Communist Party USA

  As we begin the New Year, working-class militancy remains high, with strikes and organizing drives continuing across the country. Workers have scored some 24 workplace victories in recent weeks, according to the AFL-CIO. In the last several days, strikes have been initiated by thousands of Kroger workers in Colorado and the largest railroad workers union in the country. Unemployment has dropped significantly, but corporate profits are at an all-time high, as is working-class anger at ruling-class wealth while wages remain stagnant. According to Bloomberg, “U.S. corporations pulled in more profits in the three months ended in September than ever before. Not just in dollar terms—something that happens frequently—but as a share of the economy.” In these circumstances, the Great Resignation continues as workers, fleeing COVID, quit their jobs at the highest rates ever. “Workers were most likely to quit their jobs in the hospitality industry, which had by far the highest quit rate, at 6.1% in November, as well as those in health care. The numbers in transportation, warehousing, and utilities also increased.” At the same time, inflation, calculated at 7% last year, is at its highest rate since 1982, undercutting modest upticks in wages. Politically, the situation in the country remains gridlocked and, given the threat of right-wing violence, extremely dangerous. This is an issue that extends beyond the various self-styled militias around the country, potentially involving the U.S. military itself should the situation continue to deteriorate, a point made recently by some among the armed forces top brass. As the celebration of the King holiday approaches, the struggle for democracy in general and voting rights remains front and center. With the exception of the infrastructure bill, the Democrats’ legislative agenda appears to be stalled, not only by GOP obstruction and the votes of two Democratic Senators but also by what we’ve called a “crisis of inaction” at the national level in the mass democratic and working-class movements. It should be pointed out, however, that this crisis is not universal. Civil rights groups are fighting heroic battles for voting rights in states like Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. With deep fractures appearing in the foundations of the U.S. government, civil society, and economy and with multiple crises swirling, the state of the union appears more than a little uncertain. COVID, for example, doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. With 40% of the population refusing to get vaccinated, along with low vaccination rates in Southern Africa and other regions due to “vaccine apartheid,” living with a certain level of infection may well be the new normal. The virus continues to have a galvanizing effect politically and a dampening impact economically. How it’s impacting the working class is particularly important. Here the issues of race, gender, corporate profits, and mandates are combining with huge implications particularly with respect to health and safety. Working women, for example, are one section of the class disproportionately affected by the pandemic, many of whom were forced out of the labor force due to lack of childcare. A recent study suggests that one in three women who were unemployed due to COVID remain so, half of whom are African American. As is well known, Black and Latino frontline workers are bearing the brunt of the crisis, an issue omicron is exacerbating. According to the Economic Policy Institute, had these workers had greater protection or been able to work from home, in 2020 there would be 48% fewer deaths overall. The lack of a national system for measuring workplace pandemic exposure and death is a cause for alarm, as provisions put in place last June have expired. In addition, there are no…

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January 6 ain’t over; only you can stop it.