This feature highlights a few of the fundamental stances of Freedom Socialist Party candidates Stephen Durham for president and Christina López for vice president, and contrasts them to the platforms of Republican candidates and President Obama. For positions relating to other major issues, such as civil liberties, police abuse, environmental preservation, the war on drugs, education, and much more, visit www.votesocialism.com.
Corporate candidates: Every single Republican candidate and Democrat President Obama expect staggering unemployment, evictions, and disappearing social services to get better within the “free market” economy. Their “solutions” have ranged from cutting corporate taxes and bailing out banks to restricting unemployment benefits, laying workers off, and increasing austerity measures — while urging people to shop more! Romney thinks federal social services should be shoved onto the states. Obama promises temporary, low-paid jobs and more cuts in the federal workforce. His much-touted “payroll tax deduction” directly takes funding away from Social Security.
Durham and López: What’s needed is a massive, publicly funded training and jobs program to advance people’s skills and get work done that’s much needed in the U.S. Such jobs should be paid at union wages and provide childcare for parents. Repeal of union-busting laws will hasten this development. How to pay for all this is easy: disarm the U.S. war machine and dismantle the Pentagon.
Durham and López also stand for boosting employment by restoring help for seniors, children, single mothers, and the poor, homeless, or hungry. They insist on keeping Social Security strong, ending foreclosures, and expanding low-cost public housing. And they promote nationalizing the banks and energy industry under the management of workers’ committees.
Healthcare and Reproductive Rights
Corporate candidates: Every presidential candidate on both sides of the aisle considers healthcare the province of private enterprise. That is to say, the purpose of hospitals and other care facilities, drug companies, and insurance corporations is to make a profit. This explains the woeful health of many people in the technologically advanced U.S., the world’s richest country. Obama’s early promises of healthcare reform proved empty as he gift-wrapped huge profits for insurance companies with his Affordable Care Act, which compels people to get coverage from them.
Under the guise of “freedom of religion,” every GOP candidate opposes abortion and other forms of birth control. As for Obama, when Catholic bishops told him he must not make big businesses run by religious institutions contribute to employees’ birth control insurance, the president caved.
Durham and López: These un-millionaire candidates believe that healthcare is a basic human right, not a privilege for the privileged few! Any socially responsible government would make it universal and free to all residents, by increasing taxes on mega-corporations and the wealthiest. López points out that Obama’s program excludes undocumented immigrants, restricts other immigrants’ access, and affirms denial of federal funding for abortion. “It’s a sellout of the human rights of women and immigrants,” she charges, “under corporate and right-wing pressure.” FSP defends women’s full control over all aspects of their reproductive freedom.
Durham emphasizes, “The healthcare system needs more than tinkering. It needs a complete overhaul.” That can be done by nationalizing the entire industry, including pharmaceuticals, medical supply companies, and hospitals, with control given to healthcare workers in collaboration with patients.
Corporate candidates: Far from proposing remedies for the discrimination many groups face, the Republican candidates promote anti-immigrant laws and actively fan racism, sexism, heterosexism, and anti-foreigner sentiment. They put forward absolutely no plans to help those with physical and mental disabilities, prisoners and ex-cons, homeless people, addicts, elders, and others whose rights are trampled on and security jeopardized.
Obama’s administration has mostly proven just as uncaring about deep injustice in U.S. society. Women’s right to take an equal place in society is under greater fire than it has been in decades. Massive incarceration of Latinos and Blacks is a national travesty, as is government terrorist-baiting against Muslims and others from the Middle East and Africa. Candidates of both parties offer no help to those who are systematically abused — because there’s no money to be made in doing so.
Durham and López: Durham, a longtime service industry worker, has been a gay rights activist since the Stonewall rebellion era, and López is an outspoken, part-Apache Chicana feminist who grew up in Arizona. They have lived lives of experiencing discrimination and organizing against all forms of oppression. They call for equal rights for all regardless of race, age, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, immigrant status, or physical ability. To attack long-lived discrimination, they call for restoring affirmative action. They advocate repeal of right-wing laws against immigrants and dismantling of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security.
And their campaign is a strike against yet another form of discrimination — the concerted effort to deny ballot access to socialists and other minor parties.
War and international relations
Corporate candidates: As Obama’s January State of the Union speech made very clear, U.S. economic and military might is the top priority. Congress applauded wildly as he assured them that “America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs” and heralded the “enduring power of our moral example.” Relentless wars and terrorist-mongering have been very profitable for big business. Capitalist survival depends on intense international competition — and for every winner, there must be a loser.
Durham and López: The Freedom Socialist campaign takes exactly the opposite position. The relationship among the working classes of all countries should be one of solidarity, not ruinous competition. Embargoes, sanctions, wars, and military occupations led by the U.S. have laid low vast numbers of human beings, their countries, and their hopes. Militarily, Durham and López oppose every imperialist war and call for all U.S. troops to be brought home and the 1,000 U.S. bases abroad closed. Economically, they advocate overturning “free trade” deals that impoverish workers here and abroad. U.S. corporations that pollute, exploit, and support corrupt regimes overseas should be immediately nationalized under workers’ control. That would be an excellent start on the road to creating planetary environmental sanity and a socialist world.
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