Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Socialists and the Living Wage Issue

25 February 2015

A Statement by Greg Pason 2015 Socialist Party Candidate for New Jersey State Assembly (34th District)

"The current left and progressive labor movement’s call for a $15 minimum wage poses the need for immediate improvements in compensation of the lowest-paid workers. But it falls short in some ways, and I believe democratic socialists can both strengthen the campaign and use the current focus on a $15 and hour minimum wage to put forward a democratic socialist vision.

The Socialist Party’s Statement of Principles puts forward a vision on how we want to address both “reform” and 'revolutionary' ideas: 'While a minority, we fight for progressive changes compatible with a socialist future. When a majority we will rapidly introduce those changes, which constitute socialism, with priority to the elimination of the power of big business through public ownership and workers’ control … socialists can support movements of working people and make improvements that illustrate the potential of public ownership.'

When the Party advocates for issues like a living wage or an increased minimum wage, we do so with three objectives: 1) To fight for immediate improvements in the lives of working people; 2) To illustrate the need to break from a system which cannot satisfy human needs even in the best of conditions; 3) To put forward democratic socialist alternatives.

When we organize around wage and labor issues, we need to connect that work to a vision of the type of economy we are fighting for. The focus is not just to get a higher wage but also to challenge an economic model (i.e., capitalism) that takes power from the workers who provide the labor power and the communities affected by the decisions of business...."

Read More