Electoral Strategy from the Grassroots

Electoral Strategy from the Grassroots
Image by Rich Johnstone via Flickr Creative Commons

By Mike Rhodes

In September, we asked our readers to tell us their opinions about local, state and federal candidates and the state propositions. We want to share with you their progressive analysis about the candidates, propositions and importance of the Nov. 6 elections.

We will start with Michael D. Evans, who is the chairperson of the Fresno County Democratic Party. He writes:

Vote! This is the most important election of your lifetime. I know that sounds like typical election-year rhetoric, but if the Republicans control the White House and Congress and if Prop 30 were to lose and Prop 32 were to pass, our state and country could be unrecognizable four years from now. Until the threat of dominance by right-wing ideologues and corporatists is behind us, every election will be “the most important election ever.”

Yes, many of us have concerns with Democrats and want more from them, but it is up to us to become the Democratic Party and in the meantime hold our elected officials accountable.

Sitting on the sidelines in this election is not an option. The stakes are simply too high. Register voters. More important, educate voters. Education is critical in making sure that the electorate knows what’s at stake in Election 2012. And get voters to the poll (or voting by mail). Progressives could control a majority of elective offices in our city and county if all who are registered went one step further and voted.

Judy Nelson, MA Ed., is a strong supporter of labeling genetically engineered food. I have seen her all over the community encouraging people to vote yes on Prop 37. Here is what she wants you to know:

The most important proposition on the November ballot regarding individual rights and freedom of choice is Prop 37: “The California Right to Know Label Genetically Engineered Foods Act.” In a capitalistic economy, customers have the right to know what they are purchasing. This right was taken from us in 1996, when genetically engineered (GE) organisms were silently introduced into our foods without any safety testing for human consumption.

Prop 37 is simply a labeling law—nothing more. At its heart is “our right to know” what we are purchasing and feeding our families. It gives us back the power to choose whether we want to consume GE foods. Forty-nine other countries already label GE foods. Major U.S. food manufacturers who produce foods in those countries already label GE foods there without any increase in food costs, but they do not want to do it in the United States. In fact, they have dumped $27 million into California to defeat Prop 37 and continue to keep us from knowing what is in our food. Why?

It is time for Californians to take a stand and send a landslide message to these mega corporations that “We have had enough!” of their treating us like a living scientific experiment. We have the “right to know” what is in our food. Please join the 91% of California voters who want labeling. Vote “Yes on Prop 37!”

The Community Alliance greatly appreciates the support Jan Balcom has given us over the years. She too sees Prop 37 as an extremely important proposition and urges you to vote yes:

There are many, extremely important races and measures on our ballot, but my personal priority is Yes on Prop 37, “Our Right to Know.” The possibilities of genetic engineering are exciting, but the way in which the technology has been made the property of corporations that care only about short-term profits has made the present use of bio-engineered food crops extremely dangerous and harmful.

There are already some crops in which the entire population has been contaminated with genetically engineered traits, some of which are demonstrably dangerous to our food supply, and the trend will continue if the industries that now profit from the growing dominance of their products can keep us buying the products until they soon become the only food available, substituted without our knowledge or consent for the foods we thought we were buying.

To do this though, they must continue to keep consumers from knowing what is in our food. With labeling, these dubious products will finally have to compete for our food dollars, giving us the choice of whether to buy them. Our right to know what is in the food we buy must be restored, and Prop 37 will help do that.

Steve Sacks, who many people know from the Unitarian Universalist Church (or perhaps from the Progressive Network of Central California), focuses on the presidential race. Steve writes:

One of the things that is critical in this next election is that Obama be reelected. I’ve been extremely disappointed on the whole by his first term in many areas. However, the reason he needs to be elected is to affect the makeup of the Supreme Court. As we saw with the Citizens United decision that allows unlimited campaign spending by billionaires and corporations, the makeup of the court is extremely important to the future of this country. The fact that Obama has made two appointments who vote most of the time looking out for the good of the country rather than the good of the rich is reason enough to vote for him.

Carl Robinson and his wife Esther established the Award for the Common Good, which was presented to many deserving progressives in Fresno. While Carl (and Esther) now live in Ojai, he still subscribes to the Community Alliance newspaper and offers this advice:

My suggestions are to continue to challenge injustices, make them visible to the public [and] present seminars and workshops on issues so folk can be informed.

Dr. George B. Kauffman, the Community Alliance science writer (see his article on page 23) is going to vote for a progressive candidate rather than for President Obama. Here are his thoughts:

Because California is considered a certain “win” for President Obama, it would seem that a vote for him would be a wasted vote. Therefore, it might be wiser to vote for a progressive candidate such as Jill Stein of the Green Party rather than Obama. This might serve to push the Democratic Party further to the left. However, if Obama is not a certain “shoo-in” for California, we should vote for him. For the Republicans to win California would be unthinkable!

Maria Telesco might be Fresno’s premier prison rights advocate and death penalty opponent. She has a simple message about the November election:

Save many lives and save much money: Help me kill the death penalty. Vote yes on Prop 34.


Mike Rhodes is the editor of the Community Alliance newspaper. Contact him at editor@fresnoalliance.com.


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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