Our members, our friends, our comrades, both those
inside the PSL and those with whom we remain politically active every day – all
of us have been in the streets in the recent weeks.
From the frontlines of the Oakland General Strike,
to the mass actions and mass arrests in New York City.
To Los Angeles, where our comrades have helped
initiate labor/community mass actions in solidarity with the occupy movement
and in solidarity with the suffering working people of Southern California etc.
To right here in Chicago, where PSL members have
been active in the occupy movement as they have been at the forefront of the
struggle against the war in Afghanistan, against police brutality, for
immigrant rights and in the other movements for social and economic justice.
Everyone here knows that from the streets of Cairo
to the streets of Madison, Wisconsin, from Athens, Greece, to the streets of
the United States.
There is a new global movement against the growing
poverty, unemployment and repression visited upon the masses of people at the
very same moment that the capitalist class, the 1 percent, or even more
precisely the 0.1 percent, the 1/10 of the 1 percent, have grown ever richer,
ever more powerful.
As a party of struggle, our priority is to be in the
streets, our priority is to be organizing, organizing in our communities and at
our workplaces, that’s where change came about in the past, and that’s where it
will come about in the future.
It is always the struggle of the people.
The Social Security Act of 1935, which provided
social security for the elderly and unemployment insurance for those who lost
Or the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Voting Rights
Act of 1965 or any other progressive reform, including the 8 hour day, the
right to public education, the right to form unions, all of these progressive
developments came about as people struggled.
So with that in mind, I want to let you all know,
that our intention when we enter and we are entering in 2012 a presidential and
vice presidential campaign is not to promote the idea that social change comes
about because of the election of certain politicians.
We don’t believe that at all.
We are entering the electoral arena to give voice to
all of the struggles that we are engaged in in the streets, at the barricades,
in our schools, in our workplaces, in our communities.
The electoral system in the United States is
fundamentally a fraudulent exercise.
It is a form by which the ruling class maintains
It is designed to give the appearance that people
actually have a choice, that those who constitute the government are elected by
In fact, the people don’t have the right to make
basic decisions or to vote on the basic decisions that most affect their lives.
They get the right to elect a Republican or a
Democrat, but both of these parties are nothing more than the expression of the
power, the undiluted power, of the 1 percent.
It’s estimated that in the 2012 campaign that the
Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate together will spend more than
This is an election that’s dominated by money, by
the corporations and banks.
No candidate who can’t raise a billion dollars
stands a chance.
This is not a democracy – it’s a plutocracy – it’s
of, by and for wealth.
Working people don’t have the right to a job or the
right to an affordable education or the right to healthcare or the right to a
home, but they have a right to elect the politicians of the plutocracy.
The debates on tv are completely monopolized by the
ruling class parties, the parties of the 1 percent.
Socialist candidates and independent candidates are
kept out of the televised debates and they are kept out of the news coverage.
They are treated from the get go as fringe
candidates who don’t have a chance.
Just to get on the ballot requires overcoming huge
undemocratic obstacles placed in the path of the working class candidates
placed by the working class.
In California, for instance, the largest state in
the country, we would have to collect over 300,000 signatures just to have the
name of the PSL on the ballot.
Each state has its own electoral laws, each of them
representing another obstacle for third parties or independent candidates.
There is such a huge separation between the reality
of American politics, which is really the politics of, by and for the 1
percent, versus the narrative that we are a representative democracy and
everyone has an equal say.
The benefit of having elections for the ruling class
is that every four years the oppressed working class gets to choose between two
capitalist politicians who will oppress them.
But it gives the appearance of variety, it gives the
appearance of choice, it gives the appearance of democracy.
The elections are in that way something of a safety
valve, a way for discontented people to channel their discontent into support
for this or that politician.
Both of them are completely loyal to Wall Street and
corporate and banking domination.
Look what happened in Greece this week.
The Greek Prime Minster sent the entire European and
U.S. banking establishment into a state of hysteria, panic and near meltdown
when he said the Greek people should vote in a referendum about the austerity
program being shoved down their throats by the European banking community.
Greek workers have lost 30 percent of their living
standard in a matter of months so that the wealth of Greek society can be used
to pay capitalist bankers.
Now they want to impose more austerity as the basis
for another bailout, again a bailout of the other European banks.
The rest of the European ruling class, from Germany,
France, and of course the United States, acted as if the Greek Prime Minister
had committed an act of treason by saying the Greek people should have a vote
about whether the Greek people should have a say in whether there would be
further cuts and layoffs.
Stock markets plunged all over the world in response
this idea – something of an irony given how much we learn about Athenian
democracy in school. Under pressure from international capital the Greek Prime
Minister did an about face and cancelled the referendum.
The electoral system, again, is nothing more than a
sham, an exercise of plutocracy.
There are no workers in Congress.
One percent of the U.S. population of millionaires,
but 50 percent of the members of Congress are millionaires. So is the
President. So are the members of the Supreme Court.
There are no trade unionists who are members of
The U.S. Senate is an even bigger millionaires club,
preserved for rich white men.
When Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in
2004 from the state of Illinois, he was only the third Black person who had
served in the Senate in its over 200 years.
In the last year, the U.S. Congress, with the support
of the president, cut $11 billion from early childhood programs.
The same U.S. Congress cut exactly the same amount
— $11 million – from tax cuts from millionaire estates.
The same Congress cut $9 billion – listen to these numbers,
$9 billion – from low income housing programs, and gave $9 billion – the same
amount – in tax cuts for the vacation homes of the already wealthy.
Recognizing, brothers and sisters, that this
electoral system are of, by and for the 1 percent, we in the PSL have
nonetheless decided to enter the fray.
We have entered the electoral arena at the very same
time that we stay in the streets demonstrating and protesting, carrying out
meetings, rallies, forums and out job actions. We hope to carry the spirit of
last week’s general strike in Oakland into the coming year.
We are going into the electoral arena because tens
of millions people’s attention will be drawn to the elections in 2012.
They’ll be thinking about the election.
They’ll be following it on the news.
And even though it is the terrain of the class
enemy, we will enter in the same spirit of struggle.
We will represent the unemployed, the foreclosed,
the evicted, we will represent the students who can’t pay their student loans,
and we will raise the demand that the ill begotten wealth of the biggest banks
should be seized and used to create a massive jobs program so every unemployed
person can work.
We will demand to seize the assets and profits of
So that rather than using those fabulous fortunes
for to line the pockets of the already rich, we can use that wealth to provide free education and job training can be provided
We will demand the cancellation of all student loans.
We will demand amnesty and full rights for all
immigrants. From our point of view a worker is a worker regardless of their
country of origin and all workers deserve rights.
We will take the slogan of the occupy movement –
banks got bailed out, we got sold out – straight into the electoral arena.
Instead of bailing out banks we will demand an
immediate moratorium to end all foreclosures and evictions.
PSL is entering the election campaign and I’m proud
to be on the ticket with my comrade Yari Osorio, to be a voice of the people
and to bring the spirit of struggle everywhere and throughout the country.
We will demand the immediate end to the war in
Afghanistan, a war that cost $120 billion this year, $330 million each day, a
war that has taken the lives of tens of thousands of Afghan, ruining the lives
of thousands of young U.S. service members who have either been killed or
suffered horrible physical and psychological wounds as a consequence of this
war of aggression.
As you can see brothers and sisters, this is not a
normal election campaign.
We hope that you will join with us, participate in
the campaign, become a voice of the program, become a volunteer in spreading
the message, and join with us in this next exciting period.
The people are rising. It’s time to stand up and
fight back. Say it with me now, “Banks say get back, we say- “