‘The Socialist Workers Party is the working
BY EDWIN FRUIT
EVERETT, Wash. — “The Socialist Workers Party is the working-class alternative to the Democrats and Republicans, the two capitalist parties that have no solution to the worldwide crisis of capitalism hammering the working class,” Alyson Kennedy, SWP candidate for U.S. president, told Norma Jean Foster, a retired school custodian and member of the Operating Engineers union, who she met campaigning door to door here Aug. 29. Everett is home to thousands of Boeing aircraft and other workers.
“Our conditions of life and work are worsening as the bosses try to make workers all over the world pay for their crisis,” Kennedy said. “The Socialist Workers Party is the only party standing up for the working class and explaining that we have to organize a movement capable of making a revolutionary change in this country to put the working class in power.”
Foster told Kennedy she was leaning to Hillary Clinton, “because I’m afraid Trump will get us stuck in foreign wars.”
“Both Trump and Clinton will continue U.S. wars abroad, representing the interests of the ruling class,” Kennedy replied. “Clinton has a long record as secretary of state acting to keep Washington’s power and domination abroad in place.”
A friend of Foster’s, a Boeing worker who was visiting, asked Kennedy, “Did you know that Donald Trump is speaking here tomorrow night?”
“Yes, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here. I think a lot of working people go to hear what he has to say because they see him as being an outsider, not a professional politician,” Kennedy said. “But he has no solutions for the working class either, and his demagogic attacks against immigrants and scapegoating Muslim people divides us.” Foster decided to buy a subscription to the Militant and a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege and Learning Under Capitalism by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes.
Grace, a woman originally from East Africa, greeted Kennedy on the sidewalk near her home as she was returning from her job as a caregiver. “I never met a presidential candidate before. In my country politics are very corrupt and they buy and steal the elections,” she said.
“They steal the elections here too,” Kennedy said. “If the ruling class thinks one of the candidates will harm their interests, they make sure their favored alternative is declared the winner.
“Workers all over the world face the effects of the growing contraction in capitalist trade and production and bear the brunt of their crisis. This is why my party starts with what is happening to the international working class.”
“I know that people in my country are oppressed and people in this country are oppressed too,” Grace told Kennedy as she signed up for a Militant subscription. “But I thought I was the only one who thought like this. Let’s keep in touch.”
Kennedy brought solidarity to a protest rally by Familias Unidas por la Justicia, an independent farmworkers union in Burlington, where some 300 union members struck Aug. 27 demanding a union contract with Sakuma Brothers Farms. The farmworkers, most of whom are indigenous workers from Mexico, have been fighting for $15 an hour and union recognition for three years. A few days later the union announced Sakuma Farms bosses had agreed to hold a secret ballot election and begin negotiating a contract.
“Very few political candidates are willing to be on the ground with the people that the capitalist system affects most, especially in rural areas,” Josefina Mora, a student at Western Washington University who supports Familias Unidas, told Kennedy at the protest. “I’m excited to meet you.”
‘U.S. troops out of the Mideast’
“We are talking to workers about the devastating impact the world capitalist crisis is having on workers around the world and how only the working class itself can chart the way forward for humanity,” Kennedy told a campaign meeting at the Bethany United Church of Christ in Seattle Sept. 3. “We are spreading the word about the Socialist Workers Party, getting it known among workers and winning people to join us campaigning. Anger and unease is widespread among workers about deteriorating conditions we face. Workers want to discuss and debate the way forward.”
“My party believes working-class struggles will grow as the depression continues to deepen, in much bigger ways than today,” she said. “As we gain confidence we will organize a mass working-class movement capable of taking political power out of the hands of the capitalist class and joining with workers worldwide to fight for a socialist world.
“Working people are concerned about the seemingly unending wars waged by the U.S. government, especially in the Mideast,” Kennedy said. “We demand Washington get the troops out now.
“We support the fight of Kurdish people for self-determination and against the attacks by the Turkish government backed by the U.S. military,” she said. “And we join in fights against attacks on Muslims and mosques here in the U.S.”
“We condemn attacks on the right to vote today aimed at disenfranchising workers who are African-American. From North Carolina to Michigan, Kansas to Tennessee, where I campaigned recently, thousands of people are being purged from voter rolls,” she said. “We join in the fight to restore gains won in blood like the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was dealt a blow by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision that opened the door for state and local governments to carry out the attacks we see today.”
“People I know say they are voting for Clinton because she is a woman,” Peggy Lytle, a Walmart worker, told Kennedy over coffee after the meeting. “They don’t take into consideration her character and what she and her husband have done to ordinary people. I can’t stand Clinton or Trump, but now I know who I can vote for.
“I can’t handle these foreign wars,” she told Kennedy.
“They’ve been going on continuously for decades because the U.S. rulers’ attempts to use military power to maintain control over the world’s resources and to exploit the world’s workers have run into difficulties, creating crises and catastrophe throughout the Mideast and beyond,” Kennedy said.