The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 75/No. 31      September 5, 2011

Socialist campaigns
for nat’l jobs plan – now!
(front page)
NEW YORK—“Yes, if they just repaved the highways and built schools and hospitals, it would put millions to work,” said Marcel Ojuroungbe, a worker on strike against Verizon here. He was talking with Chris Hoeppner, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Congress in the 9th District, in the special September 13 election. The socialist candidate visited the picket line August 17.

Hoeppner and other SWP candidates and their supporters are putting the fight for jobs at the center of their campaign as millions are being forced into long-term joblessness as a result of today’s deep capitalist crisis.

Hoeppner told Ojuroungbe that the socialist campaign explains the need for working people to fight for an immediate, government-funded national jobs program to “repair roads and bridges, expand railroads and public transportation, build affordable housing, and restore other infrastructure left to decay by the capitalist rulers. That can put millions of jobless back to work—now.”

“The Democrats and Republican politicians say putting workers back in jobs will cost a tremendous amount of money,” the socialist candidate said. “But the truth is that the labor of working people creates wealth, all the wealth. So let’s put the jobless to work building and repairing basic infrastructure working people need.”

“Fighting for a massive employment program also undercuts the bosses’ efforts to intensify competition for scarce jobs,” he said. “It increases class solidarity and helps strengthen the working class for coming battles.”

So long as capitalism exists, the socialist candidate said, working people will be hit by joblessness, bursts of ruinous price hikes, as well as racism, the oppression of women, and bloody imperialist wars. That’s why the SWP campaign is explaining the need to build a mass revolutionary movement to fight to overturn the capitalist government and replace it with workers power.

On August 20 Hoeppner campaigned at the Atlas Park Mall in the Glendale section of Queens, at the invitation of Kimberly Scelta, a student at Hunter College in Manhattan. Scelta had called the New York Board of Elections and then the Militant to get in touch with the socialist campaign and urged Hoeppner to visit her neighborhood. They were joined by Harry D’Agostino and Rebecca Williamson, SWP candidates in the 27th and 54th New York State Assembly Districts, respectively.

“So many people feel that we can’t do anything,” said Scelta, as she listened to SWP campaigners encouraging other working people to extend solidarity to striking Verizon workers.

“Nothing the politicians are doing is helping us,” Arnitha Webb told Hoeppner at the Atlas Park Mall. “They pretend to support working people, but there is no relief.”

The SWP candidate replied that the capitalist government and their parties are closing down hospitals, libraries, post offices, claiming they aren’t profitable. “But these are basic services working people need,” he said.

After hearing the socialists’ call for an immediate end to Washington’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere, an active-duty soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan asked Hoeppner if it was possible to do so. “How are you going to deal with the fat cats on Wall Street who would oppose anything you tried to do?” the soldier asked.

“The same way working people have before,” said Hoeppner. “The same way we ended the Jim Crow system of segregation in this country, the same way we opposed the Vietnam War—by fighting!”

Sara Lobman contributed to this article.
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