The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 76/No. 42      November 19, 2012

Event celebrates SWP presidential
election campaign, projects LA ticket
(front page)
“We have been inundated with campaign coverage—ads, polls, talking heads,” James Harris, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. president, told supporters in some 35 locations on a Nov. 6 election night phone hookup from a campaign meeting in Los Angeles.

“The U.S. rulers and their media work overtime to convince us we have a substantial stake in whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney become the president of the United States,” Harris said. “The truth is, we don’t. No matter who wins this race, the working class goes to the wall.”

Supporters listening in campaign headquarters from Seattle to Montreal were joined by workers locked out by American Crystal Sugar and their family members in Drayton, N.D, students at the University of Texas-Pan American in the Rio Grande Valley and others.

Not only do both candidates plan to go after the working class in one way or another, Harris said, but in many ways there are very little, if any, differences. This is especially true in relation to carrying out the rulers’ foreign policy.

“Both candidates say they agree on a 2014 date for withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Harris pointed out, “while neither of them saw fit to mention that the Pentagon is drawing up plans to keep thousands of troops there for another decade. And both candidates agree with the growing use of aerial drone assassinations.

“Washington’s massive shift in military resources to encircle China, the major economic competitor of the U.S., was not a matter of dispute,” Harris added. “In fact, right now the U.S. and Japan are engaged in an 11-day military exercise in the region called ‘Keen Sword’ with 34,100 Japanese troops and more than 10,000 U.S. land, air and naval forces.

“We, the working class, need our own foreign policy—a foreign policy not based upon securing the dictatorship of capital, the rule of the billionaire families,” Harris said. “Our foreign policy should flow from the need to unify workers and farmers worldwide against the common exploiting class and make us stronger in our ability to fight to overthrow their rule.

“We call for U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, South Korea, Guantánamo and every other part of the world,” he said.

John Studer, chair of the SWP National Campaign Committee, emceed the hookup from campaign headquarters in New York. He introduced Maura DeLuca, the party’s vice presidential candidate, who had spent the last few days in the New York area visiting and talking with workers affected by the social catastrophe in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“I have met and heard the stories of many workers hard hit by the storm and by the way capitalism creates conditions that turn a ‘natural disaster’ into a social catastrophe,” DeLuca said. I’ve seen the disdain for working people from bourgeois politicians like Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who called the victims of the storm ‘stupid’ and ‘selfish.’

“But these workers have come together in human solidarity to look out for each other, especially the sick and elderly, to pool the food sitting in their refrigerators without electricity to cook and distribute to those in need, setting up candles in the windowless hallways of flooded public housing so people can see,” she said.

“Imagine if this solidarity was backed up by a government run by workers and farmers that put the resources of society at their disposal,” DeLuca said. “That is what is happening today in revolutionary Cuba, where workers and farmers are working together to cope with the hurricane’s effects.

“Before I came to New York, I visited New Orleans,” DeLuca said, “and campaign supporters there took me to the Lower Ninth Ward, which is still devastated from Hurricane Katrina.

“As long as a few wealthy families hold state power, land remains private property and workers are largely forced to live in the most vulnerable, low-lying areas, these sorts of disasters will be repeated over and over.”

Turning the program back to Los Angeles, Studer introduced Norton Sandler, the recently announced SWP candidate for mayor there in the May 21 election.

“We are in the midst of a capitalist economic crisis of historic proportions, here and worldwide,” Sandler said. “The bosses and their politicians have no proposals to get out of this crisis. They have no plan other than to make working people pay.

“Official unemployment in Los Angeles is at 12 percent and the real number is much higher,” he said. “Most of the jobs they are offering are at near minimum wage, part time or through temp agencies.

“There are 165,000 jailed in California alone, a high percentage of them African-Americans,” Sandler said. “You regularly see headlines in the press like ‘Officer involved in shooting,’ as the cops act as judge, jury and executioner on the streets of the city.

“We campaign for a massive public works program to provide jobs. We call for the immediate legalization of immigrant workers and defend the right of women to choose abortion,” he said. “The SWP opposes all restrictions on equal protection under the law and supports the fight to end discrimination in marriage based on bigotry against people because of their gender or sexual orientation.”

The party will be putting supporters on the streets this coming weekend to gather 1,000 signatures to put Sandler’s name, and that of Eleanor García, the SWP candidate for L.A. Unified School Board, District 2, on the ballot. Sandler reported on volunteers organizing to come and help in the effort.

“Thousands of workers today know that the deepening capitalist economic crisis is unlike anything they have ever seen before,” Studer said. “And they want to know why this is happening and what we can do about it.

“We will join together to take the Militant door to door in working-class communities, large and small, urban and rural,” he concluded, “This is the best way to broaden the discussion in our class about what we face and how we can organize to strengthen our class, fight effectively and carve out a road to workers power.”
Related articles:
US election: Obama wins, victor will deepen assaults
Senate, House of Representatives remain divided
SWP candidates back Calif. postal workers’ fight  
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