Róger Calero can’t serve as president, but he is running.Originally from Nicaragua, Calero is the presidential candidate for the Socialist Workers Party. At an event at Temple sponsored by the Asociación de Estudiantes Latinos, Calero said the party is representative of the changing face of the working class.
He said the candidates of the Socialist Party are much more electable than any other party because they are part of the struggle.
“We offer you something better,” Calero said. “Come with us and hear it from the workers themselves.”
According to the Militant, the party’s campaign newspaper, Calero was the party’s candidate for president in 2004. Calero said he is working for the legalization of all undocumented immigrants and putting a government in place that represents the working people.
To get on the ballot for president, Calero said the party will be launching a petition campaign. In 2004, the Socialist Workers Party got on the ballot in 12 states and in Washington, D.C.
To get on ballots, Calero said that his group collects double the amount of signatures needed because of the undemocratic character of the electoral system. The party goes to factories, coal mines and protests against the war to collect signatures.
“There is nothing that these candidates can do to turn around the crisis that we are living in,” Calero said. “Regardless of who is elected, the war will continue in Iraq.”
Calero said he is in favor of unconditional withdrawal of all troops. He also said his party is for government-funded universal healthcare for all.
He said he looks to the country of Cuba and what it has accomplished.
“Given the fact that Cuba is an underdeveloped country and that it’s surrounded by capitalist countries, the changes that they’ve made are comparable or better than capitalist countries,” Calero said.
For change to occur in the United States, Calero said the movement has to come from the struggles of the working people and the need to have their own political voice. The party works on a much smaller budget than the major parties – instead of tens of millions of dollars, they raise tens of thousands of dollars. Calero said that most of the support comes from workers who want to help.
“We want it that way because then nobody comes and tells you what to do like how it works with the democrats and republicans,” Calero said.
He said that the Socialist Party thinks it’s important for a working class voice to participate in the election.
“It’s not really possible, short of a big movement that can push the two-party system out and open the political party system,” Calero said. “It’s not a thing of vote for me, and things will get better. It’s vote for me and come fight with me.”
LeAnne Matlach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.