California's socialist and feminist political party urges you to:
Peace and Freedom Party of California - State Central Committee Meeting
When: Saturday, March 23, 2019; registration begins at 11:30 a.m. The meeting starts at noon.
Where: Luna Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant; 349 Pollasky Avenue; Clovis, CA 93612 (MAP)
Dues and registration. State Central Committee dues are $10 a month full dues, $5 a month low income, and $2 a month hardship. Payment of dues through the end of March 2019 is encouraged, but all SCC members paid up through November may vote at this meeting. The meeting registration fee is $15, or $10 low income. Some donated funds may be available to subsidize registration for those unable to pay it.
The Peace and Freedom Party, born from the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s, is committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism, racial equality, and internationalism.
The opening sentence of the Party platform has provoked questions such as, “Why are you for socialism?” or “What is socialism?” The answer is not simple, because the Peace and Freedom Party is a ‘multi-tendency’ party.” People from different organizations, as well as those without other affiliation, can be members of the Peace and Freedom Party.
We asked members of the PFP to provide their definition of socialism, both to answer the question and to illustrate the range of opinions within the party and the Socialist movement in general. Below runs the first in our series, “What is Socialism?”
Socialism is a way people organize themselves to meet the needs of the many, as opposed to Capitalism, which only meets the needs of the smallest percentage: the very rich.
To socialists the question, “How do we meet the needs of the overwhelming majority of people?” is an entire field of science put into practice daily. Socialism incorporates the skills of millions (and in some countries, billions) of working people, in order to accomplish the “simple” task of meeting the needs of the majority. Capitalists use the same tactics, but towards the opposite goal: to enrich themselves, individually, at the expense of the majority.
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.
The case for multi-member districts
The U.S. Congress and most state legislative bodies have too few members and as a result each member must represent far too many people. These districts are so large that it takes really big money to reach voters. Candidates are sold by corporate interests like any product with sanitized advertising designed to sell a product. Currently elections are held in districts where only one person is elected. However, many people are now realizing that the only way, without artificial gerrymandering, to represent the various constituencies in an area is to create districts where several people are elected from each district in proportion to the number of votes received. More people of color, more women, and more people from smaller parties would then be elected to office.
How proportional representation works
Many countries use Proportional Representation to elect multiple legislators from each district, with parties and independents elected in proportion to the number of votes they received. Fewer votes are wasted, gerrymandering ceases to be useful, there are higher voter turnouts, and those elected are more diverse.
Some on the left criticize the Peace and Freedom Party for our slogan, “Tax the rich and their corporations.” The goal, they say, should be expropriation of the rich. Socialists can be for both. It is a matter of what the time is ripe for.
Taxing the rich: Socialists and billionaires agree
When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested a top tax rate of 70% during a TV interview, she was derided by many in the capitalist class—but not by the ultra-wealthy investor Warren Buffett. Why would a self-described socialist and an unapologetic billionaire agree? Or do they? The following article investigates the divergent reasons why some capitalists and most socialists (including the Peace and Freedom Party) advocate increased taxes on the wealthy.
Capitalism is in crisis worldwide. The owning classes, particularly in the United States, are pursuing policies that are only making it worse. The arguments carried on by their politicians and media all misrepresent, in different ways, the nature of the crisis and of capitalism itself. In response to this crisis, some capitalists (and their representatives) advocate increased taxes on the wealthy – as do many socialists. Why would this be good for the capitalists? Why are most capitalists refusing to take their medicine? And why do we, as socialists, support calls for taxing the rich and their corporations?
On February 16, Debra Reiger and C.T. Weber represented Peace and Freedom Party and tabled at the local Poor People’s Campaign gathering in Sacramento. There were numerous local party members among the attendees and organizers. PFP state chair John Reiger represented Veterans for Peace; he spoke to the audience about the impact of the country’s war economy on community needs, education, housing and more.
An initiative to amend Proposition 13, a taxation measure passed by voters in 1978, has reportedly collected enough signatures to guarantee its inclusion on the November 2020 ballot.
The proposed amendment was put forth by proponents Anthony Thigpenn, Helen Hutchison and Benjamin McBride, has already garnered the required minimum of 585,407 signatures needed to get the initiative in front of California voters in 2020.
In the legislation’s official summary, the proposed amendment “Requires Certain Commercial and Industrial Real Property to be Taxed Based on Fair-Market Value. Dedicates Portion of Any Increased Revenue to Education and Local Services” promises a “Net increase in annual property tax revenues of $6.5 billion to $10.5 billion in most years, depending on the strength of real estate markets. After paying for county administrative costs and backfilling state income tax losses related to the measure, the remaining $6 billion to $10 billion would be allocated to schools (40 percent) and other local governments (60 percent).”
Donald Trump has just taken one giant step away from peace and toward reviving the arms race with the Russians. He is blaming the Russians for his decision to pull out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) that was signed by President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. But even if the Russians haven’t abided by the terms of the treaty, as he claims, there is no good reason for the U.S. to end the treaty. We should stick by our desire for peace and not engage in an arms race, an arms race that will be costly and add nothing to our military defense.
Growing numbers of Americans are rallying around the “Hands Off Venezuela” cause, and naturally Peace and Freedom Party members have been taking part in demonstrations on the matter. A few words on and images from a pair of recent actions.
On Thursday, February 8, a dozen and a half activists stood in the rain in south Sacramento to protest the aggressive actions of the United States against the beleaguered government of Venezuela. Even in the dark, several people honked their horns in support as they drove by.
On Sunday, February 10, Peace and Freedom Party members joined dozens of anti-war and anti-imperialist activists from several organizations in lining a street near Oakland's Lake Merritt to protest the U.S. government’s intervention in Venezuela. Speakers pointed out that Nicolas Maduro is the legitimately elected president of Venezuela; that the U.S. has a history of supporting coups in Latin America and throughout the world; and that both the Democratic and Republican parties have been complicit in this policy.