The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 68/No. 41           November 9, 2004  
SWP candidates get good response at N.Y. college
BRONXVILLE, New York—“Don’t we have a responsibility after making such a mess of things in Iraq?” That was the first question by one of the students at Sarah Lawrence College here who took part in an October 21 meeting titled, “Learn about the working-class alternative! Meet Socialist Workers Party candidates on the ballot in NY in this election.”

The student noted that SWP vice-presidential candidate Arrin Hawkins had called in her presentation for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of U.S. and other imperialist troops from Iraq.

“You have to start with a different framework,” responded Martín Koppel, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate in New York. “Who is the ‘we’ that’s being talked about. The billionaire families that rule this country try to make us think that ‘we’ have common interests with them. We, the working people in this country and our brothers and sisters in Iraq have common interests and a common enemy—the billionaire families and their government in Washington that has invaded Iraq. As long as there are U.S. troops in Iraq there will be no solution to the conflict there.”

Koppel fielded questions from the students because Hawkins had to leave after her talk to catch a flight to Iceland, where she went to campaign on the invitation of the Communist League and the Young Socialists. In her remarks, Hawkins told the students that she would be meeting workers, students, and others in Iceland and talk to them about the class struggle in the United States and world politics. “The world is our battleground,” said Hawkins.

The meeting was moderated by Justine Davies, a student at Sarah Lawrence who helped organize the event. It was co-sponsored by the Political Union, a student group on campus. Davies first met Hawkins during an August 28 march across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York to defend women’s right to choose abortion. It was one of several protests in the city before the Republican National Convention.

Hawkins described to the students a lunch-time meeting with workers inside a sewing factory in Newark, New Jersey, earlier that day. She said it was a highlight of her campaign stop in the area. She also described the October 17 march by nearly 10,000 striking casino and hotel workers and their supporters in Atlantic City, New Jersey, she had taken part in (see article in this issue).

“This is what the socialist campaign is like,” said Hawkins. She and SWP presidential candidate, Róger Calero, have been criss-crossing the country explaining their campaign platform to workers, farmers, students, and many other people. At the center of the socialist platform, she said, is championing workers’ struggles to organize unions and make the unions they already have more effective to resist the bosses’ attacks on wages and working conditions.

“Are you for nuclear proliferation?” asked another student. During her presentation, Hawkins had defended the right of semi-colonial countries such as north Korea and Iran to develop the energy sources they need, including nuclear energy, which are a precondition for social and political advances for working people.

Koppel answered that when the capitalist politicians say they are against nuclear proliferation “They mean that they, the imperialists, should have the right to nuclear weapons and nuclear power but the oppressed countries should not. What gives Washington—the only government to ever use nuclear weapons against other human beings—the right to say who should and should not have access to nuclear technology?”

Six of the nine students present signed up on the mailing list of the SWP campaign and a couple volunteered to help get out the socialists’ message on campus more widely, including after the November 2 elections.
Related articles:
SWP presidential candidate in L.A., on last stretch of U.S. campaign tour
SWP candidates: ‘Free locked-up Vieques protesters’
Stumping for socialism from Reykjavík to Seattle
Calero meets farmers in Tchula, Mississippi
SWP candidates in New York campaign among meat packers at Hunts Point Meat Market in Bronx
SWP candidate speaks to striking Iceland teachers
SWP campaign in Florida: ‘Vote No on parental notification act, Yes to increase in minimum wage’
Firebombed SWP campaign hall in Pennsylvania reopened
SWP candidate for Senate campaigns among cannery workers in Washington  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home