Mobilize the working class against the US government shutdown
7 January 2019
The partial shutdown of the federal government is a major attack on the working class by the Trump administration. More than 400,000 federal workers are effectively locked out, furloughed without pay. Another 400,000 are engaged in compulsory labor without pay, in violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery and other forms of involuntary servitude.
The shutdown exposes the fraud of Trump’s supposed sympathy for the plight of American workers. It affects increasingly broad layers of the working class and lower-middle class, with the biggest impact on the poorest sections of the population: millions of food stamp recipients, some two million Native Americans, whose tribal services are largely financed through the Department of the Interior, and millions more dependent on other forms of government support for their subsistence.
The population as a whole will be affected by delays in income tax refunds and other federal stipends, by the disruption of air travel as payless paydays drive air traffic controllers and security screeners from their jobs, and by the loss of many other services and facilities.
Even more ominous is the threat to democracy posed by Trump’s declaration that, as president, he has the power to declare a national emergency and order the military to build a wall along the US-Mexico border using Pentagon funds, in defiance of Congress. Trump reiterated the threat on Sunday morning, saying that he would decide “in a few days” whether to take that drastic step.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted, in an interview broadcast Sunday morning, “The impression you get from the president is that he would like to not only close government, build a…