The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 72/No. 31      August 4, 2008

Socialist Workers celebrate
successful N.Y. petition drive
(front page)
Militant/Eddie Beck
Martín Koppel, SWP candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 15th District, campaigns on a street corner.

NEW YORK—Supporters of the Socialist Workers campaign celebrated July 27 after collecting 29,480 signatures—nearly double the requirement—to place Róger Calero, SWP candidate for U.S. president, and his running mate Alyson Kennedy on the New York state ballot. Campaigning in Buffalo, Albany, and the greater New York City metropolitan area, the campaigners wrapped up the drive in two weeks.

Another 7,042 signatures were gathered for Martín Koppel, SWP candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 15th District. This is double the state requirement of 3,500 signatures. Maura DeLuca, SWP candidate for Congress in the 16th District, announced July 27 that the campaign will now prepare the petitions for filing, and submit them for ballot status in Albany and New York City the week of August 12.

Iowa socialists began petitioning July 28 in Postville, the town where almost 400 workers at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant were arrested by immigration cops May 12. The socialists are also petitioning in Waterloo, Iowa City, the Quad-Cities area, and in Des Moines. Their goal is to collect more than 2,250 signatures for Calero and Kennedy and 450 for Frank Forrestal, the SWP candidate for U.S. Congress in the 3rd District.

In Vermont, campaigners are petitioning in Burlington and Montpellier August 2-3, shooting to gather 1,500 signatures for the SWP presidential ticket.

Petitioning will also take place later this month in Minnesota, and campaigners will shortly be filing for ballot status in Louisiana and Florida.

A highlight of the New York ballot drive was the participation of workers and youth who joined the campaign as it got under way.

Ramón Fernández, a construction worker, subscribed to the Militant newspaper at the May 1 demonstration for legalization of the undocumented. He decided to join the campaigning effort after attending a socialist campaign rally July 19.

“People were interested in the candidates,” he said of his experience campaigning in the Bronx. “They listened when I told them that Róger Calero and Alyson Kennedy were for the working class.”

Gezel Rodríguez, a student, met the socialists when they were first out petitioning. She volunteered to join the drive and the campaigning among her friends netted 31 signatures.

Alyson Kennedy and supporters campaigned in Queens July 27 with a sign that said “Workers need a labor party.” That caught the attention of Renee Richardson, a bus driver who is Black.

Richardson asked the socialists what they were doing. Kennedy told her about the campaign, and explained that she and Calero call for using union power to defend workers’ rights. Kennedy described an organizing drive she was part of at the Co-Op coal mine in Utah, and the leading role immigrant workers played in that fight. Kennedy said the SWP campaign demands the immediate legalization of all undocumented workers.

Richardson said that she had just been part of an attempt to get a union where she works because “we needed better benefits, job security, and better health care.” She gladly signed the petition.

David Jones, a plumber from Brooklyn, was happy to see the socialists out of the streets. “Cuba is not as bad as they make it out to sound,” he said. “I know what Maurice Bishop and Fidel Castro did.”

Maurice Bishop led the 1979 revolution on the Caribbean island of Grenada that established a workers and farmers government. The SWP was a firm supporter of that revolution, as it is of the Cuban Revolution.
Related articles:
Socialist candidate meets with workers fighting deportations  
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