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George Clarke

Campaigning for Socialism

(27 September 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. XII No. 39, 27 September 1948, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The big campaign news this week is the battle of the ballot – and how we are winning it.

We are on in New York, certified by the Secretary of State and the time for legal shenanigans safely passed.

In Connecticut rough estimates from comrades on the spot show that we topped the required 8,300 signatures by approximately 450 after finicky town clerks scrutinized 13,300 signatures with a spyglass. Unfortunately, they gave the petitions for Alvin Berman, our candidate for Congressman-at-large such brusque treatment he emerged 100 short of the required amount. It is now up to the Secretary of State to review the petitions again and then do her duty by certifying Dobbs, Carlson and Morris Chertov, SWP candidate for governor, on the Connecticut ballot.

From the opposite end of the country comes the news that a lively nominating convention of the Washington State District of the Socialist Workers Party was held on Sept. 14. In addition to Farrell Dobbs and Grace Carlson, the convention nominated Dan Roberts for Governor. It is now up to state officials to place us on the ballot.

At approximately the same time, we unfurled our banner for a Workers and Farmers Government for the first time in the farm state of Iowa. A nominating convention was held in the city of Davenport, which designated our presidential candidates and electors. Minutes of the convention were filed in Des Moines, the State Capital.

Los Angeles filed 4,258 signatures, or the maximum permitted by the state, to place Myra Tanner Weiss on the ballot as SWP Congresswoman in the 19th District. Myra will be the only opponent to the Bipartisans since the Wallaceites have withdrawn in favor of Democrat Chet Hollifield.

In San Francisco, we placed the name of Harry Press in nomination for State Assemblyman from the 20th District. He will be the only opponent of Thomas Maloney, Democratic boss running on both capitalist party tickets in this working-class waterfront district. 2,121 signatures, or almost one third more than the legal minimum, were filed on comrade Press’ behalf.

From Minnesota we hear that in just five days of “whirlwind” campaigning, the signature total stood at 2,250 for our presidential ticket and for Vincent R. Dunne, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate against the arch labor-hater, Joe (“Foul”) Ball. This was already 250 over the top, but the Minnesota comrades say they will not quit until they have obtained a total of 3,000 at the conclusion of the two week period.

Wisconsin now has more than the legal minimum of over 1,000 signatures for each of IB electors for Dobbs and Carlson. They are also shooting for at high total for the national headliners and for James Boulton, SWP candidate for Governor.

* * *

I could take up the rest of this column, if space permitted writing about these petition campaigns. It’s a real story of revolutionary devotion and perseverance: hard, patient work day after day buttonholing people on street corners, climbing stairs, knocking on doors – painstaking care to avoid all the technical booby-traps laid by the capitalist state legislatures to keep minority parties off the ballot. And then days of worry that the capitalist politicians, with the law and courts in their pockets, will start proceedings to knock you off the ballot, blow up all the hard work done and force you into a costly court fight.

I wish when you read this, you would ask yourself what you have done. I know that not everyone could take part in these petition campaigns. But everyone can help – to one extent or another – to carry our message to the, people and pile up a Big vote for Dobbs and Carlson. All you have to do is enclose a dollar bill, five or ten in an envelope and send it to national campaign headquarters. 116 University Place. The more of these we receive, the more radio time we can buy, the more leaflets and papers we dan print. How about it?

New York City

The New York Local Campaigner reports that they were stepping up theft election activities into high gear. In the last week eight street meetings were held in various parts of the city where 1,825 people heard our speakers and received numerous copies of our platform and other literature. At one meeting in Harlem 15 workers filled out cards indicating interest in the campaign, five of whom wanted to join the party.

The Campaigner also reports that Dobbs-Carlson Clubs have been organized in the Bedford Stuvvesant and Brownsville areas of Brooklyn, another is in the process of being launched in the Fort Greene Housing project. In other parts of the city, clubs are getting under way.

Our painters branch has mailed our 1,000 election platforms to members of the union ... a series of leaflets are being issued on the campaign to workers on the N.Y. Waterfront.

In the Auto State

The impression our presidential candidate made in Michigan can be gleaned from the following items:

The headline over a story in the Pontiac Daily Press: “Dobbs Expecting Sizable Vote.”

The enthusiastic reception of auto workers who received 35,000 copies of SWP campaign literature during Truman’s Labor Day visit, many commenting: “That’s what we need – union men for office.”

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