Candidates named for the Peace and Freedom Party Presidential Primary

According to Ballot Access News, the primary ballot for the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) in California will list four candidates for the party’s presidential nomination: Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) presidential nominee Peta Lindsay, Socialist Party USA (SPUSA) presidential nominee Stewart Alexander, and Stephen Durham of the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP).

The PFP was founded in 1967, and is devoted to “socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism and racial equality.”  Though the party organization is almost exclusively in California, it is currently attempting to permanently expand nationally.  Its nomination is coveted because the party has qualified for ballot access in California, due to its performance in previous elections.

Of the candidates:

Rocky Anderson announced his presidential run and the creation of the Justice Party last month. Thus far, the party has achieved ballot access in Mississippi, but was unable to meet the January 2 deadline to appear on the California ballot. He just recently decided to seek the PFP nomination.

Peta Lindsay won the PSL nomination in November, and is only 27 years old, which may cause ballot access problems in states that require candidates to be constitutionally eligible to serve.  However, courts in California have recently ruled that candidates cannot be barred from the ballot because of eligibility. The PSL nominee normally seeks the PFP nomination as did Gloria La Riva in 2008.

Stewart Alexander, who was the running mate of 2008 SPUSA presidential nominee Brian Moore, who unsuccessfully sought the PFP nomination that year, won the SPUSA’s presidential nomination in October.  He was the PFP nominee for California Lieutenant governor in 2006, but lost the party’s primary for governor in  2010.

Stephen Durham is the nominee of the FSP,  a socialist feminist party. Not much can be found on Durham, though he is the author of this letter, which was published on IPR in 2009.

The nominee for the PFP will be chosen after the primary at the party’s national convention.

In 2008, consumer advocate Ralph Nader won the primary and was later chosen as the party’s presidential nominee at the national convention, defeating both La Riva and Moore as well as Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney. Afterwards, he was able to collect enough signatures for the party to appear on the ballot in Iowa in addition to California.  The Nader ticket won 108,381 votes (0.8%) in California, and 8,014 votes (0.52%) in Iowa.

18 thoughts on “Candidates named for the Peace and Freedom Party Presidential Primary

  1. Jeremy C. Young

    In 2008, as William suggests, the results were: 1) Nader, 2) La Riva, 3) Moore, 4) McKinney. McKinney’s chances were clearly hurt by her already having a ballot line in California; the PFP wanted to provide a line to a candidate who wasn’t already on the ballot. The other three candidates were widely liked by most delegates. La Riva got a big boost from being on the national organizing committee of the PFP, and for being a nationally-known activist with decades of experience. Nader got a bigger boost from being Ralph Nader.

    For 2012, I would ordinarily say that the PSL candidate would have the inside track. However, the PSL has shown its contempt for the electoral process by nominating constitutionally-ineligible candidates. I think this is a key difference that will prevent Lindsay from getting the nomination: the PFP, while Marxist, takes itself seriously as a political party and wants to win elections. I also don’t see them nominating a weak, largely-inactive candidate like Durham when there are stronger candidates available.

    That leaves Alexander and Anderson. I could see either winning the nomination, but if I had to predict at this point, I would say Alexander has the inside track. Alexander has been heavily involved with the PFP for years; he’s waging a surprisingly-active campaign and has an unimpeachable commitment to Marxist ideology. Anderson could pick up the Nader vote, but I don’t think Anderson has the same profile as Nader among the PFP delegates. Neither of them is as radical as the PFP, but Nader was a lifelong outsider with a distinguished record and an iconoclastic bent. Anderson seems more like a disgruntled Democratic politician. I think PFP delegates will look at that profile and pull the lever for Alexander.

  2. Trent Hill

    I’m going to go the other way, Jeremy Young, though I don’t actually disagree with a single point other than the last sentence.

    I think Anderson has the edge simply because PFP voters, although they are radicals and made up of many factions, want to see a good electoral performance. Anderson provides the best hope of that.

    I’ll say this, I look forward to this primary every four years. It’s one of the most interesting third party events in the Presidential cycle.

  3. Jeremy C. Young

    Sadly, this may be the last cycle it happens, what with California’s top-two law. In fact, trying to stave off elimination might tip the delegates toward the more electable candidate, as you say. That said, I’m not convinced that Anderson is actually the more electable candidate. He certainly has more electable potential, but it remains to be seen whether he 1) can get on any more ballots than Alexander can, 2) will wage an active campaign. Alexander is already doing both of those things.

    So I think at the moment how the delegates vote will depend on what Anderson does in the next couple of months.

  4. Richard Winger

    Hi Paulie, there is no bill in California yet, just a prediction that there will be a bill. No, the PFP presidential primary is not binding. If it had been binding, Lenora Fulani would have the PFP nominee both in 1988 and 1992. She won the PFP primary both times but the party state convention would never nominate her. That may be one reason why the Fulani forces in New York city back California’s Prop. 14, because it is revenge against PFP.

  5. Laine

    Has Nader explicitally stated that he won’t run this election cycle? The Peace and Freedom Party was his ballot line in 2008 and without them it’s unlikely that he will be on the ballot in CA.


    Thank you Mister Hill for a breath of sanity.

    Remember, these are the folks, (usually taking orders from the ruling oligarchy, top down NOT bottom up) that ballot convicted felons and other ineligible types in Hollywood style / public relations efforts.

    While I appreciate the value of PR, it also cuts both ways and labels the extremists as, well, extremists.

    The party HAD a print out let. Heavy, very heavy, on out side, East Coast editorials [FOR A CALIFORNIA ONLY POLITICAL PARTY], Village Voice * type of thing. What ‘home town’ / ‘guy on the street’ pieces were penned could be traced back to ole time, in house, *sitting at the cool kids table* personalities [ctweber, other thugs].

    After constantly calling for rank and file contributions, the fax democratic ‘Partisan’ folded it’s * yawn fest * tent and went away.

    Fulani, CUIP, and California’s Independent Voter [sniff, sniff, money, money] are some of the strangest folks out side of the (so called) Virginia Independent Green Party. *eyes open*

    * many alt weekly toss away print locals are connected *small print* Village Voice …..

  7. Peter M.


    I like your analysis, though something which might add complications is the PFP’s attempt at forming some sort of national presence (which they seem to be taking much more seriously than they have in recent years.) Other socialist groups have signed onto this project- which is being called the “Peace and Freedom Alliance”- including the Freedom Socialist Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. So far, the Socialist Party isn’t a formal affiliate, though they did have observers at the first organisational meeting back in December. So that may give Durham and Lindsay a boost that neither Alexander nor Anderson have.

    Also, in terms of people on the ground, both the FSP and the PSL have been working in the PFP for a long time (though many PSL members did so in the Workers World Party pre-split.) The Socialist Party, on the other hand, only developed an organised presence in CA as of late 2010/early 2011, so work inside the PFP isn’t as coordinated as it probably is compared to the other two parties.

    That said, SP members I’ve talked to seem to be pretty confident about the nomination, with similar reasons regarding Lindsay and Durham that you outlined above. This was before Anderson was put on the ballot, so it’ll be interesting to see how that changes things.

  8. Deran

    I think Anderson or Alexander are the odds on favorites. With Durham being a potential upset.

    I think there is a historic tension in the P&FP around avoiding a take over of the party by a single Leninist/vanguardist party/faction. I think this shows in past P&FP presidential nominees in some years. Leninists do get nominated for other P&FP candidacies, but not for president?

    Mr. Anderson’s weaknesses are as stated in above comments. What does he have to offer? Not a great deal so far. He could appeal to a broader “independent progressive” electorate (such as there is) like Mr. Nader did. But Rocky Anderson is not Ralph Nader, and brings none of Mr. Nader’s pluses to the table.

    Mr. Alexander is active in the P&FP, and as an articulate socialist he fits in withe this most recent effort from within the P&FP to build a national united Left political party. On the other hand, as far as I can tell, the SPUSA has not been publicly active in the whole National Organizing Committee 2012/Peace and Freedom Alliance project. And while not Leninists, the SPUSA has some of it’s own problems with a vanguardist attitude, in my opinion.

    My outside chance would be Stephen Durham. Another articulate socialist candidate, and he is associatied with the Freedom Socialist Party, who have been publicly active in the P&FA effort. And, for a Trotskyite-derived, somewhat-Leninist party, the Freedom Socialist Party is very non-threatening. And the FSP could probably guarantee ballot access in Washington State.

    Like Trent Hill said, the P&FP primaries/nominations are always interesting.

  9. Peter M.


    I’d be interested in hearing your perspective on the “vanguardist” nature of the Socialist Party. Perhaps we should take that discussion off this list.

  10. Curt Boyd

    As far as pure “electability,” I think Rocky Anderson is their best bet, much like Ralph Nader was in 2008.

  11. Chris Strunk

    In the matter of case filed before the primary to prevent ballot access, Mr. Winger is usually not so cavalier with his citations but needs to place the responsibility of the CA SOS into a time-frame as was held by the Court in the recent CA case in 2010 Fuller v Bowen when it held:

    Several California courts have held that the California Constitution deprives courts of jurisdiction to inquire into the qualifications of a candidate-nominee after a primary election. (In re McGee (1951) 36 Cal.2d 592; Allen v. Lelande (1912) 164 Cal. 56.) But no California court has issued an opinion on whether courts have jurisdiction to judge the qualifications of one who seeks to be a candidate at a primary election.

    Courts in other states have concluded that similar provisions are not broad enough to prevent the determination by courts of whether one who seeks to be a candidate at a primary election possesses the requisite qualifications. (See Comber v. Ashe (Tenn. 1974) 514 S.W.2d 730; State ex rel. Gralike v. Walsh (Mo. 1972) 483 S.W.2d 70; State ex rel. McGrath v. Erickson (Minn. 1938) 203 Minn. 390.) This Court agrees.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *