The revolutionary socialist election campaign of Workers World Party candidates Monica Moorehead for president and Lamont Lilly for vice president is wrapping up as the Nov. 8 election approaches. But their message and program of struggle, fightback and overturning the capitalist system to end racism, poverty and war will continue.
From California to Baltimore, Detroit to Standing Rock, N.D., upstate New York to Nogales, Ariz., and many other locations, Moorehead and Lilly have talked the talk and walked the walk for revolutionary socialism as the only answer to the problems facing the world’s working class and oppressed peoples, and that it won’t be won at the ballot box.
The following paragraphs describe just a few of the the candidates’ campaign stops.
The Malcolm X Library in San Diego was the scene of some serious political discussion on Oct. 16 as local activists shared ideas for fighting racism, police terror and capitalism with Workers World Party national candidates Monica Moorehead and Lamont Lilly. Chairing the roundtable discussion was Gloria Verdieu of the San Diego Committee Against Police Brutality.
A wide range of community members was present, including a teacher, students and community activists, several local leaders of the San Diego Black Panther Party, the San Diego Black Lives Matter movement, Justice4SD33 and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, and a representative of the Native American Rights Network.
The Black Panthers were original members celebrating their 50th anniversary. They announced they are back and will be patrolling the streets of San Diego, feeding the homeless and coming to the aid of other organizations.
The discussion included an array of social justice topics, from racism and police terror to freeing Leonard Peltier and supporting the Standing Rock anti-pipeline struggle. Also discussed was the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and the need to defend it.
Participants concluded by talking about solutions to Trump’s bigotry, racism and misogyny — including his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ hate — and Clinton’s pro-imperialist war, anti-Black and anti-working-class record.
Publicizing the meeting with leaflets and posters inviting those who are “sick of both parties of war, racism and capitalism,” Workers World Party in Buffalo, N.Y., presented the national campaign of Black revolutionary socialists Moorehead and Lilly on Oct. 25. Moorehead spoke to an audience that included people taking a new look at socialism. There was intense interest and many questions, especially when Moorehead spoke about the struggle that’s ahead after the elections are over. The meeting was the inaugural event at Buffalo WWP’s spacious new meeting hall.
In Philadelphia, a lively discussion with WWP vice-presidential candidate Lamont Lilly took place on Oct. 25. Pam Africa of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal spoke about the struggle for clean water, food and air within a capitalist society that uses mass incarceration, and Deandra Jefferson of the Philly REAL Justice Coalition spoke about class oppression in a racist society. Lilly’s talk featured a back-and-forth discussion with the diverse audience about the repression of Indigenous nations at Standing Rock and the equally repressive government repression of the Black communities from Charlotte, N.C., to Philadelphia and beyond. Workers World Party organizer Mike Wilson moderated the panel.
In Baltimore on Oct. 26, Moorehead and Lilly, along with Sharon Black, a candidate for president of the Baltimore City Council, were featured at a People’s Power Assembly and Workers World Party political forum. Also present was Nnamdi Scott of the People’s Progress Party (Uhuru), who is running for City Council in the 7th District in West Baltimore, the heart of the uprising after the police murder of Freddie Gray. Black and Scott have worked closely together in opposition to Democratic Party candidates who put the corporations and banks ahead of the needs of working people.
Chairing the meeting was Andre Powell, a write-in candidate for mayor and a longtime WWP activist and union official. Powell pointed out how difficult and challenging it is to get a third party on the ballot in this country.
In addressing police repression and brutality, Scott told the audience that oppressed people can have their own community police force that is responsible and held accountable by the community. Brian Joyner spoke of the need to bring political awareness to youth and break the school-to-prison pipeline.
Sharon Black stated: “We are successful not only because people felt that we had a right to be on the ballot, but they signed our petition because they agreed with our program! When we went door to door, the oppressed community was appreciative of the fact that we reached out to them, when the other establishment candidates did not even bother to show their faces, other than an occasional ‘vote for me’ sign. Win or lose, we have already won the fight by reaching out to the people!”
Finally, Moorehead and Lilly took the floor. Moorehead began by discussing the election and why WWP is running candidates. “What is most important in this election is what happens after the election. We have a 10-point program and view our campaign as educational with a message addressed to the most oppressed sector of the working class. We are exposing capitalism, which puts profits before people, in order to build for a socialist revolution in the U.S. The struggle has no borders, and we will fight on a worldwide scale to bring about that goal.”
Comrade Lilly talked about how the elections are rigged. “They are rigged for the capitalist ruling class! As Malcolm X said, ‘The Republicans stab you with a 12-inch knife, and the Democrats pull it out six inches.’” Lilly also addressed the crisis in health care and the all-out war against Black and Brown youth. He noted that “the uprising in Charlotte, which is the Wall Street of the South, was a rebellion against capitalist property, where the protestors targeted Wells Fargo, the Bank of America, and Duke Energy and not Black businesses, but the capitalist establishment itself.” He pointed out that because of this, key organizers of the protests have been targeted by the police.
When Lamont Lilly spoke in Detroit on Oct. 29 the meeting hall was packed, mostly with revolutionary young people. The program was dubbed a “conversation” with the socialist candidate. The conversation started with talks by chair Joe Mchahwar, Martha Grevatt, Randi Nord and Abayomi Azikiwe, all members of Workers World Party. Topics included the U.S. war on Syria and Iraq, international union solidarity, the WWP national conference on Nov. 11-13 and the role of a revolutionary party in fighting imperialism.
Lilly brought it all together, discussing Standing Rock, which he visited in solidarity with the Indigenous struggle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline; the rebellion in Baltimore; the Black Lives Matter movement; fighting racism and national oppression; and how the system needs to be destroyed root and branch. Audience members participated throughout the program with more discussion following Lilly’s talk. Earlier in the day, the candidate participated in a two-hour call-in radio show popular in the Black community.
Ellie Dorritie, Carl Lewis, Zola Rices Muhammad and Joe Piette contributed to this article.