The following is the opening speech at the Working Class Party rally held on October 21, 2018, given by Gary Walkowicz, candidate for Congress in Michigan's 12th district.
November 6 is election day. But for many working class people, election day has been a day to stay home. Facing the choice between two parties who have not done anything to represent our interests as workers, about half of the working class typically does not vote. For the half of the working class that does vote, people might choose to vote for “the lesser of two evils”; or choose to vote for candidates who might seem different than a typical politician; or choose to vote for candidates who touch on a particular social issue that they are concerned about. And some working people go out to vote, just to vote AGAINST.
For years, working class people have not had any candidates to vote FOR because the working class does not have its own political party, a party which speaks for our interests as working people. But this year there is something to vote FOR. Working Class Party is on the ballot in Michigan.
Now, a real working class party will be a mass party throughout the whole country. A real working class party will be a party that tries to lead fights of the working class. We are not there today.
But in Michigan on November 6, working people can use their vote to say something. We can say that the 2 major parties do not represent us. We can say that the interests of working people and the interests of our bosses are not the same. We can say that the working class needs its own party to speak for our interests.
The working class in this country has been in an economic crisis for over 40 years now. Our standard of living continues to deteriorate and get worse. There is a reason that this is happening. The corporations and the banks behind them, who only care about more and more profits for themselves, have been cutting full-time jobs and taking concessions from the workers, reducing wages and benefits, hiring only for part-time jobs. Compared to 40 years ago when I started, the average autoworker is working twice as hard, for barely more than half the wages, adjusted for inflation.
The wealthy are grabbing public money, paid for by our taxes, and using it to enrich themselves. The Gilberts and the Illitchs and Ford Motor Company, among others, are handed this public money by the politicians of both parties. Meanwhile, in the schools for the working class, our children don’t have enough books, sit in over-crowded classrooms and can’t even have clean drinking water.
Public services are falling apart and social services are cut because the wealthy are taking the money that we need.
But on November 6, working people can vote FOR something. We can vote for a working class program.
We can say that the working class needs to put its hands on all the wealth that we created and that the capitalists have stolen from us. We can use this wealth to benefit everyone. Divide up the hours of work, reduce the pace of work, creating more jobs, so that everyone who wants to work can have a job. Pay a decent wage to everyone. Make sure that wages, pensions, social security all go up immediately when prices go up. There is enough money in this society to do all of this, and more.
We can use that money to hire more teachers and fix the schools. We can use that money, our money, to repair the roads and bridges. We can use that money, our money, to make sure that we have clean water and functioning sewer systems. We can use that money, our money, to ensure we have a reliable electrical grid and safe gas lines. Doing this would benefit all of our lives. And doing this would also create millions of jobs.
On November 6, people can say that the working class has the right to these things. People can vote for the Working Class Party. No one else will say these things. The Republicans and the Democrats will never propose that the working class has the right to take back what has been stolen from us by the capitalists. Both parties represent and work for the very capitalist class whose drive for profits is a disaster for all of society.
But on November 6, we can vote FOR a Working Class Party.
Now, we know that elections themselves won’t change things. The corporations and the banks and the wealthy are never going to willingly give up what they have taken from us. It is going to take a fight by the working class to put our hands on the wealth produced by our labor and use it for our own needs.
The working class has not made a massive fight for years. But the working class has the power to make that fight. We do all the work, we build everything. We make everything run. We know where the money is and how to put our hands on things to run everything ourselves. When the working class decides to fight, we have the power to change society.
Our goal today must be prepare for that fight. We must bring our forces together. The bosses try to divide us, in order to make us weaker. They try to pit white workers against black workers, native-born workers against immigrant workers, men against women. Those who try to divide us are our enemies, and we must push THEM aside. That is a working class program that we can fight for.
We must ask people to vote for us on November 6. For working people who usually vote, we can give them a reason to vote FOR the Working Class Party. For working people who don’t usually vote, we can tell them they have the chance this year to vote FOR a party that speaks to their class interests.
For everybody from the working class, we can ask them to vote this year FOR what they want: a party built by the working class.
Vote FOR the Working Class Party.