Kathy Goodwin Speech, Sept. 20

I feel lucky that I grew up in the Flint area among auto workers and their families. I am proud to stand as the Working Class Party Candidate for this industrial, retail, public worker, healthcare worker and farming area of the state. It’s an area rich with working class history. Yet just like working people are robbed of the tax money we pay, just like workers are robbed of the wealth we produce every day, working people have also been robbed of our working class history. This makes me mad!

I was lucky that I grew up in the Flint area where we learned in school about the autoworkers’ victory in the Flint Sit-Down Strike. This victory helped the whole working class. Knowing about this power that workers have to stand up to the rich corporations helped shape my whole life. If the working class can come to understand what has happened in the past, there would be no stopping us!

I was one of those kids who liked to listen to the adults. Sometimes that meant hearing my parents fight late at night because there wasn’t enough money.  Another time it meant hearing from my uncle that the workers at Peet Packing Company fixed a safety problem when everyone –together – stopped working and just let the meat rot.

Campaigning in Flint this year, I met a black working class woman who had a big impact on me. I explained to her about the Working Class Party. I explained that during the elections, Working Class Party was fighting to put the voice of the workers, the horrible problems that are weighing on the workers and the solutions that workers need out there. She said to me, “I know what you mean! It is like they just want to erase us!”

She’s right! The working class point of view keeps getting erased from the public stage. A worker speaking from the working class point of view might pop up for a minute on the news. Believe me, when it happens, I freeze, my ears perk up because I am so happy to hear it! I heard it a little bit during the GM strike. I have heard it a bit during the COVID pandemic from healthcare workers. But such moments are few and far between.

Add working class politics to the list of things that have been stolen from workers.  There have not been working class candidates on the political stage fighting for the working class for far too long. But workers have ideas of how the system should run, ideas we naturally think about. We can pull ourselves together into a political party.  We, the Working Class Party, are running in this election to say that we need such a party. Having it could bring the working class together against our corporate enemies who rob us.

I know that we have a president who is an attention hog, but I’m not falling for his tricks. He lives for attention so why give him attention? I don’t waste my time focused on the Democratic Party either. Instead, my attention and my enthusiasm are focused on talking about what we the workers are facing and what we the workers can begin to do about it. Don’t get me wrong, I keep an eye on what the politicians are up to, but the best solution to this mess of unemployment, low wages, the crumbling schools and the sick healthcare system is to encourage hope and confidence in the working class coming together and fighting for working class interests.

I work in healthcare and I have seen firsthand how the system is completely broken. I knew personally people who died from COVID-19. The public health system and healthcare in general is nowhere near what human beings deserve. During this year of coronavirus, all of a sudden, the billionaires found out that without workers, nothing runs. All of a sudden, frontline workers came to be called “heroes.”

No HERO of a society is treated with disdain, substandard healthcare, low wages, lack of PPE, lack of virus testing…  COVID-19 is a monster, but it has handed us a chance to help our fellow workers understand that workers really do make this society run and all workers are essential.

This society puts an invisible price tag on everyone.  Those with the most money are wrongly worshiped in this society. The Working Class Party stands for a different set of human values.

Disdain for working people is a very widespread and publicly accepted prejudice in this society. The Working Class Party stands for the dignity of all work. It stands for the idea that all work is valuable. That every human being has skills and abilities that contribute to build society. When we better understand our power, we will be able to run this whole society.

With this campaign, I want to open up the eyes and the imagination of working class people. I want workers to see what is possible for our class when we come together and fight.

As my good friend likes to say, elections want us to pick between two parties pointing the finger at each other. The Working Class Party presents working class politics – a way of hope. We, the workers, can build our own team, build our own party. The future of ourselves and the future of the generations of children yet to be born depends on it.

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