Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Candidate Sergio Farias stands with workers, immigrants

PSL candidate Sergio Farias stands with workers, immigrants

'People want to be treated equally'

As the elections creep closer, the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s Sergio Farias campaign for San Juan Capistrano City Council keeps going strong. Farias spoke at three local candidate debates in two weeks, reaching hundreds of San Juan’s residents with the message of socialism. One of the forums will be broadcast to millions of Orange County viewers by the local cable television provider.

Sergio Farias The Farias campaign stands out as the lone voice for working-class and oppressed people in SJC.

At the Oct. 2 forum, held by the League of Women Voters, Farias distinguished his working-class program from those of the bourgeois candidates. On the question of "Why is SJC’s large Latino population disengaged from the political process; and what can be done to change that," Farias cited racist intimidation, police harassment and the anti-gang injunction as primary reasons.

"People want to be treated equally; there should not be any more racism or apartheid conditions tolerated by the city," Farias said. "Latinos and all immigrants must be entitled to full rights in San Juan and beyond."

This starkly contrasted with far-right candidate Laura Freese’s answer. She pressed for more brutal enforcement of immigration and anti-gang laws. Tellingly, Freese referred to all Latinos as "illegals," and blamed immigrants for San Juan’s infrastructure problems, including "overcrowding" and "clogged sewers." Incumbent council member Sam Allevato also spewed racist contempt for Latinos. His sweeping answer cast the entire Latino community as "gang members" and "criminals." Allevato is a retired sheriff’s deputy, who only cares about creating equestrian trails for San Juan’s rich elite. Farias sharply rebuked these reactionary answers.

The next week, Farias continued to strike out at the ruling political establishment in a candidate forum held at a local mobile home park in danger of being closed down by greedy landlords.

His response to questions about affordable housing—"Free housing should be a right for all; evictions and foreclosures must stop now"—was well received by the crowd.

The Farias campaign is receiving wide coverage each week in the Orange County Register, the county’s largest paper, and the local Capistrano Dispatch. Farias, along with the other city council candidates, respond to questions about their respective visions of San Juan and various political topics, such as "How would you solve poverty in San Juan?" or "Is the gang injunction working?"

The Farias campaign stands out as the lone voice for working-class and oppressed people. What is significant is the amount of credible coverage the Farias campaign is getting. Farias is regularly recognized on the street in San Juan and is known throughout the Latino community as an organizer and the "go to" person if there is a problem with racist police or immigration officials.

His campaign again validates the PSL’s intervention in the bourgeois elections. Through the Farias campaign, the PSL is fighting the reactionary capitalists using a mechanism they claim as exclusive and sacred—the electoral process.

Door-to-door canvassing, mainly targeting San Juan’s oppressed Latino neighborhoods and working-class mobile home parks, will continue in the final weeks before the election.

Sergio Farias and PSL presidential candidate Gloria La Riva will speak at a public forum for immigrant rights and against racism at the Lacouague Building (31411 La Matanza Street, San Juan Capistrano) on Oct. 26 at 4 p.m.

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