“Americans today have been put on the merry-go-round; on the Wall Street Republican-Democratic merry-go-round of boom, bust and war.”
Representative Vito Marcantonio delivered those words in a speech to Congress on Aug. 4, 1948. Marcantonio was elected to seven terms by his constituents in East Harlem, a stone’s throw from Freedom Hall, the current headquarters of the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) in New York City.
Remarkably, Marcantonio ran on third party tickets for most of his long career.
His words are as true today as they were then. In fact, in the same speech he addressed the high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, and endless imperialist wars — all very much with us 64 years later. If the twin parties of capitalism were capable of ending poverty, war, injustice or global warming, perhaps by now they would have done so.
The truth is that capitalism causes these problems, and a vote for either party’s candidate just preserves the status quo. If you think President Obama is so much better than his predecessor, for example, why has he continued and even expanded so many of George W. Bush’s policies?
If you’re fed up but need persuading, here are seven reasons to vote socialist feminist this November.
1. Socialists oppose war and its bloody spoils.
Of course it makes you sick to hear about the military’s ongoing drone attacks that regularly kill innocent people in Yemen and Pakistan. It angers you to hear about U.S.-made weapons used against Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army. You don’t want to see your tax dollars spent to open even more U.S. bases around the globe.
Unfortunately, President Obama has endorsed all these actions and more. On the other hand, revolutionary socialists oppose imperialist wars of aggression.
2. Voting for the “lesser evil” directly contributes to both parties’ march to the right.
The logic of capitalism increases the concentration of wealth into the hands of the few, which is accompanied by political reaction (see: Newt Gingrich). By refusing to vote for business as usual, you can help push the debate to the left.
3. Ordinary people here and abroad need U.S. voters to do better.
All across the globe, people suffer daily because of the rotten decisions made by the U.S. government. When we pull the lever every four years for one of two corporate shills, we fail ourselves and the whole world.
It’s not just the eroding of wages, loss of jobs and gutting of the social programs here. It’s that the same things are happening everywhere.
A vote against the system and for socialism is an act of solidarity with working people of the world, and they are our true allies.
4. People should be able to move freely.
Capitalism ravages economies and destroys lives. It is no wonder that millions seek to flee impossible situations in search of work and better living conditions, often risking their lives in the process.
No human being is “illegal.” Demilitarize and open the borders!
5. Unless you yourself are a millionaire, voting for one is probably not in your best interest.
Let’s consider this year’s choices. Mitt Romney admits that all of his income is from investments, which means collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from other people’s work. He has no interest in changing that gravy train. As for Obama, some of his Cabinet members are criminals, directly responsible for the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression.
6. No human necessity should be profited from.
That goes for food, healthcare, housing and education. If you had a choice, would you opt for a society where people go hungry for lack of money or can’t get the medical care they need? Where people remain in debt for life because they want to get an education? Where millions live with daily violence and hopelessness?
There is a choice. Socialists know that there are enough resources on the planet for everyone to live a good life, free of fear and want. They just need to be managed prudently and shared equitably.
7. A rising tide lifts all boats.
FSP candidates Stephen Durham and Christina López stand for prioritizing the needs of women, people of color, queers, and immigrants. This is how to connect the movements and unite the working class for the struggle ahead.
Also read: Freedom Socialist Party platform