This panel will focus on California, although it can be applied across the board nationally.
While California is the 5th largest economy globally, we have the highest rate of poverty nationally. Many of us look to elections for change, but at this point we have not experienced, in any large-scale way, the electoral results we desire. Corporations continue to rule our state.
The electoral process is set up against the interests of working people. It allows candidates to be bought and creates a pseudo-democracy, in which most elected officials end up doing what their corporate funders want (tweaking minor things while keeping a system going that is rotten to the core).
The good news is that many of us are clear that winning elections is only part of what we need. Only an enormous accumulation of power in the hands of an organized working class (including workers, students, retirees, the unemployed and all marginalized communities) will allow us to resolve our problems, survive, and do well.
Elections are, however, important opportunities to organize power for working people and take power away from the 1%. Our participation in elections must be geared toward accumulating our power. Our support should go to progressive candidates who are corporate-free and committed to organizing, even after they are elected.
But no candidate or elected official can take the place of a mass movement working inside and outside the electoral arena.
California progressives are registered to vote in various parties or as No Party Preference (NPP). NPP is now the 2nd largest category, numbering nearly 5 million registered voters (second only to Democrats). There are also hundreds of thousands registered in third parties. This panel will discuss growing a corporate-free alliance of progressive individuals and groups, regardless of party or no party affiliation, to build a powerful statewide movement.
Gayle McLaughlin: two-term mayor of Richmond, CA; co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance; recent CA Lt. Governor candidate; organizer with The California Progressive Alliance
Cat Brooks: 2018 candidate for Oakland, CA mayor; leader of Black Lives Matter Movement; co-founder of Anti-Police Terror Project; KPFA radio host; local playwright and actor.
Nathalie Hrizi: recent Peace and Freedom Party candidate for CA Insurance Commissioner; SF public school teacher; union activist; editor of quarterly magazine Breaking the Chains: A Socialist Perspective on Women’s Liberation
Adriel Hampton: Creative Director at The Really Online Lefty League; creative director with The Adriel Hampton Group; and organizer with The California Progressive Alliance
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Gayle McLaughlin, Cat Brooks, Nathalie Hrizi, Adriel Hampton