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U.S. Socialist Stewart Alexander Leaves the PFP
by Stewart Alexander
Wednesday Aug 8th, 2012 7:52 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


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by reader
Wednesday Aug 8th, 2012 4:23 PM
This happens to all parties -- when a celebrity or household name comes along people get excited that something can really finally change for the party . . . one instance where that worked out for the Green Party (aside from Nader) was in NY with the grandfather on the Munsters, Al Lewis, who declared himself a Green, ran for Governor, and got the NY Greens onto the ballot.

But Roseanne is another story, of course, I felt terrible when I heard to her open support of capitalism and her suggestion that part of it was because of how rich she is from that system, which was disgusting.

People will need to work through this on their own, but in the end, they will come back around and realize they were wrong. Unfortunately, there's little you can do until that time except what you've now done.
by Dave Kadlecek
Thursday Aug 9th, 2012 10:45 AM
It remains to be seen whether the Peace and Freedom Party's nomination of the Roseanne Barr/Cindy Sheehan ticket will be successful for the party, helping to increase P&F's registration and active membership and to get out the party's socialist message.

I was a delegate to the convention, and I abstained in the first round of voting (which went 29 for Barr, 18 for Durham, 12 for Alexander, with 4 abstaining) and voted for Barr in the second round (which went 37 for Barr, 16 for Durham, 6 for Alexander, with 5 abstaining). Going into the convention, I was undecided, as the Stewart Alexander, Rocky Anderson, Roseanne Barr, Stephen Durham and Peta Lindsay campaigns all had their strengths and weaknesses.

The principal strength Barr brings to the campaign, in addition to her name recognition and potential to put material resources into the campaign, is that she listened to advice and made some decisions (most notably, choosing Cindy Sheehan as her running mate) that clearly helped her to win the nomination by assuring P&F activists that she isn't just a ego-tripping Hollywood liberal who is disappointed with the Democrats.

The other key event in her winning the P&F nomination was her winning the support of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, as Peta Lindsay ended her campaign speech at the convention by withdrawing in favor of Barr.

If Stewart Alexander and the SPUSA realized going in to the convention that they were not going to win the P&F nomination and were primarily concerned that the party maintain its socialist credentials by nominating a clearly socialist candidate, they should have done something about it. Instead, they gave generic socialist political speeches, which while good as such (I was particularly impressed with Alex Mendoza's), didn't address the questions that needed to be addressed.

They didn't say how their campaign could reach people in California if they were nominated. They didn't argue why it was so important to nominate a clearly socialist candidate, even if he or she wouldn't be heard by people who weren't already leftists. And, even after the first round of voting, they didn't withdraw in favor of Durham, which while possibly not changing the final result, would certainly have made it closer.

I am hopeful that Barr and Sheehan will promote the Peace and Freedom Party and its platform in their campaigning, at least enough that a substantial proportion of those who encounter their campaign will get some of the message. Even if that substantial proportion is only ten or twenty percent, that would still get the message out to substantially more people than would the clearly socialist alternatives. I could be disappointed, but I don't think my hopes are unreasonable.
by Kevin Akin
Friday Aug 10th, 2012 12:55 PM
I am puzzled by the assertion by some that Barr is not a "socialist candidate." Not that most voters care about this, but she is. She "came out" as a socialist in early 2011 (in her book), and has been enthusiastically baited by the Right ever since. Last night (Thursday 9 August) on the Piers Morgan show she repeatedly emphasized that she offers "socialist solutions, that work" to the voters. She is clearly a socialist candidate, one who because of her own personal history and popularity will reach many voters. We could use a lot more such candidates. What we don't need are people who split and weaken the movement for working-class power and prosperity, with unmerited attacks on good people.
by Cat Woods
( cat [at] roseanneforpresident.org ) Friday Aug 10th, 2012 3:17 PM
This letter is a response to Stewart Alexander's resignation letter posted here: http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/215652/index.php

Stewart,

Are we supposed to feel sorry for you? You basically call Roseanne Barr a liar -- assuming that she is not really a socialist because she hasn't publicly called herself that as long as you. You talk as if you're being so noble in not blaming your supporters for not getting you the nomination, because of course you must have deserved it -- after all, you met Kevin Akin a long time ago.

Stewart, I never had anything against you (until now), but you lost this nomination yourself. If any of the other candidates had talked up the Peace & Freedom Party and pledged to make the CA voter registration drive a priority, Roseanne Barr & Cindy Sheehan would not have had a chance of winning the nomination. They ran ZERO people for delegate. You guys had committed delegates. Roseanne knew no one in the party; you had the long-time loyalty of many party members.

But none of you did. You took that loyalty for granted. You say yourself that the Socialist Party doesn't care that much about voter registration. Well, members of the PFP care whether we fall off the ballot in 2014.

Before Roseanne came along, I was just bored with the Presidential race. I even wondered whether I could get myself to attend the convention; what was the point? None of you were saying anything about the PFP or saving our ballot line. Every time I've heard you speak, you ramble on and on about how you met Kevin at a cafe years ago, blah blah blah. Occasional passion, but no focus, no preparation. This is supposed to convince us to nominate you for President? I'm sure you're capable of better, but you don't bring it when you speak publicly. Or at least none of the times I've heard you. From what I've heard from others, your "I've known Kevin a long time" speech has been a standard of yours for quite a while now.

About Nader in 2008, no he does not call himself a socialist, but he did help the party. He campaigned with our candidates so that they spoke about socialism to audiences of many hundreds instead of a couple dozen. (I was one of those whose path to socialism began with hearing Marsha Feinland's speech about nationalizing the banks since we already paid for them with the Wall Street bailout -- at a Nader event.) He had the Peace & Freedom Party logo on campaign literature which actually reached lots of actual people. He provided offices from which the PFP ran all its campaigns. The voter registration issue was not the same in 2008. The Top Two primary didn't pass until 2010. That is why we're in danger of falling off the ballot. You didn't know that? Do you care about this party (the PFP) or not?

Face it, Stewart: you thought you had this nomination in the bag and took your support for granted. I'm not sure why you were so surprised. If you'd called delegates, you'd have known you didn't have it in the bag. I certainly knew you weren't going to win it, and I only called a fraction of the delegates. My main fear was a complete breakdown where Roseanne got eliminated early and no one got a majority. I knew she was the "consensus" candidate if she could make it to the later rounds. I knew she had tons of later round support from your and Durham's supporters. You apparently didn't even bother to find that out.

Yeah, you shouldn't blame your own supporters. And it's completely pathetic that you're trying to blame the party for nominating someone who immediately grasped that this party was in danger and offered to help us, who immediately started putting the Peace & Freedom Party name into the national media, and who jumped at the opportunity to "come out" as a socialist and promote socialism. Almost as if she believed in socialism more than these people whining about not getting a nomination that they didn't bother to win.

The PFP is a multi-tendency party. You therefore do not get to define Roseanne and Cindy's socialism out of existence simply because you've called yourself a socialist longer and met Kevin Akin so many years ago.

The SP attends meetings of the National Organizing Committee. The hopes behind that committee include a strong hope among many of creating a JOINT national nominating process by 2016. My passion is to create a truly democratic process -- a direct national primary with ranked voting and one person one vote. But really it's no hope at all if the SP can't even accept when it loses the CA ballot line fair and square. An essential requirement of democracy is being willing to accept loss in order to have a fair process.

The person at a disadvantage here was Roseanne -- she didn't know the party's culture or the inner workings of our nomination process, she had no delegates, her celebrity was counted as a strike against her by a lot of party members, and she only had 3 weeks to win them over. But she brought it big time and won. Man up and deal with it.

-Cat Woods

by Not concerned
Friday Aug 10th, 2012 4:56 PM
From what i understand Stewart Alexander is a nice guy . But not much of a activist, According to the few serious Southern Cal activists that have heard of him he's not active in the Labor movement, Antiwar movement , Immigrant rights or anti-Police Brutality campaigns .
What he does like to do is see his name on a ballot . And he apparently isn't that picky which party . Apparently Comrade Alexander was a Conservative when he was a Republican , a liberal when a democrat , and when he joined the PFP a ''socialist '' !
by Lynn Lomibao
Saturday Aug 11th, 2012 9:31 PM
Freedom Socialist presidential candidate comes in second to last-minute celebrity entrant Roseanne Barr:

http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/?q=node/2007
by Joe Bob
Wednesday Oct 10th, 2012 7:54 AM
Stewart Alexander is a horrible candidate with no political depth or true socialist consciousness nominated by a party with no political depth or true socialist consciousness: the SPUSA.