Prohibition Party Is 3rd Oldest Active Party

Prohibition Party Is 3rd Oldest Active Party

By Bob Small

The Prohibition Party, which has a chapter in Pennsylvania, is the oldest existing third party in America and the third-longest active party, dating from Sept. 1, 1869.

One reason for the party’s longevity –besides never needing to make decisions while hung over — is the George Pennock Trust Fund, established in 1930 and still active, which has paid the Prohibition Party approximately $8,000 per year.

Though its focus has remained prohibition, the party has also embraced bimettalism, equal pay and and equal rights, and women’s suffrage, among other issues. Today it supports many things, including animal rights, free education, and school prayer. For a full list, see

The party’s very first presidential candidate, in 1872, was Pennsylvanian James Black. Other Pennsylvania Prohibition Party candidates for president were Silas C. Swallow in 1904 and James Hedges in 2016. 

As is true of the Greens today, they were frequently accused of being “spoilers”. In 1884, they were accused of almost “spoiling” Grover Cleveland’s election over James G. Blaine.

Prohibition Party Is  3rd Oldest Active Party
Some things don’t change

The Prohibition Party was different from the Anti-Saloon League, the WCTU and other similar organizations, although they shared common goals.

There are currently 10 other state Prohibition Parties, besides the one in Pennsylvania.

A recent conversation with James Hedges, the current chair of the Pennsylvania chapter, reveals that they are in the process of creating a website for Pennsylvania and working on ways to attract new members. Hedges quotes the statistic that per-capita alcohol consumption fell by two thirds during Prohibition, and it did not return to its pre-Prohibition level until repeal.

Among other issues the party discusses are “abortion, a balanced budget, ballot access, civil rights, drugs, and gambling”.

Jim Hedges can be reached at

Other informational websites include:

Welcome to the Partisan Historical Society’s website… › cgi ›

Encyclopedia of Cleveland History: PROHIBITION PARTY

Full Disclosure: Jim and I have worked together for many years on ballot access issues. We remain members of the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition. 

Mayor Adams Goes To El Paso

Mayor Adams Goes To El Paso

By Bob Small

Seeing a line on the scroll at the bottom on Fox 29 10 p.m. news we wondered whether we’ve seen it correctly. This was that Mayor Eric Adams (NYC) went to El Paso to meet with the mayor of El Paso to discuss  the immigrant crisis, keeping in mind that immigrants are persons who are in crisis due to lack of solutions due to various federal governments.

At first the search (using Duck Duck Go) of the meeting above only lead to four items of the first 10 on the first page, but by three days (Jan. 18) there were there were 20 articles using “Mayor Adams visits El Paso”.

In the Politico article, Adams called it a “fact finding mission”, and he was hosted by fellow Democrat Mayor Oscar Leseer of El Paso. He pledged to start a “coalition with mayors facing similar situations”. 

Next week at  the annual US Conference of Mayors. (Hear that Mayor Kenney?) where he will try to coordinate American mayors to say “How do we respond to this directly?”

Mayor Adams Goes To El Paso

He further stated “There should be one (FEMA) to coordinate everything that is happening dealing with migrants and asylum seekers in our country”. He went on to say that the city spent $366 million and received just a total of $10 million from a combination of FEMA and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Adams told Fox News that the refugee resettlement, “should be coordinated by our national government, not only done locally by these NGO’s, but it should be done by our national government. That is not happening.”

Others, however, are concerned that Adams is trying to foist his problems on all taxpayers.

Hopefully, we will have a bipartisan effort so that we can have a coherent federal plan to work with the migrants and the cities, rather than dumping “the migrant crisis” on the cities by federal inaction.

Shapiro’s Republican Pick For Secretary Of State

Shapiro’s Republican Pick For Secretary Of State

By Bob Small

In a case of  seeming  bipartisanship, Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro has chosen Republican Al Schmidt, a member of both the Philadelphia Election Board,and the Philadelphia Parking Authority to be Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State.

The Department of State runs elections.

Al Schmidt and former President Trump remain on opposite sides about the fairness of the 2020 election. Al Schmidt has received many threats to himself  and his family, which should never happen.

Mr. Schmidt has held the minority party seat on the three-person Philadelphia Election Commission since 2011.

Shapiro's Republican Pick For Secretary Of State

After the 2020 election, Trump pressured Schmidt to stop counting the absentee ballots, which Schmidt refused to do.

Most recently, Al Schmidt was the CEO of the Committee of Seventy, a long-standing Philadelphia fair election group.

Originally from Pittsburgh, he has a  BS from Allegheny College and a PhD from Brandeis University.

He moved to Philly in 2005, when his wife was hired by a Philly law firm. He also worked as a  policy analyst for the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets under the Clinton administration. He was once executive director of the Philadelphia Republican City Committee.

“He led an informal insurgent faction some called the ‘Loyal Opposition’, which pushed back against what he believed was ineffective Republican Party leadership at the city level.”  

He recently received a Presidential Citizens Medal from President Biden relating to the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

A friend of minew ho’s a Delco conservative shared his perspective “Schmidt should have endeavored to redress grievances by investigating the evidence of election fraud, not dismissing or ignoring it.” My thought is that suspicions about election irregularities  are not addressed by ignoring them.

Shapiro’s Republican Pick For Secretary Of State

Delco Peace Center In memoriam

Delco Peace Center In memoriam

By Bob Small

I received on Jan. 10 a notice that the Delco Peace Center was closing.

It was founded in 1986 with a mission to “create a welcoming community space dedicated to peace and justice” by the still active Brandywine Peace Community at Springfield Friends Meetinghouse, 1001 Sproul Road, Springfield, Pa.

During my years of involvement with the Peace Center, through Cinema Resistance, Poets for Peace, and other groups, our primary goal was to deliver a  non-partisan, pro-peace message and to enjoy doing it.  This began with Delco Pledge of Resistance, founded 1986.

Then, most of us were with alternative parties (the Green Party, Socialists, etc),  or were registered to vote as independents. The Democratic Party had not yet co-opted the peace movement.

Cinema Resistance featured screenings of Hollywood, independent, and international movies such as these. We would introduce a film, watch it together, and then have a discussion. At least until the popcorn ran out. We also served as a clearinghouse for other area peace-related activities, which I co-coordinated.

Delco Peace Center In memoriam

Like any other group, we had our share of “infighting” over such issues as whether to hire a paid coordinator, the role of politics within the group, and others.

At a certain point, not having stopped any wars, we (my wife and I) withdrew from this activism, and began to focus  on the attempted gentrification of our little borough of Swarthmore, where we won some, lost some,

In the pre-Covid years, when the Peace Center still had Christmas gatherings, film showings, and musical events, my wife and I would attend them, keeping in touch with old friends.

That was then, this is now. Now we’re busy fighting proposed condo monstrosities, the PECO tree cutters, and  the proposed “Poultry Police” in Swarthmore.

I’ll leave the last sad words to my friend Roger Balson, a co-coordinator of Democracy Unplugged: “Just another example of how the peace movement in our area is fading away. Now that the Democrats have cemented their commitment to endless war, I guess this makes sense.”

Delco Peace Center In memoriam

Swarthmore Murder 68th Anniversary Approaches

Swarthmore Murder 68th Anniversary Approaches

By Bob Small

On Tuesday, Jan. 11, 1955, Robert E. Bechtel, then a junior at Swarthmore College, shot fellow student Francis Holmes Strozier. 

As we arrive at the 68th anniversary of this event, the last murder to happen within the borders of Swarthmore, Pa., many details remain to ponder. A 2015 review in MyCityPaper concerning the premiere of the documentary “Blood Ties” notes:

On the night of Jan 11, Bechtel drove home to his mother’s house in Pottstown, where he collected guns and a slice of coconut cake. He returned and, even though he was planning a mass murder because he felt he had been the victim of “bullying”, he ended up only shooting one person.

Bechtel was a proctor (resident advisor) at the time of the shooting.

He was found not competent to stand trial and was committed to the Farview State Hospital for The Criminally Insane for life.  After four years and five months, Bechtel was released in January 1960. He underwent a trial, which found him not guilty by reason of insanity. 

After the trial, Bechtel went to Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, and then to the University of Kansas, receiving his doctorate in 1967. He never mentioned the shooting.

When he applied to teach at the University of Arizona, Bechtel similarly neglected to mention the shooting.

In 2005, Bechtel planned to attend his 50th class reunion at Swarthmore College, despite never having graduated and the antipathy of many of his fellow students.

He first revealed the murder in 2004, in a class that he taught entitled “The Psychology of Happiness”.

With all of that, he’s still the second most famous student in that class, the most famous being Michael Dukakis.

Pondering this story, one wonders whether the good Bechtel did in his life, as a teacher and as a family man, overrides the evil.

Swarthmore Murder 68th Anniversary Approaches

Should Schools Encourage Children To Transition?

Should Schools Encourage Children To Transition?

By Bob Small

Trans people are not “an issue”.  

They are people.

The first activity many of us need to do, when looking at new formations is force ourselves to understand that this is 2023, rather than 1983 or 1953 or any prior date.  The second activity, and this is purely my idea, is how do we neither encourage or discourage a mature person from becoming a Transexual Person but how do we wait until they are mature enough to come to this decision.  How old is mature enough?  To my mind, if they are not old enough to drive, enlist in the military, or vote, they are not old enough to make as final a decision as “transitioning”.   Or is the opposite true, should 12-year-olds be able to drive, enlist in the military, and vote?  And how should this be decided?

And, more importantly, who should make the decision.  I only have answers, not questions.

The toolkit for gender spectrum  brings up some fascinating questions like “are there gender differences in what kids are expected to do during recess? They also discuss the “gender-neutral day”.  There are some fascinating ideas here, which are, at least, worth debating.

In Philadelphia, for instance, had quoted the Pope Francis as saying “The Catholic Church consistently affirms the inherent dignity of each and every person.”  I’m not sure of the current translation of that, since there are not any recent posts, but you can see the previous details here.

The Post Millennial, is a conservative Canadian publication which has published some stories I found dubious one of which was the Pennsylvania Department of Education says kids can identify as transgender.

So I checked Pennsylvania Department of Educations website and it did have the line, under “Creating Gender-inclusive schools and classrooms  that “If you don’t know a student’s preferred personal pronoun, it’s always best to ask”. 

I couldn’t find anything on three-year-olds identifying as transgender, however.

In Delaware County, Haverford High School introduced proposed School Board  Policy 259, ensuring Equity and Non-discrimination for Gender Expansive and Transgender students and Strath Haven’s The Panther Press carried an article Unlocking the door to equality  by Cece Olszewski on Jan. 20, 2022

The first high school in Pennsylvania to adopt a Transgender Bathroom Policy, was Springfield Township in Montco.

So, is there a way to arrive at an age for this decision.  Is there even a way to discuss this?

I’d like to hear opinions.

Should Schools Encourage Children To Transition?

Can Frank Agovino Turn Swarthmore Red?

Can Frank Agovino Turn Swarthmore Red?

By Bob Small

Can Frank Agovino Turn Swarthmore Red? — Frank Agovino has been elected at the new Delco GOP chairman replacing the retired Tom McGarrigle and promising a host of changes.  

“I want to get the party on better footing, and that means having a 49-municipality strategy that actively invites more people into the process from across the county,”  he said.

He also intends to “establish a committee on mail in voting” and wants to “improve our performance amongst voters who now prefer to vote early and remotely”.

“We need to do a better job of serving as a watchdog and holding the current l(democratic) leadership accountable,” he said. It is also our duty to effectively articulate an alternative vision.”  

Can Frank Agovino Turn Swarthmore Red?
Frank Agovino

This was an election where only one county Republican candidate State Rep Craig Williams (D-160) won.  Incumbent Chris Quinn (168th) was an incumbent who was upset.  

Agovino was the GOP candidate for the 26th District senate seat in November losing to incumbent Timothy Kearney

Agovino’s New Avenue Foundation started the Media Bean Company which is still around, albeit in Newtown  Square, still making great breakfasts.  He has been involved with a number of boards, including the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, the Manufacturers Alliance of Delaware and Chester County, and the YMCA of Eastern Delaware County, etc.  

He received a BS in Marketing from St. Joe’s and an MS in Organizational Leadership from Cabrini.  He lives in Springfield with his wife and daughter,.

One borough in Delco where Republicans have not been on the ballot recently, is Swarthmore.  Maybe Frank Agovino can revitalize the Swarthmore GOP which, sadly does not have an electronic presence.

This is an article I wrote a while ago.  Nothing has changed.

Swarthmore Was Once Republican – BillLawrenceOnline

Hopefully, Frank Agovino will provide some needed changes.

Narrow D Win In Bucks County

Narrow D Win In Bucks County

By Bob Small

F. Todd Polinchock, a two term GOP incumbent lost in the November election.  One of his many issues was tougher gun legislation and other anti-crime measures.  He also wanted greater energy production.

He is a pro life supporter. 

He is a Realtor.

The Democrat winner, Brian Munroe had 16,123 votes to Polinchock’s 15,608 or 50.8 percent. A victory but hardly a mandate.

Narrow D Win In Bucks County
Brian Munroe

PA house district 144 consists of 5 areas in Bucks County. Since it’s creation in 1969, all the State House representatives had been Republican.

Munroe has been an emergency medical technician and a Radnor Police officer. He was also a volunteer firefighter.  He is a US Navy Veteran.

Among his signature positions are pro-choice, Green Jobs, increasing healthcare coverage, and a iving wage. He has also come out for free community college. For other positions, see his website.

Reviewing the five PA House incumbents who lost, four of them were GOP.  Some of this was due to redistricting and some may have been the statewide candidates at the top of the ticket.

Or maybe something else.

Like in many political setbacks, there are lessons to be learned by more astute minds than mine.

Defining Female In Swarthmore

Defining Female In Swarthmore

By Bob Small

There’s a cashier at our local Swarthmore grocery store,  puts up a handwritten sign that asks people to address him with a choice of feminine pronouns. Not wanting to be labeled “Transphobic”, I said nothing, feeling gobsmacked.

This person is someone I only have a customer/cashier relationship with and do not know in any other way. I did try once to call him “sis”, but I felt like I was pandering so now I call him “you”, like in see you.  I want to avoid being uncomfortable every time I buy groceries while at the same time I respect his right to self-definition, if that makes any sense.

This “uncomfortableness”, leads me to Vermont, where I have two friends, one long term and one newer and mostly electronic, who are frequently on opposite sides of the “Trans” issue. One of them is Trans.

First, of all, one note of explanation, the trans identifying 14 -year-old student, “Rabbit” whose presence in the girls locker room is what my generation would of called  “pre-op” or possibly even “transvestite” or, a “junior drag queen.”

Here’s some articles explaining the kerfuffle, keeping in mind that the Daily Signal is affiliated with the right-leaning Heritage Foundation

Vermont High School Under Fire Over Trans Student In Girls’ Locker Room

Vermont School District Suspends Father of Girl Who Pushed Back Against

Randolph high school backs down over transgender incident after ADF files lawsuit

Let us be clear that”Rabbit” was only doing what Vermont state law permits  “State Law allows the students to use locker rooms and bathrooms that align with their stated gender identity” 

For “Rabbit’s” version of the story, listen to this podcast which Marina was kind enough to send to me.

Travis Allen, father to one of the female complainers, was suspended from his position as Randolph Soccer coach for using a male pronoun to refer to “Rabbit”.

At one point, the girls who complained were scheduled for a “restorative circle” to understand the rights of “transgender students to access public accommodations in a manner consistent with their self proclaimed gender identity”. Then there’s Outright Vermont.

Returning to sleepy Swarthmore, I’m not afraid of being “flagged” from the store unless I use the correct pronoun but I am worried that Vermont (and other states) haven’t figured out ways to protect everyone’s rights.  Transgender students should have their rights respected but so should everyone else.  

The situation in Pennsylvania schools is more muddled and deserves a separate post.

Defining Female In Swarthmore
Defining Female In Swarthmore

Chris Hoeppner Looks Backwards And Forward

Chris Hoeppner Looks Backwards And Forward

By Bob Small

Chris Hoeppner was the sole Socialist Workers Party (SWP) who remained on his ballot line after the Pennsylvania Department of State increased the signature requirement  three days before the deadline

He received 12,820 votes which was 4.9 percent of the total votes.

This was a significant result because this was the first time in living  memory that a Pennsylvania Socialist Party which posits themselves as a truly “radical” alternative party was able to achieve a ballot line.  The Constitution, Green, and Libertarian Parties are all “mainstream” alternative Parties. The Greens are left of the Dems, while the Constitution and the Libertarian Parties are to the right of the Republicans.  If the Keysone Party still exists, they’re not answering their emails.

One other change with the SWP is that they now want to be interviewed.  The following is edited from an extensive (almost 3,000 words) interview, which is attached.  

Chris cited some lessons from his campaign; “Working people were very open to discussing the need to break with the Democ rat, Republican and (my italics)  other capitalist parties.”

“We raised the fight for the dwindling number of family farmers to have a (my italics) guaranteed income to cover their costs of production and to nationalize the land to protect farmers right to work it, free from the threat of foreclosure”.

Chris says he was driven to run in 2022 because “politics is not red versus blue, or liberalism versus conservatism, but class versus class. He goes on to say they “built support for union battles.”

This article, by the way, was in the Philadelphia Inquirer, not normally a socialist leaning newspaper.

According to Chris, who works on the train system, “Since 2017 railroad owners have cut jobs  by 20 percent, slashing crew sizes and making the railroads more dangerous.”

He also stated “both the President and Democratic Leadership “seek to turn workers and farmers against rail workers.”

Chris Hoeppner Looks Backwards And Forward

He promised the various locals, especially Philly and Pittsburgh, will become more active with continued outreach “at picket lines, social protests, and political meetings.”

Socialist Workers Party can be reached at: 2824 Cottman Ave. #1, Philadelphia, PA 19149 or by phoningn 215-708-1270

More information can be found at and

Here is the question and answer with Chris Hoeppner

What did you learn from your Campaign? 

The Socialist Workers Party received a good response from our election campaign in Pennsylvania and around the U.S. Working people were very open to discussing the need to break with the Democrats, Republicans, and all other capitalist parties. How we need to build our own party, a labor party, based on our unions, that can organize to fight for our own class interests in face of the economic, social and moral crises of the capitalist system. Our aim is to establish a workers and farmers government to take power out of the hands of the capitalist class and organize society based on meeting human needs, not on making profits for a few.

Working people we spoke to know what the challenges are today, and wanted to discuss what to do about it. This is why the SWP used the campaign to build solidarity with social and labor struggles, including the fight rail workers are waging against both the bosses and the government for livable schedules, safer conditions and the right to strike, the Philadelphia Museum of Art strike for a union contract and the United Mine Workers strike at Warrior Met in Alabama, school workers in Ontario, Canada, justice for Mahsa Amini in Iran, truckers in Canada and the US, protests against the US embargo on Cuba and solidarity with the Cuban revolution, and many more.

  We raised the fight for the dwindling number of family farmers to have a guaranteed income to cover their costs of production and to nationalize the land to protect working farmers’ right to work it, free from threat of foreclosure.

Workers see how employment is a central question facing us in Philadelphia and beyond. We need a union-led fight for jobs, with wages, hours and schedules that mean workers can be with their families and be politically active, rather than be torn apart by the bosses’ drive for profits.

Workers we met discussed how we shouldn’t have to hold down two or three jobs to make ends meet, nor be forced into dependency on welfare programs that create barriers to finding work. Our unions should fight for a basic income for all families, to make it possible to keep a job, be part of the working class and strengthen our solidarity and confidence in our own capacities. Under Capitalism, working people face the breakdown of the family and the fabric of is evident throughout Philadelphia in the growing homelessness, soaring drug addiction and crime.

The labor movement needs to fight for a nationwide government-funded public works program, to create jobs and build and produce things that working people need. We need cost of living adjustments to keep up with inflation. Instead, city and state officials promote marijuana dispensaries and ever more gambling as ‘economic development.’ This will just drive more working people in the city and countryside alike into economic crisis and the scourge of drug, alcohol and gambling addiction.

City officials have made a show of “welcoming” asylum-seekers who have been bused here by the government in Texas, using it to score partisan points against the Republicans. What’s needed is a fight for amnesty for all immigrants in the U.S. in order to strengthen the unity of the working class and our ability to organize, build unions and fight together.

To be able to carry out these struggles, working people need to defend constitutional freedoms that are under a concerted assault by the Democrats and the FBI today.

Working people need our own foreign policy that starts with building solidarity with struggles in the interests of working people worldwide, including against Moscow’s assault on the independence of the courageous Ukrainian people and the protests by workers and youth in Iran today.

What drove you to run? 

There is no other working-class voice. The Socialist Workers Party was the only party in 2022 saying that politics is not Red vs. Blue, or liberal vs. conservative, but class vs. class. We explained working people need our own party, independent of and opposed to the bosses’ Democrats and Republicans, and a working-class course of action to confront the growing crisis of the capitalist system.

We built support for union battles, presented proposals to protect working people from soaring prices and unemployment, and pointed to the common interests we share with workers worldwide.

Every other political force campaigned for or against former President Donald Trump, from Democrats of all stripes, the middle-class left, Never-Trump and newly minted No-more Trump Republicans to the Trump-endorsed Republican candidates. All these choices are a trap for workers.

Under capitalist rule, all those in the political arena serve the needs of one or the other of the two main classes, but not both. The bosses have two parties, and act as if that presents workers with a real choice. It’s a sham. 

History shows — from the massive labor battles that built industrial unions in the 1930s to the Black-led working-class movement that uprooted Jim Crow segregation — that as the class struggle deepens more workers become fed up with the bosses’ parties. Working people increasingly recognize we need to rely on ourselves, to organize all those oppressed and exploited by capital to fight together and build solidarity with one another.

The road forward on this course is to organize and strengthen our unions, to build solidarity with all those on the front lines, from school workers in Ontario to 115,000 rail workers in the U.S. to the courageous workers and youth in Iran to the inspiring fighting people of Ukraine.

SWP candidates advanced this perspective and explained the decisive question is which class holds political power. We explained what workers and farmers can do together to establish our own government.

Working people in Cuba, under the Marxist leadership of Fidel Castro and other leaders of the July 26 Movement, took political power into their own hands, making ever deeper inroads against capitalist exploitation and property relations. Through their struggles they made, and recognized, the socialist character of their accomplishments and revolution — an example that can be emulated everywhere.

Ever since Cuban workers and farmers stormed to victory in 1959, the Socialist Workers Party here has acted on its pledge to do likewise. Join us!

How did it feel to receive the positive media coverage?

It was limited, but the coverage we did receive was favorable. 

I’ve been following the Militant on the rail strike. Any comments on the executive action?

Working people have every interest in backing the struggle of rail workers against the attacks of the bosses and opposing government intervention aimed at crippling our use of union power.

Both President Joseph Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi seek to turn workers and farmers against rail workers, undermine solidarity with our struggle and weaken our unions. The Democrats’ strikebreaking operation has widespread Republican support.

Biden and Pelosi claim Congress must ban rail workers from striking because that would hurt other workers. They say a strike would put hundreds of thousands out of a job, prevent millions from getting groceries and medicine and hinder farmers from feeding their livestock.

In fact, a strike would give rail workers the maximum leverage to make gains against the relentless attacks of the bosses and set a precedent that would strengthen the labor movement and all workers. It’s bosses, not workers, who throw workers out of jobs. Democrats act as if workers sacrificing is the only way to prevent a strike. But bosses could stop a rail strike simply by granting the workers’ just demands.

Since 2017 railroad owners have cut jobs by 20%, slashing crew sizes and making the railroads more dangerous.

Long before rail workers started this contract fight, working farmers faced a squeeze from the owners of seed, fertilizer, agricultural implements and food processing monopolies, as well as the banks. These companies boost farmers’ production costs and limit the prices they get for their produce. A successful fight by rail workers would put a stronger ally at the service of the battles of working farmers.

Congress is not intervening in the interests of workers. It’s defending the bosses and their drive for profits at our expense. The contract imposed by Congress has already been voted down by rail workers. It doesn’t address crucial questions: livable schedules and hours, increasingly dangerous working conditions, time off when needed, paid sick days and an end to onerous attendance policies.

The rail workers’ fight is the fight of all workers and our unions! Shutting down production and transportation is the one power workers have. It shouldn’t be dependent on capitalist laws or congressional votes. Defend — and use — the right to strike!

What issues do you see as important for the SWP in 2023?

The Democrats & Republicans fear debate. They want to stifle any working-class alternative to their rule. None of the consequences of the capitalist economic and social crises have been resolved. The capitalist parties have no solutions. Just more of the same and worse for working people, young people and small business people.

The only party offering a class-struggle course is the Socialist Workers Party. Its candidates win solidarity for union battles, defend constitutional rights and call for the formation of a labor party based on our unions, to organize working people to take political power into our own hands.

Using our unions to stand up to the bosses’ attacks is key for strengthening working people. We need to maximize the support that can be won for contract battles, like the tens of thousands of rail workers are waging for livable schedules and paid sick time off, and for strikes like that of the United Mine Workers against Warrior Met Coal in Alabama.

The Democrats say the key issue is the need to stop Trump. They insist a Democratic victory is crucial to prevent a takeover by “MAGA Republicans,” who are nothing less than “semi-fascists.” At bottom, their target is the large and growing number of working people who they feel can’t be trusted with important things like politics.

The House select committee members are “investigating” the Jan. 6, 2021, melee at the Capitol and demand Trump submit to a deposition, which they plan to be an inquisition.

All this gets attention from like-minded liberals and the middle-class left, but does nothing to address the needs of working people today.

While Republican candidates point to some of the problems workers face, like soaring inflation, rising crime and more, they present no road forward either.

The fight against women’s 2nd class status and for women’s equality, including legalization of abortion state by state, can only be won as part of a broader working-class fight against the assaults of the bosses and their government. Those battles can make gains that will help young workers to be able to start families and provide for them, make the burden of home chores the responsibility of society, and advance construction and availability of health care and family planning centers that provide access to contraception and abortion.

Neither of the bosses’ parties presents any road against today’s capitalist crisis and its raging inflation. And now production and trade are contracting, here and worldwide. Our jobs are threatened.

Working people also face a deep social crisis from the crushing realities of capitalism. Suicide rates rose 4% last year. Drug use, alcoholism and gambling addiction are taking a bigger toll on working people.

Our unions need to fight for a sliding scale of hours and wages. Thirty-hour workweeks with no cut in pay to prevent layoffs. Cost-of-living adjustments in every contract, Social Security and all benefits, so when prices rise our wages go up automatically to match. Today’s union battles point a way forward.

Republicans say Democrats are responsible for rising crime, pointing to calls made by Biden in 2020 to “defund the police.”

When working people succeed in taking power from the ruling class we’ll replace their brutal cops with proven fighters from our own ranks. Today the bosses need cops — and the entire U.S. ‘justice’ system, with its courts, prisons and executioners — to defend their property and control us. They can’t be ‘defunded’ or abolished under capitalist rule. Efforts to do so can leave people defenseless.

Crime is a byproduct of a social system based on the brutal exploitation of the toiling majority by the ruling capitalist families and the dog-eat-dog values and deadly violence it breeds.

Both bosses’ parties view workers as a criminal class. They see in our struggles today a future when their rule is challenged and increasingly they fear us.

Crime falls during mass struggles when working-class solidarity comes to the fore and working people feel they have something to fight for. That was true during the rise of the industrial unions in the 1930s and the civil rights movement that uprooted Jim Crow segregation.

At the top of the capitalist rulers’ “criminal justice” team is the FBI, which is tasked with targeting anyone who threatens their rule. The Democrats use the FBI to do their dirty work, from its role in promoting the false charge that Trump was a tool of Moscow in 2016 to its armed raid on his Mar-a-Lago home this summer. Their aim is to refurbish the reputation of their political police so it can be used against the working class and its vanguard in battles to come.

Will the Locals, especially the Philly local, be more active in 2023?

Yes. We will take the SWP program to more and more working people at their doorsteps, on picket lines, and at social protests and political meetings. And extend the reach of the party’s candidates, the Militant newspaper and revolutionary books. 

We face accelerating inflation, a developing sharp downturn in production and trade, and the consequences for the living and job conditions of workers and our families. Working people face the spread of deadly drugs, alcoholism and gambling addiction, as well as rising rates of mental illness, suicide and crime.

Amid these conditions, the working class more than ever has a stake in defending the constitutional rights, protections and political space we need to organize and fight. These rights are under assault by the bosses’ government and political parties, with middle-class “progressives” more and more often on the front lines. 

On top of soaring prices and a coming economic downturn, today’s world is marked by sharp shifts in the imperialist “world order” imposed by the victors of World War II. These conflicts, considerably aggravated by Moscow’s war against the people of Ukraine, have been building for years.

Cutthroat competition for profits tears at the patchwork of stronger versus weaker capitalist states in the so-called European Union, with utter disregard for working people’s life and limb. Currency and trade wars, and their transformation into shooting wars, are on the horizon. The expansionist-minded, Stalinist-molded regime in Beijing poses stepped-up challenges to Washington in Asia, the Pacific and elsewhere. 

Capitalism’s economic stresses on our families are pushing down birth rates and increasing pressures on families to care for aging parents.

The biggest target of the propertied rulers and their comfortable middle-class water carriers are working people, those Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign scorned as “deplorables.” The capitalist rulers not only deeply despise but increasingly fear us. It is this fear that’s driving the crisis and factionalism shaking the rulers’ twin Democratic and Republican parties and other U.S. political and state institutions.

But for the SWP, it is exactly these “deplorables” — of all backgrounds, regions, and skin colors, both sexes, city and country — who we are trying to win. That’s who we’re trying to educate, to raise class consciousness. That’s who we’re learning from.

There is growing interest in trade unions. A recent poll shows that more people look favorably on trade unions today than at any time in many decades. 

Through our unions, we help mobilize solidarity with strikes and other struggles, reaching out to the broader union movement.
We take an active part in union organizing efforts to bring workers who aren’t yet union members, or who work in unorganized workplaces, into the union

We join activities of the labor movement with those fighting for women’s rights, against racist attacks and into actions opposing Jew-hatred and anti-Semitic violence. And we actively oppose Washington’s war moves and efforts to crush the Cuban Revolution. 

We encourage reading and careful study of the lessons from previous working-class struggles. There are no better resources helping us do so than Farrell Dobbs’s four-volume Teamsters series and two-volume Revolutionary Continuity: Marxist Leadership in the U.S., as well as Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. 

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