The Other Candidate: Gloria La Riva

“The only way that progress comes about in a capitalist society is when people organize, mobilize, and fight for their rights. That’s what history shows us.”
Gloria La Riva Photo Courtesy: Gloria La Riva
Gloria La Riva is a presidential nominee set on creating a movement, not a moment

Arturo Hilario

El Observador

The Freedom and Liberation Party is not one that you may have heard during the frenzy that has been the 2016 Presidential Election. You may have already voted, or made your choice on a nominee or choose not to take part, but to say that the choices have been a simple one can be bring a hefty discourse, with others, or even yourself.

Presidential Nominee Gloria La Riva agrees. Representing three Socialist parties across the states she’s on the ballot for, California for the Peace and Freedom Party, in Vermont for the Liberty Union Party, and in Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Washington state for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, she believes in the government working for all inclusive society, not just those that have controlled or benefited from it thus far.

A leading figure of Party for Socialism and Liberation, La Riva’s nomination in August spurred her campaign staff and her supporters to spread awareness of the ‘other candidate’, more importantly, one whose ground-level style of reform was easier to digest than the headiness of the other candidates proposals. In basic terms La Riva’s proposals boils down to more money and jobs for those that are struggling, less debt for students, and free healthcare for all.

Activist and Candidate

A long time labor, community and anti-war activist based in the Bay Area, La Riva is the only Latina (Mexican-American) running for president.

La Riva adds that the stance her party shares is one that is held by many in the country. In her view there is no incentive or nominee that truly exemplifies the traits of the ‘everyman’, and that is why voting rates are so low. “As a socialist we don’t hold any confidence in the Democrats or Republican parties. They are the parties of big business and the bankers, of the 1%.” The climate of the 2016 Presidential Election holds weight to back her words, as both frontrunners for the presidency Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have faced scrutiny by Americans on a daily basis. La Riva says “I’ve called it the most grotesque election in history of the United States.”

Her emphasis on social duty and economic reform are radically different than those of either Democratic and Republican nominee. “The Peace and Freedom Party represent the working class, whether employed or unemployed we represent the people that don’t even have a right to vote, the undocumented, permanent residents of which they are many millions. People that are in prison, people out of prison. We represent the people who have great great needs at this time, and 2016 is a critical moment in our country.”

The Motion of Movements

La Riva and her crew understood from the get-go that this wasn’t a push to get to White House, but a push to inform and educate, to show that in fact there are other options for political parties. She approaches this stance by highlighting the social rights movements that have sprung up in more frequency and scale since the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement began in New York City’s Zuccotti Park. “Since occupied broke out the last five years have seen the resurgence of many movements. Black Lives Matter, Fight for 15, the struggle of LGBTQ people for equal rights, the fight for women’s reproductive rights, for healthcare and people’s rights.”

Another force in empowering people into uniting into movements was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. La Riva says, “the Bernie Sanders campaign helped much in opening people’s ideas in accepting Socialism as an alternative. This year has been great for our campaign, great for the ideas of Socialism because ultimately we believe that Capitalism provides no solution for people; the cause of people suffering, of poverty, of unemployment, of war, of racism. And one of our most important messages is that the only way that progress comes about in a capitalist society is when people organize, mobilize, and fight for their rights. That’s what history shows us.”

Plans of a Socialist President

La Riva has a 10-point plan whose architecture involve guaranteeing full employment, free education and free healthcare, all without raising the national debt. “Economically it’s completely attainable by using Pentagon money, which is our tax dollars, for people’s needs. Instead of bailing out the banks, bailing out student debt, to cancel and provide free education. Free health care will be attained by eliminating the insurance companies which are just parasitical institutes. In addition bringing all the troops home, who only served a purpose of oil and the military industrial complex. Also declaring an emergency in this country and put a ban on foreclosures. And to use all the wealth that’s created, that people create, but don’t own.”

Another point that is she mentions is giving undocumented workers the voice and power for reform by immediate granting of citizenship. Her experience as a first generation Mexican-American and seeing her mother, who was a permanent resident, working to raise 6 children without voting rights certainly helped form these propositions.  

Moving Forward

In her campaigns visits to small towns in California, bigger areas like San Jose and Los Angeles, as well as indian reservations, the message has been effective. “Many people were very very happy to see our position, and we will fight for them even beyond the election. Our intent is to grow the organization, grow the party and be ready for the next stage, after November 8. That is to mobilize all the people to demand housing, jobs and free healthcare for all and free education. It’s an uphill battle, but more and more people believe in those ideas.”

Although our next President lies with either a businessman from New York or the first female President in this country, La Riva hopes people consider the past. Not only to see how social movements changed the course of the United States over time, but that future movements can ultimately work to change the election process, even for the highest seat in the country.

It’s the history that’s hidden from the people, the history of how the 8-hour workday came about, how union’s came about, because people fought for their rights. Progress was made by the African-American community organizing for decades. All of these things are what our election campaign is about. The people’s movement.”

More information on Gloria La Riva and her work with the Party for Socialism and Liberation visit <>.