by Chet Hardin
If that word — "socialist" — gets your ire up, then The Perk Downtown at 14 S. Tejon St. (formerly a Pikes Perk location) is the last place you'll want to be this Sunday. The coffee shop will be hosting a socialist candidate for president — a candidate espousing actual socialism, mind you, and not just the phantom-socialism of Obama.
If, however, you pine for the socialist paradise that is currently out of reach thanks to the two major parties, then you'll want to head down there at 4 p.m. to meet Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate for president Gloria La Riva.
According to the press release, La Riva is a " is a well-known leader in the struggle for workers rights. La Riva has traveled and has written extensively about Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, and is a leader in the struggles of poor and working people against racism and war. Residing in San Francisco, she is the President of the San Francisco Typographers Union and is recognized as a leader in the U.S. trade union movement."
Now, La Riva isn't the official presidential candidate for the PSL; that would be Peta Lindsay. La Riva is a placeholder candidate for Colorado.
Why? According to Christopher Banks with PSL, Lindsay is only 28 years old. As we all know, to serve as president you must be at least 35. (While Lindsay wouldn't be able to serve if elected, a number of states — Colorado not being one of them — allow her to run regardless.)
Regardless, the event with La Riva will give local socialists, communists, anti-capitalists and so on an opportunity to meet-and-greet with a nationally known socialist figure.
For anyone unfamiliar with PSL, a look at their 10 Point-Program should get you up to speed:
1. Make a job a Constitutional right
Tens of millions are jobless and under-employed because the capitalists control employment. A decent paying job must be a legal, guaranteed right. The minimum wage should be raised to $20 per hour and a living income must be guaranteed for those who cannot work.
2. Make free health care, free education and affordable housing Constitutional rights
These are essentials of life and should not be run for-profit. Create a completely free and public health care system. Make education free—cancel all student debt. Stop all foreclosures and evictions — end all mortgage interest payments to the banks
3. Shut down all U.S. military bases around the world—bring all the troops, planes & ships home
U.S. foreign policy uses the pretext of national security to enforce the imperialist interests of the biggest banks and corporations. That’s what is behind the endless wars and occupations. Use the $1 trillion military budget instead to provide for people’s needs here and around the world. Stop U.S. aid to Israel. End the blockade of Cuba.
4. Stop racist police brutality and mass incarceration
More than three million people are behind bars in the largest prison complex in the world. Mass incarceration of our youth is the real crime. End the mass incarceration of oppressed communities. Fully prosecute all acts of police brutality and violence.
5. Defend our unions
Support the right of all workers to have a union. Fight back against the attacks on collective bargaining. Pass the Employee Free Choice Act and repeal the Taft-Hartley Act. In the spirit of Wisconsin, rebuild a fighting—and striking—labor movement.
6. Equality for women and free, safe, legal abortion on demand
Stop the attack on women’s reproductive rights and defend Roe v. Wade. Women must have the fundamental right to choose and control their own bodies. Women still earn 22 percent less than men, and the gap is even more severe for Black and Latina women. Close the wage gap and end the gender division of labor.
7. Full rights for all immigrants
Abolish all anti-immigrant laws. Stop the raids and deportations. The government’s war on immigrants must end. The border wall must be dismantled.
8. Full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
Make same-sex marriage a federal right—keep the movement in the streets. Fight anti-LGBT discrimination and violence.
9. Save the planet—End capitalism
We need a central economic plan to significantly cut greenhouse gases, clean up the environment and build a massive renewable energy network. The for-profit economic system creates incentives to pollute. No fracking, no Keystone pipeline!
10. Seize the banks—Jail Wall Street criminals
The banks’ vast wealth came from the people’s labor and tax-dollar bailout. Capitalist banking is a form of organized crime, rewarding greed and fraud with obscene bonuses. These billionaires looted and destroyed the economy. It is time to seize their assets and use those resources in the interests of the vast majority. Power must be taken out of the hands of the super-rich, and the Wall Street criminals must be held accountable.