The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 77/No. 7      February 25, 2013

Socialist Workers go over top in drive
to collect signatures for Omaha ballot
(front page)
OMAHA, Neb.—“We went over the top today,” Maura DeLuca, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Omaha, told the Militant Feb. 13. “We’ve collected more than two times the required number of signatures to put me and my running mate, Jacob Perasso, on the ballot.”

One thousand signatures of registered voters are required for mayoral contenders, and 100 for those running for city council.

“We got a great political response. Now we’re doing the paperwork and will hold a press conference and file early next week,” DeLuca said. “We want to thank everyone who helped in this effort, from Omaha, across the Midwest, and from Los Angeles and Seattle to Boston and New York.”

“We found many workers who wanted to help. We sold hundreds of copies of the Militant, 16 subscriptions and were handed over $100 in donations on the street and on people’s doorsteps,” Perasso, SWP candidate for city council in District 4, said. “We’re planning to hold a party this weekend to celebrate.

“We’ll spread out and campaign door to door across the city this weekend,” Perasso added, “and win new readers for the Militant. We extend an open invitation to anyone we met to join in.”

The high unemployment, competition for jobs and falling wages that mark the deepening crisis of capitalism were concerns raised by workers.

“I’m working two jobs now to make ends meet—17 hours a day,” Toni Goodwill, a house cleaner and bartender told DeLuca as she signed the petition. “My kids both work in grocery stores and they had to move back in with me because they can’t make it on their own.”

“I’m 53 but I made more money when I was 21, working the same number of hours as a waitress,” Bernice Dentler, who signed the petition and subscribed to the Militant, told DeLuca.

The candidates say workers need to fight for a government-funded jobs program to put millions to work building schools, medical centers, child care centers and other things workers need.

“Coming from liberal Seattle the stereotype is that people in Nebraska would be violently opposed to a socialist candidate or merely the word socialism,” Bryce Phillips Horvath, 21, told the Militant from Seattle after returning from petitioning Feb. 9-10. “This experience confirmed for me just how untrue that stereotype is.

“Most were excited to hear that DeLuca is a worker, she supports unions and creating more jobs, and perhaps most of all that she is neither a Democrat or Republican,” he added. “More than once I had someone say, ‘Wait a minute, is she a Republican or Democrat? No? Neither? OK good, I’ll definitely sign then.’

“I informed them that the candidate cannot promise anything but to be part of building a movement with you,” Horvath said. “Of course some people were busy or otherwise not interested, they were mostly, however, very polite and upfront. Standing in front of No Frills, a local chain of stores, I realized the name of this store really describes well the city of Omaha and why I like it.

“Not everything glitters and must be ultramodern, trendy and bourgeois like in Seattle these days. Omaha is one of those often overlooked places in America where the land and farmers and working people are exploited to produce the industrialized foods we rely on to survive every day,” he said.

Kevin Cole, 57, a postal worker from Los Angeles who supports the SWP campaign of Norton Sandler for mayor and Eleanor García for school board there, came to Omaha for three days to aid in the ballot drive. He was the top petitioner over the weekend, collecting 97 signatures for DeLuca.

“Many workers told me an industrial worker like Maura DeLuca should be able to run for mayor,” Cole said. “I was also pleasantly surprised when a guy saw a copy of the Militant under the petition and said he likes the paper and wanted to buy the latest copy.”

One objective of the SWP campaign and the ballot drive is to get the revolutionary working-class perspective of the party, the Militant and Pathfinder books better known by workers thinking about how to confront the capitalist crisis.

Campaigners and others attended a dinner and forum Feb. 9 at the South Omaha YMCA. Speaking at the forum were DeLuca, Perasso, and David Rosenfeld, SWP candidate for city council in Des Moines, Iowa.  
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