When We Pursue the Struggle, We Pursue Happiness
California progressives are more connected and more organized than we have been since the 1930s - perhaps ever. And across the country, progressives are showing our strength with more youth, working people, women, and black and brown leadership having emerged.
Californians face some unique electoral challenges - massive initiative campaigns that allow corporations to buy themselves out of regulation and even out of legal jeopardy, direct corporate contributions, huge districts, and an enormous state where money often speaks louder than the people. However, we also have unique opportunities. Progressives can make use of our top-two nonpartisan primary to come together and organize, outside of party politics, making decisions on strong corporate-free candidates we want to collectively get behind. Voting reforms such as same-day registration at elections offices and voting centers mean registration drives have more impact.
From California, there were bright lights for corporate-free campaigns in our local election results: Sonia De Leon for Paramount School Board, Eduardo Martinez for Richmond City Council, Geoff Ellsworth for St. Helen Mayor (Geoff holds a 20 vote lead with vote counting ongoing), Kate Harrison for Berkeley City Council and more. As the California Progressive Alliance, we want to work with these leaders to build local power by bringing people together around shared progressive values. We have not yet broken through to the state legislature or constitutional offices - and this is why our work is so important.
Just like we see fossil fuel and for-profit medical interests driving the agenda for establishment figures in Congress, we cannot expect corporate-funded politicians to serve the people’s interest in California. This is an issue that transcends party, as we’ve seen progressive issues languish despite Democratic Party supermajorities in the legislature. We must work apart from party affiliation and across issues to advance a true people’s agenda for our state - working in and out of the party system to create the broadest, strongest statewide progressive political force possible.
We are hosting the CPA’s founding convention March 30-31 in San Luis Obispo. Please save the date and watch for registration information after Thanksgiving.
We are committed to working with all corporate-free candidates, those that won and those who are committed to keep fighting. We invite participation from candidates who want to hold “listening tours” in their districts, and members of the Alliance’s interim steering committee are committed to this local organizing as well.
What will happen at the convention?
We will focus on approving bylaws, hearing “Action Team” proposals for our work on key legislative issues in 2019, and creating a statewide endorsement process for corporate-free candidates. We will also invite speakers on major issues facing California, including climate change, Prop. 13 reform, public banking, and rent control.
Political reform is not a cyclical endeavor - it is a calling that we must take on if we are to ensure a bright future for ourselves, our families, for each other. We cannot retreat into our own lives - when we pursue the struggle, we pursue happiness.
I hope that you will stick with us, that you will choose to stand up in these difficult times. True happiness comes with every step we take to bring about a better society for all.
Gayle McLaughlin and The California Progressive Alliance Interim Steering Committee