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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 college.

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.