Non-profit

Center for Empowered Politics

Website:

empoweredpolitics.org/

Location:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tax ID:

45-3084134

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $537,771
Expenses: $321,405
Assets: $288,001

Executive Director:

Alex Tom

Type:

Non-Profit Advocacy

Formation:

2017

The Center for Empowered Politics (CEP) is a lobbying and advocacy organization for the San Francisco-based Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). [1] It was created from a merger of the Chinese Progressive Association Action Fund and the San Francisco Rising Action Fund. [2] Alex Tom became the executive director of the Center for Empowered Politics shortly after its founding in 2017 and still held the position as of March 2021. [3] [4] In 2019, Tom won a fellowship from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) that was to be used for the development of what OSF described as “an organizing toolkit to support Asian American communities combating the rising Chinese conservatives in the United States.” [5] [6]

The Chinese Progressive Association is a left-wing community organizing group focusing on the Chinese-American communities that grew out of radical-left and pro-People’s Republic of China cadres. [7] CPA has faced accusations of aligning with the People’s Republic of China government and has received favorable coverage from the Chinese Communist Party-affiliated news outlet China Daily. [8] [9] CPA, Alex Tom, and Center for Empowered Politics board chair Timmy Lu collaborated on an activist training document that promoted a so-called process of “transformative organizing,” which is partly defined as “revolutionary opposition” to “capitalism in its current form, which is imperialism.” [10]

CPA is also a fiscal sponsor of the Black Futures Lab. [11] The Black Futures Lab is led by Alicia Garza, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. [12] Explaining her movement, Garza said that “Black lives can’t matter under capitalism.” [13] Similarly, San Francisco Rising (SFR) is a project of the Chinese Progressive Association that was co-founded by Alicia Garza as left-of-center political force capable of influencing politics in San Francisco and the state of California. [14] [15] [16]

Background

The Center for Empowered Politics (CEP) is the advocacy organization for the Chinese Progressive Association. It was created in 2017 from a merger of the Chinese Progressive Association Action Fund and the San Francisco Rising Action Fund. [17]

CEP has partnered in ventures such as Generation Rising (which once identified “defeat Trump” as one of its objectives),[18] Build the Wheel,[19]  and Bay Resistance. [20]

Chinese Progressive Association

The Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) is a San Francisco-based left-wing community organizing group focusing on the Chinese-American communities in the city. The group grew out of radical-left and pro-People’s Republic of China cadres; academic research has identified the group as historically aligned with the revolutionary Communist groups I Wor Kuen (IWK) and League of Revolutionary Struggle. [21] In the 21st century, the group has faced accusations of aligning with the People’s Republic of China government[22] and has received favorable coverage from the Chinese Communist Party-affiliated news outlet China Daily. [23]

San Francisco community activists, including some with Marxist or other revolutionary Communist sympathies, founded CPA in 1972. [24] In the 1970s, the CPA battled city authorities on wage and housing issues. [25] In recent years, the CPA has focused more on political activism and community organizing: It has promoted Asian-American responsiveness to the 2020 Census[26] and promoted forming a national alliance of Asian-American advocacy groups. [27]

CPA is the fiscal sponsor of the Black Futures Lab. [28] The Black Futures Lab is led by Alicia Garza, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. [29] Explaining her movement in November 2015, she said that “Black lives can’t matter under capitalism,” and that the two are “like oil and water.” [30]

San Francisco Rising

San Francisco Rising (SFR) is a project of the Chinese Progressive Association that operates under the umbrella of Bay Rising (BR). BR is fiscally sponsored by the left-wing Movement Strategy Center (MSC).[31] [32]

Co-founded by Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, SFR works within working-class Latino, Filipino, Chinese and African American communities to shape a left-of-center political force capable of influencing politics in San Francisco and the state of California. [33] SFR builds campaign strategies, trains campaign leaders, organizes its members in support of left-of-center initiatives, and mobilizes voters to influence local government bodies to adopt SFR’s policies. [34] Its advocacy arm, San Francisco Rising Action (SFRA), endorsed left-of-center candidates, mobilized voters, and led public education campaigns in support of its initiatives. [35]

Leadership

CEP’s tax filings for 2018 listed Alex Tom as the executive director, and Timmy Lu as the CEO and chair of the board. [36]

Alex Tom

Shortly after CEP was created, Alex Tom, the executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association, transitioned to the role of executive director at the Center for Empowered Politics. A Twitter profile claiming Tom’s name and likeness was active as of March 2021 and stated that he was still the executive director of CEP. [37] [38]

In 2019 Tom and Cathy Dang-Santa Anna shared a $100,000 fellowship from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), a foundation created and funded by billionaire financier and left-leaning philanthropist George Soros. The citation for the “Soros Equality Fellowship” stated that Tom and Dang-Santa Anna were to use the grant for the development of “an organizing toolkit to support Asian American communities combating the rising Chinese conservatives in the United States.” [39] [40]

Timmy Lu

An online biography of Lu posted by the Groundswell Fund listed him as a state organizing director for the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), a left-wing organization that opposes most forms of conventional energy production and modern mechanized agriculture. [41] A biography of Lu at the event page for the March 2017 “Grassroots Asians Rising” convention lists him as the director of AAPIs for Civic Empowerment, an Asian-American voter mobilization program with a steering committee that includes left-wing organizations such as the Chinese Progressive Association and APEN. [42]

Lu was one of two project coordinators who developed the Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit, along with the assistance of Alex Tom, the left-wing Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), and the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). The 324-page manuscript, which appears to have been produced in 2016 or sometime shortly thereafter, provided numerous exercises and lessons aimed at creating left-wing activists. It included a lesson jointly-produced by APEN and CPA that promoted a so-called process of “transformative organizing,” which is partly defined as “revolutionary opposition” to “capitalism in its current form, which is imperialism.” [43]

References

  1. Center for Empowered Politics. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://empoweredpolitics.org/ ^
  2. Center for Empowered Politics. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://empoweredpolitics.org/ ^
  3. Twitter: “alex t tom.” @alexttom. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://twitter.com/alexttom?lang=en ^
  4. Center for Empowered Politics. IRS form 990. 2018. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://pp-990.s3.amazonaws.com/12_2019_prefixes_42-45/453084134_201812_990O_2019121316952709.pdf?response-content-disposition=inline&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIA266MJEJYTM5WAG5Y%2F20210317%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20210317T201938Z&X-Amz-Expires=1800&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Signature=5d639ede3e45c93e39f9ebdb904a3b1933a236200a36a0617c910f2c19bdf096 ^
  5. “2019 Soros Equality Fellows.” September 20, 2019, Accessed March 11, 2021 https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/newsroom/open-society-foundations-announce-2019-soros-equality-fellows ^
  6. Soros, George. “The Capitalist Threat.” The Atlantic. February 1997. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/02/the-capitalist-threat/376773/ ^
  7. Tsukada, Kaori. “THE INTERACTION BETWEEN SERVICE AND ORGANIZING: TWO HOUSING CAMPAIGNS BY THE CHINESE PROGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION.” Marxists.org, May 26, 2009. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-1a/iwk-cpa.pdf. ^
  8. Zhu, Lia. “Growing Global Support for US Protests over Killing by Police.” China Daily, June 8, 2020. Accessed March 17, 2021 at  http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202006/08/WS5edd7ef0a3108348172515cc_1.html and http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202006/08/WS5edd7ef0a3108348172515cc_2.html ^
  9. Gonzalez, Mike. “Fact-Checking New York Times Fact-Checker on BLM’s China Links.” The Daily Signal. Heritage Foundation, September 21, 2020. Accessed March 17, 2021.  https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/09/21/fact-checking-new-york-times-fact-checker-on-blms-china-links/ ^
  10. Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://www.apalanet.org/uploads/8/3/2/0/83203568/asian_american_racial_justice_toolkit.pdf ^
  11. Black Futures Lab. Support Black Futures Lab. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://cpasf.ourpowerbase.net/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=45 ^
  12. “ICYMI: Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc. Statement in Response to the First 2020 Democratic National Debate.” Black Lives Matter. Sept. 10, 2019. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://blacklivesmatter.com/black-lives-matter-foundation-inc-statement-in-response-to-the-first-2020-democratic-national-debate/ ^
  13. Carrie Wong, Julia. “The Bay Area Roots of Black Lives Matter.” SF Weekly. November 11, 2015. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://www.sfweekly.com/news/the-bay-area-roots-of-black-lives-matter/ ^
  14. “Our Story.” Bay Rising. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://bayrising.org/about/our-story/ ^
  15. “Our Members and Partners.” Bay Rising. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://bayrising.org/about/our-members/ ^
  16. “San Francisco Rising.” Chinese Progressive Association. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://cpasf.ourpowerbase.net/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=37 ^
  17. Center for Empowered Politics. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://empoweredpolitics.org/ ^
  18. “Learn More, Generation Rising2021.” Generation Rising, 2021. Accessed March 11, 2021 https://generationrisingup.org/learn-more/ ^
  19. “About.” Build The Wheel, 2021. Accessed March 11, 2021 https://buildthewheel.org/about/ ^
  20. “About.” Bay Resistance, November 3, 2020. Accessed March 11, 2021 https://bayresistance.org/about/ ^
  21. Tsukada, Kaori. “THE INTERACTION BETWEEN SERVICE AND ORGANIZING: TWO HOUSING CAMPAIGNS BY THE CHINESE PROGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION.” Marxists.org, May 26, 2009. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-1a/iwk-cpa.pdf. ^
  22. Gonzalez, Mike. “Fact-Checking New York Times Fact-Checker on BLM’s China Links.” The Daily Signal. Heritage Foundation, September 21, 2020. Accessed March 17, 2021.  https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/09/21/fact-checking-new-york-times-fact-checker-on-blms-china-links/ ^
  23. Zhu, Lia. “Growing Global Support for US Protests over Killing by Police.” China Daily, June 8, 2020. Accessed March 17, 2021 at  http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202006/08/WS5edd7ef0a3108348172515cc_1.html and http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202006/08/WS5edd7ef0a3108348172515cc_2.html ^
  24. Gonzalez, Mike. “Fact-Checking New York Times Fact-Checker on BLM’s China Links.” The Daily Signal. Heritage Foundation, September 21, 2020. Accessed March 17, 2021.  https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/09/21/fact-checking-new-york-times-fact-checker-on-blms-china-links/ ^
  25. Tsukada, Kaori. “THE INTERACTION BETWEEN SERVICE AND ORGANIZING: TWO HOUSING CAMPAIGNS BY THE CHINESE PROGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION.” Marxists.org, May 26, 2009. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-1a/iwk-cpa.pdf. ^
  26. “Census 2020.” Chinese Progressive Association. Accessed at Wayback Machine on March 17, 2021: https://web.archive.org/web/20210117092459/https://cpasf.org/census-2020/   ^
  27. Seeding Change.” Seeding Change. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://www.seeding-change.org/ ^
  28. Black Futures Lab. Support Black Futures Lab. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://cpasf.ourpowerbase.net/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=45 ^
  29. “ICYMI: Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc. Statement in Response to the First 2020 Democratic National Debate.” Black Lives Matter. Sept. 10, 2019. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://blacklivesmatter.com/black-lives-matter-foundation-inc-statement-in-response-to-the-first-2020-democratic-national-debate/ ^
  30. Carrie Wong, Julia. “The Bay Area Roots of Black Lives Matter.” SF Weekly. November 11, 2015. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://www.sfweekly.com/news/the-bay-area-roots-of-black-lives-matter/ ^
  31. “Our Members and Partners.” Bay Rising. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://bayrising.org/about/our-members/ ^
  32. “San Francisco Rising.” Chinese Progressive Association. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://cpasf.ourpowerbase.net/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=37 ^
  33. “Our Story.” Bay Rising. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://bayrising.org/about/our-story/ ^
  34. “About.” San Francisco Rising. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://www.sfrising.org/about ^
  35. “Unity Is Power.” SF Rising Action Fund. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://sfrisingaction.org/about ^
  36. Center for Empowered Politics. IRS form 990. 2018. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://pp-990.s3.amazonaws.com/12_2019_prefixes_42-45/453084134_201812_990O_2019121316952709.pdf?response-content-disposition=inline&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIA266MJEJYTM5WAG5Y%2F20210317%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20210317T201938Z&X-Amz-Expires=1800&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Signature=5d639ede3e45c93e39f9ebdb904a3b1933a236200a36a0617c910f2c19bdf096 ^
  37. Twitter: “alex t tom.” @alexttom. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://twitter.com/alexttom?lang=en ^
  38. Tau Lee, Pam. “Some Big News: Expanding Our Movement; Lighting New Torches.” Chinese Progressive Association, 2019. Accessed March 11, 2021.  https://cpasf.org/updates/some-big-news-expanding-our-movement-lighting-new-torches/ ^
  39. “2019 Soros Equality Fellows.” September 20, 2019, Accessed March 11, 2021 https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/newsroom/open-society-foundations-announce-2019-soros-equality-fellows ^
  40. Soros, George. “The Capitalist Threat.” The Atlantic. February 1997. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/02/the-capitalist-threat/376773/ ^
  41. “Our Work.” Asian Pacific Environmental Network. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://apen4ej.org/our-work/ ^
  42. “Our Network.” AAPIs for Civic Engagement. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://aapiforce-ef.org/our-network/ ^
  43. Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://www.apalanet.org/uploads/8/3/2/0/83203568/asian_american_racial_justice_toolkit.pdf ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Alex Tom
    Executive Director
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Dec Form 990 $537,771 $321,405 $288,001 $11,098 N $156,336 $381,434 $1 $4,000 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $441,611 $392,017 $71,722 $11,185 N $400,480 $41,130 $1 $0 PDF

    Center for Empowered Politics

    1042 GRANT AVE STE 5
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94133-5025