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 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 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.
Vote YES on Proposal 1
The Socialist Party of Michigan supports approval of Proposal 18-1 to bring an end to 80 years of cannabis prohibition in our state and strip the capitalist police of a routine pretext for targeted harassment and repression of minority and working class communities. Although we oppose the imposition of regressive excise taxation, this measure will unquestionably provide tremendous relief from the draconian status quo. The Socialist Party of Michigan State Platform calls for the decriminalization of victimless crimes, including drug possession, and the regulated legalization of all controlled substances.
Vote YES on Proposal 2
The Socialist Party of Michigan supports approval of Proposal 18-2 to abrogate the brazenly antidemocratic practice of partisan gerrymandering. The SPMI State Platform calls for all post-census legislative redistricting to be conducted by a non-partisan commission, employing the latest in computer-aided design and database technology.
Vote NO on Proposal 3
The Socialist Party of Michigan calls for rejection of Proposal 18-3. Although we support this proposal’s provisions easing voter registration and absentee voting, we stand fully opposed to constitutionally enshrining the ballot device of straight-ticket voting, which is empirically proven to exacerbate the immensely inequitable advantage enjoyed by candidates of the two corporate parties. Because this proposal’s limited facilitation of voting rights is substantively offset by further entrenching the major parties’ supremacy, we call on Michigan voters to vote ‘no’
The SPMI State Platform calls for automatic voter registration upon reaching voting age, based upon the most recent address provided on a drivers’ license application, state ID application or state tax return, whenever available. Additionally, we call for extending voting rights to incarcerated and non-citizen residents, implementing instant run-off voting for all executive officials and proportional representation for all legislative bodies, equal public financing and airtime for all candidates, lowering the eligible voting age to 14, and abolition of all exclusionary ballot access strictures.
The Socialist Party of Michigan has officially nominated SPMI member Matt Kuehnel for 22nd District State Representative in Michigan’s November 2018 election. Kuehnel, a heating and cooling tech and working class activist, is running to provide an independent voice for working people in the prime rust belt communities of Warren and Roseville where decades of disaffected contempt for both corporate parties has drawn an endless stream of narrative inversion by ruling establishment pundits.
Along with Republican Arthur Blundell, Kuehnel is challenging incumbent Democrat John Chirkun, a former police sergeant and current stalwart of the state’s prison industrial complex, best known for his strident opposition to reform measures to limit arbitrary denials of inmate parole.
Due to Michigan’s undemocratic ballot access laws preventing the Socialist Party from fielding candidates under its own label, Kuehnel will be listed on the ballot with the Libertarian designation, reflecting his dual support from the LP’s Libertarian Socialist Caucus, while running on the Socialist Party of Michigan’s State Platform.