DALLAS — Socialist Workers Party campaigners have gotten off to a solid start in the fight to win ballot status for Gerardo Sánchez, the party’s candidate for City Council District 1. They are extending the party’s reach and finding interest in its program and activity as they knock on doors in working-class neighborhoods and talk to co-workers.
Sánchez, a tire and lube worker at Walmart who grew up in Cuernavaca, Mexico, has also worked as a meatpacker and an underground coal miner. He is part of today’s fights for job safety, improved wages and better working conditions and has taken part in protests against police brutality. He built solidarity with Asarco copper miners on strike for months against boss attacks.
Sánchez’s supporters are collecting signatures to put him on the ballot for the May 1 election. As of Jan. 25, 62 workers and young people had signed petitions, including 18 co-workers of campaign supporters. The goal is to collect 200 signatures.
“Everywhere I go I explain the need to fight for a federal government-financed public works program to put millions to work,” Sánchez told the Militant. “We need to fight to cut the workweek with no cut in pay, and demand cost-of-living clauses in every contract that raise pay and retirement benefits to offset all increases in prices.”
The Dallas Morning News reported, “Texas is on pace to lose 680,000 jobs this year, the biggest annual decline on record.” Almost one in five adults in Dallas are in households that don’t have enough to eat, it said.
“Working people have no voice,” Sánchez told Maria Elena Alfaro while campaigning in the Lake Cliff neighborhood. “The Democrats and Republicans represent the rich. Workers need our own party, a labor party, to organize us to fight in the interest of all working people.”
Alfaro agreed, saying she quit her job at a book warehouse because bosses were not taking necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Workers need to be at work. This is what my campaign stands for,” Sánchez said, handing her a copy of the SWP action program. “We must organize to fight growing employer attacks on our jobs, wages and working conditions. We can fight for workers control of production to ensure that we have health and safety on the job. The bosses care about profits, not the dangerous conditions we are forced to work under.”
“They told us to social distance, but there were not enough masks or sanitizers,” Alfaro said. “If there had been protests against these conditions at work, I would have joined them.”
On the first night of campaigning for Sánchez, George Chalmers knocked on the door of Andrea Jenkins. “I supported Bernie Sanders and I saw how the election was rigged to keep him from winning,” she said.
They discussed the events at the Capitol Jan. 6 where conspiracy theorists, would-be paramilitaries and some supporters of Donald Trump briefly occupied the building. Since then more than 100 of those accused of being in the Capitol have been arrested and may have been fired from their jobs.
Under the guise of going after “domestic terrorists,” the U.S. government and the FBI are attacking political rights the working class needs to defend its interests.
“Jenkins signed to get the SWP on the ballot and got a six-month subscription to the Militant newspaper,” Chalmers said. “At the same time, another campaign supporter was talking to one of her neighbors across the street who signed, got a copy of the Red Zone: Cuba and the Battle Against Ebola in West Africa, and gave a contribution to the campaign.”
Claudia Acosta, who had been laid off from a recycling plant, signed up at a Dallas grocery store to help put Sánchez on the ballot after hearing what he fights and stands for. “There have been many years of bad conditions for us and violations of our rights,” she pointed out.
Hilda Cuzco contributed to this article.