Campaigners are organizing to collect at least 1,000 signatures from registered voters for both Sandler and García, twice the legal requirement to get on the ballot. Some 1,070 signatures were collected for Sandler and 735 for García in the first three days of the effort.
On Saturday evening, after the first day’s effort, petitioners came to the campaign headquarters to share their experiences over a Mexican dinner and to hear from the candidates.
“We tell working people not to depend on any politician or proposition but to depend on ourselves and our own strength as workers,” García told the 32 participants. “We join other workers to campaign for a massive government-financed public works program to create jobs so that millions can be put to work providing the things that workers need.”
For some this was the first time that they had petitioned for a socialist candidate.
“I was inspired by the spirit of the other petitioners and how well organized it was,” Kevin Cole said, adding he had only planned to participate for half a day on Saturday but ended up putting in two full days. “We talked to people about reality. This is what working people need.”
Maileen Au Young explained how she worked at making herself understood by everyone despite language differences. She used the different languages printed on the back of the petitions to walk potential signers through what they were signing and why.
Jorge Rios, a 28-year-old unemployed worker, said that he had petitioned before for a group that organized donations to various charities. “This [time] was easier for me,” he said. “This is something I believe in. We give people solutions to the problems we confront. When they ask how do we get there I can talk about the Cuban Revolution, its example, what they did and how they did it.”
Santos Ramos, a 28-year-old construction worker and one of the top petitioners, said he was impressed by the close attention working people paid to what he was saying. “When I explained that Norton Sandler is a worker who is trying to build a revolutionary working-class movement and that nothing else can make change for the working class, people stopped to listen and some signed the petition,” he said.
Many described talking to workers who were interested in the politics of the campaign, but could not sign because of undemocratic regulations that strip voting rights from those with felony convictions. A number bought a single copy of the Militant newspaper or a subscription.
“What we are seeing is the cumulative effects of life under the dictatorship of capital, where cops’ stop-and-frisk operations, plea bargains and ‘three-strikes’ laws are used against the working class,” Sandler told the meeting. “Only when the working class takes power out of the hands of the ruling rich can we put an end to these practices.”
James Harris was the SWP presidential candidate in 2012.
Gay rights referenda votes register gain for working class
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