Wednesday, October 15, 2008

PSL Lucilla Esguerra campaign fights for workers' rights

'It's simple. I'm a socialist.'

The campaign of 19-year-old Lucilla Esguerra is picking up steam. Esguerra, the Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate for California State Assembly, District 48, has been featured on Kababayan L.A., a Filipino American television show that reaches millions of Filipino immigrants.

Lucilla Esguerra Lucilla Esguerra's campaign has organized numerous street meetings in her majority Black and Latino district.

An excellent article about her inspiring campaign blazed the front page of the Philippine News, the country’s oldest and most widely circulated newspaper for Filipino Americans. Writer Pasckie Pascua described Esguerra’s campaign succinctly: "Her ambitions are simple and realistic but right on target; her words don’t mince around rhetorical bombast and oratorical histrionics that rule traditional politics—she hits it straight, no qualms, no chasers in between."

Esguerra explains Pascua’s description of her campaign: "It is simple. I’m a socialist candidate. My party, the PSL, is right on target for working-class people. That’s who live in my district; that’s who I want to speak for. My campaign demands jobs, free housing, free health care and an end to police brutality and immigrant bashing."

In contrast, her opponent, incumbent Mike Davis (D), has never spoken out for immigrant rights and rarely even makes appearances in the district. One District 48 resident, Ana, said: "It seems like Davis is on permanent vacation in Sacramento with the other professional politicians. I’ve never seen him anywhere near my home or workplace."

Esguerra’s campaign has been endorsed by a slew of Filipino American activists and community organizations, including the Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines, GABRIELA Network, Justice for Filipino American Veterans, Echo Park Community Coalition, Coalition in Defense of Immigrant Rights, the Filipino Workers’ Center, and more. Many of these groups spoke on her behalf at a kick-off meeting on Labor Day, attended by dozens of activists and trade unionists.

Street meetings in Esguerra’s majority Black and Latino district have been a staple of her campaign for weeks. One recent street event focused on the bankers’ bailout. Esguerra and campaign activists spoke to a long line of African Americans waiting to pull their deposits out of Washington Mutual, which had just gone under. One person, Steve, said: "I agree with your campaign. We need a bailout for people like us, not for the rich millionaires on Wall Street. They made my bank go down, not me."

The campaign has also done regular door-to-door outreach, focusing on the oppressed communities of South Los Angeles.

Promoting same-sex marriage and LGBT equality has been a top priority. Esguerra, an out lesbian, has been a pro-LGBT rights activist since high school. She was the only socialist candidate to participate in L.A.’s huge Pride parade and will be speaking at a Gay-Straight Alliance conference on Nov. 1 to promote student activism for LGBT liberation. She has come out strongly against Proposition 8, an anti-gay marriage referendum on the ballot.

Esguerra is on the ballot as a Peace and Freedom Party candidate. She is proud to represent the only ballot-access socialist party in California. For Peace and Freedom, she recently spoke at a campaign forum to denounce the racist Runner Initiative—a referendum on the November ballot that would further criminalize Black and Latino youth.

In the coming weeks, Esguerra’s campaign will turn up the heat by continuing neighborhood canvassing and street meetings. "It’s all to get the word out about socialism. We want people to know that they can be part of a movement that fights back against all the racism and economic abuses thrown at us by capitalism," said Esguerra. "It isn’t about winning this election or that election. It is about building a movement that one day will win as the capitalist system loses," she continued.

Oct. 18 and 19, the Esguerra campaign will go door-to-door in a massive visibility push. Oct. 25, she is speaking at a well-known library in South Los Angeles, the Southern California Library, with PSL presidential candidate Gloria La Riva. The two will discuss the economic crisis, the war, racism and how workers and students can fight back.

Esguerra’s campaign has inspired strength and activism in sectors of the working class that are looking for a fighting alternative to the status quo.

Vote PSL in November!

Lucilla Esguerra and PSL presidential candidate Gloria La Riva will speak at the Southern California Library (6120 S. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles) on Oct. 25 at 2 p.m.

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