Coal miner runs for Senate in Pennsylvania
Reprinted below is an article that appeared in the October 19 issue of the Standard-Speaker, a daily newspaper in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The article was entitled, "For the working class--Socialist Workers hopeful Forrestal in Senate bid."
BY KELLY MONITZ
Southwestern Pennsylvania coal miner Frank Forrestal launched a write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Rick Santorum this week.
But the Socialist Workers campaign candidate doesn't expect to win a race dominated by the major political parties, picks Santorum and Democratic Congressman Ron Klink.
Forrestal hopes people will see that there's an alternative for the working class.
"The working class doesn't have a party of their own," he said Tuesday when he brought his campaign to the Eastern Pennsylvania coalfields.
"There's a need for a working-class point of view in the senatorial election.
"What we'refighting for is a government of workers and farmers." Forrestal said.
The Democrats and Republicans aren't for the working class, but the capitalists class, he said. The Socialist Workers want a class break from both parties, Forrestal said.
He expects that class break to come from working-class struggles that already exist throughout the country and the world, he said.
On an international level, those struggles include that of the Palestinians who fight for a homeland to the Yugoslavia miners who toppled the Milosevic government, Forrestal said.
Closer to home, he pointed to the struggles of American farmers who are being driven off their land, meat packers forced to triple production and coal miners denied lifetime health benefits.
A United Mine Worker Union member, Forrestal understands the worker, like himself. He works 10 to 12 hours, six days a week in an underground mine.
"The coal bosses are getting away with murder." Forrestal said. "Miners are still dying. The union just hasn't been strong enough."
Unions are the key, though, he said.
Socialist Workers fight for strengthening unions, which will place demands upon businesses for higher wages, better working conditions, and no forced overtime, Forrestal said.
His party also wants to see Social Security benefits as a safety net for everyone throughout their lives, while the major political parties talk about Social Security in terms of privatization or retirement, he said.
"If you work your whole life, it should be guaranteed," Forrestal said.
And the benefits shouldn't come from the taxation of the working class, he said.
"Working people are taxed to death." Forrestal said. "We don't think working people should be taxed at all."
Socialist Workers also believe education shouldn't be just an issue for America's youth, but an issue for everyone throughout their lives, he said.
If elected to the Senate, Forrestal won't change his focus, he said.
"I'll keep doing what I've been doing," he said. "We would be a voice of the working class."