International Woman’s Day – Why we need to celebrate, why we need to organize
Today is International Women’s Day. The day first became recognized in the United States following a women’s textile strike in 1908. It was known for a long time as International Working Women’s Day to honor those women who worked under the worse pay and conditions by demanding equal pay and rights. Today it’s about the continuing struggle for women to have their own authority over their bodies, their minds, their life work, their political realities. Today, it’s about recognizing the terrible, disproportionate impact that unemployment, hunger and homelessness has on women and children in California where 8.7 million people are barely surviving below the poverty line.
International Women’s Day—March 8—is about fighting for and ensuring that women are given their just due in society and culture as half of all humanity, holding up half the sky, as the saying goes. It came about due to women’s struggle for their liberation, including their right to vote, which only began in the last century.
Indigenous people across this continent understand that feminine and masculine energies run through all things, all beings, all processes. We have a Mother Land—known as Tonantzin and Pacha Mama, among other names—that nurtures us, feeds us. And even when the earth gets destructive, burns, shakes, it regenerates. The Father Land is often connoted as the country, the polis, the political realm. When the country is at odds with the Earth, we must work to bring this back into alignment, into accord. Into balance.
I am proud that grassroots women leaders are playing a central role in my campaign for Governor of California. I ask all leaders, all organizers, all of us active for a clean environment, revitalized economy and social justice for all, to come together with all women and say we will be one voice, one body, one people for women’s freedom—and for the end of the poisoning and destruction of our earth.
This is part and parcel of the required unity of the political, economic and environment battles for the greater interests of all.
—Luis J. Rodriguez
An Appeal to Women in support of the Luis J. Rodriguez campaign for Governor of California
By Trini Rodriguez
Today the challenges we have faced for so long as women are begging for our attention. We know, as women, that much of our power, creativity and love has not been valued properly. We have been underestimated. We can point to many situations and reasons why this is so. But in the end, what will matter is how we as women, personally and collectively, gather that same power, creativity and love to free ourselves and reclaim our necessary place in relationship to our loved ones, our community, our world.
So today, I ask us to reimagine ourselves, knowing that the world needs us to stand up, honor the gifts and authority we were born with, and with clarity of vision and heart, participate energetically and decisively in the making of the world that we, our children and all humanity is yearning for.
Again, the challenges are great. But so are the possibilities.
That so many people in California, let alone the world, do not have their needs met as human beings is absurd, immoral, given the existing resources and people, intelligence and technology, that could put an end to these corporate, property imposed imbalances. This misalignment of natural abundance and current social conditions are at the root of disease, crime and poverty of well-being. It is time to stand up to this continued plague on our existence.
Our ancestors, all of them, sacrificed too much for us to sit this battle out. Our children, all of them, are depending on us to set this human project back on course; their future and their children’s future depends on our responsiveness. All of us, women and men, have for too long accepted far too little for the value of our lives.
For so many reasons, in so many ways, the campaign to elect Luis J. Rodriguez as governor of California is a chance to speak to the issues close to our hearts in a way we have never dared before. This campaign will take courage. As Luis’s wife I know he has plenty. We owe it to ourselves to match that courage with our own and not let him stand alone. We will all need to draw on our bravery and honesty to pose bold questions and offer creative solutions for the issues we face. What is at stake is our right to shape the world we live in.
California is unmatched in its beauty and bounty. This campaign is an invitation to the people of California to state what they need, what they want changed, and what they are willing to do to make their hopes a reality.
This campaign will be more than election politics. It will be part of strengthening a grounded, visionary, vital movement to lead the way out of our current morass of poverty, disconnection, powerlessness and loss. This is an appeal to participate fully in this campaign. Thankfully, men are quickly stepping up to this historic challenge. I make this appeal particularly to women, not because we are more important than men, but because I know that when women take up a cause and make our voices heard, we can be decisive to its deep success.
Let’s reclaim our lives in vision, power, creativity and love. Let’s make this campaign the movement it can become. We have so much to gain.
In San Francisco, women leaders gather at a Rodriguez campaign forum to discuss the issues.
The Rodriguez Campaign wants to congratulate and thank the scores of volunteers across the state who collected thousands of signatures to put Luis J. Rodriguez on the ballot. In Los Angeles County alone, we submitted in excess of 2,500 signatures towards the 10,000 needed to avoid a hefty filing fee with similar results from across the state.
Every single signature counts and will be credited to reduce the filing fee. The signature gathering has been a long and difficult process by a dedicate core of unpaid volunteers and we thank each and every one of them. However…. the job is not finished!
We anticipate that between 25% and 35% of the signatures that were submitted during the “regular” signature-in-lieu period (that ended on February 20th) will be found invalid by the Secretary of State. There is a “Make-Up” signature-in-lieu period during which signatures can still be submitted to cover the invalid signatures from the regular period.”Make-Up” valid signatures submitted up to the number of invalid signatures will be counted.
We call upon all of our supporters to continue their efforts through the new deadline of March 7. We are looking for volunteers across the state who will each commit to collecting signatures so whatever you can do to help will be greatly appreciated.
Since we have only two weeks, we strongly suggest that volunteers team up and go to locations where we have had proven success: farmer’s markets, college campuses, large scale public events, etc. Since we now need to get a very high validity rate of these signatures, please make sure that the signators are registered voters in the county, residing at the address they registered at and write legibly on the petition.
In the Affidavit portion of the petition, write Feb. 21, 2014 through March 7, 2014 for the time period of circulation of the make up petitions, and before you submit the petitions, be sure to sign and date the Affidavit.
All “Make-Up Signature” volunteers should report in now to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will give you instructions on what to do with completed petitions, let you know who else in your area you can team up with and answer any questions or concerns.
Won’t you help us collect make-up signatures and put Luis J. Rodriguez on the ballot?
Two Days; 100 Volunteers; 5000 Signatures to put Luis J. Rodriguez on the Ballot…We Can Do It!!
Across California, dozens of volunteers inspired by his vision and program have spent weeks gathering voter signatures required by law to put Luis J. Rodriguez on the ballot for the June primary.
Now, as the February 20 deadline for submission approaches, we call on our volunteers, supporters and all those who care about eliminating poverty and creating a new California to help cross the “finish line” and be part of the “All Out to Win Weekend”.
On Wednesday, February 5th, in San Francisco low income tenants facing eviction under the Ellis Act filed criminal complaints at the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. There were fifty low income tenants and their supporters in attendance. Luis Rodriguez was a featured speaker at the rally.
The D.A.’s office informed the group that they needed to go to SF police first to file a complaint. However, with the intervention of Rodriguez campaign manager and attorney Anthony Prince, officials admitted that the D.A. has the authority to directly take a criminal complaint and initiate its own investigation. A formal meeting with the D.A.s office is now set for February 14.
The Ellis Act (download copy of law) is a state law which states that landlords have the unconditional right to evict tenants to “go out of business.” Due to the predatory speculation of landlords trying to scramble to make profit from the huge influx of new tech employees flooding the Bay Area, thousands of families with young children and disabled elders have been served with Ellis act eviction notices, or have already been evicted, ending up in the streets, in shelters or most terrifying of all, dead from the trauma of eviction and homelessness.
Attorney & Rodriguez Campaign Manager Anthony Prince assists low income tenants in confrontation in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office
Tenants demand the S.F. District Attorney prosecute eviction-related elder abuse.
Evicted, houseless elders and families and their advocates will be filing criminal charges for elder abuse with the district attorney on some of the most predatory LLC’s, realtors and landlords who have used this state law to increase their profit – a heartless act of abuse, harassment and arguably even, homicide.
“We need to put an end to the Ellis Act and other laws like it which cause more poverty and homelessness,” Luis Rodriguez, Candidate for Gov of California.
Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia, editor of Poor Magazine and organizer of the action
Demonstrators outside the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office
Luis Rodriguez’s official statement:
Repeal Ellis and Prosecute Predatory Landlords!
(Statement of Luis J. Rodriguez, February 5, 2014)
My name is Luis Rodriguez. As an independent candidate for Governor of California, I wholeheartedly support today’s action bringing criminal complaints against those predatory, speculating landlords and other defendants who have profited from the pro-business, anti-tenant, profit-based Ellis Act.
As governor, my first act would be to invoke the emergency powers of the office, impose a moratorium on these evictions and halt all Ellis-motivated demolition of existing affordable housing. I would instruct the Attorney General and all law enforcement authorities under state jurisdiction to arrest and charge these predatory, speculating landlords with violations of Section 368 of the California Penal Code.
We should never forget that the Ellis Act was enacted by a Republican-dominated legislature in direct response to a decision of the California Supreme Court in 1983 that found that cities had the right to enact ordinances designed to preserve affordable housing. Now, thirty years and thousands of Ellis Act evictions later, it is a disgrace that we have a Democratic Governor and a Democratic-controlled legislature and the Ellis Act is still on the books. As governor I would immediately introduce legislation to repeal Ellis and use all the executive, constitutional and persuasive powers of the office to insure housing for every single man, woman and child in this state!
By taking this action today, you—the actual and potential victims of the Ellis Act—are doing what my campaign is all about: insisting that the law act in the interests of the people! This fight is part of a broader fight against poverty and the system that generates it daily, hourly. Here in California, the budget has been balanced on the backs of 8.7 million people in poverty. The Ellis Act is part of a poverty-creating structure that can and must be taken down.
The time has come for us to think strategically, to unify our scattered forces across this state and challenge the status quo. What you are doing here today is on the cutting edge of that challenge—I join you, I embrace your cause as my own.
Luis J. Rodriguez
Luis Rodriguez speaking with KGO Television about the action.
“Inside Each Voter”
(Written for the Luis J. Rodriguez for California governor campaign)
Inside each voter is history.
The woman suffragist with her boycotts, rallies,
going door to door, meetings, convening and reconvening,
risking arrest, risking ridicule,
being turned away at the polls,
attempting to cross the gender divide.
The black man with his courage and determination,
risking ridicule, risking arrest, risking death,
attempting to cross the racial divide,
wishing to break free from another shackle.
We cannot take for granted that the
right to vote wasn’t a right for all in the past
and that those who came before us made it possible
so that even I, an American-born citizen, a woman
of Filipino descent, can go to the polls without the fear
of being turned away, without the fear of arrest,
without the fear of ridicule.
Inside each voter is the future.
With each vote we can shape our lives.
We can protect our rights for this generation
and the next.
We can demand a better education for our children.
We can move towards the direction of progress.
My hope is that we can find businesses of sustainability.
Ones that work with and not against our precarious ecology.
Ones that value their employees and a government
That would allow these businesses to flourish.
Inside each voter is a poet
communicating through an action
making known to the world at large
an opinion, a choice, a decision.
Inside each voter is a voice
of democracy, of urgency, of substance.
Inside each voter is a believer
Keeping faith in the system
believing her vote matters
that her vote counts.
If you are a supporter of Luis J. Rodriguez, if you would like the opportunity to vote for real change in California, then help get Luis Rodriguez on the ballot. California election rules stipulate that a candidate needs 10,000 signatures to be eligible to be on the ballot. We need everyone’s help to get there!
Outspoken Salinas City Council Member José Castañeda (above, left) has thrown his support behind Luis J. Rodriguez, the insurgent, Green Party-endorsed candidate for California Governor. The former school board member and current District 1 Councilmember last week welcomed Rodriguez to the impoverished, overwhelmingly Latino eastside where he gave Rodriguez his enthusiastic endorsement.
“I am proud to have the support of this outstanding community leader,” said Rodriguez. “What José Castañedahas done in Salinas is what we aim to do statewide: politically empower the poor, the workers, the oppressed minorities—all those on whose backs Jerry Brown has ‘balanced’ the budget.”
Here, in the lettuce-growing capital of the world –home to “Grapes of Wrath” author John Steinbeck–Councilmember Castañeda is a highly regarded champion of working people who has taken on the “old guard” big business-connected politicians. As candidate Rodriguez swung through Salinas, a growing campaign organization led by high school teacher and community activist Ana Barrera was on the job and in the neighborhoods daily collecting the voter signatures required to put Luis on the ballot.
“I am grateful to the genuine, grassroots leaders of Salinas for their support,” says Rodriguez. “Connecting with people like AnaBarrera, Councilmember Castañeda and others has meant connecting with thousands of Salinas voters who deserve respect, safe and meaningful livelihoods, clean water, decent housing. en they sign petitions for me, they are signing for themselves. That’s what my campaign is all about.”
For Further Information and To Help Gather Signatures to Put Luis J. Rodriguez on the Ballot, contact email@example.com
In a slap in the face to 8.7 million Californians struggling to survive below the poverty line, Governor Jerry Brown’s January 22 state of the state speech was that of a corporate CEO, calling for austerity and a “rainy day” fund while the poor continue to drown in a steady downpour of unemployment, homelessness, child hunger and a shredded “safety net.” The word “poverty” was not even uttered although at 23%, California has the highest poverty rate in the United States.
Instead, Brown bragged of the billions of dollars in the surplus and a budget that was “balanced” on the backs of the poor and working people. Brown said nothing about restoring the massive cuts to CalWorks and CalFresh that, according to the Western Center on Law and Poverty, have helped add 2.7 million to the ranks of the poor since Brown took office. Brown’s speech practically described California as a corporation, outrageously declaring “fiscal discipline” as the “fundamental predicate” of democracy.
“Really?” says Luis J. Rodriguez, the independent, Green Party-endorsed candidate now collecting signatures to face likely candidate Brown in the June primary. “I always thought democracy is about everyone having a voice, a vote and choices. This is not true when Democrats and Republicans are the only parties that matter, when big bucks determine who can run for office, let alone win, and when other voices find it near to impossible to take part.”
Brown’s speech came as Rodriguez finished a campaign swing through California, including a “Poor People’s Movement” rally at the Capitol. Says Rodriguez, “Governor Brown cynically quotes the Bible urging us to deal with the “boom and bust” of the economy with the ancient advice of Joseph to the Pharoah recounted in the Book of Genesis, ‘put away your surplus during the years of great plenty so you will be ready for the lean years which are sure to follow.’”
“How about this from Deuteronomy 15:7” counters Rodriguez, “‘If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.’”
Rodriguez slammed Brown’s equating of democracy to “fiscal discipline.” “The Governor needs to read the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States and its command to ‘promote the general welfare,’” says Rodriguez. “Brown is owned by the big corporations and financial institutions of this state. It is their welfare that he is protecting, not that of those who have lost their jobs and their homes.”
Turning to the drought, Rodriguez ridiculed Brown’s position that “conservation and prayer” alone will solve the problem. “With his green light to fracking, the so-called Bay Delta Conservation Plan and his loyalty to the moneyed water interests of California, Jerry Brown’s program will worsen the impact of this drought.”
“We need a broad and inclusive campaign for the political and economic power to rest in our hands,” says Rodriguez, summing up Brown’s state of the state as a “recipe for the continued domination of California’s “1%”. “Alternatively, my campaign seeks to empower the very people affected by these policies. We won’t be boxed in by the Republicans or Democrats, but will expand the concept of what’s possible, into where the real wealth really lies—in people, in our imaginations, and in our organizations. In how we can obtain full equity, justice, and freedom without any more people hurt, impoverished, diminished, dismissed, or imprisoned.”