Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee


working overtime for the bourgeoisie

First Published: Unite!, Vol. 3, No. 2, March 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Capitalism is in crisis. The bourgeoisie is faced with a situation it doesn’t want but is powerless to remedy or prevent. Because of this crisis, Unemployment is so high and so-prolonged that the capitalists can no longer afford to ignore it or to shrug it off as “normal” or “acceptable”. The working class will not let it. As a result, they and their apologists of all colors have been working overtime thinking up schemes and plans which attempt either to justify the present high rate of joblessness or which, promise to minimize and combat it.

One of these apologists, the “Communist” Party of the United States of America (“C”PUSA), has come up with a program it has tried to pass off to both the working class and to the U.S. bourgeoisie as a cure-all for the ills of capitalism and a sure remedy for the problem of joblessness. At one time the leader of the working class movement, now the “C”PUSA is a traitor to the working class and their job program is just one example of this.


To the “C”PUSA detente is the peaceful way for solving the worId’s problems. The contention between the two superpowers will be ended by the superpowers, the Soviet Union and the U. S. negotiating arms limitations, trade agreements etc., and as a result of these jobs and better conditions would be created for the working class. But more and more detente is being exposed, for in reality the superpowers have no intention of limiting arms expansion and have every intent of continuing with their plunder of the world’s people and resources like in Angola.

According to this plan, five million new jobs can be had simply by “saying yes to detente” and increasing trade between the U.S. and the soviet, Union. By presenting this program, these peddlers of phony “detente” have attempted to deceive the working class as to the nature of imperialism in general and, in particular, to the nature and role of Soviet social-imperialism.

First of all, what would this increase of trade consist of, wheat? The Soviets have already said that they are not interested in buying nearly as much wheat as they have in the past. Consumer goods? The social-imperialists are much too intent on the stockpiling of arms and war preparations to spend much money on washing machines and T. V.’s. Machinery? Now this is a different story! But the West Germans have already said yes to detente and have became the chief exporters, not only of machinery but of all goods, to the U.S.S.R.. In spite of this, however, Germany’s own economic crisis continues to worsen along with the other capitalist countries and its unemployment has doubled. What is the problem then? It certainly is not one of simply working out the particulars of a trade agreement.

One of the fundamental aspects of the present crisis of capitalism is that of competition between imperialist powers – competition to grab markets for both investments and commodities and for cheap sources of raw materials. Such competition has greatly increased the contradictions between the imperialist powers and has only served to aggravate their general crisis. This is no less the case between the Soviet Union and the U. S. both of which are imperialist powers and each of which is out to plunder and rob the other of as much as it can. Inevitably this competition is bound to lead to war and to greater exploitation of the working class of both countries – not to an end to economic crisis and unemployment. The easing of tensions and the mutual benefits which these phony “communists” attribute to detente are a sham because detente is a sham. There can be no “detente” between imperialist powers, and only the bourgeoisie, not the working class, can benefit from the spreading of such illusions.


But the genius of this “revolutionary” plan does not end here. For those workers not fortunate enough to benefit from an increase in trade, the program goes on, the “C”P premises an additional 17 million new jobs by “cutting the work week to 30 hours with no cut in pay” and hiring additional workers to take up the slack. Such a wonderful “solution” is based on the incorrect idea that unemployment is merely a technical problem for capitalism. According to the “C”P the problem is simply one in which technology and automation have reached the point where the economy can no longer provide jobs for everyone. Socialist countries are also faced with this supposed technological law. The difference, says the “C”P, is that, under socialism, when new machinery is brought in, hours of work are shortened accordingly to stave off the otherwise inevitable unemployment. For the “C”PUSA, socialism is pretty much like capitalism, but with a continuing shorter work week to spread the ever decreasing jobs around. It is through lies like this that the “C”P covers for capitalism and its systematic failure to achieve full employment.

The facts of the matter are that capitalist production is production for profit. It is not carried out for the purpose, of meeting the needs of the working class as it is under socialism. If money isn’t being made from a particular type of work, then that work is cut back or is stopped and the people who do it for wages are out of a job. Likewise, since the goal of capitalism is profit, each capitalist is constantly looking for ways to make fewer workers do more work, and fewer workers means fewer jobs. Those workers who are out of jobs provide the capitalist with an army of workers in reserve which is then used to hold down wages and to counter demands with the threat of easy “replacement”. To do away with unemployment you have to do away with capitalism. Period. In capitalist countries, profit considerations dictate more and more overtime to fewer and fewer workers. This does not exist in socialist countries.

The purpose of the “C”P job program is to gut the essence of socialism, justify the failure of capitalism, while appearing to defend the interests of the unemployed. While the working class faces massive losses of jobs and hours, the “C”PUSA is putting in overtime for the bourgeoisie with its “say yes” campaign.