Raleigh-Durham Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST)

Revolutionary socialist youth in the US South

Cynthia McKinney gains write-in status in North Carolina

Posted by raleighfist on August 2, 2008

Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney was in Durham, N.C., on July 22 to rally support for her Power to the People campaign. The North Carolina Greens had been organizing since McKinney’s July 12 endorsement by the national Green Party to collect the 500 signatures of registered voters needed to allow McKinney to be a write-in candidate.

FIST member Rima L'amir, Theresa El-Amin, David Josué, Cynthia McKinney, Dante Strobino and Rev. David Foy at Know Bookstore. In front of McKinney is Green Party member and FIST activist, Elena Everett. Josué is McKinney's staff assistant.
Left to right: FIST member Rima L’amir, Theresa El-Amin, David Josué, Cynthia McKinney, Dante Strobino and Rev. David Foy at Know Bookstore. In front of McKinney is Green Party member and FIST activist, Elena Everett. Josué is McKinney’s staff assistant.
Photo courtesy of Green Party

North Carolina has some of the harshest ballot-access laws requiring 2 percent of the population, or over 70,000 valid signatures, to qualify to be on the ballot. Only parties with hundreds of thousands of dollars at their disposal can afford to organize to collect enough signatures to be eligible.

According to the N.C. Green Party, just over the 500 needed signatures were collected for her to be a write-in candidate. McKinney and the N.C. Green Party delivered the signatures to the Board of Elections on July 22, the cut-off day.

Following the delivery of petitions, a press conference was held where the N.C. Green Party, Southern Anti-Racist Network, Workers World Party and its youth group Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) spoke about their support for McKinney. Many mentioned the importance of an African-American woman like McKinney being in the forefront of the struggles against racism, war and the oppression of the international working class.

After the press conference, Theresa El-Amin—long-time civil rights fighter, Southern Anti-Racist Network organizer and recent Green Party member—organized for McKinney to speak at a local Black bookstore in Durham called Know Bookstore.

The bookstore was packed with dozens of supporters. McKinney spoke strongly about her work around fighting for reparations and put that in the context of the historic efforts made by W.E.B. Du Bois, who in 1948 brought the cause of African-American people to the U.N. McKinney stated that in response to DuBois’s efforts, he was told by the NAACP and others, “Now is not the time.”

McKinney elaborated on Paul Robeson bringing a similar complaint about the unjust treatment of African Americans to the U.N. in 1952, but he was also rebuffed. She was able to convince other members of the Congressional Black Caucus to attend the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001 only to return to the 9/11 disaster, which, once again, put the struggle for recognition of the international call for reparations on the back burner.

McKinney then talked about her other positions, including getting the U.S. immediately out of Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere and her support for a free Palestine. She raised questions of democracy and talked at length about the hundreds of millions of dollars of capital being lost by African Americans due to the current housing foreclosure crisis.

After her speech, the crowd asked for her thoughts on two controversial questions—Zimbabwe and Darfur. She tied Zimbabwe to the land question and the issue of Western interference. On Darfur, she raised Western meddling, oil interests and geopolitics. She never once attacked the governments of Zimbabwe and the Sudan; in fact, she defended them on the basis of support for self-determination.

The writer spoke at the July 22 press conference representing FIST and Workers World Party.


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