As the Freedom Socialist goes to press, banks and stocks are rallying — at least for the moment. Why wouldn’t Wall Street feel giddy after receiving trillions in tax dollars?
On Main Street the mood is different. Prosperity is not around the corner, and hope is nowhere in sight. Congress passed President Obama’s stimulus plan to create three million jobs – mostly temporary, in the private sector. But unemployment has swelled beyond five million people, and benefits for many expire soon. Career fairs are packed with desperate job-seekers. Household net worth dropped nine percent in one quarter. Home foreclosures mount.
These stats reflect a mere fraction of the hardship being felt.
Obama and the Democrats promised change. And after two months in power their version of “change” is clear – restore profits, no matter the price.
As capitalism flounders, the rich get lifeboats, while the working class is relegated to a leaking steerage and told to “sacrifice.”
Democrats and Republicans reject the tiniest tax hikes for millionaires. U.S. troops remain at war. Obama vows to keep banks in private hands, even though taxpayers have purchased almost all their bad debt.
The public treasury bails out AIG, GM, etc. — setting the stage for government bankruptcy, more public-sector layoffs, raids on social security, new safety-net slashing and belt-tightening.
True, Bernard Madoff got jail time for bilking others of billions. But Madoff is only a product of the system that made him such a powerhouse financier. Capitalism is built on swindles, and for every Madoff in jail, ten more are creating new Ponzi schemes. The whole system is guilty!
In sum, Obama’s change is not the makeover the working class needs. At this stage, there are two choices: sacrifice and go down with the ship, or fight. It’s time to wrest from private hands the immense wealth that U.S. workers have created, so that it can be invested back into society where it belongs, for everyone’s benefit.
The Freedom Socialist Party offers this 10-point program as a starting point for such a shift. It draws from the platforms of FSP election campaigns, and demands that unions and social justice movements are raising, or have called for in the past.
From the last Great Depression a labor movement was born when workers tossed out the capitalists’ rule book and wrote their own. It’s time to do that again, changing the whole system this time.
If you would like to discuss these demands or work with FSP on them, give us a call or visit one of our branches
A 10-point program for radical reform
No more bailouts for bankers & speculators. Open the books
Nationalize the banking and insurance industries, under the control of workers! • Make public the results of worker audits of allegedly bankrupt and failing companies. • Send corporate crooks to jail, including predatory lenders.
Redirect war spending into social services
Redirect the Pentagon’s $500-plus billion budget into retraining soldiers and workers for peacetime production, and to providing for the public welfare. • Bring the troops home and close overseas military bases. • U.S. troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan now. • End U.S. military aid to Israel, Colombia, and other countries whose governments violate human rights.
Tax the rich & make corporations pay
Replace unfair, regressive taxes (such as sales taxes) with a steeply graduated tax on income and profits, putting the heaviest burden on the rich. • Tax all corporate and investment income, including capital gains and dividends. • Close tax loopholes and eliminate taxpayer subsidies for big business.
Guarantee the right to organize
Eliminate all bars to union organizing and the right to strike, regardless of immigrant status and type of employer (private or public). • Cancel anti-labor, racist and environment raping free trade agreements, including NAFTA and CAFTA.
Protect homes & create jobs
Put a moratorium on all home foreclosures. • Fund a mass public works program to create public-sector jobs at union-scale wages. • Provide training and apprenticeship programs for low-skilled workers, especially teens and young adults.
Provide universal employment & retirement security
Reduce the standard work-week to thirty hours with no cut in pay to instantly create more jobs. • Guarantee an annual minimum income for people who are unable to work. • Raise the minimum wage to union scale, with automatic COLA raises. • Raise Social Security benefits to cover actual living costs. • Create a federal, worker-controlled pension system to supplement Social Security. • Ban contracting-out of public services to the private sector.
Make quality healthcare & housing available for all
Provide low-cost, quality medical care for all by nationalizing the healthcare industry, including pharmaceuticals, medical supply companies and hospitals, with control by healthcare workers in collaboration with users/patients. • Dramatically expand public housing and rent control to provide shelter for those in need.
Mandate an environmentally sustainable energy policy
Nationalize the energy industry, including oil and coal, under the control of energy-industry workers, and create jobs in the environmental sector. • Redirect auto bailout funds to re-open closed auto factories, under the control of auto workers and retooled to manufacture mass transit, including buses, subways, light rail and trains. • Redirect subsidies to agribusiness and the biofuels industry into building an integrated mass public transit system with service to rural and underserved urban areas. • Increase the use of public transit by making it free.
Improve women’s & children’s lives
Mandate employer-funded childcare. • Provide government-funded family-planning services, including abortion. • Ensure equal pay for equal work. • Restore Aid to Families with Dependent Children and social services for the elderly, disabled, sick and mentally ill. ¥ Fund free, universal, public education through college.
Uphold civil liberties
Dismantle for-profit detention centers and prisons as well as the Department of Homeland Security. • Drastically reduce the prison population by ending racial profiling and the phony war on drugs. • Redirect funds into drug rehabilitation, job training, and after-school and summer programs for youth. • End the ICE raids and Border Patrol checkpoints.