Candidate speaks for working class

by Chris Vetter

Nestled in a small room on the sixth floor of Coffman Memorial Union, Jerry White, the presidential candidate for the Socialist Equality Party, spoke Friday to a small group.
The candidate told a group of fewer than 10 University students that neither the Republican nor Democratic parties represent the needs or interests of the working class. “The (parties) are incapable of resolving, and even addressing the issues that affect most Americans,” he said.
White, 37, is a New York native. He became a socialist after growing up witnessing the “riches of Wall Street and the poverty of Harlem and the Bronx,” he said.
“We reject the idea that it is utopian that every American can achieve having a decent well-paying job and a good education,” White said.
According to White, the media has ignored all third-party campaigns this year because media are controlled by massive conglomerates that don’t want the worker’s voice heard.
“The election and debates have been limited to two candidates that agree on the same right-wing policies and are nearly indistinguishable,” White said. “The news media has a de facto policy of ignoring all socialist candidates.”
White is on the general election ballot in Minnesota, Michigan and New Jersey. His goal this year is not to win, but to spread the socialist message and to gain support.
Formerly known as the Workers League Party, White’s party has been called the Socialist Equality Party for a year. It has existed in one form or another for 60 years. Socialism calls for the inclusion of workers so all of society can benefit from growth, White said
The Russian Revolution in the early part of this century was the only successful socialist movement, he said. Stalin betrayed the workers later, but socialism as an idea did not fail, he added.
Jean Brust, a member of the Socialist party for over 50 years, said the party needs to concentrate on bringing in younger members. “Our main goal is to recruit people who believe in our goals,” Brust said. “We will train them in Marxism.”
White’s audience listened intently, although not everyone considered themselves a member of his party. “There is a need for this kind of discourse,” said David Winkler-Morey, who is applying to the master’s degree program in social work. “I don’t agree with everything he said, but he is asking the right questions.”