Details from Launching Conference

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From impending climate catastrophe to the renewed assault on working class living standards, we don’t have time to waste on the status quo, lesser evils, and token reforms.

The richest 1% may own the two major parties, but the past year has seen an uptick in left electoral activity. From Kshama Sawant’s election as an open socialist on the Seattle City Council to the numerous other socialist and independent left campaigns in Chicago, New York, and elsewhere throughout Fall 2014 and Spring 2015, interest in a working class alternative is growing.

However, in order to really begin building a viable electoral alternative, we first need to forge unity between our disparate campaigns. Those of us struggling to build a left pole in the electoral arena have much to learn from one another. Therefore we propose a gathering of candidates, individuals, and organizations committed to a left political alliance in opposition to the two-party system of corporate-capitalist rule.


The Conference, what we proposed:

  1. A dialogue for those who are committed to left politics outside of the two-party system
  2. To discuss the “why” goals of running and winning in elections
  3. To share experiences and reflections of campaigning
  4. To share challenges after being elected to office and strategies for opening 
political space for social movement

Aims and Objectives:

  1. To promote independent political action
  2. To build cooperation among disparate movements, candidates, left/progressive 
  3. To develop and adopt a means for continued networking, conversation and cooperation after the conference


  1. To gather experienced candidates
  2. To intersect a broad range of non-sectarian left-independent organizers
  3. To have respectful discussion on strategies and tactics
  4. To seek representation from people of color, youth, women, LGBTQ, and disability activists
  5. To include a mix of theoretical panels, inspirational talks, and practical workshops



Endorsers of this conference as of April 24, 2015 include: Gayle McLaughin+ (Richmond City Council; former Mayor, Richmond CA, Richmond Progressive Alliance); Tim Meegan (2015 Independent candidate for alderman, 33rd ward, Chicago), Bruce Dixon (Managing editor,  Black Agenda Report and co-chair of the Georgia Green Party), Kshama Sawant + (Seattle City Council, Socialist Alternative), Howie Hawkins (Candidate for Governor of New York , Green Party*), Jorge Mújica (2015 Socialist candidate for alderman, 25th ward , Chicago), Ellen David Friedman (Vermont Progressive Party*), Dan LaBotz (Co-founder Teamsters for a Democratic Union; Editor, New Politics; Socialist Party* Candidate for U.S. Senate, OH 2010), Mike Parker (Co-author Democracy is Power; Coordinator, Richmond Progressive Alliance*), Gloria Mattera (Co-Chair, Green Party of New York*), Eduardo Martinez + (Richmond City Council, Richmond Progressive Alliance), Lance Selfa (author of The Democrats: A Critical History), Bhaskar Sunkara (editor of Jacobin), Angela Walker (Candidate for Milwaukee Sheriff, 2014), Kali Akuno (Cooperation Jackson*, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement*), Jess Spear (Climate scientist and 2014 Socialist Alternative candidate for Washington State House); Jovanka Beckles + (Richmond City Council, Richmond Progressive Alliance), Cindy Sheehan (Anti-war activist, 2012 vice-presidential candidate, 2012, Peace and Freedom Party*), Rosa Clemente (Hip hop activist, Vice-Presidential Candidate, 2008, Green Party*), Jill Stein (Presidential Candidate, 2012, Green Party *), David McReynolds (Socialist Party* candidate for President 1980, 2000), Glen Ford (Journalist, Black Agenda Report),Marsha Rummel+ (Madison WI Common Council. Progressive Dane*), Ty Moore (Socialist Alternative candidate for Minneapolis City Council, 2003), David Doonan+ (Mayor of Greenwich, NY , Green Party*),  Debra Reiger (State Chair, California Peace and Freedom Party), Mimi Soltysik (Socialist Party USA Male Co-Chair, 2014 candidate for CA State Assembly), Joanne Landy (Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Editorial board member, New Politics), Art Kazar (Local Executive Committee Member, Chicago Socialist Party), Robert “Gabe” Gabrielsky (Green Party* candidate, New Jersey Second Congressional District in 2000, for State  Assembly in 2001 and for State Senate in 2003) , Ann Menasche (Disability rights activist and attorney, Green Party* candidate for Secretary of State 2011), Jason West + (Mayor of New Paltz, NY, Green Party*), Todd Chretien (International Socialist Organization; Candidate for U.S. Senate CA, 2006), Ian Schlakman (Green Party candidate  for Congress MD 2014), Linda Thompson (Co-Chair, Green Party of CT), Margaret Kimberley (Journalist, Black Agenda Report), Bill Onasch (; Previously served on the Labor Party’s Interim National Council and Electoral Policy Commission), Cam Gordon +(Minneapolis City Council Member, Second Ward, Green Party*), Isa Infante (2014 Candidate for Governor, Green Party of TN), John Halle (Green Party*, previously New Haven Alderman), Nicole Deane (Dan Siegel for Oakland 2014 volunteer coordinator), Carroll Fife (Dan Siegel for Oakland 2014 campaign coordinator),  Mike McCallister (Secretary, Wisconsin Green Party), Ellis Boal (Green Party MI*), Steve Early (author and labor journalist), Joanna Misnik (Treasurer, Chicago Socialist Campaign; Solidarity), Bryan Koulouris (Socialist Alternative), Rick Kissell (past candidate for Milwaukee Treasurer, past president of the AFL-CIO Translators’ and Interpreters’ Guild), Robert Caldwell (Ebarb Tribal Council, Louisiana 2011-2013), Karl Belin (Socialist Alternative), Thomas Harrison (Co-Director Campaign for Peace and Democracy*), John Strinka (Socialist Party USA Male Vice-Chair, 2012 Socialist Party USA candidate for IN House of Representatives), Leon Bailey, Ph.D. (Department of Sociology, Roosevelt University), Ian Swanson (2014 GP MI candidate for the U. of Michigan Board of Regents and ISO), Mark A. Lause (Board member, The North Star), Marilyn Langlois (Coordinator, Richmond Progressive Alliance), Kemi Morten (Attorney at Law), Richard Roman (Socialist Project, Toronto),  Debby Pope (Chicago Teachers Union*), Larry Duncan (Labor Beat co-producer, CWA 14408*, retired),  Russell Saltamontes (writer, political science student , member of Democratic Socialists of America*) Michael Steven Smith (New York author and attorney), Kymore Freeman (#DCFerguson + We Act Radio), Jim Smith (Former elected treasurer/councilmember, Venice Calif.; 2006 candidate for Congress; union activist; author; Peace & Freedom Party), Lenny Brody (Justice Party National Steering Committee), Cheri Honkala (2012 Vice Presidential Candidate of the Green Party*), Brian Jones (Green Party nominee for Lt. Governor of NY, 2014, ISO), Isaac Silver (Local School Council, Roosevelt High School, Chicago), Jonathan Nack (*), Luis Rodriguez (2012 Justice Party Vice-Presidential Candidate and 2014 Green Party* candidate for Governor of California) , David Keil (Socialist Party*, National Antiwar Committee*, and of MetroWest Peace Action-Massachusetts*), Mary Scully (Independent socialist candidate), David McDonald (independent socialist, Seattle WA), August Leppelmeier (Movement of Rank and File Educators*, AFT* DSA*), Michael Hirsch (labor and politics writer; New Politicseditorial board) , Jeremy Hansen (Berlin, VT Selectboard; Vermont Progressive Party*), D’Marie Mulattieri (Independent US House of Representatives in CA District 39 in 2012, Justice Party USA, Americans Organized for Change*), Jason Adams (Co-Director, The New Centre for Research & Practice*), Paul Street (author of They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy, IOPS*, ZNet/TeleSur English), James Dyer (Boling Point radio program on 88.3 WAIF), John Andrews (Green-Rainbow Party*), Bob Simpson (Action Now*, National Writers Union/UAW*) Johny Augustine, Ph.D. (Department of Social Work, St. Ambrose University, Davenport IA), Daniel Benson (Ph.D Candidate Dept. French, NYU*), Alan Steward (Director, Progressive Global Commons*), Emily Pope-Obeda  (Tim Meegan campaign volunteer coordinator), Jerry Harris (CCDS* ; Global Studies Association of North America*), Kevin Zeese  (Co-Director of Popular Resistance*, Green Shadow Cabinet*), Margaret Flowers, M.D. (Co-Director of Popular Resistance*, Physicians for a National Health Program*, Chris Poulos (Tim Meegan campaign volunteer coordinator) Nicholas Limbeck (area rep, Susan Sadlowski-Garza campaign*), Matthew Luskin (United Working Families*), Kristin Combs (2015 Candidate for City Council at-Large, Green Party of Philadelphia), Amara Enyia (former 2015 candidate for Chicago Mayor),Rebecca Kemble + (Madison, WI Common Council), Jonathan Martin (Sociologist, Framingham State University; editor/contributor, forthcoming Empowering Progressive Third Parties book), Maureen Sullivan (2015 independent candidate for Chicago 11th Ward), Manuel Barrera, PhD (Assoc. Prof. Urban Education, Metropolitan State University*, Minneapolis, MN),  John P. Connolly (Past National President, American Federation of Television & Radio Artists and Past National Executive Director, Actors’ Equity Association;  Member, General Council of the AFL-CIO, 2001-10),  Susan Sadlowski Garza(Chicago 10th Ward Alderman, elect*), Steven Welzer (2015 Green Party candidate for New Jersey General Assembly 14th Leg.District East Windsor, NJ), Jim Brash (Green Party candidate for New Jersey’s 26TH Legislative District; Co-chair, Green Party of North Jersey*), Jesse Sharkey (Vice President, Chicago Teacher’s Union*)

Bold+ indicates sitting elected official; * organizational listing for identification purposes of the individual endorsers only


Publications and Organizational Endorsements (BOLD indicates sponsoring organizations)  AGAINST THE CURRENT (, INTERNATIONAT IONAL SOCIALIST  ORGANIZATION(, Campaign for a United Socialist Party,CHICAGO SOCIALIST CAMPAIGN (, Chicago D.S.A., Chicago Socialist Party ( Justice Party (, eMerge ( Green Party of Connecticut (, Green Party of Ohio (, GREEN PARTY OF NEW YORK STATE (,  Jacobin (, JUSTICE PARTY(, Justice Party of Illinois, New Politics(, The North Star ( PEACE AND FREEDOM PARTY (, Peoples’ Tribune (,) Richmond Progressive Alliance (, SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE (, Red Wedge magazine (, Socialist Action (, San Diego Socialist Campaign, Socialist Organizer (, Socialist Party of Los Angeles, Socialist Party of Michigan (  Socialist Party of Texas (, SOLIDARITY (, Vermont Progressive Party (, Wisconsin Pirate Party (, Workers Action (