VIDEO: Socialists in Chicago build momentum ahead of 2016 election

By Carmen Lopez

The Chicago Socialist party held its traditional May Day rally and its supporters are now seeking to expand and influence future elections.

The political party, with its tiny but reportedly growing membership locally, first emerged in the Chicago area in 1896. According to the Socialist Party website, its mission is to “establish a radical democracy that places people’s lives under their own control – a non-racist, classless, feminist socialist society.”

About 100 members of the party and their supporters gathered at Union Park for the annual May Day rally on the first day of May.

Miguel Del Toral is a Chicago Socialist Party member and holds a co-chair position.

“We were down to 10 active members when I joined three years ago,” Del Toral said. “I have been chair since and we’ve tripled our numbers,” he added.

The group has been seeing the most growth in California, according to Del Toral. The party is struggling to find a 2016 presidential hopeful that meets its needs.

“Pretty much all of them do not fit these requirements that the Socialist Party has,” Del Toral said.

The party said it strives to give equal rights to all oppressed groups. Therefore, candidates such as Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Mike Huckabee are unlikely to gain their vote according to Del Toral. He also added that the Democratic Party is not meeting the Socialist Party needs either.

“They twist their words. They say they’re for the working class, but they stab you in the back,” Del Toral said about the Democratic Party.

Del Toral said Socialist Party members would be voting for Sen. Bernie Sanders if the election were held today.

The political group plans to strengthen by organizing within communities to increase its impact in future elections and empower the people.

Photo at top: Supporters and members of the Chicago Socialist Party rally to increase relevance. (Carmen Lopez/Medill)