New Party Celebrates Spring Wins
New Party members scored some successes in spring elections as they won
races for a Chicago state representative district, the Hempstead, N.Y. school
board and the Pulaski County Quorum Court in Little Rock, Ark. Willie Delgado
and his New Party supporters defeated the conservative Democratic machine
candidate in the March primary by 241 votes in Chicago.
In her first electoral outing, April Jones-White won a five-way race for
a seat on the Hempstead School Board. Hempstead has a reputation as one
of the worst school systems in the state. The NP, which only got off the
ground in Hempstead eight months ago, supports an aggressive campaign for
more reading programs, a more advanced curriculum and greater parental involvement
in the schools.
In Little Rock, NP's Donna Massey rebounded from her runoff defeat two years
ago to win a seat on the Pulaski County Quorum Court by a runaway 1,351-483
vote. Massey, who comes out of the ACORN community organization, joins NP
(and CWA) member Jayne Cia as the fledgling progressive New Party caucus
on the Quorum Court. Also, NP and NEA leader Lou Ethel Nauden forced long-term
officeholder John Lewellen into a run-off for a state legislative seat.
In Portland, Ore., first-time candidate Serena Cruz led a six-person race
for a Multnomah County Commission district seat. She polled 35% of the vote,
or twice her closest competitor in the six-person race, putting her in an
excellent position for the runoff. New Party member Martin Gonzalez mobilized
50 volunteers wearing sign-boards and leafletting at the polls and on street
corners May 19 to start a petition drive to put a new party, called "All
People Count," on the November ballot. Gonzalez plans to run for state
IPPN Pursues Coalitions
The Independent Progressive Politics Network, meeting in Oakland, Calif.,
the weekend of June 12-14 for the fourth annual National Independent Politics
Summit, decided to move forward on a grassroots-based alternative to the
Democratic and Republican parties.
The summit decided:
* to organize a national meeting bringing together progressive third parties
and other groups to explore the possibilities for working together electorally
in the year 2000, including a possible coalitional independent presidential
* to reach out to a cross-section of progressive organizations to develop
a "year 2000 Campaign for Justice, Survival and Independent Alternatives,"
to include a projected spring 2000 mobilization in support of a progressive
* to pull together a 1998 national slate of independent progressive candidates;
* to reaffirm its ongoing commitment to advance the National People's Pledge
Campaign to reach out to people who have dropped out of participation in
electoral politics or support independent progressive politics.
More than 160 participants came from 17 states and over 60 organizations.
For more information, call IPPN, PO Box 170610, Brooklyn, NY 11217, phone
718-624-7807; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four Quit Alliance Council
Four members of the National Council of the Alliance for Democracy have
quit the 26-member council, citing long-standing conflicts and differing
views of how the two-and-a-half-year-old organization should be structured
and what it should be doing. In a 4,200-word joint letter released on the
Alliance for Democracy email list June 5 to explain the reasons behind their
resignation, Jim Bush of Birmingham, Ala.; Nancy Campbell of Columbia, Mo.;
Mike Givel, Vice Co-Chair from Columbia, Mo.; and Marian Lowe, from Seattle,
Wash., stated, "We believe that the AfD should be committed to developing
democratic structures that both allow effective action and encourage the
widest possible participation in decision making. ... At the present time,
however, the Alliance functions according to a centralized model in which
most decisions are made by a few and then ratified by the rest of the organization."
In a brief response the National Council on June 17 said it would consider
the comments and wished the four well. For more information contact Nancy
Campbell, phone 573-442-6792 email email@example.com or Alliance
Secretary Vikki Savee at 916-448-5687, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organic Advocates Regroup
A record 220,000 consumers contacted the USDA this spring to oppose bogus
rules on organic foods and another 100,000 called members of Congress to
protest the "unfriendly takeover" of organics on behalf of the
corporate special interests who dominate industrial agriculture. The USDA
on May 8 backed off on three of the most outrageous proposed rules (allowing
genetic engineering, toxic sewage sludge, and nuclear irradiation under
the "USDA Organic" label) but Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers
Association warned that USDA bureaucrats still plan to publish legally binding
final rules in late 1998 or 1999 that will allow large corporate factory
farms to market their products as "USDA Organic." So organic food
advocates are proceeding with an effort to join with leading organic certifiers
and organic retailers to establish a set of strict national and internationally
recognized organic standards and labels that promote sustainable organic
farms independent of the USDA. To force the USDA to let the organic community
regulate itself under its own internationally recognized rules will require
another grassroots mobilization, Cummins said. To participate, contact the
Organic Consumers Association, 175 County Road 6, Finland, MN 55603; phone
218-226-4792; email: email@example.com; website http://www.purefood.org.
SHORT TAKES--In 1997, unions won 50.3 percent of National Labor Relations
Board representation elections, up from 47.7 percent in 1996, according
to BNA Plus, which analyzed NLRB data. ... The Senate in late June was expected
to debate S.778, The African Growth and Opportunity Act, also known as "NAFTA
for Africa." It allows unlimited, duty-free shipment of textiles and
apparel into the U.S. -- even if the clothes are merely shipped from Asia
through Africa. The bill also calls for negotiation of an African free-trade
agreement similar to NAFTA. ... California voters smashed Proposition 226
that would have silenced the political voice of working families. A Los
Angeles Times exit poll showed 64 percent of union households voted
against the measure to defund unions. The unions were helped by the 75 percent
support of Hispanic voters, who amounted to 12 percent of the electorate.
Without the Latino vote against the proposition, the Times poll showed,
the measure would have been a dead heat. ... The Camden County, N.J., Freeholder
Board unanimously adopted a resolution against sweatshops May 21. The resolution
sets criteria for the purchase of goods and services by the county, gives
preference to goods made in the U.S.A. and requires a "certification
of compliance" stating that workers are paid a living wage and have
the right to form unions without retaliation.
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