Dan La Botz, a 64-year old Cincinnati school teacher, has filed petitions with the Ohio Secretary of State to become the candidate of the Socialist Party for the U.S. Senate. La Botz, who needed 500 signatures to get on the Socialist Party primary ballot, filed petitions with approximately 1,200 signatures on Thursday, Feb. 18. La Botz, a long time labor and social movement activist, is the candidate of the Socialist Party of Ohio which is the state organization of the Socialist Party USA.
Speaking in Columbus after turning in his petitions, La Botz said, “I believe we need an alternative to the Republican and Democratic Parties. We have to stop the banks and corporations from controlling our political system. We must stop the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We must bring our citizens single-payer health care. We must confront the environmental crisis, rejecting coal, petroleum and nuclear energy and prioritizing solar and other green solutions. We must create jobs for all at living wages. When private enterprise fails the government must step in to become the employer of last resort.”
La Botz said he sees a growing, though still embryonic movement for social change, a movement to which his Socialist candidacy will speak. “We can see the growing frustration, alienation and discontent with our political system. We see it in the Tea-Baggers. We see it in the demonstrations for immigrant rights. We see it in workers voting against contract concessions that give away wages and health plans. We see it in the LGBTQ movement for gay and lesbian marriage rights. People want an alternative, and that alternative is the idea of a democratic socialist society with health care, education, housing, and jobs and justice for all.”
Rejecting arguments that a third party cannot win and cannot have an impact, La Botz pointed out that given the political deadlock in Washington, one Senator in the U.S. Congress from a third party could exert enormous leverage on the political process. “But,” he said, “my job will be to inspire people to fight back not only politically, but by fighting for secure jobs, higher wages and health care, resisting attempts to foreclose on and seize their homes, and demanding free public higher education such as many states had in the 1960s. We need a political movement that is the expression of a social movement.“
“Working people make the country run,” said La Botz. “And working people—not the banks, corporations, and politicians—should run the country.”
Ohio once had a history as a Socialist Party stronghold, with Socialists elected by their labor union and working class constituencies to lead city government in Dayton, Hamilton, and other Ohio cities and towns. During the twentieth century railroad union leader Eugene V. Debs in the 1910s and 20s and former Presbyterian minister Norman Thomas in the 1930s and 1940s served as the presidential candidates of the Socialist Party.