The Socialist Party is fielding candidates in four races in Michigan’s 2020 November election. Presidential candidate Howie Hawkins was nominated at the Socialist Party USA National Convention in October 2019. Hawkins’ running mate Angela Walker ran as the SPUSA’s vice presidential candidate in 2016 and was nominated for the party’s 2020 ticket by the SPUSA National Committee last May.
The presidential ticket will be joined on the ballot by Robin Laurain for Michigan State University Trustee, Rick Sauermilch for 110th district State Representative, who were unanimously nominated by the Socialist Party of Michigan’s July 2020 state membership meeting. They will additionally be joined by Andy Argo for Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees, whose campaign has been nominated by the Kalamazoo Socialist Party local.
The MSU Board of Trustees is elected on the statewide ballot, while Michigan’s 110th State House district covers the western Upper Peninsula counties of Keweenaw, Baraga, Houghton, Iron, Ontonagon, and Gogebic, as well as the Marquette County townships of Ishpeming and Powell. The Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees is elected at-large by city voters.
The Hawkins/Walker, Laurain, and Sauermilch campaigns have each been dually nominated by the Green Party of Michigan and will be listed on the GPMI ballot line, while running under the banner of both parties. The Argo campaign will be listed on the ballot without party designation.
The Socialist Party of Michigan calls for rejection of
statewide ballot proposal 2020-01. Under present provisions of the Michigan
Constitution, royalties derived from oil and gas drilling on public lands were initially
directed to the Natural Resources Trust Fund (NTRF), which provides grants to
local governments for the purchase of land for recreation and for development
of recreation facilities. Since 2011, when the NTRF reached its $500 million
cap, oil and gas revenues have been shifted to the State Parks Endowment Fund
(SPEF), which provides funding for the state park system. Continued funding for
NTRF grants has in turn been limited to that derived from interest and earnings
on the Trust Fund’s financial investments.
Although the proposal would reallocate oil and gas drilling
revenues to the NTRF once the SPEF reaches its $800 million cap, that ceiling
is not projected to be reached until the 2050s. In the meantime, the proposal
would replace the NTRF’s current 25% limit on spending for the development and
renovation of recreation facilities with the mandatory allocation of at least
25% of available funds for that purpose. As a result, the NTRF board and state
legislature would be free to redirect the majority of NTRF funds presently allocated
to acquiring land for environmental conservation. The proposal would also
require that at least 20% of the SPEF’s funds be used for capital improvements.
With the backing of DTE Energy and the Michigan Oil
and Gas Association, the proposal’s real purpose is to renew the oil and gas
industry’s greenwashing of drilling and fracking operations and maintain its
environmentally disastrous extraction from public lands as the condition for
their protection and enjoyment. By driving up investments tied to greater
maintenance and operations expenses, the proposal further aims to heighten
budgetary pressure for increased fossil fuel extraction.
The Socialist Party of Michigan calls for public
ownership of the energy industry, a massive investment in wind, geothermal,
biomass, and hydroelectric power to end our dependence on fossil fuels, a state
and national moratorium on hydraulic fracking, and full funding for parks and natural
resources conservation through steeply graduated income taxation and a
democratically planned economy centered on public use and sustainability rather
than private profit.
Vote Yes on Proposal 2
The Socialist Party of Michigan calls for approval of
statewide ballot proposal 2020-02. The proposal would add language to the
Michigan constitutional provision affording limited protection from warrantless
searches and seizures so as to include electronic data and electronic
Although the proposed amendment does little more than
incorporate existing Fourth Amendment case law, while failing to rectify more
glaring shortcomings of the present state constitutional language, we stand
unquestionably on the side of any measure to expand civil rights protections
and limit the powers of the police.
The Kalamazoo Socialist Party local has nominated Andy Argo, Emily Demorest, and Tristen Jessup to run in the November 5, 2019 election for Kalamazoo City Commission. The five-member body is elected at large, with three seats elected in each odd year November election. Running on the SPMI State Platform, the campaign aims to place local political power in the hands of the city’s working class majority.
The 2019 State Convention of the Socialist Party of Michigan will be held on Sunday, April 7, 2019, from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, at the Boiling Point collective organizing space, located at the southeast corner of Gull Rd. and Ampersee Ave.
All interested public observers are welcome to attend. Dinner will be provided on-site for all members and guests in attendance.
The State Convention is the highest-ranking meeting body of the Socialist Party of Michigan and is empowered to amend the SPMI State Bylaws and State Platform, adopt, amend, and repeal State Convention resolutions, elect the SPMI’s State Executive Committee officers, and elect the SPMI’s delegates to the Socialist Party USA National Convention.
Although we strongly encourage attending the State Convention in person, we will also be enabling remote participation via Zoom videoconference for members and observers unable to make it to Kalamazoo. To connect via Zoom, simply enter the following URL in your browser from any computer, tablet, or smart phone device: https://zoom.us/j/7393430484.
Many mainstream media pundits and political analysts have painted the recent return of socialism into the American lexicon as a new and novel phenomenon following the Bernie Sanders campaign and election of prominent members of the Democratic Socialists of America to the United States Congress. To the casual observer, they would be correct.
But in reality Socialism in the United States in hardly a new phenomenon, and particularly in its heyday in the early 20th century saw vast numbers of Americans embracing the core tenets and values of the party. There was a time where cities were electing Socialists in large numbers, from city council members to mayors, and Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Dens peaked at %5 of the vote in the national election.
There is also the oft forgotten role American Socialists and Communists played in labor movements of the time, often acting as the radical vanguard taking on entrenched business interests and pushing for workers rights with a militancy lost in modern labor politics. It was also many of these groups who were most outspoken and involved in organizing black and brown workers, bearing the brunt of American capitalism’s particular white supremacist character.
Members of the Kalamazoo Socialist Party will lead a teach-in and discussion about this important but buried history.
We will be providing FREE DINNER and refreshments for attendees.