FSP Recommendations for March 5 California and Los Angeles Primary Elections

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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, to hotel workers and teachers, 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.

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 only a few candidates who stand clearly for the revolutionary changes needed. Also present is a bond measure that would cut county mental health programs and 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,

Val Carlson
Organizer, Freedom Socialist Party Los Angeles

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 who 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 with 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 LGBTQIA+ 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 working class 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. In the past, PSL has supported Zionist Roseanne Barr and Democrat Bernie Sanders. Given these betrayals of the working-class here and abroad, 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.  We do not recommend voting for Laura Garza.

U.S. House of Representatives Candidates

There are three Peace and Freedom Party candidates running in Los Angeles districts. We recommend voting for Aaron Reveles in District 34, but not for John Parker in District 37 or William Patterson in District 28.

Aaron Reveles has a strong and comprehensive anti-capitalist program.  He states: “Time and time again we’ve elected Democrats and Republicans, and all we’ve gotten in return is corruption, a lower standard of living, and a dysfunctional government that proves it cannot meet the needs of its residents. I’m a public school teacher, a working class organizer, and a proud socialist.”  His in-depth program calls for healthcare for all,  universal suffrage, reproductive rights, rent stabilization, social housing, full LGBTQIA+ rights and protections, elected independent review boards over police, an unconditional right to strike, reparations and land restoration for Black and Indigenous people, eco-socialism to save and restore the planet, an end to U.S. aggression and interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and global wealth redistribution to assist nations adversely affected by U.S. and Western policies of imperialism. We recommend that District 34 residents vote for Aaron Reveles.

John Parker, is a long-time socialist, activist, anti-war and anti-racist organizer. He is the founder of the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice and a Socialist Unity Party member.  He is running as an open socialist, stating: “What we need is a whole new system. Racism, war, poverty and the destruction of the planet are built in to capitalism.  We need a powerful, united people’s movement to overcome the tiny handful of billionaires that are exploiting us all.”  We agree with much of his platform. However, his position on Cuba, support for Russia against Ukraine and for Assad in Syria, and for other capitalist governments that repress their own working class is essentially the same as PSL’s. We do not recommend that District 37 residents vote for John Parker.

William Patterson is running on PFP’s Unity Slate, but not as openly socialist or anti-capitalist.  He proposes many good reforms.  His vision includes “a thriving economy, environmental sustainability, accessible healthcare, and equitable opportunities for all.”  However he says he would be a new voice in Washington that will work for all, not just the wealthy, and he seeks to foster a more equitable relationship between employees and companies. We do not recommend that District 28 residents vote for William Patterson.

California State Assembly District 52

Shannel Pitman is a socialist-identified Green Party member running a joint campaign with Aaron Reveles. She calls for “the socialist transformation of society” and shares the same strong socialist program with Reveles (see above), which calls for demands such as community control of the police and social housing. This program is grounded in the realities of the LA working-class, and exemplifies the correct ideas and demands that would transition our society towards socialism. We recommend that District 52 residents vote for Shannel Pitman.

Los Angeles City Council District 14

Eduardo “Lalo” Vargas is a teacher and UTLA member, tenant organizer, and member of PSL. His Five Point Socialist Program makes strong demands around ending homelessness, ending police terror, free mass transit, and more. However, it fails to demand anything on behalf of the full equality of LGBTQ+ people or defending reproductive justice. This follows a pattern from the PSL playbook of programmatically ignoring feminist and gender issues and only elevating bread-and-butter or “everyman” demands. This, in tandem with PSL’s aforementioned tendency towards betraying the international working class, is why we do not recommend that District 14 residents vote for Eduardo Vargas.

California Ballot 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.

Summary of FSP Recommendations

Peace & Freedom Party President: Leave your ballot blank

U.S. Senate Candidates: Leave your ballot blank

U.S. House of Representatives District 34: Vote for Aaron Reveles

CA State Assembly, District 52: Vote for Shannel Pittman

California Ballot Proposition 1 – $6.4 Billion Bond and Changes to Mental Health Services Act: Vote No

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