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Workers need to take political power

ctober 13, 2008


The following statement was released on October 1 by Roger Calero, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for president of the United States. It is being distributed in New Zealand by the Communist League election campaign. The statement addresses the mounting financial crisis that is dominating news headlines worldwide.

The response of the Socialist Workers Party campaign to the crisis was reported in an article on the front page of the October 4 Wall Street Journal.
Roger Calero visited New Zealand in May to speak to meetings and interviews about the socialist campaign for U.S. president.

The Communist League is standing two candidates in the 2008 New Zealand elections - Patrick Brown in Maungakiekie and Annalucia Vermunt in Manukau East.

Workers need to take political power

Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate Roger Calero speaks on the capitalist financial crisis

The following statement was released by Roger Calero, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. president, on October 1

The cascading financial and political crisis spreading from the United States to every part of the globe in recent weeks shows what the capitalist system and the tiny handful of propertied rulers who benefit from it have in store for workers and farmers here and around the world. It poses the urgent need for a revolution in this country, a socialist revolution that will throw the billionaire ruling families out of power and replace them with a workers and farmers government.

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Washington's "bailout" -- in all the forms and alternatives being debated by the Democrats and Republicans -- is a scam from start to finish. It is a massive giveaway to a handful of wealthy bankers and business owners.

Meanwhile, working people -- the vast majority -- face rising unemployment, speedup and increasing deaths and injuries on the job, declining real wages, farm and home foreclosures, spreading imperialist wars, and tightening restrictions on our rights to organize and act. The assaults fall most heavily on workers who are Black, Latino, or members of other oppressed nationalities, those who are female, and those who are immigrants.

For working people, the "bailout" is a diversion from recognizing the true source of the crisis -- capitalism -- and what we must do to defend workers and the oppressed. This disaster does not stem from a lack of regulation by Washington or "bad oversight." It is the product of the workings of the capitalist system. No matter what "bailout" package or financial "rescue deal" the capitalist politicians ultimately adopt, no matter whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain is elected in November, the devastating consequences of this crisis for working people are already beginning to mount.

The government's own jobless figures are already the highest in five years, and many more will be thrown out of work in the months and years ahead. Living and job conditions are worsening. With more and more toilers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America being drawn into wage labor and market farming, the crisis today strikes with special vengeance against widening layers of the population in those regions.

Ever since the late 1960s the capitalists worldwide have seen a fall in their profit rates, which had climbed to new heights in the wake of the imperialist slaughter and destruction of World War II. The employers face stiffening competition, shrinking outlets to boost profits by expanding productive capacity and putting more workers to work, and repeated banking and financial crises.

In face of these pressures, they are driving down workers' wages, increasing hours, speeding up production, cutting government social programs, and going after our unions. They have inflated credit to never-before-seen levels, creating giant debt balloons that are now bursting one after another. And we are only at the beginning of the nightmare.

As my running mate Alyson Kennedy and I have stepped up our campaigning at factory gates, campuses, and in working-class communities across the country, we have received a more and more receptive hearing to what the Socialist Workers campaign has to say. We explain that until the working class and our organizations take political power, the crisis is going to get much worse, and it will only be "resolved" over time on the bruised and bloodied backs of working people the world over.

Workers are already engaged in struggles against the employers' attacks -- in resistance to immigration raids and demonstrations for legalization, in battles by meat packers to slow down line speed, in fights for unionization, and in protests against police brutality and the racist and antiwoman discrimination endemic to the capitalist system.

The bosses are increasing their efforts to sap our strength and divide us by pitting U.S.-born against immigrant, white against Black, male against female. They are driving harder against unions. The government will crack down with greater ferocity against workers and farmers who stand up for their rights. Assaults by ultraright groups, such as those against undocumented workers, will increase.

The working-class fighters emerging from these initial skirmishes with the bosses and their cops will take the lead in building the kind of revolutionary movement of tens of millions we need to get rid of the capitalist system.

To combat unemployment and inflation, such a movement will mobilize to demand shortening the workweek with no cut in take-home pay and a massive public works program to put millions to work at union-scale wages, building housing, schools, hospitals, and repairing infrastructure. It will fight for cost-of-living adjustments in wages, pensions, and all benefits. It will demand a halt to farm and home foreclosures.

When bosses squeal with claims they "can't afford" adequate pay and decent working conditions, we say, nationalize them and run them under workers' control. The energy industry should be nationalized right away. Open the books of the oil and gas monopolies, so working people can see their real costs and the enormous profits they are raking in. Operate coal mines, power plants, and refineries under workers' control to guarantee job safety and eliminate pollution. This is essential practice for workers in taking power and organizing society in the interests of the great majority.

To unify the toilers, we must demand legalization of all the undocumented. Enforce affirmative action in hiring, education, and housing. Withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, and every other country. Cancel the debt of semicolonial countries and lift all U.S. tariffs and protectionist agreements paraded as "free trade," which are in reality directed at maintaining the superexploitation of these countries.

The only class that can lead this kind of movement is the working class, in alliance with the working farmer. To workers taking part in today's class battles, and to young people attracted to these fights, we say, let's work together to build a revolutionary movement that can sweep the capitalist system off the face of the earth and replace it with a socialist world based on human solidarity.

Join us in campaigning for this perspective. Vote Socialist Workers on November 4!


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