The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Put Working Class Party on the Ballot

Jun 20, 2016

The two parties seem to have settled on their presidential candidates. The choice offered to the population is between two candidates both strongly disliked by most of the population. This is what recent polls show. Almost 70% have an “unfavorable” opinion of Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton does somewhat “better”–only 55% view her “unfavorably.”

Clinton and Trump may both be truly unlikeable. But the problem does not rest with them. They are simply true representatives of the two major parties. And these two parties both represent a class that is alien to the interests of the majority of the population.

The Republican and Democratic parties both speak for and act for the biggest banks in the country, the biggest industries and the tycoons that run them, the biggest real estate “developers” and speculators, the biggest agribusiness barons. Republicans and Democrats alike both represent the capitalist class, and their wealthy tagalongs. And both the Republicans and Democrats defend the capitalists’ interests at the expense of the rest of us.

The capitalist class has two parties, the working class has none. This is the problem.

Most of us work for our living–or have worked or will work or we take care of the children who will work. But there is no party that is representative of our class. No party even speaks for us in the election. No party offers answers to society’s problems from the viewpoint of our class.

This is not a new problem. The situation may seem worse today because of an economic crisis that has pulled almost all of us down for several decades now. In the midst of economic crisis, the two parties show themselves more openly for what they are: our enemies. But they have always been our enemies.

For almost a century, the working class has had no party of its own. And that will not change just because we wish it.

A serious working class party can be built–but it will come into existence only through the struggles of the working class. Whether the working class mobilizes to address its own immediate problems or to build its own party, it doesn’t matter. What will count is whether the working class mobilizes its own forces to impose its own solutions; whether it fights against the capitalist class; whether it fights to get rid of the weight of the capitalist class over society. And it has to be ready to take that fight up to the end.

Today in Michigan, there are people who agree with these ideas gathering petition signatures to put a working class party on the ballot. Its name: Working Class Party.

It’s obvious–and they say it–that the working class can’t change its situation through elections. But if they succeed in putting a working class party on the ballot, that could help change the situation, at least somewhat.

The state of Michigan makes it quite difficult to get a new party on the ballot, requiring more than 30,000 signatures on petitions. In reality, many more are needed, just to deal with all the bureaucratic tricks and traps.

Some people, of course, sign just for “democratic reasons”–to allow a wider choice of perspectives in the elections. But many of those sign to express what they think, to say they agree that a party based on the working class is needed.

If this effort in Michigan succeeds so that people get a chance to vote for some of Working Class Party candidates, this will give a wider opening to all working people in the state of Michigan. It will let everyone who agrees with the necessity of building a working class party to express it through their vote. And that can be a road-sign planted for the future.

We are not there yet. The petitions have not even been turned in yet. But in this year, when everything on the political scene seems screwy, this effort to put Working Class Party on the ballot is one of the few things that is perfectly reasonable.