We need our own party, a labor party

April 26, 2021

Statement by Róger Calero, Socialist Workers Party candidate for New York City mayor, April 14.

There are two Americas. One that belongs to the propertied ruling families who own the banks, land, mines, factories, hospitals and other means of production — a class defended by their Democratic and Republican parties, and the other, that of working people who own only their labor power.

To defend ourselves and to chart a course to wrest political power out of the hands of the capitalist class, workers need our own party, a labor party.

We would use our own party to champion the fight for jobs, uniting employed and unemployed workers together in a struggle to get millions out of isolation in their home and back into work and the class struggle. It’s there that we can build fighting unions, fight for better wages and workers control over production, and for the needs of all working people.

A labor party would mobilize far-reaching solidarity for workers forced on strike — like steelworkers at ATI, coal miners at Warrior Met, St. Vincent nurses in Massachusetts and locked-out Marathon Petroleum refinery workers today. Victory in these struggles would advance the interests of all workers and farmers.

A labor party would champion the fight against cop brutality, building on the example set by Teamsters Local 120, the union of the oil refinery workers. They organized to join a 1,000-strong vigil called by the family of Daunte Wright after he was shot dead by a cop this week in Minnesota.

Such a party would attract millions by standing up for all the exploited and oppressed, drawing them into united struggle. It would provide working people with an instrument to advance our own class interests, and not accept what the bosses say they can afford or what Democratic and Republican politicians say is “realistic.”

Working-class struggle offers the road to deepen our self-confidence and our understanding that we are part of an international working class. We will transform our attitudes toward life, work and each other as we fight to change intolerable conditions, seeing ever more clearly we have the capacity to reorganize and run society ourselves.

Along that road millions will be won to building a movement to replace capitalist rule with a workers and farmers government.

Working people in Cuba showed this is not only necessary but can be done, when they overthrew the U.S.-backed Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in 1959, taking power into their own hands.

Led by Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement, Cuban workers and farmers used their state power to take over the land, banks and factories; provided land to all who wanted to farm it; enforced an end to racial segregation; and drew millions of women into social and political life for the first time.

This month we celebrate the 60th anniversary of two key battles in the Cuban Revolution. One is the 1961 drive led by the new Cuban government that mobilized 100,000 volunteers to wipe out illiteracy on the island, which transformed both the volunteers and those they helped learn to read, drawing them more deeply into the revolution.

The second was the defeat of the U.S.-backed mercenary invasion at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. The Cuban people mobilized and routed the mercenaries in three days. As Castro said, “There will be a victorious revolution in the United States before a victorious counterrevolution in Cuba.”

Join us emulating the inspiring example of the Cuban Revolution!