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John Parker Teresa Gutierrez

 

Workers World Party selects candidates

By Deirdre Griswold
New York

The national leadership of Workers World Party met here on May 23 and selected party candidates to run in this year's presidential election. Representatives from party branches around the country gave their unanimous approval--and a cheering, standing ovation--to a proposal from the Secretariat of the National Committee that the candidates for president and vice president, respectively, be John Parker of Los Angeles and Teresa Gutierrez of New York.

The selection of Parker and Gutierrez reflects their valuable work in the party over many years, their commitment to the struggle of the multinational working class in this country and around the world, and their ability to carry out and defend the party's program with courage and determination.

Both have upheld the party's strong anti-imperialist positions, traveling abroad to better understand the problems in countries targeted by CIA subversion and Pentagon aggression and then getting that knowledge out to the workers here through many public venues.

Parker went to Sudan and visited that country's main pharmaceutical plant after it was demolished in 1998 by a U.S. missile strike. He has been to Iraq and seen the terrible effects of sanctions on the people there, especially children. He also did solidarity work in Cuba in 1997 with the Venceremos Brigade.

Gutierrez has met with progressive forces in Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Mexico. She recently was part of a delegation to the Dominican Republic investigating the use of that country as a training ground for the paramilitaries who attacked Haiti and helped the U.S. depose its elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

She has visited Cuba many times in solidarity with that besieged but politically strong socialist country, and was a major organizer of the powerful 1992 "Peace for Cuba" rally held at New York's Javits Convention Center that demonstrated the widespread support Cuba enjoyed in that difficult period after the collapse of the USSR.

John Parker was only 18 when he organized his first union election--at a small steel plant in New Jersey. An African American, he has worked at a variety of other jobs, including teaching at a public school in Newark. After moving to Los Angeles with his family several years ago, he became a leader in the anti-war movement there and helped organize and chair several large rallies against the U.S. war in Iraq, sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition. He then worked hard to mobilize anti-war forces to support the 80,000 grocery workers on a strike/lockout against three giant southern California food chains.

Teresa Gutierrez first became politically active in the Chican@ movement in Texas. She eventually moved to New York to be part of a multinational party that puts the struggle against racism and national oppression at the top of its agenda, as an indispensable part of uniting the working class as a whole in the struggle to end capitalism and build a socialist society. A proud lesbian, she brings consciousness on the need to combat sexist oppression to all her work.

These two working-class candidates will be running against the pro-war, pro-intervention, pro-big business politics of George W. Bush and John Kerry. They will use the election to bring another vision of the world to a public that is saturated day in and day out with the cynical view that the political arena belongs only to those who can play the millionaires' game and make the deals that buy elections.

The Parker-Gutierrez campaign will reach out to the class in society that is made up of the millions, not the millionaires. It will encourage mass action and class struggle and will warn all those struggling for a better world not to rely on capitalist elections to solve their problems. Their campaign will also extend a hand of solidarity to the most oppressed, many of whom to this day are still denied even a minute semblance of bourgeois democratic rights and fill the prisons in this country.

It will be a breath of fresh air, coming at a time when so many who are appalled at the cruel, adventurist and repressive character of the Bush administration are finding out that Kerry has nothing to offer them on ending the Iraq occupation or on the deepening crisis for the workers in this country that is exacerbated by imperialist globalization.

Workers World newspaper will be covering the Parker- Gutierrez campaign in depth over the next few months.

Reprinted from the June 3, 2004, issue of Workers World newspaper
This article is copyrighted under a Creative Commons License.
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