The five candidates, advocates “for a working class fight based on a working class policy,” did much better than independent candidates ordinarily are able to do.
Election law makes it hard for independents even to get on the ballot. Even after they collect thousands of signatures to get on the ballot, they face the two capitalist parties that spend millions of dollars in every election and that have the support of the media, which practically ignores all other candidates.
Nonetheless, the “working class fight” campaign found a response in the working class districts in and around Detroit, where they and their supporters campaigned. Sam Johnson had 3,466 votes (U.S. Congress district 13); Gary Walkowicz had 5,039 votes (U.S. Congress district 12); Mary Anne Hering had 5,153 votes and Kenneth Jannot had 2,431 (for the Dearborn School Board/Henry Ford College); and D. A. Roehrig had 15,661 votes (for Wayne County Community College Trustee). Unopposed, he was elected. Mary Anne came in fourth, with 20% of the people voting for her, in a race which saw the top three vote-getters elected.
The five candidates denounced the fact that the capitalist class has protected itself at the expense of the working class and the rest of the ordinary population. And they expressed the outrage felt by many people listening to the claims that “we” are enjoying a recovery. No, they said, there is no recovery for the ordinary people. There is a recovery in profits – but instead of those profits being put to socially valuable use, protecting the lives and welfare of the working population, they were hoarded, distributed for the benefit of a tiny owning class, the one-tenth of one per cent of the population.
There is no answer to this situation unless the working class once again takes up the fight in order to impose its own answers to the crisis. It’s true there is no fight today – the five candidates agreed – but this greedy capitalist class will push the workers to fight, sooner or later. And when the fight begins, it’s important that workers aim their fight at taking back the accumulated wealth of this capitalist society and use it to provide a job for everyone who wants to work, and an adequate income for everyone in this society, including those who are retired or are in some way disabled. It’s important that the working class use its position in this society to discover that wealth, use its power to take that wealth, put it to use providing not only jobs and income, but also providing the schools the next generation needs, providing the services that allow the population to have a comfortable life.
These are the ideas that were discussed with working people for over six months in southeastern Michigan. The fact that several thousands of people gave their vote to one or more of these candidates shows that there is a current in the working class that agrees, not only that workers should not pay the cost of the crisis, but also that the working class needs its own voice, its own policy.