Vastavam web: There are two Indian-origin candidates running for the US Vice President in the November 3 election — Democrat Kamala Harris and Sunil Freeman, who is on the ticket of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. While Harris has been in the limelight, often reviled by President Donald Trump as a socialist, Freeman is the candidate with a solid radical socialist agenda. Freeman’s mother Flora Navita is from India and his parents met while she was a teacher at a refugee camp in Varanasi in the aftermath of the Partition.
His father, Charles Freeman, was visiting India as a member of an American peace group. He said in an interview with IANS that his mother always wore a saree and although living in the US for decades retained her Indian citizenship. She grew up in New Delhi and in Lucknow where she graduated from the Isabel Thoburn College. He described the PSL as communist, but it did not believe in the violent overthrow of government and was committed to bringing about change within the law.
“We are a communist organisation, we see socialism as step towards the communist society, but it’s a long, long process. “We’re looking for socialism in which the workers are controlling the means of production and use those for the better a society. “We don’t call for violence, we will work within the existing system of laws,” Sunil Freeman added. He asserted that there was growing interest in socialism in the US driven by increasing inequalities, the inability of millions to get health care, and the climate crisis for all of which capitalism does not have viable answers.
Freeman’s entry in the race demonstrates the emergence of Indian-Americans across the political spectrum, from the left to the centre and to the right, where Nikki Haley, the first cabinet member of Indian descent stands. In the US election system, parties have to qualify separately in each state by meeting local requirements for the presidential race. PSL will be on the ballot only in 14 states, including California, New Jersey and Illinois, and will be recognised in 14 others, including New York, as a “write-in” ï¿½ voters can write the candidates’ names on the ballot and have them tallied.
Sunil Freeman was the second choice for the PSL vice-presidential slot after a Native American activist, Leonard Peltier, who in a federal prison, withdrew on health grounds. Peltier was convicted of murder in the death of two federal law enforcement officers during an encounter between them and some Native Americans in their territory known as a reservation in 1975.