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‘Workers need to take power in own hands’
SWP presidential candidate Calero speaks on worldwide capitalist crisis
Bailouts fail to halt capitalist world crisis
U.S. gov’t seeks more allies inside Afghanistan
High court denies Troy Davis appeal, protests planned
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The founding of the Socialist Workers Party
Forging a proletarian party on the eve of the second imperialist world war
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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 72/No. 42      October 27, 2008


Socialist Workers 2008 Campaign
Click here for campaign material

Public meeting in New York
Saturday, November 22

The Crisis has Barely Begun!
... and Workers' Fight to End the Wages System Is Posed (click here for ad)

(lead article)
‘Workers need to take
power in own hands’
SWP presidential candidate Calero
speaks on worldwide capitalist crisis

Militant/Carole Lesnick

Róger Calero, SWP candidate for U.S. president, talks to carpenters and their supporters at October 9 picket line in Hunters Point, San Francisco. Carpenters there shut down the job site for more than two hours over unsafe conditions.

SAN FRANCISCO—On October 9, as the stock market plummeted in one of its biggest drops ever, Róger Calero, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. president, spoke to thousands of listeners on a popular call-in show on Univision 1170 AM radio here.

“What would you do to get us out of this financial crisis?” asked Celina Rodriguez, the show’s moderator.

“There is no solution inside the capitalist system,” Calero responded. “The financial and political crisis that has spread in the last few weeks to all corners of the globe shows what the capitalist system, and the handful of wealthy who profit from it, hold for working people. “

“It shows we need a revolutionary change, that workers and farmers need to take political power away from the wealthy and reorganize society on the basis of our interests.”

As an immediate measure, Calero said the banks and key industries including coal mining and other energy industries should be nationalized and put under workers control. The financial books of these institutions should be made public and placed under the inspection of commissions of workers.

Calero began three days of campaigning in San Francisco October 9 at a construction site in Hunters Point, a mostly Black neighborhood here. He and other campaign supporters were there to support carpenters who shut down the site in a struggle to stop unsafe practices, extortion from the paychecks of immigrant workers, and the firing of two leaders of the struggle.

Over the past year carpenters at public housing renovation sites in Bayview/Hunters Point have carried out work stoppages and protests that won some concessions from the bosses, including the hiring of more Black workers. Now, the construction companies are trying to undermine these gains.

On October 10 Calero spoke to a meeting of some 50 workers at the San Francisco Day Labor Center.

“This economic crisis is caused by the billionaire rulers and their system,” Calero emphasized in his talk. “Our starting point is not saving their system, but what is needed to defend working people whose standard of living and rights are under assault.” Pointing to the carpenters’ fight, where Black and Latino workers were able to unite against the bosses’ racist practices, and to protests against raids and deportations of immigrants, Calero said, “It’s through such struggles that we can move forward.”

“Does your view include some kind of ‘cadre formation,’ to train workers to take on issues like job safety?” asked one worker.

“We are the only ones who can effectively organize to protect ourselves on the job,” Calero responded. “The bosses divide us any way they can. They pit old against young, using young workers to set a faster pace on the job. They use unemployment to maintain unsafe conditions, saying ‘If you don’t want to work in these conditions, there is someone else out there who will.’ We have to organize on the job to protect each other and fight for the unions to enforce job conditions that are safe.”

How to fight for jobs was a topic of discussion when Calero spoke to a dozen students at the College of Behavior Sciences Student Resource Center at San Francisco State University. One of the students asked Calero what he thought of Obama’s plan to counter unemployment through creating “green” jobs.

Calero, who calls for a massive public works program and shortening the workweek with no cut in pay, said, “The capitalists make their decisions based on what is profitable. If ‘green jobs’ are profitable, they invest. If they’re not, it’s just empty promises. Three years after Katrina they still have not rebuilt New Orleans.”

An article on the meeting at San Francisco State appeared in the school newspaper, the Golden Gate Express. At the invitation of one of the students who attended the meeting Calero later met with a new student group called Radical Students.

Calero’s tour here ended with a standing room only campaign meeting at the Militant Labor Forum, where Calero and Lea Sherman, Socialist Workers candidate for Congress in the 8th District, were featured speakers.
Related articles:
Costs are rising, farmers tell socialist candidate
SWP candidate Calero visits strikers in Montreal

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