Richter, 67, is a factory worker and longtime fighter for workers’ rights and unionization. He was joined by several teams of campaign supporters in working-class neighborhoods across the city Nov. 19-20, discussing the deteriorating economic and social conditions workers face, what was revealed by the recent presidential election, and why working people must organize ourselves to fight for our own interests.
“The working class is at the center of politics today,” Richter explained as he campaigned door to door in the West Adams neighborhood Nov. 19. Other teams campaigned in the San Pedro, Highland Park and Reseda areas.
“I don’t say vote for me and I’ll fix things for you. It is the capitalist system that is at the heart of the problems working people face, in this country and around the world,” Richter told Jonathan Johnson, who works at the University of Southern California bookstore. “We need to build a working-class movement to overthrow the whole dog-eat-dog system, and replace it with a workers and farmers government.”
In working-class neighborhoods throughout the city, the SWP aims to sell hundreds of three campaign books on special, The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? both by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? A Necessary Debate Among Working People by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters. They are also getting subscriptions to the Militant, collecting 1,000 signatures — double the requirement — and raising $300 to put Richter on the ballot.
Richter showed Johnson Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? which contains a graph illustrating how speedup has boosted the productivity of workers while our wages have gone down. “I need to learn more about your party,” Johnson said as he signed the petition.
At the end of the first two days, SWP campaigners had sold 16 books, six Militant subscriptions, gathered 113 signatures and gotten $36 in contributions. The petitions must be filed by Dec. 7.
Some 21 candidates have filed declarations of intent to run for mayor, with the election set for May 16. The current mayor, Eric Garcetti, a liberal Democrat who got national exposure when he spoke at the Democratic Party National Convention in July, has already turned in his petitions.
Discussing fight for jobs, health care“The reason we go door to door in working-class neighborhoods is to have discussions about a working-class alternative to the two capitalist parties,” Richter told Ronald Williams, a painter for the Los Angeles Unified School District. “What we need is a real public works program that provides jobs that last and wages that workers can live on. Donald Trump got elected president partly because he promised jobs.
“Many workers voted for someone who said he stood outside the mainstream,” Richter said. “And they voted against Clinton.”
“If you’re a billionaire you’re not an ‘outsider.’ Trump is not outside his class,” Williams said. “I couldn’t accept him because of his racist comments.”
“We should have universal health care not Obamacare,” he said. “Health care should not be for profit. Trump says he wants to do a jobs program but it’s just to give money to rich corporations.”
“There is less racism among working people today,” Richter told Williams, saying he appreciated the discussion on these issues. “The mass civil rights battles that overthrew Jim Crow segregation had a tremendous impact on all working people. They built upon the accomplishments of the Civil War to overthrow slavery 150 years ago and Radical Reconstruction afterwards.
“The capitalist economic and social crisis of the past several decades is driving workers of all skin colors to come together, in order to defend ourselves.” Richter said.
Williams got a copy of The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record, gave $5 to the campaign and signed the petition.
The following day Richter joined a fundraising event organized by tenants at the Marmion Royal apartments in Highland Park. Workers living there have organized a tenants union to fight drastic rent increases and threats of eviction by new building owners.
Richter and other members of the SWP then went door to door in the building. “With the wages people are paid, they can’t afford the increase in rents and prices,” a construction worker who asked that his name not be used to avoid reprisals from the landlord, told Richter. “The landlord wants to increase our rent up to double what it is. How are we going to pay that? I got a 25-cent raise this year. The owner wants to divide us up and negotiate with individuals, but we are organizing together.”
Members and contacts of the party are coming from the Bay Area to campaign for the SWP in Los Angeles. If you would like to join in, contact the SWP at email@example.com or (323) 643-4968.
Socialist Workers Party: ‘Our party is your party!’
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2016: Most important US election in 100 years
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