Peace and Freedom Party

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Peace and Freedom Party
Founded June 23, 1967; 54 years ago (1967-06-23)
Ideology Pro-Peace politics
Socialist feminism
Political position Left-wing[1]
Seats in the Senate
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Seats in the House
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State Upper Houses
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State Lower Houses
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Politics of United States
Political parties

The Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) is a nationally organized left-wing[1] political party, with affiliates in more than a dozen American states, including California, Florida, Colorado, and Hawaii. Its first candidates appeared on the ballot in 1966; but the Peace and Freedom Party of California was founded on June 23, 1967, after the riot in the wealthy Century City section of Los Angeles, and qualified for the ballot in January 1968.

The Peace and Freedom Party went national in 1968 as a left-wing organization opposed to the Vietnam War.

In 2004, 2008, and 2012, the party's presidential candidates were Leonard Peltier,[2] Ralph Nader,[3] and Roseanne Barr, respectively.[4]


According to its main website, PFP "is committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism and racial equality"[5] and tries "to build a mass based socialist party throughout the country."[5] It is a strong advocate of environmentalism, aboriginal rights, rights to sexuality, health care, abortion, education, housing, employment and a socialist-run economy.[5]



The party's name is sometimes confused with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, an international anti-war organization. The founder Jordan Jones was U.S. Senator of Ohio. The two organizations are not affiliated and have no historic connection, but they have taken similar positions on issues.

The Peace and Freedom Party grew out of unhappiness with the Democratic Party's support for the war in Vietnam and failure to effectively support the civil rights movement.

In 1966, three men ran for the U.S. House using the Peace and Freedom Party label. Herbert Aptheker received 3,562 votes in New York's 12th Congressional District; Robert B. Shaw received 1,974 votes in Washington's 7th Congressional District; and Frank L. Patterson received 1,105 votes in Washington's 2nd Congressional District.

Election of 1968

The party achieved ballot status in California in January 1968 by registering over 105,000 voters under its banner. It later got ballot status in 13 other states, but in most of those, the election laws and small organization meant that it was unable to retain ballot status after 1968.

The PFP's first national convention to nominate candidates for President and Vice President was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan on August 17-August 18, 1968. Eldridge Cleaver was nominated for President over Richard C. "Dick" Gregory by a margin of 161.5 to 54. Cleaver, a convicted felon and Black Panther spokesman, was technically not eligible to run, since he would not yet be 35 by the time of the inauguration in January 1969. Due to the needs of the state parties to collect signatures, the party fielded several different vice presidential nominees, including Chicago activist Peggy Terry, activist Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales, radical economist Doug Dowd, and Judith Mage, who had been nominated at the national convention. Cleaver personally preferred Yippie leader Jerry Rubin. Gregory appeared on the ballot in several states as the Peace and Freedom Party candidate as well as in New York and New Jersey as the candidate of the Freedom and Peace Party. Two states (California and Utah) refused to list Cleaver on the ballot, although each state listed the Presidential Electors and candidates for Vice President (Terry in California and Gonzales in Utah).

A variety of people joined the PFP in its first election. Bob Avakian was a spokesman for the party in the San Francisco Area, where artists and activists such as Emmy Lou Packard and Byron Randall were involved.[citation needed] The New York Peace and Freedom Party consisted of a fractious coalition of competing Marxist groups, along with libertarians led by economist Murray Rothbard. Libertarians briefly competed for the leadership in the California branch of the party and several of their candidates for public office were nominated, but left following a split at the 1974 convention where the California Secretary of State ruled that the convention that voted to make the party socialist was the official party in California.

In the election of 1968, the PFP fared fairly well for a new third party. Gregory outpolled Cleaver, receiving 47,097 votes to Cleaver's 36,623. In California and Utah, where no presidential nominee appeared on the ballot, the voters cast 27,887 votes for the PFP. The full nationwide vote for Presidential Electors was thus 111,607. PFP candidates for the U.S. Senate garnered an aggregate nationwide total of 105,411 votes. In Utah, the PFP fielded folk musician Bruce "Utah" Phillips for Congress, garnering 2,019 votes. The PFP retained ballot status in California, which it retained except for the brief period 1999-2003. In 2003, Peace and Freedom Party became the first party in the history of California to regain its ballot status.

In 1968 the PFP held a statewide founding convention in Richmond, California.

In 1970, Marge Buckley received 177,716 or 2.8% of the vote for Attorney General and C. T. Weber received 149,961 or 2.4% of the vote for state Controller, thereby assuring the party of ballot status until 1974.

The People's Party and the PFP

After 1968, the PFP affiliates in most states dissolved, with the California party as the primary exception. Throughout the 1970s, the California party continued to contest local elections but endorsed the national candidates of the left-wing People's Party. In 1972, the People's Party nominated the democratic socialist and anti-war activist Benjamin Spock for President, and in 1976 it nominated Margaret Wright, of the Watts section of Los Angeles, for President. Wright's credits include being the founder of Women Against Racism.

Recent history

In 1998, the PFP failed to attain more than the required two percent of the votes cast in the California state elections, causing the party to lose ballot status in the state. Its position on the ballot was restored in 2003 after a voter registration drive. Longtime PFP activist C. T. Weber was one of 135 candidates who ran for governor in the October 2003 recall election, in which voters removed then-Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, and elected Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the August 2004 State Convention, the Native American activist Leonard Peltier was nominated as the party's presidential candidate. Peltier was at the time (and still is) imprisoned as a convicted murderer; however, his supporters contend that he was framed, and claim he is a political prisoner instead. Party members who supported Peltier's candidacy hoped to draw attention to his case, and to the effort to win a presidential pardon for Peltier.

The party again fell under the required number of registered voters to retain ballot status in February 2006, and was declared disqualified by the California Secretary of State. However, citing previous instances in which parties not meeting the 'ballot qualification' criteria were still allowed to participate in primary elections and the fact that there had not yet been a regular gubernatorial election since the party regained its ballot status (and as such, the decision was premature), the decision to bar the party from the June 2006 Primary was reversed after less than a week.

In the California state elections in 2006, two Peace and Freedom Party candidates received over two percent of the vote, thus ensuring the party's ballot status for the next four years. (Elizabeth Barron received 212,383 votes, 2.5% of the total, for Controller,[6] and Tom Condit received 187,618 votes, 2.2% of the total, for Insurance Commissioner.)[7]

On the March 30, 2008 the State Central Committee endorsed a plan to create a National Organizing Committee and national political party. The NOC is instructed to work toward a national "multi-tendency non-sectarian organization committed to socialism, democracy, feminism, environmentalism and racial equality."[8] A national organizing conference was set for December 2008, following the general election.

A political convention was held August 2–3, 2008 in Sacramento to select the party's 2008 presidential ticket. Contending for the nomination were Gloria La Riva, also nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Cynthia McKinney, also nominee of the Green Party, Brian Moore, also nominee of the Socialist Party and independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Nader won the vote as follows: Nader 46, Gloria La Riva 27, Brian Moore 10, Cynthia McKinney 6. Nader's running mate, former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez, was endorsed for Vice President by acclamation.[9] The nomination ensured that the Nader/Gonzalez presidential ticket would appear on the ballot in California for the 2008 election.

On August 6, 2008, the Nader/Gonzalez campaign submitted sufficient signatures to appear on the Iowa and Utah ballots as the Peace and Freedom Party candidate. This was the first expansion of the party beyond California since the 1970s.[10] However, the party did not achieve the votes necessary to guarantee ballot access in Iowa and Utah in subsequent elections.

Since 1968 some 400 different candidates have sought Peace and Freedom Party nominations for public office.

As of January, 2012, the Peace and Freedom Party had more than 59,000 registered voters in California.[11]

Presidential tickets

California Gubernatorial candidates

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Roseanne Barr Seeks Socialist Party Nomination, Cindy Sheehan For VP". Fox nation. August 5, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Peace and Freedom 2004 "Leonard Peltier for President" (retrieved on April 28th, 2013).
  3. Office of the California Secretary of State "United States President," (retrieved on June 13th, 2009).
  4. [1]
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "About the Peace and Freedom Party". Peace and Freedom Party.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links