US: ‘the time for struggle is now’

by our North American correspondent

THE REPUBLICAN Party, with the support of the extremely reactionary Tea Party movement, has won control of the House of Representatives but failed to take the Senate in mid-term elections this week.

The new Republican majority in the House of Representatives means they can now block any legislation coming from the White House, though they do not have the numbers to pass any of their own bills through the Senate alone.

Though the Democrats chalked up some victories, defeating the Republicans in Delaware and winning the governorship of California, the overall result is a bitter disappointment to the party whose candidate, Barack Obama, won the presidential race by a landslide in 2008. The Republican victory was partly down to the Tea Party bible-punchers but it largely due to the failure of the Democrats to mobilise their traditional blue-collar vote or the Black and Hispanic communities in their favour.

Obama was swept into the White House by millions who believed that his “yes we can” hype would deliver substantial reforms for the benefit of working people. Two years later, in a slump that has hit America hard, all they’ve got is a much watered down medical insurance reform that fell far short of hopes that it would pave the way for universal health care in the United States.

Obama bailed out the banks and the motor and aircraft industries with billions but he has done nothing to create jobs, help working people facing repossession keep their homes, or provide quality education to youth. Officially unemployment stands at just over nine per cent of the work-force.

Unofficially the Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University in Ohio puts the current de facto unemployment rate at 30.5 per cent. The rich one per cent of the population take 23 per cent of the national income while the wages of workers have remained constant over the past 30 years, or even gone down in real terms.


No wonder the overall poverty rate in the United States stands officially at 15 per cent of the population, amounting to 44 million people.

The American Workers World Party is leading the call for a fight-back.

“The workers cannot afford to be in denial,” it said in a recent editorial in their weekly paper. “There is an urgent need for mass mobilisation to open struggles for jobs, to end the layoffs, for the reopening of closed facilities and, above all, for a government Works Progress Administration-style programme to provide jobs, at living wages with benefits, to the tens of millions who are out of work or underemployed.

“Waiting for the bosses to hire or giving them tax breaks in the hope they will hire is a dead end. The only thing that will get the attention of the bosses and bankers and their government in Washington is to combat racism and mobilise for united action, for struggle, to shake up the system and not let business go on as usual until the workers are put back to work, people are put back in their homes, and services are restored. The time for that struggle is now.”