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Future of Left/ Independent Politics Electoral Action Conference to be held May 2-3, 2015 in Chicago


H/T Deran in Open Thread, facebook event page:

What we propose:

1. A dialogue for those who are committed to left politics outside of the two-party system

2. To discuss the “why” goals

3. To share experiences and reflections of campaigning

4. To share challenges after being elected to office and strategies for opening political space for social movements

Aims and Objectives:

1. To promote independent political action

2. To build cooperation among disparate movements, candidates, left/progressive parties

3. To develop and adopt a means for continued networking, conversation and cooperation after the conference

Endorsers of this conference as of Feb. 10, 2015 include: Gayle McLaughin+ (Richmond City Council; former Mayor, Richmond CA ); Tim Meegan (2015 Independent candidate for alderman, 33rd ward, Chicago), Bruce Dixon (Managing editor, Black Agenda Report and co-chair of the Georgia Green Party), Kshama Sawant + (Seattle City Council), Howie Hawkins (Candidate for Governor of New York , Green Party*), Jorge Mújica (2015 Socialist candidate for alderman, 25th ward , Chicago), Ellen David Friedman (Vermont Progressive Party*), Dan LaBotz (Co-founder Teamsters for a Democratic Union; Editor, New Politics; Socialist Party* Candidate for U.S. Senate, OH 2010), Mike Parker (Co-author Democracy is Power; Coordinator, Richmond Progressive Alliance*), Gloria Mattera (Co-Chair, Green Party of New York*), Eduardo Martinez + (Richmond City Council), Lance Selfa (author of The Democrats: A Critical History), Bhaskar Sunkara (editor of Jacobin), Angela Walker (Candiate for Milwaukee Sheriff, 2014), Kali Akuno Cooperation Jackson*, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement*), Jess Spear (Climate scientist and 2014 Socialist Alternative candidate for Washington State House); Jovanka Beckles + (Richmond City Council), Cindy Sheehan (Anti-war activist, 2012 vice-presidential candidate, 2012, Peace and Freedom Party*), Rosa Clemente (Hip hop activist, Vice-Presidential Candiate, 2008, Green Party*), Jill Stein (Presidential Candidate, 2012, Green Party *), David McReyonlds (Socialist Party* candidate for President 1980, 2000), Glenn Ford (Journalist, Black Agenda Report),Marsha Rummel+ (Madison WI Common Council. Progressive Dane*), Ty Moore (Socialist Alternative candidate for Minneapolis City Council, 2003), Debra Reiger (State Chair, California Peace and Freedom Party), Mimi Soltysik (Socialist Party USA Male Co-Chair, 2014 candidate for CA State Assembly), Joanne Landy (Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Editorial board member, New Politics), Art Kazar (Local Executive Committee Member, Chicago Socialist Party), Robert “Gabe” Gabrielsky (Green Party* candidate, New Jersey Second Congressional District in 2000, for State Assembly in 2001 and for State Senate in 2003) , Ann Menache (Disability rights activist and attorney, Green Party* candidate for Secretary of State 2011), Jason West + (Mayor of New Paltz, NY), Todd Cretien (International Socialist Organization; Candidate for U.S. Senate (California), 2006), Ian Schlakman (Green Party candidate for Congress MD 2014), Linda Thompson (Co-Chair, Green Party of CT), Margaret Kimberely (Journalist, Black Agenda Report), Bill Onasch (; Previously served on the Labor Party’s Interim National Council and Electoral Policy Commission), Isa Infante (2014 Candidate for Governor, Green Party of TN), John Halle (Green Party, previously New Haven Alderman), Nicole Deane (Dan Siegel for Oakland 2014 volunteer coordinator), Carroll Fife (Dan Siegel for Oakland 2014 campaign coordinator), Ellis Boal (Green Party MI*), Steve Early (author and labor journalist), Joanna Misnik (Treasurer, Chicago Socialist Campaign; Solidarity), Bryan Koulouris (Socialist Alternative), Rick Kissell (past candidate for Milwaukee Treasurer, past president of the AFL-CIO Translators’ and Interpreters’ Guild), Robert Caldwell (Ebarb Tribal Council, Louisiana 2011-2013), Thomas Harrison (Co-Director Campaign for Peace and Democracy*), Marilyn Langlois (Coordinator, Richmond Progressive Alliance)

Against the Current (, International Socialist Organization (, Chicago Socialist Campaign ( , Chicago Socialist Party ( Jacobin (, New Politics (, Peace and Freedom Party (, Socialist Alternative (, Solidarity (

* organizational listing for identification purposes of the individual endorsers only

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  1. Deran Deran February 25, 2015

    The list of endorsers grows longer! Let’s see if this summit can accomplish anything. The goals are amorphous enough to either give room for serious learning, and even working alliances. But the vagueness could also mean just a lot of hot air and sectarian bickering.

    I wish they had drawn up at least one concrete point, like say agree all endorsing orgs will support ten local candidates, or simething like that.

    It’s a start I hope. But I am haunted by the memory of the series of summits in the 1990s sponsored by the now moribund Independent Progressive Politics Network.

  2. Deran Deran February 25, 2015

    Yikes, that sounds so cynical. I do have hopes for the meeting!

  3. NewFederalist NewFederalist February 26, 2015

    Perhaps cynicism isn’t the correct word. I would suggest realism instead. Look at the number of times organizations/parties of the left (AND the right) have tried to come to some basic agreement. It never seems to work out because of slight differences in doctrine that become larger than the common foe. History certainly has a multitude of examples. But… that said, I am with you that it would be nice to see a cooperative effort from the left.

  4. paulie paulie February 26, 2015

    Agreed, although I think the real conflicts often have a lot more to do with personalities, egos and (tiny amounts of) power and control, with the minor ideological differences just being an excuse.

  5. NewFederalist NewFederalist February 26, 2015

    And I agree with paulie that the egos and personalities are the reason the small differences become chasms just to protect their turf (such as it is). Ask Cody about how it works on the right. He figured it out the hard way. I don’t believe the left is any different.

  6. Rob Banks Rob Banks February 26, 2015

    The libertarians have been relatively lucky in that respect…so far.

  7. Green_w_o_Adjectives Green_w_o_Adjectives February 27, 2015

    Note that the list of people endorsing this meet (basically a who’s who of left-wing independent electoral politics) does not include Bernie Sanders.

    The outcome to be hoped for is a decision to get behind the Green Party in 2016, but we can’t expect everyone to support that, particuarly given the history of left sectarianism and left infighting and the federal government and mass media’s vested interest in keeping leftists divided and conquered.

  8. paulie paulie February 27, 2015

    Did you ask him to participate or did not want him to? If you asked, did he turn you down or just ignore you?

  9. Green_w_o_Adjectives Green_w_o_Adjectives February 27, 2015

    Sorry, I’m not an organizer and I won’t be there. I only heard about this event last weekend.

    I was fortunate enough to meet Jill Stein and see her speak recently. Bernie Sanders did come up, but in the context of someone the system will use to distract us, like an Elizabeth Warren. I didn’t get an opportunity to ask her whether she herself tried to talk Sanders into going Green. However, there is a press release from the national Green party where they talk about asking Sanders to run and not having heard from him. The Peace and Freedom Party issued a similar invitation, and Kshama Sawant personally asked Sanders to run at the press conference for the climate march a few months back.

    Even if Sanders wanted to run as a Green, a major stumbling block would be that the Green Party does not accept corporate money. And Sanders took alot of this money in his last Senate run (when people like Obama came up to Vermont to campaign for him).

  10. Green_w_o_Adjectives Green_w_o_Adjectives February 27, 2015

    Don’t disagree with the article. Sanders is more or less damaged goods as an independent candidate since he’s made it clear that he doesn’t want to be a spoiler. Which means that he cannot be trusted to not drop out before November. So in order to attract support from dedicated independents, Sanders would probably have to literally pledge that he won’t drop out.

    This is a tough road for anybody in the “establishment”. Perhaps Gary Johnson can do it because he’s independently wealthy already and doesn’t desire political power. Sanders, on the other hand, is currently a quite powerful individual in Washington and running as an independent would probably jeopardize that position.

    All that said I sincerely hope Sanders surprises us and runs as an indy after all.

  11. Rob Banks Rob Banks March 5, 2015

    I’m predicting Sanders will not run as anything, not even a Democrat. He is talking about running to draw more attention to himself and his ideas and maybe gain some more power in the Senate. We’ll see, but that is my prediction on it.

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