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This Latina Socialist Doesn’t Need “The Lesser Evil.” So She’s Working for President


Rising up within the South Bronx, Claudia De la Cruz had loads of questions. The daughter of working-class immigrants from the Dominican Republic — her father was a development employee and her mom a trainer — she lived within the poorest congressional district in the USA. De la Cruz would watch TV and surprise why the middle-class lives she noticed on the display had been so completely different from her personal. Although conservative, her dad and mom launched her to a church that might encourage her worldview and politics. At 13, to reply her daughter’s questions concerning the world and its cruelties, De la Cruz’s mom took her to a church that was based on the ideas of liberation theology, the place she got here into contact with former members of the Puerto Rican revolutionary group The Younger Lords and socialists

“I moved from an area of being class-conscious, like I used to be acutely aware that I used to be working class due to my dad and mom, to a political area that gave me readability,” De la Cruz tells Refinery29 Somos. “And [it] gave me the language to articulate the expertise of being working class.”

Karina Garcia had the same upbringing. Raised by working-class Mexican immigrants within the U.S., she observed the inequalities of capitalism early on. By the point Garcia went to varsity, she was already organizing. Her work with the United College students In opposition to Sweatshops (USAS) collective helped her notice that even when some manufacturers try to be sustainable, moral, and equitable, there would at all times be others prepared to use employees for revenue. The issue, as she noticed it, was a lot larger than any single firm. 

“That helped me perceive it was about various unhealthy apples; it actually was the system itself,” Garcia tells Somos. “The logic of capitalism doesn’t enable for ‘good capitalist corporations’ as a result of there may be the countless, limitless drive for creating revenue. That’s what acquired me into anti-capitalist politics.”

“The logic of capitalism doesn’t enable for ‘good capitalist corporations’ as a result of there may be the countless, limitless drive for creating revenue.”

Karina Garcia

This election season, De la Cruz and Garcia are doing one thing daring: They’re working for president and vice chairman, respectively, of the USA as candidates for the Celebration for Socialism and Liberation. It’s clear from their nascent marketing campaign that De la Cruz and Garcia aren’t in politics to recreation the system or to alter issues from the within. They hope to finish capitalism altogether, promising a fairer and extra equitable society within the ideology of socialism.

“Poverty, pupil debt, and the local weather disaster aren’t going to be solved by losing our time and our vitality propping up a celebration that doesn’t serve us,” Garcia says concerning the Democratic Celebration. “Now we have to construct our personal get together, and we actually don’t have loads of time to waste. We are attempting to construct up this motion that we all know can really change every part.”

With their run, De la Cruz and Garcia be a part of working-class girls of shade who’ve traditionally challenged the two-party system as a result of they really feel the political events will not be serving them and their communities. Garcia is a Chicana organizer who has fought towards landlord abuses, wage theft, and police brutality. Like De la Cruz, she believes organizing the working class is vital to constructing a extra equitable world the place everybody will get their wants met. For them, a motion of working-class individuals who desire a new system may assist clear up the present financial scenario — the place job loss is rising and inflation has made it troublesome for a lot of to purchase fundamental requirements  — whereas following the established order would solely proceed to learn the richest corporations and other people within the nation.

“The financial system is boosting billionaires,” De la Cruz says. “So why is it essential for us to run explicitly as socialists? It’s partly ideological, and it’s additionally to really construct a powerful motion that’s impartial of capitalist techniques and buildings.” 

Some mainstream political commentators argue that this can be a naive and pointless marketing campaign to run in a rustic the place socialism is a marginal ideology. In 2022, Pew Analysis reported that 36% of adults within the U.S. considered socialism as “considerably” or “very” positively, down six proportion factors from 2019. However when De la Cruz talks concerning the goals of her marketing campaign, her technique is obvious. Like most impartial candidates, De la Cruz brings up the pressing have to problem the two-party system with a radical different for voters who don’t wish to select between Democrats and Republicans, however she additionally sees this marketing campaign as larger than a four-year election cycle. She desires socialism within the U.S. to grow to be a full-fledged motion, and that requires long-term methods moderately than one-off marketing campaign guarantees. 

“It’s essential to see the marketing campaign as half of a bigger technique,” De la Cruz says. “We’re not promoting hopes and desires. Now we have actual intent in constructing a motion that has a spine, and [is] very a lot grassroots and based upon ideas of training, organizing, mobilizing, and agitating. [We want to make] certain folks take management of their very own future and that also they are collaborating in creating a brand new imaginative and prescient for this nation.”

“We’re not promoting hopes and desires. Now we have actual intent in constructing a motion that has a spine, and [is] very a lot grassroots and based upon ideas of training, organizing, mobilizing, and agitating.”

Claudia De la Cruz

The brand new imaginative and prescient isn’t precisely modern on paper — as De la  Cruz factors out, she’s hardly the primary socialist to run for president in a rustic that has traditionally had an unshakeable love for capitalism — but when put into apply, it could revolutionize the lives of hundreds of thousands of Individuals. To finish a political system that billionaire lobbyists management to guard the financial pursuits of the wealthy, De la Cruz and Garcia wish to seize the 100 largest firms within the U.S. and switch them into public property, like healthcare, training, and childcare.

“Anti-socialist sentiment has grow to be like a second faith within the U.S., [and this happened] exactly as a result of socialism speaks to working-class folks, as a result of it locations working-class folks’s wants on the forefront and [because] we see the capitalist system that we reside up below, that has been imposed on us as a dictatorship of billionaires who performs a political class, to advance ruling class curiosity moderately than ours, ” De la Cruz provides. 

And, in keeping with the candidates, the issue isn’t simply the Republicans. Polls reveal that youthful voters are leaning towards third-party candidates due to their disillusionment with Democrat President Joe Biden’s deserted guarantees. “We see the development of the ruling class curiosity with Biden’s actions within the final 4 months, in distinction to Biden’s marketing campaign guarantees to working-class folks,” De la Cruz says. “He promised extra help for unions, and that didn’t occur.”

A key problem for younger folks is overseas coverage. Within the final 5 months, as Israel has bombed the occupied territory of Gaza, killing 30,000 folks with some U.S.-funded bombs, following a Hamas assault in October 2023, polls have revealed that younger individuals are extra pro-Palestine than earlier generations. “A number of younger folks between the ages of 18 and 34 are fully towards one other Biden time period, and they’re additionally understanding that the Democratic Celebration is a component of a bigger imperialist challenge,” De la Cruz says. “They’re realizing that colonialism and imperialism are actual issues; they don’t seem to be issues of the previous like we’re typically taught in faculties. And it’s essential to consider overseas insurance policies as one thing that additionally impacts us domestically. It’s not one thing that occurs far-off. It impacts us right here. It impacts us to spend virtually a trillion {dollars}, if no more than a trillion {dollars}, in army funding as a result of that implies that we don’t have free training, that implies that we don’t have entry to high quality free healthcare, that implies that we don’t have our infrastructure up to date or mounted.” 

Worldwide solidarity between the working class is a key side of De la Cruz and Garcia’s overseas coverage. This additionally resonates with younger folks within the U.S., who face insurmountable pupil mortgage debt, stagnant wages, and a housing disaster. As De la Cruz places it, many younger working-class folks really feel that they’re paying excessive taxes to fund the killing of different working-class folks in poorer nations. She says, “We wish to construct overseas coverage that’s based mostly on solidarity, that’s based mostly on collaboration, that isn’t based mostly on destruction, struggle, and extraction of sources in different nations.”

For Garcia, the power of the working class is inherently world. “We’re poor as a result of billionaires have robbed us of our sources; they’re wealthy as a result of they’ve robbed us of our sources,” she says. “This method connects us to the worldwide working class, and it’s one thing that we have now to unite to defeat.” 

“We have to cope with the precise sickness, and the largest sickness that we’re coping with globally is a capitalist system. We want to have the ability to create one other construction. Voting for the lesser of two evils will not be a method we should always proceed to entertain.”

CLAUDIA DE LA CRUZ

Even when the possibilities of profitable are low, De la Cruz sees this election as a primary step towards displaying Individuals a unique actuality, demonstrating that it’s attainable to radically uproot the techniques of oppression that preserve them from thriving. “Individuals ask whether or not voting for a 3rd choice is a wasted vote — what’s a wasted vote is to proceed to do what we’ve been doing traditionally, which is selecting from the neoliberal Democrats and the far-right Republicans,” De la Cruz says. “That could be a shedding technique. It’s been a shedding technique for a lot of many years, and for so long as we proceed to work in that duopoly, the far proper goes to maintain coming again. The menace will not be going to be eradicated. We want to have the ability to create a 3rd lane the place folks have actual choices and the place options are literally concrete. ”

De la Cruz and Garcia aren’t seeking to attain throughout the aisle. They don’t wish to modify our system to make incremental modifications. They don’t wish to recreation the system or work with what we already must make issues higher. They wish to tackle what they imagine is the foundation of the issue — capitalism — and tear it down altogether. 

“We don’t wish to cope with the signs of capitalism,” De la Cruz concludes. “We have to cope with the precise sickness, and the largest sickness that we’re coping with globally is a capitalist system. We want to have the ability to create one other construction. Voting for the lesser of two evils will not be a method we should always proceed to entertain.”

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