By James J. Jackson, Jr
Comrades, the time is now!
Like many of you, I was thrilled when our chapter received the phenomenal news that the Sacramento Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Charter Amendment, will appear on the November ballot as Measure C.
This means that after years of hard work, draining legal battles, and intense coalition building, Sacramento will finally have the chance to vote for Real Rent Control.
This is a great victory, one that almost makes up for the fact that the Strong Mayor initiative (Measure A) will also be on the November ballot.
But the fact that both Real Rent Control and Strong Mayor are on the same ballot might be one of the greatest opportunities presented to us as a chapter. We have the chance to defeat the neoliberal opportunism of Mayor Darrell Steinberg and his capitalist cronies not once, but twice!
If we can defeat Strong Mayor and win Real Rent Control in the same election then not only will the working class of Sacramento win twice, but we will have shown that democratic socialism is a force to be reckoned with in Sacramento.
In order to make that happen we need all hands on deck. This might frustrate some of you to hear because it has been such a long battle, but getting the rent control measure on the ballot was the easy part. Now the hard work begins.
Katie Valenzuela, our democratic socialist city council member-elect, has grouped together a coalition that is taking initiative to both fight against Measure A and in favor of Measure C, in addition to fighting for a budget that reflects the needs of Sacramento's working class. If you haven't already, be sure to check out The People's Budget Sacramento!
We need to offer these campaigns all the help and resources we are capable of giving as a chapter, and the connections between defeating Strong Mayor and winning Real Rent Control should be made explicit in our platform as a chapter.
And we cannot fool ourselves into thinking that Strong Mayor will easily be defeated nor that Rent Control will be easily won. While clearly very unpopular with activist groups like ours, the amount of money behind the Strong Mayor and Anti Rent Control campaigns are in the millions. The only thing that defeats big money in an election is dedicated and intentional organization, this is where we come in.
Our chapter has a duty to our history, our ideals, and to the material needs of Sacramento to show our class power. This can be done not once but twice in this election, but it won't happen at all if we do not organize as intentionally and as intensely as possible.
This means we must do at least two things:
1. We must never stop mounting public pressure on our community leaders to get them to oppose Strong Mayor and to support Real Rent Control. Whether it is our union, our organization, or our elected officials, we have to keep the pressure on.
2. We must engage our members in these campaigns in a way that does not put the burden of labor on anyone individually but shares it collectively. Meaning we don’t just passively ask our members to vote or rally them into anti Steinberg frenzies but instead we must be intentional by giving members the resources they need to get involved. If we are too passive in this moment we risk losing not once, but twice.
Our victory is in our hands comrades. Socialists love to say “We have a world to win.” Well, this is one of those chances to win a piece of that world. It’s not every election that you get the opportunity to reject neoliberalism twice on the same ballot. Let’s not waste this opportunity.
So comrades, get to phone-banking, fill up public comment at every city council meeting, and give everything you can to these campaigns. This is our chance to show Darrell Steinberg that Sacramento is not a neoliberal city, we are a democratic socialist one!
Let us take action and campaign like we have never campaigned before!
Comrades, the time is now.