Anti-Worker Legislation

July 8, 2011

All across the country, state governments are implementing or preparing new labor laws which strike directly against the rights of the workers.

Unemployment insurance and workers compensation, which provide income-support for the unemployed and those injured on the job, are being gutted. Workfare, prison labor and child labor are more and more being legalized. Right-to-work laws and special measures attacking public employees' unions are being proposed and implemented. Overtime laws and other measures establishing minimal standards for wages, hours of work, working conditions, etc., are under attack.

In fact, the offensive against the workers is all-sided and arises from the profound crisis of the capitalist system. The capitalists aim at imposing the most intense exploitation on the workers by stripping away even the minimal standards and rights gained over the last 100 years. The capitalists want to remove any restraints on their exploitation of the workers and erase any social or governmental recognition of the individual and collective rights of the workers. The capitalists want to reduce every worker to the level of an individual wage-slave who exists solely to be exploited at the will of the capitalists.

Yet while the aims of the capitalists are all-sided, they are waging their struggles in a piecemeal fashion. In this way, they are trying to hide their aims and prevent the workers from sounding a general alarm and mobilizing themselves for decisive battles.

Of course, the workers are resisting. For example, in Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, and elsewhere, unions recently led successful battles to defeat state governments' attempts to push through right-to-work laws; tens of thousands of workers mobilized themselves in these struggles. Ongoing battles are being waged in Ohio, Wisconsin and other states against legislation which attacks the collective bargaining rights of public workers. In January, thousands of prisoners forced to work without pay went on strike in Georgia to demand better working conditions and wages for their labor. Battles are being waged by public employees and their unions against privatization, etc., and so forth.

In the course of this resistance, the workers must prepare themselves for greater battles. To take the initiative into their own hands, the workers must come into the political arena on a country-wide basis. The capitalists, relying on their state power, are waging a concerted and organized struggle to drive the workers into the dirt and throw our country backwards. The workers too must respond by organizing themselves as an independent political force on the basis of their own aims and agenda. The workers agenda must include not only resisting the capitalist offensive but also taking the counter-offensive in order to win all their inalienable economic and political rights. The goal of the workers' independent political movement can be nothing less than eliminating the economic and political domination of the capitalists; the working class must win the battle for democracy by organizing itself to become the decisive political force in society and leading our country forward along the path of progress and emancipation of the people.