Folks, we are not calling Democrats “socialists.” That’s a mean, ugly word frequently used as an epithet to smear people on a personal level. We are calling them “Democratic Socialists.”
We don’t mean this as a judgment. It is simply a fact which the politicians involved with the Working Families Party group should be made to own.
Caution: This is a lengthy post, but, it’s easy to follow and there’s a party favor at very end.
Let’s review the facts:
The following clipping can be found in the Summer 2000 publicaiton of the DSA publication Dem Left.
Back in 2005, the Working Families Party website used to reveal a little bit more about its organizational ties to the DSA than it does now.
The image below is taken from the Working Families Party December 2005 affiliates list.
The image below was taken from the WFP site today. At some point in 2006, the Working Families Party disappeared the Democratic Socialists of America from their website.
There is no indication that DSA stopped supporting the WFP, but, given the other two affiliates we highlight in the image above, it could hardly matter.
From the website of the Long Island Progressive Coalition:
The LIPC was born at the initiation of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (since become Democratic Socialists of America) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, seeking to realize DSOC Chair Michael Harrington’s vision of being “the left-wing of the possible.”
The other organization circled above, Citizen Action, was founded by Heather Booth. The DSA was so proud of her accomplishments in promulgating the Alinsky school of organizing, they honored her with their highest honor, the Eugene V. Debs Award for 1987.
You have dedicated yourself to enabling people to develop a sense of their own power and alter the relations of power in order to build a more just and humane society.
Through the Midwest Academy, you have inspired and trained thousands of new activists in the Citizen Action movement, the peace movement, and the women’s movement.
You have reached across the generations to connect with and maintain the best traditions of the old radical movement while reaching out to upcoming student activists with a new vision and strategy for a better future.
By work and by deed your energy and commitment inspire us all.
For this, the Norman Thomas – Eugene V. Debs Award is hereby presented to you on this 9th day of May, 1987.
Heather Booth was also the training director for the Democratic National Committee during the Clinton administration. She co-founded the Midwest Academy as a project of Citizen Action. Reportedly SEIU’s Andy Stern is a graduate of the Academy, and Barack Obama trained ACORN organizers there.
The Academy’s other co-founder is Heather’s husband, Paul Booth. Paul was a founder of the radical 1960′s protest group, Student’s for a Democratic Society, (SDS), which spawned the Weather Underground domestic terrorist group led by Bill Ayres.
Does anyone else find it interesting that the mainstream media never felt it necessary to inform the rest of the nation about the Working Families Party, and their Democratic Socialist background? It would seem important, considering President Obama joined their movement and accepted their nomination for office in 2008.
In New York, President Obama was the Working Families Party candidate. It would have been nice if the mainstream media had done its job, and made the people of this nation aware of this group and its background. Either the press was too inept to do adequate research on WFP, or too indifferent. Either way, it is media malpractice of the highest order.
This is not the first time the media has failed to report on the Democratic Socialist background of a party to which Barack Obama has pledged himself.
Some readers might already be aware that when President Obama ran for the Illinois State Senate back in 1996, he ran as a member of the New Party.
The New Party was ACORN’s party in the 1990s, exactly like the Working Families Party is ACORN’s party. The extent of their connection is evidenced by two letters pulled from the Internet Archive, written about 1 year apart, both authored by the same person.
First, a 1998 letter from New Party Executive Director, Dan Cantor:
To: Members and Friends
From: Dan Cantor, Executive Director, New Party
RE: WE REALLY NEED YOUR HELP, AND I DON’T MEAN MONEY
Here’s the deal.
The New Party is deep into an effort to establish a “qualified” new political party in New York State. It’s called the “Working Families Party,” and we’re one of the driving forces behind it .
The state law requirement for a new party is 50,000 votes on our own ballot line in the November election.
It’s safe to say that this is the most serious effort to build a progressive ballot-line party in New York since the demise of the American Labor Party in the 1950s. It is backed by the United Auto Workers, Communications Workers of America, Citizen Action, ACORN, and dozens of other local unions and community groups. Prominent individual supporters include David Dinkins, Ruth Messinger, Sal Albanese, and Nydia Velazquez.
This is going to take some real and sustained work.. We’ve got our usual small amount of money, and need to spend it on organizers, targeted mail pieces, and African-American radio buys.
But we also think there’s a very cheap, very powerful way to reach a large number of good people in New York — namely, e-mail. THERE HAVE GOT TO BE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WOULD BE VERY HAPPY TO VOTE ON THE WORKING FAMILIES PARTY LINE, IF THEY HEAR ABOUT IT.
Here’s where you come in – whether or not you live in New York.
We’d like you to send us the e-mail addresses of ANYONE and EVERYONE you know who lives in New York State who considers themselves a Democrat, a progressive, a leftist, an independent or even a bored and disgusted non-voter. We will send them a polite, totally non-obnoxious message describing the Working Families Party and its values. And we’ll ask them to make their vote REALLY count this November by casting it for our Gubernatorial candidate — a fusion candidacy with the Democrat, so not a spoiler run — in November. Send two names or two hundred, it doesn’t matter.
Our message to your friends will be straightforward. Vote for Vallone and McCall (the Democrats), but vote for them on the Working Families Party line so that we can send the Democrats (and the Republicans) a message.
It will NOT be a PERMANENT list, and it will NOT be cluttered up with lots of messages. You have my word on this.
This will take you a few minutes, but only that. PLEASE — look through your e-mail list or address books right now, and PLEASE send us the e-mail addresses of your favorite New Yorkers. If that’s too much hassle, send us your entire e-mail list and we’ll make it “For New Yorkers Only” in the subject line.
Please send your lists to Adam Glickman or call us at 800-200-1294.
+++ If you actually live in New York, you can also help a bit more by joining the WFP “COMMITTEE OF 1000″ – a core group of citizen activists who will contact 5-20 other voters and urge them to vote on the Working Families Party line on November 3.
But no matter where you live, we KNOW that you probably know someone who lives in New York — friends, relatives, colleagues, admirers, you name it — who you think might support a political party that stands for living wage jobs, universal access to health care, better public schools, and real campaign finance reform.
With your help, we can make history this fall!
Don’t click off. Help us find the 50,000 votes we need to qualify as a new independent political party this year!
Please send us a list of New Yorkers who should know about the Working Families Party effort. (Please include names, not just the e-mail moniker, and phone numbers if you can). If you live in New York, please join the “Committee of 1000.” Give us your name, phone, and address, and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP to follow-up.
Send your lists to Adam Glickman or call 800-200-1294 to help.
Second, just over a year later, this communication from Working Families Party Executive Director, Dan Cantor:
January 3, 2000
To: WFP Members, Sustainers and Supporters
Fr: Dan Cantor, Executive Director
The Working Families Party is now officially a year old. And like a toddler taking those first wobbly but wonderful steps, the party’s first year has been shaky and exhilarating and full of promise.
The WFP has three basic activities. We build chapters. We run election campaigns. We promote our issues. All of these build and depend on each other, of course, so separating them out is a little artificial. But I thought it would be helpful to offer just a few words on each, as it will give you a pretty good sense of the remarkable growth accomplished by the party over the last year.
On November 2nd, 226 candidates ran on the WF line in our first state-wide election since achieving official ballot status in 1998. Slightly MORE than half won their races. County legislators, town supervisors, city councilmembers, sheriffs, county executives, town clerks, you name it.
There were some terrific outcomes, a few tough defeats, but most important the general sense among everyone – and by everyone I mean our leadership, membership, the press, friendly Democrats, not-so-friendly Democrats, downright hostile Republicans, intellectual allies and others -is that we took another step on the road to becoming a legitimate and creative player in state politics.
Perhaps the most amazing outcome in November was in Nassau County on Long Island. 100 years of uninterrupted Republican rule came to an end as the candidates backed by the local Democratic and Working Families Parties rode of tidal wave of voter discontent. It would be misleading to say that either the Democrats or the WFP was primarily responsible. This was an anti-Republican vote, pure and simple. But it opens the door and the WFP activists in Nassau are determined to take advantage of it.
If you want a full set of returns on a race-by-race basis, just say the word. On the assumption that you have better ways to spend your time than poring over election returns, here’s the most important (and heartening) data on the electoral front.
In 1998, the party “qualified” by getting just over 50,000 votes. Of that vote, we got 60% in New York City, 9% in Erie County, 5.5% in Nassau, 4% in Suffolk and Westchester, and 1-2% of our total vote in each of Albany, Monroe, Onondaga, Rockland and Tompkins counties.
In 1999, we got 53,000 votes (in a year when many fewer votes were cast). But the geography of our support changed dramatically. Because there was almost nothing on the ballot in New York City, overall turnout was very light. The WFP got just 14% of its total (7000 votes) in NYC. The remaining 86% of WFP votes – 46,000 levers pulled – were pulled outside NYC.
In other words, we not only got more votes this year than in 1998, we also got them from new people. That bodes very well for the races in 2000.
88 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Man, that Dan Cantor gets around! In a previous era, Dan organized labor for the Jesse Jackson presidential campaign.
By the way, that WFP address is the same as SEIU and ACORN.
P.S. You’ll notice that in the center of the Hexagon of Progress™ is the Tides Foundation. We’ll poke that hornet’s nest in another post. This one is long enough as it is.
Oh, one last thing. A couple of days ago we posted two robo-calls from the Working Families Party archive, of John Edwards espousing their shared Progressive values. Today we bring another installment from the way back archive.
It turns out the Working Families Party and Eliot Spitzer have been in love for a very long time. You see, they share the same Working Families Progressive values.
Previously on Founding Bloggers: