Delegates at the 42nd national convention of the SWP, held June 10-12 at Oberlin College here, ratified the nominations made earlier by the partys National Committee.
Supporters of the socialist ticket rolled out of the convention into campaigning activities around the country, from soapboxing in Miami, Florida, and Newark, New Jersey, to petitioning this month to get the socialist candidates on the ballot in Mississippi, Iowa, Utah, and Vermont.
The Socialist Workers candidates around the country offer a revolutionary, working-class alternative to the Democrats and Republicansthe twin parties of imperialist war, depression, racism, and exploitation, said Calero, addressing some 400 people at a rally here at the conclusion of the SWP convention.
We are bringing our campaign to workers, farmers, and young people everywhere who are resisting the assaults by the bosses and the disastrous consequences of their capitalist profit system. We invite those who support our candidates to campaign with us.
The socialist candidate added, We are joining with fellow workers to defend the labor movement in face of the employers offensive. Our campaign stands with those who are fighting today to organize a union or to defend their union from the bosses and their government.
The socialist candidates are also campaigning to support the efforts by working people around the globe, especially in the semicolonial world, to expand the electrification of their countries. Calero explained that the SWP campaign will oppose the war that Washington and other imperialist powers have been waging to prevent oppressed nationssuch as Iranfrom developing nuclear power, which is necessary to bring much of humanity out of darkness.
Calero, 35, is the associate editor of the Spanish-language magazine Perspectiva Mundial and a Militant staff writer. While working as a meat packer in the Midwest, he participated in a successful struggle by workers at the Dakota Premium Foods plant in South St. Paul, Minnesota, who won recognition of the United Food and Commercial Workers as their union in 2002. Calero has joined current efforts to win solidarity for the United Mine Workers of America strike in Huntington, Utah.
In December 2002 Calero was arrested by immigration cops on his return from a Militant reporting trip in Cuba and Mexico. He waged a campaign that won broad public support and prevented the U.S. government from deporting him to Nicaragua, his country of birth. He has since used this victory to back other workers fighting deportation efforts and government frame-ups.
Arrin Hawkins, 28, is a garment worker in New York. She was the Socialist Workers nominee for lieutenant governor of New York in 2002. Hawkins has also worked as an airline baggage handler and a meatpacker. A defender of the Cuban Revolution, she took part in youth delegations to Cuba in 2001 and 2003. Hawkins joined with other partisans of the struggle for womens liberation to build the April 25 march on Washington, where nearly a million turned out to support a womans right to choose abortion (see biographies of Calero and Hawkins).
Speaking at the June 12 rally, Hawkins explained that as part of building the April 25 march, socialist workers and Young Socialists went out campaigning throughout March and April on street corners in working-class districts, at university campuses, and at plant gates. We got into the hands of as many workers and youth as possible a range of books and pamphlets that give a scientific, Marxist explanation of the roots of womens oppression and that explain the kind of revolutionary, working-class movement needed to end it.
This was coupled with a successful spring drive that doubled the number of new subscribers to the Militant and substantially increased readers to its Spanish-language sister publication, Perspectiva Mundial, she noted.
Hawkins said the elections offer broader opportunities for socialist workers and Young Socialists to use these books and campaign newspapers to introduce working people and youth to a revolutionary working-class perspective.
Supporters of the socialist campaign are organizing efforts to put their presidential ticket on the ballot in 12 states and the District of Columbia. They are currently engaged in petitioning drives in Iowa, Mississippi, Utah, and Vermont that will be completed by the end of June (see news on Mississippi petitioning on this page). Petitioning to put Calero and Hawkins on the ballot in Minnesota and Washington, D.C., will take place in July.
Petitions submitted in New Jersey
On June 8 campaigners in New Jersey completed a two-week petitioning effort. They filed nearly double the 800 signatures required to place the Socialist Workers presidential slate on the ballot and almost twice the 100 signatures needed for the two Congressional candidates in New Jersey, Ved Dookhun for the 10th District and Angela Lariscy for the 13th District.
With the signature-gathering effort wrapped up, supporters of the New Jersey socialist campaign are now gearing into a broader campaign effort. They are soapboxing, canvassing with the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial, and looking for speaking engagements for their candidatesDookhun, a meat packer, and Lariscy, a sewing-machine operator in Newark.
Other local Socialist Workers Party slates are being fielded in cities across the country. These include Iowa, where petitioning is underway to put Edwin Fruit, the partys candidate for U.S. Congress, on the ballot. In New York the socialist candidates are Martín Koppel for U.S. Senate, Willie Cotton for U.S. Congress in the 15th District, and Dorothy Kolis in the 16th District.
Hawkins and Calero will be touring in areas where local campaigns are already underway, such as Iowa and Florida.
Young Socialists around the country are taking the SWP campaign as their own. Some are running on Socialist Workers slates. One of these candidates, Nicole Sarmiento, a Young Socialist in Miami who is running for U.S. Senate in Florida, spoke at the June 12 Oberlin College rally. She described some of the recent campaigning in Miami and Tampa.
In addition to Sarmiento, the socialist candidates in Florida include Lawrence Mikesh for mayor of Miami-Dade, and three Congressional nominees: Karl Butts in the 11th District in Tampa, Omari Musa in the 17th District, and Seth Galinsky in the 21st District, both in Miami.
Sarmiento explained that in campaigning during the previous week at a forum on Haiti held at Florida International Universitys North Campus near Miami, a conference in St. Petersburg on the history of the civil rights movement, and at a rally by hospital workers fighting for a union, and other events in Florida, the socialist candidates in that state called for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. and other imperialist troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, the Balkans, Haiti, Colombia, and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. They also called on working people to defend Venezuela against Washingtons threats and increased military intervention in South America.
In face of the economic crisis, Sarmiento said the Socialist Workers candidates advocate jobs for all by cutting the workweek to 30 hours with 40 hours pay to spread the available work around. The labor movement, she added, should also champion the demand to cancel the Third World debt to banks and other financial institutions in imperialist countries.
A fight around these and other demands, Sarmiento noted, can help unify working people who are resisting the employers onslaught, while pointing to the need for workers and farmers to overturn capitalist rule and take political power. We point to the living example of the Cuban Revolution, she said, which shows it is possible for working people to successfully take that road.
The June 12 rally launched a special fund appeal for the Socialist Workers Party campaign. Those present contributed or pledged more than $51,000. The appeal runs through August 1. Checks can be made out to the Socialist Workers National Campaign Committee and sent to P.O. Box 42651, Philadelphia, PA 19101.
For more information, write the 2004 SWP campaign at 306 W. 37th St., 10th floor, New York, NY 10018; by e-mail to email@example.com; or contact Socialist Workers campaign supporters listed in the directory.
Mississippi: 2,200 sign to put SWP slate on ballot
Socialist backs Puerto Rican independence
Calero and Hawkins, socialist candidates
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