Well, this is it. Election day is rapidly approaching, wrapping up (probably) the latest adventure in phony U.S. democracy.
If that sounds cynical, it’s really not. It’s just the unvarnished truth. And the truth is what it’s been all about for Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) candidates Stephen Durham for president and Christina López for vice president.
The point of this write-in campaign is to protest a rigged electoral system stacked wholly in favor of continued corporate control of the economy and people’s lives. At the same time, this is a resoundingly positive campaign, giving working people a chance to vote for what they need and deserve.
Thanks to the efforts of allies and supporters all over the country, in 25 states Stephen and Christina have official write-in status. In the East, that’s Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont; in the South and Midwest, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, West Virginia and, in Illinois, Chicago plus Cook and Kane counties; and in the West, Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
But no matter what state you live in, you can “protest positively” by writing in Stephen Durham and Christina López.
Using the contact info below, you can also let FSP know what you think about the ideas put forward in the campaign. I would love to hear from you.
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN OFFICES
National Campaign Office – Tel: 206-985-4621 - Email: VoteSocialism@gmail.com
Baltimore – Email: fspbaltimore@hotmail.
Chicago, IL – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Port Angeles, Wash. – Tel: 360-452-7534 - Email: email@example.com
Los Angeles – Tel: 323-732-6416 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland, Ore. – Tel: 503-240-4462 - Email: email@example.com
Newark, NJ – Tel: 973-643-0499
San Francisco – Tel: 415-864-1278 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle – Tel: 206-722-2453 - Email: FSPSeattle@mindspring.com
New York City – Tel: 212-222-0633 - Email: email@example.com
Today, more people identify as independent than as either Republican or Democrat. But they have no representation, thanks mainly to rules that severely hamper the ability of minor parties to get on the ballot — the most restrictive access laws of any major capitalist country with democratic pretensions.
Each state has its own laws, even for federal elections. This presents a complex obstacle course of signature-gathering, filing fees, and peculiar requirements. Some states bar ballot access to a party sharing one word in common with an already registered party. Some stipulate that any candidate other than a Democrat or Republican be identified only as “Independent,” rather than with his or her party affiliation. Others require that 5 percent of the state’s voters register with a minor party before its candidates can be on the ballot.
Having run for local and state offices in New York, California, Oregon, and Washington state, the FSP is all too familiar with the hurdles. Despite the barriers, though, FSP candidates have had a real political impact.
The numbers tell part of the story. In Seattle City Council races, Yolanda Alaniz won 28,000 votes, or 18 percent, in the 1991 general election, and Linda Averill gained 16,500 votes in the 2005 primary. She also won 11,100 votes in the primary for City Council in 2003 — despite having to take the Seattle Public Disclosure Commission to court to protect the privacy of donors to a socialist campaign who could be open to harassment.
Last year, looking ahead, FSP knew that ballot obstacles precluded a traditional campaign at the national level. However, given the tremendous opportunity a presidential campaign would offer for reaching out across the country to like-minded thinkers and activists, FSP decided on an unorthodox approach.
Thus, the un-millionaire campaign was born: a write-in effort to protest both the austerity program and the anti-democratic nature of the electoral process itself.