Michael: What tactics are you using to try in order to influence policy? Do you try to contact congress directly? With being a minority in the electorate, how hard has it been in getting your voice heard? Do you feel the organization as a whole have been effective within this state?
Stephen: Recently, the Socialist Party won a legal battle with the Ohio Supreme Court to get ballot access, the court ruling that ballot access was unfair and undemocratic. Michigan has even worse electoral access laws, and it’s estimated to cost between 40 and 50 thousand dollars in paid signature collection to get ballot access. We are preparing a lawsuit to open up ballot access under constitutional grounds. Most of our battles in influencing policy directly are through these means.
Now, as for being heard, that’s the big issue. We speak were we can and hope that people are willing to listen. But, it will take a major change in American political discourse to get that to happen. The sad fact is that people think they have to settle for the Democrats, who simply pretend to support our ideals, such as being anti-war, environmentalist, wanting to create real jobs, etc. However, they always come up with some plan that gets headlines and does nothing to solve the problem . . . My personal solution, which is not any official solution of any body of the Socialist Party USA, is what I like to call an informal runoff. Your vote doesn’t count in a poll, only in the election booth. If you support us, or the Greens, or the Libertarians, etc, say you’re voting for us. When people see numbers behind us, they’ll actually open up and listen, add to the numbers and alternatives can grow.