BY DON MACKLE
ALBANY, New York - Socialist Workers candidates and their supporters filed petitions with the New York State Board of Elections August 18 containing the signatures of 23,677 New York state residents supporting the right of the Socialist Workers 1998 candidates to appear on the ballot in the November elections. New York is among the 15 states, as well as the District of Columbia, where Socialist Workers candidates are running in the elections. (See coverage on other campaigns on page 3.)
"Those who worked to get us on the ballot did so because we are campaigning to win support for the growing resistance by working people to the unrelenting assaults on our standard of living and stepped-up attacks on our democratic rights by the capitalist class and their government," said Al Duncan, the Socialist Workers Campaign candidate for governor of New York, at a press conference prior to filing the petitions. The signatures filed represented more than one and a half times the 15,000 signatures required by undemocratic state election laws.
The petitions have been submitted to secure ballot status for Duncan, a rail worker at Conrail and member of the United Transportation Union (UTU); Ruth Robinett, a member of the UTU at Amtrak, for lieutenant governor; and Rose Ana Berbeo, an airline worker and member of the International Association of Machinists, for U.S. Senate. In addition the campaign is running garment worker Wendy Lyons for state attorney general and Ryan Kelly, a leader of the Young Socialists, for comptroller.
Duncan pointed to the campaign's support to recent strikes and protest actions by workers at General Motors, Bell Atlantic, Conrail, and Harlem Hospital, as well as construction workers, New York City taxi drivers, "and countless others who decided to fight to press their demands for jobs and better wages and working conditions. These workers point the way forward for all working people" said Duncan, pledging to continue building solidarity with these fights.
"We are calling on all those who support civil liberties and democratic rights to join us in demanding that the New York City government immediately grant the Million Youth March organizers a permit to peacefully assemble, march, and rally in Harlem on September 5," Duncan added.
Duncan thanked the many volunteers who turned out over the last 12 days to help carry through the petition drive successfully. The campaign issued an appeal August 5 when only 8,600 signatures had been collected. In response, more than 75 campaign supporters turned out the following Sunday to hit the streets across the state collecting signatures. By the day's end more than 4,000 signature were collected.
For the entire next week students on school break, workers on temporary layoff, volunteers giving up their day off work, and other volunteers went out petitioning full-time. Many others went out at night as they got off work. On average they collected over 800 signatures a day.
Petitioning teams went to Buffalo, Syracuse, Long Island, and all of New York City's five boroughs. They petitioned outside Bell Atlantic worksites among members of the Communication Workers of America as they prepared for their strike. A number of petitioning teams across the city ran into CWA workers who eagerly signed and informed the campaign of upcoming protest actions by the union.
BOSTON - Andrea Morell, Socialist Workers candidate for U. S. Congress in the 8th Congressional District, was certified by the Secretary of State's office here August 14 for the November general election ballot. Morell filed 4,578 signatures on nominating papers urging that she be awarded a ballot spot. The Secretary of State concurred with Local Boards of Election in the district who certified 2,121 of the signatures as valid. This puts the socialist candidate over the requirement of 2,000 registered voters signatures to be on the ballot.
Morell also presented petitions with some 775 additional names of workers and youth who are not registered to vote in the 8th CD but who want to see the Socialist Workers nominee on the ballot. Ted Leonard, a member of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, is the party's candidate for governor.
After submitting the signatures, Morell joined picket lines of fellow rail workers at Conrail's Beacon Park yard who struck for one day in protest of a company plan to outsource work to a nonunion outfit.
Morell is a longtime activist in the fight for women's rights and participated in recent demonstrations in support of ending U.S. colonial rule of Puerto Rico, calling for independence for the island nation.
In a statement issued when turning in the signatures needed to place her name on the ballot, Morell said, "This victory for democratic rights assures that there will be a working-class political alternative put forward in answer to the growing economic and social crisis whose true character and dimension become clearer each day. From the worldwide ramifications of recession in Japan to the renewed U.S. war moves in the Balkans and against Iraq, there is no stability within the framework of the capitalist system.
"Working people and youth who want a meaningful future should not look in the direction of my numerous Democratic Party opponents or any other capitalist politician. Instead we should look to ourselves - to our unions and our collective strength as a class.... We should be about building an independent working-class party, based on a fighting trade union movement, that can fight for a government of workers and farmers, the majority. That would be truly a democratic society."
The 8th Congressional District comprises many working-class communities in Boston and surrounding cities, as well as a large section of the Black community. There are 10 liberal Democrats vying for the seat vacated by Joseph Kennedy, Jr.
At a press conference in Harrisburg July 29 the Pennsylvania Socialist Workers Campaign announced its slate for the 1998 elections. Cecelia Moriarity, a steelworker and former coal miner, heads up the slate as the candidate for governor. The slate also includes Jason Coughlin, a member of the United Auto Workers, for Lt. Governor and John Staggs, a member of the Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers, for U.S. Senate. Coughlin, 27, is also a member of the Young Socialists.
Socialist Workers candidates Dorothy Kolis, a steelworker from Pittsburgh, and Nancy Cole, an airline worker from Philadelphia, will be on the ballot for Congress. Kolis who is running in the 14th Congressional District submitted almost 3,500 signatures towards the 2,400 required. Cole, who is running in the 1st CD submitted over 1,600 toward the 1,000 required.