This election year, the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) is running New Yorker Stephen Durham for U.S. president and Seattleite Christina López for vice president in an energetic national write-in campaign.
Says Durham, 64, “The FSP ticket is a chance for people to vote not only against something, but for something. The campaign is thrilled to be giving people a way to send a strong protest message, find new kindred souls, and strengthen organizing efforts for a future all workers deserve.”
Over the past three years, charges Durham, “The Democratic and Republican parties have done nothing but cooperate in forcing workers and the poor to pay the costs of the Great Recession caused by the banks and Wall Street. President Obama may play to the crowd by criticizing ‘bad apple’ corporations, as he did in his State of the Union address. But the facts show that the program of corporate coddling, which creates austerity for the masses, is completely bipartisan.”
Vice presidential candidate López, 43, explains the campaign’s goals: “We are encouraging people to register a protest against both the unjust economic system and the rigged electoral process that keeps it in place. And we want to generate discussion and action around solutions for people’s immediate survival and for changing the system for good. We know it can be done! But it means creating a grass-roots, multiracial movement – one that prioritizes the issues of people who are hurting most, for example immigrants, single mothers and their children, and Black teens trying to enter a dismal job market. We have great momentum from last year’s spirit of rebellion to build on.”
The FSP campaign platform calls for taxing corporate wealth, ending all U.S. military involvement abroad, creating full employment through a massive public jobs program and reducing the standard workweek to 30 hours with no cut in pay. The campaign also stands for bringing back and expanding social services, restoring civil liberties, and a host of other measures designed to eliminate poverty and discrimination and raise workers’ standard of living.
Durham and López are respected activists with a wealth of experience gained fighting for reforms like these while popularizing socialist ideas and the need for radical change. Durham, organizer of FSP’s New York City branch based in Harlem, is a gay
rights pioneer with a strong union background. A student and analyst of international affairs, he has traveled extensively in Latin America. López is an immigrant rights champion and the organizer for Seattle Radical Women. As organizer, she has helped lead a feminist campaign of women and men against budget cuts in Washington state for the last three years.
According to campaign manager Doug Barnes, the socialist feminist FSP is taking the unconventional route of a write-in campaign because corporate funding of the two major parties and restrictive ballot access laws stack the deck against minor parties. These hurdles, he notes, are compounded by mainstream media dismissal of alternative candidates, resulting in presidential debates that almost entirely avoid topics like the social costs of war or increasing repression against political dissenters.
In one state, California, where the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) electoral alliance already has ballot status, Durham will compete to be PFP’s presidential candidate.
The Durham/López campaign launches this week with a candidate Web video, position statements, Facebook at www.facebook.com/VoteSocialism2012, Twitter @VoteSocialism, and featured articles in the Freedom Socialist newspaper. With the help of volunteers, the FSP will be spreading the news and ideas of the campaign widely. The Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee is planning for college and other speaking engagements, Skype presentations, fundraisers, and more activities around the country.
Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee
4710 University Way NE, Ste. 100
Seattle, WA 98105