An Angeleno volunteer on why this race matters so much
My name is Emmanuel Alcantar and I'm an intern with the Agatha For Congress campaign. It might seem strange for someone from Los Angeles to be getting involved in a race in Northern California, but the stakes of this race go far beyond San Francisco.
** Why Agatha Bacelar Is the Progressive
Candidate We've Been Waiting For
Emmanuel Alcantar, Los Angeles
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in politics. My area of South Central Los Angeles has historically been neglected by the city and my parents who are immigrants struggled at times to make ends meet. Still they would always ask me at the dinner table what my thoughts were on current affairs and what solutions we should pursue. My politics were establishment leaning, but they slowly began to hew more to the working class as I got older.
The 2016 primaries were a political awakening because while I went in thinking I was going to support Hillary, I found myself supporting Bernie Sanders in the primary. His campaign, as well as Trump’s shocking victory in the general election, led me to do some deep soul-searching about the Democratic party, its corporate interests, and the direction we would need to take to be a true workers’ party. That soul-searching led me to become a socialist and support progressive candidates and causes whenever I could.
Fast forward to a weekend mid-to-late 2019. I was watching a debate between Pelosi’s progressive challengers on the Real Progressives YouTube channel, eager to see who I could support. To my pleasant surprise, I found that all three of the candidates were excellent advocates in their own right. What ultimately moved me to support Agatha was her answer on immigration and her experience in Central America having witnessed childhood morgues as well as her neighbor who was held back from college admissions because she was undocumented despite being the same on paper. Having seen the human costs of US foreign policy and western imperialism, I knew that Agatha would have the moral authority to challenge the military industrial complex and its interconnection to other issues like immigration.
I knew I immediately wanted to get involved with her campaign and so I sent an email through her website and waited for a response. I received a call from Agatha herself and spoke with her on the phone. She asked me what issues mattered most to me, shared her thoughts about immigrant justice, the best way to regulate the tech industry, and patiently answered any questions I had. I walked away from that conversation with the opinion that Agatha was someone who cared deeply about the issues and the people of San Francisco.
AOC said in an interview at MLK Now 2020 in New York that the Democratic Party is not left-wing because “we can’t even get a vote on Medicare-for-all.” Our party leadership has dismissed and blocked radical change in favor of their corporate donors. Pelosi has refused to give single-payer a vote because she has made it abundantly clear that she is not a fan, both through her public statements and privately when she sent aides earlier this year to speak to Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance executives to assure them that party leadership was against it according to Ryan Grim of The Intercept. Her second largest donor base is private insurance companies.
The Green Dream or Whatever
Pelosi has also dismissed the Green New Deal as the “green dream or whatever.” If we are going to begin to pick up the pieces after this current presidency, we need a fundamental structural shift: we need single-payer healthcare, we need dramatic climate action, and we need to rid corporate money’s influence on our political system. Pelosi’s actions remind me of Elizabeth Warren’s words during one of the presidential debates: I don’t understand someone who spends all their time telling us what they won’t do and what they won’t fight for.
Agatha is a candidate that is perfectly situated for the time we are in.
She is a fellow immigrant when the U.S. government is putting children in concentration camps along our border. She is an engineer when the tech industry is overreaching by threatening our democracy and right to privacy. She is a Latina woman when Democratic party voters just elected a wave of female candidates in 2018. She is a progressive when there is massive grassroots energy within the base. We have seen leftists harness this energy effectively. More than half of the candidates nominated by Justice Democrats won their primaries and the four most prominent freshman congresswomen are all women of color (the squad).
Agatha is the most electable candidate to run against Pelosi because she appeals to supporters of both Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang. While both Sanders and Yang are very different ideologically, their base consists of non-voters. The way progressives have won their elections has not been by playing the establishment democratic politics of appealing to “moderate Republicans,” it has been by expanding the electorate and convincing non-voters to go to the polls. That is how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her primary against Joe Crowley. It is also why, if the progressive and anti-establishment wing of the party coalesced to support her, Agatha could outperform her perceived support.
I believe in Agatha. Given the opportunity, I know she can defeat Pelosi, fight for the working class in San Francisco and all across this country. In an ideal future, Congresswoman Bacelar, along with several new progressive politicians, will be the newest member of the squad and lead the effort for progressive policies.
Thanks for reading!
Los Angeles, CA
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