There can be no denying that Californians (like the rest of Americans) suffer from policies influenced by powerful corporate interests. In many ways, we have become the oligarchy our nation’s founders fled. In this era of oligarchy with Trump in the White House, there can be no basking in the knowledge that Democrats constitute a super-majority in our state legislature. The question now becomes: what kind of Democrats claim to represent our interests?
Where is the economic justice in a state that boasts the largest population of Death Row inmates while our education system falls near the bottom in national standards? Why is it so difficult for our legislators to do the morally right thing by our fast-food, home care, child care, and other underpaid workers? When will we finally be able to reform Proposition 13 and demand that corporations pay their fair share of taxes?
We must start by addressing the elephant in the room – how the greedy corporate profit motive finds its comfortable home within taxpayer-funded public offices – we must get rid of pay-to-play transactional politics that is the norm in our legislature and with our state party leaders.
I strongly agree that no one who works a 40-hour work week should live in poverty and the Fight for $15 movement was a big part of fighting for a more just world. But in the state’s urban areas and in most of California, $15 an hour isn’t enough. So, even such hard fought victories leave our workers unable to participate in the bounty of one of the world’s largest economies. This can hardly be called economic justice for millions of working class Californians. We need to continue to fight to ensure all workers are making a livable wage and have strong worker protections.
We continue to struggle against a machine that is too beholden to corporate power. And though the Equal Pay Act in California has helped the cause of equal pay between men and women, we must continue to fight for expanding workers’ rights for fast-food, home care, child care, farm and other underpaid workers by supporting unions in the workplace.