Hart and Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate Alyson Kennedy put the struggles of working people worldwide, from Syria to Ukraine to Puerto Rico, at the heart of their campaign. The worldwide crisis of capitalist production and trade — and the attacks on workers and farmers that it produces — along with the increasing breakup of the “world order” Washington and its imperialist allies imposed after World War II, affect every struggle by working people.
Millions of workers and others in the U.S. are fed up with all the bourgeois politicians and are looking for answers to the grinding effects of years of capitalist crisis. They have responded to Donald Trump, who has strengthened his position as Republican front runner — to the horror of party leaders and liberal commentators alike. Trump extended his lead, winning contests in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii March 8.
Similar sentiments account for the support for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, who came back from more than 20 percent behind to win the Michigan primary.
“I’m for anybody but Hillary [Clinton],” rail worker David Blanding told Hart as he took copies of campaign flyers at the New Jersey rally.
“Working people need to break with all of the capitalist politicians and parties,” Hart said, “and rely on our own strength and organization. We need to build and strengthen our unions, use union power, and build a labor party based on the unions to mobilize against the economic, social and political attacks of the bosses, and organize along the road toward overturning this dictatorship of capital.”
Blanding took extra copies of the campaign literature, and got a subscription to the Militant.
Fight for right to choose abortionHart and SWP supporters were among the more than 1,000 defenders of women’s right to choose abortion who rallied in front of the U.S. Supreme Court March 2. SWP presidential candidate Alyson Kennedy took part in a sister rally in Chicago.
“Since abortion was legalized in 1973, why isn’t it considered a human right 43 years later?” Cecilia Ellis, a student from Ohio University, asked Hart.
“That’s a great question,” he responded. “This wasn’t a gift from the Supreme Court. The judges acted, on behalf of the capitalist rulers, to try to cut short a rising movement for women’s rights. They granted the right to abortion, but ensured the fight would continue by basing it on medical criteria, which changes, rather than the basic equal rights of women guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.
“The defense of this right today is in the hands of the working class, not the Supreme Court and ‘pro-choice’ politicians,” Hart said. “That’s why the Socialist Workers Party calls for a nationwide campaign of public action to defend it. That’s how to advance the fight for equal protection for women.”
“I just got back from a trip to Cuba, where I was part of a team at the Havana book fair,” Hart told Gabrielle Lasoncy from Philadelphia. “The involvement of women in the revolution, and their participation in mass campaigns like the literacy drive after the overthrow of the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship there, transformed women’s place in Cuba and women themselves. As part of this, they made abortion a woman’s choice.”
Shake-up of capitalist partiesSigns of a new capitalist downturn are growing, including a contraction in manufacturing in China, the U.S., the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Central banks in Japan, Sweden and the European Union have turned to negative interest rate schemes to try to “stimulate” the economy, without success. The bosses won’t invest in expanding production if they can’t make a profit from it.
“The Republican Party Is Shattering,” headlined a column by Peggy Noonan, former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, in the March 3 Wall Street Journal. The Trump campaign shows “the top of the party and the bottom have split,” she warned. “Party leaders and thinkers should take note: It’s easier for a base to hire or develop a flashy new establishment than it is for an establishment to find itself a new base.”
“Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” former presidential candidate Republican Mitt Romney, declared in a March 3 speech. “He’s playing members of the American public for suckers.” It didn’t work. If anything Romney’s speech solidified Trump’s support.
Interviewed on MSNBC March 4, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who dropped out of the Democratic race before the primaries, said he couldn’t support Clinton, but wouldn’t rule out voting for Trump. The reason Trump gets support is not racism, Webb said, but that many see him “as the only one who has the courage to say, ‘We’ve got to clean out the stables of the American governmental system right now.’”
“If you’re voting for Hillary Clinton you’re going to get the same thing,” he said. “Do you want the same thing?”
Clinton’s campaign faces other problems that could derail it. The Justice Department announced March 2 it has granted immunity to a former State Department staffer who worked on Clinton’s private email server to cooperate in a criminal investigation into whether she mishandled classified information during her tenure as secretary of state. The administration has assigned more than 100 FBI agents to the investigation.
Polls show Bernie Sanders, whose “outsider” campaign mirrors that of Trump, would fare better than Clinton in a November election against either Trump or his closest rival Ted Cruz.
SWP files for Senate in CaliforniaEleanor García, an aerospace worker and Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Senate in California, filed nomination petitions March 9 to get on the ballot for an all-party June primary there.
“We are joining struggles big or small, whether labor battles to organize or win a contract, fights to beat back attempts by the bosses to make workers pay for their crisis, actions by women demanding abortion rights, and protests against the killing of cattle rancher Robert Finicum by Oregon State police and the FBI,” García said in a press release announcing her filing.
“Today, campaign supporters are joining a rally here in Los Angeles that is part of protests worldwide calling for the release of Nadia Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot who was kidnapped and imprisoned by authorities in Russia. And we will be at a rally of El Super workers fighting for union recognition.”
Several of García’s co-workers at Triumph Vought Aerostructures, where she’s employed as a structural mechanic, signed her petitions. “At break time I talked to a group of co-workers,” she said. “A sealer from Tennessee signed, saying I’m going to vote for you. He said it’s just so different for a worker to run for office. Some weren’t so excited and hid behind their cellphones. Another told me he wants to go campaigning with me.”
Arlene Rubinstein in Washington and Bernie Senter in Los Angeles contributed to this article.
Solidarity with working people of Syria
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