In Support of Proposition 15 as a Priority Campaign for East Bay DSA

Alex C., Alyse S., Carrie A., Claudette B., Fred G., Miguel B., Shane R.

As socialists we proudly fight for the working class & against capitalist oppression!

State ballot Proposition 15 is not only a “natural” for socialists but it is also our responsibility to wholeheartedly participate in it – arguing for the rights of working people to have good living conditions for ourselves and our families and to show who should pay for it.  Our work on Proposition 15 will raise DSA’s appeal with a campaign with popular working class support.

It is strategic: anti-capitalist in intention and fact and educational about the necessity to challenge capital’s role of oppression without penalty - protecting itself from paying for social services – what we now call the public good.

It’s a fight in the interests of the working class in California, led by leaders of public sector unions (workers employed by state, county and city governments). It represents some 30 years or more of efforts to coalesce a robust labor-community coalition.  As an initiative it is a direct vote of the electorate (majority working class) - not dependent on elected officials of both parties who have not been willing to initiate such an increase against major commercial and industrial corporations.

Prop 15 is a bold initiative to reverse the part of Proposition 13 that was hidden from view – namely the property tax protections for major commercial property. Prop 13 was an important strategic start of a capitalist counter offensive against the momentum and cumulative power and gains of the working class from the Great Depression and New Deal—labor laws, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance etc.—through the 1960’s and 70’s: movements for civil rights and against the Vietnam War, student power, environmental regulation, and women’s and Gay Liberation.

Schools and city and county community services are supposed to provide equalization opportunities: well funded schools and city and county services such as public and mental health, youth programs, clean streets, housing for the homeless, libraries, transportation, etc.  Their cumulative decimation has been witnessed front and center by public sector workers. 

It’s an initiative with perfect timing as the Black Lives Movement demands not only a defunding of the police but resources to end the systemic racism in our country.  

Prop 13’s anti-tax, anti-government, anti-union, anti-public employee rhetoric, amplified by the corporate owned media, exacerbated the inequalities already present in racist America and pioneered neoliberal austerity policy for the right wing across the country.  Decades later these inequalities are visible in a myriad of ways in cities and counties where services and opportunities have shrunk or disappeared. Cities and Counties have usually responded by proposing and enacting regressive tax laws.

Prop 15 is an assertive move against the abysmal level of property taxes paid by major commercial and industrial corporations.  It is an exciting opportunity for us to argue for socialist ideas. In fact that’s why some 12 DSA chapters in California are now working together on Prop 15.

This effort doesn’t just end with the November vote.  This initiative includes a two-year period of careful implementation including partners in the Prop 15 coalition, setting up equalizing funding processes and clear accountability procedures. The next step will be fighting for the best placement of the new funds in school districts, cities and counties and special districts.  We will have to be vigilant with our partners to steer funding away at the local level from police and sheriff departments and toward the greatest community needs.  

It is also worth noting, that as is often the case with California measures, the winning or losing of Prop 15 will have a national impactLet’s make a difference!