Communist Party USA

  Steven Estrada, a community organizer, U.S. Army veteran, and proud member of Long Beach’s working class, is running for the City Council seat in District 1. If elected, he would serve for a four-year term alongside eight others representing different council districts. All but one of the present City Council members are Democrats, and the mayor, Robert Garcia since 2014, is as well, though the election itself is non-partisan. The primary for this seat will be held in June 2022, and the top two candidates will go on to the general election in November. What makes Estrada’s campaign unique is that he is running as an open member of the Communist Party USA. Will an article about his candidacy in People’s World (PW) hurt him? “The primary goal of the campaign is to win,” Estrada responds. “But also to disarm people from some common beliefs about what Communists believe in. We’re not running from our principles, nor from the red-baiting. We need to answer those questions, teaching and educating people.” District 1 is located at the southwestern edge of the city, intersected across its middle by Anaheim St., adjacent to the Port of Long Beach. Together with the Port of Los Angeles in neighboring San Pedro, this shipping complex is the largest port in the United States, significantly helping to define the regional economy and accounting for thousands of jobs. Through his work developing free food programs for the city’s homeless, mobilizing against police injustice, and advocating for other working people’s needs in the city, Estrada has become a familiar presence, dedicating himself in service to the everyday people that make his city run. “Years of government inaction, corruption, and lack of solutions to municipal problems,” he says, “made it clear that it is time for a bold vision for the future of our city.” City Councilwoman Mary Zendejas got into office through a special election in 2019 and will be defending her seat for the first time next June. PW asked Estrada why he’s running against her. Not bold enough? “There are glaring contradictions in the way Long Beach is run,” Estrada replies. “It’s a diverse city, racially, ethnically, with good LGBTQ representation. But on economic issues, there’s high poverty, homelessness, rent increases, no tenants’ rights in a majority rental city. The real estate developers have the final say on what happens in Long Beach, and the people suffer. In District 1, 22–25% are below the federal poverty line. It was time for a candidate to run on a pro-worker program.” Steven’s story Steven Estrada’s life is a testament to the resilience and strength commonly found among working-class people. He was born in Glendora, Calif., and raised with an absent father in Riverside, primarily by his grandmother during his formative years. It was from her that he picked up his conversational Spanish, though he claims it’s not yet quite adequate enough for him to explain the programmatic points of his campaign. His wife, from Perris, Calif., came from a Spanish-speaking home and it’s her first language. At the age of 19, shortly after graduating from high school in 2010, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a way of paying for his future education, graduating from basic training in 2011. During his stint in the Army, he rose to the level of Sergeant, qualified as a paratrooper, and deployed twice to the Middle East. PW asked how he reflects back on his military career now, and why he emphasizes his veteran status so prominently in his campaign: I feel a strong connection to others who went into the…

Read full article on Communist Party USA:
Communist runs for city council in California