DALLAS — The two main capitalist parties, the Democrats and Republicans, are in crisis, Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party candidate for president, told participants in a campaign rally here Feb. 8. And, she said, more and more workers are concluding that neither the Democratic or Republican parties are on the side of working people.
Kennedy explained that she, SWP vice presidential candidate Malcolm Jarrett and over 20 SWP candidates coast to coast are campaigning on the need for workers to have our own party, a labor party, based on our unions.
“One of the ways the wealthy class maintains its rule has always been its use of the two-party — or more — system,” Kennedy said. “If you don’t like what one capitalist politician is doing, they tell you to vote for another capitalist politician from the other party in the next election.
“The 2016 election showed that the capitalist rulers can’t depend on this anymore,” she said. “More workers said, ‘He’s worse, she’s worse,’ and that has the capitalist class worried.
“More and more workers sense the dead-end of lesser evil politics,” Kennedy told the Militant in an interview a couple days later. “But it’s not immediately apparent to them what the alternative is. What workers need in the political arena will grow out of our experiences fighting to defend our wages and working conditions, for our social and political rights, against the capitalist rulers’ wars abroad.
“Through these battles we’ll transform and rebuild our unions, and transform ourselves, deepening our self-confidence and class consciousness,” she said. “We’ll learn the burning necessity of constructing our own political party, with a program to take power out of the hands of the capitalist exploiters.
“A labor party can unite and mobilize all those who are exploited and oppressed by capital, the vast majority,” she said.
“We don’t have a dog in the race for which Democrat or Republican gets elected in 2020,” Kennedy told the rally. “Join with the SWP campaign to fight for our own party, a labor party, to organize a class struggle for power.”
Not a ‘vote-catching machine’
A labor party would need a program that raises the same kinds of demands that the Socialist Workers Party is promoting in its 2020 campaign platform.
“The SWP campaign program says our unions need to fight for workers to take control of production,” she said. “That’s how workers can defend ourselves on the job at the same time as we learn how the working class is capable of organizing the economy itself, of replacing the bosses and their government, and of running society ourselves.
“Think what this would have meant if Boeing workers had conquered control of building and testing the Boeing 737 MAX plane!” she said.
“Workers control of production would enable us to deal with the questions of industrial pollution of the atmosphere that contributes greenhouse gases and other contamination,” Kennedy pointed out. “It is only the working class that is capable — and has the class interests — to defend our land, air and waters. The defense of science and culture, of everything important to humanity, falls to the working class.
“All of that would point in the direction of working people forming their own labor party, fighting to put a workers and farmers government in power,” Kennedy said.
Open door to Israel-Palestine talks
During the discussion at the forum, Kennedy was asked what the campaign’s view is of the Trump administration’s recently announced Middle East peace proposal.
She encouraged participants to read the December 2017 Socialist Workers Party statement, “For Recognition of a Palestinian State and of Israel.”
“This is a very important opening for working people in the Middle East and worldwide,” Kennedy said. “It should be grabbed by the Israeli and Arab governments and the leaderships of the Palestinian organizations to open serious negotiations.”
“These negotiations,” she said, “would have to recognize, as our statement points out, ‘the right of Jews everywhere to take refuge in Israel in the face of the global rise of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitic violence, as well as the unconditional right of the dispossessed Palestinian people to a contiguous, sovereign homeland on territory — including East Jerusalem — conquered and occupied by the Israeli government during the 1967 war.”
There have been no negotiations for decades, she said, a result of anti-working-class leaderships there.
“The Palestinian people deserve a leadership that takes the moral high ground,” she said. “The U.S. proposal as it stands would leave the Palestinian state looking like a gerrymandered U.S. congressional district. But what could emerge from serious negotiations would have to recognize today’s realities. This could open the road to the fight for two viable states.”
Our starting point, as the SWP statement makes clear, Kennedy said, is “the class interests and solidarity of workers and toiling farmers across the Middle East — be they Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, Kurdish, Turkish, Persian or otherwise, and whatever their religious or other beliefs — as well as working people in the United States and around the world.”
Participants at the meeting contributed $450 for the national SWP campaign.
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