On October 2, more than 140 East Bay DSA members came together at the Humanist Hall to hear from and discuss endorsing two candidates for state office. Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) members Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin addressed our membership, responded to our questions, and asked for East Bay DSA's early endorsement in the 2018 elections. Our membership will meet again on October 29 to vote on endorsing Beckles and McLaughlin, details coming soon. We encourage all our members to attend that meeting and vote!
After some introductory remarks from our leadership, Gayle McLaughlin, who is running for Lieutenant Governor, and Jovanka Beckles, running for State Assembly, each addressed our group. McLaughlin highlighted her track record as mayor of Richmond and discussed the many successes of the RPA, a group that she helped found. Beckles addressed us as comrades and asked us to help her continue the vision and the work of the RPA in Sacramento.
After their addresses, both candidates answered about a dozen written questions from the floor. These questions addressed abolition of police and prisons, Proposition 13, single-payer healthcare, what it means to be a "corporate-free candidate," and more. You can hear both candidates' full remarks in the audio from the meeting.
Then the candidates left the hall and the meeting was opened up to comradely debate and a straw-poll vote. Co-chair Molly Armstrong explained that the vote on October 29 will comprise three choices for each candidate.
- No endorsement
- Endorsement with minimal resources
- Endorsement with significant resources
Members then offered their thoughts on the proposal for each candidate. Opinions varied widely: Some suggested we shouldn't support any electoral candidate at this juncture, and some expressed reservations about the ability to hold any candidate accountable once our endorsement was given. Others cited the good works of the RPA as rationale for endorsement, argued that building a relationship with the RPA would be good for expanding more broadly into the East Bay community, and suggested that endorsing candidates for statewide office would help grant East Bay DSA even more legitimacy in the eyes of the political establishment. Even when our members held strong and divergent opinions, the tone of the debate was comradely and constructive.
Finally, a straw poll was held to "take the temperature" of the membership on the issue of endorsements. "Endorsement with minimal resources" carried the day, but this vote is non-binding: The actual vote will take place on October 29. We strongly encourage all East Bay DSA members to attend and ensure that your voice is heard!