Working People Need Our Own Party

With elections one month away, it couldn’t be more obvious that what is being promised has nothing to do with solving any of the real problems working people face today.

Donald Trump pretends he is anti-establishment and an outsider to Washington politics. Really? A billionaire businessman who brags about profiting from the crisis of 2008 that hurt so many ordinary people? His sexist and disgusting attitudes towards women have been revealed for all to see. His racist and anti-immigrant message plays on people’s prejudices, especially white workers. He encourages them to blame other workers for their problems rather than the 1% like him, who profit from this system. He must really think we are stupid not to see through his game.

Hilary Clinton is the continuation of the Bill Clinton and Obama presidencies, which brought us NAFTA, the beginning of mass incarceration that has imprisoned millions of Black men and makes the U.S. the country with the largest prison population per capita in the world. She represents the interest of banks and corporations, and is for continuing the role of the U.S. as the policeman of the world, waging multiple wars that kill, injure and displace people all over the globe.

Both candidates refuse to discuss the real causes of the problems we face today. They can’t because the system they defend has created these problems: Global Warming; a world torn apart by war; massive unemployment; falling wages and understaffing and overwork for those with jobs; skyrocketing rents and housing costs which make it unaffordable for workers to live near where we work; the racism and epidemic of police violence in U.S. cities; poverty and homelessness; lack of healthcare, student debt and more.

Are we supposed to believe that elections every four years, choosing between two pre-selected candidates of the 1%, offers any solution to these problems? Neither of the major parties represent the interests of workers and they never have. Elections have never been the means that ordinary people have used to win the changes that we need, even if the history books tell the story that the election of some good politician changed the laws, ended wars, or ended segregation. But it’s not true. If things change, it’s only because politicians were forced to by movements of millions of people.

Those changes happen when we mobilize and organize in our workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and in the streets. That is what won us unions, higher wages and better conditions on the job in the 1930s. It is what brought down Jim Crow in the South and challenged the racist laws of this land. Along with the resistance of the Vietnamese, it was the rebellion by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, coupled with the rebellions by Black people in U.S. cities and the anti-war movement that brought the war in Vietnam to a close.

The only time workers have expressed ourselves in the elections is when the candidates who ran were workers themselves, people who were linked to struggles and used the elections to express what workers wanted to say. For example, Eugene Debs, a railroad worker, ran for president in 1912. Then workers could vote for someone who had led strikes and struggles and who stood on the side of working people. He was a leader of the Socialist Party, which had over a 100,000 members, and he got almost one million votes. This is what we need today – a party of fighters of the working class.

We don’t have a party like this now, or even the beginnings of one. Only in a few places are worker candidates even running for office. It is important to remember that the movements of the 1930s and 1960s began with small struggles, and grew to a huge wave of actions. This is possible today. Workers make up the majority of the society. We are the ones who produce all the goods, provide all the services and make the society run. We have every right and every reason to have our own political party.