The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 69/No. 41           October 24, 2005  
Socialist candidates in Miami
back fights by truckers, taxi drivers
(feature article)
MIAMI—Omari Musa, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Miami, and Eric Simpson, who is running on the SWP ticket for city commissioner in District 5, have been actively campaigning among working people. They have extended support to striking taxi drivers in Broward County and independent truckers organizing into the Teamsters union here.

Both candidates are on the ballot for the November 1 elections and have received significant media coverage.

On October 8, Simpson and SWP campaign supporters brought the campaign newspaper, the Militant, to taxi drivers on strike in Ft. Lauderdale, just north of Miami. Two drivers subscribed and 20 bought copies. One driver—wearing a T-shirt defending Father Gerard Jean-Juste, imprisoned in Haiti for his opposition to the U.S.-backed rightist regime—said he would spread the word about the SWP campaign.

Simpson and his seven opponents in the District 5 race have been speaking at a series of forums sponsored by People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality (PULSE). At one such forum October 5 in Overtown, a mostly Black community, many of the 60 people present expressed anger at the lack of affordable housing and increased difficulties in making ends meet. They were responding to a proposed $200 million Crosswinds housing unit, built on city land, that many fear will promote gentrification, pushing housing costs up and forcing current residents out.

When someone asked, “What do you consider to be affordable housing?” Simpson said: “An example is Cuba where by law no one pays more than 10 percent of their wages in rent. We need housing working people can afford, but we need jobs too. The SWP campaign calls for a massive federally funded public works program to put millions to work at union-scale wages.”

An interview with Simpson published in the October 5-11 Miami Times, a weekly directed to the Black community, said, “‘We’re running a campaign based on the fighting capacity of the working people.’ He thinks the working class of Miami needs trade unions that are political to rally for their cause…. ‘There are two Miamis—one for the rich and one for the poor.’”

Musa addressed 10 members of the executive board of the firefighters union October 6. “Our collective power is what forces the bosses to give in to our demands,” said Musa. “Workers need to organize unions and use them to fight. We support the striking Northwest Airlines workers and the independent truckers organizing themselves into the Teamsters at the port. We also point to the need to build a labor party, based on the unions, that fights in the interests of working people year around.”

The September 16 Nuevo Herald, the main Spanish-language daily here, published an article with a photo of Musa in his campaign office in Little Haiti. His party’s platform, the Herald article concluded, “includes demanding federal aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters; solidarity with striking unionists; support for the Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez; and withdrawal of the U.S. armed forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, and the naval base at Guantánamo, Cuba.”

Nicole Sarmiento contributed to this article.  
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