Building A New Political Force for the 99%: Left Candidates Take on the Establishment
In the recent elections, the Republican Party made significant gains overall. However, we completely reject the narrative that this represents a shift to the right. Where there were credible left candidates in these elections, they often did very well. In Washington State’s 43rd State House district, Socialist Alternative candidate Jess Spear received 18% of the vote against Frank Chopp, one of the state’s most powerful corporate politicians. Jess ran on a program including the ending of corporate bailouts, taxing the rich, and rent control to make Seattle affordable for ordinary people. The campaign demonstrated again the roots that Socialist Alternative – whose candidate Kshama Sawant won a citywide race for city council a year ago, and which helped lead the first successful fight for $15 in a big city nationally – is developing in Seattle.
In New York State, Howie Hawkins, a UPS worker running on the Green Party ticket and calling for a $15 minimum wage, a ban on fracking, and calling for a “Green New Deal,” received 175,000 votes, or 5% of the total. This is the highest vote for a genuine left-wing candidate in New York since 1920. It reflects, in large part, the anger of the base of the Democratic Party at Andrew Cuomo, who has ruled the state for four years in the interests of Wall Street.
In Milwaukee, an African-American socialist, Angela Walker, received 21%, or 61,000, running for county sheriff. For a campaign with very few resources, this is a very impressive result. Walker explicitly opposed mass incarceration and police brutality and called for an end to the austerity agenda. Meanwhile in Richmond, California, all the candidates of the independent Progressive Alliance won their races for City Council.
All of these results show what is possible when there is a real alternative representing the 99%. However, as many working people may see no way to change politics through elections for the moment, they may be more focused on what can be done through struggle. Socialist Alternative will be there to help build these movements, to fight tooth and nail for workers’ rights, living wages, to defend women´s rights, and to fight racism. These battles will help to lay the basis for a new mass party of the 99%, armed with a socialist program.
Join us in the struggle. Join Socialist Alternative today.