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Anthony Thigpenn: “Our first electoral campaign was fighting Prop. 209, which was a California ballot initiative that ended affirmative action. So that was a reactive battle to try to hold on to something and those are the same kind of attacks that have happened before then and since then. So just the need for the social justice movement, poor communities, communities of color to be able to defend themselves from the rightwing assaults is one very, very important and immediate reason why developing some power in the electoral arena was important to do. The second thing is voting and electoral power is really how people see power being exercised. There’s other things we do, direct action and public policy advocacy, this certainly is one dimension of that. And so if we’re talking about building a comprehensive approach to building power, it just didn’t seem to be able to leave out a very fundamental way people see building and exercising power that’s not part of our plan. And thirdly, we confronted, and I know most organizing and base-building institutions and advocacy institutions confront, when you go to an elected official around a proposal, a set of demands, they will also think about, ‘Well, now, do these people have any impact on voters?’ And if they don’t they’re much less likely to take you seriously even though you have the capacity to do big demonstrations and rallies. So having a multi-dimensional approach to power was one of the reasons we thought it was important to do the electoral work.”