The mass unemployment that we have experienced over the past three years is the clearest evidence that capitalism is a broken economic system and that we need a democratic socialist alternative. The only point of comparison to today in American history is the Great Depression. This time we intend to make a democratic transformation of the economy to guarantee that it works for the 99% by guaranteeing the right to a good job, democracy on the workplace and economic freedom. This is what the Alexander/Mendoza campaign is all about.
Unfortunately, it's difficult to fully understand the depth of the crisis because the numbers issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and published by corporate media outlets paint an incomplete -- and inaccurate -- picture of the real situation. According to the BLS, 8.6% of the U.S. population is unemployed. This is the third consecutive year in a row that the official unemployment rate has been close to 9%. But this number fails to account for the larger percentages of people who are underemployed (25-30%) and those who have given up looking for employment because the opportunities just aren't there (16%). Those numbers rise significantly when you look at what's happening in specific regions among specific groups of people. In New York City, home to Wall Street millionaires and some of the largest and most profitable U.S. corporations, the unemployment rate among young African-American males is 75% in certain neighborhoods.
This is unacceptable. The Socialist Party USA has a plan to entirely eliminate unemployment. We call it a full employment economy.
The largest U.S. corporations continue to report record-breaking profits while unemployed Americans are losing their homes, their healthcare benefits and their savings. Unemployment can also cause another kind of trauma that's often overlooked and rarely talked about: deep psychological distress that manifests as hopelessness, anxiety and depression. The SPUSA believes that every person has a human right to a job.
It will take a radical plan to turn this crisis around -- a plan that strengthens and empowers the working class:
Create an emergency federal jobs program that immediately puts unemployed and underemployed in jobs that will clean up the environment, expand and strengthen public infrastructure and develop new clean energy resources.
Tax the top 1% wealthiest Americans and direct those dollars towards the development of new sectors that benefit people including re-building the manufacturing capacity of the economy.
Use public dollars to create a worker-owned and worker-managed co-operative sector
Move to a system of job-sharing and job-splitting where people work few hours for the same amount of pay
Our plan isn't just about bringing temporary relief to the American people. It isn't about creating New Deal reconstruction projects. We have machines to do that work now.
We intend to create a new system based on the principles of economic democracy that puts people over profits. It's about building a foundation that guarantees our basic needs are met. It's about ensuring that we have a fully employed economy so that every human being has the opportunity to pursue his or her dreams.
We need to be creative about the way we think about jobs, about the sectors that offer jobs and how employment is governed. Transforming the old models of top-down management is key. We call for bottom-up democracy where workers have a say in all aspects of their work -- from day-to-day decisions to long-term strategies. Democracy doesn't end when we go to work.
What's exciting is that some of these changes are already underway. The cooperative sector is already happening in the U.S. -- probably right in your own neighborhood at the local bike shop, coffee shop, the co-op garden and grocer. And all over the country people are re-claiming their democratic rights -- the right to live full productive lives, in a clean environment and a peaceful world. We think that the majority of worksites in America should operate with these democratic principles.
The Socialist Party USA's jobs program builds on the best features of democratic socialism by converting our values of compassion, solidarity and justice into positive economic plans for the future.