Monday, Jun. 17, 2019

Building Peace into the CA Dem 2018 Platform

By Nancy Merritt · March 02, 2019

CDP 2018 Platform Preamble <span>&copy; Nancy Merritt </span>

CDP 2018 Platform Preamble

Platform Crafters <span>&copy; Nancy Merritt </span> World Peace Plank Draft <span>&copy; Nancy Merritt </span>

A platform is a statement of principles.  The California Democratic Party (CDP) incorporated peacebuilding in its 2018 Platform, including language and ideas from the CA Department of Peacebuilding (DoP) in 16 of 23 Platform planks.  Since 2012, the CA DoP Campaign has successfully contributed languate to CDP platforms.

The CDP updates it platform every other year.  The months-long process includes initial submitted suggestions and testimony, issuance of a draft platform, submission of amendments to the draft platform, testimony about the amendments, a final platform draft by the CDP Platform Committee and a vote by delegates to the CDP Convention.  (For more details on the CDP Convention, see Hope Is More Powerful Than Fear: Peacebuilding Matters at the CA Dem Convention


During the 2018 platform and amendment submission process, we submitted and/or preserved peacebuilding language in 16 of the 23 planks, including new 2018 language in 12 planks and preserved 2012/ 2014/ 2016 language in 9 planks:

  • Preamble
  • Business and Economy
  • Children, Young Adults and Their Families
  • Criminal Justice
  • Culture and the Arts
  • Disabilities
  • Education
  • Energy and Environment
  • Immigration
  • Internet and Free Speech
  • National Security
  • Seniors
  • Sustainable Communities
  • Veterans and Military Families
  • Women
  • World Peace and International Relations

The CDP Platform Committee exemplified peacebuilding as its members worked with those who submitted proposed language.  In the case of language in the World Peace and International Relations plank, there was extensive dialoguing and give-and-take as the parties worked through numerous drafts until they reached consensus.  The CA DoP Campaign appreciates the work of the Platform Committee.

Thanks to CA DoP volunteers who drafted and submitted language to the CDP 2018 Platform and prior platforms, including:  Brian Gibbs (San Diego), Maggie Koren (Sonoma County), Lily Marie (Nevada County), Nancy Merritt (San Francisco Bay Area), Josh Roebuck (Oakland) and Jerilyn Stapleton (Los Angeles). 


The CDP 2018 Platform includes DoP submissions which were accepted verbatim or were included as ideas or portions of emphasis points.  Most suggestions were substantive, some were stylistic.  Some of our ideas coincided with similar language from others.  The following includes CA DoP accepted or retained language.  CA DoP language or idea submissions are underlined.  The year notation indicates when the CA DoP originally submitted language that was included in the CDP 2018 Platform.  To read the entire CDP 2018 Platform, see

A.  Preamble

The California Democratic Party envisions an economically strong California that can continue to lead the world with values that respect and protect all California residents.

We support: excellence in education from pre-school through college; universal, affordable health care; gun violence prevention; protecting California’s natural resources, air, and water through the use of renewable sources of energy; and continually developing innovative measures to counter global warming and pollution.  [CA DoP 2018]

We draw strength from our diversity, and we believe that peace, justice, and security for all requires strong civil justice protections and an open and transparent government.  [CA DoP 2018]

This Platform resolutely defends these values that support all people’s hopes and dreams for a vibrant future.

B.  Business and Economy

To grow jobs and assure a prosperous future for all Californians, California Democrats will …:

  • Promote and guarantee low-interest small business loans to provide the seed capital to launch and expand job- creating small businesses and provide for the growth of already successful businesses; [CA DoP 2012]
  • Encourage businesses to adhere to the United Nations Global Compact’s Ten Principles that are derived from the following guidance: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labor Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption; [CA DoP 2018]
  • Support uniform criteria for determining a "small business" and eliminate loopholes that allow large corporations to benefit from preferences intended for small businesses; [CA DoP 2016]
  • Target resources to the communities of concern, including rural California, that have been most impacted by the economic recession; [CA DoP 2016]

C.  Children, Young Adults and Their Families

To help children and young adults reach their full potential, California Democrats will …:

  • Support agencies that are responsible for the health and well-being of families in need and promote policies to provide mental health services, domestic violence prevention, marriage/domestic partner counseling, gang prevention, anti-bullying programs, substance abuse prevention, parenting skills, and other social services without regard to the gender of the parent; [CA DoP 2012]
  • Work to ensure that Child Protective Services and social workers utilize trauma-informed practices and have the resources needed to protect children and support foster youth; reunify families when possible; improve the foster care system to ensure that child abuse and neglect court proceedings that protect the welfare of children are accessible, swift, and unbiased; aggressively enforce child-support payment rulings; ensure child support payments are timely paid and urge enforcement in a manner that maintains a payor’s ability to pay; and encourage foster youth to successfully complete high school[Modification of CA DoP 2016]

D.  Criminal Justice

… We are committed to ending mass incarceration in California prisons and jails.  We need to prioritize building schools, not jails.  We must invest in proven strategies to prevent crime, including providing structured preschool and afterschool programs for youth, as well as programs and policies to promote school retention and graduation and effectively end the school to prison pipeline.  We will work to end the practice of racial profiling, from surveillance through charging and sentencing; [CA DoP 2018]

To promote safe communities for all, California Democrats will ..:

  • Oppose using prisons and jails as de facto mental health facilities and fight to adequately fund community mental health and substance abuse programs; [CA DoP 2012]
  • Support the implementation of restorative justice practices that bring together those who have committed crimes with victims and community members in an effort to recognize and repair the damage caused by criminal activity through accountability and rehabilitation; and, [CA DoP 2012]

E.  Culture and the Arts

In support of the arts, California Democrats will:

  • Encourage community-based works in the arts and cultural practices that explore the power to create positive images that reflect a peaceful future; [Adaptation of CA DoP 2018]

F.  Disabilities 

All Democrats must reject cuts to and promote increases in Supplemental Security Income (SSI), state supplementary programs, and federal Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).  California Democrats believe in the equality of people with disabilities and oppose ableism – discrimination in favor of people without disabilities – in all forms.  [CA DoP 2018] 

G.  Education 

We must work to make California schools a sanctuary for all children, irrespective of documentation and/or protected class.  We must provide a safe environment where students and staff do not feel threatened and are free from bullying and harassment and where restorative policies and practices eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline. We must end zero-tolerance policies that criminalize student behavior, and instead, develop school discipline reforms that encourage counseling, education, and positive behavior.  [CA DoP 2012 & CA DoP 2018] Sworn peace officers in schools must be adequately trained to work with children and teenagers and understand that the use of force against students is only a last resort.  [CA DoP 2016 & CA DoP 2018]

To help educate California's young leaders and to prepare them to compete for challenging jobs, California Democrats will …:

  • Provide instruction in social studies, sciences, literature, art, music, foreign languages, civics, health, and physical education; [CA DoP 2012]

H.  Energy and Environment


  • Support a comprehensive employment plan for workers displaced as nuclear and fossil fuel infrastructure is eliminated, including Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for workers employed to tear down and remove such facilities, and work to ensure the clean-up and safe storage of nuclear waste and the cleanup of Superfund sites; [CA DoP 2018]
  • Provide research grants that encourage conservation, sustainability of natural resources, and development of green technologies in transportation and alternative energy production; [CA DoP 2012]
  • Develop comprehensive regional community conservation and sustainability plans to prevent depletion of natural resources. [CA DoP 2012]

Agriculture and Food Safety

  • Promote food safety, eat local movements, small family farms, urban gardens, healthy food alternatives, safe working conditions for farm workers, appropriate food labeling to include those foods containing GMO products, the humane treatment of animals in food production, and support providing low-interest loans for local farms that can produce fresh locally-grown produce and provide local employment opportunities; [CA DoP 2012] 

I.  Immigration

As citizens of a state built upon the successes of immigrants, California Democrats will:

  • Support efforts to provide an expedited path to citizenship for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) individuals and their families; [CA DoP 2018]

J.  Internet and Free Speech

To promote and support free speech, communications, and the Internet, California Democrats will:

  • Support ongoing research and implementation of best practices that use the Internet to foster collaboration and give stronger voice to communities[CA DoP 2018]

K.  National Security

California Democrats believe that keeping the United States of America and Americans safe is of the utmost importance.  A strong national defense must include aspects that go beyond military might.  [Modification of CA DoP 2016] Our national security also depends upon a strong domestic economy, a stable federal budget, a healthy environment, and an international regard as a responsible member of the world community.  We are committed to a foreign policy that holds the use of military force as the last resort for national defense, used only when available diplomatic and preventive options have been exhausted and in conformity with the United Nations Charter.  We recognize that current national security policies should take into consideration their downstream effects and unintended consequences.  In that regard, we recognize that the current level of military spending hinders our government's ability to deal with domestic priorities, including unemployment, the national debt, and environmental degradation.

We will heed President Dwight Eisenhower's admonition that: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.  The world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, and the hopes of its children.” 

To preserve, protect and defend our country and the Constitution of the United States, California Democrats will:

  • Honor obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty framework and set a long-term policy to reduce and eventually eliminate weapons of mass destruction throughout the world; [Modification of CA DoP 2016]

L.  Seniors

Pre-seniors, ages 55 through 65, are among those hardest hit by the recent economic downturn and many in the Baby Boom generation have lost the ability to regain financial footing.  They are experiencing salary reductions, but they don't qualify for the same benefits as their elders, such as low-income housing and Medicare.  Forced retirement for those as young as 55 results in the loss of much needed income, future benefits, and additional financial burdens to the Social Security and Medicare systems.  [Modification of CA DoP 2016]

To honor California seniors, California Democrats will:

  • Fight to preserve and protect programs that serve low-income seniors such as: Adult Protective Services, Senior Community Employment, Multipurpose Senior Service Programs, Alzheimer's Day Care Resource Centers, Home-Delivered Meals, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, California Senior Legal Hotline, renter's assistance, homeowner property tax discount assistance, and property tax postponement; [CA DoP 2016]

M.  Sustainable Communities

To promote sustainable communities, California Democrats will:

  • Encourage policies and practices that enable communities to be resilient in the event of natural and human- made disasters; [CA DoP 2018]

N.  Veterans and Military Families

To honor the shared heritage and sacrifice of veterans and their families, California Democrats will:

  • Insist that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide timely access to comprehensive, quality and cost-effective wrap-around health care and mental health services to all veterans and their families, with particular attention to veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in order to stem incidents of domestic violence and suicide; [CA DoP 2012]

O.  Women

California is the proud home of women who have blazed new trails in business, entrepreneurship, culture, and politics.  We proudly and vigorously support a woman's right to choose how to use her mind, her body and her time. California Democrats respect women as full partners in family and society.

To demonstrate this respect, California Democrats will:

  • Support the programs of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), including educational and preventive initiatives, especially those that serve women at risk of sexual and domestic violence; and, recognize gun violence in domestic violence as a public health issue requiring mental and physical health treatment and intervention; [CA DoP 2018]

Combatting Sexual Harassment and Creating a Climate of Respect and Equity California Democrats strongly support the rights of all individuals to live, study, and work in a safe and professional environment free from all forms of discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.  To create a climate of respect and equity, Democrats demand policies at the state and national level that provide: education about gender equity, starting with early childhood education, where discrimination and bullying begin; help for survivors; training and laws holding perpetrators personally accountable; an end to non-disclosure agreements that force survivors to bear the shame of silence; independent investigations; whistleblower protections; and will work toward public and constituent access of any allegations or findings on said allegations of public officials and their staff.  Sexual harassment/sexual assault will not be tolerated as a condition of employment or career advancement in any form of employment. [CA DoP 2018]

P.  World Peace and International Relations

The current Republican administration is aggressively demolishing success in American diplomacy achieved in recent years.  It has rolled back the diplomatic advances that the Obama administration made with Cuba and Iran and abandoned the Paris Climate Accords.  The Republican budget proposal demonstrates this administration’s priorities.  It drastically cuts the budget for the State Department while making dramatic and unnecessary increases in military spending.  These are not Democratic priorities.  [CA DoP 2018]

To create a more secure and peaceful world, California Democrats will:

  • Reaffirm the War Powers Act by working to return the authority to declare war to Congress and specifically including a requirement that any first use of nuclear weapons be preceded by a formal declaration of war by Congress and a specific authorization to use nuclear weapons; [CA DoP 2018]
  • Rejoin the majority of world nations in their commitment to the success of the Paris Agreement to Combat Climate Change; [CA DoP 2018]
  • Proactively seek durable peace in the Middle East including preserving the multilateral Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015 to discourage the further proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region …  [CA DoP 2018]
  • Support ratification of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which the United States has signed; [CA DoP 2018]
  • Promote establishing national institutions based on organizing principles of violence prevention and non-violent conflict resolution, using and developing a network of "best practice" peace-building policies and programs, among UN member states and nonmember nations; [CA DoP 2014]
  • Commit to the objectives of the UN Millennium Goals, including eradication of extreme hunger and poverty, achievement of universal primary education, and promotion and empowerment of women.  Work to enhance the UN and regional organizations; [CA DoP 2012]

Inclusion in its CDP 2018 Platform of peacebuilding language and ideals is an important and welcome statement of principles.

Walk in peace.

Nancy Merritt
Peace Alliance/ Department of Peacebuilding Lead
National Department of Peacebuilding Committee
CA Department of Peacebuilding Campaign, State Coordinator/ No. CA

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