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PRESIDENCY 2004:

Bill Van Auken BILL VAN AUKEN of New York
Socialist Equality Party
Presidential Nominee

BILL VAN AUKEN BIOGRAPHICAL FACTS:

POLITICAL: Member, Socialist Equality Party (and predecessor Workers League organization), since1971.

PROFESSIONAL: Reporter, World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) news service and other SEP publications, 1979-present.

EDUCATION: Not known.

PERSONAL: Born in 1950.



Jim Lawrence JAMES "JIM" LAWRENCE of Ohio
Socialist Equality Party
Vice Presidential Nominee

Jim Lawrence, 65, is a retired auto worker. He worked at General Motors plants in the Dayton, Ohio, area for 30 years and is a member of the United Auto Workers. Lawrence was also an SEP nominee for Congress in 1996.


LINKS:

Van Auken-Lawrence Campaign - Official Site.
Socialist Equality Party - Official Site.
World Socialist Web Site - Official SEP News Service.


ANALYSIS:

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) was originally named the Workers League. The Workers League was founded in 1966 as a Trotskyist communist group closely associated in political campaigns with the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The goal of these Trotskyist groups was a build a working-class "Labor Party" in the US, affiliated with the International Committee of the Fourth International (the global Trotskyist umbrella network). They believe that "the egalitarian and internationalist legacy of the Russian Revolution" could have succeeded, but was "betrayed by Stalinism" and its progeny. When the SWP drifted away from Trotskyism in the early 1980s, the Workers League broke with the SWP and began fielding its own candidates (rather than backing SWP nominees, as it did in the past). The Workers League fielded its first Presidential ticket in 1984. The Workers League later changed its name to the Socialist Equality Party in 1994. The Michigan-based SEP has regularly fielded Congressional and local candidates in several states (mainly in the Midwest) in the 1980s and 1990s. 1996 SEP Presidential nominee Jerry White was on the ballot in only three states and captured just 2,400 votes. After 1996, the SEP failed to field any candidates for any office until an SEP member competed in the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election (6,700 votes - 14th place out of 135). In January 2004, the SEP announced that it would field the Van Auken-Lawrence ticket for the 2004 Presidential race and field as many Congressional candidates as possible. The SEP said its candidates are "running on a democratic and socialist program to defend the interests of working people and to oppose war, social reaction and attacks on democratic right." The SEP is very realistic about its chances for success in the election. "We understand very well that our candidates will, in the present situation, win only a limited number of votes. But the purpose of our campaign is to raise the level of political debate within the United States and internationally, to break out of the straitjacket of right-wing bourgeois politics and present a socialist alternative to the demagogy and lies of the establishment parties and the mass media. Our campaign is not about votes. It is about ideas and policies," explained an SEP release. The plans to use the 2004 race as a platform to "lay down the programmatic foundations for the building of a mass movement for a revolutionary transformation of American society." Part of that platform invovled replacing captialism with a Marxist system. The SEP also vows to remove all US soldiers from the Middle East, denounces imperialism, promises to "dismantle the Pentagon war machine" and eliminate weapons of mass destruction held by the US, and adopt "a socialist foreign policy based on international working class solidarity." If the SEP ticket gets on any ballots in 2004, they are unlikely to draw many votes.


OFFICIAL CONTACT INFORMATION:

Socialist Equality Party
P.O. Box 48377
Oak Park, Michigan 48237
(248) 967-2924
editor@wsws.org


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