Speech at the October 18 Meeting
It’s vital that working Class Party is on the ballot. I cannot stress it enough.
Because without it, what do we have? We live in a society where workers haven’t been represented politically. There is no mass party of the working class.
We are told we have the right to vote. But what does it matter if you don’t have someone who speaks for us, who addresses the real problems the laboring population faces? We are told – vote as if your life depends on it. But what does it mean when the choice is between two big parties, both of whom, at the end of the day, defend this very system that rests on the exploitation of the labor of workers? Two big parties – one, the Republicans, who overtly attack us, while the other, Democrats, who make promises, using kinder and gentler words, but in the end, carry out policies that also attack us. We have been told these are our choices. We are told that we have to vote for one or the other. But what have these two parties brought us?
Today, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, they may criticize each other for what one has done or not done. But historically, both parties have been in the government that has carried out huge cutbacks on the public health system. And we need to say that – to tell the truth about this health care system – that is based on profit, and is responsible for the huge toll that the coronavirus has taken on the population and disproportionately on the working class and poor.
Today, the working class is in the midst of a severe economic crisis, where tens of millions are unemployed, and there are more to come. This crisis is related to how both parties in this government have served a wealthy class that has received billions in subsidies, gifts to big corporations and big banks, financial and real estate speculators. And we need to say that.
We live in a deeply racist system, one, since its beginning was built on slavery and then has continued to use racism to divide the working class against itself. And almost every political administration, no matter Democrat or Republican, has continued to reinforce this system, including passing all those repressive laws that created the pipeline to prison, and that have been enforced, unequally. And we need to say that.
For decades both of these parties have starved our children’s schools, starved roads and bridges, starved workers’ neighborhoods, starved public transit, for money. For decades, the wealthy have increased their stash, accumulating what the two big parties squeezed from us in taxes. And we need to say that.
Some of us in 2016 decided to get Working Class Party on the ballot, so in the elections, these truths could be heard. We wanted to speak to the concerns of the working class. We worked hard to do that. We collected over 50,000 signatures. It was a big effort, but it was worth it because now people can have something worth voting FOR, that speaks for them. Now, by voting for Working Class Party people can express what they really think. What their problems are. What does need to happen.
Workers are essential. We’re the only ones who are saying this. Workers do make everything run and know how everything works. We are the only ones who are saying this. Our program says working people have the power, when we stand together as one class, ready to fight. The only way forward for the working class to defend itself, is to make a fight.
When you vote for Working Class Party, you’re voting for those ideas. You’re not voting for one or two of us to get into office. You're voting to show that there are people who agree that the working class has the power, when it is organized, to solve the problems we face and can build a decent society for everyone.
Today there is no political party in the working class, and we will have to get to that point. But by Working Class Party being on the ballot, people have a chance to plant that flag.
It’s not only important that Working Class Party is on the ballot, it is also vital that we stay on the ballot. This year, we need a little over 22,000 votes for one of our candidates. The only ones who can get that many votes are the ones running across the whole state, running for State Board of Education: Hali McEachern, and me, Mary Anne Hering.
When we look at what happened in 2016, with one candidate running, we got 224,000 votes. In 2018, with two candidates, one got 125,000 and the other, 90,000. In both cases we got over 200,000 votes. So it should be easy to get what we need.
But this year, there is a problem. You know it. The name of the problem is Coronavirus. This virus has kept people from going out. There are no parades, no festivals, no concerts, no big events where we could reach thousands of people to tell them about Working Class Party and our candidates. When you look at the votes we got before, in 2016 and 2018, it’s because we reached thousands of people over the months at those big events. But this year, we are reaching fewer people. And our time is much shorter, because people are voting earlier.
We may have fewer votes than in previous election years. So now, it is doubly and triply important that we talk to as many people as we can, ask them to take brochures, to post us on their twitter and Facebook pages, or talk us up in their ZOOM meetings with friends and family – whatever means they use to communicate. Let everyone know, that wherever they are in the State, they can vote for the two of us for State Board of Education. We can get the votes we need if everyone here digs in.