Published on WSWS, by Joe Kishore, 23 April 2010.
This report was delivered by Socialist Equality Party National Secretary Joseph Kishore to introduce the SEP/WSWS Emergency Conference on the Social Crisis & War and the first resolution: For an emergency jobs program! For the nationalization of the banks and the redistribution of wealth!
Conditions for the majority of the population in the US are dire and getting worse. Mass unemployment is the most urgent social issue facing the working class. Some 20 million working people in the US are either unemployed or underemployed. Of those who are officially unemployed, 44 percent have been without a job for more than six months, the highest percentage since the Great Depression … //
… The incomes of the super-rich have returned to their pre-crash levels, with 25 hedge fund operators taking in $25 billion in income in 2009—an average of $1 billion each. On the basis of a 40-hour workweek, this comes to $481,000 an hour. Each of these hedge fund billionaires made in four minutes what the average American worker earns in an entire working year … //
… While Obama hails the private sector as the engine of economic growth, the private sector in the United States actually employs fewer people than it did 10 years ago. The past decade was the first since the Great Depression to experience zero job growth. This is a demonstration of the complete failure of the capitalist system to meet the needs of working people.
This conference calls for an emergency program of public works to provide every unemployed worker with a good-paying job within six months. Trillions of dollars must be made available to rebuild the decaying social infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, public housing, roads, water and sewage systems and other public facilities.
This program of job creation should be combined with measures to alleviate the hardships brought on by the world capitalist crisis, including an end to foreclosures, evictions and utility shutoffs, an increase in the minimum wage to $20 an hour, and a reduction in the workweek to 30 hours at 40 hours’ pay.
The claim that there is “no money” to provide for the needs of the population should be rejected with contempt. The trillions expended on war and the bailout of the wealthy must be redirected to meet social needs. The fantastic wealth accumulated by the corporate and financial elite – often through fraud and criminality – must be reclaimed.
Above all, the subordination of economic life to the capitalist principle of private profit must be abolished. The major banks and corporations must be transformed into public utilities, democratically controlled by the population in the interest of social need. (full text).