Unions and the Class Struggle

Adopted by the National Executive Committee in Regular Session
Santa Clara, California, July 16, 2006

As tens of thousands of workers are losing jobs, being “bought out,” or experiencing forced wage reductions in the auto industry, are unions organizing and fighting back on class lines? Unfortunately not! Instead, union leaders muddy reality by declaring that their members are being kicked “out of the middle class” by unscrupulous corporate executives. And they are offering deals to capitalists to “share the suffering” of bankruptcy-threatened companies.

By their statements and actions, these union officials are showing themselves as betrayers of the working class and allies of the capitalist class. Workers can defend themselves only if they understand their status as working class. Regardless of their income, workers must sell their labor power to survive in a capitalist world. And the capitalists must pay the lowest wage that they can manage in the labor market in order to compete with other capitalists in the same commodity markets. That is the basis of the class struggle.

Capitalist production takes place only if profits can be made. And if that requires firing workers, cutting their wages or offshoring their jobs to countries where wages are substantially lower, so be it. Increasingly, wages are being forced downward as jobs are cut and wages reduced in auto, airline and other major industries. It isn’t about individual capitalist villainy; it’s about the capitalist system.

Workers cannot count on procapitalist unions to defend them. They must get beyond union smoke screens and organize as a class to form Socialist Industrial Unions and begin the fight to establish socialism and end capitalist exploitation. It is more than a choice; it is a necessity.


Socialist Labor Party of America, P.O. Box 218, Mountain View, CA 94042-0218 • www.slp.org • socialists@slp.org

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