Build a Movement in the Streets To Win Philly DA Candidate Krasner’s Platform!

It’s Time To Build a Party of the 99%!

This Tuesday, May 16th, registered Democratic voters will decide the next District Attorney (DA) of Philadelphia amid a national progressive media spotlight. The former DA Seth Williams resigned in March after federal indictments revealed a frenzy of insider pay-to-play schemes leaving an open field. The seven way race now involves over $1.45 million from the coffers of billionaire George Soros and almost $250,000 from local Building Trade unions.

The November election is usually a simple coronation for the primary winner. A symptom of our one-party politics in Philly where low-turnout  elections mean political machines make decisions on winners long before votes are cast. But this primary election is different. It is taking place as millions of working people across the US continue to search for ways to resist the Trump administrations racist right wing agenda and the normally routine DA’s race has been transformed by the campaign of local civil rights lawyer Larry Krasner who has built a national reputation with his spirited defense of protesters from the 2000 Republican National Convention through Occupy Philly, Black Lives Matter, and the recent anti-corporate DNC demonstrations last summer.

Krasner’s platform calling for an end to mass incarceration, the death penalty, defense of civil liberties, and resistance to Trump’s right populism echoes the bold progressive messaging of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential primary run. He has linked his campaign to ongoing struggles in Philadelphia around education funding, stop and frisk, and the school to prison pipeline. His campaign has inspired Philly’s progressive community, caught the imagination of thousands of new activists, and re-ignited hopes of transforming the Democratic Party from within and building a new progressive majority in city hall.

But we know the machinery of mass incarceration cannot be dismantled from within the DA’s office so what kind of movements will it take to end mass incarceration?  The reforms won by the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s through the 1970’s resulted from mass mobilizations of working class people seeking radical change. From the lunch counter sit-ins across North Carolina to the March on Selma, to the mass demonstrations and strikes against the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands wrested basic civil rights from a racist system through determined fighting tactics. We need to base ourselves on that fighting history. We need sit-ins, marches, demonstrations, and strike action to build a broad movement that both stands against Trump’s right wing policies, and fights for positive change for working people and all those under attack.

But we also need to do more than protest. We need to do the hard work of building independent political power, and link ‘movement building’ to electoral politics to win real reforms to improve the quality of life for working people. Like Bernie Sanders, the energy around  Krasner’s campaign shows what we could do if we had our own political party. A party that takes no corporate money and whose candidates pledge to take only an average working class wage.

Many people fighting to transform the Democratic Party into a real progressive force agree with this, but think that it makes more sense to take over the Democratic machine. We understand that this seems easier than building a new party. The Democrats have structure, power and money. But history has shown us that time and time again as local movements try to change the Democrats they come into conflict with the local and national corporate leadership of the party that has no intention of letting progressive movements find their full expression, or they are simply bought off and co-opted, and drowned in the the sea of corporate dollars. Historically, the Democratic Party has proven a graveyard of the mass movements needed to carry through bold progressive demands of working class people. The $1.45 million in super pac money that was dumped into the race to support Krasner is a warning to the movement of the resources that can be brought to bear against progressive politics if we do not build an independent base of support in our communities.

Philadelphia has proud progressive traditions, and it has been the birthplace of many social movements that have transformed US politics. Socialist Alternative argues that now is the time to start building a new independent party of the 99% free from the corporate ties strangling progressive reforms. Philadelphia’s progressive left, unions, and community organizations can come together to strategically run independent candidates for local and state offices that would unapologetically fight for the working people of this city. This is not an abstract problem, and we understand that there are serious procedural barriers for independent candidates in Pennsylvania. But with serious preparation and strategy, by combining the strength of progressive forces in this city, and mobilizing the active logistical and financial support of working people around a united program that addresses our needs, these barriers can be overcome without relying on George Soros’ Super PAC for financial support.

Socialist Alternative wholeheartedly supports the demands for ending mass incarceration and defending the civil liberties of all people. While we cannot ‘endorse’ his campaign, we wish Larry Krasner luck, and we will be fighting alongside him and all those working in his campaign to win the reforms he is fighting for. Win or lose we should maintain the local structures and activist networks built during the campaign to continue to broadly mobilize around the demands and to be a part of building a new independent party.

Continuing the Resistance after MayDay!

Making Philly a real sanctuary city.

Join us for a discussion on tactics and strategy to resist Trumps agenda and win.

The Trump administration is the most racist, reactionary, vicious, climate denying, pro business, anti working-class administration in decades. Along with the chaos and instability coming from White House, the Republicans have been emboldened at the state and city level to carry out attacks on immigrants, women, lgbtq people, unions, worker health and safety, wages, public education, unions, and environmental regulations.

The response by millions of youth and working class people to these attacks has been magnificent. Within hours of Trump’s election victory, we took to the streets to declare that we would resist. The ongoing wave of mass protests since Trump’s inauguration have underscored the complete lack of a mandate for his right wing policies. The temporary defeat of the Muslim ban and the departure of key cabinet appointments have shown that the Trump agenda can be beaten back.

But the fight is far from over. This administration will keep pushing its agenda as we saw last week when congress voted once more on repealing  the Affordable Care Act, this time passing it on to the Senate. Even more alarming, racist hate groups are seizing the political moment to come out of their holes and begin organizing in public, raising their banner and taking to the streets.

Philadelphia has declared itself a sanctuary city, that it will not cooperate with ICE on detaining suspected undocumented workers, and Mayor Kenny and City Council have said they will stand firm and defend it. This is a great first step, but to make Philly a real sanctuary city we have to go beyond simple non-cooperation with ICE and use our city’s resources to actively defend our immigrant sisters and brothers. We have to make Philly a real sanctuary city for all working people:

  • No one has sanctuary without a living wage to provide for themselves and their family. Philadelphia needs $15 and a union.
  • No one has sanctuary without a stable home. Philadelphia needs a massive program to rehab its crumbling housing stock, community control of development and strong tenant rights protections.
  • No one has sanctuary without access to quality healthcare. Philadelphia needs Improved Medicare for All.
  • No one has sanctuary without high quality public education. Philadelphia needs fair funding formula and a democratically elected school board.
  • No one has sanctuary without an end to the militarization of the police, mass incarceration, private prisons and the school-to-prison pipeline. Philadelphia needs a real democratically elected police review board with full powers to subpoena, hire and fire.

When we fight together to make Philadelphia a real sanctuary for immigrants, we make it a better city for all working people.


Join Us!

Friday 5/19/2017  6pm

1315 Spruce St – William Way LGBT Community Center Ballroom

Confirmed Speakers To Date:

Andres Celin – Organizer with Youth United For Change*

Erika Almiron Niz – Executive Director Juntos*

Klyde Breitton – Organizer with Philly Tenants Union and member of Philly Socialists

Marty Harrison – TUHNA Executive Board Member*, 15 Now activist, and Member of Socialist Alternative

*ID Only


 

Vote Cheri Honkala!

For an independent progressive voice in Harrisburg!

Socialist Alternative calls for a vote for Cheri Honkala in the PA197th Special Election tomorrow!

Voters in North Philly’s 197th House District will vote in a special election tomorrow to replace Democrat Leslie Acosta who was forced to step down after pleading guilty to felony embezzlement in 2016. Acosta is the second Democrat in a row to resign the seat due to corruption.

The Democratic Party nominated Freddy Ramirez to run for the open seat but he was kicked off the ballot for not living in the district, leaving Republican Lucinda Little as the only candidate listed on the ballot. This sordid tale of incompetence and corruption has left this heavily Democratic District up for grabs while the hard right is actively  pushing Trumps agenda at a state level. 

At a time when we have been arguing for building the broadest possible united movement to resist Trumps agenda, the Democrats in the 197th are crashing and burning – fielding no less than 4 write in candidates for the seat including the ‘official’ candidate Emilio Vazquez!

Is this a political party we can depend on to defend us against serious attacks on immigrants, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, worker safety, healthcare, pensions, jobs, public services, wages, education, environmental protections and more?

In the middle of this madness there is one independent candidate with a consistent track record of fighting for the working class citizens of the 197th. Green Party member Cheri Honkala is running a write in campaign for the seat. Pledging to use her office to fight the right, but also to advance a progressive working class agenda including a $15hour minimum wage, and linking movement building to winning real reforms.

While Socialist Alternative has some political, tactical, and strategic disagreements with the Green Party – we call for a new party of the 99% that bases itself on the interests of working people – we think that the Greens can play an important role in bringing about a new party, and Socialist Alternative stands ready to help build any and all movements to take on corporate domination of our society.

The need has never been greater to start building a real political alternative to the corrupt pro business parties. At a time when the right wing is on the move, a strong vote for Cheri will send an independent progressive voice to Harrisburg, send a clear message to Washington that we are ready and willing to fight back, and advance the struggle to build a new independent party of the 99%

Cheri’s Program:

  • Food for All
  • Housing for All
  • Healthcare for All –Inclusive of Mental Health
  • Full Living-Wage Employment. $15 an hour!
  • Fund Public Education
  • Allow Immigrants to Stay in Pennsylvania
  • Protect our Water & Land — and Our Children’s Future.
  • Legalize Marijuana and Expungement of Criminal Records
  • Zero-Tolerance for Police Brutality
  • All Public Prisons with Community Input
  • Restore Faith in Our Elections and Voting Systems
  • Pay Equity for Women and Paid Family & Maternity Leave
  • Protect our Water & Land — and Our Children’s Future.
  • Equal Rights and Opportunities for LGBTQIA+ Pennsylvanians

Vote Cheri Honkala!