Philip Kolody: Candidate Statement

Philip Kolody

I am the candidate of the Working Class Party for Congress, 14th district.

I was born into a working class family. My father and mother worked in auto shops. My father worked up to the age of 65, when he retired. My mother worked for 10 years.

I went to Detroit public schools, graduating from Mumford High School in 1954. Then I went to Wayne State University. I was of the generation of working class kids lucky enough to be able to go to graduate school. I went to the University of Michigan, majoring in history.

In the 1960s, I participated in Vietnam protests and civil rights protests. I was in France in May 1968. It was a turning point for me. I saw the potential for workers to assert their power and force the government to make concessions.

I taught history for awhile, but I thought I could be more useful in another jobs. So in 1972, I went to work for the Civil Rights Department of the State of Michigan. At the state I talked to people, investigating the complaints they filed. They were usually employment complaints, but also complaints about law enforcement issues. I often went to see people. I saw how they lived in different neighborhoods, and what their work situations were like in the factories, the airport, and shops.

I was active in the union, UAW Local 6000, representing people in grievances as a shop steward. I worked on the health and safety committee for each place I worked.

The union seems to be the one institution that could be under the direct control of the workers and should be devoted mainly to the defense of the workers. I am not saying unions have done a good job. In fact, they have done a poor job. But this is the reason for them. The way the establishment tries to weaken and destroy unions with right-to-work laws is proof of the importance of the unions for working people. Today, they are the only organization of our class that enrolls many people.

I retired in 2002. But I continued to keep track of what was happening in the Department of Civil Rights, as well as in the union.

Since developing vision problems, I have a better appreciation of how people with disabilities have to deal with the world.

The only friend the working class has is the working class. The working class can’t depend on other parties or politicians who come from them. That’s why we need our own party. Now there are people in the Democratic Party who say they wish to defend the working class. Defense is good. But the working class can defend itself. And its goal should be power.

The goal of the working class should be to take power. And that can only be through the organization of the working class. I think the purpose any organization of the working class should be to reconstruct society under working class control, to deal with all the injustices we suffer.

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