Category Archives: Working Families Party

“There was a lot of arm-twisting and in the end he didn’t keep those promises,” said Bertha Lewis, a civil-rights activist and co-founder of the Working Families Party who said the party should look elsewhere next year.


So you lost a midterm election

As bad as things may seem remember a few things. A lot of the seats that were up for grabs were in conservative states. I can’t fathom why Maryland would elect a Republican governor but oh well.

The truth is that both political parties are miserable failures. Progressives work hard to elect Democrats because the Democrats are the lesser of two evils. On social issues Democrats are way more liberal and un-draconian and regressive, but on economic issues they aren’t that great.

Neoliberalism is the ideology that both major political parties subscribe to. The Obama administration is pushing some of the worst trade deals we’ve seen since NAFTA and CAFTA. When it comes to war and the defense industry the parties can sometimes be indistinguishable. Let’s not forget why we can’t seriously get anything done on climate change. The truth is that the real problem is money in politics and until you do something about that we’ll continue to have rule by the elite.

So work with people like Lawrence Lessig and Rootstrikers to get the money out of politics altogether. Elections should be publicly funded it’s the only way to ensure that politicians aren’t influenced by special interests. Sure even with money taken out of the picture there might still be candidates who favor corporatism, neoliberalism and all the nasty things that conservatives stand for, but when elections are publicly funded it changes the dynamic of campaigns completely. People aren’t flooded with waves of propaganda for starters.

You can also start to seriously look at third parties like the Green Party and the Working Families Party.

Photo by Coventry City Council

Andrew Cuomo is worse than a Republican

I’m really sorry to hear Andrew Cuomo come out and support the neoliberal line on education in America.

“Governor Cuomo is wrong on this one,” the W.F.P.’s state director Bill Lipton said in a statement to Capital.

“His proposed policies on public education will weaken, not strengthen our public education system, and they would represent a step away from the principle of high quality public education for all students. High stakes testing and competition are not the answer. Investment in the future is the answer, and that means progressive taxation and adequate resources for our schools.”

Earlier this week Cuomo told the Daily News editorial board that, if he’s re-elected, he intends to “to break what is in essence one of the only remaining public monopolies,” vowing to challenge public school teachers by supporting stricter teacher evaluations and competition from charter schools.

Reed Hastings, Bill Gates and all these other Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs know nothing about education in this country. They want to turn education into a commodity to be corporatized, hence their love affair with charter schools–the thing that Andrew Cuomo heavily supports. They seek to measure the performance of charter schools using corporate standards that focus on profit and efficiency, which when applied in a classroom setting creates misery as teachers are forced to focus on constant testing instead of students actually learning. Students are made to sit in front of computers for long stretches of time instead of receiving actual instruction from a teacher in the case of Hastings’s Rocketship charter schools.

Think about it: there’s a reason why charter schools remain less prevalent in places like Scarsdale or Edgemont, NY than in low-income areas of New York City. The parents of the well-to-do want good public schools (albeit union free in some cases unfortunatley) not what charter schools have to offer.

As far as Cuomo goes the reason he’s worse than a Republican is because at least with a Republican you know that they’re terrible; being in the Democratic Party gives Cuomo cover to attack liberal and progressive ideals while in office. While he was Attorney General I think Andrew Cuomo did a decent job but when you assume the powers of the executive only then can people see what your true ideology and intentions are.

Photo by New York National Guard

Lesson for Cuomo: Fusion voting not at the heart of Working Families Party success

It’s been said that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is not a fan of fusion voting. He obviously dislikes challenges to the prevailing political system where you basically have to chose between the two qualified major political parties in the state. Having a candidate who can run on multiple party lines allows for more opportunity of a political upset to occur.

One scenario that could arise is a candidate who pulls votes that would’ve normally gone to one of the two major political parties, but instead goes to a small party that has cross-endorsed said candidate. So you could possibly have registered Democrats not voting for the democratic candidate and instead voting for the republican candidate via a third party line. The democratic voters could say that while they dislike the the politics of the GOP, they support the views of the third party endorsing the GOP’s candidate and in turn vote for them on that line. This then gives that third party a chance to retain ballot access for upcoming elections. It even allows that third party to move up a row on the ballot further establishing their credibility.

In New York State, the three smaller political parties that have benefited the most from what is known as the Wilson Pakula Act are the Independence Party, Conservative Party and the Working Families Party.

Yet even with these realities, it was interesting to hear Dan Cantor of the Working Families Party say that cross-endorsement isn’t the end all be all of their organization.

However, much of the power the WFP built—championing issues, winning primaries—didn’t involve fusion at all, and many of those tactics can be exported to non-fusion states. Cantor, the Working Families national director, says, “As much as we like fusion voting, it’s not essential to the actual advance of the project.”

Truthfully, it’s the involvement of these third parties in the major political parties primary elections that is really what upsets people like Andrew Cuomo the most I think. On one side the Democrats have to contend with the Working Families Party and on the right the Republicans have to deal with the Conservative Party. In NY, this reality allows for both parties to come together to stymie these third parties. In a world of partisanship this is the one issue that unites them–ironically.

So how serious is Governor Cuomo when it comes to the issue of cross-endorsements? After this gubernatorial election we’ll probably learn more.

Working Families Party endorses de Blasio


Again like SEIU 32BJ, I really didn’t see the WFP going with Joe Lhota. Bill de Blasio has the chance to be New York City’s first progressive mayor since Fiorello LaGuardia.

Here’s the press release:

For more information, contact: Joe Dinkin, 978-223-5868

New York City leaders of the Working Families Party announced their support for Bill de Blasio for Mayor of New York City.

Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor released the following statement:

“There are two reasons we are supporting Bill de Blasio. He tells the truth, and he’s a fighter for the middle class, working class and poor. That’s an awfully good combination, and we’re excited to get behind his campaign.

“Bill de Blasio has dedicated himself to addressing the soaring inequality that characterizes New York. He has run an inspiring campaign forged on the strength of his progressive values and bold vision for a city that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

“After more than two decades of City Hall leadership that put the interests of real estate and Wall Street ahead of the needs of New York’s middle and working classes, New Yorkers have made it abundantly clear that they are ready for a new direction. Bill de Blasio embodies that direction. We are thrilled to join in the campaign to elect Bill de Blasio the next Mayor of New York.”

A Working Families Party endorsement will earn de Blasio the support of the party’s formidable activist base, as well as the WFP line on the November general election ballot.

The Working Families Party saw successful results earlier this week on Primary Day, when twelve new progressive City Council candidates won Democratic Primaries with WFP support. The Working Families Party also backed the victorious campaigns of Scott Stringer for Comptroller, Ken Thompson for Brooklyn District Attorney and Melinda Katz for Queens Borough President, as well as the campaign of Letitia James for Public Advocate, who is headed for a run-off on October 1st.

The Working Families Party is New York’s grassroots progressive political party. The Councilmembers elected with the Working Families Party in 2009 transformed the Council by launching the progressive caucus and passing major progressive victories, including new laws guaranteeing paid sick days and reforming the city’s stop-and-frisk practice. In Albany, WFP has won increases in the minimum wage, a landmark green jobs program, and reforms to the state’s Rockefeller drug laws.

Working Families Party Statement on Zimmerman Ruling

Subject line: A racist verdict


Yesterday was a disgraceful day in American history.

George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the murder of Trayvon Martin makes it devastatingly clear that racism is alive and well in our country, and that too much of one’s life chances are determined by the color of your skin.

As we keep Trayvon Martin’s family in our thoughts, here are two things you can do today to demand justice for Trayvon:

1. Join one of the Trayvon Martin rallies happening across the country today. Find one near you here.

2. Sign this petition from Color of Change, calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to bring civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

The police told George Zimmerman to stay in his car. Had he done so, none of this would have happened. Zimmerman chose to ignore those instructions because he saw a young black man in a hoodie, and all sorts of preconceptions danced in his mind.

Yesterday’s verdict is incomprehensible to us, and shows that we need to keep fighting for Trayvon, his family, and our country.

Thank you,

Dan Cantor
Executive Director
Working Families

Trumka and the AFL-CIO sound like the Working Families Party now

I came across John Nichols piece in The Nation. about AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka talking about an “independent labor movement” that is not going to be concerned with building or backing one political party anymore. There will be more focus on “backing candidates who support workers and their unions.” Basically, this is what the NY Working Families Party has been doing for years and with great success.

“It doesn’t matter if candidates and parties are controlling the wrecking ball or simply standing aside — the outcome is the same either way,” said Trumka. “If leaders aren’t blocking the wrecking ball and advancing working families’ interests, working people will not support them. This is where our focus will be — now, in 2012 and beyond.”

There will be more effort directed towards building grassroots support at the local level inspired by the events in Wisconsin.

Working Families Party – April Fools’

Good one guys!

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2011
Contact: T.J. Helmstetter, 718-222-3796 x 237

WFP Inks Deal with Wal-Mart

The Working Families Party and Wal-Mart today announced an unexpected agreement that will establish the Wall Street behemoth as the WFP’s first-ever Corporate Sponsor.

“This is a win-win,” said analyst Richard Morarless, an analyst at First Boston who follows retail stocks. “This lets the WFP make some friends in the corporate world, where they are not exactly beloved. And Wal-Mart gets to burnish its credentials as pro-working class at a time when it is getting hammered everywhere as an anti-worker, anti-women outfit.”

The details of the agreement have not been released, but sources suggest that the WFP will change its name to the “Wal-Mart Families Party” in return for Wal-Mart’s agreement to (1) abide by all wage and hour and anti-discrimination laws for male and female employees alike; (2) to establish paid family leave and sick time for its million-plus employees, and (3) to inform all employees that the law of the land is to encourage collective bargaining between workers and their employers. “Everyday Low Prices” will be modified in Texas and Florida to now read: “Everyday Low Prices, and No Retaliation.”

“No deal is perfect,” says WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor. “But we get to keep the same initials, and if this is what it takes to convince them to stop stealing from their workers and to stop destroying so many small businesses, then it’s worth it.”

A high level Wal-Mart executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the company’s decision to align itself with the progressive-minded political party actually made sense. “The Working Families brand doesn’t look like a great fit with Wal-Mart at first glance,” said the executive. “But their credibility with everyday New Yorkers will help us as we try to open stores in New York City against the misinformed opposition of labor unions and the City Council. We are counting on them to change their long-held views and abandon any prior commitments to fair play and equality.”



The Working Families Party’s five dollar a month campaign

We obviously won’t ask big industry donors to fund our effort to get corporate money out of politics, or to help us fight fracking. But that means we need you. Thousands of New Yorkers giving just $5 or $10 per month is the real, grassroots way to build a better New York. Click here to join the fight.

I recently signed up to do this–again. I was a dues paying member in 2005 through 2006 but something happened where my auto debit was discontinued. I’m not even in New York anymore! But the party is extremely important in New York and I wish to see it branch out to other states as it has begun to do.

The fundraising appeal was coupled with a recent victory of theirs:

Here’s the good news: Governor Paterson has placed a moratorium on risky horizontal hydraulic fracture natural gas drilling in New York until July of next year.1

Unfortunately, the governor’s action against “fracking” wasn’t all we’d hoped for. The drilling industry, after spending more than $1 million in this fight, convinced Paterson to veto the stronger moratorium passed by the State Senate and Assembly.

But because so many New Yorkers spoke out – including more than 3,000 Working Families supporters who called his office – Paterson knew he had to take some action. He put in place a narrower moratorium that will still ban the riskiest forms of “fracking” through July – the first time any state in the nation has done so.

Without massive grassroots pressure, it’s almost certain that there would be NO moratorium at all. Even when powerful industry interests were fighting with everything they had, your actions made a real difference.

Thank you for moving this moratorium campaign forward at every step of the way – through the New York State Senate, then the Assembly, and finally to the governor’s desk.

But we can’t ignore the other lesson of this fight. Not only do we have to keep fighting for a broader, more long-term fracking moratorium once Andrew Cuomo becomes governor, but if we really want to keep our water safe – not to mention create good jobs in our communities, expand health care reform, and keep our homes affordable – we have to get corporate money out of politics.

In the coming days, we’ll be launching a new campaign to cut the power that corporate contributions have over our politicians and government here in New York. We’ll also prepare for the next stage in the fight to prevent fracking and protect our water.