Proposal for Side-Quest: Dems Denouncing Josh Harder

Our response to Harder: 2023-01-05 WCU Response to Harder - Google Docs

Subject: Proposal for Side-Quest: Dems Denouncing Josh Harder

Free Palestine continues to be a relevant issue in our country. Although the people have been fighting for a permanent ceasefire, only a temporary six-week ceasefire has been proposed thus far. That means that the results of primary elections and, therefore, federal elections in November will continue to have consequences on the Palestinian people going forward.

A part of our mission statement is to advance the cause of socialism within San Joaquin County openly. Doing so includes showing working-class people that pushing the Democratic Party left is not and has not been a viable pathway forward for the American people. The issue of Palestine allows us to do so by showing that Democrats and many wealthy and otherwise secure/safe liberal voters are more than prepared to sacrifice their fellow countrymen and individuals abroad to maintain the status quo.

This Side-Quest would primarily focus on showing the hypocrisy of local and state-level politicians, many of whom say they support the diverse population of San Joaquin County, who are remaining silent about the genocide currently being enabled by Harder’s (in)action. As we posted about on our social media accounts previously, how many dead Palestinians will it take before these politicians stop prioritizing their careers over human life?

With a March 5th deadline (the final day of the primary), we have a hard end to this Side-Quest. That will allow us to reevaluate how/if we want to continue engaging in future Palestine actions at the next General Meeting (March 7th).

Proposed Actions:

Continue posting about any Israel/Palestine news/votes/bullshit coming in from the federal level

Email all candidates endorsed by Josh Harder

Ask them to publicly state that they are rejecting his endorsement and not endorsing him or President Biden in the upcoming election unless he:

  • Signs on to and advocates for Rep. Tlaib’s Ceasefire Now resolution
  • Rejects AIPAC’s endorsement
  • Pledge to cease voting for military aid and weapons transfers to Israel
  • Hold the Biden administration accountable for its unilateral support of Israel, including refunding UNRWA

Contact the following people:

  • Jerry McNerney
  • Rhodesia Ransom
  • Waqar Rizvi
  • Mario Enriquez
  • Kimberly Warmsley
  • Sonny Dhaliwal
  • Nancy Young

Email the elected leadership of the San Joaquin County Democratic Party

Ask them to say they disagree with CADEM (double check that is true) endorsement of Josh Harder and also publicly state that … Ask them to stand by their previous resolution here

  • Manuel Zapata
  • Sandra Vargas
  • Renee Elliott
  • William Muetzenberg


-Give them until the 11th to respond. If they do not, we will post an article and social media post on the 12th clarifying their positions.

-Create a poster design for the recipients of the emails to be sent in on 12th to get printed.

-We should also get larger posters for the electrical boxes.

-Posters can go up on campus + local businesses. Wheatposting (?)

In the email, we can urge them to contact Harder and urge him to do ^^. But he continues to not budge on his stances on Israel/Palestine, they should not be accepting his endorsement and we see it as a reflection of the bad political alliances they are willing to make in order to win office and a reflection of the communities they are willing to throw under the bus in order to win their local and state elections. We should include a PDF of our response to Harder’s bilateral ceasefire so they do not fall back on that.

Feb 25th, 2PM - 5PM Rally - Don’t Vote For Genocide Supporting Candidates

Location: TBD

On our messaging: We are not endorsing anyone; we believe it is up to the candidates to win our votes, not for us to protect one party or the other from critiques by their voters.

We need a Quorum 4(+1) votes to approve this Side-Quest, with a maximum of two votes coming from the Steering Committee.

As a part of the Side-Quest, I propose that the Steering Committee + a two-Member delegation of their choice have final approval on public-facing emails, posters, and social media posts with the understanding that Members are given at least 48 hours to comment on the copy.

Side-Quest will end on the day of the Democratic Party primary, March 5th

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Great idea! I vote yes

Is motion to extend side quest or to create new side quest? Can’t remember if the other one expired/ended.

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We had two previous side quests:
Emergency Proposal: Palestine Rally Jan 5th
Emergency Proposal: Response to Harder’s PR about Gaza

They were limited to the Jan 5th Rally and the post responding to Harder.

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clarifying questions, is this a vote to accept proposal, or to approve side quest? Paolo also asked: does steering committee select the two member delegation, or do we (WCU members) select the two members?? “As a part of the Side-Quest, I propose that the Steering Committee + a two-Member delegation of their choice”

For discussion: I would like to know and find out how we can make sure we prioritize the WCUTU focus campaign. We do not have a robust outline like this for the TU organizing, which concerns me that we might find ourselves delayed/not following through with TU efforts for CalVilla residents. Maybe we can do and outline like this in a working meeting or at next general meeting?

Approve as a side-quest, aka approve, to carry out the actions. Members can bring a Side-Quest (or Focus Campaign) before the Membership and ask for a vote.

The Steering Committee ensures an action approved by the Membership is carried out. Part of the rationale for the most recent bylaw modification to side quests was that previously, the Steering Committee could refuse to do an action, and the Membership had to wait until the next General Meeting to reverse their decision. The Steering Committee can not turn down an approved action and must ensure that Members can do an action they approve of. So, it follows that Steering would be able to select a delegation that can help them with it. Since Side-Quests can sometimes be emergency actions, we do not have the time to go through with a nomination/election process as we do with Focus Campaigns, where we elect campaign leadership.

The disorganization of the TU campaign is my fault (as campaign lead). We have notes/goals/etc., but they are spread out between meeting presentations, forum posts, and various Google docs. I’ll work on compiling everything into a single source tomorrow, and we can discuss it at the Working Meeting this upcoming Monday and see what else needs to be added/clarified.

I vote yes on this side quest

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Under our existing Bylaws, it says that Non-Campaign Activities (Side-Quests) are “to be accomplished by the Steering Committee, Membership Committee, and a delegation (see ARTICLE VIII: NON-CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES),” not that Steering should have sole discretion over who that delegation is composed of.

It does not follow that we should be cavalier about granting Steering Committee new authority they did not previously possess (even if limited to a single Side-Quest), absent a compelling reason to move us away from collective, democratic decision-making. I do not believe it is necessary, or that the situation warrants such a sacrifice.

The specific names of people in delegations should be included, so that membership may be able to fully assess the overall soundness of the proposal, the suitability of all persons tasked with carrying out the work, and have the opportunity to suggest alternatives.

Side-Quests (Non-Campaign Activities) on Palestine have been Side-Quests (Non-Campaign Activities) in name only and have, as a whole, functioned as a full-blown Focus Campaign. These actions have represented ongoing work that has required significant ongoing commitment of resources by the membership which our Bylaws explicitly tell us should not be the case for Side-Quests (see the last sentence of ARTICLE VIII: NON-CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES).

Any honest reflection of our conduct over the course of the TU campaign would tell us that we’ve been scattered, unfocused and have lacked follow-through.

We should be making a good-faith effort to stabilize the TU campaign rather than continuing to do a disservice to tenants and ourselves by biting off more than we can chew.

The organization’s failures and successes are shared by all of us. They do not come down to any one person.

I vote yes to approve this side quest as a member of steering

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Proposal for Side-Quest: Dems Denouncing Josh Harder
I vote yes (if one more vote is needed)

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The Bylaws’ wording could have been clearer, ideally stating that the Steering Committee should facilitate the accomplishment of the Side-Quests. This Side-Quest doesn’t give Steering new powers.

I believe a good faith interpretation would be that we would be that we continue to draft documents collaboratively, as we did with the Harder Response letter. The 48-hour feedback window strikes a good balance between getting member input without burdening membership with needing a full Side-Quest vote for every smaller action outlined above.

Ultimately, we have to trust our comrades to act on behalf of the organization without necessitating everyone overview everything. Having an additional two Member delegation approve copy means it’s not just Steering making final approval for things to go out. And not picking two people from the start allows Steering to seek assistance from multiple individuals if availability issues arise later in the month, rather than being restricted to just the two initial people. If the Membership feels like things are being railroaded through without broad input, then the bylaws allow for swift consequences.

I believe everyone has acknowledged and accepted responsibility for neglecting our TU work but we are addressing it with upcoming canvassing events and meetings. The situation in Palestine presents a somewhat unique organizing opportunity. There is an increasing awareness of the need for alternatives beyond simply voting for either party, particularly in light of the Dems’ reluctance to co-opt this issue as they did with BLM. We have gathered contact information from nearly 100 people for future Palestine actions. Our goal should be to integrate these individuals into our organization, fostering independent socialist organizing, and get them involved in campaigns like the TU.

As a socialist organization, operating beyond our capacity is inevitable. We are still trying to figure out the most effective way(s) to combat capitalism, all while balancing these efforts on our personal time.

With that, I also vote to approve this as a Side-Quest.

So we have 5 Yes total, with 2 coming from Steering, so the Side-Quest is approved.

I vote yes for the side quest.

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The “delegation” part of the bylaws suggests to me that in addition to the established committees that the general membership would choose the members of the delegation, which would be overseen by the Steering Committee.

That being said, it is obvious that the Palestine issue is important to the majority of the membership and as such they should be allowed to bring forward proposals for Side quests.

Steering having a final majority say in a decision body made up of two General Members of their own choosing, on public-facing emails, posters, and social media posts, is not something that was in place prior to this proposal.

The need to have a process for managing public facing material was just announced at the last General Meeting and almost every member in attendance expressed desire to be a part of that working group.

So, when the proposal that is offered up merely states that “Members are given at least 48 hours to comment on the copy,” it’s only natural that there will be interpretations that depart from the way it was intended it to be received. Because what good is a comment period when final editorial say on what gets published, again, rests with a decision-making body in which the General Membership delegates are a minority, not named or put forward by us?

I think it’s unfortunate to have one’s questions and concerns be framed as matter of insufficient trust in our comrades, and it will make it harder to feel comfortable having open and honest discussions in the future.

We actually haven’t had much of an opportunity to have any self-examination and self-critique over how the first six months of Tenant Union Focus Campaign went.

We ran out of time for it at the December post-General Meeting dinner.

And the re-authorization vote for the TU campaign was primed with a quote from Bell Hooks–invoking solidarity and commitment–in a way that suggested anything other than approval for it was abandonment which really clamped down on the ability to have a frank dialogue.

Of course. But in the desperation for new members, it would serve us well to not lose sight of the current membership which, at present, is only being engaged with for votes and volunteer work. And adding more to the plate lessens our ability to tend to their needs.

I would agree if this was an action that Membership approved to do, but would not have an opportunity to work on or provide feedback for outside of that small delegation. That does put a lot of responsibility on those few Members and those Members should be known ahead of time prior to the vote.

The intent behind the delegation here was to give two Members an added sense of responsibility to assist with this Side-Quest if it got approved, so Steering does not end up overburdened with following through with this. Maybe delegation was the wrong word.

Here’s a draft of the first letter that will go out to candidates endorsed by Josh:

We can send a very similar one to the SJCDP, but we will need some tweaks to the language.

I like it! very clear and detailed and has enough pressure for the local politicians.

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Read through the letter and everything looks good.

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I will vote in favor of this

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