A hearty thank you! to friends of the Freedom Socialist Party’s Durham-López “Un-millionaire” 2012 presidential campaign for substantial support in the June 5 California primary election. New Yorker Stephen Durham, running for president on a socialist feminist ticket with vice-presidential candidate Christina López of Seattle, is vying for the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP), one of the only left electoral alliances in the country with ballot status. Durham-López garnered over 26% of the PFP vote statewide and won several races for the party’s central committee, although final results are still pending. A recent three-week barn-storming by Durham helped boost the campaign’s visibility and created a lively discussion about what is the best way forward in electoral politics.
During the same period, vice presidential candidate Christina López spearheaded a vigorous campaign in the Pacific Northwest.
Up against better-known candidates in California, including Ralph Nader anointee Rocky Anderson and many time PFP candidate Stewart Alexander, the strong showing of Durham and López shows that the FSP candidates and their proposals for down-to-earth feminist and anti-capitalist solutions to unemployment, war, bigotry and injustice resonated powerfully with working-class people.
The campaign first had to battle against California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who tried to block Durham from the ballot along with another PFP candidate, Peta Lindsay. Thanks to solidarity ranging from high school students to unionists, Durham-López and PFP forced Bowen to put Durham on the ballot, proving that FSP knows how to fight the system and win.
Durham’s swing through the state highlighted the need for working- class solutions to the ills of capitalism. He electrified crowds at forums and protests with his passionate defense of the most oppressed and demands addressing their needs. With FSP’s revolutionary program, he stood in sharp contrast to reformist candidates like Anderson, who proclaims himself a liberal wanting to “restore our nation’s competitive edge” with a patched-up capitalist system. FSP believes in building united left movements for ballot reform and has long supported PFP, but isn’t willing to abandon the call for a fundamental change in class relations in electoral efforts.
The combined vote for socialists Alexander and Durham was 56.5%, decisively outweighing Anderson’s 43.4%. This showing confirms that the majority of PFP voters support socialist candidates. It reveals the potential strength of united anti-capitalist slates in the future, with organizations pooling contacts and resources. Anderson’s attempt to gain the PFP nomination when he does not agree with the party’s platform or history of running openly socialist candidates, exposes that he puts career-building above principled leadership.
California is an important battleground because it’s a state where Democrats have led the charge against working people – with severe austerity drives against students, women, people of color, the poor, immigrants, and unionists. They have worked hand in glove with Republicans to pass recent ballot measures in San José and San Diego attacking state employee pensions. Democrats have brutally attempted to smash the Occupy movement’s efforts to take on the 1%. Mounting an aggressive Durham-López campaign is part of building a broader movement against neoliberal cuts and directly answers attacks from Governor Jerry Brown and business interests.
While awaiting final election results due July 13, the Durham-López campaign is gearing up for the Aug. 4-5 PFP convention, where newly elected PFP leadership will choose the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. The campaign will also continue outreach across the state–leading up to the primary, get-out-the-vote efforts included calling and mailing campaign literature to thousands and signing up dozens of new PFP members. We think that continuing work to put Durham and López on the PFP ballot in November is the best way to spread the word about socialism and give the people of California a real choice at the polls.
Wherever you are, jump in to the campaign, and enjoy a good hot summer! Call the campaign office nearest you.
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN OFFICES
Baltimore – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Port Angeles, Wash. – Tel: 360-452-7534 – Email: email@example.com
Los Angeles – Tel: 323-732-6416 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland, Ore. – Tel: 503-240-4462 – Email: email@example.com
Newark, NJ – Tel: 973-643-0499
San Francisco – Tel: 415-864-1278 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
New York City – Tel: 212-222-0633 – Email: email@example.com
Seattle – Tel: 206-722-2453 – Email: FSPSeattle@mindspring.com