Socialist Workers Party Announces 2016 Presidential Ticket

Alyson Kennedy

From The Militant:

Join Alyson Kennedy and Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidates for president and vice president, and other SWP candidates and their supporters fighting alongside workers in cities, towns and farming areas against depression-driven attacks on our living and working conditions. The bosses and their government are escalating assaults on the working class and our unions to shore up profits at our expense.

All the bourgeois candidates — from socialist Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party to demagogue billionaire Donald Trump, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and other Republicans — aim to rescue capitalism from an economic, social and moral crisis as production, trade and employment contract.

In Flint, Michigan, Democratic and Republican officials alike told working people it was OK to drink poisoned water. In workplace after workplace job safety goes out the window as employers impose speedup and either lengthen the workweek to increase exploitation or slash hours to boost their bottom line. They scapegoat immigrant workers, seeking to intimidate them with deportations to drive down wages and divide the working class.

The ruling capitalist families use Washington’s economic and military forces to protect their investments and interests abroad against any who rise up to struggle for national sovereignty and to close the chasm between their conditions of literacy, electrification and sanitation and those in the imperialist countries.

The Socialist Workers Party campaign poses a working-class way forward out of the dog-eat-dog, crises-ridden capitalist system.

The SWP strives to advance the class-consciousness and self-confidence of workers as we fight together. We know from history that working people, relying on our own power, solidarity and mobilization, can take over and run the mines, mills, railroads and factories — without the bosses.

As we gain experience in struggle we become different people, capable of organizing our class and its allies — millions strong — to overthrow rule by the billionaire capitalist families and establish a government of workers and farmers.

Socialist Workers Party supporters fight within the ranks of labor to transform the unions into effective fighting instruments against the employing class and its government. The labor movement can become a powerful force for human solidarity — championing the fight for $15 and a union; for a government-funded public works program to create jobs, build schools and medical, child care and recreation centers, replace crumbling infrastructure and other things working people need; the fight for Puerto Rican independence; for free preventative and comprehensive medical care for all; to extend equal protection under the law to women who seek an abortion; to demand that cops who kill or brutalize working people be prosecuted.

SWP campaigners point to the need to break from the bosses’ parties and build our own independent labor party based on the unions.

Kennedy and Hart point to the example of how Cuba’s working people made their 1959 revolution, an example for working people in the U.S. They demand Washington end its brutal economic embargo against the Cuban people and return the Guantánamo naval base. Hart is in Cuba at the Havana International Book Fair, the better to tell workers here about Cuba’s socialist revolution.

In the 1950s workers and farmers across Cuba, led by Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement, learned as they organized and fought to overthrow the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship. They became different men and women, capable of working together to change society to meet their needs.

Working people took over and began to run U.S.- and Cuban-owned factories, sugar mills, utilities and banks. The revolutionary government backed landless rural laborers in an agrarian reform that turned cultivation of the land over to the tillers.

They destroyed the old army and police and built new armed forces, militia and police out of their own ranks to defend, not oppress, working people.

The revolution enforced laws putting an end to racial discrimination, drew women into the workforce and revolutionary political activity and made abortion a woman’s choice.

The Cuban Revolution extends internationalist solidarity, from sending almost 400,000 volunteers to fight against apartheid South Africa’s invasion in Angola to sending doctors to help lead the fight against Ebola in West Africa.

A similar transformation began among many Blacks active in the fight against Jim Crow, worker combatants in the building of the CIO and stalwarts of the decade-long fight against Washington’s war in Vietnam. Malcolm X said fighters “find their self-worth” in the course of such struggles.

A victorious revolutionary struggle by working people here in the U.S. can inspire emulation worldwide.

Candidates who are fighters

The Socialist Workers Party candidates have taken part in rallies of Pennsylvania Steelworkers locked out by Allegheny Technologies and Verizon workers without a contract. They are part of the fight for $15 an hour minimum wage and to organize unions.

The fight against police brutality and killings is their fight. They have joined protests at home and across the country, demanding cops who killed youth and others — African-American, Latino and Caucasian, from Freddie Gray in Baltimore to Laquan McDonald in Chicago to Andrew Thomas in Paradise, California — be charged and jailed.

They are part of the effort to free Dwight and Steven Hammond, Oregon ranchers jailed twice on trumped-up arson charges. The SWP candidates demand the arrest of the FBI and Oregon cops who killed Robert LaVoy Finicum, one of the ranchers who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest the imprisonment of the Hammonds.

The Socialist Workers Party speaks out against Washington’s imperialist military attacks — from Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria. SWP candidates fight the rulers’ efforts to use workers’ revulsion at Islamic State’s terrorist acts to scapegoat Muslims and roll back workers’ rights.

Through our experiences, workers will see more and more that all political questions are class questions. We will see that here, as in Cuba, the only way forward is to organize independent working-class struggles that point toward overturning the dictatorship of capital, building a new society based on human solidarity and joining the worldwide fight for socialism. This is a life truly worth living.

Join the Socialist Workers Party campaign!

Candidate bios:

Alyson Kennedy

Alyson Kennedy grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Indianapolis. She was attracted to political action in high school as she watched TV coverage of workers and youth who were Black battling racist cops and KKK thugs across the South and overturning Jim Crow segregation. She moved to Kentucky, where she was part of the fight to desegregate Louisville public schools in 1975.

Kennedy works at Walmart in Chicago and is part of the movement for $15 an hour, full-time work and a union that has sprung up among fast-food, Walmart and many other workers.

A socialist and trade union fighter for more than four decades, Kennedy, 65, is a member of the Socialist Workers Party’s National Committee. She was the SWP candidate for vice president in 2008 and for U.S. Senate from Illinois in 2010.

She has worked in coal mines in Alabama, Colorado, Utah and West Virginia. She joined the United Mine Workers in 1981. She became part of the Coal Employment Project, a group that championed women’s fights to get hired in the mines and fight harassment on the job.

From 2003 to 2006 Kennedy was among those in the front ranks of a union-organizing battle at the Co-Op coal mine outside Huntington, Utah. The miners there, a majority immigrants from Mexico, fought for UMWA representation to win safe working conditions, an end to abuse by the bosses and improved wages, which started at $5 an hour. Their struggle won widespread solidarity and set a powerful example of how to fight.

In 2014 Kennedy went to Turkey to meet with coal miners there and help them get out the truth in the U.S. and elsewhere about their fight against deadly working conditions imposed by the owners with government complicity. A mine explosion in the town of Soma had killed more than 300 miners. She also met with a representative of the Kurdish-based People’s Democratic Party (HDP) there, bringing solidarity to the Kurds’ fight against national oppression across Turkey as well as in Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Kennedy has also worked in plants and mills organized by the United Steelworkers, UNITE HERE as a garment worker, and other unions.

Kennedy is active in the fight to defend a woman’s right to choose abortion, has spoken widely on the fight for women’s rights and has helped defend clinics from rightist attempts to shut them down.

Kennedy marched with members of the Chicago Teachers Union on strike against a bitter assault by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city officials in 2012, walked picket lines with United Steelworkers locked out by Honeywell Corp. in Metropolis, Illinois, in 2010 and again in 2014, as well as with United Auto Workers members on strike last year against Kohler Inc. in Wisconsin. She joined protests in Kentucky, West Virginia and St. Louis by union coal miners fighting attempts by Patriot Coal bosses to use bankruptcy to tear up union contracts.

She has been active in the fight against Washington’s wars, from protests against the war in Vietnam to speaking out against the bloody aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She’s been a stalwart in demonstrations against the cop killings of Laquan McDonald, Rekia Boyd, Quintonio LeGrier, Bettie Jones and many others, as well as actions over years demanding the release from prison of men tortured into making false confessions by former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge’s “Midnight Crew.”

Osborne Hart

Osborne Hart, whose father was a career soldier, spent his youth traveling around the world with his family.

Since getting involved with the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Hart has been a lifelong fighter for Black rights. He’s joined struggles against police brutality and school segregation and the movement to bring down apartheid in South Africa and free Nelson Mandela.

He was politically active in the 1970s in the fight to end Washington’s war against the peoples of Vietnam and Indochina.

Hart joined the Socialist Workers Party in the mid-1970s and for decades has been part of helping to build and strengthen the labor movement. He’s lived in Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, Detroit and now Philadelphia and has worked in industry, including as a meat packer, steelworker, loading trucks in a TJX warehouse and on the railroads. He currently works at Walmart.

He joined actions in defense of United Steelworkers-organized oil refinery workers forced on strike in 2015, demanding workers control over safety to counter bosses’ speed-up drives, job cuts and attacks on unions.

Hart, 63, ran for mayor of Philadelphia in 2015, gaining a wide hearing among working people. He participated in protests against cuts in Medicare, demanding free, government-funded medical care for all; against police brutality and in solidarity with workers fighting concession demands by steel giant ArcelorMittal. He explained the need for independent working-class political action, urging workers to fight for a labor party based on the unions, to challenge the Democrats, Republicans or other capitalist parties.

Over the past five years, Hart has joined in building protests in Philadelphia against the relentless drive by state and city governments to slash funds for public education, with massive layoffs and spiraling class sizes. These moves have been accompanied by assaults on teachers’ and other school workers’ wages, pensions, health care and their unions.

Hart is active in the fight against government attacks and discriminatory laws against undocumented workers, protests against deportations and efforts to organize the unorganized.

He’s spoken out and built meetings in defense of the Cuban Revolution, demanding Washington end its 55-year-long economic embargo of the island and return the territory containing the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo to Cuba. He was part of the international movement that won freedom for the Cuban Five, revolutionaries imprisoned in the U.S. for working to defend their country’s socialist revolution.

He calls for the immediate release of Oscar López, a fighter for Puerto Rican independence framed up and jailed in the U.S. — much of it in solitary confinement — for more than 34 years.

12 thoughts on “Socialist Workers Party Announces 2016 Presidential Ticket

  1. Bondurant

    Always amused when socialists wax poetic about Castro and lavish praise upon the economic system they destroyed Cuba with.

  2. langa

    If anyone wonders why these little socialist parties aren’t taken more seriously, perhaps it’s due to their insistence on pushing such blatantly fallacious economic “analysis” that the average six-year-old could see through it.

    For example:

    In workplace after workplace job safety goes out the window as employers impose speedup and either lengthen the workweek to increase exploitation or slash hours to boost their bottom line. They scapegoat immigrant workers, seeking to intimidate them with deportations to drive down wages and divide the working class.

    You can’t have it both ways. If wage labor “exploits” workers (i.e. allows capitalists to extract value that exceeds compensation), then how would slashing hours “boost their bottom line”? And deportations drive down wages? Really? I’m curious to know how reducing the supply of something (labor) “drives down” its price. Surely, even Marxists admit that, ceteris paribus, reducing supply “drives up” prices.

  3. langa

    On a different note, I was surprised by this:

    [The SWP candidates] are part of the effort to free Dwight and Steven Hammond, Oregon ranchers jailed twice on trumped-up arson charges. The SWP candidates demand the arrest of the FBI and Oregon cops who killed Robert LaVoy Finicum, one of the ranchers who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest the imprisonment of the Hammonds.

    Strange bedfellows, indeed.

  4. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bondurant,

    “Destroyed Cuba,” huh? Last time I checked, Cuba was not only still there, but had held out against US embargo, etc. for more than half a century, so much so that Uncle has finally said uncle.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bondurant,

    Of course it’s not a “justification” for socialist economics. But the fact is that however badly Cuba has suffered under those economics, it was not “destroyed” by them. It’s still there. Its socialist regime is on its last legs, but still in place. That’s just a fact.

    Like you, I’d hold that Cuba’s survival is due to the resilience of the human spirit IN SPITE of the failures of socialism in general and Marxism-Leninism in particular, but that’s a different question.

  6. Dennis Melancon

    “All the bourgeois candidates — from socialist Bernie Sanders ”

    I stopped reading right there and considering this a joke. The comments didn’t prove me wrong.

    Thanks for the laughs.

  7. Nick Fowler

    If its Cuba’s system that doesn’t work, why do the US (and other) imperialists apply sanctions designed to hinder it? Surely if it doesn’t work it would fall quickly by itself without tampering.

    These guys have a political platform aimed at addressing the floors in the political amd economic system that is condemning the masses, workers, to unenjoyable lives. Capitalist politicians of every elk offer only more points of view on the same non issues and use only slightly different blunt objects to batter the same machine into operation for one more day. So fuck them.

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