Posted at socialism.com:
In response to a rigged political system, New York City FSP Organizer Stephen Durham and feminist immigrant rights advocate Christina López are running a national write-in campaign.
Stephen Durham for president
Stephen Durham brings abundant experience and a generous heart to the electoral arena. Dedicated to changing conditions at their root, he is a lifelong radical in the best sense of the word.
In the 1970s and ’80s Durham, now 64, was the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) organizer in Los Angeles; he has since guided the New York City branch.
From the party’s storefront in Central Harlem, it’s a short subway ride to the international heart of capitalism. Durham has ridden that train many a time to confront the corrupt financial elite — in recent months, often to march with Occupy Wall Street and conduct teach-ins on economics.
Durham was radicalized as a student and campus worker at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), where he participated in the movement against the Vietnam War and became a conscientious objector. He also stood shoulder to shoulder with students of color in the historic battle for Third World Studies at UCB.
As a pioneering queer activist, he took part in the first national lesbian and gay conference in 1969. A consistent advocate of women’s rights and supporter of female leadership, Durham fights to keep feminist issues up front in all the movements.
Durham became a union militant while working as a waiter in California and then New York City. He provided rank-and-file leadership in the 1985 NYC Hotel Trades Council strike by 16,000 workers, predominantly people of color, women, and immigrants.
Durham’s long involvement in Latin America began during high school as an exchange student to Brazil during the military dictatorship. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, he has traveled in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean, building bonds and joint work with other leftists and revolutionaries.
Running for New York State Assembly in 1998, Durham campaigned door to door in the largely Latino and African American 71st District. His campaign was endorsed by Puerto Rican activist Father Luis Barrios, longtime Harlem radical Yuri Kochiyama, former state Assemblywoman Marie Runyon, and Haitian immigrant rights advocate Ray LaForest, among others.
A thinker as well as a doer, Durham has written on topics from the AIDS crisis to the Cuban Revolution, from freeing Lynne Stewart to the environmental disaster of hydraulic fracking.
Now Durham brings his global perspective and decades of valuable political experience to a working-class campaign for president.
Christina López for vice president
Christina López is a dynamic, eloquent Chicana from the barrio in Phoenix, whose working-class family has roots in the Southwest that predate U.S. borders.
She has been an organizer since her youth. As a member of the Chicano student group MEChA, she worked against a racist English-only law in Arizona.
After moving to Seattle, López was drawn to the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) by its emphasis on fighting for racial liberation as an essential component of building class solidarity. She has spread this message and challenged racism through extensive work defending immigrant rights, affirmative action, and freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Her deep involvement in the immigrant rights upsurge of 2006 and 2007 included opposing the profoundly flawed “guest worker” bill. She has spearheaded protests against police brutality and worked with Somali women to protest FBI raids.
In jobs ranging from production at Revlon Cosmetics to county court clerk and library associate, López has been a member of several unions including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.
Recently her activism in the Occupy movement has extended from Philadelphia to Seattle, where she helped pass a “cop-free zone” resolution at the general assembly.
Today, at 43, López is Seattle Radical Women (RW) president. She has been key to building RW’s Sisters Organize for Survival campaign, which has fought state budget cuts and layoffs of public workers for the past three years. Radical Women is affiliated with FSP on the basis of a shared socialist feminist program.
López battles for reproductive rights as a passionate feminist of color and led RW’s collaboration with Black feminists in Jackson, Miss., to defend the last abortion clinic in the state. She has pinpointed the special impact of war on women and children and the need for the anti-war movement to prioritize this issue.
She is the author of the forthcoming RW position paper “Estamos en la Lucha: Immigrant Women Light the Fires of Resistance,” which focuses on the impact of U.S. immigration policies on women and children and highlights the central role of immigrant women in this country and internationally.
Her passion for racial justice helps her guide the National Comrades of Color Caucus, a joint caucus of the FSP and RW.
As candidate for vice president, López will be a fierce partisan of the downtrodden.
Freedom Socialist Party launches presidential write-in campaign centered on bold working-class solutions
This election year, the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) is running New Yorker Stephen Durham for U.S. president and Seattleite Christina López for vice president in an energetic national write-in campaign.
Says Durham, 64, “The FSP ticket is a chance for people to vote not only against something, but for something. The campaign is thrilled to be giving people a way to send a strong protest message, find new kindred souls, and strengthen our organizing together for the future we want.”
Over the past three years, charges Durham, “The Democratic and Republican parties have done nothing but cooperate in forcing workers and the poor to pay the costs of the Great Recession caused by the banks and Wall Street. President Obama may play to the crowd by criticizing the ‘bad apple’ corporations, as he did in his State of the Union address. But the facts show that the program of corporate coddling, which creates austerity for the masses, is completely bipartisan.”
Vice presidential candidate López, 43, explains the campaign’s goals: “We are encouraging people to register a protest against both the unjust economic system and the rigged electoral process that keeps it in place. And we want to generate discussion and action around solutions for people’s immediate survival and for changing the system for good. We know it can be done! But it means creating a grass-roots, multiracial move- ment – one that prioritizes the issues of people who are hurting most, for example immigrants, single mothers and their children, and Black teens trying to enter a dismal job market. We have great momentum from last year’s spirit of rebellion to build on.”
The FSP campaign platform calls for taxing corporate wealth, ending all U.S. military involvement abroad, and creating full employment through a massive public jobs program and reducing the standard workweek to 30 hours with no cut in pay. The campaign also stands for bringing back and expanding social services, restoring civil liberties, and a host of other measures designed to eliminate poverty and discrimination and raise workers’ standard of living.
Durham and López are respected activists with a wealth of experience gained fighting for reforms like these while popularizing socialist ideas and the need for radical change. Durham, organizer of FSP’s New York City branch based in Harlem, is a gay rights pioneer with a strong union back- ground. A student and analyst of international affairs, he has traveled extensively in Latin America. López is an immigrant rights champion and the organizer for Seattle Radical Women. As organizer, she has helped lead a feminist campaign of women and men against budget cuts in Washington state for the last three years.
According to campaign manager Doug Barnes, the socialist feminist FSP is taking the unconventional route of a write-in campaign because corporate funding of the two major parties and restrictive ballot access laws stack the deck against minor parties so severely. These hurdles, he notes, are compounded by mainstream media dismissal of alternative candidates, resulting in presidential debates that almost entirely avoid topics like the social costs of war or increasing repression against political dissenters.
In one state, California, where the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) electoral alliance already has ballot status, Durham will compete to be PFP’s presidential candidate.
The Durham/López campaign launches this week with a candidate Web video, position statements, Facebook at www.facebook.com/VoteSocialism2012, Twitter @VoteSocialism, and featured articles in the Freedom Socialist newspaper. With the help of volunteers, the FSP will be spreading the news and ideas of the campaign widely. The Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee is planning for college and other speaking engagements, Skype presentations, fundraisers, and more activities around the country.
Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee
4710 University Way NE, Ste. 100
Seattle, WA 98105