The following statement by the Southern and Northern California Districts,Communist Party USA, was released on Oct. 13.

The Nov. 8 California special election was conceived by the Schwarzenegger administration as an attack on public employee rights and political involvement, social services funding and the legislative redistricting process. The election itself is highly unpopular with voters, who view it as unnecessary, but it is going forward nonetheless.

At their core, the Schwarzenegger-supported propositions are profoundly antidemocratic. Prop. 75 would sharply curtail the ability of public-sector unions to contribute to political campaigns. Prop. 76 would give the governor even greater power to ignore the will of voters and the Legislature and unilaterally cut funding for state services. Prop. 77 would hand over legislative redistricting to unelected (and likely very conservative) retired judges. Prop. 74 would extend teachers’ probationary status to five years, and make it easier to fire even teachers with permanent status.

The virtual unanimity of progressive forces on each proposition, and the fact that Schwarzenegger has personally taken a position on all of them, has turned this election into a referendum on the Republican governor and, by implication, the right-wing Bush agenda itself. A victory for the progressive coalition will likely set the stage for the election of a new governor next year, will have a positive effect on congressional and legislative elections, and will send the signal around the country that the Republican control of Congress can be reversed. On the other hand, a defeat for labor and progressive forces will be touted as an endorsement of Schwarzenegger’s and Bush’s anti-labor, anti-people agenda.

Defeating Props. 73 through 78, and winning Props. 79 and 80, will deal a sharp blow to the ultra-right forces in our state and country.

The other side is counting on low voter turnout to carry the day. It is crucial to mobilize maximum participation in the campaign to defeat the governor’s antidemocratic measures. The forces for democracy and progress in our state must do everything possible to talk to neighbors and co-workers, to get the word out about each ballot measure, and to ensure a large voter turnout to guarantee victory!

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