On Tuesday, Nov. 2, thousands of people will get out to vote in Ohio for the midterm elections. For those in District 22, there will be an alternative to the capitalist candidates. Corey Ansel, a 19 year-old member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, will be on the ballot on the Green Party ticket.
Ansel campaign volunteers
This is the first time that a PSL candidate has intervened in the elections in Ohio, but the momentum that has come from the Ansel campaign has been remarkable. The campaign provides an alternative for workers – a candidate fighting for their interests, raising demands such as free, quality education and health care for all and a comprehensive jobs program. These issues are not even mentioned by the corporate candidates running for the State Representative seat.
The campaign has mobilized dozens of volunteers in the streets. Ansel and campaign volunteers have gone door to door across Columbus to pass out fliers and talk to hundreds of workers. PSL volunteers attended dozens of community forums, union meetings, public debates and other events and put forth a socialist platform demanding “People over profits!” The campaign organized several PSL forums, volunteer meetings and days of outreach.
The campaign was different in its activism, in that it was a campaign in the streets. Ansel and campaign supporters organized transportation to the March 20 March on Washington to demand an end to the wars. They were also in the streets in April after the aid flotilla to Gaza was brutally attacked by the Israeli military. Activists from all walks of life were able to hear about a socialist alternative in the elections that demanded an immediate end of U.S. aid to Israel and stood for a free Palestine.
On Oct. 3, over a dozen campaign supporters stood up to the bigoted Westboro Baptist Church when it came to Columbus to spread its message of hate. Volunteers passed out leaflets demanding full LGBT equality and marriage rights. Students were very receptive to the campaign and many of them began volunteer work with the campaign as a result. Ansel volunteers also worked with the Communication Workers Union to organize transport to the One Nation Working Together rally in Washington, D.C. They joined hundreds of thousands of workers and worked with the PSL in distributing fliers and issues of Liberation newspaper.
On Oct. 16, members of the PSL and the campaign joined the Midwest Regional anti-war demonstration in Chicago to protest on the 9th anniversary of the Afghanistan war. Activists demanded “Money for jobs and education, not for war!”
Many local businesses, coffee shops and buildings proudly posted Ansel campaign fliers in their windows to show support for the working class campaign. Candidate Ansel was also able to speak to hundreds of students on Ohio State University and Capital University campus about the campaign and the struggle for socialism.
“When I told my dad I was working with a socialist campaign, he lectured me about it,” said Taylor Conway, a student at Capital and a campaign volunteer. “I think that’s wrong. What we need to do is get out there and change these illusions people believe about socialism. You have no idea how willing I am to fight for this.”
Ansel’s campaign was covered widely, from ThisWeek Newspaper, to the Columbus Dispatch, UWeekly and other local newspapers across the state. In addition, Ansel was interviewed by dozens of independent media websites in Ohio.
Most importantly, the PSL campaign reached thousands of workers in putting forth a message of socialism. The Ansel campaign has built an alternative for workers in the elections, which many desperately sought after the failure of the corporate parties to provide real change. The Ansel campaign is fighting to change the current system and to struggle for socialism.
However, campaign volunteers and PSL members in Ohio know the struggle does not end in the ballot box. What is needed is a mass movement in the streets struggling for workers’ rights and an end to exploitation. The Ansel campaign sowed the seeds of an alternative to capitalism in Columbus. Upon that base the PSL will build a movement to fight back.