Members and friends of Workers World Party from around the country joined WWP members and supporters in Wisconsin June 30 to July 11 to assist in gathering the signatures needed for ballot status for WWP 2016 national candidates Monica Moorehead and Lamont Lilly.
Organizers, many youth and students, report the signature-gathering blitz was a smashing success. Almost 4,000 signatures were obtained primarily in Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Madison. For ballot status, 2,000 valid signatures must be certified by the Wisconsin Election Commission. WWP should receive official notice by Aug. 5.
“The people of Wisconsin whom we met are enthusiastic about the Moorehead-Lilly campaign,” said Andrea Banuelos, who traveled from Rockford, Ill., and stayed 10 days. “Poor and working people here have a long history of resistance against capitalism — from historic labor strikes to current Black Lives Matter struggles.
“Many spoke at length about Dontre Hamilton, a Black man who was shot 14 times and killed by Milwaukee cop Christopher Manney on April 30, 2014. They had words for Gov. Scott Walker, who, on behalf of Wall Street interests, virtually eliminated collective bargaining for public sector workers and ushered in right-to-work-for-less in Wisconsin. We talked about socialism as the solution for these horrific attacks on our class, and we look forward to bringing Moorehead-Lilly back here this fall.”
Besides gathering signatures, organizers distributed election campaign literature and hundreds of Workers World newspapers. WWP Boston Branch member Gerry Scoppettuolo presented an LGBT Red, Black and Queer slideshow at Milwaukee’s LGBT Resource Center on July 6.
Stop the Bradley Foundation!
Organizers distributed thousands of palm cards and leaflets about two July 7 events in Milwaukee: a protest at the Bradley Foundation and a “Building People’s Power” community meeting with vice presidential candidate Lamont Lilly, both sponsored by the Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement (wibailoutpeople.org) with WWP support.
A militant picket targeted the Bradley Foundation, an anti-worker think tank, which funded the racist tract “The Bell Curve” and has promoted many nationwide attacks on poor and working people — from union busting to defending killer cops.
A speak-out led by WWP organizers and members of other groups described the many ways the Bradley Foundation is an enemy of the people. Speakers stressed that racist foundations like Bradley create the conditions for police and vigilante terror aimed at oppressed peoples. Others focused on Bradley board members like millionaire Art Pope, who has advised Wall Street and its servants in Wisconsin about how to bring more Jim Crow laws, policies and conditions to the state.
You can’t reform capitalism — Build People’s Power!
Danielle Boachie, from the Chicago Branch of WWP, opened the “Building People’s Power” community meeting featuring Lamont Lilly with a poem by Assata Shakur that has become a Black Lives Matter anthem. Then WWP Campaign Manager Teresa Gutierrez introduced Lilly. Later, presidential candidate Monica Moorehead spoke via conference call.
“This racist, capitalist, patriarchal, imperialist system must be destroyed, sisters and brothers — from the root to the fruit,” said Lilly, addressing the latest police murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling as well as the important role of the Black Lives Matter movement. “You cannot reform racism. You cannot reform white supremacy. You cannot reform imperialism. You cannot reform sexism. You cannot reform capitalism. And you sure as hell cannot reform the Democratic or Republican parties. Both of those f—-ers are foul.”
Lilly stressed the need to fight for socialism to end poverty, racism and war once and for all: “If we want to survive, sisters and brothers — if we love the people; if we call ourselves revolutionaries; if we want our communities, environment, land, earth and water supply to all thrive — all of this s—t has to go!
“As Brother Malcolm X stated in his beloved ‘Message to the Grassroots,’ ‘NOBODY can give you freedom. NOBODY can give you equality or justice. If you’re a man, woman or full human being, you TAKE it! Down with the cops and up with the people. Workers and oppressed MUST unite. Revolution is the only solution! All power to the people!”
During the discussion, many Black women called for action in response to ongoing police terror, occupation of their communities such as Sherman Park, and police harassment in areas like the Milwaukee lakefront. Members of the Latino/a community described Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids and deportations and pledged solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Others expressed solidarity with the LGBTQ people killed in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub.