California's socialist and feminist political party urges you to:
The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is disrupting our lives, threatening our lives, and even, in a strange way, reconnecting us with our lives. We are learning new phrases like “social distancing,” relearning old habits like frequent handwashing, and reconnecting with seldom seen friends and family by way of social media and phone calls. But disruption of normal life is the main thing we feel, and it’s not comfortable.
It is also an opportunity – an opportunity to reconstruct society on better, more sustainable, more just grounds. As I write this, my city plans to open free daycare centers for the children of first responders and healthcare workers; housing the homeless is finally being considered in many places; the federal government is talking about plans to give citizens supplemental income; factories are being switched over to vitally needed healthcare equipment; and renter evictions are being halted. There is a growing feeling in society that we are all in this together. We need to put profits and personal interests aside and think of what is best for the whole community.
That’s the opportunity that could come from this coronavirus catastrophe. An opportunity to move American society away from greed and excess consumption to a society where, in the words of one old radical, “Everyone does better when everyone does better.” Each of us has a personal interest in seeing that everyone else has good health care, has a well-paying job, is treated fairly, has access to free education, has enough to eat and has a roof over their head.
These are just some of the features of the new American society we should build when this emergency passes. As one of our longtime activists keeps reminding us, “We want everyone to have a nice life.” Now is the time to push for that better society and create the socialist future that we need.
The Peace and Freedom Party has taken positions for or against 19 bills and one proposed constitutional amendment in the 2019-2020 session of the California legislature; the party also has watched/is watching the progression of 14 other bills. Below run the PFP’s positions on this legislation. For the full text and more information on a bill, click on the given bill’s title. For the final status of the PFP-supported or -opposed bills during the 2019-2020 session, click here.
Additionally, the PFP Legislative Committee sent several letters to state senators and assemblypersons detailing the party's support of or opposition to each bill. Each position letter may be accessed individually via the links marked [Position letter] below or click here for a list of all PFP position letters. Last update: November 8, 2019.
AB 32 (Bonta) – State prisons: private, for-profit administration services – SUPPORT
Would end state of California contracts with private prisons. [Position letter]
• AB 33 (Bonta) – State public retirement systems: divestiture from private prison companies – SUPPORT
Would stop CalPERS and CalSTRS investments in private prisons. [Position letter]
• AB 36 (Bonta/Chiu) – Residential tenancies: rent control – SUPPORT
Would modify those provisions of Costa-Hawkins that prevent local rent control measures from applying to new construction. [Position letter]
• AB 392 (Weber) – Peace officers: deadly force – SUPPORT
Would restrict police officers’ use of deadly force to only when necessary to prevent serious bodily injury or death. [Position letter]
Our election systems give a guise of democracy but bipartisan election laws, huge amounts of private money, and the corporate media deny representation for a great many of us. The President is not elected by the people of this country. Instead, the president is selected by a majority of an Electoral College which is tilted to favor states which have much smaller numbers of people where each elector represents fewer people.
With the vote tallying complete in most districts of California, Peace and Freedom Party officially congratulates our two candidates running for state offices in the March primary: Cassandra Devereaxu and José Cortes.
Cassandra Devereaux wins nearly 8,500 votes in AD 14
In the race to advance to the general election for State Assembly District 14, Cassandra Devereaux earned 7.7% of the vote, good for a total of 8,446 votes. Cassandra finished third in the race, thanks mainly to an 11th-hour entry onto the ballot by patient healthcare advocate Janell Elizabeth Proctor. Proctor was backed by the Republican Party after essentially zero campaigning, seemingly in order to prevent the Peace and Freedom Party candidate from advancing to the general-election ballot.
Cassandra’s campaign was particularly proud of her showing in Solano County, where she got nearly 9% of the votes. A primary plank in Cassandra’s campaign was the need to address rights violation by and accountability for the Vallejo Police Department.
José Cortes’s message heard in Congressional District 50
In California’s Congressional District 50, José Cortes outpaced all non-corporate party candidates to earn 1,378 votes, or 0.7% of the total vote.
With Bernie Sanders in the running for the Democratic Party nomination for U.S. president, many leftists and socialists – particularly those in the so-called “battleground” or “purple” states – are stumped. For the socialist, choosing in Election 2020 may not be easy when presented with a choice of Sanders (hampered though he may be by Party baggage), the state’s ballot-qualified candidate and perhaps even an ecosocialist Green Party candidate.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) is a nationwide socialist organization with presence in 28 states and the District of Columbia. PSL is particularly strong in California, and their members comprise and important part of the Peace and Freedom Party. Earlier this month, PSL/PFP member Richard Becker released the following statement, run in its entirety, on behalf of the party regarding the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The Democratic Party establishment and the major capitalist-owned media have been waging a low-intensity war against the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign for the past year and it is not working too well. Now these attacks are escalating. If Sanders continues to succeed, the floodgate of scurrilous and demonizing assaults will open, just as happened to Jeremy Corbyn in Britain.
For the past 12 months, almost all of the ruling class centers of power have been arguing that Sanders is a socialist and thus “too left”; that his medical reforms “are too expensive” and will break the bank; that he “can’t beat Trump”; or, in the aftermath of his heart attack, that he is not “healthy enough,” which goes along well with the mantra that he is “too old.” At the last debate, CNN and Elizabeth Warren conspired to set up Sanders as “sexist,” yet another argument to add to the list. These attacks on Sanders have not worked.
What’s the real reason the ruling class is so alarmed?
What has become crystal clear is that the Democratic Party establishment and its echo chambers in the “free press” clearly would favor four more years of Donald Trump over Sanders, a self-identified democratic socialist, in the White House. One must take a moment and ask, “Why is this?” By European standards Bernie Sanders would be an acceptable center-left politician. He would not be perceived as a danger to the existing social order. What is the U.S. ruling class so afraid of? Why is the Democratic establishment trying to destroy the Sanders campaign?
As predictable as death and taxes is the quadrennial injunction from liberals for progressive third parties to cease and desist. Equally predictable is the admonition that this will be the most decisive presidential election in US history. Given the prospect of four more years of Trump, do they have a valid thesis or are they once again just sheep-dogging those of little faith back into the true church of the Democratic Party?
Prominent left-liberals Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Leslie Cagan, Ron Daniels, Kathy Kelly, Norman Solomon, Cynthia Peters and Michael Albert issued an open letter entreating third parties to “remove themselves as a factor” in the 2020 presidential election to “benefit all humanity and a good part of the biosphere.” They were addressing Howie Hawkins’s essay “The Green Party Is Not the Democrats’ Problem”. Hawkins is seeking the presidential nomination of the Green Party and other progressive third parties, including Peace and Freedom.
Chomsky et al. “agree with much” that Hawkins argues except for the matter of whether third parties should engage in electoral politics. To be more precise, they think that it is perfectly copacetic for third parties to run in safe states where they don’t have a chance of affecting electoral outcomes, but not in swing states. Third parties should feel free to do what the open letter condescendingly describes as their “feel-good activity” if they are guaranteed to be ineffectual, but not otherwise. In short, these left-liberals are adverse to an independent left outside of the Democratic Party.
Shamelessly, the open letter proclaims: “we too are furious at Democrats joining Republicans in so many violations of justice and peace.” These left-liberals agree the Democrats have indeed become ever more odious and indistinguishable from the Republicans. They understand that the degeneration of the Democratic Party has progressed so far that sugar-coating it doesn’t pass the red face test.
In 1998, Rodney Reed was wrongly convicted of murder and since then has been on Death Row in Texas. Five days before his scheduled execution on November 20, 2019, Rodney received a 120-day commutation of execution as attempts to gain a retrial continue.
Peace and Freedom Party recently passed the following resolution regarding Rodney Reed’s sentence and incarceration; PFP encourages everyone to sign The Action Network’s online petition on the matter. Full text of the resolution runs directly below.
Whereas there is strong evidence that Rodney Reed is innocent of the crime of which he was convicted in Texas, we support Rodney Reed speedily being given a new trial where his defense lawyers will have an opportunity to present evidence on his behalf that the lawyers at his trial did not present. The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees Americans due process, and the Sixth Amendment guarantees a speedy and fair trial.
Whereas the Peace and Freedom Party opposes the death penalty, we support Rodney Reed being taken off death row. The Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits excessive punishment.
And whereas, the Innocence Project is also involved in helping Rodney Reed,
Therefore, we support adding the petition at the Action Network website to the Peace and Freedom Party state website in which we encourage people to sign the Action Network's online petition urging the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, to commute Rodney Reed’s death sentence, to advocate for a new trial, and to recommend that Rodney Reed be allocated enough state money for him to be able to present a serious appeal.
Peace and Freedom Party members recently traveled to McFarland, a small farming town south of Fresno, to express solidarity with Maribel Ramirez, an immigrant farmworker from Mexico who led her community to reject a City Hall proposal to convert two town jails into ICE detention centers. These detention centers would be right in the center of this town of 15,000, almost next to the high school and junior high. Half of the population is undocumented. Those ICE jails would have imprisoned up to 4,000 immigrants simply for not having papers. The story was first reported in The New York Times.
Jesús and Eusebio Goméz, sons of Maribel Ramirez
The meeting was February 17 at McFarland City Council chambers, and 200 people filled the hall. Ramirez, her two sons and other community members went door to door asking people to sign a card opposing the ICE jails. More than 1,000 people signed. She said many more would have signed but for fear of deportation.
Gloria La Riva interviewed Ramirez, who despite the great risk to her personal situation for being undocumented, courageously took a stand for her community.
Spread the word about the Peace and Freedom Party. Encourage your friends to register Peace and Freedom, join the supporting membership program, and get involved.
Here are some introductory handouts you can download and print for distribution. For a more extensive archive of our literature, click here.