By CHRISTINE MARIE
“Karl Marx once said that there must be something rotten in the very core of a social system which increases its wealth without decreasing its misery.”
With these words, the Socialist Action candidate for U.S. Senate from Connecticut, Fred Linck, began his April 28 talk to a roomful of students at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Linck’s theme was “How Workers in Power Could Transform Society,” and he pointed out that it was a future much easier to imagine now than before the massive wave of rank-and-file led teacher strikes currently rocking five states.
“In the recent teachers uprisings in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kentucky and Arizona,” Linck said, “the teachers took over the preparation of food for their students while on strike. They made demands for increases in the pay of other workers, they struck not only for higher pay but for more education funding, and they have made demands over the type of taxation that should be used to increase school funding. Specifically, they targeted the fossil fuel industry.”
Imagine what it might be like, Linck continued, if workers connected not only for this one strike but to take power into their own hands. Imagine that they established assemblies for the management of not one mobilization, or one social service in one state but for all businesses and for all aspects of society.
Imagine, he said, if these workers’ assemblies connected with each other and debated the big questions of how to use the wealth we produce for society’s good.
On Day One, Linck said, before spending a penny, workers in power could stop all deportations and grant citizenship and full rights to every person living in the country, end the refugee ban, arrest all killer cops, end all restrictions on abortion, outlaw all discrimination against women, and all discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and establish full civil and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex communities.
In short order, workers could immediately close all military bases and bring home all troops from overseas. Such actions, according to the socialist campaigner, would set the democratic basis for engaging the vast majority in the major decisions about how best to utilize the massive wealth stolen by the 1% for education, housing, health, and the creation of a fossil free infrastructure.
The event was sponsored by the UConn Youth for Socialist Action and opened with remarks by YSA member Richmond Apore. Apore grew up in Ghana and linked his support for the Socialist Action campaign to his opposition to what capitalism and imperialism have meant for his place of origin. “You might be mistaken to assume the independence of various African nations from the European colonial imperialist claws,” he said, but it is an illusion “called neo-colonialism.”
Apore asked the audience to look at the abundant natural resources of the continent and then said, “Why are Ghana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and others still languishing while barren economic deserts like Switzerland, Belgium, and France are ultra-wealthy and prosperous?” It is, he argued, because Africa is treated as “pawn” in the game of capitalist competition. Further, he said, “our struggles are so ever intertwined. The destruction of the neocolonialist states in Africa and Latin America, as well as the Caribbean nations and Puerto Rico, will only be ended by a collective awakening of the masses there and the workers here to our shared demons.”
Apore and Linck invited all those attending to help Socialist Action to get on the ballot by participating in the collection of the approximately 15,000 signatures of Connecticut voters. At least 34 volunteers have so far pledged to go out to festivals, fairs, demonstrations, and busy thoroughfares, asking for support and distributing campaign literature.
In the next three weeks, Linck is scheduled to speak to the New Britain American Federation of Teachers, the Norwich Connecticut Education Association, and in the Local 217 union hall in Stamford (May 25). On May 12, he will speak to the Western CT DSA, in Danbury, Conn. To follow the campaign, visit http://www.VoteSocialistAction.org.