The Spark

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

The Working Class Needs Its Own Party

Aug 21, 2017

The following speech was given at the Spark summer festival by Gary Walkowicz, one of the 2016 candidates of Working Class Party.

Today the president of this country is a rich businessman, who got rich by ruthlessly exploiting workers and small businesses. A rich businessman who accumulated wealth at the expense of others. A rich businessman who was bailed out by taxpayers, while he himself didn’t pay any taxes.

Trump is trying to use the presidency to hide his financial dirty laundry. But because Trump can’t keep his mouth shut, now we are seeing investigations into his family’s dealings with Russian oligarchs, and possibly money-laundering for Russian gangsters.

Not only is Trump a gangster, he is also a racist who doesn’t even try to hide his racism, as we saw when Trump equated the white supremacists who killed a woman in Virginia with those who opposed their racism and calls to violence.

Trump, with his approval rating dropping weekly, is making Obama and previous presidents look good by comparison. But only by comparison. Remember where we were a year ago, before Trump. For working people, there was nothing to be happy about. Working people had paid all the costs of the economic crisis, we were working for lower wages, 2nd-tier wages, working part-time jobs, or without any job at all.

What does it say for the system we live under that we can have a gangster for president and he makes previous presidents look good, only because they weren’t gangsters?

It is the same thing with the Affordable Care Act, called “Obamacare” by the Republicans.

A year ago, many people sitting here would have agreed that the ACA wasn’t working. Health care certainly wasn’t affordable for many people, medical costs were too high. And many people still didn’t have medical coverage. Many people wanted the ACA changed.

The health care system in this country is a disaster. Yet, with all the money that is spent, we should have the best healthcare in the world. The fact that we don’t is criminal.

The reason we don’t is that in this country, more so than in other countries, the healthcare system is run totally for profit. Profits for the insurance companies, profits for the hospital corporations, profits for the drug companies. Much of the money spent on healthcare goes into the pockets of a few rich owners of these companies.

The ACA, produced by Obama, while it gave medical care to more people, was written mainly to increase the profits of the insurance companies.

But all Trump and the Republicans could propose is to take away medical coverage for millions, increase what people pay for healthcare and make medical care even worse.

The only choice the two parties offer us is between bad and very bad.

It’s the same in education for our children. This country ranks behind many other countries. In this country, those running it won’t spend money to educate our children and find jobs for them. But they will spend billions to put young people in prison and keep them there. This country is badly lacking in education, but has almost the highest incarceration rate in the world.

The educational system has been getting worse under Obama and previous presidents. And Trump proposes to devastate public schools even more by turning the money over to for-profit charter schools.

Between the Democrats and the Republicans, they offer us the choice between bad and very bad.

The two political parties have no solutions to offer working people. Certainly they don’t speak for working people. Working people would have different answers to the problems that we face, radically different answers.

It is because the working class has no party of its own, that is why some of us here today worked with others to get the Working Class Party on the ballot last year. And even though we had little money, no media coverage and only a small number of people to campaign, the WCP was able to get almost a quarter million votes for a statewide office. We got enough votes to stay on the ballot for the next election, in 2018.

Many of us who were active think we should run candidates next year. We could say to working people that we need our own party. We could show people that the working class has answers to the problems of jobs and wages and health care and education. We must say to people that the only way we can make real changes is not by voting, but that the working class can only make real changes by making a fight for what it needs.

For those of you here today, those of you who were part of last year’s campaign and those who weren’t, if you agree with this, then I ask you to join in spreading the idea that the working class needs its own party, the working class needs its own voice.