SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, January 26 — During a regular CHALLENGE sale we encountered the student government on our campus urging students to register to vote as a way to stop the tuition increases we’re facing. We were distributing a leaflet exposing Clinton, Obama and the whole lie that voting would end the war and the cutbacks, leading to good conversations about the elections. We also explained to some that the tuition increases were caused by the loss of tax money resulting from the capitalist crisis and the imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During that sale, a professor invited us to her class where an Obama campaign organizer was speaking. Because of previous discussions in the class, it became clearer to many as he spoke that electoral politics would not produce the social change many students sought. A more fundamental change from the system that is inherently racist, exploitative and imperialist was needed.
When students asked how to end segregation and racism, even the organizer couldn’t explain how electing Obama would help stop school segregation or racism generally. Clearly Obama and electoral politics are incapable of solving the problems the working class faces every day — racism, lack of healthcare and widening wars.
Even the speaker emphasized that change would come from grassroots organizing, that there was little Obama himself could solve alone. When a student said change would stem from us, the working class, the organizer had no reply. He couldn’t challenge the power of the working class, which the Clintons and Obamas try to manipulate on behalf of the ruling class.
Afterwards, we had useful conversations with a few students; some expressed interest in communist politics and a fresh perspective instead of the failing reformist politics presented by the speaker and politicians. One student wanted to join a study group and subscribe to CHALLENGE. Another student invited us to an event later that day where he wanted us to explain our ideas about alternatives to voting. We were welcomed at the event, given time to speak and we invited everyone to read our paper. About 20 CHALLENGES were gladly accepted. We exchanged phone numbers with several students we knew from previous classes who are interested in discussing politics and to plan activities against the cuts.
Between the class and the evening film and discussion, we sold over 30 CHALLENGES and distributed 50 PLP leaflets. We realized how important it is to expose the deceitful electoral campaigns, be they for Obama, Clinton, McCain or Ron Paul.