Interview with Anne Wild

Once again, a little bit about, um, well, let's talk about the Peace and Freedom Party. Could you talk about how the Peace and Freedom party sort of decided to work with Eldridge Cleaver and other Panther people in late '67, early '68, and '68.


Well, the formation of, of the Peace and Freedom party came about as we had tried to work in the Democratic party and were relatively successful in running some antiwar campaigns, but never actually winning them. So we decided since we had, you know, a fairly large radical constituency in California, to form our own party. And so we organized all these signatures and got it on the ballot. And then there was a first wave of people who ran, the first time. And then, I think Dick Gregory for president, and Paul Jacobs for senate, and, I can't remember exactly. Anyway the second election was in '68, and we put Eldridge up for president, to run for president. But at that time it was like, um, from the time that we nominated him to the time of the election, the political situation in this state was changing so rapidly. Robert Kennedy had been assassinated, who, although not our hero, was beginning to speak out against the war, and a lot of us had some sort of empathy for him because of our earlier, sort of when we were younger, a certain identification with his brother. Ah, and also then when Martin Luther King was assassinated, I mean, you know, just all hell was breaking loose, right? We were just, it had just, basically destroyed our belief in American institutions. So, although Eldridge was nominated, as I recall, we didn't work too hard in the Peace and Freedom party. We basically had taken to the streets, and had begun to organize for the Democratic party convention in Chicago. And to basically make our, uh, feelings heard there. So, we sort of, uh, and actually I went to Vietnam that summer, and, um, when I came back, it was right before the elections, and it was sort of somewhat low-level kind of organization, so, you know, even though he was nominated, in California, at that point, radicals were beginning to leave electoral politics in droves. Because actually, early SDS people had basically trashed those of us who had gone into electoral politics as saying, you know, "It's hopeless, take the streets, the only way is, you know, revolution." So, we had, finally, a lot of the Peace and Freedom party, the early organizers, had pretty much begun to believe that themselves, so, as an institution it was sort of being neglected at that time.