by Lynn Lomibao
Thursday, Aug. 09, 2012 at 4:43 AM
I have met many wonderful and dedicated activists throughout my experience with the Peace and Freedom Party, and hope to maintain many of those friendships in the upcoming years.
While my position with regard to this past weekend's PFP Convention may be unpopular, I feel obliged to express the motivation behind my resignation. My commitment to the Peace and Freedom Party extends as far as the Party's commitment to socialism.
Open Letter to the Peace and Freedom Party State Executive Committee
I am formally resigning my position of State Central Committee member with the Peace and Freedom Party.
I have met many wonderful and dedicated activists throughout my experience with the Peace and Freedom Party, and hope to maintain many of those friendships in the upcoming years. While my position with regard to this past weekend's PFP Convention may be unpopular, I feel obliged to express the motivation behind my resignation. My commitment to the Peace and Freedom Party extends as far as the Party's commitment to socialism.
While the Nader nomination of 2008 may have been difficult to accept considering the fact that Nader was not a socialist candidate, I was willing to reconcile the choice believing that the nomination would heavily contribute to a substantial increase in new registered Peace and Freedom Party voters. When the registrations failed to meet what I considered to be a worthwhile sacrifice after the Nader nomination, I began to place a progressively greater hope that in 2012, the Party would make the nomination of a socialist candidate a priority. Some might say if that was a priority, why didn't you do more to secure delegates to win the nomination, therefore ensuring the nomination of a socialist candidate? That's a valid question that I am happy to address.
We began the effort to reorganize the Socialist Party in California, which had been dormant for roughly a decade, in December of 2010. At the time, we had a very small handful of youngsters tasked with the challenge. The group marched forward, eventually establishing a Local in Los Angeles in February of 2011. Finally, on June 25th of 2011, the Socialist Party USA chartered the state of California, and we began to put our focus on the next year's election. The reality for me was, the overwhelming majority of the SPUSA membership in California had only joined the Party subsequent to February 2011, and very few had registered to the Peace and Freedom Party at the time.
This group in California, largely youngsters, fresh out of high school (and some still in high school) were just beginning their foray into the fight for socialism. Do I criticize them for not having been registered to vote Peace and Freedom Party prior to February of 2011? I do not. Was there encouragement provided to register Peace and Freedom Party after joining the Socialist Party USA? You bet, and many have, believing that Peace and Freedom Party was a party committed to socialism. Do I criticize them for their place on the learning curve with regard to electoral politics? No. I have tried to provide support and encouragement and assistance in their path toward establishing an active Socialist Party USA presence in California.
Knowing that I was able to play a vital role in where the SPUSA now stands in CA is something that I take great pride. (And for the record and for those who like to compare the number of registered Peace and Freedom Party voters versus the number of Socialist Party USA members, the SPUSA is a membership organization and does not measure its success in terms of registered voters. In 2010, Dan LaBotz of the Socialist Party USA ran for Senate in Ohio and received over 25,000 votes. Are all of those voters dues-paying members of the SPUSA? They are not.
In addition, a spirited effort was made to run a small slate of write-in candidates to serve as delegates for my campaign during the PFP Convention. Ultimately, that effort was unsuccessful, but I admired the effort and sacrifice made to go through the process required to run as write-ins during the California primary.
So I just want to clear the air on the issue of effort with regard to delegates. Had the SPUSA been one year earlier in reorganizing California, the situation may have been a bit different. Levying blame at the feet of those in California working on my campaign is not only inappropriate, in my opinion, but irresponsible if we place any premium on encouraging our youth to carry the torch in the fight for socialism.
Considering what we had to work with in California and the commitment to the Peace and Freedom Party over the years, the Alexander/Mendoza Campaign thought that making an appeal to the undecided Peace and Freedom Party delegates was a reasonable direction to travel. I am hopeful that many were aware of the fact that, in the numerous media opportunities I have had during my campaign; I have always done whatever I could to promote the Peace and Freedom Party, regardless of where my interview was being held.
I recently took a trip to the Socialist Party USA's National Organizing Conference (NOC) in Memphis, TN, where I explained my history with both Peace and Freedom Party and the Socialist Party USA to a group of nearly 100 activists who convened for the session. I felt some confidence that my history and loyalty to the Peace and Freedom Party, coupled with my commitment to socialism, would yield some measure of support to fill the gap created by the youth of the SPUSA. Never in a million years would I have expected what I witnessed during the Peace and Freedom Convention. To be frank, I am sorry that the youngsters, Alex Mendoza and the FSP Campaign endured the actions of a Party I so proudly supported for the last 14 years.
I have had time to reflect since the Convention, and while I have many questions: Where was the Q&A period for Roseanne Barr? Where was the skepticism that putting our faith that Barr would be able to deliver the voter registrations that Nader wasn't able to accomplish? Where was the concern that a Party that labels itself a socialist party on its website might nominate a candidate who just months ago claimed that she favored Regulated Capitalism? My prevailing feelings are of sorrow. Sorrow for those within and without the Peace and Freedom Party who put their trust and faith into those who could contribute to providing a socialist alternative in California, many of who have reached out to the campaign in the past few days; sorrow and frustration when I think about my loyalty to the Peace and Freedom Party. Sorrow and frustration at the complete lack of support that the socialist candidates received in the way of delegate votes at the Convention.
As I always have, I will continue my fight to build a better future for the working class. I will continue to cherish the time I spend educating young people on the value of socialism. I can only hope to inspire them as they inspire me.
Comradely, Stewart Alexander Socialist Party USA Presidential Candidate
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