The Worker (Update), October 30, 2014
Published by the Workers Party, USA
P.O. Box 25716, Chicago, IL 60625
“Revitalizing” Industry by Increasing the Exploitation of the Workers
The cornerstone of the capitalists’ program to “restore America’s competitiveness” is the “revitalization” of American industry.
By continuing the process of introducing high technology, by investing in more robots and computerized manufacturing systems, etc. the capitalists aim to increase efficiency and raise labor productivity.
On the one hand the “revitalization of American industry” has thrown millions of workers out of their jobs and into the streets while on the other hand, the employed workers are being mercilessly sped-up and overworked.
The capitalists invariably use the introduction of new technology as an excuse for cranking up the speed of the assembly line, or combining jobs and instituting changes in work rules to sweat ever more work out of fewer and fewer workers.
Under capitalism every increase in the social productivity of labor – the introduction of new technologies, the application of science to the production process, the ever wider social organization of labor itself – is a weapon in the hands of the capitalists for increasing exploitation of workers.
Today while the capitalists are drooling at the prospect of further “rationalizing” and “modernizing” American industry, the workers are facing ever greater wage cuts, growing unemployment and misery.
While the capitalists are intent on introducing the new technologies as a means for maximizing their profits, they do not want to foot the bill themselves. And to accommodate their capitalist patrons all the politicians of the Republican and Democratic parties are calling for massive government handouts to the capitalist billionaires.
In order to “revitalize” industry, Obama is “expanding and making permanent the research and development tax credit,” and has promised the capitalists that he would provide tax cuts, including by lowering the tax rate for manufacturers to 25 percent. Obama has also implemented a “Green Energy Industrial Policy” through which the government has already siphoned off billions from the public treasury for certain target industries to help the capitalists introduce new technology. Similarly, the president is promising the capitalists that he will set up several privatization centers (“public-private partnerships”) called Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation which will further underwrite the profits of the capitalists with public funds.
So too, the Republican party is just as enthusiastic as Obama and the Democrats about giving the corporations billions for research and investments. The Republican party platform promises to provide more handouts to the capitalists through NASA and other governmental fat contracts. Republicans and Democrats in state and local governments are also preparing handouts of tens of millions of dollars to the rich through various tax cut and privatization schemes.
All these various programs through which the government underwrites investment and modernization plans of the capitalists are carried out on the backs of the workers. In order to fork billions over to the capitalists, more and more tax dollars are extorted from the workers. While the government sponsors welfare programs for the capitalist billionaires, the social programs which benefit the working people are cut to the bone.
In carrying out their program to “revitalize American industry and make America more competitive,” the capitalists are also calling for increased “labor-management cooperation.” “Labor-management cooperation” means that the workers should help the capitalists maximize their profits by accepting even more wage cuts and concessions contracts.
Since 1973 average real wages have already been cut by 20 to 25%; in many industries workers have taken cuts of as much as 50% in wages while benefits packages, including health care, pensions, vacation time, etc. have also been drastically cut.
Barack Obama’s “One Nation” Theory
One measure of the ultra-reactionary character of the monopoly capitalist class is its program of slandering the poor and most vulnerable and strengthening the system of discrimination and oppression on the basis of race, nationality and national origin.
Today, Barack Obama repeatedly insists that America is “one nation” and calls on everyone to be “loyal” to the “core American values” which allegedly define this “one nation.” In this way, Obama wants people to forget both the historical subjugation and enslavement of various nations as well as the continuing discrimination and oppression which is imposed on the minority peoples and immigrants.
In addition, Obama’s “one nation theory” tries to justify the suppression and enslavement of the workers of all nationalities. The “American values” insisted upon by the capitalist politicians and ideologues, of course, turn out to be nothing but the values of the monopoly capitalist class – values enshrining the rights of private property in the means of production.
And while Obama defames those who are not “loyal” to “core American values” the mass media and leading capitalist politicians step up their filthy anti-social propaganda, using code words to defame immigrants, poor families, working class and minority youth etc. with such titles as “lazy,” “welfare cheats,” “criminals,” “terrorists,” and so forth.
The slogans of “American values” and “one nation” are based on mystical, fascist theories which aim simultaneously at liquidating the class struggle of the workers against the bourgeoisie and at intensifying the yoke of national oppression and racial discrimination.
Obama’s “one nation theory” works by confusing the concepts of “state” or “country” with the concept of “nation.” While there is one state in the U.S. and – in the sense of all that is encompassed within certain definite borders – we can speak of one country, the reality is that this country is composed of many nations and peoples. In fact, the U.S. capitalist state has forcibly subjugated the Mexican people, the Native Indians, the African people, the people of Puerto Rico, Hawaii and others. Further, as peoples from all the continents have immigrated here, the capitalist state has built and fostered a system of discrimination and oppression of immigrant workers.
So too, Obama’s “one nation theory” denies the legitimate group rights of the peoples, such as the right to self-determination for the oppressed nations or the language rights of various national minorities. In addition, the “one nation theory” denies the individual rights of the minority peoples, creating a hierarchy of citizenship on the basis of national origin.
Carrying the struggle to abolish all forms of discrimination and oppression on the basis of race, nationality, national origin, etc. through to the end means abolishing the capitalist state, which is founded and thrives on the oppression of nationalities, and creating a new, modern political system in which all power resides in and is wielded by the people themselves.
A modern social and political system must guarantee, in practice, equal rights and equal responsibility for every member of society. Such a system must recognize the legitimate group rights of the black people and other oppressed minorities, including the right to self-determination for the oppressed nations, such as Puerto Rico, the Native Indians and others.
Part of the attack on social programs is the privatization of the public sectors of the economy.
All across the country, federal, state and local governments are contracting out such things as social welfare programs, the running of prisons, park service, school food service and maintenance, garbage collection, etc., etc. In addition, government-run programs such as Medicaid and Medicare are being dismantled and the public revenues earmarked for these services are being turned over, in the form of vouchers, to private HMO’s or other for-profit health care providers. The privatization movement is even taking aim at the schools and step-by-step unfolding a program to turn public education over to “educational entrepreneurs.”
Privatization undermines the entitlement status of vital social services. Instead of being produced on the basis of the needs of the people or as rights and entitlements, these services are produced as commodities by private capitalists seeking solely to maximum profit. Just like everything else in the so-called “free market” system, such basic human rights and necessities as the health care system, education, garbage collection and so forth will go to those with money while those without – the vast majority of the people – will be more and more left to fend for themselves.
For example, the privatization of Medicaid and Medicare is only intensifying the two-tier health care system, in which the rich receive the best possible care while the working people and others are shunted aside and denied needed health services. Similarly, the proposals to voucher out public education provide the rich with subsidies for sending their children to private schools, while the sons and daughters of the workers are condemned to crumbling schools.
Another dimension of the problem is that privatization takes the infrastructure currently in the public domain and turns it over to the private sector. The results of this are absolutely disastrous because the people – society as a whole – are deprived of the means, the resources, accumulated over generations in order to insure that certain minimal standards or minimal rights can be provided.
Such national assets as the public school infrastructure, the country’s stock of public housing, the interstate and state highway systems, the airports, etc., have been built up by our whole people over generations and generations. Some of these assets represent public investments which help create an economic and social infrastructure upon which modern society rests, other of these assets have been allocated to the public sector only as a result of generations of struggles by the working class and people who have fought to insure that society recognize and guarantee certain minimal human rights.
Take education, for example. From the very beginning, the American people fought against the feudal system which left education as the exclusive preserve of the rich. Even in colonial days, and especially in the early and mid-19th century, broad sectors of the population, with workers in the forefront, came out to assert that education was a right. All the movements for the extension and reform of education started from the point of view that education belonged to the whole society and was a public matter and that in order to fulfill its minimal responsibility for the general welfare, government had to invest the resources necessary to guarantee education for the people. In the 1960’s, this movement for public education extended its program to include university education and again demanded that government make the necessary investments.
One result of these movements is that our country has created a vast infrastructure of public education and these assets – belonging to the whole society – are the vital means with which we have equipped ourselves in order to guarantee the right to education. The same is true of the public health system as well as such programs as Medicare and Medicaid, which embody the recognition that public health concerns the general welfare of the people and is a responsibility of government.
But privatization strikes at the very hallmark of modern society by denying that such things as public health, universal public education, income support for the poor and most vulnerable, and so forth are public responsibilities, matters which must be in the public domain and guaranteed by the government in the full view of the people. Privatization is robbery of the whole people, of the whole country, and robbery on a grand scale. Just as in the period of primitive capitalist accumulation, when the capitalist class got started by robbing and plundering the entire continent and the indigenous peoples, so today, monopoly capitalism is reverting to this method by directly relying on the state to plunder our country of its public assets. The capitalist class is literally falling over itself in the grab for public resources. The land speculators want our country’s stock of public housing turned over to them; the billions upon billions invested in the space program are already being put at the disposal of communications monopolies and others. The capitalists are drooling at the prospect of further getting their hands on the monies earmarked for Medicare and Medicaid, at the privatization of the $100 billion public school infrastructure. The mining capitalists, the oil monopolies and big timber companies are grabbing for more of the national lands and natural wealth of our country.
The Monopoly of the Republican and Democratic Parties
To further guard the political power from encroachments by the people, the American political system has legalized and entrenched the monopoly of the Republican and Democratic Parties over the selection of candidates. Thus, the elected officials receive their real mandate not from the electorate as a whole, but from the political parties. The parties, in turn, do not represent the general interests of society, but only the special interests of the class forces which stand behind them. In effect, the feudal system, which guaranteed political privileges for the land-owning class, has been replaced by a new system of political privilege that keeps the power in the hands of the two big political parties and the big business interests that back them up. Instead of the political equality of all citizens and a government of the people, we have a system of party privilege and party government.
In fact, in many cities and states there is, in effect, only a one party system (e.g., the Democratic Party machine has held undivided sway over large areas of the South for more than 100 years). The essential issue remains that, in all cases, when the people vote once every two or four years, they do not really have any choice at all. The candidates advertised on TV and listed on the ballot have not been nominated by the people themselves, but were chosen solely by the Republican and Democratic party machines. For example, before the 1992 election, hardly anyone outside of Arkansas or the upper class had even heard of Bill Clinton. Clinton was financed by the rich, promoted by the mass media and nominated by the Democratic Party, which along with the Republicans has a legal monopoly (or near monopoly) over the selection of candidates.
The electoral “reform” laws of the 1970’s further entrenched this two party monopoly by instituting public financing of the two parties and legislating new obstacles to the formation and development of new parties.
A modern definition of democracy must address the need to take the power to select candidates out of the hands of the political parties (which represent special interests) and reserve this right solely to the people themselves. Furthermore, in order for the people to be able to express their will, a democratic system must include a process whereby the people can participate in discussion, debate and formulation of policy, and in which this discussion is directly incorporated into the decision-making process.
From the Program of the Workers Party
The Workers Party calls on all progressive people to use the election period and beyond to join with us in strengthening the political party of the working class and rallying people around the independent program of economic rights, democratic renewal, a democratic foreign policy and socialism.
Every person, simply by virtue of her/his humanity is entitled to certain fundamental economic rights:
– the right to food, clothing and shelter;
– the right to a job or a livelihood, including income security in retirement or in the event of accident or injury;
– the right to comprehensive, free health care;
– the right to the best possible education from pre-K through the university.
The very starting point of the economy and the economic policy of the government must be to guarantee these rights in practice.
Democratic Foreign Policy
– The immediate end of all aggressive wars waged by the U.S. government and the withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad;
– An end to U.S. interference and intervention in all its forms, including an end to U.S. support for reactionary regimes and military alliances;
– Recognition of the sovereignty and equality of every country and people;
– An end to the militarization of the country.
– The political stranglehold of the monopolies must be broken and new means found to empower the people. The people must have a direct role in governance through referendum, initiative and recall. Political parties must be deprived of the privilege of nominating the candidates and this right must be returned to the people.
– Every individual, regardless of sex, nationality, country of origin, belief, must be guaranteed, in practice, equal rights in all spheres of life.
– The oppressed and minority nationalities must have the right to develop their own language, culture and identity. The oppressed nations, such as Puerto Rico, must have the right to self-determination, including the right to secession.
For your Reference
On the Sovereignty of Countries
Recognition of the sovereignty and equality of all peoples has long been a cornerstone of international law and a basic principle of democracy.
Throughout the 20th century, the principle of sovereignty was closely linked with the struggles of the colonized and oppressed nations against imperialism and for their inalienable right to self-determination (i.e. their own independent state).
The issue gained even more importance as a result of the worldwide struggle against nazi-fascist aggression. After WW II, the peoples of the whole world demanded that peace be defended and preserved as a fundamental value of humanity and that the preservation of peace required that every state renounce the use of force in international relations by recognizing the sovereign equality of all nations.
Several declarations and resolutions of the United Nations, as well as other important international covenants, recognize: 1) that the sovereignty of every country is an absolutely indispensable condition for the realization of the equal rights of all nations; and 2) condemn any violation of the sovereignty of countries as a breach of international peace and a crime against humanity. International law also recognizes the right of oppressed peoples to rise in struggle, using such means as they deem necessary, to secure their sovereign rights.
Below, we print excerpts from U.N. Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (14 Dec 1960)
Adopted by General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960
The General Assembly,
Mindful of the determination proclaimed by the peoples of the world in the Charter of the United Nations to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Conscious of the need for the creation of conditions of stability and well-being and peaceful and friendly relations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of all peoples, and of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,
Recognizing the passionate yearning for freedom in all dependent peoples and the decisive role of such peoples in the attainment of their independence,
Aware of the increasing conflicts resulting from the denial of or impediments in the way of the freedom of such peoples, which constitute a serious threat to world peace,
Considering the important role of the United Nations in assisting the movement for independence in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories,
Recognizing that the peoples of the world ardently desire the end of colonialism in all its manifestations,
Convinced that the continued existence of colonialism prevents the development of international economic co-operation, impedes the social, cultural and economic development of dependent peoples and militates against the United Nations ideal of universal peace,
Affirming that peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law,
Believing that the process of liberation is irresistible and irreversible and that, in order to avoid serious crises, an end must be put to colonialism and all practices of segregation and discrimination associated therewith,
Welcoming the emergence in recent years of a large number of dependent territories into freedom and independence, and recognizing the increasingly powerful trends towards freedom in such territories which have not yet attained independence,
Convinced that all peoples have an inalienable right to complete freedom, the exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory,
Solemnly proclaims the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations;
And to this end Declares that:
1. The subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and co-operation.
2. All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
3. Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence.
4. All armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence, and the integrity of their national territory shall be respected.
5. Immediate steps shall be taken, in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories, without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire, without any distinction as to race, creed or colour, in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.
6. Any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
7. All States shall observe faithfully and strictly the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the present Declaration on the basis of equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of all States, and respect for the sovereign rights of all peoples and their territorial integrity.
The Severity of Obama’s Sanctions Crusade Against Iran Keeps Increasing
According to White House estimates that sanctions on Iran’s crude oil exports cost the people some $5 billion per month, the sanctions were intended to rob the country of over $250 billion in revenue since additional sanctions were imposed nearly three years ago.
At that time, the U.S. president and the Democrats and Republicans in congress used the Big Lie that Iran is building “weapons of mass destruction” as an excuse to interfere again in the world’s crude oil market on behalf of U.S. multinationals. A law enacted by congress endorsed U.S. financial penalties against foreign buyers of Iranian crude oil.
Such controls on the exports of a weaker country violate the sovereignty of the target country and all of its trading partners.
U.S. controls over Iran’s oil exports provide U.S. multinationals with an immediate and obvious advantage, especially since Iran is the fourth largest oil producer in the world.
Other punitive sanctions on Iran were already in place before Obama, along with the House and Senate, dramatically increased sanctions beginning in 2012. Today, U.S. sanctions on Iran are developing into an all-out blockade. The White House boasts that current U.S. sanctions are “virtually grinding the Iranian economy to a halt.”
Not just Obama, but all past U.S. presidents since the Iranian revolution have called Iran’s independence a threat to U.S. “national security interests” of this kind.
The Iranian revolution in 1979 was a severe blow against U.S. imperialism. The U.S. government saw the fall of the U.S.-puppet Shah Reza Pahlavi not only as a loss of the vast oil wealth of Iran and a loyal regional policeman but also as a dangerous inspiration to the peoples throughout the region to rise in struggle against U.S. domination and local reactionary regimes. Ever since, the U.S. has been determined to overthrow the new Iranian regime and reassert its domination over the country.
The Carter administration, which supported the Shah to the end, reacted to the Iranian revolution by attempting a failed coup d’etat and invasion of the country and instituting a wide array of economic sanctions. In the “Carter Doctrine,” the U.S. again declared that it considered the entire Persian Gulf as part of the “vital interests of the United States,” and that the U.S. was prepared to use military force to protect these interests. Carter initiated the Rapid Deployment Force and began strengthening U.S. military bases in the region in order to replace the loss of Iran with the direct presence of U.S. troops.
In hopes of removing the Iranian government or at least undermining the country’s strength, U.S. imperialism supported Iraq’s invasion of Iran in 1980. The U.S. sent sophisticated weaponry to build up Saddam Hussein’s army and also provided billions in economic credits during the war.
In 1991, when the growth of Iraq’s regional power was perceived as a potential threat to U.S. domination, the Bush administration launched the first Gulf war to assert its domination over Iraq and further project its military power.
After the first U.S. war against Iraq, the U.S. adopted the policy of “dual containment” aimed against both Iraq and Iran. The U.S. strategy has been based firstly on plans to undermine the strength of these countries in order to prevent them from becoming regional power centers outside of the U.S. orbit of control and ultimately on plans to overthrow the regimes and recolonize both countries.
Under the policy of dual containment, the U.S. stepped up its propaganda war against Iran, initiating the themes heard today.
Today, Iran is one of the countries listed as a target of U.S.-imperialism’s doctrine which states that the U.S. president will launch war at any time against any country he deems may become a threat at any point in the future. This doctrine amounts to a declaration of war against the world; it is a virtual blank check endorsed by the Democratic and Republican parties. Gaining control over Iran and its huge oil resources is part of U.S. imperialism’s grand strategy for recolonizing the entire Middle East.