“I’ve watched a lot of State of the Union speeches by both Democratic and Republican presidents,” Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party candidate for president, told the Militant from Dallas Feb. 5. “No matter what party is in office, they try to convince working people we are all part of a big happy family with the capitalists, that we are all in this together.”
“But it’s not ‘our’ country, or ‘our’ government,” Kennedy said. “Working people and the owners of big business have sharply counterposed interests. They exploit our labor at home and turn us into cannon fodder in their wars to protect markets and exploitation abroad.
“They want to make as much profit as they can by keeping our wages as low and the pace of production as fast as they can get away with.”
“On-the-job injuries are climbing. We need workers control over production,” Kennedy said. “That’s a key part of our platform. It’s how workers can defend themselves on the job at the same time as we can begin to see that we are capable of replacing the bosses and their government and run society ourselves.”
“Working people cannot look to the White House, or Congress or any capitalist politician to change the conditions we face,” Kennedy said. “We have to build a movement to fight for higher wages, better conditions and workers control. To open the road to working people taking power and forming a workers and farmers government.
“That’s why our campaign says workers need their own party, a labor party, and why we are proposing a fighting platform to go forward,” she said.
Kennedy, her running mate Malcolm Jarrett, and SWP candidates for U.S. Senate and other offices, are campaigning in cities and towns, large and small, talking to working people on their doorsteps.
On Feb. 4, Kennedy and Gerardo Sánchez, the party’s candidate for U.S. Senate, teamed up to campaign in Joshua, Texas. They ran into Carol Ortega as she was coming home from work at her part-time job at a Valero gas station.
“Our party is a working-class party that believes the only way to change the deteriorating conditions that we live every day is to stand up and fight,” Kennedy told her. “Our campaign backs every fight by workers for better wages and working conditions, like the strike being waged today by copper miners against the Asarco bosses in Texas and Arizona.”
Ortega told them she was facing hard times. When the “Affordable Care Act” was first passed, she said, “I was able to get health insurance for $78 a month for me and my son, but now I pay $378 just for myself.” Kennedy showed her The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People, a book by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, which describes how the Clinton administration together with a Republican-controlled Congress worked together to end the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program.
“I didn’t know about that,” Ortega said. “I always thought Clinton was a good president.”
No matter which party is in the White House, Kennedy said, the president is just the chief executive officer for the capitalist class. “Obama’s ‘affordable’ health care is just another program that benefits big capitalist insurance companies. The Socialist Workers Party fights for universal, government-guaranteed cradle-to-grave health care, and retirement income for all.”
Ortega got a copy of the Militant and asked Kennedy and Sánchez to come back after payday so she can get a subscription and some of the books by party leaders they showed her.
On Feb. 2, Kennedy campaigned with supporters at an apartment complex in Richards, Texas, that had been hit by a tornado last October. Many buildings still had blue tarps on the roofs.
U.S. out of the Middle East!
“My campaign demands that Washington immediately withdraw every single troop and all of its military weapons from the Middle East,” Kennedy told Shakr Ali, a cashier who emigrated to the U.S. from Yemen.
“I think the U.S. should stay because the Iranian government is so bad,” Ali said, referring to Tehran’s intervention in Yemen, including arming and organizing militias.
“But the U.S. intervention there aims to defend the capitalists’ investments and markets, not the interests of working people,” Kennedy said. “In fact, their wars are an obstacle to us organizing and fighting there for more control and better conditions.”
“The platform of the SWP is not designed to patch up the crisis-ridden capitalist system, but to point a road forward for working people to fight to protect their interests against the brutal aggression of the bosses, their political parties and their government.
“Working people in Yemen and Iran, just like in the U.S., need to gain self-confidence and class consciousness in struggle to replace the capitalist regimes there,” Kennedy said.
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