peace and freedom party logoRiverside County Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party

Peace and civil rights activists in Riverside County helped form the Peace and Freedom Party, taking part in discussions in 1966 and early 1967 before the first registrations of Peace and Freedom Party voters in 1967. An active registration drive during 1967 signed up hundreds of party members in the county, particularly in Riverside and Elsinore (now Lake Elsinore). In January 1968, the party achieved ballot status in California. Ever since then, there has been an organized party chapter in Riverside County.

As of September 5, 2008, there are 2017 voters registered in the Peace and Freedom Party in Riverside County. The County Central Committee presently has four members.

map of california showing riverside county in red
Map of California showing location of Riverside County (in red)
Peace and Freedom Party members and leaders have been involved in literally hundreds of movements, coalitions, committees and campaigns over the last 40 years. Members have demonstrated against each of the government's military adventures abroad during that time, supported progressive legislation to benefit working people, opposed reactionary legislation and initiatives, and engaged in direct action to advance the movements for democracy and peace.

Some current activities include active opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a September 27, 2008 vigil against an attack on Iran (attended by Ralph Nader, our candidate for President), participation by a Central Committee member in inspections and analysis of the voting systems that have caused so much trouble for the county, and helping to mobilize opposition to the destruction of the old Riverside Chinatown site in the Tequesquite Arroyo, on land that was supposed to be set aside for a park, for the construction of an unneeded office building by a politically-connected developer.

One member of the County Central Committee, Kevin Akin, is serving as State Chair of the Peace and Freedom Party for the 2008-2010 term.

Call Kevin Akin at (951) 787-0318 or e-mail him for further information about the Riverside County Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party and its activities.

The day after the June 8 primary election, Riverside County election officials found more than 12,500 mail votes that had been misplaced through miscommunication between election officials and the US Postal Service. Initially, the Registrar of Voters refused to count them. For some days, an attempt was made to forge a political consensus among county officials that the votes must be counted. This was unsuccessful. Amazingly, some members of the Board of Supervisors had such contempt for voters as to prefer that the votes not be counted, or even run through a preliminary tally.

Several individuals and the Democratic Party Central Committee filed suit to force the counting of the ballots. Our own party took part in the consultations, but we did not have a clear cause of action for joining in the lawsuit, while the Democrats had one State Senate contest and one Central Committee contest that appeared likely to be decided by the not-yet-counted votes. So we, and other parties, expressed our support for the suit without joining it.

Our "No War on Iran" event on Saturday, September 27, 2008 was a good vigil, drawing 51 people (including several media people, some with notepads and some with cameras of all sizes). We held good-size clear signs that said "No War on Iran," along with a few others, and stood for an hour along Market Street next to Fairmount Park, a very large park at the northwest edge of Riverside. The response from drivers was overwhelmingly positive, with only two hostile responses and hundreds of friendly honks and waves and thumbs-ups.

When Nader had not arrived at the end of the official time for the vigil, most people stayed, though the crowd did dwindle some after a little while in the 95-degree heat. Most of the vigilers were amazingly patient, though about 20 left over the hour after noon. The 30+ who stayed were interviewed by media representatives. About ten minutes before 1 pm, the car drove up with Ralph Nader and two campaign workers, and we cheered.

Ralph Nader was photographed with some of the vigilers in front of the big "Riverside" sign along Market, and we withdrew about 200 feet from the road where Nader spoke to us in the shade. He gave an excellent summation of the reasons why we should not "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," and criticized both of the Corporate Party nominees for their remarks about Iran during last night's debate. (Several of us were pleased that he had plainly spent some time considering what he would say to us, and it fit right in with the purpose of the vigil.) He then spent a few minutes ranging over some other national and international issues, and answered several questions after that. (35 people heard him, though there were audio and video recordings by media people, so more presumably will hear bits of what he had to say.) His assistants drew the time to his attention, he moved off to the car escorted by eager fans (autographing some items as he went), and they zipped off to San Diego.

Despite the long wait, the event was plainly considered a success by the participants. 50 was a very good attendance in Riverside, and even 35 was OK by local standards. And quite aside from the number in attendance, the media attention was excellent. One reason is that Obama and McCain are skipping our county entirely during the campaign, so this was to be the only presidential candidate visit to Riverside. And even beforehand, thousands have read of the event in the paper on on websites, blogs and e-mail lists.

I wore a Peace and Freedom Party tee shirt, and was interviewed repeatedly on camera as we waited, with questions about the Party. When I got home, I found that I already had an e-mail from one of the vigilers starting the arrangements to show the recent Nader film at UCR. We sold 42 Nader-Gonzalez buttons. All in all, a productive day for the campaign here in the inland area.
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