Workers in N.Y. sign to
put socialists on ballot
Over 15,000 signatures collected in 9 days
Maura DeLuca, Socialist Workers candidate for New York public advocate (center), campaigns to put New York SWP candidates on ballot outside Stella Doro cookie factory in the Bronx July 8. Stella Doro workers recently won favorable court ruling after 11-month strike. At left is Eddie Marrero, one of returning strikers; to DeLucas right is SWP campaigner Becca Williamson and Oscar de la Rosa, neighborhood resident and strike supporter.
BY BRIAN WILLIAMS
NEW YORK, July 15In a nine-day blitz campaigners for the Socialist Workers Party candidates here capped off a successful effort by collecting 15,508 signatures to place Dan Fein on the ballot for mayor and Maura DeLuca for public advocate. They also collected 8,115 signatures for Tom Baumann, the partys candidate for Manhattan borough president. Thats double the required amount.
Fein and DeLuca are union sewing machine operators. Baumann is a student at Hunter College.
Whats most attractive about the SWP campaign is that it points to political action in the streets by working people, commented Gordon Barnes, 20, a member of the Young Socialists, who participated in campaign petitioning teams for several days.
The party platform points to the need for the working class to take political power in response to the deepening worldwide capitalist depression, social crisis, and imperialist wars. The Socialist Workers campaign puts forward a series of immediate demands to protect working people in face of the devastation the ruling class is organizing and to unify the working class in struggle.
These demands include: guaranteed unemployment compensation at union scale for all workers until they find a job; an increase in the federal minimum wage to union scale; no cuts in medical benefits for any workers laid off from their jobguaranteed lifetime medical care and retiree pensions for all; immediate and unconditional legalization of all undocumented workers.
A soapboxing speech by Fein July 12 at the Fulton and Nostrand street corner in Brooklyn won new support for the campaign. I was explaining the campaigns demands for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and that the minimum wage be raised to union scale, said Fein. One woman signed the petition and then stayed around urging others, come over and sign, this is important.
Bachi Ayala, 20, a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College and YS member, said petitioning for the Socialist Workers candidates was a good experience for meeting a lot of working people and seeing their response to the campaign.
Petitioning was a positive experience, much better than I expected, said Asha Ramachandra, 26. At Hunter College, where for each of two days she collected more than 100 signatures, a lot of students knew about the campaign, she said.
Several workers stopped in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn as Fein condemned a rent increase approved by the city Rent Guidelines Board in June.
We need to nationalize the land and housing stock, Fein said. This is the only way to guarantee working people inexpensive, attractive, and quality housing without fear of evictions by a landlord or foreclosure by a bank. Fein added that this measure would prevent working farmers from being foreclosed on and losing their land.
Political party thats not afraid to tell workers truth can grow in period ahead