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Elections Matter

The Friends of the World held a forum on April 9 in Dallas. The educational topic was elections.

Opening comments began with agreement with national Party in that the 2004 elections are a turning point for Americans. What we seek are maximum participation, unity, and diversity among progressive forces. We are not just looking at the best candidate in each race. "Even if one of us were elected President, we would still have to organize."

At this point in Texas, most progressives are in the Democratic Party. Even though a lot of the Democratic candidates are very optimistic and forward-looking, not many of them are actually "taking on" the Republican program. There are brilliant exceptions, but, in general, Texas candidates don't seem to have learned a lot from their 2002 slaughter.

After the opening, we took turns with comments.

The foundation of our electoral policies can be found in a single line in the Communist Manifesto: We have no interests outside the working class. Working people throughout the world, and especially in America, desperately need to defeat Bush and break up the right-wing grasp of American political power.

A speaker said that the first thing is to raise consciousness on issues such as loss of jobs, war, Social Security, Medicare, and the cost of gasoline.

Anothers added that we need to clarify problems of underdeveloped countries, problems that are taking over the United States. Those governments created wars to stay in power, just as Bush is doing here. In Latin America, youth are kept from education and good jobs unless they first support the military. We must educate the youth here.

Candidate Kerry seems to be trying to downplay the war as an issue, but reporters hit him with it. Even though the Clinton presidency was far better than Bush/Reagan, foreign policy was hardly an improvement. We have to think beyond November.

We must take a long view. Need to overcome media-sold idea that everybody is "middle class."

Kerry will probably raise money but not campaign in Texas. We will have to work on local campaigns. Fortunately, some of them are really good.

Unity is the most important thing. Even at the presidential level, our organizing efforts are more important than the person who takes office. We must continue to build progressive coalition after, as well as during, the election.

The prevalent "voter apathy" or indifference to political struggles in America, are an affliction that must be overcome. We need to interject the fight against the right wing, even in races where the candidate is trying to duck the main issues.