The World Socialist Web Site recently spoke with workers about the California recall campaign and why they are supporting the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for governor, David Moore.
Alfonzo, a UPS worker in Los Angeles, told the WSWS that he voted for Moore “because workers globally need an organized socialist response to the pandemic that prioritizes eradication of the virus rather than the pro-capitalist and murderous policy of herd immunity.”
He voted “no” on the recall not because he in any way supported Governor Newsom, but because the forces driving the recall effort were “right-wing anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, pandemic denialists and conspiracy theorists.”
“Their main complaint isn’t the number of dead or the irresponsible reopening of society even as the virus spreads and mutates,” Alfonzo said. “No, their main complaint is about mask mandates and demanding pro-business policies that only endanger workers and their families.”
Elizabeth, a registered nurse in California, told the WSWS that she was supporting Moore’s campaign “because I believe he will address the needs of the working class and poor, unlike the Democrats and Republicans.”
“As a registered nurse, I understand the importance of not [just] mitigating the virus, but eradicating it,” she said. Moore, she emphasized, “will fight for the strategy of eradication of COVID-19, and I believe this will force other US states to follow. We cannot end the pandemic with a vaccination program alone. It must include eradication, which can be done within a couple of months with strict lockdowns, contact tracing and isolation of small pockets of cases. If elected, David will implement these policies for the good of the working class, not for the rich and corporate elite.”
Elizabeth worked for 12 years at a large acute care hospital in Long Beach, California where understaffing was a growing problem even before the pandemic, despite the state’s mandated nurse-to-patient ratios.
“There was never much pushback from the union on staffing issues, and hospital administration, with high paid consultants, found creative ways or work arounds to skirt the ratio/acuity law,” she said. “What I came to realize over the years about the union was that they were collaborating with management to keep nurses under control while collecting our hard-earned dues money.”
She noted that the Democrats are ignoring the science of the pandemic just like the Trump administration did, refusing to shut down schools and nonessential businesses or enforce other public health measures despite the emergence of the more virulent Delta variant.
Although she voted for Newsom in 2018 as the “lesser-of-two-evils,” she quickly became disillusioned as she realized that Newsom had lied to nurses about implementing a single-payer health care system in California, on top of his disastrous handling of the pandemic.
“I think it’s a sad state-of-affairs,” she said, “when the working class is forced to choose between two capitalist parties that do nothing to solve the issues faced by the working class.”
The Democrats have “revealed their true colors” in their shameful response to the pandemic. “I see this decrepit party as a murderous party of capitalism. We are in the midst of a climate crisis in California, the nation and the whole world. But the Democratic Party’s only concern is imperialist interests around the world, including preparing for war against China.”
“I have come to realize over the years that capitalism is a complete failure, and both parties cannot and will not solve the issues faced by the working class and poor. Both parties address the needs of the ruling class and greedy corporations at the expense of the working class,” said Elizabeth.
Ric, a recently retired schoolteacher after 25 years spent in the Los Angeles Unified School District, told the WSWS that he was so upset with the push by Democrats to reopen schools amid a deadly pandemic that he immediately threw away his ballot out of frustration—he is now requesting a new ballot so that he can vote for David Moore.
“I was so angry and disgusted with the Democrats because of their drive to reopen the schools, regardless of the conditions,” he said. “And we know why: Get all the workers back to work and get Wall Street’s profits back to where they were.”
“As teachers, we’ve had many, many bad experiences with the Democrats and the unions,” he said. He noted that the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) sold the school reopenings to teachers as a response to demand by parents, but when his school reopened 80 percent of the students remained at home. “It was just a lie.”
When schools reopened, the unions failed to enforce even the minimal safety requirements it had negotiated as part of a tentative agreement, such as hallway monitors enforcing social distancing or holding meetings to discuss workplace safety.
When Ric and other teachers tried to challenge the union’s claims on the UTLA Facebook page, they were blocked and censored. “The union will do everything in their power to prevent you from standing up and calling out their betrayals.”
Ric said that he quit voting for Democrats after Bill Clinton’s election in 1996, opting instead to support third party candidates. He does not support Bernie Sanders because of the Senator’s opposition to third parties and insistence on always endorsing the Democratic candidate. “He’s just a Democratic Party company man,” he said. “That’s why he’s part of their leadership now.”
“Republicans are even against even wearing masks. They are like Neanderthals, against the most basic commonsense measures: no masks, no vaccines, no social distancing, etc. But Newsom and the Democrats are trying to appease the right wing. It’s like the Republicans put the Democrats on the defensive and they cave in, so they are right wing. It’s like the spectrum is from extreme right, with the Republicans, to the right, the Democrats. The Republicans keep pushing to the right, and of course, the Democrats tag along.
“All the problems we are facing,” Ric concluded, “all come from capitalism because everything is driven by profit. The problem is the whole system.”