Socialist workers candidate at U touts political action

Kari Petrie

Even after Tuesday, the campaign for the Socialist Workers Party will continue, said the party’s vice presidential candidate, Arrin Hawkins.

“We use the campaign to expose the working class to politics,” she said.

Hawkins, 28, is a University alumna, and she spoke to a group of 25 supporters Thursday in Anderson Hall. The Socialist Workers Party is on 13 state ballots, including Minnesota’s, for president and vice president.

Hawkins said she is a garment worker in Brooklyn.

Voting Tuesday is only one day to participate in government, she said, while participating in demonstrations and talking to workers about their rights is every day.

“Pulling a lever to choose a candidate isn’t real politics,” she said.

Voting doesn’t create real change in government, Hawkins said.

“Real change occurs with mobilization,” she said.

Hawkins said she first got involved in the party when she visited Cuba as a University student. She studied international relations at the University and said farmers who had power in the government inspired her.

“We can have a revolution here (in the United States),” she said.

Referring to them as “capitalist candidates,” Hawkins said President George W. Bush and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry are too similar because they both support capitalism.

Hawkins encouraged supporters to think independently from their bosses and the capitalist system.

She said the system allowed the recession to occur, and it allows wages to keep decreasing while the cost of living increases.

Offering workers a real choice on Election Day will help create a change in the system, Hawkins said.

“You don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils,” she said.

First-year French student Joe Kapsner said he became interested in the Socialist Workers Party a month ago at a presidential debate event.

“At first, I was skeptical,” he said. “But then I started to read about it and met some great people (involved in the campaign).”

Kapsner said he was looking for something to explain what he saw as problems in government.

“This just makes sense,” he said.

Erin Durkee, a first-year College of Liberal Arts student, said it was her first Socialist Workers Party event. She said she wanted to learn more about the party and its different view of politics.

“This is real,” she said. “It’s not fake.”

Kapsner said students should read and learn more about the party.

“I can see how people see socialism (as having) a negative connotation,” he said. “But they should just take it into consideration.”