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

The Working Class Needs Its Own Party—The Problem Is to Start

Nov 14, 2016

The Working Class Party of Michigan has something to show for its efforts. Not only did it get many times more votes than needed to let it run in the next election, their top candidate got more votes than any other candidate nominated by the minor parties.

A year ago, this new party didn’t exist. There were only–in addition to the Democrats and Republicans–the Libertarians, Greens, U.S. Taxpayers and Natural Law. All of them had been on the ballot for almost two decades, if not much longer.

In order to have the right to run in elections, a new party has to collect signatures–this year, almost 32,000 were required. The organizers of the Working Class Party collected just over 50,000 before they were done.

It undoubtedly was a lot of work, but it allowed the people who did it to meet 100,000 people, if not more, most of them in working class areas. The petitioners found a real response to the basic ideas they raised: that the working class needs its own party. It needs a party separate from the two big parties that represent the capitalist class very directly, and distinct from the minor parties that do not base themselves on the working class.

It seems likely that many of those people met in the petitioning were among the nearly 225,000 people who cast their votes for the top candidate of the new party: Mary Anne Hering, a teacher who ran for State School Board. More people must have decided to vote Working Class after they ran into the campaign in the nine weeks after Labor Day. But that doesn’t explain the size of the vote. The fact is, people in the far corners of the state, most of whom could not have met the new party, voted for it–in many cases, running into it for the first time when they saw its name on the ballot.

That means that the idea of a working class party struck a chord with a part of the working class. It wasn’t the majority–but it was a significant part.

The new party, with just a few dozen volunteers, found a couple hundred thousand votes. That’s because working people are fed up, fed up with the rule of banks and big corporations whose drive for profit has decimated parts of the working class. They are fed up with the existing political establishment, a whole apparatus which has done nothing but serve those same banks and corporations. Fed up with that fabulously wealthy class which lives off the profit wrenched from our daily labor.

Trump played to this anger–but it will be only to deceive workers who gave him their votes. Not only will he deceive them–he will try to pull them into the swamp of his racist and sexist ideology. The biggest service Trump will try to do for the ruling class is to divide the working class up into separate and thus weaker parts.

The working class needs its own party. This is an old problem. But the election of Trump demonstrates its absolute necessity in a stark way.

The task now is to build it. The response to Working Class Party, which is only an electoral party, and a new one at that, shows that it is possible to begin.