FSP Recommendations for March 5 California and Bay Area Primary Elections

Photo: Roger Lynn
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Dear Friend,

As we prepare to mark our ballots, the world shudders at the genocidal campaign against Palestinians. The U.S. government is backing Israel in its deadly onslaught. This conflict and others, like Russia’s war on Ukrainian sovereignty, threaten broader wars between international capitalists competing for profit. The resulting Islamophobia, antisemitism, xenophobia, and censorship are increasing both globally and here in the states. Corporate politicians blame immigrants, LGBTQIA+ folks and women for low wages, homelessness, and other problems. Locally, inflation drives more of the most marginalized people out of their dwellings. But working people, seeing our survival at stake, are fighting back.

That’s why we’ve seen more strikes – involving nearly half a million workers in this country. From the United Auto Workers to the movie and TV writers and actors, the people who do the work are joining together to fight for our livelihoods. Labor activists, anti-war and anti-fascist campaigners are organizing massive demonstrations and port and road shutdowns to stand for a free Palestine and an end to the occupation. Queer people and their supporters spearhead defense of drag story hours. Reproductive justice fighters march for abortion access and safe, affordable childcare. Here in San Francisco, thousands rallied to disrupt the capitalist Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and to tell Mayor Breed, “no city funding for corporate greed!”

As the working majority, let’s keep the activism going to build bold movements. We need strong united fronts to effect real political change. We won’t win such fundamental change by voting while the electoral system favors big business. Elections, however, do raise political consciousness. Seeing that neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party offer real choices for advancing labor rights, building reproductive or racial justice, or ending wars like the one in Gaza, voters are increasingly seeing the need to take political action and reject the two-party system.

The March 5 primary ballot reflects the crisis that the capitalist class has created. There are no candidates who stand clearly for the revolutionary changes needed. Also present are pro-policing, law-and-order propositions that would worsen the lives of the most vulnerable San Franciscans, along with bond measures that would raise living costs for renters and homeowners. Although it is crucial to vote to stop such measures, it’s even more important to organize, apply political pressure, and take to the streets to get what we truly need at election time and all year!

To that end, we invite you to work with the Freedom Socialist Party to bring revolutionary feminism and the leadership of the most marginalized people into the struggle for a better system. Please see our electoral recommendations on the following pages. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss any of our positions or get involved.

In solidarity,
Nancy Reiko Kato
Freedom Socialist Party Bay Area Organizer

Ballot Recommendations

Presidential Candidates

As long as the current system prevails, with its focus on profit to the exclusion of the needs of humans and the planet, there will be environmental destruction and misery for almost everyone. This means the FSP never recommends candidates from the two corporate parties responsible for this catastrophe, including Democrats who claim to be socialist. Nor do we endorse Green Party nominees, as they believe that a kinder, gentler capitalism is possible. To endorse a candidate, we want to be sure they agree that capitalism goes against all social and ecological progress and that it must be replaced.

Because March 5 is a primary election, only presidential candidates running for the nomination of the six parties with officially approved status appear on the ballot. One of these is the Peace and Freedom Party. In the past, we have run as and supported candidates of the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP), which has a platform that is socialist and feminist. Unfortunately, years of degeneration within the PFP, and within many of the left groups who comprise it, have made qualitative changes that render it a loose electoral grouping that is socialist on paper only. Additionally, the PFP presidential primary is essentially a popularity contest. The choice of a candidate comes later in the year at the party’s convention. In some past elections, the final nomination went to individuals who didn’t even appear on the primary ballot.

This year, three candidates are vying for the Peace and Freedom Party nomination: Claudia de la Cruz of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), Jasmine Sherman of the Unicorn Party, and Cornel West of the Justice for All Party.

Sherman and West both have some good positions in their platforms that we support. But their campaign materials do not show a commitment to replacing capitalism. Their histories as candidates, sometimes running as Greens, other times joining or founding parties that may be progressive, but not explicitly anti-capitalist, show that they aren’t demanding the fundamental change that the working class needs.

Claudia de la Cruz and her party, the PSL, have a clearly socialist platform with the ultimate goal of putting poor and working people in political power. They make many demands worthy of support, like nationalizing the top 100 U.S. corporations, full equality for LGBTQ people, and cutting the military budget by 90%. However, the PSL takes positions on international issues that jeopardize the lives of working-class people in many countries. PSL lines up with the Russian oligarchy in their bloody war against Ukraine, supporting the slaughter of thousands of Ukrainians defending their sovereignty. The party’s refusal to defend and support working-class movements against Bashar al-Assad in Syria or the brutal theocracy in Iran betrays the fundamental of international solidarity. PSL also uncritically backs the Cuban government’s crackdown on Black and working-class protesters who took to the streets in July 2022 to demand basic life necessities and workers’ democracy. Given these betrayals of the working-class, we cannot endorse PSL candidates.

We do not recommend voting for any of the Peace and Freedom presidential candidates.

U.S. Senate Candidate

The primary race for U.S. Senate is an open primary – the top two vote-getters appear on the fall ballot regardless of party affiliation.

There is no true anti-capitalist choice on the ballot for senate. Laura Garza, of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), is running for this office. Although the SWP claims to be an anti-capitalist party, their positions on some prominent issues prove otherwise. They join with many Democrats and Republicans in branding support for Palestinians and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as Jew-hatred, they give justification for workers voting for Donald Trump, and like the PSL, they uncritically support the Cuban bureaucracy against protesting workers. Although the SWP’s name includes the word socialist, they have been on a course toward the right for years.

California Ballot Propositions

Proposition 1 – $6.4 Billion Bond and Changes to Mental Health Services Act – Vote NO

Proposition 1 claims to address both homelessness and the lack of mental health services but shifts some funds currently going to county-based mental health services to the state. It also requires counties to use some of the mental health funds to pay for housing and job training programs. Patient advocates note that these changes will result in cuts of one third to local mental health programs. When paired with the CARE Court enacted in 2023, Proposition 1 has the potential to increase involuntary commitment of people with mental health disabilities without any resources to improve their lives.

On top of that, Proposition 1 borrows $6.4 billion through general obligation bonds to pay for new mental health facilities and provide supportive housing. We generally oppose funding services by this method, as working-class renters and homeowners end up paying the cost through increased property taxes. In the case of Proposition 1, the total with interest comes to over $9 billion. The taxes we already pay should be prioritized to fund basic needs like mental health services.

Along with Disability Rights California and the League of Women Voters, we urge you to vote NO.

San Francisco Ballot Propositions

No to dubious solutions for housing:

Proposition A – Affordable Housing Bonds – Vote NO

Proposition A borrows $300 million to construct, rehabilitate, and acquire affordable housing. There are no guarantees that significant numbers of truly affordable residences will result. Los Angeles voters passed a measure in 2016 that promised 10,000 affordable homes. It was a windfall for developers but provided only 1,000 units after five years. Given that Proposition A is a bond measure like California Proposition 1, it ends up increasing taxes on mostly working-class folks. Yes, we need more housing that the lowest paid workers can afford. Let’s start taxing San Francisco’s corporations and billionaires, who benefit from construction projects and having a labor force able to live in the city. Also, let’s open the government’s books so that we can ensure that the priority for general fund money is addressing worker and community needs.

Proposition C – Real Estate Transfer Tax Exemption – Vote NO

Proposition C is a deceitful effort to exempt wealthy building owners from paying a real estate transfer tax when a property is converted from commercial to residential use. Paving the way for the building of more downtown luxury housing, this measure drains away monies that are currently used to fund affordable dwellings and rental assistance. It also lessens direct democracy by taking away the right of voters to change the transfer tax and giving this authority to the Board of Supervisors. Like the San Francisco Tenants Union and Senior and Disability Action, we call for a NO vote.

No to law-and-order remedies – no to increased policing and surveillance:

Proposition B – Requiring Minimum Police Staffing if Voters Approve Increased Taxes in Future– Vote NO

This city charter amendment aims to increase the number of cops and make it more difficult to reduce police staffing levels. These changes can only be implemented if voters approve increased taxes to pay for them in future elections (as opposed to taking them out of the existing budget). We oppose hiring more cops and increasing police budgets regardless of how they are funded. Increased policing does not address the poverty and associated social problems that lead to crime. It only leads to more misery for people from the Black and Latinx, trans, and unhoused communities who are brutalized and killed by cops disproportionately. Vote NO.

Proposition E – Reduced Police Recordkeeping, Increased Surveillance with Drones and Facial Recognition, Increased Vehicle Chases – Vote NO

Mayor Breed, riding the fearmongering, get-tough-on-crime bandwagon, put Proposition E on the ballot. This measure reduces police accountability and community oversight by reducing reporting requirements for use of force incidents It also grants more power to the Chief. SFPD already uses force 25 times as much against Black people as compared to white folks. Proposition E makes it more difficult to address this egregious disparity. The measure also grants police authority to deploy new and invasive surveillance technology without oversight, including facial recognition.

Proposition E will increase car chase deaths by allowing such pursuits under more circumstances. This measure is a danger to the rights of nearly all San Franciscans and promises even greater harm to the city’s most vulnerable communities. We join the Coalition on Homelessness, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and ACLU of Northern California in asking you to vote NO.

Proposition F – Forced Drug Testing and Treatment for General Assistance Recipients – Vote NO

This measure requires drug screening and treatment for single adults under age 65 who receive general assistance if the city suspects they are dependent on illegal drugs. If a person refuses testing and treatment, their assistance will be stopped.

This is another law-and-order solution to the problem of drug use and overdoses that plague San Francisco and other big cities. Instead of looking at the roots of the problem, like poverty and lack of services, Proposition F blames the victim. If enacted, it will lead to even more homelessness and desperation as many GA recipients’ meager monthly support is taken away. A public health approach with legalization of drugs and free quality treatment is what’s needed, not a punitive one. Along with the Coalition on Homelessness and San Francisco Human Services Network, we ask you to vote NO.

Alameda County Ballot Proposition

Alameda County Proposition B – Charter Amendment on Right of Recall – Vote NO

As a San Francisco-based party, we focus primarily on the city’s ballot, but we need to point out a particularly bad measure to our supporters in Alameda County. Proposition B replaces the county’s own elected official recall rules and replaces them with California state guidelines. Under Alameda County’s current charter, voters elect the replacements for recalled officials. Under the new guidelines, recalled officials will be appointed, and appointees cannot be recalled. This opens the door for more corruption and weakens hard-fought democratic rights. Vote NO.

Summary of Freedom Socialist Party Recommendations

Peace & Freedom Party Presidential NomineeLeave your ballot blank
U.S. Senate CandidatesLeave your ballot blank
California Ballot Propositions
Proposition 1 – $6.4 Billion Bond and Changes to Mental Health Services Act VoteNO
San Francisco Ballot Propositions
Proposition A – Affordable Housing BondsVote NO
Proposition B – Requiring Minimum Police Staffing if Voters Approve Future Tax IncreasesVote NO
Proposition C – Real Estate Transfer Tax ExemptionVote NO
Proposition E – Reduced Police Recordkeeping, Increased Surveillance with Drones and Facial Recognition, Increased Vehicle ChasesVote NO
Proposition F – Forced Drug Testing and Treatment for General Assistance RecipientsVote NO
Alameda County Proposition B – Charter Amendment on Right of RecallVote NO
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