Stephen Durham brings commitment to making change from the grass roots up to his Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) campaign for president with vice-presidential partner Christina López.
Durham, 64, is the New York City FSP organizer and an elected national party leader. He has represented the FSP in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, developing ties and joint work with other revolutionaries.
Durham’s involvement with Latin America began during high school, as an exchange student in Brazil during the military dictatorship. About his year there, he says, “The chief thing I learned is the depth and scope of global poverty — and I began to think about what it would take to eradicate it.”
As a student and campus worker at the University of California at Berkeley, Durham protested the Vietnam War and fought together with students of color to win Third World Studies.
He began a 20-year career as a waiter in Southern California, where he developed as a union radical alongside many militant co-workers from Mexico. In 1985, he became a rank-and-file leader in the New York City Hotel Trades Council strike, as 16,000 workers — predominantly people of color, women, and Latino and Caribbean immigrants — took to the streets.
Durham ran for New York State Assembly in 1998 from the largely Dominican and African American 71st District. His campaign took up the community’s keenly felt needs, including jobs, housing, and ending police brutality. Today, from the headquarters of New York FSP in Harlem, he leads the branch’s continued organizing around these issues. He participated in Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park, where he offered teach-ins on Marxist economics.
Now Durham brings to his campaign for president his global perspective, his experience of fighting for those who are most exploited and marginalized, and the FSP’s socialist feminist solutions.