IPR contacted the Socialist Equality Party’s presidential nominee Jerry White with three questions about his campaign. Though White did respond initially, party chairman Joe Kishore answered instead.
The Socialist Equality Party is a Trotskyist party affiliated with the International Committee of the Fourth International. In 2008, it nominated Jerry White, who was also the party’s 1996 presidential nominee. In protest of ballot access laws, the party did not appear on any ballots in 2008.
IPR: How is the Socialist Equality Party different from other Socialist parties such as the Party for Socialism and Liberation and Socialist Party USA?
Kishore: There are many groups that describe themselves as socialist, and we will be writing more on these tendencies in our election coverage. There are, however, basic political differences that separate the SEP from these organizations. The SEP, for example, advocates a break with the official trade unions and the establishment of independent rank-and-file committees to fight against the dictates of the corporations. We oppose any conception that the Democratic Party can be pushed to the left. Our program is based on an international perspective. We oppose identity politics, which seeks to divide workers along racial or gender lines, rather than uniting them on the basis of their common class interests. A more detailed presentation of the perspective of the SEP can be found in our program (socialequality.com/program) and in our statement of principles (http://socialequality.com/
IPR: The Socialist Equality Party did not appear on any state ballots for the 2008 presidential election. Will this change in 2012? Are there any ballot access efforts at this time?
Kishore: We will be seeking ballot access in some states. However, anti-democratic ballot laws make it almost impossible for third parties to get ballot access in many states. In those cases, we will be running an aggressive write-in campaign.
IPR: What are some of your policy proposals? How would you implement these as president?
Kishore: The basic outline of our election can be found here: http://socialequality.com/node/2059
We insist that workers have basic social rights, including the right to a job, the right to a livable income, the right to education, health care and a secure retirement. We call for a multi-trillion dollar public works program to put to work everyone who needs a job. Such a program will also serve to rebuild cities and infrastructure and meet the needs of the entire population. It must be paid for through a massive redistribution of the wealth. The giant banks and major corporations must be transformed into publicly-owned entities, controlled democratically by working people.
Two points to stress, however: 1) It is not for us a matter of simply winning office and implementing policy as one person. The entire political system is undemocratic and devoted to upholding the interests of the capitalist class. Our election campaign is aimed at fighting for an independent political program of the working class, in opposition to this political system. We are fighting to build a mass movement of the working class, which seeks the abolition of capitalism and its replacement by a social system based on human need, not private profit–i.e., socialism. Socialism can only be achieved through mass social struggles. 2) We fight for the international unity of the working class. The interests of workers in every country are fundamentally the same, and socialism is impossible in the United States alone.