From Resistance To Running For Office: How Progressives Can Build Working Class Power At the State & Local Level

Host/Sponsor: 
Richmond Progressive Alliance
Room: 
L2.85
Timeslot: 
SUNDAY June 4th Session 7: 3:40pm - 5:40pm
Abstract: 
Thousands of progressive activists are running for state and local office, inspired by the Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein presidential campaigns and the example of Seattle City Councilor Kshama Sawant. These efforts, inside or outside the Democratic Party, are supported by local electoral formations like the Richmond Progressive Alliance in California, state-level third parties like the Vermont Progressive Party, national networks like the Working Families Party, National People’s Action, or Our Revolution, left parties, and the Greens. In Richmond, CA, for example, labor and community activists—assisted, in recent years, by Bernie Sanders and Our Revolution—have won 10 out of 16 races for mayor or city council since 2004. Richmond’s multi-racial, multi-issue, working class oriented coalition now has five members on the city council; for eight years, Richmond was the largest city in the country with a Green mayor. This panel/workshop will discuss successful strategies for winning elected office at the state or local level and building stronger, labor-backed political organization. It will also assess the progress that has been made, by left-wing public officials, in fighting for immigrant rights, police accountability, environmental protection, affordable housing, minimum wage improvements, public financing of elections, and other progressive reforms.
Panel Track: 
“Path to a Radical New World: How will we get there?” “How can the Left work better together? “What success will look like?”
Reading List: 
Steve Early, Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and The Remaking of An American City; Jonathan Martin, Empowering Progressive Third Parties in the United States; and Bernie Sanders, Our Revolution.
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker First Name: 
Steve
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Last Name: 
Early
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Affiliation: 
Richmond Progressive Alliance, NewsGuild/CWA
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Biography: 
Journalist, labor activist, author most recently of Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City (Beacon Press, 2017). For details, see: steveearly.org
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator First Name: 
Kelly
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Last Name: 
Bellin
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Affiliation: 
Socialist Alternative
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Biography: 
Kelly Bellin, managed Ty Moore's Socialist Alternative campaign for Minneapolis city council in 2013 and currently assisting SA member Ginger Jentzen in her race for a council seat in same city.
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator First Name: 
Howie
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Last Name: 
Hawkins
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Affiliation: 
Green Party
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Biography: 
Howie Hawkins is a Teamster who unloads trucks at UPS in Syracuse, NY. An organizer in movements for peace, justice, labor, the environment, and independent politics since the late 1960s, Hawkins was the Green Party's 2014 candidate for NY Governor, receiving 5% of the vote. He is the editor of Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate (Haymarket, 2006).
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator First Name: 
Isaac
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Last Name: 
Grimm
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Affiliation: 
Rights & Democracy, Our Revolution
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Biography: 
Isaac Grimm is the Political Engagement Director for Rights & Democracy (RAD), a bi-state (Vermont and New Hampshire) grassroots social and economic justice organization affiliated with Our Revolution. As RAD's canvassing director, Grimm helped build community support for election law reform and paid sick day legislation in Vermont. He also coordinated RAD's 2016 statewide and legislative election activity,contributing to the success of 20 Democratic and Vermont Progressive Party (VPP) candidates, including the state's new Lieutenant Governor, David Zuckerman, a VPP leader and past Progressive state senator. In the 2017 session of the Vermont legislature, Grimm lobbied for legislation advancing social, racial, economic and environmental justice.
Speaker 4/Fifth Facilitator First Name: 
Jessica
Speaker 4/Fifth Facilitator Last Name: 
Early
Speaker 4/Fifth Facilitator Affiliation: 
Rights and Democracy, Our Revolution, Vermont Progressive Party campaign coordinator
Speaker 4/Fifth Facilitator Biography: 
Jessica Early is a working nurse in Burlington, Vermont, a Rights and Democracy health care reform advocate, and former staff member of the Jobs with Justice-affiliated Vermont Workers Center. During the 2016 election cycle, she managed Vermont Progressive Party leader Mari Cordes' campaign for a seat in the Vermont House of Representatives. A first-time candidate, former nurses union president, and longtime single-payer activist in Vermont, Cordes was backed by Our Revolution, the post-Sanders campaign network of progressive activists and organizations around the country
Speaker 5/Sixth Facilitator First Name: 
Nelini
Speaker 5/Sixth Facilitator Last Name: 
Stamp
Speaker 5/Sixth Facilitator Affiliation: 
Working Families Party
Speaker 5/Sixth Facilitator Biography: 
Nelini Stamp is the National Membership Director at the Working Families Party. She works with volunteer leaders across the country to build local progressive infrastructure. Nelini joined the New York Working Families Party staff in 2008; door knocking and field organizing for a variety of electoral campaigns across New York State. Since then, Nelini has been deeply involved in social movement work around economic and racial justice across the country. She worked on the ground at Occupy Wall Street to help bridge the gap between labor, community- based organizations and Occupy activists. Afterward, Nelini co-created the Freedom Side and co-founded Dream Defenders in Florida, which organizes and trains youth in non-violent civil disobedience, civic engagement, and direct action. Lately, as a co-builder of WFP's Resist Here project, which launched #ResistTrumpTuesdays, she has been chasing Senator Schumer around to make sure he stands up to Trump. You can often find her leading marches, rallies and mic-checking at direct actions.
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
Steve
Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
Early
Panel/Workshop Organizer Affiliation: 
Richmond Progressive Alliance, NewsGuild/CWA

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