OH: City Beat Profiles Dan La Botz, Socialist Party Candidate for US Senate
As Republicans and Tea Party members continue to throw around the term “socialist” as a sort of epithet, LaBotz, a Clifton resident, is one of just three national candidates from the Socialist Party, and the only one running for a Senate seat. The wry 65-year-old, running against Republican candidate Rob Portman and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, a Democrat, isn’t bothered by the name-calling, though. In fact, he’s relishing it.
As opponents against President Obama’s health-care bill increased their “socialist” rhetoric, he says, it has only seemed to draw more interest in Socialist Party ideas, helping turn his candidacy from a mere curiosity to an alternative that’s gaining attention. “While the Tea Party has been attacking socialism, I find many Ohioans, especially young people, interested in the socialist alternative,” LaBotz says.
Free, or at least affordable, health care, better education, being paid living wages, having a voice in the workplace and being able to retire with dignity — these are socialist staples, he says. And as unemployment climbs, home foreclosures share daily front pages with natural disasters and schools continue to struggle, LaBotz is finding more sympathetic voters.
Socialist Party Files Constitutional Ballot Access Lawsuit Against Michigan
On July 21, the Socialist Party of Michigan filed a lawsuit in state court, seeking a declaration that the number of signatures needed to place a new party on the ballot violates the Michigan Constitution. Michigan and Kansas are the only two states in which the number of signatures required to put a new party on the ballot is a higher number than the number of votes needed for an old party to remain ballot-qualified. Therefore, the law seems discriminatory against new parties, and seems to favor old parties. UPDATE: here is the complaint, which is much more interesting than most complaints, and has lots of information about the modern-day history of the Socialist Party in Michigan. It is 40 pages.
The case is Socialist Party of Michigan v Land, Ingham County Circuit Court, 10-867-CZ. The case depends on a decision of the Michigan Supreme Court in 1982, Socialist Workers Party v Secretary of State. In that 1982 case, the State Supreme Court struck down the old Michigan requirement for new parties to get on the ballot that had been passed in 1976. That old law required new parties to submit a petition, and then also poll a number of votes in the August primary equal to three-tenths of 1% of the turnout in that primary. The “vote” for the party in the August primary was peculiar. Voters who were voting in the primary saw a section of the ballot that asked if they wished certain petitioning parties to appear on the November ballot. Primary voters who voted “yes” were not permitted to vote for any candidates of any party in the primary. The State Supreme Court noted that this was not only very difficult to comply with, but that it was also discrminatory, because the old ballot-qualified parties were not subject to that August primary vote test.
Michigan currently requires 38,024 signatures to put a new party on the ballot, which is 1% of the last gubernatorial vote. But it only requires approximately 20,000 votes for an old party to remain ballot-qualified. The formula for the vote test for a party to remain on the ballot requires a vote of 1% of the winning candidate for Secretary of State’s vote total. Obviously the vote cast for the winning candidate is considerably less than 1% of the entire vote cast.
The Michigan Socialist Party brief also notes that there is some evidence that this year’s Tea Party petition cost $100,000. The Socialist Party has nominated seven candidates for office this year and asks the court to place its nominees on the November ballot. The party has two U.S. House candidates, one state legislative candidate, and four statewide nominees.
The Socialist Workers Party filed a somewhat similar lawsuit against Massachusetts in 1970. That case turned out badly. The lawsuit pointed out that a new party needed a petition signed by 3% of the last gubernatorial vote. But an old party could remain ballot-qualified as long as it had polled one-tenth of 1% for Governor in each of the last three gubernatorial elections. The court upheld the 3% but ruled the vote test to be unconstitutional. The court’s reasoning was flawed. The Massachusetts court should instead have noted that Massachusetts was unconstitutionally discriminating against new parties, and let the legislature decide how to remedy the problem.
Act Now to Stop the Wars and Defend Our Civil Liberties
Andrea Pason and Billy Wharton, co-chairs Socialist Party USA- July 28, 2010
The recent disclosure of thousands of top-secret documents by Wikileaks and the Washington Post media project “Top Secret America,” makes one point perfectly clear – the American people need to act now to stop the US military and the growing security state. With hundreds of bases worldwide and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military constitutes the greatest threat to peace in the world. Simultaneously, a growing security state threatens to shred any semblance of civil liberties and personal freedom at home and abroad.
The Wikileaks documents that were bravely secured by Bradley Manning and published by Julian Assange reveal a US military operation in Afghanistan that has violated nearly every tenet of international human rights. Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama both openly lied to the American people about the conduct of the military and the status of the wars. The use of CIA-trained death squads, the manipulation of the puppet government of Afghanistan and the consistent use of drone bombers all reveal a war that cannot be won being carried out by a military willing to commit acts of aggression against a defenseless civilian population. These documents prove decisively that the truth is indeed the first casualty of war.
The “Top Secret America” report reveals a growing security state that is as active domestically as it is internationally. This security apparatus constitutes the single greatest threat to civil liberties throughout the world. The post-9/11 US security state is responsible for torture, extraordinary renditions, false imprisonment, racial profiling and covert assassinations. All of this has been done secretly, in the name of the American people.
It is, therefore, the responsibility of the American people themselves to put an end to the military and security apparatus’ ability to operate. Building a mass movement that both demands the end of the current wars and reclaims civil liberties would be a first step in that direction. As democratic socialists, we believe that any non-violent action that seeks to disable or derail the US military machine is a just act.
Such a movement should also push for a permanent end to militarism by calling for an immediate 50% reduction in military spending as well as the closing of all American military bases abroad. The resulting “peace dividend” could be shared between necessary domestic social services and in repairing the global damage done by the US military. Once in motion, such a movement would find widespread support from peace loving people throughout the world. Only then, after the US is well along the road to disarmament, can serious discussions about global peace and reconciliation begin.
Now is the time to summon the courage of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. To protect them against the repression of the US government. To demand an immediate end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And, to put our bodies on the line in support of a vision of the future that moves beyond capitalism and the wars it fuels.
LANSING – The Socialist Party of Michigan (SPMI), MI state party affiliate of the Socialist Party USA, filed the State-prescribed candidate nomination and acceptance certificates for seven party candidates for federal and state office on Monday, following its official selection of such candidates at its 2010 state nominating convention held in Ann Arbor last Saturday.
Though decades have passed since the last time the Michigan Secretary of State’s office formally recognized the Socialist Party’s qualification to nominate candidates for any partisan elections in the state , the Party formally filed its nomination certificates with the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections office this year in order to concord with a lawsuit the Party filed in the state’s 30th Circuit Court (Ingham County) last Wednesday against Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, in her official capacity; challenging the constitutionality of the present Michigan statute governing political party ballot access (M.C.L. § 168.685) and seeking a court order requiring the Secretary of State’s office to once again provide a properly labeled party column on the Michigan ballot listing the Socialist Party’s nominees. The case, Socialist Party of Michigan, et al. v. Land (#10-867-CZ) is currently pending an August hearing before the court’s chief judge, Hon. William E. Collette.
On Tuesday July 27th, the National Organization for Marriage “Summer of Marriage Tour” came to Mad-Town (Madison, WI) for a rally at the Capitol to spew their hatred for the LGBT Community and to say that Gays have no rights and can never have any rights to be joined in a civil union, and to speak of the sanctity of Straight Only Matrimony. In opposition protesters Gay, BI, Transgender, and their “Straight Allies” from all across the state turned out by the hundreds to show their support for full equality. Among them was the Socialist Party of South Central Wisconsin.