The Spark

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

Sam Johnson’s Speech

Oct 15, 2018

The following was the wrap-up speech for the Working Class Party “Meet the Candidates” meeting on September 23, 2018. It first appeared on the workingclassfight.com website.

How’s everyone? I’m a Chrysler retiree, I have a few things to say about why I’m running for a Working Class Party. Other people already said most of what I need to say, but I have a few more words to say.

Right now, we’ll have to get the bigger picture, how we can come up to and get past the problems we have. We need to explain it to our families around us, to friends around us, and get them to spread it to family and others, help get them to spread it. That’ll take us further.

When you get a bigger picture, you begin to understand all the problems we’re facing today, you know where they’re coming from, who is causing this. You know who to fight against.

When working people began to fight to build the unions, they pushed the bosses back. They had a fighting leadership at that time, but right now, you don’t have that fighting leadership any more.

I was fighting against that union leadership back in the 1970s, because the unions were going backwards then. They were going along with what the companies wanted. I saw that back in the 1970s, that’s when I got the bigger picture.

I was able, on a small level, to go against the divisions the bosses had created among working people. In the old Chrysler Dodge Main plant in Hamtramck, we were able to bring people in the plant together, different groups, black and white, Arab, Yugoslav, Polish – all these different groups of working people came together. That hadn’t happened before. The company and the union were surprised. “What’s that?” We stood up and we fought. That’s why I already got a sense of what it means, what you can do.

People say there ain’t nothing we can do? I’ve been there, just with those people – we did it, we backed them up. We stood up and fought together. We changed things.

This is what we have to understand. Once you get the bigger picture, you can talk to people around you about what we can do. And stop waiting on these politicians to fix it. They’re not going to fix it. It’s going to take US to fix it. And we have the power to do that when we come together. Our power right now runs this whole country. But our power right now runs it for what that one percent, the capitalists, what THEY want. We run it for what THEY need.

We run it for what they need, but we’re the ones having problems with their policy – we have to stop that. (Applause)

There ain’t nothing we can do? If we can make this whole country run for them and protect them, but we can’t have something better for our lives? Something’s wrong with that. If we bring our forces together, we can make this whole country run for what we need. (Applause) We have the forces to do that.

We have the forces to protect us. The forces that protect them are US, the working people in the armed services in the National Guard and the police forces – all that’s to protect THEM, the one percent. If we can protect that one percent for what THEY want, we can protect us for what we need. We can take back every thing they took from us. We can have all the things we worry about now and need, we can have all that. And we have the forces we need to protect the fights we make to get it.

But we have to understand we have to fight for what we need. That’s what most people have to find out.

Myself, now, I’ve been a fighter all my life, since when I was growing up. As a kid I was fighting back.

I learned a lot from my mother – my mother, because she was a fighter back in the South, in Alabama. I learned a lot from her. But most people could come to be fighters once they get involved in the struggles.

When you read some history you see how the working class came forward, how working people did things. They were fighters. They did a lot way back a hundred and some years ago. If they did that, way back then, what’s the problem with us now? We have to take those ideas and use them today.

The problems got worse. In the 1960s and ‘70s, people fought and we changed things for the better. But the problems are worse today. When people stopped fighting, we lost a lot. Like jobs. Today these big corporations pay the workers half, less than half. The cost of living is skyrocketing, everything’s costing more. That doesn’t make any sense, and then they’re going to pay people half what they paid before. People are three generations behind. Half? Less than half? That don’t make no sense.

I’ll tell you one thing, you all got to get the bigger picture, and come on. (Applause)

If we have a problem, then when we come together, THEY are going to have a problem. Talk about a working class party now. The bigger the numbers, the bigger the message we send. People not voting Democrat, not voting Republican, people voting Working Class Party – that one per cent will know they have a problem. I know that from the ‘60s. THEY ain’t forgot about the ‘60s. But a lot of you don’t know about what we can do.

Most of the older people who lived it are going to be gone soon. If you all get the bigger picture, you’ll take a stand. That’s what’s going to happen.