It has now been over a month since the launch of Workers Strike Back, an initiative of Kshama Sawant and Socialist Alternative, and in that time it has become clear just how necessary broad working-class organization is to address the crises facing working people today. We’ve been hard at work talking to workers and young people about how to fight back against the cost of living crisis, supporting workers under fire from corporate union-busting, and organizing against attacks on the oppressed.
A Program For Working People
Inflation is impacting our everyday lives while the bosses continue to extract massive profits at our expense, vicious backlash against women and LGBTQ people is wreaking havoc across the country, and the corporate parties in power simply do not represent our interests as working people.
The time is ripe to take action. Across the country, working people have shown initiative to resist paying for the bosses’ crisis. Workers at Amazon and Starbucks have opened the path to a new wave of organizing the unorganized, but have faced vicious retaliation from the bosses – pointing to the need for a strategy to fight union-busting. Unionized workers in education and healthcare have taken heroic strike action so far this year, winning raises and improved staffing ratios.
Building fighting unions and winning good contracts will be key to better fight for the raises we need to match rising inflation. Rank and file-led unions could also play a critical role by providing a baseline level of organization to mobilize around other necessary fights. For example, education and healthcare workers can be at the center of fighting against attacks on queer youth, whose healthcare is being threatened, and whose gender expression is under assault in schools.
With the recent memory of Biden’s absolute abandonment of his promises to improve working people’s lives, the Democrats’ refusal to put up a real fight against the overthrow of Roe, Congress’ smashing of the rail workers’ strike, and countless others, it is clear that the real initiative is going to come from ordinary people. Leaving the task of changing society to the Democrats or the Republicans essentially amounts to leaving it to the billionaires. We urgently need to coalesce our movements into a new working class party run by and for working people.
There is a fight to be waged, but what is lacking is the necessary coordination and organization to have the best impact, and a uniting program to point the struggle forward.
All of this is why Workers Strike back has organized around five central demands:
- Workers need a real raise!
- Good union jobs for all!
- Fight racism, sexism, and all oppression!
- Quality affordable housing and free healthcare for all!
- No more sellouts – we need a new party!
What Does This Look Like?
Workers Strike Back is on the ground in Kentucky at the KCVG Amazon Air Hub as they fight for a union, and where five workers were fired in the past month. It is critical that we build a network of solidarity across the country to support the workers and stand against the bosses. A union victory there at Amazon’s largest Air Hub would undoubtedly inspire other Amazon facilities across the country, reinvigorating a movement that began last year with the groundbreaking win at JFK8 on Staten Island through the Amazon Labor Union – and would give a surge of confidence to other workers in the logistics industry and beyond.
There has been an excited response to Workers Strike Back even in its early stages, as we’ve spoken to ordinary people out in the streets across the country and on picket lines where working people are fighting back. We’ve helped organize a network of undergraduate support for unionized graduate students at Temple University who are fighting for a living wage of their own while up against administrators earning six-figure salaries. We’ve picketed alongside American Airlines employees demanding a contract and an end to AA’s regime of corporate greed and disgraceful underpayment. We joined over 200 union journalists in a walkout against retaliatory firings at NBC, and stood with nurses calling for safe staffing. We’re working alongside rail workers across the country issuing calls to nationalize rail in the wake of a crushed strike, and now increased attention to devastating derailments from corporate cost-cutting and skimping on safety measures. These initiatives, and more, show the type of solidarity in action and class struggle that Workers Strike Back hopes to amplify and strengthen to its fullest potential.
In recent years, workers’ struggles have hit a high after decades of very little activity. It is crucial that as the capitalists’ crisis only worsens, our struggle goes forward, not backward. Ultimately, working people have the power to organize for improvements in our lives, and even to take society into our own hands. Without losing sight of the urgency of the situation, we should look forward to opportunities to fight and win.
Sign our petition to support our demands & become a monthly donor today! Launch events are coming to major cities around the country – join us at WorkersStrikeBack.org!