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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 68/No. 31August 31, 2004


This is a two-week issue of the 'Militant.' The next issue, no. 32, dated September 7, will be mailed to readers on August 26.

lt’s not who you’re against,
but what you are for!
Vote Socialist Workers in 2004!
Join us in campaigning for socialism
Support the only working-class alternative in November
SWP candidates Róger Calero for president, left, Arrin Hawkins for vice president.

Thousands of young people, unionists, and others will be taking to the streets of New York before and during the Republican National Convention to say “Defeat Bush!”

We wholeheartedly agree and join with them. And we say, “Defeat Kerry too!” The Republicans and Democrats are twin parties of imperialist war, economic depression, and racist oppression.

We urge you to support the only working-class alternative to these two parties of capitalism: the Socialist Workers Party ticket of Róger Calero for president and Arrin Hawkins for vice president.

Why hold your nose to vote for the rotten “choice” of the Democratic Party nominee, John Kerry, who is so unappealing that many prefer to say they are voting “against Bush”? Why vote for Kerry, who recently confirmed he would have voted to back President George Bush in invading Iraq even if he had known there were no “weapons of mass destruction” there? The liberal capitalists told Kerry to say this clearly, so that the generals who have endorsed him can stand up and say he is as good as Bush, or even better, as the “commander in chief” of their imperialist military.

Why vote for Kerry, who was quick to side with Bush’s endorsement of Ariel Sharon’s “settlement plan” and who backs murderous policies of Tel Aviv against the Palestinian people? Why vote for Kerry, who supports Washington’s economic war on Cuba and calls for even more aggressive measures than the sitting president against Venezuela?

Why vote for Kerry, who is following the footsteps of his predecessor William “end welfare as we know it” Clinton and says abortion should be legal but rare? Abortion is a woman’s right to choose!

With either the Republicans or the Democrats working people go to the wall.

Instead, campaign for the socialist candidates. Something you can be for. That is what counts—not who you’re against, but what you’re for!

At the heart of the Socialist Workers campaign is support for workers’ right to organize unions and to defend ourselves against the bosses’ assaults on our jobs, wages, benefits, working conditions, and dignity.

Working people not only need to defend ourselves on the economic level—we need to organize independently of the employers in the political arena as well (see “What the SWP Stands and Fights For” on page 5). Socialists call for the launching of a labor party, based on the unions, to fight in the interests of workers and farmers.

Unable to inspire enthusiasm for their candidate, supporters of the Democrats sometimes argue we should vote for Kerry as a “lesser evil” to Bush and the Republicans. But this argument is false.

The cause of the worsening economic and social crisis—from exploitation by the bosses to wars of plunder abroad—is not an individual politician or a particular party holding office, but the capitalist system and the tiny handful of billionaire families that perpetuate their rule at the expense of the vast majority.

This capitalist class has two parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. Their two-party system is a trap designed to hoodwink working people into thinking that we have a choice—alternating between one gang of predators and another—and to keep us from attacking the real problem, capitalism.

Nor are the “independent” campaigns of Ralph Nader or the Green Party an alternative for working people. These are pro-capitalist third parties that are not independent from the ruling class. They serve as pressure groups on the Democrats, reinforcing the two-party con game.

The Socialist Workers Party is filing for ballot status in 14 states and the District of Columbia—from New York to Washington State and Florida. It is the only socialist campaign with ballot status on a national scale.

Some say the socialist campaign offers a perspective in the interests of working people—but it’s not realistic today. One frequent question is: Why campaign for candidates who cannot legally take office? To be president and vice president, the U.S. Constitution requires that you be U.S.-born and at least 35 years old. Róger Calero, a permanent U.S. resident, was born in Nicaragua; Arrin Hawkins is 29 years old.

But Calero and Hawkins are far more representative of the majority of the U.S. population today than a couple of older millionaire hucksters. And with the rapidly growing numbers of residents who are foreign-born, there are more voices today calling for expanding the right to vote and hold office. This changing reality of U.S. politics is highlighted by the prominence of numerous foreign-born political figures today, such as the governor of California, Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger, or former secretary of state Madeleine Albright. Just as the Constitution was amended under the Nixon administration to lower the voting age to 18, sooner or later some offices will be opened to those born abroad and the age limit for holding office will be lowered. The socialists support such changes because they serve the interests of the working class.

Another common question is: Well, I agree Kerry is a dismal option. But since only Democrats or Republicans will win the elections anyway, won’t voting for the socialists be a lost vote?

No, voting for a candidate you’re actually against—that’s truly a lost vote. Instead, vote for what you support: vote socialist!

We invite you to join with other socialist campaigners in distributing the campaign newspapers of Calero and Hawkins—the Militant and the Spanish-language socialist magazine Perspectiva Mundial—as widely as possible, together with books that give working-class explanations to the main problems facing humanity and point a way forward to resolve them in the interests of working people.As thousands of protesters fill the streets during the 12 days leading up to and during the Republican convention, Socialist Workers campaigners, from New York and around the country, will be joining the daily debates and discussions.

As part of this street campaigning, we are kicking off a 10-week drive—from August 28 through the weekend after the November 2 elections—to win 2,500 new subscribers to the Militant and 550 to Perspectiva Mundial. This is also a perfect time for those who have already subscribed to renew.

Socialists are also campaigning with a well-selected array of books and pamphlets that are featured in a four-page centerspread in this issue.

The questions posed in this year’s elections—“Is Kerry a ‘lesser evil’?” or “What’s the cause of the imperialist assault on Iraq?” among others—and the answers that communists and other currents in the workers movement give to them are not new. They have been tested in the class struggle over many decades. The socialist campaigners will be getting these books, pamphlets, and newspaper into the hands of as many people as possible to provide working-class answers to these questions.

Regardless of whether you vote in November, we urge you to join in campaigning for the working-class alternative—through November 2 and beyond.
Related articles:
Socialists prepare to campaign in N.Y. protests around Republican convention as they wind up ballot drives
Support the Socialist Workers campaign in 2004!
Róger Calero for President, Arrin Hawkins for Vice President

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