Working people are living through times today we haven’t seen in our lifetimes. The working class remains at the center of politics in the U.S. as the 2018 midterm elections are less than three weeks away. Although no one can predict the timing, the capitalist rulers — and the meritocratic professionals who serve them — sense that mounting class struggle lies ahead.
The Socialist Workers Party, with working-class candidates in 11 states and the District of Columbia, is campaigning for working people to establish their own voice. It explains they need a labor party that is independent of the capitalist rulers’ parties and their state and acts to unite our class in struggle. We need unions, and actions to defend our class and others who are feeling the deep effects of the crisis of capitalism that the bosses seek to put on our backs. And we need a course towards overturning the rule of the capitalists and taking political power into our own hands.
Party branches are mapping out the final weeks of aggressive campaigning, spearheaded by taking the party, its program and activities, the Militant and books by party leaders that explain this course, to workers on their doorsteps. We urge you to join with them, get involved!
With jobless figures dropping, workers are becoming more assured that they can change jobs and with that comes greater confidence to stand up to the bosses. SWP members are joining striking hotel workers, cement workers and others, helping to build solidarity. Where they work, they act to strengthen the union, or to organize if they don’t have one yet.
And they take part in street protests and meetings against Washington’s wars, for amnesty for all workers without papers the rulers consider “proper,” against police brutality and to defend women’s right to choose abortion. They speak out about the example of working people in Cuba, who have shown that we can take power and run society in the interests of the toiling majority.
Working-class marks politics today
The working class has put its mark on all the big unfolding political developments. Real estate mogul Donald Trump won the 2016 election because millions of working people, hit hard by the effects of the crisis and the U.S. rulers’ wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, were — in a distorted way, as with all bourgeois elections — casting a vote for what they hoped would be a change. Many others didn’t vote, disgusted with what they’d gotten from decades of Republicans and Democrats alike in the White House.
Hillary Clinton said this was because so many workers are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.”
Both the Democratic and Republican parties are becoming more unstable and fractured. The Democrats especially are riven between the middle-of-the-road “progressives” and the socialist reformer wing of the party. Trump is solidifying his support within the Republican Party, but it continues to contain many who cannot reconcile themselves to his presidency.
The election of Trump, and the rulers’ growing fears of the working class, spurred a furious “resistance” among the Democrats. It’s a permanent feature of politics today, dragging in the middle-class left. In their drive to oust Trump they strike out at political rights that are crucial to working people and look to restrict the franchise of the class they consider dangerous — the working class. They hail the FBI when two former heads of the rulers’ political police help spearhead their campaign around allegations of Trump collaboration with Moscow in stealing the election. In their hysteria to stop Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, they’re hell-bent on trampling on the presumption of innocence.
But the Democrats’ anti-Kavanaugh crusade backfired. “The most recent polls have underscored the real possibility that Republicans will keep control of both the Senate and House,” liberal columnist and a leading anti-Trump crusader David Leonhardt wrote in the New York Times Oct. 12.
Hillary Clinton says, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for.” Former Democratic Attorney General Eric Holder, one of many “resisters” said to be looking at a White House run in 2020, told his followers, “When they [Trump and his supporters] go low, we kick them.”
Others have taken the resistance campaign more to heart. Last year Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson took a bunch of guns, went to a Republican softball team practice and opened fire, seriously wounding Rep. Steven Scalise.
The target of all this fury is “Trump’s base,” the “deplorables.” Liberals argue working people are more racist, anti-immigrant, anti-woman, reactionary.
Nothing could be further from the truth. As the Socialist Workers Party campaigns on workers’ doorsteps, from the hollers of West Virginia to public housing high rises in Brooklyn, and on strike picket lines, we find the working class is becoming politicized and interested in discussing a course forward.
A group of women unionists attending a conference of North America’s Building Trades Unions in Seattle Oct. 12 joined striking UNITE HERE Local 8 members picketing in front of the Westin Hotel Oct. 12.
Edwin Fruit, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate in Washington state, and supporter Jeanne FitzMaurice were marching in solidarity. They met Enola Thomas, a union iron worker from Kennewick. She said she was originally from New Orleans, displaced by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“People lost their homes and had to leave the city,” she said. “And then the real estate developers bought up the land cheap, but they didn’t build the housing that workers needed.”
Fruit said that the working class needs a labor party to represent its interests. “I agree with what you are saying but how do we get there?” Thomas asked. “It will require a resurgence in the labor movement with a movement of millions beginning to fight back against what the capitalist class is doing to us,” Fruit responded, showing her a copy of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. “The gains that Blacks have made in this country are due to the fight of the Black nationality. Their battles and determination are a harbinger of the future fight of the working class to take power,” Fruit said. Thomas got a subscription to the Militantand the book.
Thomas said she didn’t understand why union people would vote for Trump. Fruit showed her a copy of The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record, also by Barnes.“This book,” Fruit said, “explains how under the Bill Clinton administration the most vulnerable parts of the working class were affected by his ending of ‘welfare as we know it,’ how they changed the laws so the prison population shot way up, and how they lowered our cost-of-living raises on Social Security and other things by rigging inflation rates.”
“I didn’t know this stuff happened under Clinton,” Thomas said. She got a copy of that book too and said she wants to stay in touch.
The rulers and their Democrats and Republicans treat workers as the objectsof government policy. Today, as they more and more fear class struggles to come, they want to push us out of politics. The SWP says working people are the makers of history. And we’re campaigning to win more to join in shaping a course along this line. Join our campaign!