The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 72/No. 21      May 26, 2008

In California, SWP candidate for president
backs workers fighting racism
(front page)
SAN FRANCISCO—Róger Calero, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. president, met with carpenters who are fighting attempts by the Apartment Investment Management Company (AIMCO) to sow racist divisions on construction sites, while on tour here May 9-12.

The AIMCO bosses have tried to use Latino workers to drive down wages and push the union out. They have kept Latino and Black crews separate and given Latino workers overtime while shortening the hours of Black workers. Bosses have hurled racist indignities at both Black and Latino workers.

Latino and Black workers have united to call an end to this, organizing a lawsuit and putting a spotlight on what is happening.

“Your fight is setting an example, inspiring other workers who are hearing about it,” Calero told a group of carpenters gathered for a meeting May 12. “The bosses will continue to use rising unemployment and divide-and-rule tactics as a weapon against workers. Your struggle shows how when we fight collectively, these tactics will backfire on them.”

Calero said fights by workers to overcome divisions on the job and to resist the bosses’ attempts to drive down wages and conditions are part of the struggle to transform the unions into fighting instruments. “Out of such a transformed union movement, workers can forge a labor party that can fight for our broad interests in the political arena,” he said.

At the Whole Earth Festival at the University of California, Davis, Calero addressed a crowd of several hundred around one of the outdoor stages to listen to music and other presentations.

“We are offering a working-class alternative to the Republicans and Democrats, a platform that can unify working people in struggles for what we need,” Calero said. “Working people do not have a voice in the government. We need to fight for a labor party based on a fighting union movement.”

“You said it, brother,” someone yelled out as Calero described the economic squeeze workers are feeling in response to rising prices, falling wages, and cuts in working hours.

“What does your campaign say about the destruction of the environment?” asked one person at a workshop on the campaign held later during the festival.

“All these problems, whether it’s lack of health care, or destruction of the environment, stem from the system where everything is based on maximizing profits,” said Calero. “For example, the oil industry is run for profit. We need to open their financial books, expose their dirty secrets, their profiteering at our expense and the expense of the environment, and nationalize the energy industry, taking it out of private hands.

“These are things the unions need to fight for,” he continued. “Not only for the benefit of working people here in the U.S., but in solidarity with people around the world, where millions go hungry while a tiny handful reap superprofits off food speculation.”

Calero also talked with truckers at the Port of Oakland, where drivers protesting skyrocketing fuel prices refused to work earlier in May. He said, as president, his administration would implement automatic cost-of-living increases in workers’ wages and drivers’ rates. “As the cost of diesel, maintenance, and insurance rates go up,” he said, “what truckers receive has to go up to match.”
Related articles:
Socialist vice presidential candidate backs Somali immigrants in Sweden
Socialist candidate for U.S. vice president joins picket lines in Montreal
Young Socialists host U.S. socialist candidates on European tour  
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