Following is a list and brief description of the 26 sections of this this web page that make up the electronic version of the eighth issue of the Partisan, the newspaper of the California Peace and Freedom Party. The locations of the contents in the printed version, which also includes graphics that we do not attempt to reproduce here, are in parentheses.
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Another blow against rent control by the state's landlords, this fraud will destroy every mobilehome rent control ordinance in California. (Over 100 municipalities have enacted them.) Sensitive souls can detect its phoniness from the double negative of its title -- "limits" on rent "control"; but, it is precisely the sensitive who might then fall for the pittance of "rental assistance" this proposition so gratuitously offers people with low income -- a crumb from Caesar's table, or better, a dime from J.D. Rockefeller if there ever was one.
A few notes:
1. The "[s]tatewide ... average space rent of approximately $300 per month" does not pay the rent on a travel trailer space (less than 30 feet long) in my park in the city of Bell, an average town. And life in a travel trailer is only one step above sleeping in your car! Rent on a real mobilehome space (40+ feet long) in Bell averages $425 per month (plus utilities).
2. The landlords argue that mobilehome rent control "drives up the cost of mobilehome housing while discouraging maintenance and new construction". This is a carry-over from their arguments (excuses/threats) against rent control in general. The fact of the matter is that mobilehome park owners are not responsible either for maintenance or new construction.
3. The landlords then try the analogous argument, that "local rent regulations artificially increase the re-sale price of mobilehomes ... the biggest obstacle to affordable mobilehome housing". But this initiative will not directly help anyone buy a mobilehome. Instead, it allows the landlords to poach off mobilehome owners' equity: when they increase their space rents, the re-sale value of the mobilehomes on them falls drastically (who wants to buy a rapacious lease?). Every $10 rent increase destroys approximately $1,000 in equity.
4. The solution to the barrier to entry into the mobilehome owning market is to make lots of good, cheap mobilehomes, and to enable their purchase. The best mobilehomes made are Airstream and Argosy -- conversion projects of the World War II aircraft industry. Fuselage construction technology builds a durable, weather-tight hull. Mobilehome production is a great opportunity to convert destructive defense technology into constructive housing for human beings.
We deserve better; send that message to the landlords and vote NO on Proposition 199.
[Jack Artz is resident of a mobilehome park in Bell, CA]
[This article was accompanied by a picture with the following caption:]
This Bell, California mobilehome park resident would lose rent control protection under Proposition 199. Note the tarp on the roof of her home needed for protection from rain.
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In response to the attacks on civil rights gains in California, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has relocated its spring march for women's rights from Washington to San Francisco. The April 14 demonstration will focus on defending the gains of the women's and civil rights movements over the past 40 years. A huge turnout for this march is needed to show the strength of support for women's and minority rights, but we can't just demonstrate.
A massive last-minute infusion of cash from the Republican Party and major right-wing donors has qualified the so-called "California Civil Rights Initiative" for the November ballot. The petition drive had been faltering due to lack of active support, but Gov. Wilson urged his clique of backers to pour in the necessary dollars. At the same time, SOS 2 -- Proposition 187's immigrant-baiting child -- failed to qualify. Support for measures of this sort is broad, but not very deep. It's hard to find volunteers to work on the measures.
Resistance to these attacks on women, minorities and immigrants has been growing. In particular, we see the beginnings of a student movement, galvanized by last election's anti-immigrant Proposition 187 and by the curtailment of affirmative action programs, student aid and civil liberties. As the Partisan goes to press, demonstrations, forums and teach-ins are planned for over 100 colleges and universities across the nation in the period from March 14 through early April. Many of these events will be small, given the newness of the movement, but many will take place on campuses untouched by political activity since the 1960s. We will have a report on California actions in our next issue.
The movement to defend minority rights is also weak, however. Students in particular are frequently victims of a culture of individualism which makes it hard for them to defend group rights. Those whose only concern is individual upward mobility and those with a broad perspective of fighting poverty, exploitation and inequality are united for now, but as the need for clarity in thought and action increases we will see some very difficult struggles within the movement.
Many of those struggles will focus on the choice between defense of existing programs and moving forward toward genuine social change. The majority of new activists are impelled by a burning concern for social justice. As liberals defend affirmative action programs by pointing out that they don't do much anyway, the contradiction will drive many to seek out ways to actually obtain equality in our unequal society. To do that, they must confront questions of class, income, housing and education which are presently being raised only on the fringes of the movement.
This, in return, will require activists to recognize that none of the struggles they wage exist in a vacuum, independent of the others, and that all of the specific struggles which make up the broader battle for social justice, whether they be issues of racial and national discrimination, defense of needed social programs against increasing austerity, or any of the other questions we face, have a common component. And that common component lies in the fact that they stem from the nature of the economy and from the fact that those who profit from misery, austerity, and discrimination have, by the very nature of our system, the greatest power to control our system.
Our real struggle is to take that power away from them into our own hands.
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192 Bonds (More Interest for the Rich) NO 193 More Tinkering With Prop 13 NO 194 Pure Mean-Spiritedness Toward Ex-Cons NO 195 More State Killing NO 196 Yet More State Killing NO 197 Step One Toward Mountain Lion Hunting NO 198 Lets Republicans Choose P&F Candidates NO 199 Wipes Out Mobilehome Rent Control NO!!! 200 "Your Fault" Auto Insurance Scheme NO 201 Rich Cheats Don't Want To Be Sued NO 202 They Can Have Lawyers, You Can't NO 203 School Bonds (No Position) (See stories on these measures elsewhere in this issue)
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Labor Party Advocates, the national union-based organizing network which aims at the creation of an independent working-class political party, has made some important headway with progressive unions lately. Long identified with the efforts of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers, its President Bob Wages, and its special organizer Tony Mazzochi, LPA has gathered support from other forward-minded leaderships in the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) and the United Electrical Workers (UE).
The support of the ILWU is especially critical here on the West Coast. In May of last year, the international executive board of the union met with Wages and Mazzochi. Then in August, the same body unanimously endorsed LPA. The unanimity was especially significant in that the Hawaiian contingent of the union, which has long been very closely aligned with the Democratic Party of the islands, also supported the resolution. Moreover, Brian McWilliams, president of the ILWU, formally signed a membership card with Leo Seidlitz, northern California LPA organizer, that same month.
In addition to this, the independent ILWU retirees organization, the Pacific Pensioners Association, at their September convention in Sacramento, also voted a unanimous endorsement. Well over ten percent of the 130 delegates joined LPA at the same time. Finally, the San Francisco Region of the Inland Boatmen's Association (a major part of ILWU) also voted endorsement in September.
And such support is not unique. Other unions like the UE are showing significant support, pledging a hundred delegates for the upcoming June 1996 national LPA convention in Cleveland. All this can only help build momentum for LPA which is also establishing local chapters throughout the US. The platformand strategy are still being debated but many working-class activists are now hopeful that we will soon have our own party.
[Bill Balderston is Treasurer of the East Bay Chapter of Labor Party Advocates and a member of the Peace & Freedom Party State Central Committee. For information about Labor Party Advocates, you can call LPA's Northern California organizer at (415) 543-2699 in San Francisco.]
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Air quality and water standards are being battered by the California legislature. Legislation in Sacramento this session shows a steady retreat from environmental principle. The California Environmental Quality Act, now over 20 years old, is the right of citizens to get information about the impact of development and planning in their own communities, and participate in the decision process. The present standard says that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is required if it can "be fairly argued based on substantial evidence in light of the whole record a project may have a significant effect on the environment".
Charles Calderon (Dem. - Montebello) introduced Senate Bill 1180, passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, to let state agencies judge the need for an EIR without a public hearing on environmental report when a military base closure is involved. The EIR won't be required unless the agency makes an affirmative decision. Ignorance, neglect and bucks would prevail.
Jim Costa (Dem. - Fresno) passed legislation to allow new pesticides to be used for up to two years without test reports through "emergency registration". Since 1992 there have been 102 "emergency" registrations. Costa's SB 283 makes this process permanent.
Charles Calderon (Dem. - Montebello) has introduced a bill to substitute "cost-based" criteria on drinking water standards for the current requirement that the state try to meet public health standards. His SB 1307, which passed the State Senate and sailed through the Assembly, does retain some control of giardia and cryptosporidium, but reduces overall state control over water quality. The bill may die because of Assembly amendments unacceptable to the author.
Heavy-duty truckers won the cooperation of Jan Goldsmith (Rep. - Poway), whose Assembly Bill 1675 prohibits adoption or enforcement of any heavy-duty diesel standard that is tougher than the federal standard. The bill has passed the Assembly. AB 1460 (Morrisey, Rep. - Santa Ana) would halt roadside test and smoke inspections for trucks.
On the regional level, the board of a four-county Air Quality Management District (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties) adopted an air quality control plan openly written by Chevron, Texaco, Hughes Aircraft and other corporations. The plan eliminated 90% of the air quality gains which a rejected staff-written plan would have achieved. Mayor Riordan of Los Angeles arbitrarily delayed implementation of the surviving ten percent for four more years. See our story on the farmworkers union for a report on the legislation continuing the use of methyl bromide, one of the most environmentally destructive of all pesticides. Are you all still breathing?
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The Partisan invited the four candidates whose names will appear on the March 26 presidential preference primary ballot, Mary Cal Hollis, Gerald Horne, Monica Moorehead, and Jan Tucker, to submit statements for our readers. The final selection of the Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate will be made at the Party's convention (made up of the Central Committee members also elected in this primary), which is presently scheduled for the weekend of August 3-4, 1996.
Hollis 1996 Campaign c/o Maggie Phair 5502 West Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (213) 484-5437 e-mail: Hollis1996@aol.com Gerald Horne Black Studies Dept 3631 South Hall, UCSB Santa Barbara, California 93106 Workers World Party Election Campaign 55 West 17th Street, 5th Floor New York, NY 10011 Phone: (212) 627-2994 Fax: (212) 675-7869 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.workers.org Jan B. Tucker 10153 1/2 Riverside Dr., #374 Toluca Lake, California 91602 818-830-2794 fax: 818-830-2824
As the Partisan went to press, we learned that Ralph Nader had authorized papers to be taken out so that he could be run as a write-in candidate in the Peace & Freedom Party presidential preference primary, as well as those of the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Reform Parties. Nader is already on the Green Party primary ballot.
Nader has given permission for his name to be entered in Green Party primaries in New Mexico and Maine as well as California. He says that he will neither campaign nor raise money, but instead views his candidacy as a test of grassroots activism. He has reserved the right to withdraw his candidacy before the November election.
For further information on the Nader campaign, contact: People's Campaign '96 P.O. Box 3727 Oakland, California 94609 510-44-GREEN
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Workers World Party salutes the youth and students in California who are mobilizing to stop Gov. Wilson's attack on affirmative action. WWP's 1996 candidates, Monica Moorehead for president and Gloria La Riva for vice president, are running in the spirit of this fight-back movement.
WWP is dedicated to ending racism, poverty and war. We know the injustices of capitalism cannot be voted out of existence. They are endemic to the system. We work to build a mass, independent movement that unites all struggles of poor and working people. That's why our candidates do more than speak out; they join in these struggles every day, on picket lines, in communities, on campuses.
A major message of Workers World Party's presidential campaign is to show why it's long overdue for progressives to break with the two big capitalist parties and embrace an independent, revolutionary, pro- socialist program.
President Clinton benefits from popular opposition to cutbacks and reactionary social legislation championed by Republicans. But his program is fundamentally no different from Dole's or Gingrich's. Clinton represents the interests of the capitalist class, even if he appears to throw a few more crumbs to the workers.
Moorehead and La Riva's platform speaks to people's urgent needs:
Full rights for undocumented immigrants, including decent jobs, education and health care.
Guaranteed jobs or income for all. Ban layoffs and plant closings. Triple the minimum wage. Stop racist workfare programs -- really thinly disguised slave labor.
The budget belongs to the people. Cancel the deficit and end interest payments to Wall Street. Fund a massive jobs program to build schools and hospitals. Tax corporate profits to clean our polluted environment.
Fight racism, sexism, and oppression of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. Guarantee full reproductive rights for all women, including abortion on demand.
Stop railroading youth, a disproportionate number of them people of color, into prisons for the "crime" of being poor or unemployed.
Dismantle the Pentagon war machine. End U.S. aggression around the world, from Bosnia to Korea. Lift the U.S. blockade of Cuba. Use the military's trillion-dollar budgets to fight a war against AIDS.
Monica Moorehead and Gloria La Riva -- two socialist women from oppressed communities -- plan to bring this exciting message to people around the country. Workers need a fighting socialist movement, whose goal is to eliminate capitalism and transfer the tremendous wealth of society from the greedy few to the multinational working class to meet the needs of all humanity.
Moorehead, a member of WWP's National Committee, is a leader of the socialist movement. A resident of Jersey City, she's a fighter for women's rights and self-determination for African Americans and other oppressed peoples. La Riva is a Chicana activist and union militant from San Francisco. She's an organizer of the struggle to overturn Prop. 187 and a leader of the movement to end the U.S. blockade of Cuba. A member of WWP's National Committee, La Riva was our vice- presidential candidate in 1984 and 1988 and ran for governor of California in 1994.
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The prime issue facing PFP every four years is to choose between national candidates who will spend very little of their time campaigning in California or "favorite son/ daughter" candidates who are in a position to campaign throughout the state for the entire campaign season. Our local candidates need a Presidential ticket that campaigns for them, not a candidate who expects legislative and congressional candidates to carry the load for the Presidential candidate.
Jan Tucker has carried the party banner in eight elections, including Lt. Governor and State Treasurer, garnering nearly 200,000 votes in 1994.
Tucker's movement work gives him entry into constituencies that no other PFP candidate now enjoys: he is Public Relations director of San Fernando Valley NOW, the Save the Animals Fund, COYOTE, and the Armenian American Action Committee; he is a Director of the Cal NOW Legal Fund, a member of Local 69 - The Newspaper Guild, the California Association of Licensed Investigators, the NAACP, and Labor Party Advocates.
Of equal importance to a candidate who will be a full time California candidate is a referendum on the future of PFP.
Our party's structure resembles the organizational principles of the Marx Brothers more closely than those of Karl Marx. PFP is the only group that elects its "fundraiser" instead of entrusting its elected leaders with the task of finding somebody competent for the position. This is why PFP "fundraisers" never raise any funds. At the same time, PFP has no public relations officer. That's why you never hear about its activities and accomplishments in the press.
For years, Tucker has advocated that PFP leadership seek a partner for "friendly takeover". He advocates affiliation with Labor Party Advocates. If a group with serious support from the union movement like LPA were to reject a "friendly takeover" of PFP so that it would not have to get on the ballot all over again, it would only be a testament to the zany reputation that the party leadership has cultivated by its bizarre and anti-inclusive structure.
To make the party more inclusive, PFP should restructure itself so that each elected member of the Central Committee is allowed to appoint three other members (as the party did from 1968 to 1974). But, one of these appointees should be required to be either gay/lesbian/ or racial/ethnic minority; one should be a cardcarrying union member; and one should be poor. This will force the white, Yuppyite leadership of PFP to recruit from the constituencies which are our natural bases and those we need to cultivate for success. Additionally, PFP should elect a small group of executive officers and entrust them to find competent experts -- like fundraiser, press people, and organizers, rather than electing a huge executive board which is representative of nobody and assumes functions that nobody on it is competent to carry out.
As PFP President candidates, Tucker will be a credible spokesperson for a feminist, trade unionist, civil libertarian campaign. Tucker has appeared on national media representing NOW (Fox Network, the Mo Gaffney Show; A.M. Radio's the Tom Leykis show), COYOTE (Fox Network, the Gabrielle Carteris show) and frequently appears on Los Angeles area media, including four KCAL TV appearances within the past two years.
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Author, scholar, attorney and activist, Dr. Gerald Horne teaches history and black studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara and is a former chair of the Black Studies Department there. In 1992, Horne received over 300,000 votes as a Peace & Freedom Party candidate for United States Senate. From 1992 to 1994, he was state chair of the Peace & Freedom Party.
Before beginning his teaching career, Horne served as Special Counsel to Local 1199 of the Health and Hospital Care Workers Union in New York City and as Executive Director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers. There he was asked by the Union of Arab Jurists to mediate the civil war in the Sudan. He was a key fund-raiser and solidarity activist for both the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa and the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) of Namibia.
He has served on the Board of Directors of Sane/Freeze/Campaign for Global Security, the U.S. Peace Council, the W.E.B. DuBois Foundation and the Paul Robeson Center; he is co-chair of the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild and a regular commentator on Pacifica Radio (where he formerly chaired the Board of the New York City affiliate, WBAI-FM).
Gerald Horne has written many articles and books on African-American history and the left, most recently The Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s (University Press of Virginia, 1995). He is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Zimbabwe.
Gerald Horne is a voice for working people and their rights. As P&F presidential candidate, he will campaign for:
The Right to a Decent Job at a Living Wage: Raise the minimum wage to at least $8 per hour; shorten the work week with no loss of pay; double time for overtime; raise and extend unemployment insurance; guarantee the right to organize pass anti-scab legislation, reform or abolish the National Labor Relations Board; repeal GATT and NAFTA.
The Right to a World at Peace: Close all foreign bases; abolish the CIA; complete nuclear disarmament; slash military spending by 85% and use the money for human needs.
The Right to a Safe and Clean Environment: Clean, renewable energy, cleanup of toxic waste; safe air, water and food. End destruction of the environment through clearcutting, strip mining and pollution. Preserve and extend the Environmental Protection Act.
The Right to Housing, Education and Health Care: Decent, affordable housing for all; free, quality medical care through a national health system; free, quality education at all levels.
The Right to Equality: Effective affirmative action to secure equal pay, job opportunities and educational access for women and minorities; end all discrimination based on color, sex, age, sexual orientation or nationality.
The Right to Speak and Organize: Uncompromising defense of the Bill of Rights and the Civil Rights Amendments to the Constitution.
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Our country has become a de-facto plutocracy: government of the people, by the wealthy, and for corporate welfare. The worst possible scenario of capitalism gone bad is before us today. Greed controls the government, power is concentrated in the upper economic classes, and people feel numb to fight the situation. Middle class Americans do not sense the loss of income, and dream that they, too, may be rich one day, so they are not anxious to fight the status quo.
Health care, the environment, welfare, education, etc: these are not issues, these are symptoms of the class struggle issue that is crippling our society right now.
A government that supports the interests of the super-wealthy does not care about health care, unless it is the health of a worker who can contribute to the wealth of a corporation. The health of the aged, the handicapped, the chronically ill, the poor, these people are not important to them.
Environmental issues are not important to them: it will only reduce profits of corporate share-holders if corporations are held responsible for what damage they do to the earth.
Education? Recreation? The wealthy have their own. For almost any issue you can name, the interest of the majority of the people is directly opposed to the interest of the very wealthy.
The extreme lack of compassion in a nation obsessed with Christianity, not spirituality, and family values, not human needs, is compelling to me. I am running for President of the United States to bring the issues back to the left and to get out the word that Democratic Socialism is not an oxymoron, that Clinton is not a socialist. But more than that, I am running because I care about people, especially people who cannot represent themselves.
I feel today that I must speak out as a voice of reason: we must begin to think of how our policies relate to people, not to profits. And now is not the time for us to become numb to the powerlessness we have been made to feel. Now is the time to fight back.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. suggested, I agree that our government needs to consider some form of socialism. The time for Democratic Socialism has come. We are seeing a tremendous interest in the Socialist Party of the United States, and I believe this is the appropriate instrument to send the message we want: we need to support people, there is nothing wrong with showing compassion, there is nothing wrong with us paying for services. There is something wrong with corporate welfare, especially corporate welfare in the Department of Defense.
The time has come for us to abandon the Trickle Down theory, we have proven that it does not work, and we have proven it at great expense to our society.
I am proud to do whatever I can to that end.
Mary Cal Hollis
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[explanations of Peace & Freedom Party positions, by Partisan staff unless otherwise noted]
The Peace and Freedom Party is opposed to the high costs and wealth transfers that result from bond financing. At current rates of maybe 5.5%, the direct cost of bond financing adds at least 70% to the cost of the project. The state's General Fund, which gets its money primarily from income and sales taxes, pays the interest on most bonds. The bonds are tax-free (and in reality, risk-free). General Fund revenue is reduced by the income tax the investors would otherwise have paid on their interest income.
To win voter approval, bond financing is targeted at things the public really wants, like bridge repair and schools. Voters are intentionally torn between fiscal crisis or meeting important needs, between common economic good sense or public safety and education. The solution, a more progressive income tax, is hidden from view by an everywhere (in-your-face) campaign of rhetoric against taxes.
A progressive income tax means simply that those who have more, pay more on a graduated basis. California income tax is barely progressive at all, and getting less so.
This year, the Governor and legislature are cutting taxes and shrinking the General Fund. The two top tax brackets were just allowed to expire, reducing future revenue by $800 million a year and saving that amount for the top 1.2% of Californians. The governor is proposing another 15% tax cut, a windfall to the rich and devastation to the budget. Very soon, we'll hear them scream, "We Have No Money; this State is Broke! Bond financing costs more but it's our only option!".
Vote NO on this $2 billion for seismic retrofit of toll bridges and highway bridges. These repairs are needed, but the bond route will add another $1.4 billion in interest. Gas tax and general revenue funds could finance this work pay-as-you-go for $2 billion. FEMA money could have done much more, but the governor have hundreds of millions of FEMA money as bonuses to a few contractors. The top 1.2% of Californians just got an income tax cut; the governor wants to give another 15% tax cut, mostly to the rich, apparently to force us into more bond financing. Close the Bond Highway!
No Position. This measure to issue $3 billion in bonds to construct schools and community colleges meets the test of a good purpose. The Peace and Freedom Party is concerned about the plight of some communities who absolutely do not have enough school buildings to take care of all of their students. We nearly always disapprove of bond financing because it's unnecessarily expensive and transfers money to the already rich. Because children's educational needs can't be met later in their lives, on this bond issue we are not recommending a NO vote, but take no position.
Propositions 195 and 196 are arbitrary extensions of the death penalty to more crimes. Like the random application of the death penalty itself, there is no particular rhyme or reason to these propositions. They were put on the ballot only because the worthless maggots we send to Sacramento hope to get money and votes from the gullible and the vicious.
There is no evidence that the death penalty deters violent crime. Murder rates in states with and without the death penalty are similar. In some cases, the abolition of the death penalty has been followed by a decrease in homicides. In Canada, the murder rate went from 3.09 per 100,000 to 2.19 per 100,000 in the ten years after it abolished capital punishment.
The death penalty is carried out only against the poor, never against the rich. Mistakes can never be reversed. In the past century, at least 23 innocent persons have been executed in this country. The only coherent argument made for the death penalty is that it will make some people feel good to have other people killed. It's a pretty sick argument. The death penalty should be abolished. Vote no on Propositions 195 and 196.
Curiously, this initiative is largely funded by the same Silicon Valley corporations who paid for Propositions 201 and 202, presumably as part of an "anti-lawyer" package. It makes it virtually impossible to recover damages in auto accidents from the driver who caused the accident. Damage would be paid by one's own insurance policy -- assuming that one could afford the $1 million "standard" coverage. If you buy a cheaper policy, be sure not to get hurt too badly.
The legislative analyst claims that the state and counties will save money when people who can't afford medical insurance use their auto insurance to pay for medical costs incurred in auto accidents instead of relying on the county.
It isn't surprising that this bizarre proposition is not even endorsed by any insurance companies.
This is the meat in the sandwich of propositions promoted by a host of Silicon Valley corporations who don't want to be sued by shareholders when they engage in stock manipulation. It requires that the losers in shareholder lawsuits pay the legal expenses of the winners. Small investors, often participants in pension and retirement savings plans, would have to put up large deposits before they could sue for fraud.
This proposition is so outrageous it had to be hidden between measures pretending to take on our two favorite groups: insurance companies and lawyers. We're not biting.
This proposition limits the amount of contingency fees a lawyer can collect from a settlement or judgement. Sound good? Not when it is sponsored by the corporations who don't want to be sued, who don't want you to be able to pay a lawyer to sue them, and who want you to have to put up a large bond to make sure their lawyers get paid -- no limit there.
This "open primary" initiative would merge Tweedledum and Tweedledee into one big corporate entity by making it necessary for candidates to campaign among the entire population in the primary. All minority viewpoints of left or right would be permanently excluded by a flood of corporate money and members of parties wouldn't have the right to choose their own candidates.
We in Peace and Freedom Party have long argued that there is no real difference between the two parties; Proposition 198 is premised on the theory that there shouldn't be any differences between any of the parties. Political parties are supposed to be a means by which people in substantial agreement on the issues of the day can come together and promote their common interests. Fundamental to this is their ability to choose the candidates who will best advance their interests. It makes no sense to turn that choice over to others who do not share their common goals.
Political party labels are supposed to mean something. Indeed, it is one of the major weaknesses of the U.S. political system that they mean so little. This measure is designed to destroy what little meaning party identification now has. But historically, destruction of political identification and promotion of "nonpartisan" elections (which is the logical next step from Prop 198) have been a means by which business and corporate interests can heighten their control of government by concealing the affiliations of those they put forward for office.
Contrary to the arguments of the proponents of this measure, this concealment weakens electoral democracy and the power of the voters to make intelligent choices among candidates.
This cheap, mean-spirited measure would keep released prisoners from even collecting unemployment insurance after they had been exploited as slave laborers for private profit.
Dear Partisan readers,
I urge you to do anything you can to help defeat the so-called "Mobile Home Park Rental Assistance Initiative" (Proposition 199). If this initiative passes, it will end rent control at mobile home parks in California. It will allow park owners to get large rent increases on all their ground spaces, and then grant a 10% discount on the newly-raised rent to a small number of mobilehome owners (that's the "rental assistance" part). Clearly, this is rental assistance for the landlords.
This measure is a threat to the basic quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people. The title of the initiative is misleading, which may cause many people who want to help renters to vote for it. Its appearance on the primary rather than the general election ballot means that it will be decided by a more conservative electorate, particularly in a year with an uncontested Democratic Party presidential primary, a large field of candidates for the Republican nomination, no contests for statewide offices, and a change in the election from June to March. The park owners sponsoring this measure are led by Jeff Kaplan, owner of 18 parks with space rents (the ground under the mobilehomes) as high as $1,000 per month. They raised a $5 million kitty to promote this measure after they lost 9-0 in their attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to declare mobilehome rent control unconstitutional.
Don't let the fate of 400,000 mobilehome dwellers be decided by those more interested in profit for a few than in the well-being of many. Mobilehomes are made in a factory and then parked somewhere. The homeowner pays rent on the space under his or her home. Spaces are scarce, and the homes are difficult and costly to move. Without rent control, the homeowners (many of them senior citizens) could lose their homes and their entire life savings.
Your NO vote on Proposition 199 is one the most important things you can do in this election. Tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers to vote against the phony Mobilehome Rental Assistance Initiative. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Don't let the people who live in mobilehomes lose their housing and don't let the landlord lobby of California get away with another attack on rent control.
For more information or to help in the No on Prop 199 campaign, contact the Golden State Mobilhome Owners League (GSMOL), P.O. Box 876, Garden Grove, CA 92642; 1-800-888-1727.
Marsha Feinland, State Chair, Peace & Freedom Party Commissioner, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board
Proposition 197 repeals the mountain lion's status as a specially protected mammal and legalizes sport hunting for it. The writers of the ballot arguments against it claim that the proponents of the measure do not really want to manage the lions but only want to hunt for trophies, and that their method of hunting is cruel and barbaric. We question whether the lions need as much management as do the real estate developers who encroach on their habitat or the fear mongers who exaggerate their danger.
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On February 1, Hotel and Restaurant Employees Local 2850 (HERE) marked the first anniversary of its uphill battle against the Lafayette Park Hotel in Lafayette, 25 miles east of San Francisco. The hotel, one of six hotels in the Western Lodging Group owned by Ellis Alden, is non-union and employees attempting to form a union have been fired. Management has refused to negotiate with the union.
Wages are divided along ethnic lines with immigrant workers (Latino and Asian) at the bottom. Minimum wages force many of these workers to hold two jobs. One worker was overcome by toxic substances used in cleaning.
On April 1, 1995, after futile attempts to negotiate, the union organized a march through downtown Lafayette with 200 chanting protestors blocking traffic. Never had the city seen anything like it. (Lafayette is a city with a median income of $90,000.) Picketing of the hotel has taken place at least once a week since.
On September 9, the city witnessed another demonstration of workers' power. Close to 500 people, including a spirited delegation of Peace and Freedom Party members, marched through the city. This particular time was chosen because the hotel derives much of its income from weddings, especially in September. The union is continuing to target the wedding industry.
This under-taxed luxury hotel pays revenues of $400,000 per year to the city. In September, after hotel manager Dan Kelly reminded them of this financial contribution, the Lafayette City Council quickly passed an ordinance to restrict hotel picketing. The ordinance required groups wanting to use public streets or sidewalks to get a permit costing $57 plus $62 per hour for each police officer assigned to the demonstration. The ordinance was stayed by a temporary restraining order from Contra Costa Superior Court.
Incensed by the attack on free speech and the right of assembly, concerned activists and unionists protested at two city council meetings. Many spoke eloquently against this violation of first amendment rights, and the city council backed down. Most recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) forced the hotel to sign an agreement to stop violating federal labor law.
The hotel has been hurting. Cancellations of reservations by individuals and groups, the reputation of the hotel undermined by dismayed customers and the hiring of the American Consulting Group, a union-busting firm, have all been costly. Other hotels of the chain have also been picketed and union organizing has begun at the Monterey Plaza in Monterey.
[Emma Mar is an at-large member of the Executive Committee of Alameda County Peace & Freedom Party and has been active in support of HERE 2850's organizing efforts.]
[This story was accompanied by a photo by Marsha Feinland of the September 9th demonstration]
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Seventeen people were arrested and several beaten when 100 volunteers from Project Infomed and Pastors for Peace attempted to cross the Mexican border on January 31 with 360 computers bound for Cuba's health system. The arrests followed a confrontation in which over 100 Treasury agents refused to let the volunteers from Project Infomed and Pastors for Peace either go into Mexico or take the computers back into the United States. The government was determined to confiscate the cargo. After two days of fruitless negotiation, volunteers began to carry the computers across by hand and the arrests and beatings followed.
Treasury agents followed up the border arrests with a raid on a warehouse inwhich Project Infomed had been storing unusable parts removed from the computers before packing them for shipment. They also confiscated five dozen pairs of crutches and several walkers.
When Cuba's Ministry of Public Health lost its $1 million budget for medical journals and books, they created a computer network called INFOMED to disseminate medical information. U.S. activists created "Project INFOMED" to provide the Ministry with 800 donated computer terminals and monitors for use by physicians, medical students and research scientists.
January's confrontation was part of INFOMED/Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan Six through the western United States and Canada. This "friendshipment" is part of an ongoing campaign to break the blockade of Cuba and secure the right to travel to Cuba for Americans. (See "The freedom to travel campaign", Partisan No. 6.)
[Dave Wald is Santa Clara County Chair of Peace & Freedom Party and a principal organizer of Project Infomed. Project Infomed can be contacted by sending e-mail to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org]
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Thirty years after the historic "strike in the roses" and the famous Delano grape strike which led to the formation of the United Farm Workers, the UFW is once more moving forward in organizing. Following two years of steady growth in field organizing, the union will launch a major drive in the strawberry fields of the Salinas Valley this April.
The strawberry industry in California produces over 80% of all strawberries grown in the United States and 25% of the world's strawberries. This half billion dollar industry supports some of the wealthiest growers while creating poverty and poor health among farm workers. Strawberry work is literally backbreaking. Ten to 12 hour days of stooping to pick strawberries lead to chronic back pain and health problems even among the industry's youngest workers. Strawberry workers also routinely face harassment and humiliation on the job in addition to receiving some of the lowest wages of all agricultural workers.
In addition, strawberry workers are exposed to the hazardous pesticide methyl bromide, one of the major "greenhouse gasses" leading to global warming. Governor Wilson called the legislature into special session to pass a law extending the "study period" on this deadly gas, which was scheduled to be outlawed this year. This means that farm workers will be exposed to this deadly gas and the destruction of the ozone layer will continue in order to ensure profits for a few wealth campaign contributors.
The strawberry drive builds on a new wave of organizing success. In December 1994, the UFW won a major union election in the rose industry, when 1200 out of 1500 workers at Bear Creek Productions voted for the UFW as their representative. Bear Creek is the world's largest rose grower. This was part of a year of organizing in which the UFW gained 3,000 new members and signed 23 new contracts.
The victory at Bear Creek, sparked by a management attempt to change hourly rates to piece work, has strengthened the UFW in the grape fields as well. The skilled workers in the roses are in many cases the same ones who move on to prune and tie the grape vines as the season shifts.
Since then the union has launched major organizing drives in the mushroom industry and in the Salinas Valley. Two thirds of the mushroom ranches, including Campbell's Soup and Monterey Mushroom, have been organized. The main fight in mushrooms is also in the Salinas-Watsonville area.
Winning elections is only part of the battle. The workers at Ariel Mushrooms voted for the union by 88%, but the employer refused to negotiate. In Ventura County, Dole subsidiary Oceanview Produce Co. fired half its 600 workers after the UFW won an election two years ago, and is also refusing to negotiate. Other growers throughout the state are stonewalling or dragging their feet after union election victories.
Meanwhile, a major breakthrough was achieved in October when the giant Washington winery Chateau Ste. Michelle finally signed a contract with the union after years of struggle. Permanent workers got a 5.5% wage increase, while seasonal workers got 6.5%. The new contract also includes health and pension plans and paid vacations.
[This story was accompanied by a photograph by Tom Condit with the following caption:]
United Farm Workers Vice-President Dolores Huerta and Service Employees International Union President John Sweeney (since elected President of the AFL-CIO) prepare to lead a march of over 2,000 farm workers and their supporters through the streets of Salinas on September 17. The march was symbolic of farm labor's new organizing drive.
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Labor and its allies are in the final weeks of a drive to qualify the "Living Wage Initiative" for the November 1996 ballot. The initiative will raise the state minimum wage from $4.25 per hour to $5 in 1997 and $5.75 in 1998. This 35% increase over two years is far less than is needed, but will be very valuable for the 1.8 million California workers now making under $5.75.
Nine states, including Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, have wages higher than the federal minimum. In none of the nine have jobs disappeared. The falling value of the minimum wage, now at its lowest purchasing power in 40 years, has been one of the main things increasing the gap between the rich and the working class in the U.S. and creating the so-called "underclass". Lower wages only help greedy employers, they don't help "the economy".
The petitions need 480,000 valid signatures by April 1. Realistically, this means 750,000 signatures. If you can help in this last period of collecting, contact the Liveable Wage Coalition at 417 Montgomery Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94104; phone (415) 986-3585 (statewide number).
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Though last year's final approved California budget held to a ten percent rural and five percent urban AFDC benefits cut, Governor Pete Wilson's proposal to slice AFDC 25% in 1995-1996 was implemented in several California counties -- but against recipients of General Relief.
In Alameda County a cut of about $80 in the $300 per month grant was stayed by court order. The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors cut the $300 grants for homeless persons $158 through the artifice of declaring this figure the value of the shelter the recipients did not have a proven need for. This move was only delayed by Legal Services pointing out that none of the homeless had been offered public or private shelter beds. But the remorseless County officials figure this will be a mere formality since only about eight such beds open up nightly for the hundreds of homeless.
Six or more counties are currently trying to extend the concept of "relative responsibility" to aunts, nephews and grandparents so as to reduce grants by imputing a level of support which "ought" to come from relatives or could be inferred from efficiencies of scale of large "families".
General Relief (also called "General Assistance" or "GR" or "GA") exists legally because of vague language in the California Welfare and Institutions Code mandating the counties to provide minimal needs of indigents ineligible or negligibly eligible to other support. Among GA recipients are workers whose Unemployment Insurance has run out, and injured and ill workers whose State Disability has run out while Workers Comp is stiffing them or Social Security is handing them perfunctory denials. An increasing share of recipients are minority youth with no work history and families disqualified from AFDC through arcane definitions of "unemployed". Some are immigrant relatives whose sponsors have fallen on hard times.
Leaders of twenty-two mostly large counties slavishly applied to GA the State Legislature's bipartisan cuts in AFDC. Supervisors also hide behind the false argument that GA rates must join a "race to the bottom" to avoid creating counties magnetically attracting the poor from other counties.
Nor are GA recipients safe from State and Federal cuts. Congress and Clinton long ago shook hands on time limits on AFDC receipt. What's left after the limits? GA in many cases. Cuts in Medicaid may be expected to add months and years to finding adults legally disabled and thus eligible to SSI or Social Security Disability.
Humiliating and pointless hurdles to eligibility like mandatory fingerprinting, mandatory payment of rent directly to landlords, monitored but useless job-searching in 44 counties, work reassignments at minimum wage to "pay back" part of the GA check typify almost all GA programs. And counties are happy to enforce other counties' baroque escalating sanction schemes that exist in about 30 counties at last count.
The big parties argue that a higher minimum wage would deter employers from hiring GA clients. We need to help defend decent payment and treatment of those reliant on GA by joining this to our struggles for full employment at decent wages for all who can work.
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The Peace & Freedom Party will field 20 candidates in this year's California election -- ten for Congress and ten for State Legislature.
Congressional campaigning got off to an early start with Timothy Thompson's drive to get on the ballot in Silicon Valley's 14th Congressional District. Faced with widely scattered P&F registrants in a district which wanders across county lines in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, Thompson registered 600 new Peace and Freedom Party voters to ensure the 150 valid signatures he needed. With this dramatic beginning, Thompson is set to raise the issues incumbent Anna Eshoo has been dodging.
Other P&F congressional candidates include Ernest Jones of the Sonoma County Human Rights Commission in the 6th district (Sonoma and Marin counties); Tom Condit in the 9th CD (Berkeley and Oakland); Ralph Shroyer, Justin Gerber, John Peter Daly and Shirley Mandel in Los Angeles; Kevin Akin in Riverside; and Miriam Clark and Janice Jordan in San Diego.
One Assembly candidate may have to sue to get on the ballot. Harvey Jossem of Eureka was given wrong information on signature requirements by the county clerk which caused him to fail to qualify for the primary ballot. Jossem, who is blind, has invoked the Americans with Disabilities Act, since the lack of election materials either in Braille or on audiotape made it impossible for him to check up on the requirements.
In other Assembly races, mobilehome activist Coleman Persily will once again contest the 6th AD in Marin County and Al Liner will carry the P&F banner in the neighboring 7th AD (Marin and Sonoma). Charles Najbergier, John Honigsfeld, Owen Staley and J. Luis Gomez are running in Los Angeles. Chris Freel may face a write-in challenge in San Diego's 76th AD as C.T. Weber again attempts to challenge the law which makes it virtually impossible for a candidate to be nominated by write-in in any primary except those of the Democrats and Republicans. (See "Don't vote for me", Partisan No. 4.)
State Senate candidates are tenants' lawyer Bob Evans in the 9th District (Richmond-Berkeley-Oakland) and teachers' union activist Shirley Isaacson in the 23rd (West Los Angeles).
[This story was accompanied by two photos with the following caption:]
P&F Congressional candidates Timothy Thompson (above, with clipboard) and Kevin Akin (below, in P&F tee-shirt) sign up voters.
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In a development which must be making the late William Knowland, right-wing Republican Senator from California, turn over in his grave, the Oakland Tribune, which he used to edit and publish, has endorsed socialist Gerald Sanders for the Oakland School Board.
Sanders, a militant union member and former member of the Black Panther Party, is one of three left insurgents running in this month's Oakland elections. Larry Shoup, a Green Party member and long-time activist, is contesting North Oakland's 1st council district. Sanders is running for School Director in the 3rd district (West Oakland and Downtown), and Richard Mellor is seeking the City Council at-large seat. All three are supported by the Peace & Freedom Party.
Both Shoup and Sanders have a strong chance of election. Shoup jumped into the 1st district race after the City Council failed to pass a "just cause" eviction law. He is supported by P&F, the Green Party, the Committees of Correspondence and many local activists. Sanders was drafted to run by militants in the Oakland Education Association, locked in a bitter battle over wages and classroom size with the school district. He is opposing school board president Lucella Harrison, who has alienated many with her autocratic behavior.
The Sanders campaign has attracted not only teachers, but many who have worked over the years with him in opposing police brutality and the death penalty, U. S. imperialism and exploitation. He openly calls for a workers' government as necessary to solve our problems.
Mellor believes that he cannot be elected this time because he doesn't have the resources to reach enough voters, but is running to build a left presence independent of the Democratic Party both electorally and in the labor movement. A shop steward at East Bay Municipal Utility District, he has been endorsed by his union local and the district council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME).
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For the past twenty years, while the U.S. government has waged its War on Drugs without success, the Netherlands has quietly and unapologetically pursued its decriminalized drug control policy with enviable results.
Those results include a reduction in the use of drugs, a reduction in the number of new users, and a minimization of the accompanying damage to society and individual drug abusers.
Disparities between sentencing of cocaine and crack users in the U.S. continue to feed a racist criminal justice system in which African-American males between the ages of 20 and 29 are around 6-1/2 times as likely to be arrested as their European-American counterparts; and 1/3 of the same age group are caught up in some level of the criminal justice system -- in prison, on parole, or on probation.
By basing their policy on the idea that drug abuse is a health issue, Dutch officials have been able to focus their resources on educational and treatment. Similar approaches toward health problems associated with the legal use of tobacco and alcohol in the U.S. have been far more successful in changing behaviors than prohibitions.
Our myopic approach to education about prohibited substances leaves young people so misinformed that they often dismiss the whole argument against drug abuse as fallacious. DARE (Drug Abuse and Resistance Education) is so shrouded in secrecy that students are instructed not to bring their program materials home, and San Diego activists recently obtained copies from the police department only after threatening to take them to court to get access.
Treatment on demand is a key component of Dutch drug control policy. Our emphasis on criminalization engages limited resources in a stalemate battle and prevents us from being able to help drug abusers when they need treatment most -- at the time they decide they want it.
Tolerance of cannabis use has also provided an expansion of civil liberties to Dutch citizens, while removing marijuana and hashish products from the reach of organized crime. The coffeehouses of Amsterdam present a stark contrast to the U.S. system, which has recently surpassed its ten millionth marijuana arrest since 1970.
[Diane Anshell is secretary of San Diego Peace & Freedom Party and chair of San Diego NORMaL (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.]
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Facetiously, I sometimes refer to myself as an Abraham Lincoln Republican. Many years ago I read that Abe carried on a correspondence with Karl Marx. He is quoted as saying that any good government would help citizens achieve any good result or if necessary do the job for them, or words to that effect.
In the July-August 1995 issue of Z Magazine, I read, "Today we are experiencing a global race to the bottom, orchestrated by global corporations, banks and the government officials who represent capital over labor. Yet, as President Abraham Lincoln put it in his message to Congress of December 3, 1861, 'Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor and could not have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.'"
It seems to me that the logical conclusion is that the workers of the world really own the wealth produced by their labor. The fact that the parasites enjoy the benefits of possession indicates that for several thousand years we have been the victims of fast shuffles by con men.
In the long term, a reasonable political aim is to achieve a return and democratic control of what is now stolen property. Meanwhile, consider that productivity has doubled since 1948. This means that if our economy were rationally organized we could wipe out unemployment and everyone could have a decent standard of living on a 20-hour work week. If we cannot achieve this under capitalism, the imperative is democratic socialism. NUFF SED!
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Members of P&F and some of the other smaller parties are concerned for a more idealistic future, one for their children to have more equality, or where there's willingness to give some power away, to allow each person individuality and control of self.
Judith Vigna's contribution, My Two Uncles, is a major one in a small package -- way out of proportion to its size. In the last few years there've been a number of children's books written to help children accept gays, and, in the larger context, "differentness". In simple, clear language, Ms. Vigna tells of young Elly, who loves her Uncle Ned and his "roommate", "Uncle" Phil. They dote on each other.
Elly and her folks live with their grandparents; Grampy won't let "uncle" Phil into his home. The grandparents' fiftieth anniversary is looming. Elly, Ned and Phil have created a beautiful diorama as their gift to Gran and Grampy, but Ned takes a stand: He won't come to the celebration unless he can bring his family too.
Grampy and Ned are both adamant. Elly's young enough to think they're angry at her. Her father gives a quick, explanation of "family" in the sense that sometimes men and women love each other, sometimes men love other men, and sometimes women love other women. It's written clearly and simply, and, read often to children, will help them avoid -- or at least neutralize -- the distortions they're bound to hear when they're in school.
Touched by the diorama, Grampy admits to being a stubborn old man who wishes his son was there. The next day it's returned to the two men. They wave to Grampy out the window and he waves back. Ms. Vigna's too much a realist to make all turn out happily ever after overnight, but the future looks promising. Her book offers a graceful way into discussion of what could be an awkward topic, and the differences between generations.
The conservative censors have marked children's gay books as the first to be removed from libraries, both school and public. It's up to idealistic parents to counteract them, by buying excellent books like this, perhaps giving copies to upcoming and young parents, and giving copies to the libraries. For as surely as the censors are working to get books such as this off shelves, they'll move on to other important topics next that they want to force your children ignorant of. And like it or not, the possibility's there that one of your children may be gay; it's best that the child have no guilt, and acceptance and the ability to talk about feelings at home. If your child's a "sissy", he'll stay one; you can either raise a well-adjusted one, or one who's miserable and tormented throughout his life.
Ms. Vigna's illustrations are as simple, clear, and charming as her text. The influence this book can have on young minds can last their entire lives, and it's not the only book she's written tackling tough subjects. Other titles include I Wish Daddy Didn't Drink So Much, Black Like Kyra, White Like Me, Saying Goodbye to Daddy, and She's Not My Real Mother, all gutsy topics. Clearly Ms. Vigna believes the earlier and the more simply and directly a child's exposed to adult problems, the better the child can handle them when they come up. As they surely will.
[Mike Varady is a book reviewer who lives in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles.]
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P.O. Box 741270, Los Angeles 90004
P.O. Box 24764, Oakland 94623
P.O. Box 371061, San Diego 92137
P.O. Box 2325, Aptos 95001
San Diego P&F meets on the 4th Thursday of each month in San Diego. (619) 685-7331. Note our new post office box: Box 371061, San Diego 92137.
Orange County P&F meets on 3rd Saturdays at 7:30 pm in Orange. (714) 639-0565.
Riverside: Call (909) 787-0318 for information.
Los Angeles County Central Committee meets 3rd Tuesday of the month, 7:30 pm, downtown. Info: (213) PFP-1998.
Long Beach meets 1st Tuesday. (310) 439-8502.
Santa Cruz P&F meets the first Wednesday of each month except January in Santa Cruz. (408) 688-4268.
Santa Clara P&F meets 1st Thursday of each month. (408) 243-4359.
San Mateo P&F meets 4th Sunday of each month at 2 pm in Pacifica. (415) 468-8952.
Alameda County P&F meets the third Sunday of each month except December at 6 pm in Berkeley. (510) 465-9414.
Contra Costa County P&F meets 4th Wednesday of each month in Walnut Creek. (510) 687-6638 or 798-3698.
San Francisco meets 3rd Sundays at noon, downtown. (415) 648-8497.
Marin: Call (415) 479-1731 for information.
Sacramento meets 1st Wednesday at 7 pm, downtown. (916) 484-4118.
Sonoma County: Call (707) 431-0657 for information.
Shasta County: Call (916) 246-7647 for information.
The money spent by the world on weapons in one week is enough to buy food for all the people on Earth for a year.
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It is fairly well known that the writer Jack London was a socialist, although Ronald Reagan may not have known this when his administration put Jack London on a first class postage stamp. But something few Californians know about London is that he ran for public office three times as a candidate of the Socialist Party.
Jack London had only just turned 21 when the party put him forward as its candidate for Oakland Board of Education (the nonpartisan office) in 1897. He was not yet known as a writer. Two local newspapers had printed his letters on socialism, and he had been arrested for making a public speech in February 1897 to agathering of workers. (A skillful speaker, he defended himself before a jury of prosperous Oaklanders, and convinced eleven of the twelve jurors to vote to acquit him.) Oakland was a Republican stronghold, and Jack lost the election.
Shortly after this election Jack London left for the Yukon to search for gold, an experience that would furnish material for scores of stories. Returning to Oakland after the gold rush, he was nominated as the Socialist candidate for Mayor in 1901, securing only 245 votes. The party was satisfied with this showing, considering the work a useful preliminary to later organizing.
After a fairly messy and public divorce, the now-famous Jack London ran for mayor again in 1905, and got four times as many votes. His 981 votes were about 8% of the total. This was the beginning of a period of several years in which socialists were elected to office in many states, including California. War of the Classes, a collection of London's short works on socialist themes, was published during the campaign, and sold quite well.
Jack London was a man of many contradictions. Especially when away from Oakland, he often associated with the prosperous, even as he lectured on socialism. His views on race were confused and now appear inexplicably offensive (although in the context of his time they were not unusual even among socialists). But he gave considerable skill and energy to the struggle for the rights of workers, and many of his writings on the subject are as fresh today as when they were first printed. Books by and about him are in every public library and are well worth reading.
1905 Oakland Socialist Party Platform
The Socialist party of the city of Oakland, in convention assembled, hereby reaffirms its allegiance to the State platform of the Socialist party of California and declares:
That the Socialist party represents the interests of the working class, in antagonism to the interests of the exploiting class, and therefore only concerns itself with the welfare of the working class.
That the present municipal government is administered solely in the interest of the exploiting class and in direct antagonism to the interests of the working class; that it is, therefore, administered so as to subserve the interests of the capitalists and the large holders of property; that the municipal officers are the servants of these interests and the government of this city is exploited for the benefit of the capitalist class and the politicians who serve them.
That the candidates of the Socialist party will, if elected to office, administer the interests of this municipality solely in the interests of and for the benefit of the working class, and will initiate such legislation as shall be for the physical and intellectual advantage of the working class, and will take such measures as shall better equip the working class for its struggles with the exploiting class, among which measures they will provide that the children of the working class shall have such provision made for their health, welfare and education as may be possible in the premises.
That such candidates of the Socialist party as may be elected to office shall make this question their guiding rule of conduct, "Will the municipal measures under consideration advance the interests of the working class and aid the workers in the class struggle against capitalism? If it will, then we are for it; if it will not, then we are opposed to it".
That the object of the Socialist party in nominating its candidates for municipal offices is to restrict as far as possible the powers for mischief of the exploiting classes and to prepare the working class for the conquest of the municipality, the State and the nation.
[This story was accompanied by a photo with caption, "Jack London in 1902"]
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The Republican Congress and the Democratic president have both called for elimination of the federal deficit and cutting the national debt. The Republicans' approach to doing so is to substantially cut the taxes of those who are most able to pay, while Clinton responds with more modest tax-cut proposals of his own. The basic absurdity of reducing the deficit by reducing government revenue is overcome by cutting social programs for those in need of assistance to pay the rent and put food on the table for themselves and their children. Meaningful reduction in the military budget is, of course, never considered.
However, we can look to a solution with a new approach to taxation: a tax that could begin to balance the budget and eliminate the federal deficit and at the same time pay for social programs. This is a net worth tax, a significant one-time tax not on income but on an individuals's total net worth.
The idea was first suggested in a 1986 New York Times Op-Ed piece by Nation publisher Andrew Carter, who called for a one percent "wealth tax" on every American's net worth. Today, such a levy would yield only about $160 billion -- not enough to affect the total debt. The net worth tax I am calling for, which would take a much larger bite and would be aimed only at the wealthiest two percent of the population, could cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion. And it would affect only the people best able to pay, those who benefited the most from the tax reductions of the Reagan years.
Recently, the Internal Revenue Service issued its lastest report on the personal wealth of the richest Americans -- people with a net worth over $600,000. Extrapolating from estate tax returns filed over a three-year span, the I.R.S. concluded that in 1989 the top wealthholders in the country -- some 3,417,000 individuals -- had a nett worth of $4.8 trillion, or about 30 percent of the total personal wealth in the United States.
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The Partisan is published by the State Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party at P.O. Box 24764, Oakland, California 94623. Production staff for this issue included Tom Condit, Bob Evans, Marsha Feinland, Dave Kadlecek and Maggie Phair. All articles are the opinions of their authors and are not necessarily official policy of the Peace & Freedom Party. If at all possible, articles for publication should be submitted either typed and double-spaced or on computer disc. Send electronic mail to email@example.com. Please include a stamped, self- addressed envelope if you would like articles, artwork or photographs returned. Issue No. 8. Closing date March 9, 1996.
Copy deadline for next issue: April 15, 1996.
Issue #1: State budget, Operation Rescue, Anti-Defamation League scandal, San Jose police frame-up, Bari/Cherney bombing photo, Clinton health plan analysis, Gary Graham case.
Issue #2: State and federal taxes, Attacks on immigrants, "Race, Class and the Denny Trial", Public schools and vouchers, Attempt to break up Los Angeles Unified School District.
Issue #3: Crime and prisons, Immigrants' rights, War on the poor and homeless, Hotel and restaurant workers, Return of tuberculosis, NAFTA and GATT, Political Prisoners.
Issue #4: Community college fee hikes, Housing takeovers, UFW march on Sacramento, Haiti, Attack on mobile home owners, Gary Graham case progress.
Issue #5: Unemployment, Peace & Freedom Party platform, Los Angeles transit crisis, Headwaters forest, Soledad prison protest, Food Not Bombs, candidates and issues.
Issue #6: Election analysis, Immigrants' rights, Freedom to Travel Campaign, Berkeley Rent Board victory, Shorter work week.
Issue #7: Pete Wilson's war on equal rights, attack on rent control, Gulf War syndrome, Mumia Abu-Jamal, California budget, Justice for Janitors, New Headwaters battle.
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