Beatriz Paez of Los Angeles radiates excitement about the FSP presidential team of Stephen Durham and Christina López. “I am totally behind the campaign,” says Paez, “as a mother, unionist, and teacher. And I’ve gotten my family and friends on board because the survival and well-being of my whole community depends on a socialist feminist ticket.”
Radical Women (RW) members across the U.S. mirror her enthusiasm.
The passion goes beyond the fact that vice-presidential candidate Christina López is president of the Seattle RW chapter. What matters most is that these bold contenders are heading a feminist campaign and speaking for disenfranchised millions.
As Anne Slater, National Organizer of Radical Women, declares, “We’re delighted to endorse candidates who aren’t corporate-controlled. Durham and López are respected activists whose platform prioritizes civil rights issues for people of color, women, immigrants, queers and workers.” And the platform resonates. A Latina activist came down to RW’s office to meet with López. The woman was so impressed that she gave an interview to promote the campaign on a Spanish language radio station.
Radical Women members have jumped headlong into organizing and brought their feminist allies with them. In Seattle, the acting-RW president hosted the local campaign kick-off house party. It was an unequivocal success, with an overflow crowd cheering López wildly.
Durham’s visit jazzed people in California. Los Angeles members and supporters acted as aides, escorting him to speaking gigs and making sure to snap great photos and videos. And Bay Area folks were thrilled by the third-party candidates debates.
Everywhere campaigners go they meet advocates of women’s rights who are inspired by the insistently feminist platform. It’s so different from the Democrats compromising away birth control access, and the Republicans blaming welfare moms for the system’s economic crashes.
The Durham-López campaign poses practical actions, such as shutting down the Pentagon to fund public education, emergency contraceptives, food stamps and low-income housing. That makes the message not only relevant, but also necessary to every working person. When you fight for the needs of all women, you address those of every other hard-pressed group!
Time to get radical. In 2012 females face dire economic realities. Unemployment remains high and for women of color it’s still in double digits. Too many mothers and their kids live in poverty while home foreclosures go on and on.
At a time when people require more government assistance, both capitalist parties have the same solution — wrench tax dollars and desperately needed public services from the most vulnerable. Clearly, women need real solutions, not politics as usual and more hoarding by the top tenth of one percent.
The Durham-López campaign calls for employer and government-provided childcare and free, universal medical care, including reproductive services and abortion. It demands a halt to foreclosures and insists on restoring affirmative action. It defends equal rights for all regardless of race, age, sex, nationality, sexual orientation, immigration status, or physical ability. (See Freedom Socialist Party platform).
Radical Women has been confronting vicious attacks on working people head-on, especially since the current depression started, collaborating with feminists, unionists and other wide-ranging activists to defend public workers and social services.
Gina Petry, coordinator of the Seattle RW Sisters Sisters Organize for Survival campaign, reports, “Locally, people joined together to fight back against budget cuts and defend their communities. We flexed some muscle and the politicians took note. With Durham and López there’s a way to do the same thing and have an impact on a national scale.”
As Californian Beatriz Paez says, “We can no longer live with the twin parties of capitalism destroying our planet, their banks sucking us dry, their war machine killing innocent people across the globe.”
No “lesser evil.” Amy Gray, from Oakland, Calif., comments, “A long time ago I made a decision not to vote for the ‘lesser of two evils.’ The Democrats can’t skate by and assume voters will settle for them.”
Clearly both major parties collude to keep working people down and the super-rich pulling the strings of power. The quality of life has gotten steadily worse. It plays out statistically like this: in 1965, the ratio of average CEO compensation to average worker wages was 24-1. In 2010, it was 243-1!
Today nearly half of all U.S. residents are poor or low-income. Over 60 percent of women 65 or older have trouble covering monthly expenses such as food, housing and healthcare. The rate skyrockets to 74 percent for older African American women and 75 percent for Latinas.
Gray continues, “As a parent, I care about schools and healthcare. As a public worker, I am tired of being blamed for the economic crisis created by tax breaks and bailouts to big business. As a female plumber, I care about bringing affirmative action back. As a lesbian, I know marriage is not the only concern LGBT’s have to worry about — there’s anti-queer violence, workplace and hiring discrimination, bullying of young queers.”
Voting matters! Every four years most social justice movements grind to a halt, as working and needy people are told to vote for Democrats and Republicans offering platitudes and false promises, but doing nothing to meet their survival demands.
In these tough times both parties are using the economic crisis to openly wage war on women’s rights and attack the interests of laboring people. For this reason RW backs only anti-capitalist candidates.
Of course, the working class needs to build a movement that “throws the bums out,” so it can run society for the welfare of everyone. Electoral politics are a vital part of that fight. Radical alternatives foster debate, movement growth and collective action.
Emily Woo Yamasaki, RW Organizer in New York City, has seen a particularly strong response from youth. She states, “Young feminist activists — of all genders —are psyched about the campaign. One man said that he was glad to be able to tell his friends who to vote for rather than not to vote!”
With the unique Durham-López presidential ticket, feminists are thrilled to stand up — across the land — for candidates and a platform that say it all!