The Worker (Update), February 23, 2014
Published by the Workers Party, USA
P.O. Box 25716, Chicago, IL 60625
Economy for Whom?
The Democratic and Republican politicians, along with the monopoly-controlled mass media, keep trying to sell the American people on the alleged benefits of "increasing foreign trade" and "U.S. competitiveness in the global economy."
One might well ask: why all this fuss about foreign trade and exporting U.S. capital abroad? Why do the capitalists insist on gearing production to conquer foreign markets and control the economies of other countries, rather than on raising the standard of living of the American people?
The answer, of course, is that the capitalist economic system is not based on meeting the needs of the people but only on maximizing profits for a few. This basic law of capitalism distorts the entire economic development of our country as the capitalists seek higher profit margins through foreign trade, the militarization of the economy, parasitic financial manipulations, etc., even while the industrial capacity of our country is destroyed and the peoples' standard of living falls.
Today, the intense scramble on the part of U.S. monopolies and the capitalists of other countries to gain control over world markets and spheres for capital investments, reflects the sharpening of the world-wide crisis of the capitalist system.
Since capitalism in each country, and on a world scale, limits the ability of the working people to buy back and utilize all of the products which their labor has produced, capitalism is facing a world-wide crisis of overproduction. In nearly every industry – in auto, steel, electronics, computers, etc. – it is estimated that world capacity is at least 40% greater than the world market can absorb. Thus, each monopoly group, in order to protect its own capital and its profits, is trying to maximize its access to and control of the limited world market and economy. For example, exports account for 20% of the yearly profits of U.S. corporations. Hundreds of U.S.-based multinational corporations are scrambling to increase their investments on every continent.
Through this globalization of the economy, the capitalists increase the competition amongst workers on a world scale and drive down wages. In the U.S., the capitalist class has openly declared that its aim is to reduce the standard of living and wages of American workers to the level of the dependent and neo-colonial countries. It is this drive to "increase trade and competitiveness in the global economy" which is behind the continuous downsizing and restructuring of U.S. industry. It is this drive which is confronting the workers with plant closings and mass lay-offs as well as continuous downward pressure on wages.
What could more thoroughly condemn an economic system than the fact that, while exploitation and poverty are increasing at home, our country's industrial capacity and economic policy are directed toward "conquering" foreign markets and global economic territory?
The problem arises from the fact that the capitalist system is organized, not on the basis of guaranteeing the well-being of the people or the all-around development of our country, but on the basis of gaining maximum profits for a few. It is this system which must be changed so that the vast productive forces of our country can be utilized to secure the well-being of all.
Step Up the Struggle Against Yankee Imperialism!
For many years now, a major front of the anti-war movement of the American people has been the movement in solidarity with the "Bolivarian Revolution" in Venezuela. The people are demanding an end to U.S. threats and pressure against Venezuela. As on every other front of struggle, the government and the entire official political apparatus of our country (including the Republican and Democratic parties) has simply spit in the face of the people, ignoring our demands and working to repress and marginalize the anti-war movement.
On February 21, the U.S. State Department released a statement signed by Secretary of State John Kerry which consisted of nothing but a half a page of innuendos all with one thing in common: the insinuation that the "Bolivarian Revolution" violates "basic human rights" combined with the refusal to recognize anything objective.
Kerry's "press statement" stopped short of articulating the plans or intended plans of the Obama administration because the capitalist politicians know full well that the aggression of the U.S. government is opposed by the peoples everywhere. Nevertheless the State Department's anti-Venezuelan demagogy underscores the grave dangers facing the peoples. U.S. imperialism is at war against the world and considers Venezuela just one battle. In the immediate term, the demagogy of the Democrats and Republicans encourages the media to indulge in rumors, to fan the flames of anti-Venezuelan feeling, and to puff up the two-bit anti-Venezuelan fascists.
Kerry's militarist and chauvinist demagogy originates from the fact that militarism and chauvinism are the official ideologies of the capitalist ruling class – a class whose very existence is bound up not only with the exploitation of the American people but also with the superexploitation and domination of countries and people the world over.
The fact is that even as U.S. imperialism becomes more isolated, it remains unrepentant and bellicose.
Today, not only in Venezuela, but all over the world, the peoples are coming out in struggle. The Cuban people are defending their national independence in the face of the U.S. imposed blockade. The movement of the Korean people for reunification and against U.S. occupation has reached a new stage. The Puerto Rican people struggle against U.S. militarism and colonialism. The Palestinian people, the Colombian people and others are pushing forward their liberation struggles. Broad movements have emerged against capitalist globalization and the program of neo-liberalism.
Through such struggles the peoples are averting and defeating the war plans of imperialism. Each of these struggles helps to weaken the common enemy. Each of these struggles helps broaden, both in the U.S. and on a world scale, the common front against war and imperialism. In the course of these struggles, we aim at overthrowing the capitalist-imperialist system altogether.
The decisive way to advance the anti-war movement is to help orient and organize it as a genuinely proactive movement.
One vital starting point is to carry on a continuous struggle against the chauvinism and demagoguery of the capitalist class. We cannot let U.S. imperialism – which has committed innumerable crimes against humanity – pass off any of its program in the name of "human rights," "democracy," "humanitarianism", etc. Rather, our constant task is to expose the real class interests – the interests of profit and empire – which drive the war program of the capitalist class. The struggle against American chauvinism includes unmasking the demagogy of imperialist pacifism and taking a principled stand in support of the liberation struggles of the oppressed peoples and in defense of the right of every people to determine their affairs for themselves.
Part of advancing the anti-war movement is linking together the manifold currents of struggles into one mighty torrent, into a broad popular front against war. To do this we must zero in on the real target – the monopoly capitalist class and its Republican and Democratic parties.
The Workers Party has put forward the immediate program for a democratic foreign policy in order to offer content and direction to such a broad popular front. The program for a democratic foreign policy demands:
– the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad.
– an end to all aggressive military pacts and alliances, such as NATO.
– an end to U.S. interference and aggression in all its forms.
– an end to the gargantuan military budget and the militarization of our country.
– recognition of the sovereign equality of every nation and the right of every people to determine their affairs for themselves.
We cannot afford to take a passive or fatalistic attitude. Yes, the imperialist system necessarily breeds war but particular wars can be averted or defeated through the struggles of the peoples. At the same time, our movement can aim at nothing less than eliminating the scourge of militarism and war, at creating that world of peace and friendship so ardently desired by the peoples everywhere. To do so, we must overthrow the capitalist-imperialist system altogether.
Do not let the imperialist warmakers have a free hand!
Peace and the liberation of the peoples is the sacred cause of humanity!
Historical Struggle for Equality in Education
For the past 200 years, the working class has struggled against the privilege of wealth in education, and for the definition of education as a public matter, not a private one. In the 19th century, a widespread movement for a national system of free schools forced one state after another to assume the responsibility of providing public education, first at the elementary level, later extending to secondary education, and finally leading to the establishment of state universities and land grant colleges. Although a national system of public schools never arose, the principle that education was a matter of public responsibility was set in practice. . . .
Today, capitalist politicians are once again promoting the idea that education is a private matter, are attempting to reverse all the progress of the last two centuries. Today, the capitalist class has no interest in universal education, no interest in enlightenment for the good of the society. The capitalist class wishes to educate only as many workers as they need to assume the responsibilities of professionals and skilled technicians to ensure competitiveness in the global marketplace. The remainder should better remain ignorant, to perform menial labor as wage slaves.
The working class must lead the struggle for the right to education. The standpoint of the workers is that education is a social activity and a social responsibility, not a private one. The workers must challenge the current capitalist offensive by opposing the withdrawal of investments in education, the dismantling of the public school system, and its privatization. Moreover, we must carry the struggle forward, for equality in education – for a comprehensive, national system of education from infant care to college, based on equal funding.