Special report: Minnesota meat packers win union victory!
Stop deportations! Legalization now!
Socialist presidential candidate tours Chicago,
attends Indiana immigrant rights conference
SWP presidential candidate Róger Calero campaigns January 18 at mattress factory in Chicago. Calero spoke the next day at immigrant rights conference in Indianapolis.
BY DENNIS RICHTER
AND BETSY FARLEY
CHICAGO, January 22We are here to extend solidarity with immigrant workers, Róger Calero said before an audience of 150 workers who met in Indianapolis January 19. In your struggle you are not alone, he noted, pointing out that the struggle for unconditional legalization of all undocumented workers is in the interests of all working people, U.S.- and foreign-born alike.
The Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate was invited to participate in a day-long conference and evening meeting at the Iglesia de San Patricio (St. Patricks Church), called by the Immigrant Association of Indiana. One of the main issues they discussed is a new state law under which thousands of immigrants face losing their drivers licenses if they dont provide a valid Social Security number. The other was proposed legislation that would victimize undocumented workers by threatening sanctions against employers who hire those without papers. (See front-page article). None of the other presidential candidates has spoken out in favor of legalization of immigrant workers, Calero said in an interview at the church with the Spanish-language TV station Univisión Indiana. Each of them has made proposals that end up making life more difficult for immigrant workers here in this country, from the building of a wall to supporting measures like denying immigrant workers the right to a drivers license to be able to work and carry out their daily lives.
Calero urged all workers to participate in demonstrations for the legalization of immigrant workers and in opposition to raids and deportations.
Campaigning the following day in Chicago, Calero was joined by Illinois Socialist Workers congressional candidates John Hawkins and Dennis Richter at a shift change at the A. Lava and Son mattress factory, on the citys South Side. Several workers stopped to talk and took campaign flyers. A sewing machine operator told Calero she had helped to organize workers from the plant to join last years May 1 immigrant rights march. Im getting ready for this May Day, she said.
Calero was the featured speaker at a January 20 campaign event at the Militant Labor Forum hall here. Among those attending were two former workers from the American Packing Corp., a hog slaughterhouse that shut down in 2001. Former AMPAC workers are still fighting for back pay and benefits lost after the company shut down operations without giving them the legally mandated 60-day notice. A trial starts January 23 in federal court here on a class-action suit filed by the workers. Calero and supporters of the socialist campaign are joining the workers at the court hearing.
At the forum Calero also spoke with two fighters for justice for Freddie Wilson, who was killed by the Chicago police. Calero later met with others involved in the fight against police brutality at the home of Carol Montgomery, grandmother of Steve Womack. She and others have been demanding an investigation of the role of the Chicago police in his death in a car crash in March 2007.
At the campaign forum Calero urged participants to read, discuss, and share the recently published Socialist Workers Party campaign platform with others, and to invite the socialist candidates to join the struggles they are involved in.
Two youth in attendance signed up to get involved in the campaign after a presentation by Maura DeLuca, who is active in the Young Socialists for Calero and Kennedy.
It was great to hear a presidential candidate speak in clear and realistic terms about immigration, starting with the rights of workers. I also like the proposal to get the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately, said Omar Hester, a 26-year old graduate student at Western Illinois University, after the event.
BY ELLEN BRICKLEY
MIAMI, January 22Socialist Workers candidates and their supporters in Miami participated in several Martin Luther King Day events this weekend.
Margaret Trowe, a sewing machine operator who is the Socialist Workers candidate for U.S. Congress in the 17th District, campaigned at the Martin Luther King Day festival in Miami Gardens, which 1,000 people attended.
We think workers need their own party, Trowe told a group that gathered as she soap boxed. With the slowdown in the economy, thousands of workers have lost their jobs. At the same time, prices are risingyou need to carry $50 to fill your gas tank and $20 to go to the corner store.
What we need is cost-of-living increases for all wages to compensate for inflation, and a shorter workweek with no cut in pay to spread the work around and ensure jobs for all, she said.
All the Democratic and Republican candidates represent the wealthy capitalists. They wont help working people defend ourselves from the economic crisis, she said, noting that their solutions will be at workers expense. We need a party that is based on fighting unions.
Some people expressed concern about the economy and property taxes. Trowe replied, The socialist campaign calls for one tax onlya steeply graduated income tax that begins above working-class household income and taxes the income of the wealthy.
Dozens bought the Militant containing the SWP platform and several contributed to the campaign.
Support Cuban Revolution
Republican presidential candidate John McCain spent the King holiday in Miamis Little Havana. He emphasized his experience as an officer in the U.S. Navy and his opposition to the Cuban Revolution.
Trowe explained the SWP campaign supports Cubas socialist revolution. She called it an example of the political road working people need to take in the United Statesbuilding a revolutionary movement that can take power and establish a workers and farmers government.
Omari Musa, the socialist candidate for mayor of Miami-Dade County, campaigned at the Florida City King Day festival. Florida City/Homestead is an Everglades agricultural community 40 miles south of Miami. The socialist campaigners met a labor organizer who has been active in the fight to organize the 360 housekeepers, gardeners, and other workers in the exclusive community of Fisher Island, near Miami.
The next day the socialist canvassers participated in a honk and wave event marking the 35th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that decriminalized abortion.
Musa also campaigned at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Liberty City, Miamis largest Black community.
Indiana events press fight for drivers licenses for immigrants
Seattle protest: Stop the deportation of Cambodians!
Legalization of all immigrants now!
Arizona: workers protest anti-immigrant attacks
Georgia: young socialists campaign for SWP ticket