“We are fighting for $15 an hour and for water and heat breaks,” Victor Gonzales, one of the workers who struck at California Cartage April 6, said in the discussion. “We’ll continue to have strikes until they get the message. And it’s not just us. It was good to hear about the other struggles taking place that you talked about tonight.”
This is the kind of response the Socialist Workers Party candidates are getting when they present the party and its revolutionary class-struggle perspective to workers, on picket lines, protest marches and on their doorsteps.
“I think this election is going to be a changing moment,” 18-year-old Tori Gill told SWP presidential candidate Alyson Kennedy as they marched in Indianapolis April 9 in defense of women’s right to choose abortion. “I’m volunteering for Bernie Sanders because I don’t want to live in a country where Ted Cruz or Donald Trump are in charge.”
“In 1964, when Republican Barry Goldwater and Democrat Lyndon Johnson ran, there was a lot of hysteria with people saying that if Goldwater won there would be war,” Kennedy replied. “Johnson won, but then he was the one who escalated the Vietnam War.
“This woke me up to the reality of politics under capitalism,” Kennedy said. “They try to make us believe we can change things by voting, but it’s just not true. What ended the imperialist Vietnam War was the relentless fight of the Vietnamese people for national liberation and the anti-war movement it inspired in the U.S. And that fight changed the way millions of workers, including among the GIs, looked at things.
“Capitalism is in crisis today, and the employers and their government are taking it to the working class. By fighting back — and we will, by the millions — we’ll get more confidence to rely on ourselves,” she said. “What we have here is a social dictatorship. The capitalists hold the power and rule in the interests of their class.
“We won’t change things by pulling a lever, but by building a revolutionary party to take political power,” she said, “like they did in Cuba in 1959.”
The decades-long crisis of capitalist production and trade is worsening today. Manufacturing and mining have plummeted, from China to Brazil, affecting exports across Europe and the U.S. Recent headlines in the Financial Times have recurring themes — like “Grim Manufacturing Data Dent UK Recovery” and “Grim Year Forecast for Developing Nations.”
Coal and oil bosses in Wyoming alone have tossed some 5,500 workers out on the street as markets dry up and prices fall.
While government officials keep saying unemployment is under 5 percent and the U.S. economy is doing well, conditions worsen for millions. Because Washington says the recession is over, more than half a million people who get food stamps will see them cut off now because they haven’t found a job.
In this context, the Socialist Workers Party is getting a broader hearing and more volunteers. And for this reason, candidates like Republican Trump and Democrat Sanders, who say there’s a crisis and claim they’re running against the powers that be, are drawing thousands to their meetings and winning primary contests.
Anti-Trump hysteriaBourgeois liberals and conservatives are pulling out the stops to defeat Trump. The Boston Globe put a fake front page on their Sunday edition dated April 9, 2017, with made-up stories they said could happen if Trump is elected.
The pro-Democrat Globe editors urge primary voters to back anybody but Trump, in hopes of denying him enough delegates to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot, leading to an open convention fight. This is also the strategy of Republican contenders Cruz and John Kasich.
The editors, as well as many in the Republican Party hierarchy, say they hope Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will then be picked to represent the party in November. But Ryan called a special press conference April 12 to say again he isn’t running.
All these attacks haven’t stopped Trump. He is currently leading polls in New York by more than 30 points, with Cruz coming in third.
Petty-bourgeois radicals of every description say Trump is a fascist, as dangerous as Nazi Adolf Hitler. “We intend to do what the city’s elected so-called leaders refuse to do — and shut down Trump from spreading his hateful message,” the Workers World Party said on its website under the header “No Fascist Movement.”
There is no growing ultra-rightist or fascist movement today. The bosses don’t need one, because the working class is not yet strong or organized enough to challenge their rule.
Sanders is facing parallel attacks from the liberal Democratic Party establishment. “Sanders Over the Edge,” headlined an April 8 New York Times column by Paul Krugman. Attacking Sanders’ proposals for reforms to save capitalism as it faces hard times, he says Sanders has “character and values issues.” Worst, Krugman says, is that Sanders and his followers might not rally behind the party banner if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination.
Many workers see Trump and Sanders as similar. At a March 31 South Bronx Sanders rally, Stephanie Edwards told the Financial Times she backed him over Clinton. “She could see herself voting for Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton, despite the fact she is both female and African-American,” the paper reported.
Neither Sanders nor Trump offer a road for workers to fight back. Both promote “America first” nationalism in an effort to tie workers’ fate to the fate of the bosses.
“The Socialist Workers Party is a working-class party with a revolutionary perspective that is involved in working-class struggles today,” Kennedy told Shobi Pratap at the Indianapolis abortion rights action. “We are building a revolutionary working-class movement to overthrow the dictatorship of capital and take political power. We will join with other working people worldwide in transforming the world.”
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