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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people                              
Vol. 80/No. 29      August 8, 2016



Available Online
(lead article)

‘Socialist Workers Party is revolutionary party we need’

Working class is capable of reorganizing society

Militant/John Staggs
Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate Alyson Kennedy, left, at July 27 march against police brutality in Philadelphia, with Delphine Matthews, mother of Frank McQueen, killed by Chester, Pennsylvania, police in 2014. It makes no difference to workers whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is elected, Kennedy said, because source of problems is capitalism.
SALT LAKE CITY — “Workers need a revolutionary party to educate and organize the working class to fight for political power,” Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate Alyson Kennedy told a news conference here July 22. “That’s what the Socialist Workers Party is.”

“Last night Donald Trump’s Republican Party convention ended,” Kennedy noted. “Next week it will be the coronation of Clinton in Philadelphia. Neither the propertied rulers nor their candidates Trump and Hillary Clinton have any solution to the irresolvable crisis of capitalism. Instead they aim to make us believe the fantasy that ‘we’ — the workers and the capitalist owners — are all in this together.”

Kennedy has joined party supporters across the country knocking on doors in towns, cities and farming and ranching areas, talking with working people about the impact of the world social and economic crisis, and building a working-class movement to confront it. During recent campaigning in seven counties in Utah, 210 people bought copies of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege and Learning Under Capitalism by Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes and 179 subscriptions to the Militant. Reading communist literature is an essential part of understanding the party’s perspective and to be better able to think socially and act politically in defense of the interests of the working class.

Journalists from the Salt Lake Tribune, Fox13 television and the Militant covered the conference, and Kennedy and Socialist Workers Party national campaign director John Studer were interviewed on KRCL radio.

At the Republican Party convention, Trump added a law and order theme — Make America Safe Again — to his “America First” and “Make America Great Again” slogans. He continued scapegoating immigrants, falsely accusing workers without papers of being criminals, while saying he alone will “create millions more jobs.”

More than 30 million tuned in to Trump’s acceptance speech. He pledged to bring back coal, steel and other industrial jobs and keep the U.S. out of foreign wars. Trump said working people are being devastated and blamed poor “trade deals,” not capitalism. “I am going to turn our bad trade agreements into great trade agreements,” he said.

Clinton claims that “America never stopped being great” and blames any economic difficulties on Republican Party opposition to the Barack Obama administration. She has attacked Trump for being anti-immigrant, leaving out that she has backed to the hilt the anti-immigrant policies of the Obama and previous administrations that have made it harder for workers without papers to get jobs and easier for the government to put them in jail, resulting in thousands being locked up for the so-called crime of coming to the U.S. to look for work.

It makes no difference to working people which of the two is elected, Kennedy said. The day after the election, the ruling rich will still be pushing the capitalist economic crisis on the backs of working people and escalating imperialist military intervention in the Mideast, scapegoating immigrants and undermining democratic rights.

“The war against workers here and spreading wars against workers and farmers abroad will deepen,” the candidate said. “For decades we have been battered by low and stagnant wages, plant and mine closings, speedup on the job and assaults on our unions. The rulers try to divide us with attacks on immigrant workers and on a woman’s access to abortion and to contraception.”

Washington has been engaged in nonstop wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere, Kennedy said. “Millions have been forced to flee, many seeking to get to Europe, exacerbating the crisis of the rulers there and their European ‘Union,’ which is coming apart.”

‘Gains are not won at ballot box’

“Both Clinton and Trump say, ‘I will solve your problems,’” Kennedy told the Fox13 reporter. “We say it’s working people ourselves who will solve our problems. Gains are not made at the ballot box, they’re made by workers’ struggles,” she said, citing union coal miners’ successful fight to win black lung benefits in the 1960s.

Kennedy was part of the first wave of women coal miners in the early 1980s. She later worked at the Co-Op mine in Huntington, Utah, where she helped lead a union organizing drive from 2003 to 2006 together with co-workers who were immigrants from Mexico.

The SWP takes part in working-class struggles — from building the Sept. 8 march on Washington, D.C., called by the United Mine Workers union to defend pensions and health benefits from assaults by the government and mine bosses; to protesting police brutality in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Salt Lake City and elsewhere; to defending women’s right to choose abortion.

“Through these fights and bigger battles to come, working people will gain the class consciousness and confidence to build a revolutionary movement that can overthrow today’s dictatorship of capital, establish a workers and farmers government and join in the worldwide struggle for socialism,” Kennedy said.

Javier Segura, a medical interpreter who met Socialist Workers Party campaigners when they knocked on his door, came to the press conference to meet Kennedy and support the party’s ballot effort. Campaigners collected nearly 1,700 signatures, two-thirds more than the 1,000 required by the state. But several counties, after checking petitions submitted earlier in the month, rejected more than half as “invalid.”

“It is simply not credible that so few of those who signed for us are ‘eligible,’” Studer told the reporters. “In Washington state, after our protest, authorities found 200 more valid signatures and certified the SWP on the ballot. Our attorneys in Vermont and Chris Wharton here in Utah are working with us to win a similar result.”

In a July 21 letter to the office of the lieutenant governor, which supervises elections, Wharton wrote that the signatures collected at workers’ doors “demonstrate broad support among working people in Utah for my client’s candidates to appear on the ballot.”

When reporters asked why the SWP is encountering these obstacles Kennedy replied, “The election laws are designed to keep the two capitalist parties in power and to make it difficult for a working-class party to get on the ballot.”

Several workers sent messages in favor of the Socialist Workers Party candidates winning ballot status. “The time has come to start hearing and listening to the voice of the working men and women of Utah,” wrote John Haight, a former copper miner and longtime unionist from Kearns. “I signed the petition to put Alyson Kennedy and Osborne Hart on the ballot for president and vice president. They have won workers’ support across the state of Utah.”

More than $1,100 was raised in Utah to cover campaign expenses. Additional funds are needed to keep going.  

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