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Vol. 74/No. 49      December 27, 2010

Chicago SWP candidate:
‘We need a labor party’
CHICAGO—“I will use my campaign to organize solidarity with workers in struggle throughout the state and region, across the country, and around the world—from the locked-out grain millers in Keokuk, Iowa, to the locked-out nuclear workers in Metropolis, Illinois, to workers resisting austerity measures in Ireland, Greece, and France,” said John Hawkins, a long-time unionist and fighter for Black rights, in announcing his campaign as Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor here.

Hawkins will be an official write-in candidate. Discriminatory election laws make it difficult for working-class candidates to be on the ballot.

Twenty candidates have filed petitions for ballot status in the February 22 election, since Richard M. Daley announced he would not seek a seventh term as mayor. The Daley family has run Chicago politics for the capitalist rulers for all but 12 of the past 56 years.

Among the capitalist politicians in the race are Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff; Carolyn Moseley Braun, former U.S. senator from Illinois; and U.S. Rep. Daniel Davis. At least a dozen candidates have had their ballot status challenged over validity of signatures, residency, and other issues.

“Working people throughout Chicago are confronting a severe crisis. Like workers around the country and around the world, we are living through the deepest and longest economic depression since the 1930s. And there is no end in sight,” said Hawkins.

“The only party offering a program to defend working people and a perspective for fighting to end the dog-eat-dog capitalist system in favor of a socialist world is the Socialist Workers Party,” he said.

“We tell the truth, that working people must organize a mass revolutionary movement to take political power and replace the rule of the capitalist class with working-class rule.

“Working people must stop relying on the twin capitalist parties—Democrats and Republicans alike. These parties always put the interests of the bankers, landlords, and industrialists first. We need a labor party, based on unions that are fighting to put workers’ interests first,” stated Hawkins. “I plan to use my campaign to advance this perspective.”

In the days leading up to the filing, the socialist mayoral candidate traveled to Metropolis, Illinois, to learn more about the struggle of nuclear fuel workers there locked out by Honeywell in June when they refused to agree to a takeback contract. Although the workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 7-669, offered to continue working under the current contract, Honeywell refused, demanding the elimination of seniority and retiree medical benefits, along with pension cuts and a wage reduction of 10 percent over three years.

The locked-out steelworkers have received support from dozens of unions in the area, and won unemployment benefits during the lockout.

“By standing up to the boss, your fight is an example to many other workers who are facing similar attacks,” Hawkins told the unionists.

Workers on the picket line welcomed a fellow worker running for political office.  
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