John L. Bowman
In 2004, Bowman, Sr. defeated Muckler to regain his House seat.
2004 Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Awards
Nearly 100 union members, community leaders, student activists and others attended the Missouri/Kansas Friends of the People’s Weekly World 12th Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Awards Breakfast in St. Louis April 24, 2004.
“Hershel Walker really was a working class hero,” she said. “In the next six months we are going to need a lot of working class heroes” to defeat Bush in November, she added.
Former State Rep. John L. Bowman, a member of the United Auto Workers and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists who was once again running for state representative, said, “I am one of the many people who have benefited from the life of Hershel Walker.”
“Working-class media and democracy”
Albano spoke about the corporate control of mainstream media, media consolidation, embedded journalists, grassroots media as an organizing tool and the PWW’s role in the larger movement to defeat George W. Bush on Nov. 2. She also highlighted many of the struggles the PWW and its predecessors have been involved in since its founding 80 years ago.
Guest speaker candidate for state Rep. John Bowman thankedd the PWW for its coverage of his winning campaign during the Missouri primary. He added, “I subscribe to the PWW because it is a good tool for union members like myself to get real and complete information about what is happening to working people across this country. I encourage everyone here to subscribe to the PWW!”
The forum, held at the Postal Workers Union hall, raised $3,000 for the People’s Weekly World.
Members of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Service Employees International Union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, UNITE-HERE, Missouri Progressive-Vote Coalition and Show Me Equality, were among those who attended. 
Communist support in 2004
According to a Peoples Weekly World article by Communist Party USA member Tim Wheeler, John L. Bowman Sr., an auto worker active in the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), is "making waves" in his campaign for a second term representing the 70th Legislative District that includes his hometown, Northwoods, in St. Louis County. A tall, genial man, Bowman had just come off night shift at the Chrysler plant when he spoke with the World. He chuckled when asked if he was headed home to get some sleep. 'No,' he replied. 'Sleep can wait.'
According to Wheeler, Bowman served a term in the Legislature in 2001 and pushed through bills providing tax credits for teachers who dip into their own income to buy school supplies for their students, and a bill to mandate teaching of 'financial literacy' in kindergarten through 12th grade. He also succeeded in pushing through a bill to extend benefits to thousands of poor people facing termination of their Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits. From 1998 to 2000, he served as a Northwoods alderman.
Bowman said his canvassers urge people to vote in the Aug. 3 primary but also in November to oust Bush and other right-wing Republicans. 'My campaign represents opposition to the right wing,' he said. 'Opposition at the state level is central to turning back the tide of right-wing oppression at the national level.'
- Bowman has inspired people to canvass door-to-door in 101-degree heat when a Huck Finn-style dip in the Mississippi makes more sense. Much of the sweat is being shed at the headquarters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), where scores of union and community activists staff a state-of-the-art phone bank to register new voters and turn them out both for the primary and general election. An army of volunteers leaves every morning to go canvassing.
- A huge voter turnout in the city of St. Louis and surrounding St. Louis County and in Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 2 is key to defeating Bush in this battleground state. Bush stole Missouri by a razor-thin margin in 2000 amid widespread charges that thousands of Black voters were disenfranchised.
Lew Moye, a 40-year veteran of this city’s Chrysler plant and a close friend of Bowman’s, told the World, 'A lot of people in 2000 showed up at their polling places on election day and were told their names were not on the voter rolls. They were purged.' A judge ordered the polls kept open to accommodate thousands of voters who had been waiting in long lines in Black precincts in St. Louis. 'Senator Bond went through the roof,' Moye said. 'He went to a higher court and got an order to close the polls. It was very similar to what they did in Florida.'
Moye, chairman of the United Auto Workers Local 110 Shop Committee representing 4,000 workers at the Chrysler plant and also president of the St. Louis Chapter of the CBTU, said, 'We have to turn out in record numbers Nov. 2. We cannot allow ourselves to be discouraged by what happened in 2000. People need to go to the polls early and report any kind of harassment, any attempt to deny them their right to vote.'
He added, 'I think we’ve got a great chance to defeat Bush in Missouri. It’s just a matter of getting our voters out to the polls.'
Working people 'are not better off today than they were four years ago,' Moye continued. 'Bush hasn’t done anything for us. He’s got us bogged down in a war we can’t win. We’ve got a health care crisis that is just getting worse. If ever there was a need for a change in the White House, it is now. I believe the people of Missouri are going to do their part to make that change this time around.'
'The defeat of Bush would be a big rebuff to the right-wing tendencies in this country,' Moye said. 'It would send a signal that unions must be able to organize workers without restrictions, obstacles and harassment. And it would go a long way to revitalize the labor-African American alliance that is the basis for all progressive change in this country,' said Moye.
'It’s a myth that Bush is going to sweep rural Missouri,' he said. 'Factories in rural Missouri are closing the same as in the cities. Who is dying in Iraq? It’s poor rural whites and poor urban African Americans.'
'All of these candidates are pushing to get rid of Bush,' Moye said. 'We’re walking the streets, knocking on doors, talking to people about what it will mean to elect workers to office like John Bowman and how his victory in the primary will help turn out a big vote to defeat Bush in November.'
One of Bowman’s most enthusiastic backers was Shirley Johnson, a three-term alderman in the town of Northwoods. 'John’s ideas and issues are basically the same as mine,' she said. 'The needs of working families, education, health insurance, a woman’s right to choose. The incumbent opposes a woman’s right to choose. I’m definitely in favor of choice.'
Bowman’s canvassers have included activists with Planned Parenthood, SEIU, and a contingent of members of the Communist Party USA and Young Communist League USA. Collectively they have visited more than 1,500 homes in the community northwest of downtown St. Louis. The Party and YCL members were volunteers in the CPUSA-YCL 'Midwest Project' that targets key battleground states in the surging 'dump Bush' movement. Many canvassers end their conversations with the appeal, 'Let’s put John Bowman in on August 3rd, and George W. Bush out on November 2nd.'
Jim Wilkerson, district organizer of the Kansas-Missouri CPUSA and himself a CBTU activist, hailed the team mobilized by the Party and YCL. 'The Party and YCL are rising to the occasion, coalescing with other progressive forces to defend democracy and defeat Bush in November,' he said.
Canvassers came from California, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Illinois, and many other states. George Robbins, a teacher from Buffalo, N.Y., said, 'Forty years ago I was a volunteer in the Freedom Summer Project registering Black voters in Mississippi. I spent the first evening at the home of Fannie Lou Hamer. Here we are today working for a big vote to get Bush out. Like then, this effort has the feel of a strong people’s movement.'
Across town, Audrey Hollis, an organizer with Jobs with Justice, said her group is 'reaching out to under-represented voters and new Americans. We are not only registering them to vote but we are educating them on the issues. The election in Missouri is very, very close. If we get just three additional voters in every precinct, then we will win. Bush and corporate America are shifting costs to the backs of employees and working people. We are losing income, losing health care and pensions. It is hitting everybody. The gap is widening between the wealthy and the workers. Can Bush be defeated? Yes. There is a lot of hope and energy in the air.'
Mark Fraley, civic engagement director for the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, said that as a rule of thumb, 50 percent or fewer of low-income people vote. But in 2000 and 2002, after an extensive campaign by the coalition, 67 percent of low-income people voted. 'It shows that if the means are available, poor people will vote,' Fraley said. 'This election is especially unique in that the electorate is so polarized. The two parties are focusing so much on winning over that tiny percentage of undecided swing voters that they ignore this huge pool of disenfranchised people who are disgruntled with the system.
Young Communist League backing
- Young people are up to the challenge. In 2004 youth-run organizations helped to organize and register 4.6 million new young people to get out and vote… the majority of them voted against Bush and more than half were young people of color. The YCL was there and present for those experiences - we learned alongside them through our Midwest Project.
- The YCL has to be at the table this fall too. Every club and every member needs to be out there and involved. And we need to bring everyone we work with out too! This is a national campaign to change the Congress and we are gonna be a part of that!
- We don’t have to be millions to have an impact! Just think about what a small group of YCLers have done in less than four years since our last convention!
- We organized dozens of young people to head to the battleground states in 2004
- In Ohio our YCLers were asked to lead up get out the vote teams because of our experience and hard work.
- In Cincinnati we helped defeat an anti-gay ballot initiative.
- In New York we worked on a campaign to elect Frank Barbaro defeat a Bush Republican and elect a real progressive
- In Chicago we helped to form a youth vote operation to elect Barak Obama.
- In St. Louis we were instrumental in electing John L. Bowman a progressive state representative. Bowman publicly acknowledged the key role the YCL and Communist Party played in his election.
- I spent last summer in Missouri with the CP and YCL working on electoral politics. We knocked on hundreds of doors and got a black socialist progressive (John L. Bowman) elected as a state rep. He ran as a progressive Democrat against a white right-wing anti-choice Democrat that was backed by the Republicans.
Communist Party award breakfast
The 2005 Missouri/Kansas Friends of the Peoples Weekly World annual awards breakfast drew more than 130 trade unionists, activists, and religious leaders to the Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Awards Breakfast on April 30. The event, then in its 13th year, honors Hershel Walker, a life-long peace and justice advocate who joined the Young Communist League USA in 1930 and spent the rest of his life in the Communist Party USA. Walker was killed in a car accident in 1990 while on his way to deliver petitions for the campaign to save 4,000 jobs at Chrysler Plant #1 in Fenton, Mo.
2005 award recipients included state Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D-St. Louis), Progressive Vote organizer Margarida Jorge, and the registered nurses of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655.
The keynote speaker was Keren Wheeler, editor of Dynamic, the YCL magazine, and the event included remarks from Student Worker Alliance member Danielle Christmas. The SWA had recently won a living wage for Washington University campus service staff after a 19-day sit-in. Christmas thankedd the World for its coverage and support. “This truly was a community victory,” she said.
The Missouri Legislature had recently passed HB 539, which eliminates Medicaid services for up to 130,000 state residents.
After receiving her award, Mott Oxford, who opposed the bill, apologized for the Legislature’s action and vowed to do everything in her power to fight implementation of the cuts.
The breakfast also recognized the lifelong contributions of John Pappademos, who had recently celebrated his 55th year in the CPUSA. Pappademos received a standing ovation from the packed union hall. Members of SEIU Local 2000, AFSCME Local 2730, CBTU, and UFCW Local 655 were among those who attended, along with state Rep. John L. Bowman and 22nd Ward Committee members Jay Ozier and Fay Davis. The event raised more than $4,000 for the World’s 2005 fund drive and local activities.
Supported by the Communist Party
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In 2010 he served in the following capacities: secretary-treasurer, Greater St. Louis CWA City Council; secretary, St. Louis area Jobs with Justice Leadership Team; St. Louis area Pro-Vote board member; and the St. Louis Newspaper Guild.
On March 25-26 2006, the Young Communist League USA hosted its first Midwest Regional Conference at Teamsters Hall in St. Louis Missouri.
- YCL members and friends, old and new, came from all over the Midwest to discuss a draft action plan to be voted on at the group’s national convention on May 27-29 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Quincy Boyd, president of AFSCME Local 2730, greeted the audience. “This is a revolution we are all in,” he said. “If there is anything I can do, just let me know.”
Another important theme of the conference was the 2006 elections and how the YCL can mobilize the youth vote and otherwise participate in electoral politics. At the meeting’s conclusion, many were eager to put their words into practice and help canvass for progressive candidates, like state Rep. John L. Bowman, who closed the meeting. The YCL helped Bowman get elected in 2004 during its Midwest elections project. 
In August and September 2006, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee started sending large sums of money into the Missouri Democratic Campaign Committee’s federal campaign account.
Out of the Missouri Democratic State Committee’s federal campaign account, Bowman’s Consulting received $10,580 on 9/1/06, and then $6,000 on each date of 9/14, 10/02, 10/16, 10/31 and 11/15; and $10,000 on 11/16.
“Bowman’s Consulting” was filed as a business by state Rep. John L. Bowman with the Missouri Secretary of State on April 7. "That is a lot of jack that Bowman raked in to deliver the vote".
Friends of Bowman - including Ingrid Owens, Sammie Jones, Errol Bush, Zach Keys and April Ford-Griffin - were hired for rates considerably higher than the average canvasser. He even kept it in the family, paying daughter Sloan Bowman and son John Bowman, Jr. higher amounts than the average operative.
Suppporting Claire McCaskill
- McCaskill is challenging conventional wisdom though, spending more time in rural areas than ever before. While working the traditional Democratic base, her connection with rural voters is forcing Talent to spend time and money on what was once thought of as solid Republican turf.
- Is McCaskill’s strategy working? According to Missouri state Rep. John Bowman (D-70), who is coordinating the McCaskill campaign for the St. Louis city and county area, the answer is yes. He told the World, “We are running one helluva ground campaign. So far it has been planned out and executed very well, even in rural areas.” He added, “That Talent, the incumbent, isn’t ahead in the polls is uniquely strange. Missouri voters are ready for a change.”
- Reaching out to rural voters hasn’t changed McCaskill’s stance on key issues, though. She is a strong supporter of raising the minimum wage (Proposition B), authorizing stem cell research (Amendment 2) and changing the administration’s course in Iraq. Prop. B is supported by more than 70 percent of Missourians, while Amendment 2 is supported by over 60 percent. These two ballot initiatives are expected to help McCaskill gain at least 3 percentage points on Talent.
The McCaskill campaign also received support from state-level races. For example, state Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, another Communist Party USA affiliate, told the Peoples Weekly World, “Higher turnout in the Jane Bageto (D-94) and the Bob Burns (D-85) races, which are strong Republican areas, will help the McCaskill vote in those areas as well.”
Missouri Progressive Vote targeted state representative races in the Jefferson County area, about 45 minutes outside of St. Louis, with the hopes of solidifying Missouri House candidates Mike Frame (D-105) and Sam Komo (D-90), both card-carrying union members, and increasing the McCaskill turnout in those areas.
According to Pro-Vote organizer, Communist Party USA Glenn Burleigh, “These are tough races in areas where choice, LGBT rights and guns can make or break a campaign. We are working to turn the tide against the right wing, but a lot more work needs to be done.”
- Increased voter registration is also a big part of the statewide turnout strategy. ACORN and Pro-Vote have collectively registered nearly 40,000 new voters in St. Louis and expect a higher than usual turnout in November.
- About St. Louis, Bowman said, “We are knocking on almost 5,000 doors a day, passing out ‘Claire facts’ and talking to voters about the minimum wage and stem cell initiatives. We’re pushing for a big turnout.”
- With just a few weeks left before the elections, Missouri’s progressive forces are united in their efforts to beat back the right wing, make gains for working-class families and send a clear message to President Bush.
"We made history"
“We made history,” state Rep. John L. Bowman told the Communist Party USA paper Peoples Weekly World shortly after Claire McCaskill announced she had defeated "right-wing" Republican incumbent Jim Talent in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race.
“We’ve sent a clear message: ‘Enough is enough! It is time for a change!’“ Bowman said.
Grassroots mobilization and door-to-door voter turnout was key. For example, Jobs with Justice, a member of the Give Missourians a Raise Coalition, spent Election Day “knocking and dragging” voters to the polls.
In January 2007, State Representative John Bowman was indicted, along with 16 others, on bank fraud and credit card fraud charges.
U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway announced that Bowman and former Bank of American Vice President Robert Conner were among 17 people indicted that were allegedly recruited as borrowers in a $1.2 million bank fraud and credit card fraud scheme. Four other people, including a former Pine Lawn Police Officer and a Wentzville doctor, previously pled guilty to related charges. "Rather than assisting fledgling small businesses with lines of credit, Connor is accused of taking advantage of a well-intended program to line his own pockets," said Hanaway.
Between June 2005 and November 2006, it was part of this scheme that Conner, then a Vice President of Bank of America at its Chesterfield branch, provided the 16 co-defendants, including Bowman, an opportunity to submit false applications for small business lines of credit with Bank of America.
The lines of credit were in the form of credit cards. According to law enforcement, in exchange for approving the fraudulent credit line application Conner demanded a cash kickback payment of $2500 to $5000 from each applicant. After the fraudulent credit applications were approved by Conner, he had the credit cards sent directly to him rather than to the applicants to facilitate his receipt of cash payment kickbacks at the time he provided the card to the applicants. Typically, the first transaction on the fraudulent credit cards was a cash advance, the proceeds of which were used to pay Conner a kickback.
Borrowers fraudulently applied for credit lines in the names of various business entities, many of which did not exist as legitimate businesses. The applications contained fraudulent information such as the business entity name, its status as a legitimate business, and the amount of time the business had been in operation; the annual income of the applicant; and the gross annual revenue of the entity listed on the application. Conner knew the borrowers were not personally credit worthy at the time the false credit line applications were submitted.
A total of approximately $1,213,970 in fraudulent charges were made on cards fraudulently approved by Conner.
The 37-count indictment was returned Thursday, January 25, 2007.
Guilty plea and resignation
State Rep. John Bowman, D-St. Louis, had to resign from the Missouri House as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors over his involvement in a credit card fraud scheme.
The lawmaker appeared before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey and pleaded guilty to bribing a bank officer, which is a misdemeanor. His resignation was be effective Jan. 31, 2010.
Bowman, then 52, originally was indicted on two counts of bank fraud, felony charges that carried maximum sentences of 30 years in prison. Under the lesser charge, he faced up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The charges stem from Bowman's dealings with Robert Conner, a former Bank of America vice president found guilty in November 2007, of an elaborate credit card fraud scheme.
According to prosecutors, Conner approved large lines of credit to more than a dozen individuals. In return, they obtained cash advances from the credit cards and handed them to Conner as cash kickbacks.
As part of his guilty plea, Bowman admitted he made $22,164 in charges between January 2006 and January 2007 on a credit card Connor provided and gave him a kickback in return. Bowman used part of the money for a trip to Florida, according to court records.
Bowman told Autrey that he wanted to change his plea agreement so he could "hopefully bring some closure to this chapter in my life."
Bowman's defense attorney, Scott Rosenblum, said after the hearing that his client accepts responsibility for the error in judgment.
"It's difficult for him to resign because he enjoyed public service," Rosenblum said.
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
This is What Democracy Looks Like! GRO – Grass Roots Organizing Tenth Anniversary Gala Event, October 8, 2010, at the The Renaissance Grand Hotel St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis Host Committee;
- Laura Barrett, National Policy Director, Gamaliel Foundation
- Amy Blouin Executive Director, Missouri Budget Project
- John L. Bowman, Chief of Staff, Senator Robin Wright-Jones
- Nancy Cross, Vice President, Service Employee International Union Local 1
- Rita Days, Missouri State Senator
- Lara Granich, Executive Director, Missouri Jobs with Justice
- Reverend Ben Martin
- Jeanette Mott Oxford, Missouri Representative
- Tony Pecinovsky, People's World
- Rabbi Susan Talve, Central Reform Congregation
Working for Chappelle-Nadal
John Bowman ran Robin Wright-Jones’ successful Missouri State Senate campaign and was rewarded with her chief of staff job.
- That isn’t enough action for Bowman, however, who was once being positioned for a statewide run of his own as a candidate before the Legislative Black Caucus imploded around his chairmanship and he was nailed by the feds for credit card fraud.
In 2010, Bowman left to run another campaign by a state rep trying to move up to the state Senate: Maria Chappelle-Nadal. Three of the four candidates in that race are in the position of trying to move up from state rep: Ted Hoskins, who is termed out; Chappelle-Nadal, who has served six years of a possible eight; and Don Calloway, who has only one term under his belt. 
Communist Party Herschel Walker award event
The Missouri Communist Party USA's Friends of the People’s World hosted their 18th annual ‘Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Awards Breakfast’ Saturday, May 8, 2010, at the CWA Local 6300 Union Hall, 2258 Grissom Drive (in the Westport area), St. Louis.
Newspaper Guild International President Bernie Lunzer was the main speaker for the event.
The honorees were:
- Tony Harris, President American Postal Workers Union (labor)
- Martin Rafanan, Ex. Director Gateway Homeless Services (community)
- State Senator Rita Heard Days, D-14 (public service)
- Clem Smith, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (civil rights)
The awards honor the memory of late Communist Party USA member Hershel Walker, a Missouri labor and civil rights activist, who died in 1990 at the age of 81. Walker’s life – which spanned 60 years of activism – ended tragically when hit by a car on his way to deliver petitions to save 4,000 jobs at the Chrysler Plant.
Known attendees included Communist Party USA affiliates, Tony Pecinovsky, Jim Wilkerson, Zenobia Thompson, Lew Moye, Glenn Burleigh, Julie Terbrock, John Bowman, Joe Thomas, Jeanette Mott Oxford, Democratic Socialists of America member Joan Suarez, plus Mahrya Monson, Don Giljum, Jessica Pace, Jason Kennedy, Jennifer Rafanan, Solveig Paulson, Dr. Greg Miday, Roosevelt Stewart, Michael Vossler, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Richard Von Glahn, Shannon Duffy and State Rep. James Morris. 
- PWW, march 16, 2002, page 7
- PubDef.net Wrong Bowman on Front Page, By Antonio D. French, January 30, 2007
- PWW ST. LOUIS Salute to working-class heroes, by: Tony Pecinovsky, May 7 2004
- [http://www.peoplesworld.org/democracy-and-the-people-s-press/ PWW Democracy & the peoples press, by: Tony Pecinovsky October 22 2004]
- Message from Missouri: 'This is our country! Let's take it back! Political Affairs, Tim Wheeler, July 31 2004
- of Tomorrow: Youth Demand a Better Future- Keynote to YCLUSA Convention. 2006 National Convention Folder, Jessica Marshall
- [http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/marxism/2005w29/msg00305.htm Marxism mailing list archive, Re: [Marxism] Answer to Mr. Lause's challenge, Shane Brinton, Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 00:51:07 -0700]
- St. Louis salutes peoples champions, PWW, Tony Pecinovsky May 13 2005
- Vital Voice, September 23, 2005
- Tony Pecinovsky Linkeldin page, accessed Jan. 8, 2011
- PWW Midwest gears up for YCL Convention, by: Konrad Cukla March 31 2006
- St. Louis American, Bowman in the bucks, December 27, 2006
- Missourians shifting away from GOP, PWW, Tony Pecinovsky, : Oct. 21, 2006
- As Ohio goes, so goes the nation, PWW, Nov. 11, 2006
- Pub def.net BOWMAN INDICTED By Antonio D. French Filed Monday, January 29, 2007 at 3:18 PM
- Rep. John Bowman pleads guilty to bribery Daily Record and the Kansas City Daily News-Press, Jan 14, 2008 by Allison Retka
- Signers of Campaign to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Now
- GRO event program, accessed December 6, 2010
- The St. Louis American, Free agents and farm teams, July 28, 2010
- [ http://www.stlouisguild.org/headlines/?p=880St. Louis Newspaper Guild, Guild I.P. Bernie Lunzer to speak Saturday morning at CWA Local 6300, May 5th, 2010]
- [Martin Rafanan Flickr photostream, accessed Jan. 8, 2010]