2017 Electoral Endorsements
On October 29, East Bay DSA members voted on whether to endorse Jovanka Beckles for California Assembly District 15 and/or Gayle McLaughlin for California Lieutenant Governor. Members submitted statements in the weeks leading up to the vote, which are listed below, to make the case against endorsement, for limited endorsement, or for full endorsement of either or both candidates.
After many members made statements, a quorum of members voted in favor of support with "significant resources" for both Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin in their upcoming races. Future meetings will determine what resources the chapter will put behind the two candidates.
Both candidates completed East Bay DSA's candidate endorsement questionnaire prior to the vote.
To help create robust discussion in the lead-up to voting, and to ensure all sides of this important question have a shared space to air their arguments, all East Bay DSA members and groups were invited to publish position statements laying out their opinions on the questions of whether to endorse Beckles and/or McLaughlin and if so, how heavily East Bay DSA should be involved in campaigning for them.
See what your fellow East Bay DSA members had to say about these electoral endorsements.
A vote for "Minimal Resources" indicated support for endorsing the candidate(s) but not engaging in any campaigning, while a vote for "Significant Resources" indicated support for participating in campaigning for the candidate or candidates. This could include things like incorporating candidate materials into current East Bay DSA canvassing and/or encouraging East Bay DSA members to attend candidate-run canvasses and events.
- No deals, build our own, the time is now, by Kimo: DSA East Bay has the people-power to win the next election cycle
- Build a party. This is the time for optimism., by David S., Alex R., and K. Khan: We should run our own slate not endorse non-DSA candidates. We are in an era of sudden leaps and we should be optimistic.
- Communist Caucus: On the Question of Electoral Support, by William O. and Kelsey J.: Electoral endorsement will be ineffectual at a moment when we should be building material working class power.
- How to Build Working-Class Power, by Connor L. and Justin G.: Our capacities outside of electoral politics have been neglected. Fixing this problem is necessary for building working-class power.
- Until members have agency, EBDSA should not endorse, by Antonio Herrera and William O.: Given our top-down organizational structure and limited resources, we stand to benefit little from endorsing.
- A Materialist Look at Elections, by Daniel T. and Rane S.: Elections and political shifts are guided by crises in Capitalism. Intervening in these crises is the best way to affect electoral outcomes.
- Horse first, cart last: building ourselves before we build others., by Aaron Hall: Resource siphoning from our own inchoate infrastructure, no means of accountability, and working class mistrust of politics won't deliver.
- We need independence from the capitalist parties and their representatives., by John Reimann: We can't start to solve the crying need for a working class party while supporting candidates of a capitalist party.
- Jovanka is a corporate money free democratic socialist who will fight with us to get Medicare For All, by Eric Broder: Let's endorse Jovanka because she is a corporate money free democratic socialist who will fight with us to get Medicare For All
- The Means Not the Ends, by Dan Deck: The endorsement represents an opportunity for our members to engage with the working class beyond a narrow section of Oakland and Berkeley.
- Jovanka's Campaign is an Opportunity to Build Power, by Robbie Nelson: We can build DSA's capacity to fight for working-class power through the Beckles campaign
- Solidarity Over Insularity, by Nathan Nicholson: DSA chapters need to embrace connections with groups like the Richmond Progressive Alliance, not fear them.
- Elections and Power, by Sandy Barnard: Elections are a powerful tactic, and we learn to win them by doing them
- Endorsing Jovanka & Gayle Is a Step Towards Power, by Michael Kaufman: Building Power Goes Through Canvassing on the Issues AND Our Candidates
- Whether we endorse or not, our approach should be boots on the ground, by Nestor Castillo: Whether or not we choose to endorse these two candidates, East Bay DSA should be committed to fully supporting whichever candidate we endorse.
- Beckles & McLaughlin Are Great Role Models for DSA!, by Steve Early: DSA should endorse these anti-corporate candidates to build on Bernie Sanders' presidential primary campaign.
- Three Criteria for Electoral Engagement, Three Reasons To Organize with RPA, by Keith Brower Brown: Electoral work should base-build, push a socialist agenda, & train us for state power. Fighting to win for Jovanka does all three.
- Why we should canvas for Jovanka and Gayle, by Megan Svoboda, Abigail Gutmann-Gonzalez, Zach McDonald, Mark Gabriel, and Ari Marcantonio: Incorporating RPA candidates into our canvasing program will build power
- Practicing Electoral Politics, by Jamie Gardner: We can learn how to run an accountable, grassroots campaign from RPA before doing it ourselves, and show our strength a little in the process
- Issues and Candidates, RPA's Strategy, by Zak Wear: The RPA transformed Richmond with a very simple strategy.
- Accountability and Structure: Building Coalition with the RPA to Build the Party We Need, by Mary Virginia Watson: Accountability is about structure. RPA has built an admirable organization: a partnership will expand our own power, as well as theirs.
- Former 15AD candidate (PFP) strongly supports Jovanka and Gayle., by Eugene E. Ruyle: As a former candidate for the 15 AD, I strongly support Jovanka and Gayle as candidates with proven anti-corporate, pro-people records.
- It's about understanding our own power, by Mike Parker: Grass roots issue and electoral campaigns must reinforce each other
- Endorsement is easy, accountability is not, by Gabe: Jovanka and RPA's achievements are incredible. But the limits of typical candidate betting preclude more than endorsement.
- Our first priority should be membership growth, by Charlie H.: We should endorse these anti-corporate candidates, but we need to discuss the value of our time and resources
Statements were suggested to be
- About a specific possible vote on one or both candidate endorsements and present a clear argument for or against (for example, "East Bay DSA should not endorse [candidate] because of [these reasons]")
- Between 250 and 750 words (suggested)
- Submitted by East Bay DSA members, individually or as joint or co-signed statements (collaboration is encouraged)
Endorsement Statement Submission
All statements were published as submitted, provided that
- The author or authors were East Bay DSA members in good standing
- The statement was on the topic of electoral endorsements
- Its arguments were made in the spirit of comradely debate and did not include hate speech or ad hominem content