Why Workers World is endorsing
Cynthia McKinney for president
Published Jul 17, 2008 12:13 AM
Workers World newspaper in the past has supported the candidates of
Workers World Party running for national office in the U.S. presidential
elections and who have put forward a revolutionary socialist program. This time
we are taking the unusual step of endorsing the candidacy of Cynthia McKinney
because these are unique times and this is a unique candidate.
McKinney, a courageous Black woman and former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia,
has become one of the most militant leaders and voices for the U.S. left,
progressive and Black movements.
Because of her militancy in the struggle against the war, the struggle to
impeach Bush, as well as her struggle to expose the government’s role in
the displacement of survivors of Hurricane Katrina, she was branded too Black
and too radical to walk the halls of Congress. She was pushed out, not once but
twice, by the leadership of the Democratic Party. Last year, McKinney severed
her ties to that party.
On July 12, McKinney and her running mate, activist Rosa Clemente, won the
Green Party’s nomination to run for president and vice-president,
respectively. The Green Party’s nomination will put McKinney on the
ballot in about 20 states, which is no small thing in the U.S. where the ruling
class has made it very hard for any electoral formation independent of, and
even slightly to the left of, the two major ruling-class parties to get ballot
status. The Green Party is not the reason why we are supporting McKinney.
McKinney’s “Power to the People Campaign” gets most of its
program from the draft program of the still-in-formation Reconstruction Party.
Activists in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, together with supporters
nationwide, have been developing a Reconstruction Party as a mass political
vehicle to fight for the reconstruction of the Gulf and justice for Katrina
The draft program of the Reconstruction Party is inspired by the program of the
original Black Panther Party. The Reconstruction Party draft program calls for,
among other things: self-determination for Black people, the relocation of
displaced survivors of Katrina back to the Gulf, jobs, healthcare and housing,
reparations for Black people, an end to racist terror and political repression,
an end to the prison-industrial complex and an end to the war.
McKinney’s campaign is laying the foundation for a radical coalition of
Black, Latin@, Asian and Indigenous activists, trade unionists, progressives
and revolutionaries. This is important and timely.
We have no illusions regarding the difficulty that McKinney’s campaign
will face, because this presidential election is like none other before
The economic crisis and prospects for class struggle
Barack Obama is the first Black person to be the nominee of a ruling-class
party, and he could be the first Black president of the U.S. Many are
understandably excited about Obama’s candidacy, especially Black
No matter how far Obama moves to the right, most likely Black people are going
to come out in unprecedented numbers in November in the hopes of achieving
something that very few thought possible a year ago. Apart from Black voters,
many others will vote for Obama in November for reasons that are historically
progressive. And some will not vote for Obama because of his name, because they
think he’s Muslim and because he’s Black.
Race, or what some of us call the national question, is central to this
But then there is the negative side to this contradictory development. Should
Obama win the election (a prospect that shouldn’t be considered certain),
the U.S. imperialist ruling class will have a gifted Black politician to help
them save their troubled empire. An Obama presidency as the face of an
imperialist state will not change anything fundamental, but on the surface it
will mark a change, a new situation.
The U.S. capitalist class desperately needs to try something new to help them
with their overlapping crises of deepening economic turmoil and imperialist
war. In the board rooms of Wall Street, some are, no doubt, hoping that someone
like Obama can delay or derail an uprising against widespread depression-level
social conditions, or at least be the scapegoat for the unbearable misery that
the ruling class has in store for workers.
The Obama phenomenon is more than anything else a sign that the period of
political reaction, which has held the working class back and weakened
revolutionary movements, organizations and their revolutionary ideas, is coming
to an end.
No matter who wins the election, the magnitude of the spiraling crisis of world
imperialism, centered here in the U.S., is going to challenge all the forces
who share an anti-imperialist, working-class-centered socialist orientation to
put aside narrow views, sectarian habits and small differences that have
festered during a long and demoralizing period of world reaction.
The material conditions for resurgence of the working class may sooner than
later reach levels not seen in this country since the 1930s. In order for the
working-class movement to grow politically and organizationally, it will take
time, experience in the class struggle, and the assistance of conscious
political forces who are dedicated to reviving the struggle.
What is required of all of us who consider ourselves among the dedicated? At a
minimum it is a higher level of clarity, seriousness, confidence, solidarity
and coalition building.
McKinney’s campaign is Black-led, anti-imperialist,
working-class-centered and has a multinational radical base with the potential
of unlimited growth.
Of course, we believe that the struggle should not be confined to the electoral
arena, especially as the capitalist ruling class completely dominates the
electoral process. We must be in the streets fighting the war, fighting
foreclosures and evictions, fighting in solidarity with immigrant workers, etc.
However, Workers World believes that supporting the McKinney campaign is a step
forward towards the path that the movement needs to take.
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