by Lou Varrichio
MIDDLEBURY | A Communist Party candidate will on the ballot in Vermont, this November; it’s the first time since 1984.
The Party of Communists USA (PCUSA) is fielding a candidate for Vermont’s at-large congressional district in 2020, a first since Marxist activist Angela Davis ran for U.S. President during the Orwellian year of 1984.
Christopher Helali of Vershire announced on Aug. 3 that he will run for Vermont U.S. representative as a Communist. Helali was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, to immigrant parents.
“My mother was born in Montreal, Canada, to Greek parents who fled after the Greek Civil War and the subsequent persecution of communists by the right-wing government. My father was born in Malayer, Iran, to ethnic Lur and Kurdish parents, and left his homeland in 1979 in the midst of the Iranian Revolution,” he noted in a news release. “We are at a very important moment in not only the history of the United States but the history of humanity. We face multiple existential crises including nuclear weapons and the climate emergency. Therefore, our campaign was born from the need to move beyond the failures of capitalism, to build socialism, and to usher in a new era of peace for the nations of the world.”
Helali said that he wants to abolish NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
“Capitalism and Imperialism mean endless wars,” he said. “The United States of America has been engaged in a war on ‘terror’ for nearly 20 years. The time has come to end war and usher in an age of peace, self-determination, and mutual cooperation among all nations. The struggle for peace is the duty of every Communist.”
Helali indicated that he is concerned about a new Cold War emerging against Russia and China.
“No to a new arms race. No to the F-35 (fighter jets) in Vermont,” he said. “Now is the time to rise up against the rich, ruling elite. The millionaires and billionaires do not have working-class interests in mind. The political leaders in this country are beholden to the corporations, military-industrial complex, and major lobbies, not the workers and farmers. The ruling class lives off of the work and sweat of farmers and workers across the world. We say no more. The time has come for the working class to seize power and to liberate itself from its bondage to these elites. We want to build a society where every single person can have access to free and high-quality health care. Vaccine technology must be public and open access. We want education to be free and high quality where everyone’s academic aspirations are supported all through their studies”
Just like Vermont’s U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), himself a self-identified socialist, Helali wants to eliminate all student loans and debt.
Under his plan, if elected, every Vermonter would be guaranteed a job.
“We must rebuild the crumbling infrastructure of this nation and reinvest our resources from a war economy to a peace economy. We must build a society for the many, not the few,” Helali noted.
Helali is the chair of the Vermont Progressive Party’s (VPP) Orange County Committee as well as the Vershire Town Committee of the VPP.
On Aug. 5, Helali reported that a leaked document from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security listed him as an activist targeted for his Antifa links and his time fighting Daesh (ISIS) in Syria with Kurdish forces (YPG). The document was first reported in The Nation.
“Both Democrats and Republicans have been at the forefront of using state security and intelligence apparatuses against Communists for decades,” he said. “This is nothing new… .”
While Helali may be ready to face Vermont voters this fall, the question remains: are Vermont voters ready to elect a “card-carrying” Communist, and supporter of the militant leftist Antifa movement, to Congress?
Reprinted with permission from the August 3 Vermont Eagle, a community newspaper based in Middlebury. A native of Pennsylvania, Lou was the former editor of the Emmaus Free Press (Pennsylvania) and the Cave Creek News (Arizona). He also served as a NASA senior science writer at the Ames Research Center in California where he worked on the defunct X-33 spaceplane project; he also produced, wrote, and co-hosted the NASA-funded “Our Changing Planet” mini-series for Prairie Public Television in North Dakota. He has been editor of The Eagle since 2000.