Editor’s Note: This piece is one of three opinion articles concerning the Nov. 3 election, with the others advocating for Donald Trump and Joe Biden. They do not reflect the views of the University Press.
I know what some of you may be asking as soon as you saw the headline, ‘who is Gloria La Riva and why are you voting for her?’
Gloria La Riva is a self-described socialist and the presidential nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), a communist party that advocates for revolutionary socialism, as she has been a labor, community, and anti-war activist for all her life in politics.
I am voting for La Riva because she has policies that would help everyone: guaranteeing healthcare as a right, reversing the negative effects of climate change immediately, and fighting racism in America.
La Riva is on the ballot in Florida and 14 other states and she ran for president in 1992, 2008, 2012, and 2016.
Before you start dismissing her candidacy, let me explain: Many forms of communism exist in the world besides authoritarian communism.
I would describe myself as a libertarian socialist, which is the belief that abolishing authoritarian systems controlling certain means of production is key to having a society based on freedom and justice.
A form of communism I would be open to is anarcho-communism as it’s an ideology that promotes direct democracy and gives the means of production to the working class, which is desperately needed due to the ever-increasing gap of wealth inequality.
Trump and Biden, the two main options who have the best chance of winning the election, represent every problem that is going on in America as they are interested in maintaining the status quo and will do anything to not have change occur, at the expense of the working class and the oppressed.
It’s infuriating to see these two be the potential winners, and what they’re offering is more chaos or no fundamental changes to the corrupt systems that continue affecting us to this day.
There needs to be a left party that is dedicated to fighting for the people, and the PSL could be the party to do so.
Healthcare as a right
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown that healthcare is an important essential everyone must have and will suffer severe consequences if it is not addressed immediately, especially with millions of people losing their employer-based health insurance as a result.
Even after testing positive for COVID-19 and receiving treatment for it, Trump has no plans to help the people struggling throughout the pandemic as he ended negotiations for a new stimulus bill until after the election.
While Biden said he would veto Medicare for All if it came to his desk, his healthcare plan wants to expand access, lower costs, and ensure everyone has free testing and treatment for COVID-19.
My response to that, however, is if we can cover those infected with COVID-19 free of charge, why can’t we cover those who have cancer, mental health issues, injuries, or other illnesses as well?
It’s irrelevant if people have access to healthcare; if they can’t afford it, it’s the same as having no healthcare at all. That’s why healthcare needs to be guaranteed as a right, and La Riva wants it to be the case.
La Riva wants to create a completely free and public healthcare system for everyone as the current healthcare system has more than 30 million people who don’t have insurance.
To have the funding for it, La Riva is in favor of greatly raising taxes on major corporations so people won’t have to worry about being able to afford it.
“Although the Affordable Care Act helped in important ways, it was an inadequate fix for the scale of the healthcare crisis we have in this country,” La Riva said in her stance towards healthcare. “We should be providing universal, accessible, and free healthcare for all.”
Fighting climate change immediately
If climate change is ever going to be taken seriously as an existential crisis, it needs immediate action, not gradual changes, or cutting back regulations.
It’s undeniable Trump will cause severe damage to the environment by continuing to cut regulations from the Obama administration if he wins a second term.
What can’t be ignored, however, is Biden’s refusal to ban fracking as his climate plan, which calls for a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050, advocates for incremental change when action needs to be taken now.
It’s scary that temperatures continue to rise every year, the polar ice caps are still melting, and certain parts of the world like California are suffering from increasing wildfires.
It’s insulting that the main candidates of this election are either content with letting the planet burn or not willing to make quick legislation that will tackle this issue as soon as possible.
We must take on climate change now, and La Riva might have the idea to do so.
La Riva’s solution to the issue of climate change is to replace the capitalist system with a socialist system as she believes capitalism and production for profit are destroying the planet and threatening all life.
“Using truly sustainable energy and seizing the oil and coal companies to stop fossil fuel pollution, are urgent steps needed to reverse climate change,” La Riva says on her website. “Ultimately, only the socialist reorganization of society can assure the future of the people and the planet.”
Abolishing systemic racism in America can’t be done by giving the responsibility to someone who is responsible for it or wants to maintain it.
Trump refuses to condemn white supremacy, sends in the military to stop Black Lives Matter protests, and will not defund the police as he is complicit amidst the chaos.
Biden, on the other hand, supported segregationists, spoke out against school desegregation, wrote the infamous ‘94 Crime Bill which caused the mass incarceration of minorities, and wants to increase police funding as he is partly responsible for the situation we are in now.
To support the BLM protests, La Riva and the PSL have been attending them joining the protesters in demanding to charge the officers who are responsible for the murder of African-Americans in the name of police brutality.
To fight racism, La Riva’s platform is in favor of paying reparations to minorities, ending mass incarceration of the oppressed and the working class, and fully prosecuting all acts of police brutality and violence.
Investing in the future left
I am aware La Riva is not going to win this year’s election.
I know voting for her is going to be a minority vote since the majority of people are going to be voting Democrat or Republican.
I understand it is going to be difficult to build a party that fights for the needs of the people outside of the duopoly.
Despite that, I am certain my vote is not going to be wasted as it can be an investment for their future.
The policies they are bringing to the table are the policies I want to see come to fruition in a future America.
In the words of famous American socialist Eugene Debs, “it is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don’t want and get it.”
Even though I know it won’t happen in this election, voting for La Riva gives me hope that real change will happen in the future for the benefit of everyone else.
Richard Pereira is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.