Sep 1, 2014
Labor Day 2014 – once again, it’s an election year. And once again, officials of the unions are rushing to line up the workers’ votes for the Democrats.
Why? Certainly not because the Democrats have defended the interests of ordinary people. Even the worst union bureaucrat is forced to admit that. But, they tell us, the Republicans are worse.
That’s like saying it’s worse to die from a heart attack than from a stroke. Well, maybe, but it sure doesn’t feel that much different once you’re in the coffin.
Republicans worse than the Democrats?
What’s really worse is that for many decades, the working class has had no party of its own, no candidates that really represent working class interests, no one that speaks for working people.
This year, however, there is an unusual campaign in Michigan. Five candidates, linked together by a common program, proclaim that, “workers should not pay the cost of the bosses’ crisis.” They say that there is enough accumulated treasure in the vaults of the capitalist class to eliminate unemployment completely, enough to raise the standard of living of everyone in this society to a decent level, enough to rescue the public schools and provide adequate public services to every neighborhood.
And they aren’t wrong. Because for decades, the capitalist class has hoarded so much money, stolen from the labor of working people, that all these needs, and many more, could be met for years.
These five candidates, who stand “for a working class fight based on a working class policy,” are Sam Johnson, running for Michigan’s congressional district 13; Gary Walkowicz, running for district 12; Mary Anne Hering and Kenneth Jannot, Jr, running for the Dearborn School Board, which is responsible for Henry Ford Community College; and David Roehrig, running in District 2, for the Wayne County Community College Board.
(More about them and their program can be found on the internet at: hyperlink)
They clearly say what most people know: “Our situation won’t be changed with a vote – it will take a fight to stop things from getting worse.” And they add: “Maybe there is no fight today. But this greedy capitalist class will push us into a fight. And a vote for candidates who stand on a working class program can prepare the fight. It is the only useful vote.”
Union officials have long told us that to vote for anyone other than a Democrat or Republican is to throw away our vote. And some workers have come to believe that lie.
In fact, to vote for either Democrats or Republicans is to vote for parties that already have proved they are on the side of the capitalist class against the working class. THAT is really throwing your vote away!
To quote these five candidates: “The working class needs to begin speaking for itself, putting forward its own demands.”
Or, to recall the words of Eugene V. Debs, one of the true leaders of the American working class, “I would rather vote for what I want and not get it, than to vote for what I don’t want and get that.”
This year, in parts of Michigan, it’s possible to vote for what you want.
At least in these districts, working people have a way to cast a useful vote, one which lets them express their anger, one which demands that the wealth of this society be taken back to protect the lives of the population.