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The working class and the fight for education
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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 73/No. 42      November 2, 2009


Public meeting in New York
Saturday, November 7

What Does the Dictatorship of Capital Have in Store for Working People?
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(lead article)
‘Only working class
can end social crisis’
Socialist candidate debates at N.Y. campus
Militant/Don Mackle
Maura DeLuca, left, Socialist Workers Party candidate for New York City public advocate, talks to Pace University students Annamaria Santamaria, center, and Anneliese Blommestein, right, after candidates’ debate there October 19. DeLuca’s message that “working class needs to take political power” contrasted sharply with views presented by her capitalist opponents.

NEW YORK—“My campaign explains that the working class needs to take political power,” said Maura DeLuca, Socialist Workers Party candidate for public advocate here. Some 30 people turned out October 19 at Pace University to hear a debate between DeLuca and her Democratic and Republican party opponents. An audience of mostly students and other youth attended the university-sponsored program.

In addition to DeLuca, the panel of candidates included Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Alex Zablocki. Moderators Josh Rogers, associate editor of Downtown Express, and Lynn Rickert, editor-in-chief of The Pace Press, fielded a range of questions to the candidates.

In opening statements de Blasio and Zablocki pointed to their experience in New York City and state politics as qualifications for the position. De Blasio is currently a city councilman and Zablocki a top staffer for State Senator Andrew Lanza.

DeLuca explained why she is unlike any of the capitalist candidates. She said her campaign starts with the need for working people to fight for political power. “That’s the only way working people can put an end to the economic and social crises caused by the capitalist system, which produces ongoing imperialist war and a continued assault on workers’ standard of living,” she said.

DeLuca explained that her campaign supports struggles by working people to wrench concessions from the capitalists that “strengthen our position and fighting capacity.” She pointed to some of the immediate demands that the Socialist Workers campaign calls for, such as ending all taxes on working people; immediate, unconditional legalization for all undocumented immigrant workers; and a crash public works program that would put millions of unemployed to work at union-scale wages, building housing, schools, transit, and other things working people need.

Rickert asked the candidates what they thought had prepared them for the position of public advocate. De Blasio said his experience on the city council’s general welfare committee was important, while Zablocki cited being an entrepreneur, holding a degree in finance, and being an Eagle Scout.

DeLuca pointed to her experiences as a union garment worker involved in many social and political struggles. She pointed to fights against police brutality and to end the death penalty, citing the campaign to free Troy Davis—a Black man on death row framed up for killing a white Georgia cop.

She mentioned her participation in demonstrations against the imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and mobilizations in support of legalization for undocumented immigrant workers. DeLuca recently took part in a defense effort organized for an abortion clinic in the Bronx that has been targeted by rightists.

The candidates were asked what they would do to improve the environment and recycling in the city. Zablocki said he would advocate more paper recycling bins on street corners. Democrat de Blasio said that he would expand use of the city’s waterways to cut down on overcrowded highways.

“It’s a scandal that the capitalist class blames working people for the destruction of the environment,” said DeLuca. “They pollute the air, water, and land with the same disregard and for the same reasons as they force workers to injure themselves and put their health at risk on the job.” She said that it’s big capital and industry that is responsible for pollution, not the workers.

“I like how she talked mostly about working people,” said high school student Josh Melendez. “You don’t hear that from any of the other candidates.” Melendez was among several youth who stayed after the program to continue discussion with DeLuca and her campaigners. Questions ranged from health care and education to the Cuban Revolution and its importance today.

Annamaria Santamaria, a sophomore at Pace, told the Militant she strongly agreed with DeLuca’s defense of a woman’s right to choose abortion. “Not only should it be the woman’s choice, but abortion and birth control should be covered by insurance,” she said.

Pace junior Anneliese Blommestein said she appreciated hearing DeLuca’s unique perspective. “The Democrats and Republicans are a lot alike,” she said. “It’s good to hear a different point of view than what you get in the two-party system.”

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