Come to an October 31 special event in New
York: 'Before the Vote: The Real Results of the 2004 U.S. Election
Campaign. (Click here for details)
Vote Socialist Workers!
U.S. out of Iraq! Support struggle for development in colonial world
Organize and strengthen unions; for a labor party based on the unions that fights in the interests of workers and farmers worldwide
SWP candidate for president starts final leg of campaign in Miami
Róger Calero (left), SWP candidate for president, talks with workers October 11 outside Point Blank Body Armor plant in Oakland Park, Florida, north of Miami. After two years of struggle, workers there won representation by the UNITE union and their first contract last year. The plant makes bullet-proof vests for U.S. armed forces, police.
Vote Socialist Workers! Vote for the SWP candidates where they are on the ballot and write their names in where theyve been excluded. Thats what we urge our readers to do on November 2.
The Militant, as our masthead explains, is a socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people. In asking you to vote Socialist Workers, we say working people will be voting for themselves, for their interests.
Including its nominees for president and vice president, the Socialist Workers Party is fielding 44 candidates in 22 states and the District of Columbia who offer a working-class alternative to the twin parties of U.S. imperialismthe Democrats and Republicans.
The SWP presidential ticket of Róger Calero and Arrin Hawkins, and socialist candidates for state and local office across the country (See, List of SWP candidates.), are presenting a revolutionary working-class program in the United States to reach out to our sisters and brothers around the world in order to strengthen the struggle against our common enemiesthe imperialist aggressors and capitalist exploiters the world over.
The SWP campaign has been explaining that to resist stiffening assaults by the bosses, workers in the United States need to organize unions and to use our unions as effective instruments of struggle where they already exist. Out of the struggle to organize and transform the unions, a labor party based on the unions needs to be formed that fights in the interests of workers and farmers. Thats the only way for working people to fight not only on the economic level but to develop our own political voice independent of the ruling capitalists and their parties.
To promote economic development so necessary for social and political advances by working people in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, the socialists have been exposing imperialisms hypocritical campaign to prevent Iran, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Koreaand other countries they targetfrom developing the sources of energy they need, including nuclear energy.
In addition, the SWP candidates have been denouncing the efforts by Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, and others to dictate which weapons may be developed by governments in the semicolonial world in face of ongoing military threats and aggression by imperialist powers.
They have also been pointing out that it is the capitalist government of the United States, the common enemy of the toilers outside and within its own borders, that represents the biggest threat to humanity. It is Washington that has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, and it is the only government to have ever used the nuclear bomb.
The socialists have been calling for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of U.S. and other imperialist troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Korea, Haiti, Colombia, and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Calero, Hawkins, and the other socialist candidates are themselves workers who have been part of the resistance by working people to the bosses offensive on our wages, working conditions, and living standards. They have been urging working people to vote not for the individual, but for the program. Its not who youre against, but what you are for! has been the slogan of the socialist campaign.
The SWP ticket is also advocating principled positions in the interests of workers and farmers on local initiatives and referenda that will be on the ballot November 2. These include voting no on a referendum in Georgia that would ban gay marriage and deny basic civil rights to same-sex partners (see article in this issue). The socialists are calling for full civil rights for gays and lesbians. Similar reactionary initiatives are on the ballot in another 10 states. They should all be defeated because they advance anti-gay prejudice and discrimination.
The ruling class in the United States has adopted a military posture and political world strategy since the end of the Cold War that has crystallized over the last few years. This is not the offspring of the Bush administration alone but has the backing of the majority of the wealthy rulersDemocrats and Republicans. It includes the transformation of the U.S. military into more agile and mobile units that use the most modern technology, and are being repositioned away from western Europe and closer to theaters of conflict imperialism is pursuing, centered in the Middle East and Central Asia. It also includes the doctrine of preemptively striking terrorists and states that give such groups shelter.
The U.S. rulers are being driven to accelerate their transformation in the teeth of the challenges they faceincluding imperialist rivals vying with them over control of the worlds aircraft or other markets; the failure of neocolonial models, from Iran to Argentina and Singapore, that imperialists held up in the past as proof that capitalism and democracy work; and a world financial crisis. The ruling class will pursue this course regardless of which party occupies the White House or organizes Congress after November 2.
At the same time, many militant workers are being transformed as working-class resistance grows to the social consequences of the capitalists course. It is this resistance thats generating the seeds of the coming rebellions against the rule of the exploiters and provides hope for humanitys future. This is what the socialist campaign points to. Join us in supporting the working-class alternative in November, and beyond.
As part of backing the socialist ticket, we also urge you to build and take part in wrap-up SWP campaign rallies across the country (see campaign page) and the October 31 public forum in New York featuring SWP national secretary Jack Barnes.
SWP candidate for president starts
final leg of campaign in Miami
BY LAWRENCE MIKESH
AND ALEX ALVARADO
MIAMIWe say, U.S. troops out of Iraq now! said Róger Calero, Socialist Workers Party candidate for president, speaking October 12 at a meeting of Veye Yo, a Haitian rights organization here. Given the new brutal offensive by U.S. occupation troops and the Iraqi military in Fallujah and elsewhere in central Iraq that has resulted in mounting deaths, including many civilians, this demand has urgency, he said.
We also stand with you and others fighting for the withdrawal of U.S. and United Nations forces in Haiti, Calero added.
The SWP says workers and farmers need to have our own voice, a political voice, Calero said. Every four years they tell us we have to vote for one of their candidatesthe Democrats or Republicans. Regardless of who is elected, Bush or Kerry, the ruling class will continue its exploitation of working people worldwide, he said.
Many in the audience nodded their heads when Calero said, If you have difficulty distinguishing between Bush and Kerry its because they have no differences on the fundamentals. They stand for capitalism, the plundering of Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti. Bush says, Were killing the terrorists. And Kerry responds by saying, Well do it better!
We need to begin to think and act independently from the capitalists and build our own party, the socialist candidate continued. We have to break from the parties of the bosses in this country and around the world.
Third parties like the Libertarians or the Greens are also for upholding capitalism, Calero said. The Ralph Nader/Peter Camejo independent campaign does the same thing by serving as left pressure on the Democrats.
The only thing weve got is ourselves, but we are the vast majority, Calero said. We say, if you dont have a union, organize one. If you have one, make it more effective. Our unions are weak today, but its what weve got. What we need to do is transform them. The socialist campaign, he said, is for a labor party based on the unions that fights in the interests of workers and farmers.
Why do you come so late to the elections? one worker in the audience of 50 asked. Can you help us organize a union here?
We dont come late to the elections, stated Calero. They try to keep us out. The parties of the rich have a virtual monopoly on the airwaves, television, and the newspapers. The last thing they want is working-class candidates on the ballot. Our campaign doesnt end in November because the fight doesnt end in November. I know that among you there are many who know how to begin to organize unions.
Are you representing one union or many? another worker asked. I am part of a union. I need to be in it to protect myself. It costs to be in the union. I am thinking about withdrawing from it to put my money in a fund, because the union is often not there for me.
Calero responded, Our unions are weak today. There are many obstacles placed in front of us. But, it is up to us to change that. We must organize on the shop floor and use the structures of the union to fight the bosses. We must keep our fire on the employers who are the source of the problems we face.
Three people in the audience approached campaign supporters after the meeting to purchase one of the new SWP campaign T-shirts.
This final day of a two-day visit here that began with campaigning at 5:30 a.m. outside the International Longshoremens Association hiring hall near the docks of the Port of Miami. Calero was joined by Lawrence Mikesh, SWP candidate for U.S. Congress in Floridas 21st District, and other campaign supporters. This was followed by a talk at Florida International Universitys north campus and a public meeting at the Miami campaign hall.
Internationally, the socialist candidate said at the FIU meeting, sponsored by the Africa New World Studies department, Washington and its imperialist allies use their economic dominance and military threats to prevent semicolonial countries from being able to develop. About 2 billion people worldwideone-third of humanityhave no access to modern energy. We support the right of countries from Iran to north Korea and Brazil to decide what energy sources they want to use, including nuclear power. Electrification is a prerequisite for economic and social advances, and its an elementary step to the advancement of the working class here and around the world, Calero said.
The debates between George Bush and John Kerry, he continued, are absent of almost any content about the real conditions and problems facing working people today in this country and internationally. We urge everyone here to break with the parties of capitalism and vote for the SWP in this election, the socialist told the 20 people present, mostly students.
Our campaign offers a real working-class alternative. We say lets mobilize the collective power of workers and farmers to fight effectively against the employers and their parties. If we mobilize union power we can have safer working conditions and a way to fight back. And we need our own party, a labor party based on the unions, that will fight for our interests 365 days a year.
Workers in this country face a daily grind because of the employers offensive to increase their profits, Calero said. We see the results of this in a faster pace at work, deteriorating safety on the job, a longer work-week, a longer working year, and a longer working life. Working people have less and less access to affordable health-care and the parties of the employers have our Social Security pensions in their sights.
You kind of touched upon it earlier, but could you discuss factors that cause limitations of electricity in Third World countries? asked one student.
It has to do with the world economic system, imperialism, said Calero. We live in a class-divided society. There are those who own the factories, mines, mills, and banks, and there are those of us who have to work for them. The world is carved up by a handful of imperialist powers. In this system there are large contradictions. Semicolonial nations that have fuel and resources are prevented from using their national wealth to develop. Paraguay is a major exporter of electricity, but the toiling majority of that country is not allowed to use it.
Another student asked, What would you do about health care?
We should fight for universal health care for all and it should come under a federally funded and protected program, Calero replied. There is absolutely no reason why workers shouldnt have free access to health care. Calero pointed to the example of what was accomplished by Cuba after 1959, when workers and peasants toppled a U.S.-backed dictatorship and opened the first socialist revolution in the Americas. Cuba, Calero said, has the largest number of doctors serving around the world. How is it possible for a Third World country to do this? Its because workers and farmers took power in Cuba. We need to do the same here.
That same evening Calero spoke at a public meeting at the national headquarters of the 2004 Socialist Workers campaign along with Nicole Sarmiento, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate in Florida. Twenty-five people attended, including a young worker who came to the FIU North meeting earlier that day. Pablo, a young worker attending the event, had first been introduced to the SWP campaign when he ran into local candidates soap boxing at the Government Center transportation hub in downtown Miami.
The previous day, about 15 garment workers gathered after work across the street from the Point Blank Body Armor plant in Oakland Park to speak with Calero. Several of the workers wanted to discuss the current situation in the plant, which was recently unionized after a two-year struggle. The campaigning took place under a banner hung from the trees that read in English and Spanish, Its not who youre against, but what youre for! Vote Socialist Workers Party in 2004!
Socialist Workers Party candidates across the United States
SWP candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania campaigns in Utah for Calero, Hawkins
Vote No on antigay initiative in Georgia
Socialist candidates campaign in Puerto Rico