With well over 20,000 votes, the Freedom Party claims victory in Tuesday’s general election and announces the launching of their Founding Convention during Black History Month on the weekend of February 22-23.

It was just four short months ago that the Freedom Party began its petitioning drive to secure a ballot line with Councilman Charles Barron as its gubernatorial candidate. After six weeks of hard work, from July 6 to August 10, the Freedom Party rocked the political establishment of New York State by gathering over 43,000 signatures, when only 15,000 were required.

Although members of the Democratic Party attempted to knock the Freedom Party off the ballot, they were unsuccessful because the Freedom Party’s petitions were immaculately and professionally done, and its volume was almost three times the amount required.

What a phenomenal achievement.

With 20,000-plus votes and most of them being Democrats, we are on our way to holding the powers that be accountable to our communities.

The Freedom Party is an idea whose time has come! Building on the legacy and spirit of Fannie Lou Hamer, who in 1964 established the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in reaction to the all-white Democratic slate in Mississippi, the 2010 Freedom Party came into existence in response to the all-white slate of the New York State Democratic Party.

In addition, the Freedom Party must exist because the standard bearer of the New York State Democratic Party’s white slate, Andrew Cuomo, has threatened and committed to laying off workers, freezing union wages, taking from pension funds and health care funds of workers, shrinking government and cutting vital services to balance the budget.

While he continues to bully working-class people, he demonstrates political cowardice by refusing to tax the rich. We must unite and fight against these immoral and draconian fiscal policies that will devastate working-class families of New York State.

The Freedom Party had to overcome some major obstacles to achieve its victory on Election Day.

The intentional confusion created by the Board of Elections (controlled by the Democrats) with the development of a ballot that made it difficult for our voters to find the Freedom Party and its candidates. Upstate, we shared a box with the Libertarian Party, 1H and 2H, and downstate, we were on Line J, looped onto the end of the second row of the ballot.

This madness is unheard of. At the beginning of this process, attorney Alton Maddox wrote a letter protesting this to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. We have yet to hear a response.

Many of the Democratic hired inspectors were telling our supporters that if they voted for the Freedom Party gubernatorial candidate, they couldn’t then go to the Democratic line and vote for lower offices. That’s a bald-faced lie!

Finally, we were up against the power of the mainstream media, which ignored us before the debate and in a bizarre way after the debate it overly projected the madam and McMillan to distract from our intelligent and substantive responses.

Here’s what some of the local news media had to say about the Freedom Party’s role in the debate:

“…it wasn’t all frivolity and jocularity, particularly when Councilman Barron hammered away at Cuomo…Barron of the Freedom Party said ‘asking Cuomo or Paladin to end corruption is like asking an arsonist to help put out fires.’”

–Herb Boyd

New York Amsterdam News

“Debate: Freedom Party’s Charles Barron–Steals Show!

–Black Star News

“…at the seven-way gubernatorial debate, [Barron] was more polished than Paladino, more coherent than McMillan and more consistently substantive than Cuomo.”

–City Hall News

Enough said! So where do we go from here? Well, with over 43,000 signatures and 20,000 voters, we have now given birth to the Freedom Party. Let’s get ready for the Founding Convention, which will hammer out issues on single-payer health care for all, stopping police brutality, increased funding for public hospitals, housing and education, freeing of political prisoners, reparations now, progressive immigration policies, economic development and job creation and an equitable distribution of wealth and income–just to name a few.

I want to thank all of the volunteers who worked so hard on this campaign. Your efforts have given us the opportunity of a lifetime to build a mass-based people’s movement for dignity, self-respect and self-determination. Remember, our struggle may be long, but victory is certain.

See you all at the convention!