The following article is printed with the permission of Michigan Information & Research Service Inc. (MIRS)
It was the result of an interview by Mike Malott for MIRS, which is based in Lansing, Michigan.
History shows that change doesn't come from within, said Mary Anne HERING, explaining why she chose to ignore the major parties when she decided to run for statewide office on the Working Class Party ticket.
"Public schools, roads and bridges, public transit and public health care are being starved because of political choices made by the two parties,” she said.
Hering is a candidate for State Board of Education this November, having been nominated at the two-year-old party's convention in Detroit last week.
She was the party's top vote getter in 2016 when she earned 224,392 votes running for the state board of education.
“We ran in 2016 and got nearly a quarter of million votes with absolutely no money from wealthy people, no official endorsements except for places like churches, VFW clubs. We got very little attention paid to us by the big media. Nevertheless, nearly a quarter of a million people voted for Working Class Party,” Hering said.
To get on the ballot, members had to circulate petitions to get 31,000 signatures. Hering said they were able to gather 50,000 signatures.
But in 2016, the Working Class Party had only three candidates on the ballot. This year, they have 11 in the running in Congressional and state Senate districts in metro Detroit, Grand Rapids and Bay City.
"We are trying to address the layers of the working class that A, don't vote; B, are fed up with voting for the lesser or two evils; and C, we are trying to address that layer of the working class that has been thrown by the 2016 election of somebody like Donald Trump, who is trying to sow divisions in the working class by addressing the white working class.”
She said her party's hope is to convince ordinary people "to take up the call that they have to solve their own problems." An example of the need, she said, is the Flint water crisis, where solutions had to come from the population of Flint.
"It sure as heck didn't come from the government, or from the official agency. They were against the population," Hering said.
Hering is running for the State Board of Education, she explained, because she is a teacher who has taught primarily at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn since 1975.
"I've paid attention to public education and its destruction in Michigan for many, many years. I'm running as a teacher to give voice to all those teachers whether they are full time or part time to paraprofessionals to bus drivers to custodians to food service workers to parents to students to all the people who have affected by the cuts to public education,” she said.
She is running along side Logan SMITH, an 18-year-old recent graduate of Cass Tech in Detroit, she said.
“Who better to represent the issues of education in the state but people who are intimately connected to education,” Hering said.
Since the party just had its convention, nominees are just getting their campaigns underway. She said members expect to have their biographies, issues and platforms posted on the party website at www.workingclassfight.com after Labor Day.
The website explains Working Class Party is taking up the mantle of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which formed in 1905 and peaked in membership about 1924.
“The working class needs its own party, a party which will not conciliate the capitalist class, but organize to fight against it – as Eugene DEBS declared in 1920. Debs, after leading the great railway strike of 1894, worked with other militants to form the Socialist Party. He knew elections could not do away with the ills of capitalism,” the website states.
Hering said the party has members primarily in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Battle Creek.
Candidates nominated by the party for offices in Michigan include: