Saturday, October 23, 2010

Freedom Party Challenges The Status Quo

By Monica Moorehead
New York
Published Oct 22, 2010 8:02 PM

The Black and Latino/a-led Freedom Party is attempting to get a minimum of 50,000 votes in the Nov. 2 midterm elections in New York State in order to secure ballot status. One of the FP’s main goals is to challenge the decades-long, oppressive stranglehold that the big business, pro-war Republican and Democratic parties have had, a hold that keeps workers and oppressed peoples economically and politically powerless.

Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo, for example, leads the Democratic Party’s all-white slate in New York State. The DP reportedly spent more than $26 million on the election so far.

In contrast, the FP slate is led by two African-American candidates — NYC Councilperson Charles Barron for governor and educator Eva M. Doyle for lieutenant governor. Puerto Rican attorney and professor Ramon Jimenez is running for attorney general. The FP has raised less than $32,000 for the election.

Many FP supporters view this progressive slate as an expression of the right to self-determination in the area of political representation and to help build an independent base of power in oppressed communities that have been historically and systematically disenfranchised and marginalized by majority white ruling-class structures.

The FP slate also demands jobs, housing, education, health care and mass transportation for all, not corporate welfare for the banks and big real estate developers.

Viola Plummer, a co-chairperson of the FP, spoke on Oct. 16 at a Workers World Party forum in Manhattan. Plummer is also a leader and founder of the Brooklyn-based December 12th Movement. She is a former political prisoner and is presently the chief of staff for NYS Assemblyperson Inez Barron.

Plummer opened her remarks by commenting on her long, collaborative relationship with WWP, especially with its late chairperson, Sam Marcy. The following are excerpts from Plummer’s remarks at this forum. Go to to see the podcast. For more information on the FP, go to or e-mail Other speakers at the forum included WWP members Larry Hales, LeiLani Dowell and Larry Holmes.

Viola Plummer’s comments at Oct. 16 meeting

I am glad to be among the people who are talking about what I am talking about. I am a communist. I believe from each according to their ability, to each according to their need. I believe that those of us who work and produce must partake in the wealth we produce.

I believe that with your help and the help of as many Black and Latino people as we can get, we can make the Freedom Party at least get onto that stage.

Will it be the kind of party we know it must be eventually? I don’t know, but I believe it can be.

I believe that if we really work to make sure that the Freedom Party is on the ballot and that the Freedom Party is a party that is going to be representative of the masses of our people, the masses of working people, the masses of Black and Latino people, we can make that happen.

Because there is no contradiction between those of us who work who are Black and Latino and those of us that work and are not Black and Latino. What the contradiction is that we have been used one against the other. That racism is a hell of a monster and it permeates everything.

I believe that in the Freedom Party we can close that gap. There is no question about getting 50,000 votes. We can do that. We got 43,000 signatures on the petitions.

But what we must at least have in our eyesight is getting 1 percent of the electorate in the state of New York [on Nov. 2].

If we do that we are talking about a for real Freedom Party, and we are talking about a Freedom Party that must and at its inception be inclusive of everybody.

Black and Latino-led — no question about it. Why? Because we believe that one of the chief and most vicious contradictions we’ve got to eliminate is racism.

We have taken the position historically that the roots of slavery and institutional racism are economic. If we begin to attack the root, we can then move to the destruction of capitalism.

There was not a bill where large corporations came in to raid the city and our taxpayers that he [Charles Barron] wasn’t the only one who would vote against it, i.e., the building of Yankee stadium, Mets stadium, etc. Charles’ vote [in city council] was consistent and tried to point out the fallacy.

On Nov. 9, when the Freedom Party goes [to Philadelphia] to support Mumia, it will be a mass party. People make revolution. If we get the people out, we change fundamentally the relationship of the people to the electoral, political system. If I say Freedom, you say Party. Freedom! Party! Freedom! Party!

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