The Economic Rights of the People Are the First Priority, Not the Profits of Big Business

May 21, 2018

Going against the agenda of “putting big business first,” and implementing the agenda of guaranteeing the economic rights of the people is the only way to resolve the economic crisis.

The experience of the Workers Party amongst the broad masses of working people shows that the vast majority know that our country, which has such vast natural resources, such advanced technology and industry, such hard working people, is more than capable of providing for all the basic needs of the people.

The decisive question is, WHAT IS THE WAY OUT, WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? And there are two distinct, diametrically opposed programs which are offered.

First there is the program of Donald Trump. Trump – like Obama and Bush before him – starts from the point of view that the interests of big business must come first. Trump says that the first priority is to “improve the health of American business,” to make American capitalism “more competitive” in the international economy, to stimulate and increase business investment, etc., etc.

The Workers Party has put forward a clearcut alternative to the program of Donald Trump. Our Party begins from the economic interests of the working class and broad masses of people. Our priority is that the economic needs and economic rights of the people must be guaranteed. We say it is very simple – if you agree that our country has the resources and capacity to provide for the needs and well-being of the people, then the only question is to organize the economy and the society in such a way that these interests come first and are guaranteed. Furthermore, we say that the entire motive and goal of economic life must be precisely to meet the needs of the people, especially the laboring people who ARE THE ECONOMY, who create the wealth of society.

The program of the Workers Party aims at providing consciousness and direction to the many partial struggles being waged by the people. We see the necessity to develop the economic discontent into a conscious political movement – a political movement which can break the monopoly of big business over the policies of government and the life of the country.

Developing such a nation-wide political movement – a struggle of class against class – is the decisive element in terms of achieving solutions to the pressing practical problems of life – the problems of jobs, of wages, of health care, education and so forth.

The outcome of this political struggle will determine the character of our society and its economy – whether it remains oriented first, last and always towards maximizing profit for a small group of exploiters or whether it is oriented towards guaranteeing the needs and rights of the masses of people. Going against the agenda of the monopoly capitalist class and implementing the agenda of guaranteeing the economic rights of the people is the only way to resolve the prolonged crisis which is holding back our country.

The question of the economic crisis is a political question. The entire development of the economic base of society – the tremendous degree of socialization of economic life – as well as the ever-growing consciousness and role of the working class in history has brought the demands for economic rights and economic emancipation to the surface. The capitalists seek to force the agenda of “big business first” down the throat of society by excluding the participation of the masses of people.

The working class program of economic rights, on the other hand, asserts the claims that all human beings have on society and demands iron-clad guarantees for such inalienable human rights as the right to food, clothing and shelter; the right to a job or a livelihood commensurate with our country’s high level of development, the right to education from infant care through university, the right to comprehensive and free health care, etc.

This is a program that can only be implemented by the people themselves. Through its Campaign for Economic Rights, the Workers Party, USA is opening up new independent political space and through its theoretical work amongst the people, the Workers Party is helping to develop the initiative of the people. When people gain the conviction that healthcare is a right, that jobs are a right; when people see clearly that the only thing standing in the way of the realization of these rights is the privilege of a tiny minority, when people sense the strength of their own numbers and see more and more of their brothers and sisters speaking out for the rights of the working people, there is nothing in the world that will prevent the people from rising up in even larger numbers and organizing themselves to win these rights.

We say that THE DECISIVE QUESTION IS TO PUT FORWARD AND DEVELOP THE PROGRAM – THE AGENDA – WHICH SERVES THE NEEDS OF THE MASSES AND TO DEVELOP THE THEORETICAL ELABORATION OF THIS AGENDA.

The starting point for implementing this agenda is to LEAD THE DISCUSSION, which is already taking place in every cell of society, over the causes and solutions to the manifold problems of the people. Through this process we help create a situation in which broader and broader sections of the people can join in the discussion and confidently take up the task of fighting on a common platform for their common interests.

In order to carry forward its immediate and long-range program, the working class relies on its own consciousness and organization.

Under capitalism, where private property in the means of production and profit-seeking disunite the people and engender cutthroat economic competition and anarchy, economic laws act haphazardly, as a blind destructive force.

The working class cannot win victory if it allows its movement for emancipation to develop spontaneously, nor can it implement its short-term and long-term program on a haphazard, hit-or-miss, basis. On the contrary, the decisive factor is for the workers to equip themselves with consciousness and organization so that the movement can advance in a planned and systematic way to achieve the aims the workers have set for themselves. In addition, the working class must wage a continuous struggle against the pressure of bourgeois ideology, which is exerted against the workers’ movement with the aim of getting the workers to give up their role to lead society out of the crisis and onto the path of progress. The key factor in strengthening the consciousness and organization of the working class is for the workers to build their own political party.

For more than 200 years the workers and oppressed people of our country have been coming out in struggle after struggle to assert their rights and bring forward their program for society. From the very beginning, the American people have fought to create a society which guarantees equal rights for all and in which the political power arises from and is controlled by the people themselves. From the very beginning, the American people worked to create a land of refuge and peace and throughout our history we have always sympathized with and supported the liberation struggles of people everywhere.

In the U.S., the movement of the working people for universal education, the movements for the 8-hour day and trade union rights, the struggles for social security, unemployment compensation, Medicare and Medicaid all made continual inroads against the rights of private property, extending the sphere of operation of the economic rights of the people. In the U.S. and on a world scale this movement for economic rights and social equality is given conscious expression in the movement for scientific socialism and communism.

Today, these profound egalitarian, democratic and internationalist traditions of the peoples are carried forward in the struggles and aspirations of the modern working class. The social existence of the workers – who stand at the center of economic life and are united as a class by their common role in social production and social life – give rise to the vision and struggle for a society which abolishes the exploitation and oppression of all human beings and which recognizes and nourishes the humanity of all.

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Part of the struggle for the agenda of the working class is the theoretical work to elaborate and explain this agenda. If the working class is going to play its leading role in society, it cannot sit by and allow the capitalists to monopolize the analysis of problems, to create ideological confusion. The working class must provide theoretical clarity; that is, by taking into account the realities of society and the laws of social development, it must elaborate how solutions can be brought about. The working class must address in theoretical terms the solutions to the problems of health care; the so-called “deficit crisis,” the problem of public education and so forth.

The capitalists put forward all kinds of “theories” and ideas to poison the atmosphere and create roadblocks to resolving problems. For example, the capitalists create tremendous confusion about the questions of the environment, international trade, competitiveness, the problem of productivity, etc., etc. In each and every case, when the arguments of the capitalists are examined it turns out that all that is being said is that the interests of the capitalists must come first, that the workers must accept greater exploitation and deprivation in order to guarantee greater profits and enrichment for American capitalists.

In addition to such economic theories, there are questions about politics, about the nature of society, about the history of the working class movement, about strategy and tactics, about socialism. The working people cannot play their role as political leaders if they do not oppose the mindlessness of the ruling class on these questions – if they allow the whole question of socialism to be passed over with the bourgeois prayer that “communism is dead,” or the whole question of social development reduced to the assertion that, “things can’t change and capitalism is an eternal system.” We must work to create a situation in which such issues are looked into dispassionately and scientifically.

For decades, monopoly capital has worked to marginalize the working class and exclude any pro-social agenda from the political life of the country. In fact, time and again, the workers and people have seen their unity undermined and their struggles liquidated by various political forces which have subordinated the aims and agenda of the people to the aims of the capitalists and betrayed the popular movement. Changing this situation requires consistent, repeated and principled actions to bring the pro-social agenda to center stage, to develop new space in which workers and people can mobilize and empower themselves and step by step change the balance of forces in favor of the people. Progressive activists must really grasp the tremendous responsibilities and possibilities which exist today to create a new political unity. Repeated efforts must be made to break the marginalization of the working class and genuine politics and bring the agenda for positive social change to the forefront.