Endorsement is easy, accountability is not

  • Statement about: Jovanka Beckles
  • For these candidates: I support a minimal endorsement, without a commitment to "boots on the ground" support from DSA.
  • Summary: Endorsement is easy, accountability is not

Written by East Bay DSA member Gabe

We should ringingly endorse Jovanka but not (yet) commit significant resources to her or any candidate's campaigns. We should reach out to RPA with our endorsement and meet with them to work out how our organizations, not our representatives, can form a coalition. We should engage directly with RPA's members and contribute our resources to directly advancing the interests of the working class in Richmond and the Bay Area.

Of course we should endorse Jovanka. She's not afraid to represent herself as a Socialist and a fighter for the working class. This alone is reason enough, but the achievements she and RPA have won in Richmond are frankly astounding. Richmond belongs to Chevron, full stop. It is a perfect example of the potentially endless "company town" endgame of capitalism. The gains made by RPA are astounding given the very real power of Chevron and their long-entrenched stranglehold on local politics. To endorse Jovanka is literally the least we can do to endorse and further these gains.

So why not go further? In fact, given their track record in the last 10+ years, it would be myopic to pretend that RPA's coalition has not been (up to this point in time) a more direct and effective representative organization of the working class in Richmond than any explicitly Marxist American coalition has been the last 70 years.

Truthfully, to share resources and labor power with this organization is a no-brainer. OF COURSE we must contribute directly and as immediately as possible to the material interests of the working class! At this moment, a more ideal coalition than RPA cannot be realistically imagined. If we are not willing to tap into our growing power as unified socialists, and commit a portion of it to such a coalition, we are literally wasting our time and failing our comrades.

The East Bay DSA has real power. We've all seen it. We already have enough people to knock on every door in Oakland if we commit to doing so. And we must use this power, or we are squandering it! But the direction in which we, at this moment, apply our untapped power is the crucial decision.

Jovanka's campaign is, at best, a chance for a single progressive candidate to gain a small foothold in the very carefully arranged capital-political machine in Sacramento; at worst, it is a symbolic gesture.

Jovanka and Grace came to ask us for something. It's a small thing to give, and can (and should) be rescinded if needed. I must reiterate: their organization EFFECTIVELY and DIRECTLY represents the interests of Richmond's working class. We owe them more than an endorsement, but that is not canvassing for their candidates, it is canvassing for our shared causes.

I see a chance for RPA and DSA to consolidate resources and power in the direct fight for Single Payer, justice and the material interests of the working class. We must find a way to use our power and theirs to advance these fights, vigorously and without compromise.

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.