The Socialist Workers Party will be on the November ballot in Iowa. The party’s vice-presidential candidate, Arrin Hawkins, says she joined after visiting Cuba. She went in 1997 when she was a college student, and at a festival in Havana saw the results of the Cuban communist revolution there, then back in the States when she was involved in fights against police brutality says she realized Cubs “offers something quite different.” Hawkins, who was born in St Paul, Minnesota, but now calls New York home, joined the Young Socialists and later the Socialist Workers Party. Since then, she says she’s been involved in their work.Union fights in Chicago were a cause, she says, even at a plant where she once worked, where workers were laid off without severance pay. This week the party went to the Iowa secretary of state’s office to turn in the petitions they’ve been carrying around Polk and Warren Counties, collecting signatures of voters. Hawkins says they had more than the number required by the state, and they were told after the petitions were reviewed that they’re going to be on the ballot. The party supports the right of workers to form unions, even in a right-to-work state like Iowa where workers she’s talked with at a plant gate told her they should have the right to organize and to strike. Hawkins doesn’t think the two major political parties offer solutions to working people fighting for their rights. The bosses in business as well as leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties are “leading the fight” against workers rights, wages and working conditions, she says, and there should be socialist and working-class parties on the ballot to campaign around those issues. A former Iowa meatpacker, Roger Calero, is the party’s presidential candidate. Now the Socialist Workers say they’ll move on to try and collect enough signatures in Nebraska, where the meatpacking industry is a major employer, to get on the November ballot there.
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