About the Campaign
Campaign for Peace and Socialism
In their Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League, London, March 1850, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote:
Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention. They must not be led astray by the empty phrases of the democrats, who will maintain that the workers’ candidates will split the democratic party and offer the forces of reaction the chance of victory. All such talk means, in the final analysis, that the proletariat is to be swindled. The progress which the proletarian party will make by operating independently in this way is infinitely more important than the disadvantages resulting from the presence of a few reactionaries in the representative body.
Later, in his 1884 Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, Engels re-affirmed this view:
The possessing class rules directly by means of universal suffrage. As long as the oppressed class – in our case, therefore, the proletariat – is not yet ripe for its self- liberation, so long will it, in its majority, recognize the existing order of society as the only possible one and remain politically the tall of the capitalist class, its extreme left wing. But in the measure in which it matures towards its self-emancipation, in the same measure it constitutes itself as its own party and votes for its own representatives, not those of the capitalists. Universal suffrage is thus the gauge of the maturity of the working class. It cannot and never will be anything more in the modern state; but that is enough. On the day when the thermometer of universal suffrage shows boiling-point among the workers, they as well as the capitalists will know where they stand.
Clearly, workers in the United States have not yet reached a boiling point, but we must keep in mind that the U.S. is only one part of the global capitalist system. The recent re-election of Hugo Chávez of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela reminds us of other socialist heads of state in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, France, China, North Korea, Laos Vietnam and, of course Cuban President Raúl Castro. While we may not agree with all the policies of these nations—when have socialists ever agreed about everything?—socialism is clearly not dead. From a global perspective socialism is very much on the agenda.
When we further consider the unrest in the Arab world, Greece, Spain, South Asia, and South Africa, we understand the continuing relevance of Lenin’s words in the 1920 Preface to Imperialism:
“Imperialism is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat. This has been confirmed since 1917 on a world-wide scale.”
The overwhelming military domination by the U.S. has not kept people around the world from resistance and we cannot foretell where the chains of U.S. imperialism will again be broken.
From this global perspective, it is very important that socialists here in the heartland of imperialism— what Che called the belly of the beast—continue our activities in solidarity with our comrades around the world. So, we will continue to campaign for the Peace and Freedom Party. In simplest terms, our slogans remain:
End the Wars and Tax the Rich
Free Education & Health Care for All
Protect & Restore Our Mother Earth
Power to the People
Electing a few socialists to the State Legislature won’t solve our problems. Hard times will continue until workers and oppressed people around the world organize as a class, take possession of our Mother Earth and the machinery of production, abolish the capitalist system, and build a global socialist world. That’s why the Peace and Freedom Party advocates participation in mass organization and direct action in neighborhoods, workplaces, unions and the armed forces everywhere. Naturally, as part of this, we urge everyone to register and organize in the Peace and FreedomParty.