John Parker is an African American member of the Workers World Party's (WWP) National Committee. A former schoolteacher, Parker has been a militant unionist and Communist political organizer since he was 18 years old. He is also a correspondent for the WWP newsletter Workers World; the regional coordinator of International ANSWER's Los Angeles office; and the coordinator of the Los Angeles Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.
From an early age, Parker recognized what he now calls “the superiority of socialism in terms of meeting the essential needs of humanity.” He joined the Communist Party as a young man and has long characterized the United States as a racist, addressive, imperialistic, greedy nation that “only cares about profits.”
In 1997 Parker did solidarity work with the Venceremos Brigades, which covertly transported hundreds of young Americans to Cuba to help harvest sugar cane and interact with Havana’s Communist revolutionary leadership. (The Brigades were organized by Fidel Castro's Cuban intelligence agency, which trained “brigadistas” in guerrilla warfare techniques including the use of arms and explosives.)
After Sudan's main pharmaceutical plant was demolished in 1998 by an errant U.S. missile strike, Parker visited that site to survey the damage and exploit its anti-American propaganda value. For similar reasons, he also traveled to Iraq in the 1990s to witness first-hand the effects of US/UN sanctions on the people there, especially children.
In 2004 Parker became the first person ever to run for U.S. president on the Workers World Party ticket; his vice presidential running mate was fellow WWP member Teresa Gutierrez. In their campaign, the pair sought to: “reach out to the class in society that is made up of the millions, not the millionaires”; “encourage mass action and class struggle”; “warn all those struggling for a better world not to rely on capitalist elections to solve their problems”; and “extend a hand of solidarity to the most oppressed, many of whom to this day are still denied even a minute semblance of bourgeois democratic rights and fill the prisons in this country.”
Parker condemns “U.S. imperialism” as “the greatest purveyor of violence … in the world today” and “the most dangerous threat” currently facing humanity. Whatever atrocities may be committed by other nations, he says, they are dwarfed by American transgressions -- “like a single drop in the ocean of U.S. imperialist blood.”
On the domestic front, says Parker, far too many lives have been “lost in this country due to social programs sacrificed on the altar of the military-industrial complex to pay for [America's] wars.” Parker also condemns the “racist killer cops” who allegedly gun down “black youth” in the U.S. at a rate of one “every 28 hours.”
Further, Parker objects to the notion that life in America is somehow preferable to life in poverty-stricken or war-torn nations elsewhere in the world. In 2013, for example, he asked rhetorically: “How many people didn't die in Syria due to its guarantee of free health care and education?”