Freedom Socialist Party Open Letter on the 2009 New York City Elections

October 22, 2009

Dear friends,

Tuesday, November 3, is Election Day. Another mayoral campaign is upon us. For the third time it looks like Mike Bloomberg will buy his way into City Hall. On his watch, we witnessed the thugs of Wall Street demand and get the largest transfer in human history of public funds to private hands. What do ordinary New Yorkers get? Higher unemployment, rising living costs and more foreclosures and evictions.

The Democrats and their mayoral candidate Bill Thompson offer nothing to working people other than the usual, lesser-evil dog-and-pony show. In fact, it seems at this point that Thompson has already conceded that Bloomberg has it all wrapped up.

On the national level, there has been a significant rightwing uprising fueled by the economic crisis. Gun-toting super patriots are openly tolerated by Democrats and Republicans so as not to offend the arch-conservative section of the population. This is a terrible mistake. As openings for reactionaries are created, it is imperative that socialists unite to offer a sane analysis of the situation and a socialist alternative to war, hate-mongering, unemployment and poverty.

Vote Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) Frances Villar for Mayor

It would be easy to despair. But this year we have really good news!

There is a socialist candidate, Frances Villar, who has been pounding the streets for weeks as the PSL candidate for Mayor. Frances is a mother of two, a student leader at City College, a tenant organizer in the Bronx and an outspoken opponent of NYPD harassment and brutality. She is bilingual, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and the first Black woman to get on the ballot for Mayor of New York City.

The FSP supports the PSL campaign because it is both energetic and openly socialist. It, calls for no more bailouts of Wall Street, free tuition at city colleges, the defense of immigrants, real jobs at union wages and taxing the rich. We would have liked to see the campaign take a stronger stand in opposition to the political stranglehold of the two Big Business capitalist parties–the Democrats and Republicans. Given the economic crisis and the crimes of Wall Street, the campaign also could have called for nationalizing the banks and opening the books of the capitalist bosses. Still a vote for Frances is a vote against capitalism and for socialism. Even if you have never voted socialist, we urge you to vote for a program you can enthusiastically support.

Vote Socialist Workers Party (SWP) for Public Advocate and Manhattan Borough President

The Socialist Workers Party also has a candidate for Mayor on the ballot. While we have given critical support to the SWP in the past, this year we are supporting the PSL over the SWP candidate for Mayor because of the lack of a visible SWP campaign. If there is no effort to take the message to the public–not even a dedicated page on the SWP web site–the campaign ends up being perfunctory.

However, the SWP is running Maura DeLuca for Public Advocate and Tom Baumann for Manhattan Borough President. They are the only anti-capitalist option for these positions and we recommend that you vote for them.

Two Ballot Proposals

Ballot Proposal Number 1 has to do with installing power lines on land protected by the Adirondack Forest Preserve. However the lines were constructed last May on an emergency basis, rendering this question moot. So much for the democratic participation of voters in deciding public land policy. We see no reason to vote on this question.

Ballot Proposal Number 2 has to do with changing the State Constitution to allow prison labor to voluntarily perform work for non-profit organizations. Advocates claim that inmate work crews will fill the gaps in non-profit funding and provide prisoners with a sense of “giving back” to the community by doing such work as “grounds keeping.” We think that such labor should be done on a paid basis and question the whole concept of any prison labor being “voluntary.” Vote NO!

In solidarity,

Stephen Durham
New York City Organizer
Freedom Socialist Party
Freedom Hall
113 West 128 Street
Harlem, NY 10031
212-222-0633

P.S. If you have questions or have a comment about what you read in this letter, call me and let’s talk. The FSP welcomes people who want to work towards a new way of distributing the wealth that most of us spend our lives creating!

Check out our new website at www.socialism.com and find out where and how you can get involved, or buy a subscription to the Freedom Socialist newspaper.