Peace and Freedom Party Logo The Peace and Freedom Party is committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism and racial equality. We represent the working class, those without capital in a capitalist society. We organize toward a world where cooperation replaces competition, a world where all people are well fed, clothed and housed; where all women and men have equal status; where all individuals may freely endeavor to fulfill their own talents and desires; a world of freedom and peace where every community retains its cultural integrity and lives with all others in harmony.

The Peace and Freedom Party was founded on June 23, 1967, by people who wanted to vote for something they could support. The Democrats were leading the nation in the war against Vietnam. As the military drained the domestic economy, Republicans and Democrats called for "law and order" to repress Americans who wished to improve their own lives. Black militants were rising up angrily in the cities, while Filipino and Latino farmworkers were organizing labor unions in the fields. Women were agitating for full equality with men. These forces of discontent united to create an electoral arm of "The Movement." A massive voter registration drive placed the Peace and Freedom Party on the California ballot in January 1968. On both the state and national level, we have shown a willingness to work with other like minded groups, trying to build a mass based socialist party throughout the country.

Thousands of people assembled in and around Berkeley's MLK Jr. Park (Civic Center Park) on Sunday, August 27, 2017. They came to protest and confront an assemblage of far right wing and neo-fascist individuals and groups who had planned to assemble there that afternoon. The left and the liberals were out in force; the other side was virtually absent. 400 heavily armed members of the Berkeley Police Department and cops from surrounding communities guarded an empty “free speech” zone that they had barricaded in the park and kept counter-demonstrators from moving freely around the area.

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At a special meeting on August 18, the City Council had adopted an urgency ordinance to authorize the City Manager to issue rules regarding street events without permits “ to protect public safety.” Members of the community --who spoke at the meeting to protest the special power as a potential violation of civil liberties-- far outnumbered supporters of the Council's action. Only one City Council member voted “No.”

The City Manager responded on August 25 with a list of items banned from Civic Center Park on August 27, “to allow peaceful expression of free speech”.

Prohibited items included:
  • sticks of any size
  • metal water bottles (police did not allow any water bottles in MLK Park)
  • eggs
  • skate boards
  • balloons
  • bandanas covering any part of the face

Mayor Jesse Areguin, who had been elected as the liberal choice, made it clear that anyone violating these rules would be subject to citation and arrest. And they were. Between 12:30pm and 12:45pm, this reporter witnessed the arrest of two people just outside the park near the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Allston Way, presumably for violation of the rules. No action normally considered to be criminal, violent, or aggressive had been committed.

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Police searching the pockets of a protester before taking him away.
Photo Credits: Marsha Feinland

The assemblages in and around MLK Jr. Park were the result of several protests organized by groups and coalitions and by people who just wanted to show up to counter the growth of neo-fascism. That morning there were rallies to be held at different locations on the U.C. Berkeley campus. One that had been planned for the campus lawn near Addison and Oxford Streets got shunted to Oxford Street because of barricades around the lawn put up by the U.C. campus police. Many of those demonstrators joined the protest at MLK Park by the afternoon. A coalition of groups met at Ohlone Park, several blocks north of MLK Park, and marched to the main demonstration. And yet another came from the south up Milvia Street on the other side of the park .

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It was difficult to count the number of participants because they were restricted to certain areas in and around the park, and separated by police barricades and lines of armed police. But it looked to this observer like 10,000 people showed up to send a message of “No” to fascism.

At around 1:15pm, the police retreated from their stations blocking access to the park to line up across the street near Berkeley High School. People who had been standing outside the park jumped over the barricades freely. Thinking that the protest was over, this reporter went home.

At around 2:15pm, a live news feed showed black-clad demonstrators pursuing and tackling and hitting an individual. The police intervened and led the individual away. In later reports the media highlighted this incident as evidence of violence on the part of counter-protesters. But Shane Bauer, who was on the scene reporting for Mother Jones, documented that the “anti-fa” group was responding because the individual was pepper spraying random counter-protesters (and others) in the park.

by Roger Harris

It’s over a year since the presidential elections. Yet some folks seem ever more obsessed about possible Russian influence; what with revelations of Moscow gold spent on Facebook ads for clickbait showing adorable puppies and the outing of alleged Kremlin operative Jill Stein. With the hindsight of history, we can now look back at what some Democrats have called the crime of the century and see how it could have been averted.

What a crime it was! After all, the US is the one that is supposed to have a monopoly on “democracy promotion” in other countries. Our government most recently endorsed the fraudulent re-election of the incumbent in Honduras, who was a product of a coup backed by the Obama administration. And let us not forget Bill Clinton’s well timed loan to good ole Boris Yeltsin in Russia. The WTO should fine Russia for unfair practices and infringement on the US concession.

The Peace and Freedom Party endorses Gayle McLaughlin for the position of Lieutenant Governor in California’s 2018 statewide election.

A former mayor of Richmond, Gayle was a leader of a progressive coalition that took on the Chevron Corporation and passed a new rent control law in her town. She is running as an independent.

The following is her official statement upon receiving PFP endorsement.

I am the former two-term mayor of Richmond (2007-2014) and a founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance.

I led Richmond’s remarkable transformation, reducing homicides 75%, increasing the minimum wage to $15, controlling pollution, promoting sustainable development, solarizing the city, promoting rent control, defending immigrant rights, forcing Chevron to pay $114 million in additional city taxes, helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, bringing greener and less expensive electricity, defending public schools and opposing the expansion of charter schools.

I am corporate-free and running for Lieutenant Governor to organize anti-corporate forces in every city throughout the state and to stand in Sacramento against corporate corruption and backroom deals, and to promote an agenda based on one concept: People First!

The Sacramento-Yolo Chapter of the Peace & Freedom Party marched with Black Lives Matter and other local activists in the annual Reclaim MLK March on January 15. This march is Sacramento’s progressive alternative to the city’s highly publicized but corporate-sponsored extravaganza.

2018 Reclaim MLK March

The Peace and Freedom Party candidate for US Senator from California in the June 5th 2018 election is John Thompson Parker of Los Angeles.

John Thompson Parker was the Peace and Freedom Party candidate for US Senate in 2016. Since then, there have been some changes in the political situation. John says, “In these days when the Trump administration is trying to divide and weaken the working class, solidarity with each other’s struggles is our most important weapon.” Donald Trump is certainly a terrible president, but we need to keep in mind that “the road to Trump was paved by the record deportations and wars of the previous administration.”

John is a coordinator of the International Action Center, an elected member of the Peace and Freedom Party State Central Committee, and an activist with the Workers World Party. He is a socialist who seeks to represent the working class rather than the billionaires. He has worked as a machine operator at a metal fabrication plant, a dishwasher in restaurants, a typesetter at a printing plant, a copy editor, and a teacher. His working-class background has been of basic importance in forming his political opinions.

John has been involved in union organizing campaigns at work and knows that workers must organize to fight for their rights if they are to have any rights at all.

Cindy Sheehan is a member of the Peace and Freedom Party State Central Committee. She was the Peace and Freedom Party candidate for Vice President in the 2012 general election and for Governor of California in 2014.

Cindy’s son, US Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed during the Iraq War. Cindy thereafter attracted national and international media attention in August 2005 for her extended anti-war protest at a makeshift camp outside President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch – a stand that drew both passionate support and criticism. Her memoir, Peace Mom: A Mother’s Journey Through Heartache to Activism, was published in 2006.

Last week, Cindy was interviewed by the Tasnim News Agency on the subject of the ongoing US-backed Saudi-perpetuated genocide in Yemen. The full text of the interview runs below; material from Tasnim is reprinted here under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Tasnim: The UN children’s agency has recently said the ongoing Saudi aggression against Yemen has killed or injured more than 5,000 children and left another 400,000 severely malnourished and fighting for their lives. UNICEF said nearly 2 million Yemeni children were out of school, a quarter of them since the start of the war. In the meantime, the Saudi-led war on Yemen has led to a cholera epidemic in Yemen, which is one of the worst ever recorded in the world. The epidemic is likely to surge again around March, according to media reports. What do you think about the Saudi crimes in the Arabian Peninsula country? Why doesn’t the UN take a practical measure, like imposing sanctions against Riyadh, in the face of its crimes?

Sheehan: Saudi Arabia is a noted abuser of human rights in its own country and has consistently exhibited inhumane behavior to its own citizens, so, while I am deeply disturbed by the continuing human rights violations and seeming program of genocide in Yemen, I am not surprised. As I have discussed before in this publication, Saudi Arabia could not be committing these atrocities in Yemen without the support and encouragement by the United States and the colonial settler apartheid state of Israel. If the United Nations does not place sanctions on Riyadh, it is because it has always, and mostly, functioned as a foreign policy rubber-stamp of approval for the crimes that are made by the United States and its allies.

At the press conference held by Peace and Freedom party candidates on February 15 in Sacramento, PFP’s nominee for California governor in 2018, Gloria La Riva, delivered the following statement.

California, the most populous and in many ways the richest state in the country, California, among the 10 largest economies in the world, is experiencing a deep crisis.

It is not a crisis for the major corporations, the banks, the military contractors. It is a crisis for millions of Californians, workers, the employed, the unemployed, and underemployed, who are struggling to survive on starvation wages, those who have to work two or even three jobs to make ends. It is a crisis for those millions who don’t even dream of going to a doctor or dentist.

It is a crisis for undocumented immigrants across this state, and their millions of family members, who even if they are not undocumented, are still victims of this very racist, brutal war being waged against the immigrants. Today, this very day, there are people being arrested, at work, at home, at school, ripped apart from their families, jailed and deported, leaving behind children. We demand full rights and immediate legalization for all immigrants. The Democrats only like to talk about the Dreamers, but those Dreamers have parents subject to deportation, there are youth who don’t qualify for DACA.

Yes, in the midst of astounding wealth, with skyscrapers rising higher, multi-million-dollar condos, Californians are facing a crisis, sleeping under bridges, in doorways of empty buildings, even mothers with infants are homeless in a state where there are more than enough unoccupied homes to house everyone.

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