik as our party’s candidate for California’s 62nd State Assembly District in 2014.
JOIN A FAIR FIGHT FOR PEACE, DEMOCRACY AND SOCIALISM.
JOIN THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES.
— Scott Tucker, Socialist Party Los Angeles Local