How the PSL Placed Roseanne Barr on the Presidential Ballot

Audio file of a conference call of PSL members who were delegates within the Peace and Freedom Party:

How the PSL Placed Roseanne Barr on the Presidential Ballot

After Roseanne Barr lost the Green Party nomination, she called herself a socialist and sought the Peace and Freedom Party nomination two weeks later. She would not have gained ballot status in California during the 2012 presidential elections if not for the Party for Socialism and Liberation which had enough delegates within the Peace and Freedom Party.

Click on the above link to hear a conference call discussing the decision. Additional reading below:

Please note: This email and the content of the two below links are strictly internal.

Internal report on the California Peace and Freedom Party Convention

The California Peace and Freedom Party is a socialist party that has had ballot status in California since 1968 (with the exception of a few years). This year, the PSL was one of several parties that sought the Peace and Freedom Party’s ballot line for their candidates. This is the only way for an independent socialist candidate who does not have millions of dollars to obtain ballot status in California because the petitioning process requires 172,859 valid signatures; thus, one must collect about 350,000 signatures in just 15 weeks.

The PFP’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates are decided by a vote of elected delegates at a party convention, which took place last weekend (Aug. 4-5) in Los Angeles. Qualified delegates, with a few exceptions for people who want to run but are not eligible due to reactionary election laws, are those who were elected to PFP County Central Committees in the June 5 primary.

The PFP presidential primary was also held on June 5, but it is not binding. While the PFP submitted Peta’s name for the primary ballot, the Secretary of State refused to list her name because she does not meet the Constitutional requirements to hold office. While we challenged this in court, we did not prevail prior to the primary.

We were able to run PSL members and supporters for the PFP County Central Committee positions in the primary, which means they became elected delegates to the Convention that decides the presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

In this year’s primary, a total of 87 delegates were elected. There were a total of 64 voting delegates who actually attended the Aug. 4-5 Convention. Since in-person attendance is required and no proxy voting is allowed, that meant that 33 votes were needed to win the nomination (50%+1). Of the 64 voting delegates, 18 were supporters of the Lindsay/Osorio slate.

Prior to the Convention, we knew that Peta, under the current constellation of forces at the Convention, could not win the nomination. We decided in advance of the Convention to withdraw from consideration and lend our votes to another campaign. (See below for a link to audio of a conference call held in advance of the Convention for the PSL delegates.)

In her speech just prior to the voting, Peta withdrew from consideration for the PFP nomination and urged support for the Roseanne Barr/Cindy Sheehan slate. (See belowfor a link to this speech.) She made it clear that we will continue to wage a dynamic campaign across the country, that we expect to be on the ballot in 13 states and that we will have official write-in campaigns in several other states, including California. She explained the decision to withdraw from seeking the PFP nomination as being in the interest of helping PFP, the only ballot-qualified socialist party in the state, maintain its endangered ballot status. If Peta had won the PFP nomination at the convention, but then did not prevail in the court case currently pending against the California Secretary of State, it would have resulted in the PFP’s presidential ballot line being left blank on November 6. Our decision to withdraw and the motivation for doing so were deeply appreciated by the long-time core activists in PFP, who are extremely concerned about the PFP’s future.

PFP’s ballot status is threatened by the 2010 passage of the reactionary Prop 14, a “top-two” measure. Top-two means that all the candidates are thrown into one primary election, with only the top two vote-getters going on to the general election. There are two ways that smaller parties can retain their ballot status in California: 1) By getting 2 percent of the vote for a statewide office in the general election; or 2) By maintaining a voter registration equal to 1 percent of the voters in the last governor’s election, a little over 100,000 today. PFP has only about half that many registrants now, and if only the Democrats and Republicans make it to the general election, there is no way for PFP to reach the 2 percent threshold, which is how PFP has recently retained its ballot status. Without either a successful court challenge to Prop 14 (which is highly doubtful) or a doubling of PFP’s voter registrations, the PFP will be off the ballot by 2014. The Barr/Sheehan campaign had pledged to work to add tens of thousands of new PFP registrants in California if nominated.

In the first round of the balloting, the vote was 29 for Barr, 18 for the FreedomSocialist Party’s candidate Stephen Durham, 12 for the Socialist Party’s candidate Stewart Alexander, and 4 abstentions. In the second round, Barr received 37 votes, over the necessary 50% + 1 to win the nomination. Durham received 16, Alexander received 6, and there were 5 abstentions. Cindy Sheehan then received 50 votes for VP, with 14 abstentions, most of the latter being supporters of the FSP.  Our delegation functioned in a highly disciplined fashion, and played a decisive role in the outcome.

Both the FSP and SP candidates and their supporters have been attacking the Barr/Sheehan slate and those who voted for it at the convention, including of course the PSL, on social media sites. We should refrain from answering them on an individual basis, but instead only post publicly issued documents—if and when we decide to respond publicly. Neither the FSP nor the SP has much reach or influence.

Below you can find links to Peta’s speech and to the recording of the orientation conference call held prior to the PFP convention. These materials are for INTERNAL use only.

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