By DANIEL ADAM
Ten years after the crash of 2008, a refreshing growth in unionization and militant strikes shows promise of developing into a new wave of working-class action. This follows years of struggle against police murder and a wave of protest that began with 4 million marching for women’s rights. Tens of thousands flooded airports throughout the U.S. to stop bans on refugees and Muslim immigrants. And socialism continues to grow in popularity among young people.
What will be the fate of these struggles? Will the militant strike in West Virginia be the harbinger of a new labor movement? Will revolutionary socialism become a major force in working class politics? Or will the activity of working and oppressed people be canalized by the Democratic Party and other organs of big business?
What can political working people do to save new struggles from going the way of the great Wisconsin public workers’ uprising of 2011, when an unrelenting succession of mass actions, widely supported, were channeled into a campaign to elect a Democrat who refused to support the aims of the movement, and then promptly lost the race?
This is why Fred Linck, a veteran of the Iraq war, is running for U.S. Senate in Connecticut as a candidate of Socialist Action. “Every election year we are told to forget about exercising our own power and to figure out how we can best elect one of the candidates chosen by the people who exploit us all day” says Linck. “I am running for office to show working people what kind of power they have, and to show that we will only win when we learn to stand on our own feet and stop hoping that someone from the parties of wealth will save us.”
Fred Linck is a 30-year-old activist and member of Socialist Action. At 17 he joined the Marine Corps and fought in the war in Iraq. Fred’s experience in Iraq led him to question the U.S. motivations for going to war and the capitalist system that produces war, racism, homophobia, and sexism. He is active in the climate justice group 350 Connecticut.
“In Iraq, I began to figure out that poor people around the world really do have the same interests,” says Linck. “It’s really just a few thousand rich people who keep the rest of us fighting each other over scraps.”
Support for the campaign is growing steadily on-line and on the ground. The Quiet Corner chapter of Democratic Socialists of America endorsed Linck by a unanimous vote. Campaign supporters’ meetings are organized in Hartford and Stamford. A rally at UConn is planned for April 7. Supporters are booking meetings with labor and student organizations, where Linck will present the campaign’s politics and ask for endorsements.
The campaign is organizing a petition drive to place Linck on the ballot; 7500 valid signatures from registered voters will be required. The campaign plans to collect 15,000. The last socialist candidate for federal office on the ballot in Connecticut was Christopher Hutchinson, also of Socialist Action, who ran for Congress in 2010.