Decent Jobs For All!
The IYSSE believes that the right to employment is the most basic right deserved to all. Only one quarter of the world’s working population holds a permanent and stable job. Even as the number of unemployed people worldwide remains significantly higher than before the 2008 crisis, the few jobs that have been created in recent years have been disproportionately part-time, contingent and low-wage.
Workers have no say over the business decisions of the giant corporations, banks and government institutions. They are not responsible for the crisis of the capitalist profit system, which tosses workers out like used-up machines and lets them to starve next to the very riches they have created.
Without a steady, good-paying job, it is impossible to satisfy all other needs. The loss of a job means the loss of self-esteem and social connection, immense psychological distress, along with the elimination of health care coverage, the destruction of life savings, and vulnerability to poverty and homelessness for oneself and one’s family.
An emergency public works program must be launched immediately to provide employment for all. There is plenty of work to do—rebuilding schools, hospitals, public housing, roads, mass transportation, water and sewage systems, communications networks and other public facilities, and improving the conditions of life for working people.
The attacks on the working class in the United States are part of a global process. The economic breakdown that began in September 2008 is comparable to the Wall Street crash of 1929. Now, as 80 years ago, the crisis began in the United States but has spread rapidly into Europe and throughout the world. In September 2008, Wall Street banks and investment houses faced bankruptcy. By the spring of 2010, with the financial solvency of European countries in doubt, one government after another announced its determination to implement painful austerity measures.
A new warning must be raised with all necessary urgency. The present crisis will not simply go away. There is no peaceful, let alone easy, way out of the economic and social impasse into which capitalism has led mankind. The program of the Socialist Equality Party—which works in political solidarity with the International Committee of the Fourth International—is not a collection of palliatives and half-measures. The aim of this party and its co-thinkers in the Fourth International is not the reform of American and international capitalism. If anything is to be learned from the tragedies of the twentieth century, it is that the repetition of these horrors in the twenty-first century, on an even bloodier scale, can be prevented only through the revolutionary struggle of the American and international working class for socialism.
Worldwide more than 60 percent of workers do not have any sort of employment contract, with most of them working on family farms and businesses in developing countries. But even among those who earn wages or salaries, less than half—only 42 percent—are employed on a permanent basis.
In what are categorized as high-income countries, the share of workers employed on a permanent basis has declined in recent years, from 74 percent in 2004 to 73.2 percent in 2012. For males this decline has been even sharper, with the share working on permanent contracts falling from 73.1 percent to 71.2 percent during the same time.
The increasing prevalence of low-wage, part-time and contingent work has coincided with a massive enrichment of the financial elite. According to a Forbes report released earlier this year, found that there is a total of 1,645 billionaires worldwide, with a combined net worth of $6.4 trillion, an increase of $1 trillion from 2013. The number of new billionaires, at 268, was the highest figure in the report’s history. This massive growth of inequality has been the direct outcome of policies carried out by governments throughout the world, which responded to the 2008 crash by pumping trillions of dollars into the financial system while slashing social services and promoting poverty-wage employment.