October 26, 2010

In NY, Vote Barron For Governor!

[In an interesting development, the NY/NY District of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad has issued a leaflet on the statewide election on Tuesday, November 2.]

On Tuesday

For governor, the NY/NJ District of Freedom Road is endorsing NY City Council member Charles Barron. His lifelong dedication to serving the people is enough to win this Black leader our support. We also note that Barron runs as candidate of the Freedom Party, whose platform is the most pro-working class of any this time out, and whose name evokes Civil Rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer and the struggle against racist disenfranchisement. And we applaud Barron's astute choice of Ramón Jimenez, a capable and effective activist insufficiently known outside of the Puerto Rican community, as candidate for Attorney General.

We know that some of our friends will be voting for Howie Hawkins and the Green Party slate. We aren't going to argue too hard with that. Hawkins is a worthy candidate and the Greens are admirably consistent in their efforts to build a viable people's party in New York State.

There is one election option we do want to argue against--strongly.

In recent elections, thousands of progressives statewide have voted for Democratic Party candidates who were also running on the Working Families Party ballot line. This has kept the WFP on the ballot without difficulty, and some argue that it has given the party some say on matters before the state government.

This time, however, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo jacked up Working Families by ignoring the offer of the WFP ballot line until the last possible moment, and the Party's leaders rolled over for him. They formally accepted as their own his entire platform, which includes a cap on taxes increases for the rich and brutal budget cuts that will cost the unionized city work force dearly in jobs, pay and benefits.

Why grovel to someone who has publicly promised to shaft you? WFP insiders say it's to keep the ballot line, which requires 50,000 votes be cast for governor in each election. Skeptics say that union leaders close to the WFP are worried lest their locals take a disproportionate hit in the coming cuts.

We say neither excuse cuts any ice. The ballot line, if lost, can be regained the way it was won in the first place, by going among the people and collecting signatures on a petition. Building union cooperation to resist cuts together, starting now, will produce better results than a bunch of scattered locals all whimpering, "Don't pick on us, cut somebody else..."

The Working Families Party played an important role in winning the 2005 state minimum wage hike, and in protecting rent regulation, and other struggles. That's why they're hated, investigated and attacked by landlords and corporate types.

A union-backed, community-based Working Families Party promises to be one tool for exercising a significant degree of working class pressure on what happens in the government of this city and state, and one stepping stone toward actual working class rule in this country. But, right now, in November 2010, voting for a candidate and a platform designed to make working people pay for the crisis that the bankers have caused is a big step away from that vision.

New York/New Jersey District
Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad


GreenGenes said...

While Barron is certainly "progressive" he is still a Democrat elected official and, unlikely Cynthia McKinney when she ran for president, has made no move to renounce that party affiliation.

Barron has endorsed Democratic "machine" candidates such as Virginia Fields and even though he knows McKinney, endorsed Barack Obama over McKinney.

I understand if you find cross endorsing Democrats attractive but I don't. That strategy a history of disempowerment over the long term.

Unlike Barron, Hawkins is a union member who unloads trucks for UPS. He has a long working class history and is working to create an party independent from the major parties. I'd recommend voting for Howie Hawkins and the Green Party to create a party true to working class people

Rahim on the Docks said...

Mr. Genes-

I assume you meant that "Fields endorsed Barack Obama over McKinney," rather than your stated "McKinney, endorsed Barack Obama over McKinney." But rather wonder at your motive for pointing out that Barron endorses Democrats to contrast with UPS warehouseman Hawkins' unimpeachable left credentials (anti gay-bashing, anti hydrofracking, pro-cyclists, etc., etc.). Does Charles Barron's leadership in actual struggle (particularly in the African-American community) count for anything?

While Councilman Barron may not have a fairly empty IWW union bug on his web page, he has been active in the peoples' struggles since joining the Manhattan branch of the Black Panther Party as a teenager in 1969. Actually going back to Hawkins short-pants days.

Now admittedly the young Howie has from fairly impressive anti-war and anti-racist history as well, it is not Hawkins I challenge here as much as Mr. Genes' (I am lefter than NY-NJ FRSO) vitriolic attack on Jimmy Higgins' post…