US: Build a new party of the 99%

August 24, 2016 10:30 pmViews: 63

Support Jill Stein

Joshua Koritz, Socialist Alternative, USA

Fueled by anger at massive inequality and a “recovery” that leaves the 99% behind, Bernie Sanders showed that it is possible to run a nationally viable campaign without taking corporate money and on the basis of a working-class program. Especially young people, who overwhelmingly supported Bernie, have lived through the “Hope and Change” presidency of Obama and seen little change and less hope.

Socialist Alternative supported Bernie’s call for a “political revolution against the billionaire class.” Unfortunately, by then endorsing a representative of the corporations, his supporters are left searching for ways to continue this revolution. Jill Stein’s campaign represents a concrete way to continue the fight Bernie started.

Running on the Green Party ticket, Jill Stein has correctly courted Sanders supporters, first by offering Sanders a spot on her ticket, and now, following Bernie’s endorsement of Clinton, by appealing directly to them. A visible and constant presence at the recent protests at the Democratic National Convention, Stein has seen her support grow in the polls and she has increased name recognition and fundraising.

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Popular Anger Against Corporate Politics

In the 2016 elections, the majority of Americans are disillusioned with the status quo, politics as usual – corporate politics and corporate candidates.

The political situation is ripe for a new party on the left, representing the 99%, that takes no corporate money, and is based on building movements. While the majority of Sanders supporters will vote Clinton “holding their noses,” Jill Stein’s campaign can be a rallying point to unite the tens of thousands who want to continue the political revolution beyond 2016. This can help lay the basis to run local candidates against corporate Democrats and Republicans alike as a step towards establishing a new party.

The outstanding work of Seattle socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant – since leading the way for the nation’s first $15 minimum wage, this and other movements have changed Seattle’s political landscape – is more evidence that it is possible to take on the establishment and win. Socialist Alternative stands ready to help build any and all movements to take on corporate domination of our society.

We call for a new party of the 99% that bases itself on the interests of working people. Recently, Stein has made statements hinting in this direction. The Greens can play an important role in bringing about a new party, but it will require the active involvement of unions like the NNU and the CWA, as well as other progressive movements like BLM, student movements, and community campaigns.

Defeat Right Populism – Vote Stein

Many working people are rightly worried about the threat of Trump winning. Clearly, a Hillary Clinton presidency would be different in important ways from a Trump administration. Yet, to call her or the Democrats, friends of working people or the oppressed, is to ignore their record under Obama of bailing out the banks, record levels of deportations, supporting the TPP, and attacks on civil liberties.

Beginning under Jimmy Carter, the Democratic Party embraced neoliberalism. Under Bill Clinton, they brought in NAFTA, overturned Glass-Steagall, massively cut welfare and other social services, and expanded mass incarceration. The fruits of the Democrats’ service to corporate interests are being reaped today by Trump. Hillary promises to continue Bill Clinton’s and Obama’s neoliberal agenda – voting for Clinton will not be a tool to defeat the right. In reality a Clinton administration will fuel further right populism.

Regardless of the outcome in November, the threat of right populism must be opposed on the streets, in our workplaces, and our schools. Voting is not enough to fight inequality and oppression, we must build movements – the motor of change – to assert that Black Lives Matter, for LGBTQ equality, for free education, to raise the minimum wage, and for universal health care. Stein not only includes these in her program, but consistently stands up for them. She participates in and builds movements while running for office.

Stein has the potential to win the largest independent left vote since Nader in 2000. We do not agree with all aspects of the Greens’ politics but winning several million votes for a genuine left candidate can help unite the genuine left, and give momentum to independent candidates going forward. A vote for Stein is a vote for single-payer health care, $15 minimum wage, and tuition-free public education. Millions of votes for Stein would embolden supporters of these demands to step into political action in 2017 – both building movements and in elections.

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Two-Party System Broken

This two-party system is broken. Only 14% of eligible voters chose either Trump or Clinton in the primaries. The majority of local elections are, in effect, single-party elections.

The Democratic and Republican Parties have now nominated the two least liked candidates in recent history. Millions of working people are disgusted by the “choice” between an egomaniac and a corporate shill. Yet the leaders of the Democratic Party, at the city, county, and state levels tell us that’s our only choice .

Join us – take a step away from the corporate two-party system, build the socialist movement against the oppression, environmental destruction, and inequality of capitalism. Join Socialist Alternative. Vote Jill Stein.