- Statement about: Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin
- For these candidates: I support a strong endorsement with a commitment to "boots on the ground" support from DSA.
- Summary: DSA should endorse these anti-corporate candidates to build on Bernie Sanders' presidential primary campaign.
Written by East Bay DSA member Steve Early
I'm writing as a longtime member of DSA and someone who joined both of its predecessor organizations, DSOC and NAM back in the late 1970s.
I'm also a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, which is profiled in my new book called Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of An American City (For details and Beacon Press ordering info, see http://www.beacon.org/Refinery-Town-P1229.aspx)
While writing and researching Refinery Town, I saw first hand what kind of inspiring leadership Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin provided, in one of the most successful municipal reform movements in the U.S..
As elected officials in Richmond, Beckles and McLaughlin have helped build a multi-racial, working class-oriented, left-wing political formation that is independent of the Democratic Party.
East Bay Chapter backing for Beckles & McLaughlin and campaign volunteering by individual DSA members can help strengthen progressive politics in California by encouraging the formation of more Our Revolution affiliates like the Richmond Progressive Alliance.
They're both now running for higher office with lots of opponents who claim to be "progressive--and some of whom are or will be backed by unions (like the California Nurses Association) that claim to be "progressive" too.
But Beckles and McLaughlin have a proven track record of standing up against the corporate spending that most pollutes and distorts California politics--and that's the campaign expenditures of Big Oil.
Nobody else in either field of candidates--AD 15 or the lieutenant governor's race--has a similar organizational connection and commitment to real grassroots movement building. That means that, if any of their politically ambitious rivals get to Sacramento, they will become part of the problem there, not the solution.
They will go along, to get along, with the leadership of our corporate Democrat-dominated state legislature and whatever successor to Jerry Brown gets elected next year with the help of big business money too.
Since the Sanders campaign, DSA has made a great turn toward local politics. Its membership is now playing a key role in left-wing campaigns for city council and mayor in cities throughout the country. But, If we're serious about getting big money out of politics at every level, we need to support those rare candidates who, like Bernie, are able to run--and win--without it!
There's no better way to pursue an effective inside/outside strategy than by backing Beckles & McLaughlin.
The statement above is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the opinions of East Bay DSA, its local council, or its members.