The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 70/No. 28           July 31, 2006  
Supporters of socialist campaign join actions
protesting imperialist wars in Mideast,
make progress in ballot drives
(front page)
Militant/Martín Koppel
Ben O’Shaughnessy (center), SWP candidate for New York lt. governor, joins July 18 rally protesting Israeli bombing.

NEW YORK, July 18—“Our campaign joins with others here to demand the Israeli government stop its murderous assaults on Lebanon and on Palestinians in Gaza,” said Róger Calero, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Senate in New York. He and other socialist campaigners took part in a rally here today in front of the Israeli mission to the United Nations to protest the ongoing bombing of Lebanon and attack on Gaza.

Calero condemned Washington’s support for Tel Aviv’s aggression. “We also call for an end to the U.S.-led threats against Iran and Syria, and for the withdrawal of all U.S. and other occupation troops from Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said, “not in two years, not in six months, but now!” Washington and the Democrats and Republicans, “the twin capitalist parties, are acting to defend the profit interests of the tiny handful of superwealthy families they represent.”

In contrast, the Democratic and Republican candidates in the state reiterated their support for the Israeli government’s actions.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is running for re-election, spoke at a rabidly pro-war “stand with Israel” rally at the United Nations July 17. She advocated “whatever steps are necessary” to defend Tel Aviv’s assault on Lebanon and Gaza in order to “send a message to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians, to the Iranians,” calling them “the new totalitarians of the 21st century.”

Republican senatorial contender Kathleen McFarland said at a July 13 news conference that the Israeli government had a right to defend itself, referring to its bombing of Lebanon, the New York Times reported.

Socialist campaigners have taken the working-class perspective across New York City, Albany, Buffalo, and other cities in the state as they petition to put the SWP candidates on the ballot.

“Yes, I’ll sign. I agree with you 100 percent on getting the troops out of there now. My son is in Baghdad. They shouldn’t be in Iraq,” said Sheila Powell as she and a friend added their names to a petition on a street corner in Harlem July 16.

After the first nine days of petitioning, Socialist Workers canvassers in New York have collected some 16,000 signatures. By July 23 they plan to get 30,000, double the requirement, to gain ballot status for the working-class alternative to the Democrats, Republicans, and other capitalist parties.

The Socialist Workers are running Róger Calero for U.S. Senate and Maura DeLuca for New York governor (for other socialist candidates in the state see list in this issue).

Campaigning in Sunset Park, a Brooklyn neighborhood with a large Mexican-born population, Calero told the Militant that a good number of workers he spoke to had taken part in the large demonstrations in the spring to demand legalization of undocumented immigrants. “They were glad to hear that our campaign advocates immediate, unconditional permanent residency for all the undocumented,” he said.

Marshall Lambie, a campaigner for the SWP ticket, added, “I met workers who at first argued that ‘illegals take American jobs.’ When I explained how the bosses use immigration laws to divide working people and that, no matter where we were born, we have to fight together, some people appreciated the discussion and began to consider the issue from that point of view.”

Matilda Hernandez, a high school student and Young Socialist who is on the full-time petitioning team in New York, said a lot of people readily signed to put the SWP candidates on the ballot after seeing the team’s sign protesting the U.S.-backed Israeli invasion of Lebanon. One person who approached them, however, said he opposed the Israeli government but then made a Jew-baiting remark. “We made it clear our campaign opposes Jew-hatred, and he walked away,” Hernandez said.

The socialists explain that Washington’s support for Tel Aviv’s aggression and the war in Iraq stems not from “Jewish influence” but from the interests of U.S. imperialism and its need to assert its profit drive worldwide.

Many people grabbed a pen to sign the petition for the Sociialist Workers Party candidates when they saw that the SWP election platform backs workers defending their union or organizing a union in face of employer attacks.

“I have relatives who are transit workers, and I didn’t like the way the union was treated when they were on strike,” said Anthony Johnson, a hospital worker in Harlem. He remembered how, during the December transit strike here, Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg smeared the union members as “thugs” and how Democratic attorney general Eliot Spitzer, now running for governor, supported the jailing of the union president.

“It’s good to see real pro-union candidates,” Johnson said.


BOSTON, July 16—“The U.S. rulers’ support for the deadly Israeli bombardment of Lebanon is just an extension of their policy at home—their drive to cut the social wage and make workers and farmers pay for the capitalist crisis,” said Laura Garza, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress in Massachusetts’ 8th Congressional District. Garza was the featured speaker here at the Militant Labor Forum yesterday.

Supporters of the Socialist Workers campaign began petitioning July 15 to collect more than 4,000 signatures to place Garza on the ballot in the November election. Garza, 47, is a sewing machine operator and member of UNITE HERE Local 187. She is joined on the SWP ticket by John Hawkins, a Boston area meat cutter, who is the party’s candidate for Massachusetts governor.

Hawkins, a long-time union militant and fighter for Black rights, spoke out on the fall of a concrete ceiling panel in one of Boston’s highway tunnels that killed Milena Del Valle July 10. “Gov. Willard Romney, turnpike administrators, and state and local Democratic and Republican party politicians all share responsibility for Del Valle’s death,” he said. “They were all aware of the shortcuts and substandard materials being used to maximize profits throughout the Big Dig construction project.

“Del Valle’s death was unnecessary. It was as much the result of the drive for profit as the deaths of 34 miners in U.S. coal mines this year,” said Hawkins. “Working people need strong unions to exercise control over the workplace, including safety committees with the power to shut down unsafe jobs. Supporting efforts to unionize and use union power effectively is at the heart of the socialist campaign platform.”

Hawkins and Garza have joined mobilizations to demand legalization of immigrants. “We are campaigning for legislation that would grant immediate and unconditional residency to all the undocumented,” Garza said. “And we oppose all moves to use state and local cops to enforce immigration laws. Their only purpose is to target a section of working people and enforce second-class status to superexploit them and drag down wages and working conditions for all.”

The movement for legalization of immigrants that spread across the country this spring, Hawkins said, “has put all working people in a better position to fight to organize trade unions and use union power to defend our interests.”

Campaign supporters plan to collect more than 4,000 signatures, double the requirement, by July 28 to put Garza on the ballot. As of July 16, some 1,300 people had signed the socialists’ petition.
Related articles:
Stop bombing of Lebanon!
Israeli troops out! No to U.S. support for Tel Aviv
Israeli military expands its murderous assault on Lebanon
Initial list of Socialist Worker Party candidates in 2006  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home