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What I learned from the Peace & Freedom Party Convention

by Alex Mendoza, Socialist Party USA VP Cand. Wednesday, Aug. 08, 2012 at 7:27 PM

I quickly realized that I needed to use this experience to motivate me and to understand that our movement will be challenged from those outside the movement and from within. We will not be deterred, and our fight towards socialism will continue. We will continue to build our party and build our cause. We will continue to build coalitions. We will continue to embrace other socialist organizations and work closer with each other. And personally, I will continue to work diligently with the Stewart Alexander campaign, with my Local and others, and hopefully work closer with the FSP and other organizations that truly embrace socialist values.

I learned that if you are a B-list celebrity who wants to enhance your “political” resume, you can simply announce a newfound epiphany towards socialism to a supposedly radical socialist party in the most populous state in the country, and you will win that party’s presidential nomination!

This is exactly what I witnessed this past weekend at the Peace & Freedom Party Convention in Los Angeles. On Friday, attendees (delegates and observers) had the opportunity to visit, socialize, and ask questions to the presidential candidates. All presidential candidates were present -- except Roseanne Barr -- who apparently did not feel her presence was required since her nomination and votes had already been bought and secured.

I also learned that there were two parties -- the Peace & Freedom Party (PFP) and the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) -- that stated emphatically and repeatedly throughout the weekend, in their loudest voices possible, they were the parties of anti-capitalism, the parties of true revolutionaries, the parties who represented the 99%. What I saw was not revolutionary. Instead, the PFP and PSL joined the convention-turned-circus, standing up and cheering when Roseanne’s limo pulled up at the convention and her body guards exited their cars, escorted her and her entourage inside the building, and walked her to the microphone where she spoke for 15, uninterrupted minutes. There were no opportunities to ask her questions, which, to me, was completely undemocratic.

Roseanne’s comedy routine included mentions of Romney and Obama, followed by her signature (and annoying) fake laugh that resonated throughout the convention. This was the point when the convention turned from a productive convention into a total circus, which the PFP and PSL clearly enjoyed. In fact, the PSL enjoyed the circus so much, that their self-professed, anti-capitalist, revolutionary, activist, socialist candidate ended her pursuit of the PFP nomination and endorsed Roseanne Barr. It should have probably been an indication of what the PSL was willing to do when their presidential candidate talked about “anti-capitalism” and fighting the large global corporations, while in the same breath, sipping a soda from a 32 oz. Subway cup.

Another thing I learned is that the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) and the Socialist Party USA (SPUSA) were the only true socialist parties in attendance at the convention. After hearing Steve Durham and Christina Lopez speak a few times, it was easy to understand why the Steve Durham Campaign has wide-range support and continues to establish itself as a legitimate socialist campaign. My respect for Steve Durham, and my Chicana sister, Christina Lopez grew exponentially as the convention progressed. Their passion, dedication, and devotion to the movement were evident in their words. Additionally, my support and respect for Stewart Alexander continues to grow and he continues to reassure me of the reasons to support him and the SPUSA.

Initially, I was unsure if what I felt was disappointment, disgust, sadness, or all these feelings all at once. I quickly realized that I needed to use this experience to motivate me and to understand that our movement will be challenged from those outside the movement and from within. We will not be deterred, and our fight towards socialism will continue. We will continue to build our party and build our cause. We will continue to build coalitions. We will continue to embrace other socialist organizations and work closer with each other. And personally, I will continue to work diligently with the Stewart Alexander campaign, with my Local and others, and hopefully work closer with the FSP and other organizations that truly embrace socialist values.

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What Irony Steve Sears Wednesday, Aug. 08, 2012 at 11:34 PM
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GPUS SC member Susan Chunco Thursday, Aug. 09, 2012 at 3:40 AM

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