Stephen Durham, who is vying for the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) nomination in the California June presidential primary, will campaign in the state from April 12 to May 2. He will participate in candidate forums, union picket lines, May Day immigrant right marches and other public events in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Durham, who is the New York City Organizer of the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP), is running a national "un-millionaire campaign" with Seattle Radical Women Organizer Christina López, a feminist immigrant rights advocate, as his vice-presidential partner.
Meet the candidate
Durham will kick off his tour at a Presidential Candidate Forum hosted by the Peace and Freedom Party on Saturday, April 14 in Santa Cruz. While in Northern California he will also attend an Oakland house party fundraiser on April 15 and a San Francisco reception on April 19 at the local campaign headquarters, 747 Polk Street. In Los Angeles, Durham will participate in two public forums, “American Third Parties Presidential Debate” on April 21, and “The Party of the 99%, Our Candidates and Issues” sponsored by the PFP on April 22. A house party fundraiser is scheduled in South Central Los Angeles on April 28 hosted by the Southern California Campaign Committee.
The Peace and Freedom Party will present three presidential contenders running on the June 5 primary ballot. California is unusual in that it has a socialist party with ballot status. In other states, Durham/López and the Freedom Socialist Party are running write-in campaigns to provide a socialist alternative to the twin parties of capitalism and to protest the nation’s restrictive ballot access laws.
Socialist feminists provide solutions to the U.S. economic crisis
“With barely half of all eligible voters participating in the 2008 presidential election, interest in third parties is at an all-time high,” notes Toni Mendicino, Coordinator of the Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign in Northern California. Durham adds “Today, more people identify as independent than as either Republican or Democrat because neither party represents workers, youth and the millions of people without jobs and housing. Because of restrictive ballot access laws for minor parties, many U.S. voters are left without representation. I plan to talk to California voters about their concerns and bring our campaign’s anti-capitalist and feminist solutions to this electorate.” underscores Durham.
With the platform slogan, “Vote for the Greater Good, Instead of the Lesser Evil,” Durham and López call for full employment; multicultural education for all ages; ending the war on drugs; freedom from discrimination; freedom of speech and of association; and solidarity with workers worldwide.
Durham’s California and social movement history
Durham is returning to his California roots with this tour. He was radicalized as a student and campus worker at the University of California, Berkeley where he was active against the Vietnam War and a pioneer in the fight for gay rights. At UCB he also stood with students of color in the battle for Third World Studies. While in Los Angeles in the 1970s and ‘80s, he led united efforts with other Left groups to defend immigrant rights and won support for connecting the battle for LGBT rights to the fight against policy brutality. His work as a waiter led him to become a union militant.
Today, Durham challenges the status quo out of FSP’s storefront headquarters in Harlem. He ran for New York State Assembly in 1998. In the current campaign he and López have the endorsements of James Lafferty, Executive Director, Los Angeles National Lawyers Guild; Richard Brown, former Black Panther and victor in the San Francisco 8 case; and Tanya Smith, former president of UPTE-CWA 9119 Local 1, in Berkeley.
As a veteran member of the Freedom Socialist Party National Committee and fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese, he is a leader in helping build ties with unionists, feminists and queers in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Durham’s tour follows successful ballot victory vs. the California Secretary of State
In February, a controversy arose when California Secretary of State Debra Bowen released the names of presidential candidates to be listed for the June 5 primary and omitted two of four candidates submitted by PFP, including Durham. On February 28, with public pressure mounting and lawsuits in the works, Bowen added Durham to the primary ballot. Civil Liberties Attorney Robert Barnes, who was prepared to file suit against Bowen in federal district court on behalf of Durham, stated, "If the Secretary of State in the past could have decided which candidate they considered a viable candidate, abolitionist parties may have never found their voice, feminist voices never found their platform, civil rights advocates and war opponents never found their audience."
Durham’s tour is sponsored by the Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee. To schedule an interview or speaking appearance, or for the complete California tour schedule, contact www.votesocialism.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org, and in Southern California email@example.com or 323-732-6416.