Speech to WCP Outdoor Rally, 9-20, Gary Walkowicz

For the working class today, the society we live in seems to be falling apart, as we see one crisis after another change our lives. There is an economic crisis, a Covid crisis, a school crisis for our children. There is the continued racism of this society and the racist violence of its police. And there are wildfires and hurricanes, made worse by global warming. Society seems to be collapsing around us.

An economic crisis of jobs and low wages already existed for the working class, and the Covid pandemic made it even worse. Despite all their bragging about a low unemployment rate, using statistics that don’t count many people without a job, the working class never recovered from the last recession, over 10 years ago. The capitalist bosses kept using speed-up to cut jobs. Most of the only jobs that opened up were low wage, part-time or temporary jobs; nothing you can raise a family on. The capitalists made 2-tier wages a standard part of their economy, crushing the future for the youngest workers. The capitalists, the one percent, they stole from the working class, in order to increase their own profits and wealth, and then they used these billions to speculate on Wall Street. These modern-day robber barons play with billions of dollars every day, money that they couldn’t spend in a hundred lifetimes, while the rest of society suffers.

This theft from the working class has been aided and abetted by the government, run both by Republicans and Democrats. They take public funds, our tax money, they take this money away from schools, away from roads, away from public health, away from water and sewer systems, and they give this money to the capitalists in the form of subsidies and tax breaks. They even gave tax refunds to some corporations who didn’t pay any taxes in the first damn place.

The money taken away from public health programs has made Covid, which is a deadly virus, and made it much more deadlier. Needlessly deadlier. Many tens of thousands of people have died and continue to die from Covid, most of them from the working class. They are our elders; they are our neighbors; they are the essential workers who nurse the patients, who process the food in the meat-packing plants and harvest the food in the fields. Many of them dying due to a public health system only concerned about profits for the rich.

The public money taken away from schools had already stunted the education and learning of our children, especially in working class schools. And now, with the Covid pandemic, the schools don’t have the money to safely have in-person learning. Parents and children and teachers face a horrible choice; send children into crowded schools and run the risk of them being infected with Covid and spreading it in their families. Or keep the children home and lose the social and educational development that children get by learning and socializing together, an essential part of human development. And then there are the parents who have to choose between their jobs and their children because of a system that won’t put money into childcare.

All these crises together, going on around us at the same time, seem like madness. But everything has a cause. And the crises we face today are caused because the capitalists, with the help of the government, steal much of the wealth that we produce.

But just as there is a cause to these crises, there is also an answer to them. But it won’t come from those who created these crises. It can come from the working class.

The working class, by its labor, makes this society run. Today, workers create enough wealth to let every human being have a decent life. While the capitalists just sit on all this wealth produced by workers, the working class has an answer – use this wealth to benefit all.

The capitalists, in order to increase their profits, run things in a way so many people can’t get a job. The working class has an answer to that. Everyone who wants a job should have a job. If the bosses say there isn’t enough work to hire everyone to work full-time, then divide up the work, slow down the pace of work, have everyone work fewer hours, let everyone have a job. And pay everyone a full paycheck at a real living wage.

The capitalists and their government won’t organize a good health care system.  The working class has an answer to that. Take back the public money that was stolen away from public health. Take away from the outrageous profits of the health insurance companies, drug companies and hospital corporations. Use the wealth produced by the working class for a public health care system that provides good health care for everyone, so the whole population can live healthier and longer lives.

The capitalists and their government say our children have to either go to school in unsafe conditions, or stay home from school. The working class has an answer to that. Use the wealth created by the working class to set up safe, in-person education. Yes, it would require building more schools, hiring more teachers and school workers and cleaners, but the public money is there. The working class answer is – stop giving away the money to greedy corporations and use it for our children.

The wealth is there for everything we need to have a decent society for everyone. Yes, it is going to take a fight to take back this money from the capitalists and the government which serves them. But the working class has more than enough forces to make this fight. We make the whole society run and that gives us the way to put our hands on power. We know how to organize every part of production and that gives us the means to build a better society.

The bosses are more aware of our power than we are. They try to keep us divided, to keep us weaker. The working class can make a strong fight, only if we are together, not if we are divided. In making our fight, working people must confront the racism of this society. The murder of George Floyd set off protests that brought millions of people into the streets. But the system of violence, including economic violence, against the black population is not new. It goes back 400 years to the day the first slave was brought here. The capitalists exploit the whole working class and the black population has always been the most exploited part of the working class. And yet, often times, facing this super exploitation, black workers have been the ones to lead the kind of fight that the working class needs to make.

The fight by the working class for jobs for all, for higher wages for all, for good schools for all children, for good health care for everyone means recognizing that we are all one working class, and we must bring everyone together to really use our power.

These are all the things we say in our campaign for WCP. And we ask everyone who campaigns for us to say these things.

We know that elections are not going to change things. And we say that to people when we campaign, unlike the politicians who make all kind of promises.

We use our campaign to discuss with part of the working class, starting with where we are today, in Michigan and Maryland. We use our campaign to discuss what the working class can do.

By voting for us, more workers can speak out to say that they agree, and this can reinforce our whole class.

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