Just found out today (August 4, 2012) that Roseanne Barr and I were given the confidence and nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party of California at the nominating convention. Even though Roseanne is Roseanne and I have been a member of the party for almost four years, now, the nomination wasn’t in the bag—there were some high hurdles we had to leap first and we did it (with our great, if not small, team) in less than a week!
The Peace and Freedom Party is the only Socialist/Feminist Party with ballot status (for the time being) here in California and many left wing parties or independents vie for the Presidential nomination of our party—so there were originally five tickets seeking the nod: Alexander/Mendoza of SPUSA; Anderson/Rodriguez of the newly formed Justice Party; Durham/Lopez of the Freedom Socialist Party; Lindsay/Osorio of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and Barr/Sheehan of the Peace and Freedom Party (I was added to the ticket just one week ago today).
What made our nomination more and more likely as the week wore on were two things that happened. Though Rocky Anderson had won the PFP primary in June, the primary is non-binding and the nomination occurs at the convention. Well, Anderson did not do the work within the party that needed to be done to consolidate delegates in order to secure the nomination and ballot line AND he is decidedly not a Socialist and didn’t even endorse our candidate, Marsha Feinland, for US Senate in June. Anderson discovered that his chances were minimal for getting the nomination and he withdrew the day the convention began. We wish him well.
However, the most important thing that worked in the favor of Barr/Sheehan was the wonderful act of solidarity that the Party for Socialism and Liberation made on the behalf of our ticket. Peta Lindsay is only 28 and she was leading up the PSL ticket with amazing energy, intelligence and commitment. Being only 28, though, the California Secretary of State pulled her name off the ballot and she withdrew her candidacy for PFP today at the convention and urged her committed delegates and the undecided delegates to vote for Barr/Sheehan.
I spoke on behalf of the Barr/Sheehan ticket at the candidate forum last night in the president’s slot and took questions and gave statements and then Roseanne (who is being roasted by Comedy Central tonight), blew into the convention today and literally blew everyone away with her humorous, yet deep, analysis of the issues and the way socialism can address them and help lead us to the promised land of: full employment; Medicare for all; free education from pre-school to university; housing as a right; a sustainable, clean environment and most of all, peace!
I had another few minutes to speak today and I am always introduced as an “antiwar activist,” but my resumé has fleshed out a little over the years. I have been traveling the world working with socialist organizations and, especially in Latin America, witnessing socialist revolution at work. Being a dedicated anti-imperialist, I have seen how the two major parties in this country are both dedicated to war, war, and more war for profit. Looking for peace in the Democratic Party is like looking for integrity in the Corporate Media—it’s just not there in a significant way. All of the socialist-democratic countries I have been to not only recognize, but are committed to the idea of national sovereignty—they rightfully don’t want anyone messing in their countries and they return the favor—much to the consternation of the US/British/Israeli military junta.
Because I believe it’s the only way to peace and planetary disarmament, I am a convert to, and now an evangelical, for socialist revolution. I have witnessed, before my eyes, the transformation of societies from illiterate, disempowered peasantry to educated and empowered vital members of society.
Socialism has an undeserved stigma in this country because the capitalists surely don’t want us to know that there is a better way of doing things and there has been a dedicated smear campaign against socialism since at least WWII yet, I have been in the meetings where dry Marxist jargon is bandied about and sometimes I don’t even know what the hell they’re talking about
Roseanne and I believe that the only way to stop this evil empire from its crimes is to relate to the masses in a way that the jargon can’t. Roseanne is from the working-class and I always have been and always will be. Neither one of us are very fluent in the jargon, but we can speak the language of the worker: he/she; white/black/brown/yellow/red; Republican/Democrat/Socialist/; Christian/Muslim/Jew/atheist—we all face the same issues and we are all having the life sucked out of us by the Evil Empire that has two heads where one looks strangely like Mitt Romney and the other one is the spitting image of Barack Obama.
Roseanne and I can help form the response that exhibits compassion, intelligence, justice, and peace. Socialism can be defined as “an economic system characterized by social ownership and cooperative management of the means of production, and a political philosophy advocating such a system” but it really is just a system of taking care of each other from cradle to grave and recognizing that we should belong to a community that cares for each other.
There have been a few people who have been appalled by our candidacy thinking that we may “take votes away from Obama” and “cause Romney to win” and there are responses to that one:
Barack Obama does not own your vote.
If you care about peace, justice and economic equality, he has not earned your vote.
If Obama loses this November it’s because he sucks and his presidency has been a failure for the 99% and a windfall for the 1%.
Besides, historically, after the US has constantly bounced from Democrat-Republican-Democrat-Republican-Democrat, etc., haven’t you kind of noticed already that it really doesn’t matter very much who is president?
It’s the cyst-em of control that needs to be overthrown and socialist revolution can do that!
Go to www.RoseanneforPresident2012.org for more information about the campaign.