The following is part of a speech made by Gary Walkowicz, one of the candidates of the new Working Class Party in Michigan.
Working people – all of us sitting here – are facing a crisis today. And the two existing parties, the Republicans and Democrats, have no answers; they have no solutions for working people. In point of fact, these two parties are part of the problem.
Just look at the crises in this state – Flint and the Detroit Schools – and who caused them…. Both parties made decisions to cheat the schools and public services, taking money that should have gone to them in order to give it to the banks, the corporations and the wealthy.
Why would anyone believe that the political parties who caused these crises would fix them? Not to serve our interest!
So, let me state a political fact: in this country, the bosses have two parties, Democrat and Republican; the working class has none.
Let me state another political fact: working people need our own party. Period!
Two years ago some of us decided to let the workers' voice be heard in the elections. I'm speaking on behalf of five candidates who ran for office in Michigan in 2014: Sam Johnson, Mary Anne Hering, Ken Jannot, David Roehrig and myself, Gary Walkowicz.
On the ballot we were listed as "non-party" candidates, but in point of fact, we ran together on a slate that stood for a working class program. It was the effort of only a few dozen individuals. But we were able to reach some tens of thousands of people.
Despite little money and few people, we were able to get around 17,000 votes for four candidates. The fifth candidate, David, ran unopposed and was elected.
The response we got in 2014 led us to believe that we could do something more in 2016 – try to put a party on the ballot that would not only build on what we had done but could directly speak to the most important issue facing us today, which is, that the working class in this country is not organized politically.
So, in January, we started the petition campaign to get Working Class Party on the ballot in Michigan. A total of 69 people were pulled into the effort to circulate petitions. That included several dozen from other states, who understood how valuable it would be for a working class party to be put on the ballot in any state.
In six months, we got over 50,000 people to sign our petitions, giving us a comfortable margin beyond the 31,566 needed.
We chose three candidates from 2014 to run this year.
First, Mary Anne Hering for State Board of Education, Sam Johnson for Congress in the 13th District and myself, Gary Walkowicz, in the 12th District.
Some people might think this is a very small start – only three candidates. But the working class hasn't had its own party for more than a century. And three IS a start!
Putting a party on the ballot doesn't change the situation – we know that. But by putting this party on the ballot today in Michigan, we are planting a flag, showing there are thousands of people who agree that the working class needs to organize its own party. And those thousands of people can change the situation.
Finally, we think we can get enough votes to remain on the ballot in future years, to reach more people, to keep advocating for the working class to build its own party.
But we need your votes this year – everyone in the whole state for Mary Anne Hering, for State Board of Education, and, depending where you live, for Sam Johnson in the 13th congressional district, and, in the 12th congressional district for me, Gary Walkowicz.
We need your help, and the help of anyone you know who can be interested by this campaign.
So, let me repeat: The bosses have two parties. It's about time that the working class builds one!