Two leftist political groups held the first post-election demonstration in Buffalo Wednesday night. But unlike the many ‘Count Every Vote’ rallies that took place across the U.S. yesterday, the Buffalo event focused instead on those who feel forgotten by both major parties—and their presidential candidates.
The peaceful demonstration held at Lafayette Square by the Workers World Party of Buffalo, a Marxist-Leninist group, and the Erie County Green Party was called “Whoever Wins, We Lose!” and purposefully organized to take place before final results in the U.S. presidential election could be called.
“We just have a very different perspective from both Republicans and Democrats, which is why we’re out here today, because we truly believe that they do not serve the interests of the people,” said Ezra Echo, a Workers World Party member who spoke on behalf of the group. “[We believe] that they serve the interest of the 1% and the banks and the corporations, and we don’t agree with any of that.”
People, Echo said, should come first. Vice Chair of the Erie County Green Party Sandy Przybylak agreed.
“We need justice in this country for the working class and the poor and those most vulnerable in our communities,” Przybylak said. “No matter who’s in power, we’re gonna be on the phones and we’re gonna be doing actions like this and getting the word out of the things that the people need.”
Przybylak, who is also an executive committee member of the Green Party of New York and national committee member of the Green Party of the United States, wore a green face mask with the word “silenced” on it Wednesday. She also carried a sign that charged Republicans, Democrats and the mainstream media for voter and party suppression and generally refusing to take the Green Party seriously this election season. That’s why Przybylak said the Greens will keep partnering with other leftist groups on common issues of social, economic and racial justice.
“We need left unity now more than ever ‘cause it’s—the two corporate parties are not going to give us what we need,” she said.
Corporate greed and class struggle were also major themes addressed by several rally speakers.
“It’s not about Republicans versus Democrats, this is a class struggle,” said a Workers World Party member named RJ who declined to give their last name. “I know they don’t use the word ‘class’ much when they’re talking about politics in the U.S. and there’s a reason for that: They don’t want us to know who our friends are or who our enemies are.”
RJ’s impassioned words drew cheers from the crowd, which included 25-year-old Kawiye Jumale, a former refugee from Kenya whose family was resettled to Buffalo in 2004.
“As a refugee, as an immigrant, these politicians that are in office that are supposed to be representing us, they’re not doing their job representing us the way they should be representing us,” Jumale said. “It’s always gonna be profit over people, and that’s the problem.”
Jumale said she recently became a U.S. citizen and that it was her first time voting this year, but she’s worried about rising economic hardship and hate crimes fueled by racism, among other issues.
“I’m just very much scared for myself, for the future of this country, for my family, for my friends that are from the LGBTQ community—all of that and beyond,” she said. “I just didn’t expect it to be like this. ‘Cause think about it, we came from a country that we were running away for our lives. We were running away from persecution and now we are here, it’s like the same cycle is happening, you know?”
I’m here at Lafayette Square in downtown Buffalo, where a demonstration co-organized by the Buffalo Workers World Party and the Erie County Green Party is about to get started. It’s called "Whoever Wins, We Lose." @WBFO pic.twitter.com/Bt0YkxvEBN
— Kyle S. Mackie (@KyleMackieWBFO) November 4, 2020
Jumale also said she recognizes the playbook that President Donald Trump is using by trying to discredit the results of a democratic election because that’s what many African dictators do in order to stay in power past the end of their term limits.
“It’s the same thing—the stubbornness, the fact that, ‘I want more, I want more, I want more,’ it’s what’s causing him and the whole administration to crumble down.”
The national Workers World Party neither ran or endorsed a candidate in the 2020 presidential election. Echo, the spokesperson, said it was a “very personal decision” for members of the Buffalo chapter whether or not to vote if they didn’t want to support either Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Green Party candidate, Howie Hawkins, won just 0.3% of the vote in New York State—shy of the 2% or 130,000 votes all third parties are now required to win every two years in the general election for president or governor in order to maintain their automatic ballot line in the state, according to new ballot provisions approved about a year ago.
“The Working Families Party—surprise, surprise—they kept their line because they asked everybody to vote for Biden on their line. We don’t cross endorse,” Przybylak said. “We only want Greens on our line, so for now they’ve dealt us a huge wound, but we’re gonna come back fighting, and we’re gonna keep fighting for the things we want to see.”