Peta Lindsay, the presidential candidate for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, spoke with our correspondent after the polls closed and said her party will continue fighting for the American people. She said the that people are afraid of the right-wing stance of the Republican Party and their racism and strong anti-worker, anti-poor sentiment they see in the Republican Party and that they are voting against that, rather than for the Democrats.
Robles: Hello Ms. Lindsay! How are you this evening? Nice to be speaking with you again.
Lindsay: I’m doing great. Thanks so much for having me on the show again.
Robles: Listen. As the results are coming in what can you tell us about what you’ve seen?
Lindsay: I’ve been on this two month tour I’m the 2012 Candidate for President for the Party for Socialism and Liberation. I’ve been all over the country talking to people about the issues and I can tell you that people are very fed up with the system. They are fed up with the capitalist system and with the overt domination of the biggest banks and corporations over our political system as well.
I was speaking to a class of college kids yesterday and I asked them what they thought should be the two biggest issues in 2012 elections. And almost every single student said jobs for poor people and racist police brutality. And those are the two issues that have rarely if ever come up amongst the two candidates. And I can tell you for a fact that the two major candidates have not spoken about police brutality at all.
So, what they are talking about is so far from the reality of what working people in the US are dealing with. And I think we are going to see a great expression of the frustration that the American people are feeling right now in this election.
Robles: What do you know about irregularities in the voting process at the polling stations? We’ve had some reports of, for example: electronic voting machines where people were voting for Obama and it is coming up for Romney. Have you heard anything like that?
Lindsay: Yes, I’ve heard some things about that. I think the bigger issue is the corruption in the way the system is setup. I think there’s a great deal of corruption in the way that these candidates spend $2.5 billion and all of that money comes from the banks and corporations. You know, fundamentally this election is rigged, even before we get to the problems of voter suppression and right-wing voter interference.
Robles: What do you think about the results?
Lindsay: Well, we’re seeing a great deal of turnout for Obama. I think that a lot of people are afraid of the right-wing Republicans. A lot of people especially on the East Coast which is very diverse and has a lot of urban centers, a lot of people are afraid, as we talked about last time, the racism and the strong, strong anti-worker and anti-poor sentiment they see in the Republican Party. And I think that they are voting against that more so than voting for the fundamentally dissatisfying program of the Democrat Party.
Robles: This year third party candidates had a lot of problems. You’ve had a lot of problems with media coverage etc. Do you think you’ve made some inroads this year?
Lindsay: Absolutely! I mean we’ve had an incredible amount of media coverage considering that the deck is so heavily stacked against us. I think it is kind of unprecedented the amount of positive media coverage we’ve gotten as openly Revolutionary Socialists running in this campaign. And I think that that media coverage is an expression of the material conditions that are facing people right now.
When there are so many people unemployed, when there are so many people suffering, unable to go to the doctor because they don’t have health insurance or being foreclosed or evicted from their apartments because they can’t pay their mortgage because they’ve been laid off and those kind of things. When you have that situation amongst so many people in the US then there is an opening, many people feel more kindly towards socialist politics, they feel more strongly about the class war because they feel the class war being enacted on them every day of their lives.
Robles: What are your plans for the near future after the elections?
Lindsay: We are primarily concerned with building the struggle. We think it is so important to keep the pressure on, to keep the struggle going and keep fighting and organizing and protesting in the streets.
Obama and Romney have made it clear that regardless of who wins both candidates have agreed on a program of austerity. Both candidates plan to make deep cuts to medi-care to social security, to programs that our seniors and working people and poor people depend on. And if we don’t organize and fight back immediately these are the programs that we can lose and we will suffer greatly as a population.
So for us the important thing is mobilizing people as quickly as possible following this election to get out into the streets and fight to defend these programs that we rely on and fight for even greater economic and social equality.
Robles: In what ways will you be doing that?
Lindsay: We are organizers, we always building protests, always building the struggle. I don’t have specifics for you right now but we are definitely talking over a number of initiatives and a number of actions that we will be leading in cities and towns all across the US.
Robles: What percentage of votes would you say all third party candidates put together this time?
Lindsay: You know, I have no idea. Again, I’ve been talking to people on the street and I’ve seen unprecedented frustration with the system itself and I do think that there will be record numbers of the third party voters this time around.
Robles: What do you think about tactics by the Republicans and the Democrats? What tactics are they using to suppress voters?
Lindsay: I think we’ve talked a little bit about this last time. There are reports of Republicans handing out Spanish-language-flyers that had the wrong polling date and on them, that they were doing things like throwing out voter registrations and things like that.
But all that stuff is kind of extra because they already have such a strangle-hold over the media and political institutions and this idea that people have to vote for either of them. So, they are already dominant and all the things are additional things that they are doing to increase their dominance.
Robles: Is there anything that you guys can do, all the third party candidates, for example is there any way you could form a coalition and take this to the Supreme Court, for example?
Lindsay: There are definitely lawsuits going and there are third party coalitions like in California where we have the Peace and Freedom Party which is a coalition of Socialists. It’s been happening on the state level and I’m sure we will see more of that in the future as well.
Robles: Any detailed plans?
Lindsay: No, again there are the things that we are talking about but not things that we are publically announcing yet.
Robles: I see… So, there are things in the works.
Lindsay: We have a lawsuit going against the Secretary of State in California for excluding us from the ballot. She arbitrarily took us off the ballot and then when we pushed she said that it was because I was under 35, though she had earlier told a right-wing organization that she was not in the business of determining the qualifications for candidates. So, she contradicted herself there and we have a lawsuit based on the State of California denying the electoral representation to the Peace and Freedom Party.
Robles: Any insights into the Electoral College system?
Lindsay: It is antiquitated system that has to go. It is a system that dates back to the time before there was mass communication, before there was this great representation and so much voter turnout. This is the system that is holding us back, it can over-rule the popular vote! A lot of people live under the assumption that we have a one man one vote democracy. We don’t! The Electoral College makes the final determination and it is very fundamentally undemocratic.
Robles: I’ve heard that there are something like 32 counties, not states, in the United States, that will decide the election.
Lindsay: Yes, I think you are talking about the swing states, about different areas of the country where they don’t know which way the voters will go. And those are what the people consider the places to focus on in this election.
Robles: So, actually 95% of the US population lives in the areas outside of those counties and their votes are not really important as far as I understand.
Lindsay: Basically it is because everybody knows what state votes on what line for the majority of states in the country and the majority of places that people live. And these areas are the question marks where people are concerned about this election. And we know that those are the states where the two major candidates have been constantly playing their extremely expensive campaign ads and constantly battling over those areas.
Robles: In your opinion, do you think this is going to be drawn out into December? Do you think there’re going to be contested races, for example in Ohio?
Lindsay: You know, it is very close and like you said, there’s been a huge amount of undemocratic interference. So, we could see, anything is possible.
Robles: You haven’t heard anything about court actions that are already set to take place for example in Ohio?
Lindsay: No. Fundamentally, what we believe is that it is not the politicians who make real change in this country. We believe that the whole system is rigged. And the most important thing is that people organize and fight back in the streets and that’s where you will find us on November 7th, 8th and every day after that.