The Worker (Update), February 6, 2014
Published by the Workers Party, USA
P.O. Box 25716, Chicago, IL 60625
The Struggle Over Health Care
In the U.S., monopoly capital is imposing a thoroughly reactionary, anti-social agenda on the country as a whole – imposing new and more intense forms of exploitation on the workers, slashing social investments in education, in health care, in income-support programs, in Social Security, etc., etc., privatizing the public infrastructure and stripping away any guarantees for the economic and human rights of the people. This anti-social agenda offers no other project or future except putting our entire country at the disposal of the capitalist monopolies.
To impose this agenda on the people, the government rules by the most arbitrary methods and the people are completely excluded from the political power.
The new health care law is an excellent case in point. The so-called "Affordable Health Care Act" keeps the profit motive in health care intact even while putting billions of dollars in taxpayer's monies at the disposal of the insurance companies.
The Democratic and Republican parties imposed this pre-set "solution" on the people. While the Democrats and Republicans put on a show and played a real con game on the public by pretending to "argue" over the agenda, both "sides" of the "debate" remained within the limits set by the needs of monopoly capital.
Thus, the Republicans demanded the all-around privatization of the health care safety net while the Democrats advertised their program of partial privatization not merely as a "lesser evil" but as a real victory for the people. In other words, the Democratic and Republican politicians refused to even discuss the need for fundamental change. Rather the capitalist politicians were determined to protect the for-profit system and to continue to slash social investments in health care.
This pre-set agenda completely excluded the overwhelming majority of the people who remain more concerned than ever about the failure of our country to guarantee comprehensive health care for everyone or to solve the other pressing economic, social and political problems facing the people.
* * * * *
Fundamental reform of our country's health care system is a problem which must be solved. The battle lines are clearly drawn. On one side stand the overwhelming majority of the people demanding their right to health care while, on the other side, the capitalist class and its politicians are blocking the necessary changes and denying the rights of the people.
The people can only claim their right to health care by coming into the political arena on an independent basis and organizing a political struggle which aims at creating a universal, comprehensive and free health care system.
The immediate steps to push forward this struggle include: 1) organizing a big campaign to popularize the right to health care; 2) joining in the many on-going struggles – the contract battles of the workers, the movement of senior citizens and others – which fight to extend health care coverage; and 3) demanding that the government STOP PAYING THE RICH and make all the investments needed to guarantee everyone's right to health care.
The Rights of Immigrants – The Rights of All!
The workers and democratic-minded people who are coming forward to fight against attacks on the rights of immigrants are bringing to the fore fundamental issues about the direction and future of our country.
The people are fighting against the racism and chauvinism of the capitalist government.
The immediate demand of the people is to stop the government from passing new anti-immigrant legislation which would criminalize immigrants and further repress them. This legislation is backed by an hysterical propaganda campaign which vilifies immigrants as "terrorists" and “criminals.”
The capitalists also try to blame immigrants for "taking American jobs" and "bankrupting" the country by using social services. Of course, it is not immigrants but the capitalists and the government who are slashing jobs and social services.
The government is trying to pass laws declaring English as the official language. This is part of the government’s program of forcibly amalgamating everyone in the "melting pot" of the Anglo nationality. This program aims at increasing the oppression imposed on the minority nationalities and immigrants.
From the beginning, the capitalist state has forcibly annexed other nations, subjugating the Mexican people of the southwest, the Puerto Rican people, the Native Americans, and bringing the African people here in chains. So too, the capitalists have denied the rights of successive waves of immigrants, creating a caste of superexploited and oppressed workers. But the American people have always fought against this national oppression – against the slavery and racial discrimination imposed on the black people, against the genocidal subjugation of the Native peoples, against the colonization of Puerto Rico, etc. The American people have always tried to make this a land of refuge to which peoples from all over the globe can come and add their experience and voice to the struggle to guarantee the rights of all.
The immigrant rights movement is part of carrying this struggle through until every nationality is guaranteed equal rights in a true family of nations.
No, the problem is not immigrants or the oppressed nationalities who are the very foundation of our country; the problem is that the economic and political relations imposed by the government deny the reality of our country and the rights of the peoples.
The immigrant rights movement is fighting against the fascistization of our country.
The government is not only attacking immigrants but the rights of all Americans. Already the government has used its anti-immigrant hysteria to pass laws limiting everyone’s access to various social services such as Medicaid. The government is also militarizing the country, further integrating federal and local policing powers and working to impose a national ID system in order to better control the population.
The government is trying to create an ideological criteria for citizenship, virtually demanding a "loyalty oath" from immigrants and insisting that all "true Americans" embrace capitalist values.
The struggle for immigrant rights is in the forefront of the fight against the police state which the capitalists are trying to impose. The people are fighting for a truly modern America which recognizes that the rights of one are inseparable from the rights of all.
In fighting for the rights of immigrants, people are fighting against the superexploitation imposed on tens of millions of people. Today, as for centuries, the entire outlook of the government is to use the immigrants and oppressed nationalities as a source of cheap, super-exploited labor and as a way to divide people and drive down the wages of the entire working class.
The struggle against the superexploitation of immigrant workers is part of the movement of the working class to assert its common class interests and to come out as a class for itself, a class which aims at ending all forms of exploitation and oppression.Separate and Unequal
What the Government Has in Mind For the Schools
Education "reform" has become a major part of the program of both the Democratic and Republican parties. But just what kind of "reform" is the government carrying out? Rather than "reforming" and improving the schools, the government – through incessant propaganda and incremental steps – is undermining and dismantling our system of public education.
For several years now, politicians and education officials have kept up a barrage of propaganda cursing the public schools and blaming them for just about every problem – from drugs and violence to the economic difficulties facing the capitalist class.
But let us start with the basics.
Our nationwide system of public schools from kindergarten through high school is one of the great achievements of our country and people. Beginning in the days of British colonial rule, American people came out against the feudal system which reserved education as an exclusive privilege for the rich. The colonists insisted that education was a public responsibility and struggled to create the "common school" system to guarantee equality in education for everyone. Every generation of Americans have continued and extended this struggle for the right to education.
Are there problems and shortcomings in today's public schools. Yes. But the outrageous thing is that it is the very government officials who are attacking the public schools who are responsible for the problems. For example, even while the government itself admits that 2/3 of our public school buildings are in serious disrepair, the government refuses to make the investments needed to bring these schools up to the minimum level of safety and repair. Similarly, the government's own studies admit that smaller classes are a key to improving education, yet school officials – especially in working class and minority areas – often crowd twice the recommended number of students into classes.
Thus while the government has abdicated its own responsibility for the education of the youth, it cynically curses the teachers, the students, the parents and the very concept of public education in order to prepare conditions for further undermining the schools.
In order to "prove" its points, governments, all across the country, are making a big fuss about standardized tests to insure "performance." This is only a means through which government seeks to certify that certain schools are failures. On this basis, many states are already slashing investments for schools with poor results on standardized tests; other school districts are forcing "disruptive" students into special schools designed as virtual prisons. These attacks on schools serving the working class are accompanied by more propaganda which blames the youth themselves for "lacking morality" and "American values."
The immediate result of this entire project is to intensify the system of dual schools. The capitalist government wants to spend large sums on a few schools chartered to train technicians, professionals and managers for the capitalist class while condemning the majority of working class and minority youth to medieval schools which serve only to "discipline" the youth in "holding centers."
The aim of such "school reform" is to set-up a system of charter and voucher schools. The charter school system uses public funds to create a few elite institutions which are free of government oversight and public accountability and which can serve to train managers, technicians and professionals. This system drains vital funds from the public schools treasury, further eroding schools for the majority. The voucher system, which has already been legalized in some states, authorizes public funds to be used to defray part of the cost of private school education.
Both the charter and voucher systems go directly against the modern demand for universal, free and public education. Both charter and voucher schools are ways of entrenching a system of privilege in education, turning back towards the medieval system which kept education as an exclusive preserve for the rich and powerful.
In opposition to the government's program of slashing investments in the public schools and intensifying the dual system of separate and unequal schools, the working class and people must demand a thorough-going modernization of the public school system. This includes creating a federally-funded nationwide system which guarantees equality in education for everyone. It includes modernizing the curriculum on the basis of enlightenment and making the investments needed to bring the school infrastructure, class-size, etc. up to the requirements of the times. It includes extending the system of universal, free education to include pre-school and university education. Only such a genuinely modern public school system is compatible with the democratic renewal of our country.