Jacob Perasso, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate from New York, who is a freight rail conductor, joined her.
“Some companies think short-term,” engineer Mike Crump, 35, told Kennedy. “It makes the numbers look good for a while, but costs them more in the long-term. You can’t run a freight train with a one-man crew.”
“The bosses are doing this in all industries because of the crisis of the capitalist system,” Kennedy responded. “They’re trying to increase their rate of profit, which has fallen since the 1970s. In coal mining they cut corners on safety, increase production with fewer workers and use the bankruptcy courts to get out of health care coverage for retirees.
“We need to change the class in power. We could use the wealth workers and farmers produce to address many of the needs around the world. You never hear Clinton or Trump say that capitalism is the problem.”
Before he left Crump signed up for a Militant subscription and set up a time to talk more and get the book Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege, and Learning Under Capitalism by Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes.
Amtrak conductor Sean Carter told Kennedy a co-worker signed him up for a subscription to the Militant, which he likes. “Workers are more open to taking the paper because of what is happening in the world,” Kennedy said.
“In this system everyone tries to push everyone else out of the way,” Carter said. “We need to reform everything, including how politics is now. Lots of people don’t trust the government.”
Going door to door in Ozone Park, Queens, Kennedy met John Charlie, 21, a union construction worker who said he is leaning toward Trump, but with little enthusiasm.
“Neither Trump nor Clinton has any answers for working people,” Kennedy told him. “Trump raises the problems workers face, like joblessness, while he talks demagogically against the government and blames immigrant workers for the economic crisis. Clinton says that workers are ‘deplorable’ and ‘racist.’”
“I’m not a racist!” Charlie said. “I work with workers from Mexico. They get $8 an hour, while I get $20 for the same work because I’m in a union and they aren’t. I feel bad about that. When they get sent to work 20 floors up without a safety harness, they do it. I can refuse to do unsafe work. It’s getting worse all the time.”
“Whoever is elected Nov. 8, nothing will change. Clinton and Trump will do what the billionaire families want them to do,” she continued. “Workers have to organize a movement of millions to take political power from them and begin to build a society based on human solidarity, not the vicious values of capitalism.”
Perasso met Frank Vega while campaigning in part of Staten Island that was flooded when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. “The first floor of all the houses on this block were flooded,” Vega said. “It took three years to get the insurance company to cover rebuilding it.”
Vega, a retired carpenter who is Puerto Rican, is angry about the impact of the capitalist crisis on the island. “I tried to retire there,” he said, “but the cost of living is too high.”
Perasso told Vega about the solidarity trip he and Kennedy recently took to Puerto Rico, including to the Ponce area he hails from. “I wish more people knew about Alyson Kennedy and that she had been part of the debates,” Vega said. “I don’t like Trump or Clinton. I’m going to vote for Kennedy.”
Osborne-Rich joined Martin knocking on doors here Oct. 24. A Boeing aerospace worker named Doug told them rent increases are gouging working people in his neighborhood. He blamed Republicans for the worsening conditions the working class faces and said he plans to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
When Doug told Osborne-Rich it was good to see a young person involved in the issues, she replied, “It’s real for me. I work at a fast-food restaurant after school and the wages are low. I see how hard my father works to make a living. We have relatives living with us so we can help each other. I like very much what the SWP stands for and says about what regular citizens can do.”
After campaigning, Osborne-Rich decided to subscribe to the Militant and pick up a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?
Pat Scott, an SWP supporter who designed the new Kennedy-Hart campaign button, joined Martin going door to door Oct. 22 in Federal Way near Seattle. Several people recognized Scott, who has cashiered at Walmart for 16 years.
Jim Kirwan, a retired postal worker and unionist, told them he’s leaning toward voting for Trump because he thinks Clinton is corrupt, “but I don’t really like what Trump says either.”
Martin and Scott explained workers need their own party, and that only mobilizations independent of the capitalists will put working people in power.
“I agree with what you are saying,” Kirwan said. “I didn’t know there were any alternatives in the elections. Keep up the good work!” He subscribed to the Militant, picked up two books, contributed $5 to the Socialist Workers Party and got a campaign button.
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