A socialist campaign for alderperson in Chicago’s Northwest Side resonated with residents across the 45th Ward. Ana Santoyo, the Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate for alderperson, finished with 5.59% of the vote.
Running in what is considered by many to be a conservative area, Santoyo connected with the community’s growing Latino and Black population with a platform of calling to jail killer cops, defund the Chicago Police Department, replace Chicago’s lead lines, free public transit, full rights for all immigrants and more. Her campaign was closely linked to the struggle for justice for Anthony Alvarez, who was killed by CPD officer Evan Solano in March 2021.
Santoyo’s campaign was endorsed by Activate Chicago Parents, Girl I Guess, Sistematic and others. She held rallies outside of and worked closely with tenants at 5150 Northwest Highway, an affordable housing building that has been under attack by local conservatives and “Not in My Backyard” forces.
Unsurprising results by uninspiring candidates
Five candidates took on Jim Gardiner, a notoriously corrupt Chicago City Council member in a ward gerrymandered to all but guarantee his victory. City Council’s gerrymandering of the 45th Ward isn’t the only reason Gardiner got the highest percentage in the first round of the election.
Four of the candidates did little to distinguish themselves from his political positions, instead focusing their campaigns on his countless scandals while agreeing with much of his program. As Block Club reported, “Santoyo was the only candidate who is not in favor of hiring more police officers. Instead, she wants to fund better mental health services, equitable housing and more economic opportunity for residents.”
Gardiner, who received 48% of the vote, will face off against Megan Mathias (16.86%) in the April 4 runoff election.
The struggle continues
Rather than running for her own personal political career, Santoyo made it clear from the start that she aimed to build a movement that demands justice and dignity for the working class. As a mother, minimum-wage union library worker and daughter of Mexican immigrants, Santoyo has long been embedded in community-based struggles. She has been an activist and community organizer for over a decade in struggles such as the fight for a $15 hourly minimum wage, abortion rights and LGBTQ liberation, among many more.
Santoyo told Liberation News: “Today the world is confronted by the problems that the capitalist system is unable to solve: mass inequality, climate change and war. Capitalism can’t solve these problems because capitalism causes them.”
The successes of Santoyo’s campaign are a testament to the growing movement for socialism in Chicago and around the country. Working-class people are standing up everywhere to demand a future free of capitalist exploitation. Ana Santoyo and the Chicago branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation will continue that fight long after the election.
Feature photo: Ana Santoyo, the Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate for alderperson of Chicago’s 45th Ward. Liberation photo