People Power Beats Corporate Power
Yesterday morning, I was the third person to vote at my poll place. It was just after the polls opened, but it gave me a sense of dread about the election- especially given the two corporate-backed Propositions attacking the rights of low-income people and the fact that much of the voter participation was driven by highly contested Republican primaries for Governor and Senator. Indeed, California reports that voter turnout across the State was exceptionally low.
Despite these factors, two of yesterday’s important victories are the defeat of PG&E’s Proposition 16 and Mercury Insurance’s Proposition 17. PG&E spent $40 million to support their attack on community power. Yet, spending only $100,000, community groups prevailed using online and community organizing and appealing to people’s sense of populism. Prop 17's story was very similar, with opponents being outspent 10 to 1. Largely these victories show that Californians do not trust corporate-backed propositions and are wary of Big Business. And, despite my fears, even in an election where Republicans have more incentive to vote, people will come out to demand that everyday people must come before profits.
These victories should be celebrated. And we should learn from them as we now look towards the November 2010 elections where we must Stop the Dirty Energy Prop (Just one of what will likely be many Propositions on the ballot) and exercise our collective power at the ballot box. To get involved in Ella Baker Center's future electoral work, join our action network today!