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Healthcare rally
Healthcare rally in San Francisco in June.
Photo/Bill Hackwell, Answer
From the Editors

As we head into the final stretch in the 2008 presidential elections, America’s workers are living with uncertainty. The economy continues to slide into crisis. Millions are losing their jobs, their health care, their homes. Millions more have already been plunged into one level or another of poverty. The financial system is shaky. People are afraid and demanding change.

Those of us who are struggling for a decent life must ask ourselves, what has held back the process of improving our lives, and what do we need to do to move the process forward? The answer is simple to say, but can be hard to do: We have to stop thinking with the ideas of the corporations that run this country and start thinking for ourselves, as workers. We have to break the ties that bind us politically to the very people who are eliminating our jobs, cutting our wages and benefits, and driving us into poverty.

It’s critical that we see the elections in their historical context. That context is the profound changes in the economy that have occurred over the past 40 years. Computers and robots have been brought into the production process in a big way. More and more production is carried on with little or no labor, and millions of jobs have been permanently eliminated or reduced to part-time, contingency or low-wage jobs. A whole new class of dispossessed people is being created—millions who are cast out of the economy and are struggling to survive on little or no work—while at the other end of society, a tiny class of billionaires and the corporations they control amass huge fortunes.

Last year, the ranks of the richest Americans included 482 billionaires, with a combined wealth of over $1.5 trillion. Meanwhile, one American in three had a net worth of less than $10,000 in 2004. As poverty has grown, the economy has been kept afloat with credit extended to businesses and workers, and with speculation in areas like real estate. Now that the real estate bubble has burst and the economy is sliding into crisis, millions of people face losing what little they have left.

There is no question but that these labor-replacing technological changes will transform our society; the question is who will control the transformation, and in whose interest will society be changed? In the hands of the workers, the new technology can help us build a society of abundance, free of poverty and fear. In the hands of the corporations, the new technology means more wealth for the few and more unemployment,
poverty and fear for the many.

The corporations have been successful over the years in promoting the notion of America as a classless society, where we all have the chance to make it, or even to get rich. But the ongoing destruction of jobs and our standard of living is opening people’s eyes. The workers are beginning to see that, no matter how hard they work, their lives and their families are being destroyed through no fault of their own, and neither the corporations nor the government are doing anything about it.

People with a program and a vision of what’s possible can bring about change. The key is getting ideas out to people, so the workers can see what kind of society is possible and start thinking for themselves. In the battle for the minds of the people, the elections are a forum where this dialogue about change can go on. We must stand on the demands of the dispossessed, the demands of those who are being stripped of what they have and plunged into poverty. Because they are fighting for life, they cannot compromise, and they are forced to fight for a new society that will serve the needs of the workers. Their struggle will point the way forward for all of us.

free gas

The Green party concluded its national convention in Chicago by nominating Cynthia McKinney for President and Rosa Clemente as Vice President, adopting a program to deal with the developing economic and political crisis from the standpoint of protecting the interests of the people.

The People’s Tribune does not at this time endorse candidates. However, it would be a betrayal of the revolutionary movement not to note that the Green Party has taken a firm stand against corporate power take over of the country. Their uncompromising stand to end the Iraqi occupation and defend the civil rights to the people is in line with the demands of the dispossessed, which this paper represents.

We urge our readers to take an active part in the coming elections on the basis of program rather than personality and vague sloganeering.

This article originated in the People's Tribune
PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654, 773-486-3551,
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