Workers Should Shape the COVID-19 Recovery
At this moment, when the same corporations that decided to put profits over human needs are pleading for more bailout money, we have a unique point of leverage not just to “treat workers as experts”—the bare minimum—but to demand serious changes to how those companies operate.
“While factories lie empty and states compete ruthlessly against each other over a dwindling supply of ventilators and PPE, it is workers who are demanding the right to be useful, the right to determine production based on social needs rather than private profits,” says Peter Gowan, policy associate at the Democracy Collaborative and author of a proposal to give workers the “Right to Own” shuttered factories.
“Introducing a Right to Own would move our society in the direction of workers’ control as we exit the quarantine,” Gowan says. “We cannot go back to normal after such a demonstration of the inadequacy and inhumanity of capitalism.”
A right to own, or at least a seat at the table, would mean that workers like Kaszynski and his colleagues could make necessary goods in safe conditions now and could help shape a recovery that would also put human life, not the accumulation of wealth, at the center of the economy.