On Wednesday, October 23rd, DSA SF voted to endorse Shahid Buttar for Congress. Shahid, an active member of DSA SF, will challenge Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for CA-12 district in the “jungle primary” on March 3, 2020. In the jungle primary, the two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, will face off in the November 3, 2020 General Election. In order to not split the leftist vote, DSA SF supports a sole vote for Shahid.
Born in the UK to parents of Pakistani descent, Shahid first moved to the Bay area in 2000 to study at Stanford Law School. While there, he served as Executive Editor of the Stanford Environmental Law Journal and led student protests against war in Iraq and Lockheed Martin’s campus facility. Today, Shahid and his team can often be found giving public comment against facial recognition surveillance, protesting ICE in solidarity with immigrants and their loved ones, or demanding a commitment from our elected officials to fight against the climate crisis.
Shahid’s advocacy against fascism and governmental overreach has spanned from coast to coast through his work in Washington, D.C. and here in San Francisco. As a lawyer, Shahid founded Muslim Advocates, which challenges racial and religious profiling by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and other law enforcement agencies. For six years, Shahid also led the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, now known as Defending Rights and Dissent, as its Executive Director. The organization was founded in response to the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act to defend freedom to dissent and to help everyday Americans in hundreds of communities across the country fight at the local level for their constitutional rights. Since joining the SF-based Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2015, Shahid launched EFF’s national grassroots network and represented the organization in the media and at public events nationally. Shahid has also used his role to reach the general public with his writings about the implications of digital rights in policy issues from mass surveillance and encryption to net neutrality and restrictions on police.
As a committed Democratic Socialist, Shahid–unlike speaker Pelosi–will fight for a Green New Deal and Medicare for All. He has also promised to fight to end US imperialism, the militarization of the border, and the criminalization of migration. Shahid has the experience and expertise to represent San Francisco and will improve on Pelosi’s decades of placing her donor base’s capitalist interest over the public good. Shahid’s election would also bring yet another socialist voice to the national stage.
Following his endorsement, Shahid thanked DSA SF and vowed to push against capitalism and fascism through his candidacy and beyond:
“I’m honored that DSA-SF supports our campaign to replace Nancy Pelosi in the House. And I feel grateful for the opportunity to represent our movement as we work for the chance to represent San Francisco in Congress.
Having worked at the vanguard of the progressive movement for nearly 20 years, and having challenged corporate capitalism as part of the movement against corporate globalization and the Occupy movement, I’m excited by the momentum that DSA has established. From mutual aid projects like brake light clinics, giving away particulate masks during wildfires, and donating camping gear for unhoused folks, to direct action projects like Abolish ICE and the No PG&E Bailout, the network exemplifies the principle of building a brighter future through a diversity of tactics. I’m glad that our campaign is among them, and that DSA stands with us as we champion the movement to put people before profit.
Ultimately, we’re here to make capital serve people, instead of the other way around. Capital will drag humanity off the cliff of climate catastrophe if we let it. I’m equally concerned about the gaping maw of fascism, which I’ve seen coming for 20 years and worked tirelessly to stop. Congress needs a constitutional conscience, and I’m eager to continue serving that role after liberating the CA-12 seat in the House.”