Freedom Party event launches election campaign
Published Oct 9, 2010 6:38 AM
An exciting event launched the Freedom Party campaign on Oct. 3 at the Church
of the Resurrection, which also serves as home to the South Bronx Community
Congress. Charles Barron and Ramon Jimenez, candidates for governor and
attorney general, respectively, both spoke eloquently about the emerging Black
and Latino/a alliance that sees well beyond the Nov. 2 elections to a new
“people’s power bloc” that can genuinely fight for and
protect the interests of working people in the city and state of New York.
Barron, a former Black Panther, detailed how the money is really available to
provide free, high quality education for all, not only at primary and secondary
levels, but through bachelor and graduate degrees for young people who want and
need a chance to develop themselves fully.
He denounced the school-to-prison-or-war transmission belt that is the reality
for most of today’s youth, as well as the crushing burden of debt that is
the only prize for those few working-class youth who manage to make it into
Barron noted that before Black and Latino/a youth won open admissions to the
City University system in the mid-1970s, this system had completely free
tuition and even provided a stipend for books and other expenses. This was
true, he said, even during the Depression when unemployment was high and public
funds were scarce. Popular mobilizations through unions and unemployed councils
were what made this possible.
Barron said that public transit could and should be free and that the
Metropolitan Transit Authority should be fired, as it is a profit-oriented
appendage affixed atop the transit system to siphon off money.
He pointed out that poor and working people need a single-payer health care
system, not a profit-based insurance system that has failed to provide true
health care for millions of people. He outlined how a very modest, progressive
tax increase on rich people in New York state could easily generate billions of
dollars a year to pay for these things. However, he added, they should really
be rights for all people in any society.
Both Barron and Jimenez made it clear that mainstream politicians will no
longer be able to ignore Black and Latino/a people and take their votes for
granted. The Freedom Party does not take these communities for granted, the
candidates asserted, but provides a vehicle for struggle through which poor and
working people can represent themselves.
Viola Plummer, a leader of the December 12 Movement and a founder of the
Freedom Party, made it clear that the goal is to build a people’s
revolutionary movement. Like Barron’s and Jimenez’s speeches, her
remarks were greeted with thunderous applause.
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