First Published: Progressive Labor Vol. II, No. 9, September 1963
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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If thousands of working people in New York City have their way, Bill Epton will be on the ballot this November as candidate of the Progressive Labor Party for City Councilman-at-Large from Manhattan.
Well over the necessary 5,000 signatures have been collected to put Epton on the ballot with his program calling for Political Power in the Hands of Workers.
As this issue went to press, petition canvassing was continuing, and Epton’s Campaign Committee was preparing to file the nominating petitions with the State Board of Elections by the September 13 deadline.
“We know the State will try to keep us off the ballot,” Epton said last week. “They will use every trick they have to disqualify our petitions and try to prevent the people from having a real choice in this election. But we intend to fight this thing down the line – through the courts and in the streets.”
Most of the signatures collected so far have come from the people of Harlem where Epton’s new headquarters has been a center of activity. “The people of Harlem know that Wagner and Rockefeller and Kennedy and the whole wealthy white power structure is against them. They see it every day in the uniform of the white cop on the corner,” Epton said. So far neither Rockefeller’s cousin Aldrich nor Wagner’s front-man O’Dwyer has answered Epton’s challenge to a public debate on: The Way to Negro Freedom – to be held “on any street corner in Harlem.”
Thousands of signatures have also been collected on New York’s lower east side, upper west side, and in the garment market. PL has held street meetings week after week throughout the city with unexpected success. At one meeting on 95th Street and Broadway, a crowd of well over 300 cheered Epton’s call to “end this phony City government which calls for equality with one breath and calls for cops to put Negroes in jail with the next breath.” The crowd shouted down two drunken hecklers who were trying to prevent him from speaking. Several street meetings in Harlem brought similar results.