WASHINGTON — “No one has to die in accidents like this,” Glova Scott, Socialist Workers Party candidate for City Council in Ward 4 here, told workers as she campaigned door to door and talked to transit workers at the Fort Totten Metro rail station Jan. 18. One woman died and more than 80 were injured when an electric event — the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority says it doesn’t know exactly what, and probably won’t for at least six months — caused thick grey smoke to fill a Metro tunnel Jan. 12, trapping a train just outside the L’Enfant Plaza station for more than an hour.
“Our campaign calls for workers control of the workplace. The workers themselves have to be in charge of all health and safety procedures. We need to build fighting unions to organize this,” Scott said. “We also call for a federally funded public works program to provide jobs. The government should build more urgently needed public transportation and ensure regular maintenance of subways and buses.”
Carol Glover, the woman who was killed, had to wait more than an hour before being taken to the hospital. Even though Metro bosses had been notified by the city fire department four days earlier that the communications system in the area was not working, it had not been fixed. It took nearly 50 minutes for the Metro to turn off power on the third rail.
At the Fort Totten Metro rail station Scott talked to two Metro workers about the disaster. The workers said management was being very tight-lipped about what had happened and told workers not to discuss it with anyone.
“It is outrageous that management is not getting the facts out for everyone to know the causes right away,” Scott said.
The socialist candidate and her supporters are wrapping up a petition drive to put her on the ballot for the April 28 special election. They knocked on doors and campaigned in the district Jan. 17 and 18, bringing the total number of signatures to 850. The goal is to collect 1,000, double the requirement.
“When you say socialist what do you mean?” asked Julius Orekunein, a Nigerian-born home nurse aide who has worked in the U.S. for 22 years.
“I work at Walmart. Along with my co-workers, we are fighting to better our wages and working conditions,” Scott said. “That is what the socialist campaign is about — joining and championing resistance to the attacks of the bosses and their politicians, here and around the world.”
“The working class needs to take political power out of the hands of the capitalist rulers and use it in the interest of all the toilers,” she said.
“My union tells us not to shop at Walmart because they pay low wages,” Adrienne Hart, who works at a medical center and is a member of the American Federation of Government Employees, told Scott.
“Our approach is not to tell people not to shop at Walmart,” Scott responded. “We ask them to support the fight for higher wages and to be a part of the fight.”
“Over the last two days, 33 people we talked to got copies of the Militant to find out more about the politics of the socialist campaign, and a number took advantage of our special offer on books on working-class history and politics from Pathfinder Press,” Scott told supporters at a wrap-up meeting after the weekend of campaigning.
To help campaign and get the remaining signatures to put Scott on the ballot, contact the campaign headquarters at email@example.com.
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