Do you want to become an active member of the Peace and Freedom Party? Did you miss the chance to run for PFP Central Committee in the March 3, 2020 primary? You can still join or start an affiliated organization in your area.
We have active central committees in about 15 counties, including the major metropolitan centers and a few rural counties. In each of these counties, the local central committees welcome people who want to work to promote the issues and candidates of our party.
Measure A would weaken the power of the Sacramento City Council by transferring powers to the mayor. This “strong mayor” measure places control of city priorities, projects, services, and hiring and firing of the city manager in one person’s hands. That person is the mayor. The mayor does not have to attend city council meetings or other public meetings, but she/he will be able to veto city council decisions and be able to line item veto any budget item.
Let’s have a strong city. Vote No on Sacramento Measure A.
Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. Donald Trump made his role as front man for a fascist movement clear during the recent “debate.” His defeat in November will remove him from the spotlight, but the stage remains set.
On November 3, I will be voting for Gloria La Riva and Sunil Freeman, the Peace and Freedom Party candidates in California. I am encountering an unusually hysterical reaction to any advocacy for, or even mention of, a “third party” vote for POTUS. The argument is that Trump will contest this election, the Supreme Court is stacked, and there has to be an overwhelming vote for Biden to win without any doubt possible.
This is going on in *California*. According to the CalMatters 2020 election guide, Trump won less than one-third of the vote here in 2016, polls continue to show Joe Biden leading with more than two-thirds of state voters, and a Republican presidential nominee hasn’t carried the state in more than three decades.
Even if you subscribe to the “battleground states” strategy, California is one of the states where you can safely vote your hopes, not your fears. More importantly, it is a state in which we can do the work of building a working-class party to oppose the capitalist duopoly now.
The people who rail against the Peace and Freedom Party and the Green Party presidential campaigns are generally people who have always told us to wait until after the election to build a “third party” movement. Somehow that time never seems to come. I think that ties to the labor union tops, hopes for some reforms, and other political and social connections make influential people stay in the Democratic Party and rationalize the contradictions with their liberal or even “socialist” pronouncements.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2018, over 52% of higher education enrollment was composed of white students, while Black students and Native American students made up less than 13.5% combined. This disparity can be attributed to a variety of systemic barriers that allow white people, who are also more likely to have access to wealth, to succeed at the expense of other communities. For example, public schools in areas that are predominantly Black often get less funding and access to resources.
CA Prop 16, or the Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment, comes in response to Proposition 209 (1996), which prohibits preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, skin color, ethnicity or nationality in public employment, public education and public contracting. Although Prop. 209 is cloaked in anti-discrimination sentiments, this proposition harms marginalized people: In practice, Prop. 209 forced California’s public universities to abandon their affirmative action policies put in place to offset the marginalization of gender and racial minorities.
In 2006, California’s prisons were on the verge of collapse. California’s prison population peaked at over 165,000 inmates in 2006 – but the system was only ever supposed to hold 85,000. California’s prisons had become so overcrowded that prisoners were sleeping in hallways and living in tiny holding cells. Riots were breaking out regularly, and the number of suicides increased to astronomical levels.
In 2009, a three-judge court ordered the state of California to lower the number of people currently being held in prison. The court ordered the state to release 44,000 prisoners in an effort to curb the overcrowding crisis. The judges intend to reduce the prison population by 137.5 percent, stating that “until the problem of overcrowding is overcome, it will be impossible to provide constitutionally compliant care to California’s prison population.”
However, the state appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Governor Jerry Brown remained skeptical of the unconstitutionality of the prisons, but those doubts were proven wrong. In May of 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California must release more than 30,000 prisoners and reduce the population to a constitutional level. Multiple statewide initiatives to end mass incarceration soon followed. Incarceration rates have steadily declined over the past several years, slowly putting an end to the overcrowding at prisons.
Nevertheless, there is an initiative on the ballot that aims to undo the progress California has made on mass incarceration. Proposition 20 would make specific types of theft and fraud crimes chargeable as misdemeanors *or* felonies, rather than just misdemeanors. This initiative would also make it so “serial crime and organized retail crime” are added in the state code and are made chargeable as “wobblers” – a crime that can be either a felony or a misdemeanor.
The current cash bail system used across the United States is exploitative and unfair to working class people. The way cash bail currently works is by charging people awaiting trial a certain amount of money in the hopes of ensuring their return on the set court date. At the end of the trial, the money is returned.
However, people who do not have access to this amount of money are held unnecessarily and punished for being poor. These people would be forced to either not post bail and remain incarcerated until their trial or go through a commercial bail bond agent which charges a certain amount for posting the full bail amount. This amount will not be returned.
If passed, Proposition 25 would make California the first state in the country to do away with this process, granting people awaiting trials some stability and peace of mind in the middle of an already stressful situation. A YES vote on Proposition 25 would uphold the SB 10 bill in the face of a veto referendum waged against it. Under a law based on Prop 25, those charged with a crime would be granted their release until their day in court through risk assessment; these assessments would determine the flight risk each person would pose, with an opportunity to present the case for release before a judge. Most people suspected of misdemeanors would not need a risk assessment to be released. The specifics for this assessment have not yet been set but will be decided upon later and based on scientific research.
The Santa Clara County chapter of the Peace and Freedom Party has endorsed Jake Tonkel for San Jose City Council as the representative for District 6.
Jake is running on a progressive platform whose priorities include strengthening education system; creation of sustainable housing and public transportation; advocating for racial and environmental justice; demanding more representation and accountability from public officials; and addressing wealth inequality, particularly as regards Silicon Valley corporations.
In the March primary election, Jake earned 27.9% of the vote within a four-person field for the District 6 seat on the city council, finishing behind only incumbent Devora Davis at 48.4%.
For much more on Jake’s campaign for San Jose city council, or to contribute – this campaign naturally does not accept corporate contributions of any sort – see the official website at Jake4D6.com.
The Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party and Movement has announced its endorsement of several candidates in local races in the upcoming election.
In the races for Oakland School Board seats, PFP Alameda backs the slate of candidates endorsed by Action 2020, a citizen’s group dedicated to improving Oakland’s public schools. These candidates include Stacy Thomas (in District 1); Cherisse Gash and VanCedric Williams (District 3); Mike Hutchinson (District 5); and Ben “Coach” Tapscott (District 7). The party also endorses Sam Davis for school board director.
Brief profiles of these candidates run below.
Sam Davis for Oakland School Board Director
Sam Davis is a former Oakland Unified School District teacher and currently is parent to a public-school student. Sam promises to “put families, teachers and school site staff back at the center of decision-making in our district.”
Sam has also been endorsed by SEIU Local 1021, the Oakland Education Association teacher’s union and the Alameda County Democratic Party. Visit the campaign’s official website at SamDavisForOaklandSchools.org.
Stacy Thomas for Oakland School Board, District 1
Formerly a volunteer with Centerforce Youth Court restorative justice program, small business owner Stacy Thomas assisted Action 2020 in a fight for school board reform after the Henry J. Kaiser Elementary School and Rotts International Academy were closed.
Stacy has earned the endorsement of Oakland Rising Action, among others. Click here to visit her campaign’s official website.
Cherisse Gash for Oakland School Board, District 3
Cherisse Gash comes from a family of educators going back four generations. Cherisse looks forward to putting her experience as a volunteer for PTA groups and the African American Male Achievement program for the public.
As she says, “It’s time for a School Board member in District 3 that actively engages, interacts and supports the student body.” She has been endorsed by Oakland Not For Sale, among others. Visit Cherisse’s official campaign website at CherisseGash.com.
California Proposition 17, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment (2020), would give the right to vote back to the tens of thousands of Americans who have been released from jail on parole. Continuing to deny these people their right to vote, when they have been deemed willing and capable of reintegration into society by the very justice system that incarcerated them, is illogical and wrong.
Prop 17, originally introduced as ACA 6, is a constitutional amendment that is sponsored by #cut50, a bipartisan effort to cut crime across the U.S., as well as the ACLU of California and the League of Women Voters of California. Prop 17 seeks to restore the right to vote for people released from prison on parole and in so doing join the 19 other states who already allow their parolees to vote.
As it turns out, there is legal precedence for the voting rights of those serving their time in their communities: Current California law denies the right to vote to people out on parole, but not those on probation. If the people who have been allowed to serve their sentence at home can retain their right to vote, it does not make sense to withhold that right from the people who have been approved to do the same thing. Passage of Prop 17 would amend Sections 2 and 4 of Article II of the California Constitution, allowing people who complete their term in prison to vote while out on parole.
Proposition 18 would allow young voters who will be 18 by the general election to vote in the primary as well. The Peace and Freedom Party recommends a “YES” vote on this measure: There is no reason why those qualified to participate in the general election should not also have a say in the primary process.
Many young people support progressive causes such as universal healthcare, racial justice, and tuition-free higher education. An NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll from February 2020 found that among Gen Z and Millennials (those aged 18-38), 38% had a favorable view of socialism. Additionally, the millions of young people throughout the country who have taken to the streets to fight for racial justice deserve a political voice. Prop 18 would increase youth participation and voter turnout, creating more space for young people to have a say in determining their future.