Introduction by Workers Action
The following statement by Cindy Sheehan appeared on her website (www.cindyforcongress.org) shortly after the November 4, 2008 elections where she won 17 percent of the vote in her campaign against Democrat Nancy Pelosi for Representative of the 8th District of San Francisco. We believe this statement represents good news for working people. Opening with the announcement that she will never concede defeat, Cindy Sheehan assured her supporters that she is dedicated to continuing the struggle to end the war and defend the interests of working people and the poor who collectively suffer from the adverse effects of a system that is run by and for the rich.
We in Workers Action believe this statement represents a significant development. The rich, in pursuing their own narrow interests, have plunged humanity into a state of economic calamity. As the economy worsens, they will be raising ever more shrill demands that the rest of us subsidize their bailouts. And they will try to recoup their losses by lowering our wages, laying us off, reducing our benefits, and so on. They are, after all, accustomed to society operating solely in their interests. On the other hand, working and poor people, who do not want to relinquish the little they have to finance these bailouts, etc., will therefore find their interests increasingly counterposed to the rich, including the employers, the bankers, Wall Street executives, speculators, etc. Members of this small, extraordinarily wealthy class have been subsidizing Democrats and Republicans with huge campaign contributions and accordingly can confidently appeal to these politicians to provide them with lucrative subsidies in return. Consequently, the rest of us will find it increasingly necessary to begin to construct our own political party that is dedicated to defending our interests.
In our opinion, the Cindy Sheehan campaign has the potential to constitute the first step in the direction of forming a political bloc that could offer working people an alternative to the two prevailing political parties controlled by the rich, the Republicans and Democrats. Such a bloc would be organized on the understanding that our interests and those of the corporations, business owners, etc., are diametrically opposed. But for this party to successfully represent our interests, it must be organized according to strictly democratic principles so that its platform is democratically discussed, debated, and then determined entirely by voting. Only in this way can we begin to construct a society which operates in the interests of the majority, not in the interests of a rich minority at the expense of everyone else.
Working people make the country run. Working people should run the country.
November 9, 2008
I Will Never Concede Defeat
I have fought the good fight, I have run the good race, I have kept the faith.
St. Paul in 2 Timothy
This past month, I kept on saying to my supporters, staff, interns, volunteers and myself, that no matter what happened on November 4th that we could hold our heads up high and be very proud of our campaign. Until yesterday, I wasn’t sure that what I said would be true, but I feel an incredibly sense of peace and pride in our accomplishments. There were so many victories over the last year that the American paradigm of “winner-take all” just doesn’t fit.
We moved into San Francisco a little over a year ago with less than nothing. We used savings and credit cards to open our office and sometimes to keep it open. We transformed a former “sex shop” to a fully functioning and vibrant campaign office. Our “natural base” never materialized, so we had to build a foundation in less than a few months.
In August, we historically gained ballot access as only the 6th independent campaign in California history to do so. Our platform based on humane economics was in place long before the recent collapses and resultant bailouts. Our labor platform was hailed all over the world, while unions here in SF supported the corporate “rescuer” Nancy Pelosi.
Cindy for Congress never once sold out our solid principles based campaign and would never sell out the voters of San Francisco like Nancy Pelosi has. Nancy Pelosi ran from my campaign and our demands to debate me and we persevered and did so amazingly well after a near total media black out and several attempts at political intimidation.
We got to the end of this stage with a barrel full of integrity and a boatload of dedication and love. Dozens of activists came from all over the country to be here to help us spread our progressive, peace based message and thousands donated to help keep our campaign afloat.
We have moved right through November 4th because this is a movement for peace and against corporate control of our political system. Movements can’t stop, we must keep moving.
The way we do elections in this country must be reformed because clearly the campaigns with the most money won all over the country. If we never level the playing field to allow the people’s voice and message to be heard, the tyranny of incumbency and the obscene amount of money spent on these circuses will continue and true progressive change will never happen.
We will still have to fight the establishment with everything we have. Yesterday, at about 10am, we were traveling around the district and receiving huge amounts of support and were dismayed to see an article from the AP saying that Nancy Pelosi had already defeated me. Our exit polling (from every area in the district) showed me receiving between 35-60% of the vote. We were very optimistic that we would do much better than we ultimately ended up doing.
However, Cindy for Congress got almost twice as many votes as anyone who has ever run against Pelosi since she eked out a primary victory in 1987 over Harry Britt, who was also the most progressive candidate. We raised a decent amount of money and are honored by the support we have gotten from all over this nation.
This is not the time to give up and give in to the politics of blinding amounts of money shrouded in “hope.”
On November 5th, we still have millions of people sleeping on our streets and without jobs and health care. We still have our troops mired in two unconscionable wars that Obama has not promised to end. Our economy is still on a very precarious footing and oil, the lifeblood of the elite, is running out. There are many people in this world, and yes, this country that are food insecure and the next resource wars may be over water.
Despite all this, I slept like a baby last night for the first time in months. I feel like a new person today and am holding my head up high. Last year, I dedicated my campaign to my son, Casey, and his comrades who have tragically fallen and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan that our government have devastated. We need to continue to make their deaths count for something noble. I dedicate the next steps to them, also.
There are still many “fights” and “races” ahead. Take a few days to celebrate, mourn, reflect and then jump back in with both feet into the struggle for peace and justice.
Thank you for your support!