YCL electoral work: a boost for Philly’s working class

BY: Philadelphia Young Communist League| January 11, 2024
YCL electoral work: a boost for Philly’s working class


In 2023, the Philadelphia Young Communist League (YCL) made electoral work a major focus of our organizing efforts. This began with our participation in the Seth Anderson-Oberman campaign for the 8th District City Council election. While the campaign ultimately ended in a loss, Seth’s campaign managed to be the only competitive progressive campaign in an election where other similar candidates failed to challenge more moderate ones. Regardless of this loss, Seth kept the energy of his campaign alive, channeling it into organizing in Northwest Philadelphia with two Working Families Party campaigns.

Following Seth’s run for office, we also gave our organizing support to the Working Families Party (WFP) and their two candidates running for city council at large. The WFP candidates, Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke, represented an opportunity to have progressive voices on city council while simultaneously ousting reactionary Republican voices from city politics. The Philly YCL believed this change in the composition of city council would move city politics in the direction of working-class interests and a positive atmosphere for our organizing efforts. It was for this reason, as well as to strengthen and gain political allies and challenge the local two-party system, that we resolved to support Kendra and Nicolas in their campaign.

There were several unique aspects of Philadelphia that helped contribute to the success of these WFP-led campaigns.

Firstly, the minority party requirement of Philadelphia city council requires two seats be set aside for minority party candidates. This effectively guaranteed that there would always be Republicans on the city council under a two party system. Framing the election as an opportunity to oust Republicans from city council greatly helped mobilize voters against right-wing forces, while avoiding accusations from the Democratic Party of being spoiler candidates.

Secondly, Philadelphia contains the district with the highest and most consistent voter turnout in Pennsylvania. This district resides in the Northwest, the same area in which the Anderson-Oberman campaign took place. This district is also represented by State Representative Chris Rabb (Rep Rabb), a progressive Democrat who defied the local Democratic Party machine of Bob Brady. It also provided WFP and the YCL with election infrastructure and tools to campaign on behalf of Nic and Kendra. The allied progressive political forces, political strength in Northwest Philly, and structure of Philadelphia City Council were major factors external to the Philly YCL that contributed to this election win.

The success of the Working Families Party provides us with an example of how to successfully launch a progressive campaign that can connect with the working-class interests of Philadelphia better than projects in the past. By engaging with the working-class in a genuine and consistent manner, in areas where they are already politically activated on their own, we have seen that outsized gains can be won. The Philadelphia YCL is excited to continue working with and supporting our political allies in their election campaigns, and preparing the way for CPUSA candidates of our own.


Related Party Voices Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer