The interview by Fatima Nkata is reproduced below.
Elections in the United States, at national and state levels, are dominated by Democratic Party or Republican Party candidates. However, third parties play a vital role. They organize and mobilize around issues, exerting pressure on candidates from the two main parties to pay attention to those issues.
A new addition to the Michigan ballot since 2016 is the Working Class Party, which sees the need for fundamental changes for the vast majority of the population within the framework of a profit-driven society. Speaking to and for the working class about its own needs and interests, the Working Class Party believes that ordinary people do the work to make this society run, who, when organized, could run society, for the interest of “decent living conditions for all of us.”
Running as the Working Class candidate for District 3 in the Michigan State Senate race is current Henry Ford College student, Hali McEachern. She is a second-year student pursuing an associate degree in History. She is passionate about education and would like to attain the highest degree she can. However, like a vast majority of working-class citizens, college education is unaffordable, so she is dependent on financial aid to cover the costs of her higher learning aspirations.
McEachern shared with me what she hopes to accomplish by running for office:
Q: What inspired you to run for office?
A: I am running for office because Republicans and Democrats do not represent the working class. They have proven after every election their loyalty is to corporations and millionaires. The working class produces all of the wealth and labor of our society while our needs and rights are ignored. The working class needs its own party.
Q: What are your three top priority legislative issues and how do you plan on addressing them?
A: There are many issues workers face that deserve deep concern. Children should not be going to schools with underpaid teachers, no supplies, and lead in their water. Women and newborns should not be dying during childbirth from preventable things. Education, health care, and infrastructure is deteriorating in working-class communities. Workers are overworked, leaving them no time to prepare healthy meals or spend time with their families. Workers are underpaid, forced to pay high rent, taxes and insurance that doesn’t offer any coverage. Corporations are destroying our planet, poisoning the water, air and soil. It will take a fight of the working class, all of us working together to change things.
Q: What values attracted you to the Working Class Party?
A: When I first noticed how evil capitalism is, I became discouraged. When I learned about the Working Class Party I became hopeful. I met wise humans who have been organizing workers since the ‘70s. The Working Class knows the money is there because every week it is taken out of our paychecks. We are calling on working class people and other layers of the population who are fed up with a political system that serves the interest of big business. The Working Class Party believes in a better standard of living for everyone.
Q: As a third party candidate, what are some of the challenges you face?
A: The biggest challenge third parties face is corporate controlled media. To become known we have to get out on the streets and talk to people, ask them to vote for us. Third parties are never mentioned or given the same media opportunities as Democrats and Republicans. Third parties are often blamed for “splitting the vote.” We are a third party that is targeting those who do not vote, and those who are fed up with voting for the lesser of two evils. The two-party-winner-take-all system does not support democracy.
Q: What advice do you give to your peers at HFC who are interested in actively engaging in politics, or might be inspired to run for office but do not know where to begin?
A: To my peers, please come to our monthly Working Class Party meetings in Detroit.
Running for a State Board of Education seat under the Working Class Party is Mary Anne Hering, adjunct instructor and former student activities coordinator and faculty advisor for the student newspaper, the Ford Estate, which later became the Mirror News. Hering has been an educator in the Detroit Metropolitan area since 1975. She has worked at Wayne County Community College, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Davenport University and Macomb County Community College. She currently works as a Social Science instructor at HFC.
Hering seeks to give a voice to workers who see their children deprived of a decent education because the state cuts money from public education. She speaks to the needs of teachers and other school employees who are deprived of the means to properly educate their students and whose wages and benefits are reduced because of those cuts.
Commenting on student engagement in politics, Hering says: “I am very happy to hear when students are paying attention to politics, but regrettably, most of the time, they do not have ready access to knowledge about the third parties that are out there. Most third parties do not have the financial backing from monied interests, nor big media’s attention. So students who want to see something different have to work harder at finding out about political alternatives.”