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Vol. 74/No. 42      November 8, 2010

Socialist candidates offer revolutionary,
fighting perspective for working people
Georgia socialists debate
twin capitalist parties

ROME, Georgia—Unemployment, jobs, taxes, education, and the deepening capitalist economic crisis were at the center of a candidates’ debate October 21 sponsored by the NAACP chapter here. The local tea party cancelled its own campaign event so that its supporters could participate in the debate. More than 150 people turned out to hear candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties and the Socialist Workers Party.

The socialist candidates were invited to the forum after meeting Rome NAACP president Victor Hixon on a bus to the October 2 march on Washington for jobs, justice, and education.

“We call for a federal public works program to provide jobs at union scale for everyone who is unemployed, building schools, quality housing, hospitals, and roads,” said Rachele Fruit, SWP candidate for agriculture commissioner. “We are for unity of the working class and for an end to deportations of immigrant workers.”

In contrast, Katie Dempsey, Republican candidate for state representative, proposed to crack down on “illegal” immigration.

“The working class needs to lead a fight to take political power out of the hands of the capitalist class so we can reorganize society in the interests of the vast majority, revolutionizing social relations from top to bottom,” said Lisa Potash, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate, “Along that road, we need to form an independent party of labor, separate from the twin capitalist parties and based on a fighting union movement.”

She received applause from many of the NAACP members in the audience when she called for the immediate release of Troy Davis, who is Black and has been on death row for 19 years on frame-up charges he killed a white cop.

—Sam Manuel

Solidarity with locked-out
unionists in Keokuk, Iowa

KEOKUK, Iowa—Illinois Socialist Workers candidates Laura Anderson, running for U.S. Congress in the 1st District, and Alyson Kennedy, running for U.S. Senate, visited the picket lines here October 24 set up by union members locked out of their jobs by Roquette America, a producer of starch products.

Three locked-out workers bought subscriptions to the Militant at the picket line after they saw the coverage on the strikes in France against raising the age of retirement and the paper’s support for the Keokuk fight. Some 240 members of Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 48G are locked out of their jobs after rejecting a union-gutting contract proposal.

The workers told the socialist candidates that solidarity continues to grow with their battle. Some local restaurants refuse to deliver food ordered by the company.

—Alyson Kennedy
and Ellen Brickley

S.F. socialist speaks out
on transit cuts, backs drivers

SAN FRANCISCO—In an October 10 article headlined, “AC Transit customers soon to be waiting longer and moving less frequently than normal,” the San Francisco Examiner noted that the SWP candidate for governor, Lea Sherman, has been outspoken in opposing layoffs of bus drivers and reductions in service.

Sherman attended a September hearing on transit cuts and “said her campaign was present to show solidarity with the Transit workers and their union, noting that the capitalist system worldwide was in crisis and that government workers and unions, healthcare and education were paying for it,” the Examiner wrote.

—Eric Simpson

Socialist: Imperialist wars
linked to oppression at home

LOS ANGELES—Eleanor García, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress in the 33rd District, has been calling here for opening the files on the killing of Chicano activist Rubén Salazar on Aug. 29, 1970. In the course of a police attack on a demonstration of 20,000 that day, organized by the Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War, a sheriff’s deputy fired the tear gas grenade that killed Salazar, a journalist who was covering the action.

Noting that the socialist campaign calls for immediate withdrawal of all U.S. and allied troops from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, García said, “The U.S. government is no more ‘bringing democracy’ to the toilers of the Middle East and Central Asia today than it was defending democracy by its war against the people of Vietnam 40 years ago.”

“The U.S. rulers feared the Chicano Moratorium because it linked the imperialist war in Vietnam to the racist conditions that Chicanos and other oppressed nationalities confront in the United States. That link is all the greater today, as the wealthy corporations wage war on the working conditions and livelihoods of all working people, and especially Blacks and Latinos.”

—Arlene Rubinstein

Candidate defends immigrant
rights, calls for class unity

BOSTON—Kevin Dwire, Socialist Workers candidate for governor of Massachusetts, addressed a meeting here opposing the “Secure Communities Program” being conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The October 24 meeting was organized by Central Presente, a local immigrant rights organization.

“Secure Communities” requires local law enforcement agencies to cross-check digital fingerprints of anyone they arrest against a federal database. If ICE decides the arrested person is undocumented, that person is detained and processed for deportation.

Dwire, a production worker and long-time union activist, explained, “The bosses use the threat of deportation to stop workers who don’t have the ‘proper’ papers from speaking up and fighting for their rights. That weakens all working people in the fight to build and strengthen unions.”

—Ted Leonard

Defending struggle of Miami
taxi drivers for livelihood

MIAMI—Some 100 taxi drivers and their supporters demonstrated at a public hearing here October 12 to protest two proposed ordinances they say would increase drivers’ costs and fees. One proposed ordinance obligates drivers to obtain “technological enhancements,” including credit card machines, GPS (global positioning systems), prepaid toll passes, and cameras.

Deborah Liatos, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate in Florida, was among those addressing the commission meeting opposing the ordinances. “I support the taxi drivers’ fight against an increase in their costs,” she said. “My campaign calls for guaranteed jobs at union-scale wages for all taxi drivers.”

The drivers are organized by the New Vision Taxi Drivers Association of Miami, Inc., which has about 900 members. The group’s president, Raymond François, said it would cost drivers around $4,000 to add this technology to their vehicles and would raise the lease fee for those who rent their car.

—Rollande Girard

Cuban Revolution provides
example for workers worldwide

NEW YORK—A young socialist club at the State University of New York at New Paltz has sponsored weekly SWP campaign tables where freshman Harry D’Agostino, who is the SWP candidate for lieutenant governor of New York, and fellow campaigners introduce students to the socialist program.

Róger Calero, SWP candidate for U.S. Congress in the 15th District, and Ruth Robinett, the party’s candidate for U.S. Senate, spoke October 21 to two classes at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where there was a lively discussion among the students, most of whom are Black or Latino.

Robinett pointed to the Cuban Revolution as an example of how working people can make a revolution to overturn capitalist rule. “The workers in Cuba have used state power to overcome illiteracy, provide access for all to medical care and education, and uproot inequalities based on race and sex,” she said. “We can do this here, too.”

—Ruth Robinett

SWP candidates in D.C.
back fight of Black farmers

WASHINGTON—“On behalf of the Socialist Workers Party, I want extend our solidarity to Black farmers who are fighting to keep their land, ” said Glova Scott, candidate for delegate to the U.S. House from the District of Columbia. She was speaking to farmers and others at the first Black Farm Aid benefit and rally, held October 23 in Tillery, North Carolina. More than 100 farmers and supporters participated in the benefit sponsored by the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association and Concerned Citizens of Tillery.

Omari Musa, Socialist Workers candidate for mayor in Washington, D.C., recently spoke on a panel at an Urban Studies class at Coppin State University, a historically Black college in Baltimore. “Where do you see leadership coming from?” he was asked.

“The sky-high unemployment among Black workers, the lack of decent schools and housing, the scourge of drugs and substandard medical care are all caused by capitalism,” replied Musa. “All that will change when working people of all backgrounds and races organize ourselves to make a revolution to take power from the capitalist rulers.”

—Susan LaMont

Philadelphia socialist: Cops
used to intimidate workers

PHILDELPHIA—“The charges against Askia Sabur must be thrown out and the cops who brutalized him prosecuted, convicted, and jailed,” Osborne Hart, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, told working people as he campaigned October 22 in a crowded shopping area in west Philadelphia.

Sabur was standing outside a restaurant when he was accosted by two cops and badly beaten. He was then charged with assaulting the cops and jailed. The attack was videotaped and posted on YouTube for thousands to see.

“The Philadelphia cops have a long history of brutality against Blacks and other working people,” Hart said. “The function of the cops is to intimidate and harass working people, to attempt to convince us not to struggle against class exploitation or challenge the dictatorship of capital.”

—John Studer

Houston: Socialist joins fight
for women’s right to abortion

HOUSTON—Steve Warshell, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Congress in the 18th District, participated in a spirited picket line of 30 people here October 23 in defense of women’s right to choose abortion. The action was called by University of Houston Student Feminist Organization as a counterprotest to an antiabortion rally at a church across the highway from the Houston Planned Parenthood clinic.

Interviewed at the picket line by Univision Channel 45, Warshell said, “We’re here to defend a woman’s right to choose abortion. This is part of the increasing attacks on workers’ rights by the bosses and their government—both Democrat and Republican—as the capitalist economic crisis drags on.”

—Jacquie Henderson

Attacks on public education hit
working class, target unions

MINNEAPOLIS—The Socialist Workers candidate for Minnesota governor, Diana Newberry, participated in a picket line October 26 outside the school board offices here to protest plans to close North High School.

In the past five years, seven out of the 12 public schools in North Minneapolis, the largest predominantly Black community in the Twin Cities area, have been closed.

“The proposed closing of North High is part of the continued assault on public education by the bosses and their government,” said Newberry. “It is also part of broader attacks on workers in a predominantly Black community hit hard by the economic crisis. These moves, in the name of a budget crisis, are being used to deepen inroads against the teachers’ unions and slash the social wage of working people.”

—Tom Fiske

No other candidates stand up
for workers against cops

SEATTLE—“No other candidates are saying anything about this issue,” remarked a candy factory worker here upon reading the SWP platform, which includes the demand, “Jail and prosecute the cops who brutalize and kill working people.”

“Without something being done they’ll keep shooting us down,” a striking Teamster at the Coca-Cola plant in Bellevue, Washington, told John Naubert, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate in Washington, and Mary Martin, SWP candidate for U.S. Congress in the 7th District, who visited the picket line in early September.

In late August and early September, cops in the Seattle and Tacoma area shot six people, killing five in one week. The most well known of those killed was John Williams, a Native American wood carver.

—Mary Martin
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