LOS ANGELES, June 15 — With the bosses cutting bus hours, health benefits and jobs, transit workers are under attack as the rulers try to solve their crisis on the backs of our class. But this is a capitalist disaster — not an act of nature. This crisis was created by those who profited hugely. Now that the capitalist economy is in decline, these same bosses and bankers demand to be bailed out. Workers are doing the bailing. With a salute to their commander-in-chief, the labor union executives have stepped in line behind Obama’s call for “shared sacrifice” to save their system. But instead of sacrificing, the richest of the rich are taking $2 or $3 trillion for the banks while workers suffer cuts in wages, benefits and vital social services.
The entire goal of the capitalist system is competition to produce maximum profits for a tiny group of capitalists, not to produce to meet the needs of the workers. In times of crisis, hard wired into the capitalist profit system, more goods are produced than people can afford to buy. The greedy bosses would rather destroy products than give them away to people who desperately need them. They take food, jobs, benefits and bus service away from us so they can pay huge amounts to keep their banks solvent. We don’t need their banks; we need to survive.
That’s why the main victory in this contract fight and in our coming struggles against their attacks will be unity and understanding that the source of these attacks is capitalism. We need to unite to fight for a system in which we produce to meet the needs of our families and our class, not to bail out the banks and to keep profits high for these blood suckers. We need to build a mass PLP to fight for workers’ power through communist revolution.
These attacks are coming home to MTA workers but the majority of the 9,000 mechanics, clerks and drivers know next to nothing about what’s going on with negotiations. The union leadership tries to keep the membership in the dark, only calling on us when it needs our votes to legitimize its murky deals. The last thing they want us to do is to unite against the capitalist system and to fight for a communist society without bosses, profits, banks or union hacks!
An independent strike committee is forming to call on transit workers to fight the union leadership as well as the company’s attempt to impose “shared sacrifices.” CHALLENGE readers will be active. A lack of leadership leaves many workers feeling defenseless.
We can learn from our fight for contract issues how the apparatus of the bosses’ government is used against us. From a strike, political lessons always become clearer. Our unity strengthens when we realize that the only solution to the constant attacks is to build workers’ revolution. This can never succeed without increasing the size of our communist party, PLP, among drivers and mechanics.
Why rescue a system that, in the name of profit, forecloses and empties thousands of houses while families live in camper shells? The LA Times reports cuts of more than 400,000 bus service hours since 2007 at a time when even more workers must rely on public transit. The madness and greed of the racist profit system must end.
If transit workers are against these foreclosures, layoffs, cuts and the job freeze at Metro, if we’re against bailing out the banks at our expense, we must understand that we’re against capitalism itself. To guarantee the future for the working class, we should unite against the coming war contract, build for a strike against any and all cuts and deepen that unity. We must build the long-term fight to get rid of the profit system and for a communist society where all workers will work and produce to meet the needs of our own class, not the bankers!