By Karl Abrams
Presidential Candidate Roseanne Barr is coming to Venice. The former comedienne, TV star and role model for millions of working class women is the candidate of the Peace and Freedom Party. Barr and long-time activist Cindy Sheehan won over the majority of delegates at the Peace and Freedom (P&F) Party’s exciting Los Angeles convention on August 4 to become candidates for the 2012 Presidential election.
Both Barr and Sheehan spoke to the delegates (I was one of them) about progressive and socialist philosophies that they believe will help to create a better world. Overall, Barr’s political speech was especially laugh-at-loud hilarious, a crowd pleasing technique that she calls “serious comedy that just writes itself.”
The P&F Party is a democratic socialist, feminist and environmentalist political party founded in Venice in 1967 as a progressive alternative to the standard two-party policies of endless wars on both the third world and U.S. workers at home. Originally, and still, an anti-war and a free education party, its Venice Chapter headquarters was always very visible on Abbot Kinney Blvd during the 60s and 70s and always busy signing up new registrants. Presently the California P&F Party is in need of about 45,000 new members to remain on the ballot after 2014.
Barr, having also been a feminist and activist most of her life and an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Movement, is asking the American people to register in the P&F Party because the “…American people are sick and tired of the lesser of two evils garbage.” Barr, who started her career as a stand-up comic, is also an award-winning actress, a producer and a writer of several books. Having successfully starred in the sitcom Roseanne for 11 years and having won a Primetime Emmy Award, a People’s Choice Award and two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress, the 59-year old Barr now intends to turn her comedic genius towards the embarrassment of the 1 percent, the legalization of marijuana and the erasure of all homeowner and student loan debt. And that’s just for starters.
Barr and Sheehan outright reject the “tweedledum and tweetledee” politics of Republicans and Democrats. Instead, they have enthusiastically embraced the platform of the P&F Party (www.peaceandfreedom.org and www.VenicePeaceandFreedom.org), dramatized by some slogans presented on Barr’s website, www.roseanneforpresident2012.org.
For example, “We need you to make History! – Participate in your democracy!” Or, “Vote Peace and Freedom Party. America needs a real third party choice.” It is also here that Barr asks the question, “Do you want to be homeless and jobless in the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Her website is also calling for volunteers to help with the historic task of getting the Barr-Sheehan ticket to appear on the ballot in at least 15 other states.
Another website, “Roseanne World” (www.roseanneworld.com) is a great site to understand why Barr is running for President. Here, in one of several interesting videos, Barr says, “I want the American people to have the opportunity to vote for a party which is not owned by bankers!”
And how Barr loves to tweet (Roseanne Barr@TheRealRoseanne). It is precisely here that her fearless ability to mix comedy and politics can be witnessed first hand. Her tweeted campaign slogan is, “I will fix this Shit!” When referring to America’s two major parties, she tweets, “They suck and they’re both a bunch of criminals.” In another tweet Barr has promised to institute “European-style single-payer healthcare … and to forgive all credit card and mortgage debt.”
According to the New York Daily News, Barr has stated that, “The Democrats and Republicans have proven that they are servants — bought and paid for by the 1% — who are not doing what’s in the best interest of the American people.” At the same time, Barr points to financiers who have, “…stolen our money, our future and the American Dream…continue to enslave us with a broken monetary system.”
Barr also advocates for a variety of progressive issues as addressed on her website and in her Official Candidate Questionnaire (http://bit.ly/Aqdr0W). The legalization of marijuana, for example, is viewed to “…end all Drug Wars and stop the monopoly of the subsidized prison systems…” Barr and Sheehan both are in favor of “self-determination and the right of return” for “Palestinians who have had their land stolen from them”, and want “…to bring U.S. troops home and create new Green jobs [that] put people back to work”. Barr says that, “Wars make the stock market go up and are fueled by profits…[while] the Military Industrial Complex…[remains] our shadow government. Let’s work together to make war obsolete.” Barr says she dreams of an American society that, “Runs best on diversity and freedom of thought interjected from many kinds of people”.
Cindy Sheehan is a tireless activist for world peace. On her website (www.cindysheehanssoapbox.com) we are reminded of the tragic loss of her son during the Iraq War and how she transformed from a liberal democrat into a democratic socialist. Sheehan, the author of six books, has traveled and spoken to people all over the world about how the “U.S. is guilty of fighting an illegal and immoral war.” She ran for Congress against House speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2008, coming in second place with 50,000 votes. At the convention, Sheehan also spoke for those who want a higher standard of living and education, in a peaceful world with “innovative solutions to homelessness and poverty.”
Can Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan actually win? Third party candidates always start out with high percentages and shrink to about 1 percent by the time of the election due to mass media reports of a close race between Democrats and Republicans. A better question to ask is can a big vote for Barr-Sheehan force Obama to the left. He already has California locked up so voting for Barr would not put his win in jeopardy.
According to an early 2012 study by Public Policy Polling (www.publicpolicypolling.com) and as discussed by The American Prospect (prospect.org), Barr would get a whopping 6% of the national vote if she ran for President. California might even be higher. Even more amazingly, young voters aged 18 to 29 who would vote Barr for President is even higher at 19% of the national vote. Nonetheless, even if Barr and Sheehan lose, many millions will gain in understanding how a better world is still possible with socialism.
Because of the passing of California’s Proposition 14, the Peace and Freedom Party must almost double its registered voters to more than 100,000 in California by the end of 2014 to stay on the ballot. So, it is very important to register with the Peace and Freedom Party 30 days before the November 4 election.
Roseanne will speak at the Church in Ocean Park (2nd and Hill St.) at 7 pm Saturday, September 22.