In a victory for working people in Utah, state officials Aug. 11 certified that the Socialist Workers Party slate of Kennedy and Hart met the requirement of 1,000 signatures of registered voters to get on the ballot.
Over six weeks campaigners for the SWP spoke to thousands of workers, farmers and ranchers on their doorsteps across the state, from the coalfields to cattle ranching communities. They discussed why, in face of the irresolvable economic and social crisis of capitalism worldwide, the Socialist Workers Party is the party workers need, the class opposite of the capitalist contenders. This effort was redoubled after the state said 1,700 signatures of workers who wanted the party on the ballot wasn’t sufficient, and another 300 signed petitions.
In the course of this campaigning, 220 people bought copies of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege and Learning Under Capitalism by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, and 200 subscribed to the Militant.
SWP campaigners also joined actions against police brutality, including an Aug. 9 rally protesting the Salt Lake City prosecutor’s decision not to indict two cops for shooting 17-year-old Abdullahi Mohamed. Instead they charged Mohamed with robbery and drug possession.
Campaigning Aug. 10, Kennedy and Sergio Zambrana met Melissa Fralley, 25, a Navy veteran who is disabled and unemployed. When Kennedy told Fralley the Socialist Workers Party opposes U.S. wars, calls for bringing all troops home and opposes scapegoating of Muslim people, she agreed.
“The U.S. military budget is larger than the next seven countries combined,” Fralley said. “I feel that the wars create more enemies abroad and also create anti-Muslim sentiment.”
“At the same time, there’s an assault against workers in this country and high unemployment,” Kennedy said.
“Yes, and when your unemployment benefits run out, you’re not even officially unemployed any more!” Fralley said.
The SWP calls for a massive government-funded public works program to put millions to work at union scale wages, Kennedy told her.
Besides Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, five other capitalist candidates are on the Utah ballot, including Libertarian Gary Johnson, who is polling 16 percent in the state, and the recently announced Republican candidate Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative. Both have their national headquarters in Salt Lake City.
The Socialist Workers Party campaign has received substantial coverage in the state’s major newspapers, TV and radio stations. Kennedy was interviewed on KSL radio Aug. 10, and the Deseret News ran an article the same day titled, “Socialist Workers Party Presidential Candidate Wants to Start Revolution.” Both are Mormon church affiliates.
Both KSL host Doug Wright and the Deseret News highlighted the fact that Kennedy is a former coal miner who was a leader of the 2003-2004 strike and union-organizing drive at the Co-Op Mine in Huntington, one of Utah’s most important recent labor battles.
Mary Martin contributed to this article.