Posted November 10, 2010
“The Socialist Party campaign for the U.S. Senate in Ohio was a great success. We won more than 25,000 votes for socialism in Ohio,” said Dan La Botz the 65-year old school teacher, writer and activist and the party’s candidate for Senator. “We didn’t win in traditional terms, but this was not a traditional campaign. The corporate parties want working people to wake up think about politics only on election day, and then they want them to go back to sleep. This campaign was about creating an ongoing movement to build power to transform our society.”
Explaining his satisfaction with the outcome of the election, La Botz said, “These were 25,000 votes for ending corporate domination of our society, for ending capitalism’s booms and busts, and for creating economic security and a full-employment economy. These were votes for ending the use of coal and stopping mountain-top removal—while providing support for miners and power plant workers during a period of transition. These were votes for peace, votes to get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan now. These were votes to tax the rich to pay for health, education, transportation and housing. We are very happy with the result.”
Only Socialist Party presidential candidates Eugene V. Debs in the period from 1900s to 1920s and Norman Thomas in the period from the 1920s to the 1940s won more votes for socialism in Ohio than La Botz.
Asked why the Socialist Party did so well in the election, compared to other socialist candidates in the past, La Botz said, “First, we’ve are in a terrible economic crisis and people are looking for alternatives. Then the Tea Party attack on Obama led to a great national debate about socialism. We were able to explain to Ohio voters that democratic socialism means the American people n needs of working people rather than on the needs of corporate CEOs, corporate boards, and their investors. Socialism is about rebuilding the labor unions and social movements so that working people have the power to push aside the corporate parties and run the country in the interest of the majority.”
La Botz said the party had used its resources wisely. “We used the $10,000 we raised to travel 15,000 miles around Ohio, to distribute tens of thousands of pieces of literature, to talk to thousands of Ohioans about socialism. We were able to do this because we had built an organization in cities and on college campuses throughout the state. We brought together senior citizens, working age adults, and college students. Our organization was made up of peace activists, LGBT activists, environmental activists and labor union members from teachers to teamsters. We united half a dozen small socialist groups in this campaign,” La Botz explained.
“Many people recognize that the Republicans and Democrats, representing the corporations as they do, cannot resolve the country’s problems in the interest of working people. My Socialist Party campaign was part of a long term project to build a working peoples’ party in this country. Our efforts will in the long run coalesce with those of others around the country to build a working class socialist movement. We aim to turn the country upside down, to put working people and the poor on top. And we’re going to do it.”
“The campaign is over, but the struggle continues,” said the former steelworker, truck driver and college professor. “We will continue to organize to fight for jobs, for a green economy, for immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and for equality and justice for all. We will continue to resist the scapegoating of Latino immigrants, Muslims, gays, and African Americans. We will continue to fight the corporations and government policies. We continue to operate on the theory that working people make this country run, and that working people should run the country.”
Dan La Botz won almost half his votes in Ohio’s three largest cities: