AFSCME Official Endorses Socialism After Union Backed Dean

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - The New York City district council president of a union that recently backed Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean has publicly endorsed socialism at a national conference of the Workers World Party.

"The first thing we have to do is remind ourselves that we are fighting for socialism," said District Council 1707 President Brenda Stokeley of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Stokeley's remarks were made during the Workers World Party's national conference in New York on Dec. 6 and 7. The conference was entitled, "Reviving the Worldwide Struggle for Socialism."

It comprised of a series of workshops on "the struggles to end injustice - from the oppression of the state to strengthening international solidarity to fighting against imperialist globalization and war to why Marxism is the most effective tool for class struggle," according to the party's Workers World Party website.

"The conference in turn received contributions to the discussion and solidarity statements from: the Communist Part of Cuba, the Workers Party of Korea, the Belgian Workers Party, the Corriente Roja tendency of the United Left movement in Spain, the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain, the Party of Liberation of Argentina, the L'Ernesto tendency of the Party of Communist Refoundation in Italy, Ben Dupuy representing Haiti's National Popular Party, and the Anti-War Joint Action Committees of Japan," the website stated.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) endorsed Dean in November.

"We have a candidate who represents our values and who can defeat this President," said AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee in the Nov. 12 statement. "AFSCME is going to mobilize the largest and most aggressive grassroots campaign this nation has ever seen. Together with Governor Dean, America's working families will take back the White House in 2004."

"My campaign is about people coming together and participating in politics for common purpose to improve the lives of ordinary Americans," said Dean during the endorsement at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

"This is what SEIU [Service Employees International Union] and AFSCME do every day; their three million members represent two of the greatest grassroots organizations in the country - fighting everyday to protect workers and help them achieve job security, livable and fair wages, and affordable health care for everyone," Dean said.
"United together, we can take back the White House and take our country back," concluded Dean.

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