Socialist Alternative Philadelphia is happy to endorse Working Families Party candidates Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O'Rourke for Philadelphia City Council. Both are long-time organizers for racial justice, public education, and workers’ rights, and both are self-described socialists. We strongly support their platform for rent control and affordable housing, for fully funding our public education system, for confronting the criminal injustice system, and for a Green New Deal. Moreover, a campaign independent of both Democratic and Republican party structures is refreshingly welcome in a city that for decades has been politically dominated by a two-party system which is fundamentally interwoven with big business interests.
The campaign Kendra and Nic have built proves that there is space for serious independent working class politics in Philadelphia. To win this ambitious program will require a head-on confrontation of the Democratic Party establishment, and the WFP candidates will have our full support in doing this. The establishment will try to brand them as ideologues without the pragmatic ability to compromise. But in the words of Frederick Douglass, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” However, this work can only be sustained with the power of a broad movement, and a party that pulls no punches.
We should be clear that our endorsement for this campaign is not an endorsement of the Working Families Party as a whole. Despite some progressive victories the WFP has won, its strategy of yielding to conservative Democrats in exchange for a few crumbs or “IOU”s - for example, their endorsements of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2010, 2014, and 2018 - will ultimately prove to be a dead end for progressive politics. The power of working people must be consolidated within our own political party, which would use its social weight to score big, lasting wins, rather than make compromises with corporate Democrats for small ones.
By running outside the Democratic Party, Kendra and Nic will find themselves well-positioned to take on the capitalist class and its representatives among the Democrats, and to encourage communities across the city to fight for working-class and socialist policies. The momentum generated by this campaign can and must continue beyond November. We look forward to working alongside this campaign to build independent movements which challenge big business in our city and actualize concrete positive changes for all working-class Philadelphians.