By Richard Becker,
West Coast Coordinator of ANSWER
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom released a campaign video “California Won’t Back Down” -- now being watched all over TV and social media -- that pictures an ANSWER Coalition sign with our organization’s name crudely photoshopped out. The sign has a slogan against President Trump’s racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ and pro-war policies, and Newsom is attempting in this ad to position himself as a steadfast opponent of the Trump administration.
Our organization knows Newsom well, back to his days as San Francisco’s mayor where he became nationally known for the temporary legalization of same-sex marriage, but at the same time functioned as a spokesperson for the city’s corporate elite. Against the city’s grassroots organizations of poor and working people, Newsom pushed out-of-control gentrification (which has devastated longstanding Black, Latino and immigrant communities), denied the endemic racism in the SFPD and promoted the privatization of city services. We find it laughable that such a figure would now function as a leader in the battle against the Trump Agenda.
Since the day after the election, the Democratic Party establishment has attempted to funnel and co-opt all the grassroots energy to fight the Trump Administration. They have artificially inserted themselves at the front of protests, given militant-sounding speeches and now stolen the imagery of the in-the-streets movement for their own electoral purposes. Just last year, the DNC photoshopped a poster of the Party for Socialism and Liberation in a campaign ad in similar fashion. The Democratic leaders want to have a progressive movement as a backdrop for their own careers while literally erasing that radical and anti-capitalist organizers who often lead it on the ground.
People who want to fight back must recognize that the Democratic establishment, once in power, is so tied to corporate power that they end up cooperating, collaborating with and appeasing the far-right. On the issues of war and foreign policy in particular — around which ANSWER principally organizes — the Democratic Party has even staked out positions considerably more militaristic and confrontational than Trump. On domestic issues, Senate Democrats were willing to give Trump his disgusting wall in a cynical deal. This is not “resistance” at all.
We condemn Newsom’s crude attempt to co-opt our sign in his campaign ad. The only silver lining to him removing our name is that it saves us from having to clarify that we have no association with his phony "resistance", pro-corporate campaign.