I have worked as a train mechanic at L.A. Metro for 21 years and served as an elected union steward for nine years. Like many others, in the past I was laid off several times and unemployed for long stretches of time.
I am running for U.S. Congress to say that working people have no choice but to fight back because we are all getting squeezed.
But bosses and politicians divide workers against each other. Black workers bear the brunt of the worst of the unemployment, poverty and police violence. Millions of immigrant workers are labeled "illegal," in order to deprive them of any rights and pay them much less. And women’s rights are blatantly under attack. But all workers contribute to the wealth of this society. All workers should have full rights.
We have to overcome these divisions. That is why we need a working-class party.
Companies rake in record profits. The stock market booms. Billionaires get richer. All because they rob the working class. We face crises on every front.
We face a jobs crisis. We are told unemployment is low. Yet tens of millions don’t have jobs. Younger workers with jobs are paid low wages with no benefits. Older workers can't afford to retire and younger workers can't pay the rent.
We face a housing crisis. The shortage of affordable housing gets worse every month. So does homelessness. Most are one illness or one job loss away from getting kicked to the curb.
We face an education crisis. Working class youth is deprived of even a basic education. Schools are starved of funds, staffing and resources. Teachers and staff face heavier workloads.
We face a health care crisis. COVID killed over a million people. Workers died because they were forced to work under unsafe and unhealthy conditions. The health care system failed because it is just another big business set up to maximize profits. Today, even with costly insurance, working people still can't get the care we need. It's your money or your life.
We face a crisis in essential services and infrastructure. We pay higher taxes and fees. Yet, traffic congestion and roads are worse. Bus service is unreliable. Century-old water mains erupt. The electric power grid is old and decrepit, with regular outages.
Finally, we face a real march to war. U.S. war spending is at record highs. To further U.S. domination of the Middle East, the U.S. government helps the Israeli military fuel and spread the Israel-Palestine war. In Europe, the U.S. military uses Ukrainian troops against Russia, its old rival. And in Asia, the U.S. ratchets up a trade war against China, as the U.S. military surrounds that huge country with military forces. Wars are multiplying.
This is a wealthy society. Working people produce this wealth. We make the economy run.
No profitable company should be allowed to cut a single job. Share out the work, so everyone can have a job. Set wages high enough so everyone can have a decent standard of living. Require that wages go up immediately when prices increase.
No one should be homeless. Decent housing should be a basic human right. This region lacks hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units. They should be built immediately. This will create jobs.
Use public money for services that are useful for the population: education, medical care and basic infrastructure. This will also create a lot of jobs.
We are constantly told there is not enough money to meet our basic needs. That is a lie. There is plenty of money. But the super-wealthy completely control the society for their own enrichment.
Finally, in the face of the military build-up and the march to war, workers must understand that our real enemies are those in this country who spend our tax dollars on their wars of domination, and prepare to send us to war.
Working people have to fight to get what we need and take the money from big corporations’ profits.
Both the Democrats and Republicans serve the interests of the wealthy.
To unite all workers, we need a working-class party.
If you agree with this, vote for Juan Rey in order to send a message to others.