Gloria La Riva is a longtime member of the Peace and Freedom Party as well as the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and has run for U.S. President and California Governor several times with the endorsement of both organizations. She is currently seeking the PFP nomination to run as our party’s candidate for U.S. president in Election 2020.

A recent statement from the PSL which announced a position of critical support for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign drew the ire of fellow PFP primary presidential candidate Howie Hawkins, who released a response to the PSL statement entitled “You didn’t join the Peace and Freedom Party to support Democrats.”  Gloria La Riva in turn has released a counter-response to that of Mr. Hawkins, and we run Gloria’s statement in full below.

Dear sisters and brothers of Peace and Freedom Party,

I ask for your support and vote in the March 3 Peace and Freedom Party primary. I also urge you to register and vote PFP, as the only socialist party on the California ballot, and which has had a solid program of defending peace, true equality, social justice and socialism since 1968.

I have won the Peace and Freedom nomination for governor of California three times, and was the PFP candidate for President in 2016. I received the most votes for a socialist presidential candidate since 1976.

My vice-presidential candidate is the renowned Native leader and political prisoner, Leonard Peltier, unjustly imprisoned for 44 years. In accepting the invitation to run with me, he said, “I am not only a Native traditionalist, I am a socialist.”

I have been a PFP member since I moved to California in 1981, and always encourage others to register and join. I am decidedly opposed to the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party, who work hand-in-hand to wage war at home and abroad. Both are imperialist parties that have initiated wars of aggression, genocide and occupation. Both are also responsible for economic policies meant to enrich the super-wealthy at the expense of the working class. The disastrous policies of social service cutbacks, mass incarceration and support for the police can be laid at the feet of Democrats as well as Republicans.

Howie Hawkins of New York, a socialist organizer and union worker for nearly 50 years, is seeking the U.S. presidential nomination of several socialist, leftist and eco-conscious parties – including Peace and Freedom Party as well as the national Green Party. 

Earlier this week, Howie Hawkins posted a response to a statement from Richard Becker, a member of both PFP and PSL. Becker’s statement, released through the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s official website, suggested that socialist-minded voters who are only able to participate in the Democratic Party primary cast their votes for Bernie Sanders in that primary and, should he get the Democratic nomination, that voters in swing states should support Sanders. We run Howie's statement in full below.

In 1964, as a teenager in the San Francisco Bay Area, I watched Ronald Reagan and the Republicans lead a successful referendum to repeal the recently-adopted Rumford Fair Housing Act. I saw the Democratic convention seat the Mississippi segregationists instead of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. The “lesser evil” Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, won and immediately escalated the war in Vietnam.

With racists and militarists in charge of both major parties, I asked, “Where is my party?” My party emerged in 1968: the Peace and Freedom Party. Even though I was still too young to vote for it, I rooted for it. I concluded then what I still believe today: that we need a major independent working-class party committed to a democratic, socialist, and ecological society.

I am running in the Peace and Freedom Party presidential primary with that same commitment today. I intend to be on the ballot in all 50 states and D.C., mostly on Green Party lines because they already have over 20 ballot lines, but I am also seeking the ballot lines of other progressive parties where presidential ballot-line fusion is possible in states like California, Oregon, South Carolina and Vermont.

An important objective of our campaign is to build solidarity across the independent progressive and socialist left for a mass party based in the working-class majority and for all people who love peace, justice, freedom and the environment.

Unlike my opponent in the Peace and Freedom primary, whose Party for Socialism and Liberation supports a “safe strategy” of supporting Bernie Sanders in the “battleground” states, I believe every state is a battleground for the independent left where we must fight for ballot access and the right to raise our demands in elections. In every state, we are fighting the Democrats as well as the Republicans who are on the opposite side from us on so many issues, from Medicare for All to a ban on fracking to rent control to dismantling the US global military empire.

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 national 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?

Peace and Freedom Party endorses a NO vote on Proposition 13, a measure appearing on the March 2020 California ballot. PFP is opposed to bond financing because it transfers wealth from working class taxpayers to the rich people and institutions that profit from buying the bonds. While we sometimes abstain on school bonds, this one does not pass the smell test.

Besides the $500 million for charter schools, which we oppose, there is enabling legislation with details not spelled out in any summary of the bill. The passage of the School and Facilities Bond Measure (formerly known as California Assembly bill 48, on the March ballot as Proposition 13) would reduce the fees that school districts can charge developers who profit from new construction of the projects that the new schools will serve. It would raise the amount of bonds that local jurisdictions can issue, thus raising the limit on one of the most regressive forms of taxation.

There is plenty of wealth in the coffers of the extremely wealthy in California. We should tax that wealth sufficiently to pay for our schools and everything else we need.

Cassandra Devereaux, Peace and Freedom Party candidate for California State Assembly in district 14 gave a brief stump speech at last weekend’s California Progressive Alliance (CPA) conference.

Click here to see Cassie calling out her prospective opponent in Election 2020, sitting assemblyman Tim Grayson, a former police chaplain. Grayson’s record is lowlighted by the murderous Vallejo Police Department, who have demonstrated what Cassie calls “lethal indifference to people of color.” Vallejo is currently the city with highest per capita police killings rate in all of Northern California.

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