Governor Patrick Proposes More Budget Cuts ... We Can’t Afford this System Anymore!
The bailouts of big companies are reaching into the range of two trillion dollars. Two trillion. $2,000,000,000,000. Twelve zeros. Count them: twelve. That’s a lot of money. On top of that, another trillion dollars has been spent on the death, chaos and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Where’s the bailout for working people? Instead of fat sums of cash, we get massive layoffs and budget cuts. The politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, claim that there isn’t enough money for good jobs and social services. We see the money! It is being handed over to the same crooks and war profiteers who got us into this mess. And the same companies being handed hundreds of billions are carrying out massive job cuts.
On top of all this, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is now pushing for $122 million dollars in budget cuts through his vetoes. Deval wants over $52 million cut from health care, over $14 million cut from higher education, $4 million cut from environmental services, and nearly $2 million cut from public housing. The predatory lender banks run off with money bags and tax breaks while home foreclosures reach record highs and public housing is cut.
The health care system is already in disarray, and tuition costs are skyrocketing. Meanwhile, corporations are given loopholes to avoid paying taxes. The big corporations should be taxed heavily, especially Bechtel who robbed Massachusetts taxpayers during the Big Dig (see Boston Organizer #4).
Nationally, the money spent on bailouts and war could’ve been used to end child poverty, to guarantee quality health care and to rebuild the Gulf Coast which was devastated by the Bush regime and the capitalist system’s negligence.
We can’t depend on the rich politicians to solve this crisis. They are bought off by corporate America. Instead, we need to organize at the grassroots. We can win real change by building a movement. From the labor movement to the civil rights movement, ordinary people getting involved and fighting back have been able to win victories that affect our everyday lives. A coalition with democratic decision making and a fighting program should include union members, anti-war activists and community organizers in the Boston area.
A coalition fighting in the interests of working people could organize more human blockades to prevent evictions and more rallies against war and racism. We could go further with mass demonstrations to give voice to the colossal anger against the bailouts. Solidarity with union struggles and against immigrant deportations could be organized. By combining our efforts and encouraging democratic decision-making, new ideas for fighting back could emerge.
The Republicans helped get us into this mess, and the Democrats aren’t getting us out of it. Hate to say “I told you so,” but Boston Socialist Alternative warned about Deval Patrick’s previous anti-union and pro-corporate past before he became Governor. We advocated a vote for Green-Rainbow candidate Grace Ross (see Boston Organizer #5).
New political movements don’t fall from the sky; they have to be built. Any coalition that wants to organize against budget cuts would also need to challenge the two parties of war and corporate domination. In Boston and throughout Massachusetts, we need independent working class candidates to struggle in the streets, the workplaces and the elections for a better future. A democratically-run coalition of activists could keep the candidates accountable to their base.
Within any coalition, Socialist Alternative would argue for policies that challenge the root cause of the current crisis: capitalism. Only mobilizations of the working class can challenge corporate greed, and we support the formation of a working people’s party as a step in that direction. If this system can’t afford jobs, health care, housing and education, then we can’t afford this system.
Bryan Koulouris is the Editor of the Boston Organizer, local organ of Socialist Alternative. To see Socialist Alternative's international analysis of the meltdown, go tohttp://socialistworld.net/category/economy.html.