The Anti-People Offensive

Glimpses of Britain and USA history

The offensive against the working class takes place on both industrial and the governmental levels.

Monopoly employers, emboldened by the existence of mass unemploy­ment and by overt governmental assistance, are imposing worsened terms on unions - so-called ‘takeaways’; decertifying-i. e., ending all dealings with unions; and directly slashing wages and eliminating health and safety measures affecting also the majority of workers who do not have union contracts.

The huge modern conglomerates, with hundreds and even thousands of plants in tens of industries and with access to billions of dollars in capital, ever more frequently shift output from strong, unionized areas to low- wage sanctuaries in the United States and abroad. These giant corpo­rations can sacrifice whole plants if necessary to maintain the upper hand against militant segments of workers, scarcely feeling the cost in their total operations. They nave even been helped by some trade union officials, who have capitulated to employer pressure despite ranks-and-file readiness to fight back and win.

The racist edge of the employers offensive is apparent from the re­strained applications of the ‘first to be fired’ rule against Afro-Americans, from the abandonment of all the pretence of adopting corrective measures to compensate for past discrimination-that is, of ‘affirmative action’.

The budget of the Federal government assists the employer offensive by radically slashing the social spending that would uphold the condition of the workers and prevent any further increase in unemployment. The budgetary axe has fallen on spending for housing, education, and health services, unemployment benefits, food aid for the poor and for school­children, public works and training programmes that could provide jobs and fulfil social needs. Now old age pensions are the remaining frontline target.

Never has there been such a shift of the tax burden away from capital­ists and their corporations to the labouring masses. Workers have higher social insurance deductions, higher state and local taxes to compensate for reductions in Federal aid.

The political situation in the United States is explosive. Never has there been such a will to struggle for peace, for escape from the danger of nu­clear annihilation.

There is growing recognition of the connection between the war danger and the economic and social calamities afflicting the people.

The US Communist Party, proposed an Economic Bill of Rights that points the way to the kind of programme that is destined to become the platform of struggle for tens of millions of Americans in the period to come.

The Communist Party’s document set forth an emergency programme, including:

-      jobs or income for all persons over 17;

-      public works programmes to provide jobs at union scales;

-      comprehensive social insurance, medical and health care;

-      strict affirmative action and anti-discrimination enforcement;

-      the financing of the programme to be effected, in the amount of hundreds of billions of dollars, by taxing corporation, by transfer­ring funds from the military budget to social needs, and by slashing interest payments to the bankers.

From: World Marxist Review, 1983