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‘Let’s applaud the Wall Street protesters’

Published Oct 13, 2011 8:08 PM

Cathey Stanley
WW photo: G. Dunkel

Excerpts from a talk by Durham, N.C., WWP branch organizer Cathey Stanley at the Workers World Party National Conference on Oct. 8.

Welcome to Workers World Party’s annual conference. This is a time to learn from comrades, to share our achievements, to explore the work that challenges us, and to collaborate as a party to move our work forward.

It is an exciting and important time to be here. Protesters, inspired by the courageous youth struggle in Greece and the successful movements in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, are occupying Wall Street in the style of the Arab Spring. Their critical demands include restoration of a livable wage, universal single-payer health care, free college education, racial and gender rights amendments, and open borders.

Let’s applaud the Wall Street protesters. For those here from Wall Street, your tireless dedication has inspired occupations across the nation, and worldwide. Globally, there are occupations in more than 420 cities.

One occupier asked people to say in one word why they were on Wall Street. Some replied, “Hope,” “Self,” and “Future.” My word is “Capitalism.” As a single mother, I — as well as other single mothers — experience financial, logistical, social and legal challenges that derive from capitalism. We face the astronomical cost of childcare, more than $1,000 a month, even in rural North Carolina.

My son is #601 on Orange County’s list of children who financially qualify to receive subsidized childcare. Most children have been on the list for two years, while Social Services does not anticipate any extra funding. If more than 600 children need subsidized childcare in one North Carolina county, how many in the U.S. desperately need it? The lack of financial support for childcare shows that capitalism does not work for children.

In this patriarchal society, mothers raise our children. Therefore, capitalism does not work for women.

Childcare costs keep women in poverty, and out of the workforce, or force us into unsuitable working conditions. They keep women financially dependent on others so that we are trapped in bad relationships or feel forever indebted to others. Only with financial freedom will women be free. We demand socialized childcare, which will come with capitalism’s overthrow and the establishment of socialism.

WWP is one of the few spheres where I have access as a single mother, and the space to speak and organize. I committed to the Party because it is dedicated to making WW accessible to those whose circumstances would otherwise keep them out of political activity and empowerment. WW’s perspective is that childcare is the entire society’s responsibility. I applaud WW, specifically the Durham branch, for always ensuring childcare for events, allowing me to fully participate in a realm of society that would otherwise be inaccessible to me and other mothers.