The Peace and Freedom Party. Sandwiched between bigwig political parties like the Republicans and the Democrats, this minor left-wing party strives to find a firm ground in the entangled world of politics driven with goals of equality, feminism, and democracy. This OpinionFront article traces the history, facts, and beliefs of the Peace and Freedom Party.
Comedian Roseanne Barr was the official Peace and Freedom Party candidate for the presidential elections of 2012.
This leftist Californian party is not in any way associated with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom which is an anti-war organization, though it did originate from an anti-war demonstration. No one leader is credited as its founder, instead there were several individuals serving during its constituting stage from various walks of life. Farm workers, civil rights and anti-war activists formed this party due to the political frustrations belted out on the nation by the Democratic party.
After its inception, the party grew famous in the multi-cultural state of California and by the start of 1968 successfully achieved a ballot status in the state by registering over 105,000 voters under its distinctive political banner.
The Peace and Freedom Party came into existence on 23rd June, 1967 due to the direct effects of the Vietnam War. Anti-war activists held a peaceful protest against the Lyndon Johnson administration for pushing America into the alleged war front.
On 23rd June, 1967, as President Johnson was delivering a speech at Century City in Los Angeles, thousands of white middle class men, women and children took to the streets protesting for an end to the Vietnam propaganda and calling the troops back home. The police charged at the crowd and started beating up the protesters creating pandemonium and chaos even as the media recorded the whole scene live. This incidence caused more mistrust among the people against the Democratic party.
The other catalyst proved to be unhappy farmers who wanted to form a union and stage a national boycott against the Democrats for their increase in taxes. Thus the farmers, the anti-war activists came together and formed their independent party to deal with economic, political, and social issues.
The party does not feature any official slogan, but its fundamental beliefs are broadly based on democracy, socialism, feminism, ecology, and racial equality. The party logo consists of a black circle comprising a white dove with ‘Peace and Freedom Party’ written in green text, and two broken off, red metal shackles on the left and right.
A party that mainly keeps the working class under its agenda advocates agricultural & industrial production for human needs, unification of the labor, abolition of imperial capitalism, generating better working conditions, parental leaves for child care, defending of workers’ rights, abolition of overtime with 30-hour work and 40-hour pay, promotion of safety laws, and a universal basic income with guaranteed social benefits.
Upholds Peace and International Justice
They are committed to working towards peace between nations with global disarmament, abolish destabilizing of foreign governments, get rid of all government secret agencies like the CIA, NSA, AID, and other agencies, abolish arms deal and trading, reallocation of military funds for social benefit, and removal of space weapons and drones that invade people’s privacy.
Equal Rights and Liberties
The party believes in equal working opportunities and respectful treatment of workers by their employers as well as the government.
Their beliefs constitute ending oppressive sex roles in the society, promoting equal rights to raising a child, providing high quality child-care, free abortion on demand, preventing forced abortions, securing prenatal care, and ending social and domestic violence against women.
Racism and National Oppression
The party proposes to put an end to all forms of racism and social discrimination, and legally prosecute law and prison authorities who mistreat and murder prison inmates.
Establish Language Rights
They encourage co-equal status for Spanish language and culture in the state of California and abolish all English-only laws.
Protection of Undocumented Workers
They aim to establish full political, economic, and social rights to the immigrant workers, opening up of the borders, and end deportation of illegal immigrants.
Defends the Native Americans
The party strives to work for the acknowledgement of indigenous tribes, honor their hunting, fishing, and natural resources, abolish the FBI harassment of these tribes, and stop the desecration of their sacred burial grounds.
Acknowledges Varied Sexual Orientations
The party promotes equal rights for every individual despite their personal sexual orientation, rights to gay marriage, healthy sex education at schools, and insures equal child custody, adoption, visitation privileges, and foster parenthood rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Equality for People With Disabilities
The party encourages equal rights for people with disabilities to receive education, housing, health care, recreation, and transportation rights.
Propagation of a Healthy Ecosystem
They believe in creation of open public spaces, regulate pesticides, herbicides, industrial wastes and genetically modified foods to defend human food, air and water, and species habitat. They aim to end environment racism, protect species and bio-diversity.
Efficient Agricultural System
The party believes in developing an agricultural system that assures sufficient food and farm products to meet all human needs, end animal husbandry, end the use of genetically engineered organisms in food production, ban terminator seeds and chemically induced agricultural products.
The PFP believes in promoting multi-lingual and multi-cultural education, cancellation of student debt, federal funding for special education, free education till graduation level, and snips on public library services.
Promotes Housing and Rent Control
Their ideologies include rent and eviction laws to be re-evaluated and re-updated, introduce collective bargaining for tenants, promote affordable homes for all, and emphasize public financing for housing the homeless.
Equal Voting and Election Rights
The party ascertains direct voting facility to the public, voting rights to non-residents especially in school and local elections, voting rights for people of color, homeless, and non-English speakers, and free access to media for all political candidates.
Better Health Care
PFP believes in promoting free and high-quality health care for all, price control on drugs and medical installations, more funding on research of diseases caused by man-made substances, and more substance abuse treatment, prevention of epidemic diseases, and free immunization.
Reduction of Tax Burden
PFP advocates the abolition of Proposition 13, removal of property taxes on modest homes, increase in registration fees on luxury vehicles, high tax on unearned income, restoration of renters tax credit, and tax business activities of churches on the same basis as other organizations.
Political activist and beatnik poet John Haag was one of the prominent leaders. He ran for the public offices of California lieutenant governor in 1970 and California state controller in 1986. Eldridge Cleaver ran for presidential elections and Douglas Fitzgerald Dowd for vice presidential elections on its ticket for the 1968 election.
Other presidential candidates who stood for elections include activist and pediatrician Benjamin Spock in 1972, feminist activist Sonia Johnson in 1984, and Native American activist Leonard Peltier in 2004. Vice-presidential candidates included Benjamin Spock in 1976, Matinecoc Nation Native American activist Asiba Tupahache in 1992, and lawyer and politician Matthew Edward Gonzalez in 2008. California candidates for governor have included Chicana feminist and activist Elizabeth Martínez, Chicana activist Maria Elizabeth Muñoz in 1986, and again in 1990, and activist Janice Jordan in 2006.
More recently comedian Roseanne Barr contested the 2012 presidential elections.
Pros & Cons
1. An efficient platform for Native American rights, equal social, sex, and women rights, better health and education goals, tax cuts, labor benefits, and agricultural production.
2. The party completely opposes all kinds of war and harbingers peace.
Extremely active, but only in California; other states have yet to witness its beneficial agenda.
Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) relentlessly make their presence felt in the nation’s political scene by nominating presidential, congressional, and senate candidates. The party holds regular demonstrations against the wealthy society and corporate houses who hoard public wealth for their benefits. It also carries out protests against the biased mandate of the media and cash-rich political parties who deny other candidates a ballot chance to present their views. With all these efforts, it will soon gain enough attention from the public to establish their party goals.